Sunday, May 31, 2009


What's the playlist of your life? I guess my playlist starts when I was about 13. I have always loved music, but that is when I remember my own taste really emerging and relating to songs based on their words and meaning. All the songs here represent some part of my life and I usually relate more to the meanings rather than just the sound alone....

Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel
Vacation by the Go-gos Dedicated to Stevie, my forever Summer Sister
Sweet Little Sister by Skid Row
Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy

Fallen Angel by Poison
Rock You Like a Hurricane by the Scorpions
Midnight Blue by Lou Gramm
Angel by Aerosmith
I Remember You by Skid Row
The Old Apartment by the Bare Naked Ladies

Seeing Things by the Black Crowes
What it Takes by Aerosmith
Sometimes She Cries by Warrant
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Love Song by Tesla
Say Goodbye by Dave Matthews Band

Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover by Sophie B. Hawkins
I Don't Wanna Come Down by Bush
Head Over Feet by Alanis Morrisette
Any Way You Want It by Foreigner
When You Say Nothing At All by Allison Krauss

Sweet Child O Mine by Guns and Roses
Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Poundcake by Van Halen
Far Away by Nickelback
The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
Two Hearts by Chris Isaak
God Only Knows by the Beach Boys
At Last by by Joan Osbourne

These are the songs of my life. Sure, there are many more, after all, every person with any meaning in my life has a song. This list does provide an overall sampling of the best themes and thoughts that have made up my life to this point. If you really know me, you can probably see the different phases that my life has had just through the music. What is the play list of your life? What are the special songs that represent the people you love?

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I always prided myself on having a wonderful memory. As I child, I could remember even minute events, in detail, for days or longer after they happened. I seldom forgot a name or an important date. As I have aged though, that has changed a little. I guess my memory isn't what it used to be because there are very simple lessons in life - lessons that we have all been taught - that I occassionally need reminders about.

I just finished reading The Alchemist. It's a simple book full of very simple ideas. The ideas are so simple that sometimes in the rush of every day life, they are often forgotten. Ideas like listening to your heart are those principles that we all should live by every day, but in the midst of living lives of quiet desperation, we get caught up in the whirl and business at hand. Sometimes my heart is screaming so loudly for my attention and I just push it's voice to the side with a firm, "not now."

The Alchemist is about bravery, hope and the rewards that wait for us all when we just listen to our heart. It's about the idea that we all have a purpose in life - a greater Purpose that God put us here on this Earth to achieve. I am opening my heart to finding my purpose. I am reminded by the story to look for the lightposts that God places along our path to light our way. I'm going to silence my life and listen for that tiny voice because I know that if I trust it, my life's purpose will be fulfilled.

So today, I'm grateful for simple stories and timely reminders.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today, I am thankful for goals. I realized that I hadn't been upholding those that I set here at the beginning of the year, so I am taking today to rectify that.

I am still going to the gym, though at times not as regularly as I would like. THe chocolate intake has been on the increase, I suppose because of the current stress load. Still, I need to nip that in the bud or I will be back in the size 18 jeans in no time. NEVER AGAIN. Yesterday I bought size 14 shorts and I want to go smaller, not the other direction.

I think I usually do a pretty good job in telling my family how I feel about them. Lately, being on such an emotional rollercoaster has been very hard on me, but also very hard on them. Cancer doesn't just affect the person who is sick, but everyone in the family.

My relationship with my MIL is at not quite an all time low, but almost. Patience has gone out the window and I'm tired at times of making excuses for her. I have blogged about this on numerous occassions, so there is no need to further expound here. I guess what I need to do is try to remember that her condition may not excuse her behaviour, but it does sometimes explain it. It's still a hard pill to swallow no matter how you look at it.

The credit cards? I'm really trying. Sometimes it is so hard to live on the budget that I literally feel like I am choking. Then, when the money comes it is such a relief that I get the urge to go out and spend. That is what I must control and learn to temper my desires. This month, I was successful in living within my budget. I'm very proud of that.

My reading goals -
The Brothers Karamozov by dostoevsky

The Castle by Kafka

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence - COMPLETE see review in either April or March.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by McCullers - in process

The French Lieutenants Woman by Fowles - COMPLETED

On the Road by Kerouac

From Here to Eternity by Jones - up next.

The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain

Atonement by McEwan

Terrorist by Updike - COMPLETED see review posted in February.

My goal is these titles plus 82 more. So far this year I have also read: Mercy by Jodi Picoult, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner (thumbs down!), Autobiography of a Stray - sorry, can't remember the author, A Lion Among Men by Gregory MacGuire -LOVED IT, Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn - AMAZING, Child 44 By Tim Rob Smith ( I think) great book!, Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult, and Another Mother's Life by Rowan Coleman which was light fare but still worth reading.... That leaves me with 74 more to go.

I am currently working on The Alchemist, Summer Sisters, and The Poe Shadow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Experiment in Gratitude

I have lost my way. I usually have a pretty sunny outlook on life, but lately I find myself floundering. It's difficult to even write because all my stories end the same way. In an effort to shock my system out of it's current emotional paralysis, I am going to do a gratitude experiemnt.
Usually every November I pick one thing a day that I am thankful for. I realize now that it doesn't have to be the month of Thanksgiving to have a grateful heart. I know that when I appreciate my loved ones and all the good things in my life that I am a happier person.
I usually spend my nights as I go to sleep thanking God for all the wonders that he has bestowed. Lately I haven't had much to say to Him. I am either too tired, too lost or just don't know where to start. So here is my experiment. I am starting here. For the next thirty days, I am going to blog about something that I am thankful for. Doesn't sound too hard, right? Here's the hitch though - it can't be the usual, "I'm thankful for my family, I'm thankful for my home" type of stuff. It has to be those small things that you really have to look for in life in order to be truly grateful for them.

Today I am thankful for dovelings. I don't know if that is what baby doves are called, but it is what we call them here in our house. Two years ago, a female dove was hurt nearby. She came, with her mate, to live in our flower garden. She spent the summer here resting and every day he would come with food and watched over her. She was hurt and could not fly. The spent the summer with us, much to the delight of both my children. As the weather got cooler, we wondered what would happen to them. Then, one day, she finally spread her wings and flew away. It was sad and wonderful all at the same time. Sad because we would miss our friends, but happy because, like all birds we knew that they would be happier in warmer climes than wintering here in CT.

As the harsh winter passed and spring came again, we were overjoyed to note that our friends had returned, and this time, something even more wonderful was about to happen. This time, the female had built a NEST. We knew it wouldn't be long before she became a Momma Dove and welcomed new little ones into the world. They say that it's a lucky thing to have doves - that it's a sign of happiness and contentment. Either way, I know that watching her, seeing her babies ( two years running now) and hearing her coo make me feel both happy and content.

I am thankful that she felt so safe and at ease here with us that she choose our yard and our home as a place to raise her own family. I watch for her babies with a vigilence second only to Momma Dove herself. The children know in spring that they can not play in the front flower beds and of course, our puppy is kept well in hand lest he accidentally harm one of the babies. I hope that Momma Dove and her mate will return with their children for many years to come.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Seperate Lives

This weekend was a four day weekend and what a mixed bag. My husband was sick so most of the weekend was a wash. That said, I always enjoy spending time with my girls. We had a great time at the Memorial Day Parade ( their Brownie troop marched in the Parade) and today at the beach. The only downside to the beach was that all of us got a little too much sun. I need to get better about reapplying the sunscreen.

My husband was sick all weekend. Really sick, until today. He missed the Memorial Day parade - again this year - because he wasn't up to it. I actually told him he shouldn't come because he was so sick. On the one hand I was glad that he listened to some sense and rested, but on the other hand it sucked having him home and still not having him there. Today was Memorial Day and he had a "mandatory fun" event with the guys from his boat. Needless to say, since the children and I were not government issued to him with his sea bag, I don't feel compeled to attend so-called "mandatory" events. Still that just means that the children and I were off doing our thing and he was off doing his. Seperate lives - that's what it feels like sometimes.

I'm going to close my eyes, go to sleep and look forward to a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Russian Fascination

It's odd, but lately I have had a fascination - in books - with all things Russian. I have never been particularly interested in Russian literature. I guess it is because it was a topic with which I couldn't particularly relate. Then, I fell in love....
First with Ayn Rand when I read the Fountainhead about six years ago. It took me awhile, but I worked my way through Atlas Shrugged. After that, I devoured everything of hers I could find, Anthem, The Romantic Manifesto and We the Living. This last title was about the post revolution Soviet Union and I found it to be absolutely riveting.
My mom recommended Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn since I was so interested in Russia. ( I absolutely can not stomache Tolstoy....) So, I started reading Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn. It seemed to fit due to my Dad's recent diagnosis. Even though the subject matter was difficult, the characters were so real. I felt that I knew each one of them. Even those that had committed the most heinous acts - like informing on their neighbors after the fall of the czar - were characters that I could relate to in some way. I am excited to have added the Gulag Archipeligo to my to be read list.
I had no idea that Solzhenitsyn was actually a war hero who served 8 years in a Russian Gulag for writing a letter to a friend that had the audacity to quesiton the decisions that Stalin was making. Solzhenitsyn loved his country, but he didn't like what was happening.
Maybe that is why my Russian fascination is so timely. Maybe that is why after all these years I can finally relate. I see all these things going on in my own country that I dont' really approve of or agree with. Perhaps that is what makes these characters and the struggles they face so real for me.
I am currently reading Child 44, and though the author is not- to my knowledge - Russian, the subject matter is post revolution Russia. It is a fascinating story of a man who works for the military arm of the KGB and his struggle to do the right thing in the face of almost insurmountable personal turmoil. The author just released a new book - The Silent Speech - which has just been added to my endless to be read list.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life Lessons from a 5 Year Old

The best thing about a blog is that the author has the ability to vent about their lives, predominantly to people who really don't know them. As I have gone through my entries here, I realize that I have been doing a lot of venting. Most likely I have been doing a lot of venting to my friends in real life as well and honestly, most of it is completely unwarranted. Aside from my father's illness, I truly lead a charmed life. I have a husband who loves me and who I adore. We have two beautiful children together and 13 years of happy memories that we have built our family on. We have a beautiful home. I don't really have a lot of negative things to deal with in my life and yet, sometimes I feel engulfed by it. Then I realized that sometimes ,instead of letting my light shine outward, I open the windows and let the darkness creep in. Instead of thanking God for all the blessings that he has heaped upon my life - none of which I deserve - I curse the light and question Him on the difficulties I do face.
I'm tired of the dark and I don't want to let the negativity into my life anymore. I want to be the one who would rather dance in the rain than drown in my own sunshine, and I want to surround myself with others who feel the same.
Today, I was lucky enough to volunteer in Posh's classroom. Let me tell you, we underestimate our children. They do their best - every day. They love and support their friends - always, and they always remember what is important. On those days where they don't do their best or get angry with a friend, they don't let it get them down. The don't wallow in their own self doubt or pity. They simply get up, dust themselves off and try again. Even when you're five, life is too short for negativity. Yes, we could all learn a lot from our children. My five year old loves truly, deeply, and sincerely - in spite of all my flaws, in spite of everything. It's both humbling and refreshing.
I want to love like that. I want those kinds of friendships. I want that effervescence in my life. And my best realization lately? I *can* have all those things because it all begins with me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Straighten Up and Fly Right

My husband's mother is a complete failure when it comes to being a grandmother - at least to my children. There. I've said it. That's the truth of the matter, there is just no way to sugar coat that, is there?

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday. Double digits, it's definitely a milestone in her life. My MIL called me and asked if I could pick up a gift for Kaylee. No problem. I know that money is an issue for her, so I gladly said that I would. My MIL didn't have a phone on Kaylee's birthday ( though she did have one the very next day...) so no phone call is excusable - sort of. But no card? You're kidding me right? She couldn't pick up a card, after all, she sent my husband a totally meaningless one just a week before. It's infuriating because this isn't an isolated incident.

The fact of the matter is that my children have not talked to their grandmother since Christmas. Not because we haven't tried. She is essentially a stranger in their lives. When she DOES talk to them, the conversation revolves around a duck that lives in her yard and my nephew, who is basically the center of her universe.

It's disgusting and unacceptable. I finally called her on her abominable behavior. I'm tired of people - my husband most of all- making excuses for the unexcusable. She sucks as a grandmother. I told her that at the minimum a card would have been nice. Her response? Well, she actually called and talked to her grandchildren. A positive step and one that I applaud. To bad that I completely lack faith for the idea that this is more than an isolated incident. My children have essentially one grandmother. Not because their grandparent is dead, but because she is simply too caught up in her own life to notice or care. I am NEVER going to be like her when I ahve grandchildren.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day and all it brings....

Today is Mother's Day. To all my friends reading this, I hope you have a wonderful day with your families, children and loved ones! Remember, in the words of Willian Makepeace Thackeray, "Mother is the name for God on the hearts and lips of little children".

My youngest made me a necklace made out of clay. It's beautiful. I can see all the work that she did forming the beads with her tiny little hands. My oldest made me a beautiful book mark - so I can better enjoy my favorite past time. I am proud of their homemade cards and gifts. I couldn't have asked for more.

My husbnad woke up this morning early and made pancakes for the children. He would have made them for me too, but pancakes with butter and syrup don't exactly work into my diet. Oh well. I'm not much of a breakfast person in any case. Even my dog was cooperating this morning with no ticks found after his morning walk. ( Yes, he does get treated, but some people around here don't take care of their yards and hence the whole tick debacle. Trust me, it is another post all by itself.)

Robbie and I went to see Star Trek yesterday and he even took me to lunch at one of my favorite places - KOTO Japanese Steakhouse - so I was very excited. I was looking forward to the event all week - possibly longer. While I enjoyed the day, it was somehow less than imagined. Probably because my husband was so far away.

His mother almost always has a negative impact in some form or another. I know he loves her very much, and he should, that's his mom. I just hate when he talks to her because the result is never a good one. Hopefully, she will be having a better day today and she will enjoy talking to her grandchildren and having them wish her a happy MOther's Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Emotional Overload

Lately ever little thing seems to have my emotions on edge - they are just so raw. For example, yesterday, my youngest brought a book home from school for us to read together. The title was "Little Lamb" which seemed inocuous enough. Page one - "Little Lambs mother died". Seriously? It goes on to talk about how little lamb goes after all the other animals in the farmyard looking for a "mother". Finally, a little boy takes pity on little lambs sorrowful cries of "MAAAAA, MAAAAA" and agrees to be his "mother".

My five year old daughter was greatly relieved that little lamb got a new "mother". She then asked if I died, if she would get a new mother? I told her that no one gets another mother. Each of us - every person on the planet - we only have one. We may havve other individuals in our lives who are mother figures but they are not our mother. Certainly they can love us and care for us like a mother would, but no one can replace your real mother.

Skip ahead to last night. My husband and I decide to watch a movie together - something to take my mind off all the things going on in my life. He picks the movie - "Dan in Real Life". It looked like a really cute romantic comedy - until you discover that Dan is a widower and this is all about him falling in love after the death of the "love of his life, his soul mate" less than 4 years before.

Don't get me wrong, 4 years is an awfully long time to be alone, especially when a person is still young and vital. I get it. I know individuals who have been widowed. I don't understand the concept of finding another soul mate. I believe that every person only gets one. Sure you may find another person that you love, in a different way, but if you are lucky enough to find a soul mate - it only happens once. At least that is my opinion - the way that I view love.

I guess I find all this about death about replacing a loved one who has died so disturbing because of the situation that my dad is facing. He is on week 3 of his radiation now, and it has been so difficult for him. He has been so very brave and today, he admitted that he is afraid. I told him that no one lives forever, that what is important is that we live and die on our own terms, but in reality, what do I really know? I'm just a young girl next to him and I don't really know what I am talking about. I'm as afraid to die as the next person.

I don't know what the future will bring. The only things that I know that are certain in this life though? Death and taxes - neither of them very pleasant.