Tuesday, December 25, 2007

New Beginnings, Just When You Thought You’d Reached an End

I'm thinking about dreams... here is a piece from May I wanted to share:

Sitting here studying for finals after twenty odd years out of school, I am thinking about new beginnings. There are many women out there living wonderful lives, but in one or two personal ways may wish certain aspects of their lives were different and may wish they had accomplished a certain dream that they have not yet. New beginnings are scary, even terrifying, and our goals can seem to be so far out of reach. We can be happy in all areas in our lives if we empower ourselves to do so. Part of new beginnings sometimes needs to be letting go, which is never easy, but possible. Even when we acknowledge that something we are doing or living with (and have been for a while) are not healthy for us, do not satisfy us emotionally or physically; it still may still seem a tremendous loss to let them go. In order to begin again, we need to let go and set ourselves free to learn new information, have new experiences, heal old wounds, or even reinvent our senses of self. I assure you that upon reflection, the letting go will have been the simple part.
Recently someone asked me a question that proved to be a pivotal moment in my life. I had the answer right on the tip of my tongue, but never asked myself the question. Old dreams had long since been pushed to the outreaches of my mind as unattainable, and I had tried to give myself permission to forget them for years. What would you do with your life, if money, time, and everything else were not an issue? The answer just flew out of my mouth without a second thought. Somehow, the deep recesses of my mind had not forgotten all of my dreams. I am in college now pursuing my goal. Beginning was scary and it seemed impossible to stop the world as I had created it, for four years. Nevertheless, with a great deal of help, I am well on my way. Help seems to arrive in the strangest ways from the oddest places, once you begin. Once I began, it was as if a light had gone on inside of me. A dream I had misplaced was again at the forefront of my being, and all of my actions were now leading to the accomplishment of that dream. It is a relief, one I was not even aware I needed.
Barriers to our dreams can seem so far above us that we cannot even begin to imagine how we would start to overcome them, so we never do. We take another job, we let damaged relationships go, we let our fears rule us, or we simply stay with what we know and what is comfortable. Eventually with all of our work responsibilities and family responsibilities, our dreams sink deeper inside. It is never too late to begin to climb those barriers. After all, the higher you climb the better the view. The first step is the hardest one to take. However, I implore you to take it because the second step will be easier. The third step, however, may set you back a little and you may confront a small obstacle you never expected. Therefore, you shuffle, and the next few steps put you right back on track. Once you are in motion, take that first action towards resolution of accomplishment; I guarantee you will be unstoppable like water rolling down a hill.
Our lives are for living; this is our one great chance. Our forgotten dreams therefore, should be the basis for constructing our “To Do” lists. When my personal new beginning and my own obstacles seem insurmountable, I find myself stopping to smile and remember what a very positive person once asked me, “How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”
(I am not advocating the eating of elephants, just the living of dreams.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Shout out, with love, to Richie Sambora!

Thinking about Richie Sambora a lot lately, funny it’s been years since I thought about “the boys.” I won’t say how many years however… I don’t know if I’m thinking of home or of youth, or if they are undeniably intertwined. I saw Richie on Oprah and heard he was fighting an alcohol addiction, oh yeah and that he was single again (yum). I wish I could contact him and tell him that he’ll be alright and when the bad time passes, it won’t even suck. Life will be rich and wonderful again. I just want to put it out into the Universe to let him know there are people out here on his side, with no judgments. Life gets hard, we all hit bad patches, and they last as long as they last. I feel a connection with Richie because we come from the same place. I can even say we’ve been at the same parties, except – damn it- never at the same time, ha ha, a couple of times they had already been there and left. We used to run around Jersey going where we thought “the boys” were - looking good too: spiked hair, parachute pants, dog chains for necklaces and bracelets, black or silver lipstick, heavy black eyeliner and, oh yeah, we rocked! Looking back, I can’t believe it, but that was back in the day when I could pull off a pair of painted on jeans.

Richie, you rock and there are so many people on your side. I haven’t had a drink in years now, and when you try to stop, it seems so big, until you mentally make it smaller. I don’t drink (or smoke) because I am at an age where it doesn’t look good on me anymore. Yes, aging sucks, but we can’t stop it by acting as we did on our youth. Leave it in your youth, your daughter will thank you; your brain and body will thank you. We come from the same place and we’ve both had wild rides, albeit very different rides but still wild… now we both need to stop running after the next thing and love the place we are at right now. A drink would just give the moment fuzzy edges and life is too darn sweet when it’s crystal clear. No need to muddy it up. I heard this in a movie or somewhere the other day, “Pain is the gauge by which we measure the good things.” No shit, I have to agree with that. I’m sorry about your father, and the dissolution of your family unit. It’s a good thing love never dissolves. Rock on Jersey boy! All of the Jersey girls are on your side, even if we ended up as high school teachers in the great white north, ha ha – we still need the music and give you our strength until you find your own. Have a great tour!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Go, go snow days!

Now that I am a teacher I must say – Snow days are the best days ever! If you take snow days as I think they should be taken, a suspension from reality and responsibility, than like me, you will be more excited about them than the kids will. Think about it, it is like a bonus day on which to do nothing, or do what is irresponsible because you were going to be at work that day and were not going to get anything “productive” done anyway. And snow days come with their own guaranteed exercise program (shoveling)to be sure one does not become a complete couch potato. Today after my 5:30 wake up school is cancelled call, I decided to stay up and cruise the internet. When my daughter woke up at 6:30, excited to spend the whole day with ME, we started to make crafts. We made holiday bookmark/cards for everyone at my work and at her school. It was so much fun. All we needed was card stock, fancy cutting scissors, ribbon, glue, and glitter. Wha-lah, fun time spent together and a whole bunch of happy holiday greetings out of the way. What a fun, fun snow day.

After fixing lunch and playing in the snow, we had some hot chocolate and took a nap together. A nap in the middle of the day, imagine that decadent luxury! To put the cherry on that, when we woke up we read a book, or more precisely, we each read our own book. I am so pleased that my first grader enjoys reading as much as I do and we can sit together and read separately. (Although that doesn’t take away any of the time we spend reading together either - I also keep my promise that I would never stop reading to her, until she asked me to, which was a big concern she had when she started reading by herself. Usually we take turns with chapter books.) Snow day reading should be a pleasure book (new rule)- not one for school, not one my students read, not one for a hobby, and not one aimed to advance oneself in anyway. Ahhh, lovely. It is rare to have an opportunity to read for enjoyment; snow days must have come about solely for that purpose...
Although I don’t like driving in the snow, I love watching the snow and listening to the quiet of the snow, especially early in the morning before anyone else is awake. Snow days are my new favorite transcendent days of the year. From now on I’m with all the kids, and hoping for more fluffy white stuff to confine us to our homes. Snow days are like being given the gift of time. I could have cleaned the house… Pfft. No way! That would be squandering my guilt free gift from the Universe. Go Snow!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Today I took my new prescription level of synthroid for the first time, 200 mcg. Feeling fine so far, except for two little escapades where I yelled at my daughter for no reason at all. First, I was trying to kill a fly and missed; she was asking something about a hat and was yelled at for the fly, I think. Damn. I try not to do that. The poor kid is so good, but the hormones are sooo whacked. I wonder if she knows it is not me, or if someday she will know. For those 3 seconds I cranked at her for no reason, I don’t even remember what I said but it was my tone, I knew I was wrong and couldn’t shut my lips quickly enough. The second time I don’t even know what, but sledding on the boogie board made up for that, and of course I apologized, “Mommy’s just tired.”
How tired she must be of hearing that. It has been over three months since my total thyroidectomy. Anyway, I just put this out here, so if anyone wants to talk about thyroid cancer or TSH levels, I’d be happy to communicate. Any questions about meds, I would love to talk to someone about that too. There doesn’t seem to be too much out on the web, so I’m happy to answer any questions or just listen. Alive and happy to do so, that is the good news. So, if you are surfing around the web and come upon my blog, first of all don’t worry – easier said than done, but really don’t worry; and second, contact me. If you click on the comment word at the end of an entry, you can send me an email, or leave a comment on my blog and I’ll get back to you.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to chill while I get used to my new levels (maybe my muscles will stop feeling so "skwershy"); and set up the “Clue” game now, so we can play in the morning as soon as she wakes up. Quality time is the only recompense. Colonel Mustard did it with the rope in the ballroom, or did he? Perhaps it was the bitchy mom in the kitchen with forked tongue...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hidden Chanukah Gift

Another reason this was such a great Chanukah I owe to the incredible teachers in my department at school. One of the teachers had the brilliant idea of a small holiday gift exchange during Chanukah. It included a few of us in our department, even though I was the only Jewess involved. Each day of Chanukah that we had school, we would secretly give a gift to the person whose name we picked out of a small Red Sox helmet (no hat, of course, here in Red Sox Nation). What a great way to brighten the day! Besides having a little treat to look forward to, it was fun shopping and “planting” these gifts. My daughter helped me pick out the gifts, when I told her what what we were doing at work. When she would see the extra wrapped present, she would naturally ask if it was for her and I would say it was for work. Not once did she display any jealousy that someone else was getting a present and she wasn’t, or anything of that nature. On the last day, there was a larger package and, after she was sure it wasn’t for her, she smiled and then asked me if everybody celebrates New Year’s Eve with us. (Long answer to that one.)
However, in that moment, I realized the hidden Chanukah gift given to her, demonstrated by my colleagues was the incredible gift of a different world for her to grow up in, other than the one in which I grew up. A world where “normal” is Mom going off to work in a secular workplace with a gift each day of Chanukah, and it is all no big deal. A new world, where diverse traditions are as beautiful as the people who celebrate them, and being unique is just that, and is not weird or ammunition for teasing. I would like to thank these amazing teachers (who are always teaching) for giving my child a hidden gift, the gift of acceptance, or more precisely the gift of not knowing how much non-acceptance hurts. And the larger gift to us all, that hope will overrun hate and ignorance, and the honor of being a part of it.

Chanukah Reflection

Chanukah is over and I am sad to see it go. This was a great Chanukah here at our house. One reason was like all holidays, you have to stop and do something different, something with each other. All eight nights of Chanukah, we stopped and lit candles, said the blessings, sang Rock of Ages and The Dreidle Song. Right after, we would open presents and play with them - no television, no other plans, just us. One reason I loved this Chanukah is that it is the first year my daughter gave me presents too. She was so excited each night; I had to open mine before she even opened hers. Some were homemade, like the envelope of cleaning coupons that I will be sure to use. Others she bought at the dollar store with her allowance (which amazingly went up right before Chanukah). I would stay in the store and she would do her little shopping, cash out with her little pocketbook, all while I was in hearing distance trying not to see what she was getting but still watching her. She was using her best elusive maneuvers, as she would ask me if I liked something and if I said yes and she would say, “Too bad I’m not buying it,” and proceed to hide it behind her back… (It is a good thing that my memory is so short while my thyroid medication is being regulated, that by the time she gave me my surprise gifts, I had almost really forgotten.) No matter what you believe in spiritually, there is greater joy in giving than in receiving and I am so glad that my precious child knows that.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Boogie down the Slopes

If your garage is as overcrowded as mine, it is nice to find things that do double duty. Today we discovered that boogie boards make the best sleds! She was flying down the hill so fast, even I had to give it a try - excellent. The only thing is, is that there are no handles, but that didn't slow her down a bit. She held right on anyway. The bonus is that there is a long strap (normally to velcro around your ankle) to pull your sled around with, which was quite handy. Happy sledding!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Conjuntivitis continuitis

Ding, ding, round two, whew, what a morning! My child is not stupid, (I had to mentally note again) because for some strange reason she did not want the eyedrops this morning either. (Like she would have forgotten.) For two hours I tried, and many times she actually laid her head back and almost, just almost, opened up an eye. A kid has to be serious about something to decline all of the riches offered to her this morning just to put in the eyedrops. Trips to the toystore turned down, movies, Leapster games, and even cold hard cash; I think she is serious. Seriously not letting me get the drops in, all the while my status as authority figure slipping, I think.

Meanness didn't work either, or silly games. Show me a surprised face, and then count to three and it will be all over just led to... nothing. Then I got upset, who is making me torture my child and myself too, the evil pediatrician's office who had the audacity to help my baby. Well, I got that nurse on the phone and she told me... (The "Duh" was implied) You don't have to open their eyes, just have them tip their head back and put an eyedrop in the inside corner and then have them slowly open their eye and the drop will seep in to their eyeball. Can you imagine? Too little, almost too late if you ask me. Why don't people tell you this to begin with?? Really. I would like to make a public service announcement, eyedrops don't need to go straight onto the eyeball as the directions with the prescription would have one believe. If even one person reads this and saves themselves hours of ineffective eyedrop planning strategy, applications missions, and miserable failures; then this blog will have been worth it!

We save time, not lives.
The good news is I am calling all of that aggravation my cardio workout for the day.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis, have you played that game yet? It is quite fun. Tip your head back, open your eyes and let mommy put this one little drop in... No, don't blink it out. Ok, move your hands. Ok, tip your head back, no, move your hands, sit on your hands, tip your head back, open your eyes and let me put this one teeny tiny drop in... No, you blinked again honey, now it is on your cheek. Ok, here we go, tip your head back and open your eyes, now open, you have to open your eyes, seriously, open your eyes. I'll give you a dollar if you sit on your hands, tip your head back and don't blink. Here we go... What's that on your cheek, did it go it? Did you feel it, is it in? Here's the dollar, I'm calling it in. Now the next eye... And we get to play this game two times a day for the next five days, I can't wait! Perhaps it is better that she just walks around looking like she was in a boxing match. Whoever decided we could just give a six-year-old eye drops, was not parenting a six-year-old at the time!