Monday, November 26, 2007

Birthdays Yeah...

In my family, for the most part all of our birthdays are slammed into about 30 days of the year, okay maybe 45 days- but its a lot of celebration in an already heavy celebration season why with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King Day..

So we try to celebrate them in chunks, being very careful not to combine any of them with an actual holiday that is recognized by the rest of the world- for example, my Mom's birthday which often falls on Thanksgiving- we celebrate on a different day. My Aunt and Uncle celebrate their anniversary the Saturday after Thanksgiving- but not a specific date.

I give my parents a lot of credit for celebrating my birthday the way the did, as close to Christmas as it is it was always a separate event- presents rarely bridge between my birthday and Christmas, baby Jesus has his day, and my parents made sure I did as well.

So tonight, we celebrated my Mom's birthday and my Aunt and Uncle's anniversary- 24 years.. YEAH THEM!

Sunshine read us some books.. we laughed and told stories and just otherwise enjoyed each other's company.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankful... Grateful

I've been pondering those 2 words the last few days as Thanksgiving approaches.. thankful and grateful- literally they mean something pretty similar, but in my mind I separate them into 2 different categories.

I often get so caught up in my life and the chaos that can surround it, that I forget to be thankful and grateful, to stop and smell the daisies.

Today I saw two signs that I needed to see.. It's a Wonderful Life and Count your Blessings.

I also thought of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. You know that Linus is a very smart guy, for a guy who carries a blanket around...

Linus van Pelt: "In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: 'We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice."

But Marcie really sums it all up:

Marcie: "You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown."

I, like the Pilgrims, am thankful for many thinigs...

I am thankful for Sunshine, my family, my friends, for the home I have, for my health and that I have a job.

I am grateful that I have had the struggles in my life, and that I have grown from them and become a better person because of them. I am grateful that I am presented with challenges and am willing to take them on. I am grateful that I am a big enough person that I can see my own mistakes and be willing to learn from them. I am grateful that I am learning my weaknesses and accepting them and myself more.

I hope that you are able to count your blessings on Thanksgiving and every day and that is a restful and relaxing day for you and your family.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I'm not really sure when quotes became a big deal to me. When I was in sorority, we would have greetings that the pledges needed to say to us when they ran into us on campus, I generally had a quote in mine each year, they were usually song lyrics- I remember one time I had Be a "Fool in the Rain" from the Led Zepplin song as I love the song and to run in the rain.

In the past few months I've been finding quotes in lots of places, exchanging them with a couple of friends. I think I use quotes to help me remember some important concepts that I struggle with- puts it in a succinct format- like a picture for me to remember.

I find quotes in lots of places; songs, movies, or just something someone wise once said...

Yesterday a friend sent me this one:

Benito Suarez: “life is a comedy, ... and it’s foolish to make it into a drama"

Some others I've come across recently:

From The Matchmaker: Sean Kelly: "Sometimes the easy way out is the right way out."

Dan Millman: "Peaceful warriors have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the waters clear. They remain unmoving until the right time, so the right action arises by itself. They do not seek fulfillment, but wait with open arms to welcome all things."

This one I found in a book I was reading with Sunshine and it felt really poignant the time: "You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes." from The Hello, Goodbye Window

Both of these are from The Upside of Anger

Lavender "Popeye" Wolfmeyer: "People don't know how to love. They bite rather than kiss. They slap rather than stroke. Maybe it's because they recognize how easy it is for love to go bad, to become suddenly impossible... unworkable, an exercise of futility. So they avoid it and seek solace in angst, and fear, and aggression, which are always there and readily available. Or maybe sometimes... they just don't have all the facts."

Lavender "Popeye" Wolfmeyer: "Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That's what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It's real, though - the fury, even when it isn't. It can change you... turn you... mold you and shape you into something you're not. The only upside to anger, then... is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they're not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm. Then again, what do I know?"

I think similarly, that's why I become attached to a song for a while, maybe its not a specific lyric, but rather a concept put into a little package for me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Belt Test

Today Sunshine had her belt test. She has been taking Tae Kwon Do through our local community education program.

I asked her this morning if she was nervous and she said no.

She did famously.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yeah Me!

Today in an a meeting a friend was reviewing this past weekend's Thanksgiving celebration and he said, you know what Sunshine is pretty competitive. Some other wise guy said, oh I wonder where she gets that from?

The first friend proceeded to say that it was a lot of fun to play wii with Sunshine. She is very confident, and competitive, but she also showed compassion when the other little girl she was playing wii with wasn't getting how to play.

I missed it during the conversation as it was in the middle of a work meeting, but on my way home tonight, I realized that was a tremendous compliment to me. I am raising a confident and compassionate young lady.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rockets, wii, and turkey.. oh my...

Saturday Sunshine and I attended an annual Thanksgiving gathering at a friend's house. This is the 4th or 5th year I've attended, but the tradition has been going on for 9 years.

Its a bunch of good friends gathering to eat yummy food, reconnect as we don't always get to see each other often and to have fun.

As would be expected with a bunch of techno-geeks, there is always a bit of mayhem. Two years ago we made potato canons and shot potatoes across the field.

This year we launched rockets.

So Sunshine and I made a rocket Friday night.

And Saturday we launched them. Some eggs were even launched.

We played wii, and some played Guitar Hero.

We fed the horses.

We ate yummy food.

And left exhausted.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"That Thing" that will put my Child in Therapy for Years

I don't really know where or when I heard that quote... "I know I'll do something that will have my child in therapy for years", but it left an impression on me. Being an over achiever and over thinker from way back as a new Mom I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do it perfectly- because I didn't want to say "that thing".

I realized somewhere that that's an insane amount of pressure to put on myself. Regardless, its real, at least for me.

I have a friend who has a vivid (to the point that he remembers what he was wearing) memory of being 3 and his father telling him to wait a minute and from that moment on he never interrupted his father. He was three, what a monumental moment in his life. When he told me that, it did nothing more than solidify for me that, "that thing" could be said.

I started reading Ultra Marathon Man (stay with me, I swear there is a link) at the recommendation of a friend. I'm really enjoying it. He talks about finding joy and passion in running cross country and then he joins the track team and when he tells the track coach he runs from his heart, he doesn't need splits, the coach laughs at him and he puts away his running shoes for 15 years. Maybe the coach didn't put him in therapy.. but he said "that thing" that altered the runner's life.

I'm a single parent, I work a full time job, and often have to work more than a typical 8 hour day. And I like I think the rest of the world have good days and bad days, and I have fantastic parenting moments and I have some not so fantastic parenting moments, even bad parenting moments. And when I think about those bad moments I often wonder did I say "that thing", that will forever alter Sunshine's life?

I guess there is also a fantastic version of "that thing", something that builds self esteem and sends generally warm fuzzies. And I will share one, Sunshine is petite, always has been, and she was struggling with that, the kids always made her be the baby when they played house, but she wanted to be the Mommy sometimes, but they said she wasn't big enough, and in one of my best parenting moments I said... "You're a big girl in a small package and wonderful things come in small packages".

What am I driving at? I guess that words and actions are powerful, and I need to remember that. Both have great powers to uplift and encourage, yet can also destroy and break down someone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


My Mom tells a funny story of visiting the principal to get pointers on how to get me to stop listening to music while I did my homework.

The conversation, as I'm told, went something like this:

Mom: I'm concerned about S listening to music while she does her homework, there is no way she can concentrate.

Principal: Are you unhappy with her grades?

Mom: No.

Principal: Then what's the problem?

Music, for much of life has been present. People talk about smells bringing them back to a particular time or place. Music is like that for me, I hear some songs and I remember vividly a person, a place or an event.

For some reason after Sunshine was born, I didn't listen to music much. I don't know why. Let me clarify, I listened to lullabies and classic nursery rhymes. I even put Sunshine to bed each night with lullabies playing and had a few songs I sang to her (and still do). But none of "my" music.

It was maybe 3 years ago that I started to listen to "my" music again. And I was encouraged in June to by an MP3 player- which I did- (by the way its one of the reasons I've stuck with the running).

I've never been a big country fan (more of an 80s Hair Band girl), but a friend said, you need to listen to Kenny Chesney and made me a cd of some of her favorite songs. I started to enjoy them, and one day had them on while Sunshine and I were cleaning the house. Something wonderful happened- Sunshine and I started dancing. I was swinging her around and she was trying to spin me. I still remember the feeling and how hard we both laughed.

Its now become one of those things that we do- to the Hannah Montana Theme song when it comes on, or we turn the stereo on and dance a bit of time away. And you know what? It's one of my favorite things.

What are some of your favorite times with or memories of your child(ren)/childhood?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chicken and Hen

Last week I was talking with a coworker, a very intelligent young man, highly technical and we were having a difficult time working through a particular process, he wasn't understanding where I was coming from and I was having difficulty talking at his technical level. At one point he said to me that he didn't understand why I was looking at the problem the way I was, and I said, I'd be surprised if you did, our brains work very differently. (When I said it it didn't sound quite a snotty as it does in print). It was like a light bulb went off in his head. We think differently, so we were trying to solve the problem from two different angles.

It reminded me of a time when Sunshine was in Kindergarten and she came home singing "One two Buckle my shoe, three four shut the door, five six pick up sticks, seven eight shut the gate, nine ten a big fat chicken." It was at that moment that I knew we thought the same, I think in pictures and clearly so does Sunshine. A hen is a chicken right? It doesn't rhyme, but she didn't remember the rhyme, she remembered the picture and put a word to the picture- chicken.

I do the same thing I am tremendously visual. People make fun of me at work because I need to draw out what I'm talking about, clearly, I think, if I have to see the picture to understand it, others must too. Right? And I often put a similar word with the picture in my head, not the word everyone might know, but the word the picture makes me think of.

Recently a friend said to me that I was "scary good" at remember numbers, phone numbers, dates, number things. I think it really is the same thing, I remember pictures, and so I remember the numbers. And clearly Sunshine does too, at least when it comes to poultry!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Sometime this summer I started running. I'm not exactly sure what all the pieces were that made me start to run.

This summer was the second year I participated in the Trek Across Maine. A 3 day bike ride for a total of 180 miles. The first year, it was something I did to get through the divorce, it filled my time when Sunshine was with her Dad, and gave me a focus.

The second year, I think I participated because I'd done it once, so why not again? I knew what I was getting into and we have a team from work. Funny thing is, when I take on something like this, something that pushes my mental of physical abilities, I become a complete introvert, I internalize my thoughts and feelings and become wholly focused on the goal- so there really is no "team" about it for me.

When I was in high school I was the manager for the track team, so I was always around running. One of my favorite sporting events is the 400 meter intermediate hurdles. It is truly a beautiful event to watch.

So why did I start running? I got bored with bike riding- part of it was that I injured my nether regions this year during the Trek so getting back on a bike wasn't going to happen. I had also told a friend last year to bug me until I was prepared to run a race in May- but I never did it- I made excuses. I wanted to get physically fit, and running was SO far off the radar of anything I thought I could ever do that it became a perfect challenge for me.

The fascinating thing, after about 4 months of running, I'm calmer than I've ever been. I am less stressed, I laugh more often and easily. There is a line in a Daughtry song: "And I should've started running a long, long time ago."

To Blog or Not to Blog...

Me? Me blogging? Well, we'll see.

I'm at this stage in my life where "things" keep coming around and around again. One of those things is "writing".

As a student, I always did poorly in writing, even when I was in college I had to take a special class about writing to meet the writing standards of the school.

Now, one of things I do at work? Write documentation- and I'm good at it. And I've taken to writing down some of my experiences and people say to me, you should write more.

So one of my dear friends has been bugging me to start blogging. So I'm going to listen to all the people telling me to write more and begin writing more.