Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever

December 21 is my Father's birthday - the Winter Solstice. It's been almost three years since he' s been gone and I still miss him everyday. My Christmas story relates to my dad because I know he's watching me, with me still, interceding for me and helping to guide my steps.
Some of you may know that my husband was recently diagnosed with Celiac's disease. It's been a struggle for him and even on a gluten free diet, the symptoms are not completely resolved. Neither of us were really convinced by his diagnosis and on Wednesday, my father's birthday, we went to see a specialist at Bethesda. The specialist wasn't convinced by the diagnosis either. I feel vindicated that, while my husband may indeed have Celiac's, we aren't crazy. The criteria used to determine the diagnosis were sketchy at best. They took a blood sample to do a complete work up, including a genetic marker test to see if my husband has the predisposition for the disease. If he doesn't, well, it's back to square one to see what is really wrong with him. If he does have the marker, that still doesn't mean he has Celiac's but just a chance to have it. I have been praying like crazy that, one way or another, we will have a definitive diagnosis so that we can wrap our head around it and make the best decisions for my husband's future health. I am so grateful to God that He is helping us through this process. I love my husband and wnat him with me for a long time. In the meantime, he has been cleared to eat gluten which means stuffing and pizelles on Christmas!

On another note, a second Christmas gift that has come my way this year, I had a job interview last week. Most of my readers know that I have been unemployed since we moved here to Annapolis in July. I miss my students like crazy and while I am volunteering and tutoring, it's just not the same. The day of the interview came and I was so nervous. When I arrived, I saw the interviewee before me leave the office. When I left, I saw the next interviewee go in. I really didn't feel confidant about my chances. After all, I had sent my resume in so many times to have no response at all. Well, yesterday, one day after my Dad's birthday, I got the call.... and I got the job! New students to love and nurture starting on the 3rd day of the new year! I know my Dad is still up there watching out for me, guiding my path as he always did when he was still here with me.

So the greatest gift is the reminder that those we love are never truly gone because after all, love lives on. I love you Daddy....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stop Obsessing!

I have several acquaintances who have been really freaked out about their age and their birthdays this year. Wrinkles freak me out- occasionally - grey hairs are something not to be tolerated - by me at any rate. But birthdays? That's just another day.

I have never fixated on a particular birthday and I hope I never do. I just turned 41 this past September, but it really doesn't matter. I don't feel it. In my head and in my heart, I still feel 18. The only difference is that I get the benefit of having my children, who are amazingly cool individuals, but they wouldn't have been so much fun at 18. I live my life everyday. I try to live it to the fullest and find something amazing. This morning it was a milky white moon on a cerulean blue sky and the way the frost crystals formed on the fallen leaves. It was my daughter's wonder and joy in life that is so contagious. Some days are good and others are shit, but if you look, there is always something miraculous.

Don't fixate and waste it on something as stupid as age. It's just a number and age is all an attitude anyway. If you act old, it doesn't matter if your twenty but being young at heart is forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Footsteps on the Moon

Ever since we moved, I have been looking for a job. Not surprising in this economy, i would say. So, until I get a regular gig, I am working as a private tutor. My students mean too much for me to just sit and wait for a classroom opportunity.
I have been working with a darling little boy. Very precocious. As a student, he works hard and applies himself. Sure he sometimes needs the gentle reminder to stay on task, but I'm a grown adult and even I sometimes need that. I have been working with him, once a week, since beginning of October. He was a C student to start. Now, due to his hard work, he is earning A's. His teacher told his parents that she was sorry they got a tutor, that he was an average student. What does that even mean?
Does that mean he has average ability and above average desire to succeed? What does average mean to a third grader? Our course in life is not set by the time we are 8 and those people who are entrusted with our children should always teach and encourage them to aim as high as they can dream. One of my favorite quotes is "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footsteps on the moon". That's the way I feel about my student. I'm proud of his hard work and accomplishment. To me, he is anything but average.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's a Question of Trust

Have you ever had something happen to you that bothered you so badly that even though you tried to forget it, it stayed with you and every so often resurfaces at the most inopprotune times? Well, that's what happened to me yesterday.
It was the perfect day. Black Friday, but I didn't have anywhere in particular to be. I spent the day with my girls at the beach - yes, the beach. It was 60 degrees here, sunny and beautiful. We combed the surf for sea glass and just enjoyed being together. The warm air was such a mood lifter until.... I went home.
My youngest daughter wanted to go out to eat. I wasn't exactly all that Keen on cooking. She asked me if we could go out to dinner, I said, "Why don't you ask your Dad". That was pretty much the extent of it. She told him that I wanted to go out to eat instead of saying she did or we both did. Not a big deal but it evolved into the Spanish inquisition with both of us sitting in a chair being asked to relay our version of events. Not only did I feel like a child. but it brought back a very painful memory.
in 2008, my mother in law came to visit. I know, that's always a bad place to start. She accused my daughter of stealing - my then 7 year old daughter. Needless to say, this devolved rather quickly into me telling her what was what. The woman is certifiably crazy and needless to say, when my husband got home from work, her version of events wasn't even close to the truth. Our stories were different so my husband... wait for it, called our then 15 year old babysitter to find out what really happened.
yes, this made me feel like total shit. After all, his mother is a crazy person and he knows that. I don't know. Deep down I don't think he trusts me and that makes me wonder if I can really trust him. So you see, a beautiful day turned to shit all for what? What do you think dear reader, do I just need to get over it?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparing Room in my Heart

Yesterday was Thanksgiving - one of my favorite holidays. I love the peaceful tranquility of it - at least at our house. Usually it is just the four of us, well five, if you count my dog, and that's the way I like it. We get up in the morning to watch the Macy's day parade, cook the meal together, think about all the things we have in our lives to be Thankful for and then enjoy. It's the perfect day, which begins my favorite time of year - Advent, leading up to Christmas!
When I was a little girl, I attended Catholic school. It's no surprise that at this time of year, we spent a lot of time singing Christmas carols. No, not Frosty the Snowman, I'm talking about Carols like Come All Ye Faithful, Away in a Manger and my personal favorite.... Joy to the World. My favorite line is "Let every heart prepare him room".... When I was a little girl, the nuns used to talk to us about what it meant to prepare room in our hearts for Jesus. That is what Christmas is about for me:peace, love, giving to others. I asked my daughter what it meant to preapre room in our hearts for Jesus. She said it meant to do good things and not bad things. That's right, but it's so much more than that. It's about making our heart as beautiful as Jesus is and sharing that light with others. Christmas isn't about the presents under the tree, though gifts are a physical representation of the love we have for others. It's the gifts we give with our hearts: time, love, service... these are the gifts of love that Jesus has for us and wants us to share.
So this season, as your tempted to go out to Walmart and get uptight with your fellow man because they got the last mp3 player on sale, think about preparing the room in your own heart. Jesus is the reason for the Season, and you can demonstrate that, especially at this time of year, by showing His love to others. Or in the words of another favorite song, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine".

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well, it's been a while since I have written. Some days it's difficult to find anything to say. I did finally change my blog around, I guess I got tired of looking at the same beluga whale. This little gold fish is cute though, right?

Life is really changing here. I used to blog about life without my husband or life while he was "just visiting" from the boat. I'm happy to say that isn't my life anymore. I feel almost.....normal, and it feels good. The other night it was very windy and even though the house is quiet, the wind always makes me anxious. My husband lay down beside me and wrapped his arms around me. I thought of all the other times that I longed to feel them, other wind storms that I listened to alone. It's all irrelevant now. God is good and I guess we've done our time in the barrel. At least I hope so.

My girls, they are adjusting to a new place. It's hard for my 12 year old than it is for my younger daughter. As far as I can recall, middle school should otherwise have been known as hell, even when I was a kid. Throwing a move into the mix just makes it really "frothy" as my daughter would say. In spite of all that, both made the straight A honor roll and I know they will find their way. This is a good place for all of us to be.

As for me, I'm starting to find my footing. I miss my students and my job like crazy but tutoring is really a wonderful experience. I have five students now --- three that I start with next week and two that I am working with now. They are amazing children and I love ever minute of being with them. When I'm with them, I feel like I know what I was supposed to do with my life. When something clicks for them and they gain understanding- that's just like flying. There is no better feeling in all the world. Sure, it's not work at a school but I keep telling myself that will come. In the meantime doing what I love, in whatever manner possible, is what is important.

Life is good. Sometimes things aren't always what we think they will be... but they are always what we need them to be to learn and grow. I guess I was just reminded of that the hard way.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Nightmare Playdate and the Awkward Neighbor Moment

One of the many great things about our new house is that there are children in the neighborhood that my youngest can play with - three little girls ages ranging from 9 - 5. ( Suddenly I hear strains of Dolly Parton "What a way to make a living, barely getting by...")At any rate, back to the story. The children all enjoy playing together but two of the three little girls always want to play here. In the three months we have lived here, they have not invited Emily to come and play one time. Not that this is really important, just a piece of relevant background information.
At any rate, the two girls, I will call them Lily and Lois, though those are not their names, come over at least once a week, usually on Friday, to play. During the first playdate they were so rough that Lily, who apparently is double jointed, knocked her elbow out of place and had to "snap" it back in. Lovely. When I took her home, feeling so guilty and worried that she may have to go to the hospital, her father informed me that this was a regular occurance that happened all the time. It would have been nice to know... The last time they came over to play, Lois swung from Emily's draperies and pulled the hardware right out of the wall. All the while, my daughter was telling her to stop, to no avail until I went into the room and saw what she was up to. After this event, I told Emily that I would prefer she keep the girls in the basement, which is fully finished space where we keep our tv, wii and other game equipment, when they come over to play since they play a little roughly and I didn't want anyone to get hurt, especially near a two story window.
The other little girl who lives in my neighborhood, I'll call her Phoebe, is delightful. She and my daughter play nicely together, without incident. Phoebe's great grandmother passed away this past week. Her mother was having the wake at her home and was worried about Phoebe. I told my neighbor that Phoebe was welcome to come over and play, if she was upset about the wake. So, later on that afternoon there is a knock at my door. It 's Phoeber and her dad, asking if Phoebe can play. I say of course, and the girls go about playing. I was in the kitchen when they asked me if they could go outside to play basketball and jump rope. I say certainly, since we live on a quiet cul-de-sac and the children know they can not leave the driveway. Here's where it gets weird.

After about twenty minutes of playing, the children come back inside and go downstairs to play on the Wii. I'm up to my eyeballs in cookie dough when the door bell rings. Emily and Phoebe get the door while I get cleaned up. When I get there, Lily and her father are at the door talking to Emily. Lily's father has a very angry and upset look on his face. I ask what is going on and the father asks if Lily can play. I say ok and he says "Are you sure?" to which I say yes and he informs me that he will pick her up in a hour. Fine. The girls all go down in the basement to play, since I don't want Lily near Emily's draperies or window.

An hour passes and Lily's mother comes to pick Liy up. It's raining, so I invite her inside while she waits for her daughter to put on her shoes and collect her things. She abruptly says "NO, I'm just here for Lily". Then she tells me that her husband said there was some sort of playdate mixup. Apparently, when Emily and Phoebe were out playing, Lily asked if she could come over and play. My daughter said 'maybe, you should ask your mom first.' When the girls came inside, they never mentioned this exchange to me. When Lily and her father showed up at the door, Emily said she didn't think she could play because she already had one friend over. What would have possessed her to say this, other than the past incidents with Lily, I don't know.

Both that day and this morning my daughter apologized for the confusion, mostly to no avail. She was brushed off, somewhat rudely. It has all left an awkward and uncomfortable space between myself and my neighbors that I am not really sure what to do about. Did I mention that the husband also watches me walk my dog? Slows down to watch me and has said things like, "I could give you something to do besides walk the dog..." I'm not sure what my relationship with my neighbors is, or even what I would like it to be, though cordial would be nice since I plan on living here for a long time. Any thoughts or suggestions? I'm really at a loss....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Will It Ever Get Fixed?

Ever since we bought this house, we have been struggling with an antiquated air conditioning unit. We knew when we purchased the house that it was probably at or near end of life, which is why we insisted that the sellers purchase the advanced warranty. Basically we have been dealing with this since June. We call the warranty company, they send out repair people, some part or other gets replaced and things work for about six week and then we are right back where we started. It is so frustrating!
I really hope we get some answers soon. I hate feeling like things just aren't working in my new home. It makes it hard to feel "at home" if you know what I mean. I guess this is our time in the barrel as my Dad would say.....

On top of that all, I really miss my students. I guess you all can see why I haven't been blogging lately. Sorry to lay it all out on you all.... I hope my next entry will be more cheerful.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Made of Sterner Stuff

That's part of being a military spouse, that fact that we are made, of necessity, of sterner stuff. My father used to ask how I could say goodbye with a smile on my face, he was proud of me that I could. I told him that I could because that's what we do. That is what is required. We see our sailors off and we smile. Then we cry our eyeballs out the whole way home - but NEVER where he can see. I always wanted my sailor to remember my smile and I wanted my father to as well.

I can't understand women who moan and complain because they have to move one time in their life. They let their children wallow in misery and sadness over something that can't be controlled or changed. Worse, they let their children wallow in misery over a conscious choice that they have made, or allow themselves to. I just don't understand it. My husband tells me that I don't understand this because I have had to move so many times in my life, and I guess that he is right. It's hard to move. It certainly isn't my favorite thing to do but sometimes it has to be done. What good does boo-hooing do? Especially in public - wallowing in self pity and letting everyone see you. I can't fathom it.

I was sad when we left our last duty station. I won't lie and tell you that I didn't cry, but not in public. I cried and still cry when I think about my students that I left behind and the friends that I miss. But deep down I know that new friends don't replace the friends left behind and a move doesn't mean the loss of a relationship. It just means you have to work a little harder to maintain it. Every place is an adventure, part of the life journey and every person you met a potential friend. I feel blessed for all the various places that I have lived, the people that have traveled in and out of my life and the strength that this experience has given me. The strength doesn't appear to apply when listening to other women whine. Sometimes I have an almost uncontrollable urge to say, "Suck it up, buttercup". My fellow Navy wives, I'm sure, will understand. It's like listening to some housewife complain because her husband is gone for three days golfing and she doesn't know how she is going to cope without him and what in the world will she do with her kids? I'm glad I'm made of sterner stuff and me and my children, oh yeah, three days wouldn't even register. (Not really, anyway.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Ways the World Has Changed

It's been two years since my Dad passed. On one hand it seems like yesterday and on the other, it feels like he's been gone forever. I miss him and think of him everyday. I was thinking about the ways the world has changed since he has been gone. It's amazing how much really. For example:

Two years ago the discussion was about the public option. My father dreaded the Healthcare bill and was vehemently opposed to it. I'm glad he can't see our current debacle. It would kill him to know that the country he loved so much and fought so hard for is in such bad shape. I doubt the downgrade in our credit status would surprise him, but it would disappoint.

Two years ago, Obama's approval rating was at 53%. It's down to 42% now, an encouraging sign that people are waking up to the political games both parties play. Before he died, my Dad convinced me to change my affiliation to Independent. He believed that parties were a large part of what is wrong with our country and our political system. I may not be able to vote in most primaries, but I'm not in any party's pocket so to speak.

Speaking of Approval ratings, Congress sat at a record low - 31% in 2009. It's fallen to under half of that now. Pathetic really.

The Tea Party was a political movement in it's infancy. Now, for good or for ill, it's a major player.

Two years ago, there was no Ipad. That is a big change in our house. Although my husband is the only one in our family with one, he loves it and uses it everywhere for everything. Now even Apple is getting a little competition as other companies catch on to the Tablet craze.

We still had three Harry Potter movies to look forward to. Harry has been a big part of my family since 2003, when I read the first book. Since then, he and his friends have become a staple in our home. Our daughters love the books and often talked with my Dad about the characters. Now, Harry's time is done and I wonder who will rekindle the magic of reading for the next generation.

We were still waiting for justice for the murder of 3000 of our fellow countrymen. Osama bin Laden was still at large. I know if my Dad could see one thing other than his family, this is an event that he would love to have looked down from Heaven upon.

These are just a few ways the world has changed. My family has changed as well.
I went back to school and got my masters degree in Education. I know my Dad would have been proud. He always said that an Education is the one thing that no one can take from you. Now my husband is going back for his PhD. I guess we both took my father's advice to heart.

My Daughter's are two years older, but they still miss their Pappy. We talk about my Dad and tell funny stories all the time. I always want my children to know the man my Dad was. They remind me every day that those we love are never really gone.

We're back in Maryland now. I know that would have made my Dad happy. He loved the Naval Academy and he knew that we wanted to make Maryland our home. Now that has happened. So many changes and yet, somethings are always the same.

I love you Dad and you will forever be my hero.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Don't They Leave and Other Dumb Questions - Domestic VIolence

I wrote this post four years ago, but when I was young, this was my life. Recently, something reminded me that there is a lot of misunderstanding about domestic violence and the people who it effects. I thought this post was worth resurrecting. I hope you take the time to read it, maybe it will help promote some compassion and understanding.

Yesterday my friend Kate opened up publicly about her experience as a victim of Domestic Violence. Kate and I are not just friends here on the CafĂ©, but in real life too – we talk….. I have known about the abuse that she endured for a time now…. She opened up to me because she found out that I had also been a victim.

I realized that there are so many women out there who feel isolated and alone. They sit in their own dark version of hell and feel that there really is no way out. Those of you who have never experienced domestic violence ask: Why does she endure it? Why does she put up with it? Why does she stay? The answer is quite simply that a victim often can’t find her way out…..

I was 18 years old when I started dating my abuser. I loved him more than anything in this world – and NO he didn’t start hitting me right away… they never do. The mental abuse is much worse, and that is what starts first. An abuser wants to isolate his victim from family and friends. My abuser told me that I was dumb, fat, stupid, crazy, and my favorite – that no one would ever love me the way that he did. After hearing that you are worthless so often by a person that professes to love you, and not getting any positive reinforcement from family and friends, you start to believe what they tell you. “ Maybe I really am worthless…..” I know that is what I thought.

That is when the physical abuse starts. The first time my abuser hit me – he struck me flat palmed across the face. Immediately, he was on his knees saying “ Baby, baby, I’m so sorry…. It will never happen again. I love you so much, I just lost control…. You have to help me! If you wouldn’t have pushed me…..” Sound familiar? I thought that it was my fault. I had just pushed him too far. If I just loved him enough, I could help him to change. Things were really good for a while, and I believed him that it would never happen again….. I was so wrong.

The next time, it wasn’t just a slap across the face – he beat me! He beat me so bad that the next day I couldn’t get out of bed. He was always careful not to hit my face after the first time….. Most of the bruises and scars that he gave me were internal as the mental abuse never stopped. I felt that his abuse was my failure. I had done something to deserve it.. . and after it happened, I still got the “Baby, I’m sorry… “. After the beating, things were better – for a while……

One day, I came home and found him and a friend abusing my cat. I was so mad, I loved my cat!!! Why would he do something like that to a harmless animal? I freed it and that began a huge fight, which ended in me being thrown through a window and cutting open on of my main arteries. As I lay on the ground bleeding – his friend dialed 911 – and he stood over me saying, “Bitch, you deserved it.” They rushed me to the hospital via ambulance where the doctor was able to fix my arm – but my broken spirit was another matter. I kept my scars, both on the inside and the outside.

I finally found the courage to leave him – my cat, Stripe, and I. I knew the next time he would kill me and somehow, I scrapped myself together, called a co-worker and asked for help. She put me up until I could find a place of my own….

Would you know that he came crawling back? He wanted me to forgive him. It would never happen again….. For a time, I was so weak, I wanted to believe him. I wanted to fix him, make him a better man….. If I just loved him enough… but then, I looked at my arm and said “ That son of a bitch threw you through a window! What is it going to take?” It was hard, but I stood my ground….

I worked, I was lonely, and I have a lot of baggage…. But even with the problems that I had financially struggling etc… I was alive!!! I rediscovered myself and I learned that I wasn’t worthless, or stupid, or ugly……. It took me many years to get beyond all that pain. Sometimes I still have nightmares and I wake up next to my husband who tells me “It’s ok, it’s over…..”

To any women out there reading this – you are NOT alone! Please find someone to talk to….. Leaving can be scary, but start making plans. Finish school, get a job, keep a bag ready….. And if you need immediate help call the national helpline at 1-800-799- SAFE that’s 1-800-799-7233. You deserve to be happy!! Your children have the right to a violence free childhood. Your sons need to know that this is not the way to treat women and your daughters need to know that this isn’t the way they should be treated. There is a way out – please ask for help….. I did and I am alive today because of it.

To anyone that has a friend that may be going through this - don't let them be isolated. Be the voice of affirmation for them. Remind them that they are a loving, beautiful and worthwhile human being. You'll be glad you did. Friends in need are friends in deed.

Monday, July 11, 2011


As stressful as negotiating and closing on our new house was, the selling of our old house has proven to be even more so. I hate feeling like things are out of my control and frankly, once an offer is made on the house, almost everything is. Our house passed it's inspection with flying colors only to have bozo the clown for an appraiser.

We have a stoop on our house. It has one step and a landing. It measures 18 - 22 inches high depending on where you measure from. It has never been an issue in the 5 years that we lived there - even with the varied company we have had. Now, the appraiser - NOT the inspector, tells us that we need to have frakking hand rails. Are you kidding me???? It's completely absurd. There is no need for that and additionally there is no, I repeat NO, code requiring the hand rails. So, some appraiser gets to pull some idiocy completely out of his ass and unless we comply, the sale of our house in CT is totally tanked.

Yep, I'm a little stressed. I'm trying to remind myself that it will all work out as it is meant to. Someday I will look back at all of this and laugh at my lack of faith. I know God has a plan and it will resolve and/ or reveal itself in the end. See, I feel a little better already. Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Karma is a Bitch and it bites both ways

The other day I was talking to a friend who was commiserating about the terrible way that people have treated her and waiting for karma to give her retribution. Look, we've all done something like this in the past - been seeking that justice for some perceived hurt. Here is what I have learned over the years - Karma is a bitch and it bites both ways.
Usually, when I find myself waiting for karma to serve justice to those who have hurt me, what I really need to be doing is taking a closer look in the mirror at myself and my own action. Hurts and failed relationships are always the result of the actions of more than one party. I have plenty of karma coming my way.
Friendships and interpersonal relationships of any kind require constant nuturing and maintenance. Many of my friends know that I haven't always been there to do the heavy lifting, but I know enough to know that any failures in my life are failures that my actions or lack of action has contributed to.
I was never the biggest fan of Michael Jackson, but in the 90's he had a song with a very powerful message. The lyrics go like this... " I'm starting with the Man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change."
There are relationships that I work hard on... my relationship with my husband, my children, my mother... these are the relationships that are necessary to my survival. These are the people I would lay down my life for, without hesitation. Now I need to work on buttressing and rebuilding friendships. I promise to do the heavy lifting, because I'm starting with the woman in the mirror.
Oh, and karma, well... let's just say that all the relationships in my past have made me who I am - for better or for worse. Those that I have hurt, and there is a long list, I'm sure.... they may not know, but I am sorry and I am waiting for the karma I know is coming to make it right.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's good to be home

I hate moving, but it is an integral part of military life as any military wife could tell you. This is it, what i hope will be our final move.
While I sit on a hardwood floor wondering when our furniture will be delivered, it has to be said that it is good to be home - back in Annapolis and south of the Mason- Dixon line.
One of my favorite things about being back is the ability to get sweet tea every where I go. Not sweetened tea, and certainly not peach nor raspberry flavored tea, but real, honest to goodness southern sweet tea. Awesome! Last night we had dinner at Boston Market, something that I haven't been able to do for five years.There are things I will miss about Ledyard: my home, my students and my friends. All that aside though, it must be said that it's good to be home!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The things my Father taught me....

Today is Father's day and I realize that my Dad has been gone for almost two years. There were so many times when he was alive, teaching me the hard lessons that I didn't want to see him or talk to him and now, I would give anything to have all that precious time back. In the end, I know my father knew how very much I loved him. As I grew older, we saw so many things very much the same. He used to tell me that he was a dinosaur, the last of his kind, but he wasn't because he had me.
My father taught me many valuable lessons throughout my life, things that I will never forget. The first lesson that he taught me is that the man a girl can trust and rely on the most is her Daddy. ( I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have a wonderful father like I did, but for those of us who do or did, this statement is true). My Dad was like a mix between G.I. Joe and Santa Claus. There was nothing that my father couldn't do. As we grow older though, we realize that even our heroes can't do everything and the one battle my father couldn't win was his battle against cancer. Even with that though, he lived his life in his own way, right up to the end and that is it's own victory really.
One of the most important lessons that my father taught me was a saying of his from the Air Force - Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. I am not nearly as good at this as my dad was - he was a master, even planning and providing for his own funeral. Another lesson that goes hand in hand with the first is that we humans are always one step away from a tragedy. My brother died when he was three years old, he fell off the tractor that my dad was driving. It's a tragedy that both my parents have lived with all their lives. The prescence of this event was always there in my family and it taught me to be cautious and to take steps to try and avert these kinds of tragedies. I don't know if this makes me a better or a worse person, but it does make me who I am.
My father lived his life as a man of honor. He always said that a man's word was his bond and he never faltered from that. Jim Beadling's word was the gold standard, even people who didn't like my dad would admit to that. He taught me what it meant to be a friend, a real friend. I dont' think that I am the kind of friend to people that he was, but it is something to strive for and I do.
He also taught me the importance of an education. All my life my father encouraged me to go to school, to better myself, to learn more - whatever my interests were. He always said that knowledge is the one thing that no one can ever take from you and I hope to pass that and all these lessons on to my daughters.
We all still miss him very much, but today, on Father's day, I wanted to honor the man that he was and all the wonderful gifts that he brought to my life. Happy Father's Day Daddy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Don't Mess with Mama Bear

As you may know, if you have read any of my prior entries, my family and I are preparing to move - home, to Annapolis. I call Annapolis home, but none of my family is from there. I am from western Pennsylvania, but I wouldn't want to go "home". Annapolis has the same smells and the feel of home for me, thus making it as close to my real home as I would ever want to be.
When preparing for a move, I get all the required paperwork from doctor's offices and schools all lined up. I always hand carry at least one copy because you just never know what is going to happen. These are my records and my children's records and I want them. I don't need a reason, that's just the way it is.
On the 30th of May, I went in to the office of my children's school, where I also work, and I requested copies of all their school records, particularly those pertaining to testing and giftedness. We are moving to a school district where they actually *have* programs for gifted children. My oldest daughter has been "tagged" since she was in the second grade; however, the district that we currently live in does not consider allocating funds for the gifted to be important and so they don't. Now that my daughter has an opportunity to engage in these programs with advanced curriculum and enrichment activities, I'm going to make sure that she has full access.
When I went into the office yesterday to pick up the records, the staff was umprepared and the files were incomplete. One of the pieces of information that I most needed was sent onto the middle school in our local area, even though the staff has been well aware, since January, that my daughter would not be attending there. I was polite at first, asking how we may go about getting the results of this testing. The secretary, who is a lovely woman, said she would make a call for me. No big deal.
Later in the hallway however, the principal came up to me and stated how this wasn't her job and this was all very irregular. I stated that I would simply call the middle school, no big deal. Her attitude was very antagonistic. That's when I finally came back with, "Look, these are my child's academic records, they aren't your intellectual property, I want them and I want them by 2 o'clock today, as I informed you of over a week and a half ago. I don't care how it happens, or who makes it happen, but those records need to be ready. No excuses."
After much hullaballo over what should have been a very simple request, I finally picked up the records of both my children, though still incomplete. I do have all the testing records that I will need, but the attitude of some schools when dealing with parents is just frustrating. Don't act like you know better than me because you are an administrator of a school. I'm a parent, that's my child and it's my job to do what's best for her. The best thing you can do? Help me or get the hell out of my way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Next Chapter

I am down to my last two weeks here in CT. It's strange how that feels. This has been my home for the last five years. These walls have kept me safe and sheltered me from the world. They have seen my children grow, heard us all laugh and cry. Moving on from a place isn't always easy and that is true this time.
Although I'm going home, the leaving part is still a mixed blessing. In my heart, I wonder how long I will think of this house as my home? It takes a long time to make a home - a place where those memories of a family are built. However, a home is more than that too. The people in a place help make it your home. Thankfully, the three most important people in this place will all be coming with me to my new home. One thing that the Navy has taught me is that home is more than four walls - it's the people in it.
The thing I dread the most is saying goodbye to my students, the kids that I work with everyday. Each one of them holds a small part of my heart, larger perhaps than I would care to admit. I love my job and I love the students I work with. I will miss them all greatly. Part of me wishes that I could stay and watch them grow and continue to be a part of their lives. However, this leaving, it's the right thing for my family and that makes it the right thing for me. I am thankful that my students have many wonderful people both in school and out, that will look after them and help them. I don't need to worry when I say goodbye, only feel the sorrow that they will be missed.
I have friends here, wonderful friends. These women have been my sisters through some very difficult and trying times. I know that a move doesn't mean friendships come to an end or that new friends replace the old. Whatever role these women have to play in my life, I will never forget them or the time we spent together.
I am looking forward to the next chapter....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why do they need a cell phone?

Just this week the WHO has come out with "shocking" news, the truth of which my husband and I have suspected all along. The use of cell phones can increase your risk of cancer. My husband works on submarines. When it comes to radioactive material, the best protections are distance and shielding - a cell phone offers neither. People walk around with these things connected to their ears or their hands. It's pathetic.

Even worse is the parents who cater to the every whim of their children, giving them cell phones that frankly, they just don't need. No sorry you are not getting a cell phone, that is what I tell my children. Aside for it being just flat out bad for you (see above) what is the need for a CHILD to have one? I hear some parents say, what if there is an emergency/ safety issue? My children are never in a situation that I don't know where they are, that there isn't at least one adult supervising them that has a cell phone or access to a land line. Next.....
Some parents say they have cell phones so they can have contact with their friends. That is what school, sleepovers and extracurricular activities are for. Children have become so reliant on texting that they no longer know how to communicate face to face. I was at the mall the other day and saw three 16 year old girls. Sitting together all texting one another. How pathetic is that? We are so busy "connecting" that we have no idea how to really connect on a personal level.

I don't think constantly giving into a child's every whim is healthy for them and this is just one more stellar example proving that point. Parents need to be parents, make decisions that are in the best interest of their children and occassionally.... gasp.... learn how to say no.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Price of Freedom

Today is Memorial day, one of my favorite holidays. I love it because it is a time to reflect on what it truly means to be free, and to thank those who have safeguarded those freedoms.

Today, I especially reflect on the sacrifices of Col. James J. Beadling, my father, PFC Addison Hogue Thomson, my husband's grandfather, and Cpl. Scott M. Vincent, my hero.

Most of you who have read my blog already know a little about my Dad. He was a retired Air Force Colonel. He volunteered for service on the 8th of December, 1941. He served in both World War 2 and Korea. In Korea, he served as a squadron commander flying night air-to-ground support for the Marines. The stories that he told me about the Frozen Chosen will stay with me forever. Addison Hogue Thomson was a medic in World War 2. He was there D-Day plus 1 and stayed with his unit through the Battle of the Bulge and more. ( Now, if you say the Battle of the Bulge to most Americans, they think you mean the war against their growing waistline. Sigh). He told stories about coming ashore at Normandy and how he quickly learned to cover the red cross on his helmet with sand and mud? Why, you ask? Well, the Germans were using the crosses for cross hairs.

Cpl. Scott Vincent is the son of a friend. He gave up his life 7 years ago in the Anbar Province in Iraq. He always wanted to be a Marine and served his country proudly. He volunteered for three tours in Iraq. I promised his mother that his sacrifice will never be forgotten. So every year, on Memorial Day and the 30th of April, I think about Scott and the life that he gave up for Freedom. He was young. He had a smile that could light up the whole world, and a spirit to match. He had so much to live for. A girl, marriage, fatherhood.... so much lie ahead, but instead, he laid his life down for Freedom.

This Memorial day as I celebrate with family and friends, I am reminded of the tremendous gift and enormous responsibility that we all have been given. Freedom isn't free and we must all exercise our freedoms with thought and respect but most of all, we must remember to exercise them. Vote. Be involved. Don't let those who have paid the ultimate price to have given their lives in vain.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oh God, here we go.....

I have a 12 year old daughter. She and her sister are the light of my existence. She's brilliant and funny, cautiously optimistic and reserved all at the same time. I love her wit ( usually) and her unusual sense of self. But, she's 12. That means, she is on the cusp of knowing everything and relagating me to the cupboard with the other useless antiques. She thinks she knows everything when in actuality she doesn't know enough to come in out of the rain. Being her mother has been my greatest joy in life and it will also be my greatest challenge. It's hard to give your children enough room for their roots to grow and their canopy to spread, while at the same time pruning them back to keep them healthy and safe. Heaven help me.... the next couple of years are going to be trying....

The rest of the other teenage associated insanity is also starting. Not yet with my daughter but with plenty of her friends. Kissing, fondling and a scary game called Firetruck. Where does the insanity stop? It's hard to keep your child in line while encouraging them to tell you everything. I feel like my life as a mother is full of contradictions.

My hope is this - I remember my teenage self and how I thought I knew everything. I also considered my own mother a uesless antiguity. Eventually though... I grew a brain. I realized that my mother knew almost everything and was almost always right. She is my best friend, the one constant in my life, the person I can always trust. Maybe, just maybe.... if I navigate the next few years carefully.... one day my daughters will feel the same.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Pet Peeve

Incompetence. I hate it. When you hire a professional to do a job - from dry cleaning a dress to selling a house - they should know exactly how to go about undertaking the task. Real estate agents really frustrate me. They are great when it comes to helping you buy a house, but less than stellar when it comes to selling one.

I have a beautiful four bedroom, 2 +bathroom home. Wood floors, great natural lighting, tile, , two car garage,landscaped corner lot on a quiet cul - de -sac. Sounds great right? You know how agents come up with catch phrases when they list your home? Stuff like must see! Beautiful colonial! Etc????? My genius of an agent came up with Seller needs occupancy until June. yes, you heard that right.

We have had two open houses - well, we are having the second one this week. It's Sunday and the Open House still has not been advertised. Really. What really pisses me off about this is that when we had the last open house, I said exactly the same thing, we need more notice, online advertising,etc.... No offense to my local friends but this area doesn't have a lot going on except the Navy base, which means the person who is going to buy my house is quite likely not from here. A little notice is helpful.

We have gotten totally useless feedback, no consistent information relating to online views etc..... I have certainly learned a lesson from all of this. IF I ever sell a house again, I will not be intimidated by the so-called professionals because, apparently I know as much and quite possibly more, than they do. They will be working for me and if they can't be excited about selling a home as beautiful as mine, well, frankly they will sell someone else's. I really hate incompetence....

Friday, May 13, 2011


Wow, time has sure marched on since last I wrote. I have been so busy with my family, students and working on my master's degree that the only writing I was doing was for school. I guess the biggest change in my life recently is that I finished my degree! It feels good to accomplish this goal that I set for myself and with a 4.0 to boot. I'm proud of my accomplishment.
Now, with the impending move back home, I just hope that I get to use my education. The job market is very competitive in Maryland. It will be sad for me without a job - a teacher without students isn't much use to anyone. I love my students and will miss them all terribly when I move. If I can't find a job, I will probably volunteer at my daughter's schools until I can find something.
It's hard constantly being uprooted by the Navy, but with luck, this will be my last time. I'm happy about that.
My husband and I have been getting on a little better. Life happens and we are both stressed about the move, but at the end of the day, I can't picture my life without him. So we muddle through and try to make it better. Real love sometimes requires getting your hands dirty and working at it.
Speaking of my husband, his doctors tell him that he may have celiac's disease, so we are now a gluten free family. Making the change has been very challenging and I am still trying to figure it all out. I never realized what kind of impact a dietary change like this one could have on all of our lives.
I promise to write more often now. I've missed writing just for myself and not just for completing the latest assignment. Writers write.... and I need to do more of it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where do we go from here?

My poor blog was starting to feel very neglected. I really haven't had too much time for writing other than classwork related assignments. Between work, school, and my family - well, I'm usually pretty tired.
Usually when I write, I don't write for you all (though it is really nice to have your feedback and support). I usually write to process thoughts and emotions that I am dealing with and that is certainly the case today.
I have a lot going on in my life. We are getting ready for another move and I just found out that the last year I have spent working on my Master's degree in Education has been largely for naught. Maryland won't accept most of my degree, so I will probably have to retake some classes. This all causes a lot of frustration. I want to go home to Maryland, but I hate leaving my home and my job. It's a mixed blessing, I guess.
Then there has been a lot going on with my husband and I. I really feel us growing apart. I don't know what to do about it. The things that interest him just don't interest me and vice versa. For example, he took my oldest daughter skiing today. I think that's great and I hope they have a wonderful day together, but I have zero desire to go myself today or any foreseeable time in the future. Then, what often happens is I feel compelled to go because my husband makes me feel guilty with phrases like " I want to go as a family" or "I can't take both girls unless you go". I have no problem with him going and even encourage it, yet I hate being made to feel like I have to. Especially when reciprocity is a foreign concept.
I realized that II have allowed family time to stop me from spending time with God. Because my husband doesn't "do" Church, I have been giving up my time to spend time together. That really isn't right though and recently, I started going again - usually ALONE. Occasionally my youngest daughter will come with me, she likes the songs and stories. I don't ask my husband to come or tell him how much more enjoyable it would be for me if we could go as a family. What's the point? I know it's hopeless. I think the best thing I can do is demonstrate God's love to my family, but sometimes it gets so hard.
I look around the house and I see stuff everywhere. I am working so hard to make a nice dinner, do the laundry, try to prepare for the more, do my homework, do the things I need to do for my students and still spend time with my husband and kids, but the truth is... it gets more exhausting every day.
I know that I am so lucky to have such a beautiful family, nice home, and everything that I need. So why do I sometimes still feel unhappy? Unappreciated? Sometimes it's really hard to get my head and heart right.