Category Archives: Observations
Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…that our loved ones who have passed are always around us. I believe it with all that I am, and today reminded me, yet again, of why…
Today Alyssa told me, out of the blue, that she dreams of Rob’s mom. In fact, Rob’s mom came to visit her in her dreams last night. She said it’s the same dream she has always had…that his mother comes to her, hugs her, and tells her that she loves her. Last night she told her to always remember that she always wanted to meet her as well.
Rob’s mother passed away at the age of 44…far too young. We were only 19 years old, so clearly Alyssa never got to meet her. Alyssa has seen a few pictures of her grandmother over the years, but I wouldn’t say that she studied them enough to be able to describe her…but when she sees her in her dreams, like she did last night, she can do just that. When I asked her to describe her grandmother as she saw her, she was able to describe her as perfectly as we remember her….and it made my heart smile and my eyes fill with tears.
We have always said that she watches over us, and especially over Alyssa. She always wanted to have a girl, but was blessed with three wonderful sons instead. When we found out that we were having a daughter, we looked to the sky and thanked her. When we saw Alyssa take her first breath, we thanked her again and knew she was there smiling down on us, and on Alyssa.
Throughout Alyssa’s life, she has always been circled by tiny butterflies that flit all around her…sometimes white, sometimes yellow (which was her grandmother’s favorite color) and it makes us smile. To us, that has always been our sign that Bobbie is with us and watching over our daughter. Even in times when we are alone, those little butterflies will come flitting by us, and we are reminded that she is watching over us…and it brings us a sense of comfort and peace.
The day before Hurricane Sandy, when we were cleaning out our yard, we noticed one lone yellow rose that had bloomed on our rose bush. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. Rob snipped it off of the bush, brought it inside, and put it in a vase. We knew she was with us and would watch over us….and we believe that she did. That yellow rose stayed hearty for a week, and we silently thanked it everyday when we looked at it sitting in that vase in the middle of our counter. I have yet to take that rose out of the vase. It’s no longer in bloom, but most of the petals are still on it. It’s our symbol of strength…
Today, Rob’s mother would have been 67 years old. We think of her constantly and always say “I wish she could be here to see this or share this with us” but Alyssa’s dream reminded us of what we already know…she is always around us. She may not be with us physically, but she is always here spiritually. She does see our lives, she does see Alyssa growing up, and she, above all, protects us. We’ve have plenty of signs from her over the years, and each and every time, we smile and are thankful for our Guardian Angel.
Happy Birthday Mom. We love you too…
Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…
Last week we got our 10 1/2 year old daughter a cell phone. (If you don’t say the 1/2 part, she gets really mad!) Thanks to that, I now want to throw MY cell phone through a wall. Not because I am jealous that she has a better phone than I do…even though she does..damn you great deal when you add a new line…but because she texts me non-stop. That child texts me so much that I cringe when I hear my phone go off, and I had to give her a separate text alert sound so I could differentiate between her and my friends, who might actually have something important to tell me…as opposed to her.
Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking “Why would you get your 10 1/2 year old a cell phone?”, let me explain. We did not just hand her a phone for no reason. She had to completely earn it. We made a deal with her back in September: She had to get straight A’s for the entire year, and she had to show responsibility by not misplacing her I-Pod at all. (Plus she is getting to that age where she isn’t at my side all the time, so it’s handy.) She kept up her end of the deal, so we kept up ours….and now it is coming back to haunt me…just about every 5-10 minutes of my life.
Here are some examples of what I get to read when I hear that ominous tone chime on my phone:
*Mom, thank u for getting me a phone. I ❤ U!!!xoxo Ok – This was her very 1st text to me, so it made me smile. After that it all went downhill…fast. (By the way, her very first actual call HAD TO be to her father. Of course it did. Sigh.)
*Mom, I need my hula hoop right now! This gem came a mere 10 minutes after I dropped her off at school…even though I had just asked her before we left if she was going to need said hula hoop…and she said no.
* Where r u? I get this constantly. I usually get this 2-3 times while I am driving to pick her up at her friend’s house. (Thank God for text to talk!) More often than not though, the answer is “downstairs”. We don’t live in a mansion, so I don’t know how she thinks she will lose me in “the other wing of the house”, but whatever.
* I am almost there! Wow, am I glad she only had her phone for the last 3 days of school, because this is the text I got for the entire bus ride home. Literally stop by stop! It’s her little version of the play-by-play of her life. Meanwhile, I was already sitting at the bus-stop for like 10 minutes.
*This movie is great! U have to see it! I’ll go again, and not spoil it for u. Promise! 🙂 She sent me this when she went to see Madagascar 3 yesterday. I told her she wasn’t supposed to use her phone in the theater, but the movie was SO GOOD that I just HAD TO know.
* Hi!!! Just another reason to use her phone. She has said “Hi!!” to me more in the past week than she has in perhaps her entire existence on this planet. If I had $1 for every “Hi!!!” I’ve gotten, I could probably buy myself something pretty decent.
*What r u doing? Maybe she thinks I’m doing something spectacular when I am not within her field of vision. I’m not. I really want to answer “Cringing because I just heard that friggin’ chime go off AGAIN!”, but I just answer with “Nothing. Just waiting for a text from you! :)” I always have to follow that up with “What r u doing?” and she usually replies, “Nothing. Just texting you!” Sometimes she puts cute little hearts in there too, which makes it impossible to get mad at. She’s a smart cookie.
* K. This is where I had to speak to her. My daughter LOVES to send the answer “K” to my responses. When she asks me anything and I respond, this is what I get back in return…whether it applies or not. She was even responding “K” to my “K”. I had to explain to her that when I say “K”, she does not need to respond with “K”. It means “I got it and the conversation is over on my end!”…therefore she does NOT need to let me know that she too is done responding! She’s not really listening to me on that one yet. Maybe if I text it to her, she’ll get it.
Aside from her numerous texts, I also get lots of pictures that she takes…like close ups of my dog’s nose with “Isn’t he the cutest???” written under it…or pictures of her toes correctly labeled “My Toes!!!! :)” God Bless this child and her new phone. I don’t know how she has lived this long without it, or how I have made it through my days without Instagram pictures from my own little Ansel Adams.
What I do know is her getting a cell phone is just another little piece of her “little girl-ness” evaporating. I think starting today, I will smile everytime that ominous chime goes off on my phone, because before I know it texting her friends will be a thousand times more fun than texting her mom is… and thought of that makes me cringe more than hearing that text alert tone ever will.
Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.
This Memorial Day weekend, I came across veterans sitting in front of the Wawa collecting for disabled vets. I have NEVER in my life passed by those men without making a donation, even if I have gone into the store on multiple occasions over the course of the weekend. In fact, I have amassed quite a few poppies over the past few days thanks to them. Aside from always donating, I always make sure I look those men in the eyes and say “Thank you for your service”. If you have never done that when donating, you really need to. Those men appreciate a thank you just as much, if not more than the donation itself. It always makes them smile and sometimes even makes them teary eyed. They deserve every single thank you that they get, and then some if you ask me. When I see people walk by them like they are invisible, it actually disgusts me. If you don’t have any money to donate, a simple thank you is what they deserve at the very least.
Also this weekend, the volunteer firemen were doing their drive by fundraiser by standing at the entrance of the Shop Rite parking lot. On my way out, I stopped to make a donation and thanked the man for his volunteer service. He actually did a double take, smiled, and thanked me for saying that. He said no one had ever said to him before. As I pulled away, I was pretty shocked. How could no one have ever said thank you to him before? That bothered me, as did the many cars that drove right by him without making a small donation. My father was a paid fireman in North Jersey. I hope people stopped to thank him once in a while for what he did for them.(I’m going to have to ask him about that!)
Today on the way to my parents house, we drove past a coin toss for a different volunteer fire company. My daughter had never seen that before, but happily scooped out a bunch of change I had in the car. I slowed almost to a stop so she could throw it out the window at the target. The firemen all smiled, waved, and yelled thank you to us. As I drove away, my daughter remarked how happy the firemen seemed that we donated, and smiled at how they had so heartily thanked us…then noted that no one else had slowed down and done the same….and it bothered her too. On the way home we passed them again, and once again I slowed down so she could throw a big handful of change at the other target. This time they beeped the fire truck horn at us, smiled, and yelled thank you. Sadly, again she noted that no one else had slowed down and thrown their change. She said she hoped that we weren’t the only people that participated in the coin toss, because in her words, “It’s just not right.” I assured her that we weren’t but she didn’t seem very convinced that too many other people had tossed some coins, despite the signs preceding it for about a mile.
If I have taught my daughter anything in life, it is the value of “thank you”. Every time she sees a veteran collecting or anyone in a military uniform, she thanks them for their service. When she sees the firemen or ambulance squad doing their fundraising, she always says thank you for volunteering as she makes her donation too. I’ve taught her that anyone who makes a sacrifice for others should hear a thank you from the public. It’s a shame when a 10 year old knows better than the adults she sees around her…but I am pleased that she notices it and points out that it’s wrong. Tomorrow she is excited to go to the Memorial Day parade in town, so she can wave at the veterans and give thanks to them. I hope there is a decent crowd on hand, for her sake and theirs. It’s a sign of respect these men and women deserve, but often don’t receive enough.
To all of the men and women who currently serve or have served this country, I wholeheartedly say THANK YOU for your sacrifice. (Thank you to the Police Officers, Firemen, and EMTS too!) My daughter and I appreciate your service.
Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.
Don’t forget to use them as often as possible. Those two simple words matter.
Can’t. My least favorite word. I ban the word both in my classroom and in my life. I prefer “I just haven’t yet!”, because that is the truth! Sometimes a task may seem arduous, but when you put can’t in front of the task, you might as well just say you won’t because that will be the end result! Can’t is a mindset, pure and simple.
This morning I heard about Claire Lomas, and her story brought tears to my eyes. Claire was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a horse riding accident five years ago. Two days ago, she completed the London Marathon in a Bionic Suit, when she crossed the finish line 16 days after the race started. The ReWalk suit, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system. By shifting her balance, the suit mimics the response her joints would have if they were not paralyzed. She walked 2 miles a day being cheered on by her husband and 13 month old daughter who toddled beside her.
Claire will not appear in the official results and did not receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to complete the course on the day of the race to receive one…but that’s alright because what she did receive was much better…There were hundreds of people that showed up at the finish line to cheer her through the tape, and over a dozen runners gave their medals to her in tribute to what she had accomplished. She also raised $111,346.86 for a charity which funds research to develop treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.
When asked about her training she said “There were times when I questioned if I would make it when I was training. Once I started , I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer.”.
Did you notice that she never said can’t? I did!
Claire Lomas is my new hero. She did something truly amazing…because she could!
Maybe the next time you feel the need to say that you can’t, you should remember Claire Lomas.
So, how will you challenge yourself today?
***PS – There is now a Facebook page called “Claire Lomas. Give Her a Medal”. Please go “like” it. The organizers of the London Marathon really need to reconsider!!!
I have been a Yankee fan from birth…that’s 41 years if you’re counting. Growing up as a girl in my house had no bearing on being raised to love them. I have incredibly fond memories of sitting on the couch (with the plastic slip covers, because we are Italian after all) with my father and watching game after game. I remember how my mother would stop in her tracks and watch whenever Bucky Dent got up to bat, because she thought he was so handsome. (Agreed!) I smile when I think back to the many times my dad took my brother and I to the stadium to catch a game…my all-time favorite being Old Timer’s Day, when my Dad would explain something about every single former player that got announced. I remember walking into that stadium holding my Dad’s hand and loving it because you could just feel the history everywhere around you. I remember celebrating the good years in our living room when they would win it all, and the bad years when my father would yell “C’mon for Christ Sakes!” at the tv. It’s like a catalogue in my mind…so yes, I bleed blue!
When my husband married me, he wasn’t really a baseball guy. He was much more of a football guy…but marrying me meant learning to love the Yankees, which he did. When my daughter was born, it wasn’t long before she wore a pink Yankee onesie. We even have all of her tiny Jeter jersey’s saved in the attic – year by year, size by size. We brought her to her first game at the age of 3, (because we thought 3 was an age that she would actually enjoy it, which she did!). Yankee games are a special part of her childhood too. Thankfully she got to experience the old stadium before they tore it down. (The new one is nice, but it’s just not the same.) We bring her every single year at least once. I wish we could take her more, but that is one ridiculously expensive day. In fact, we are catching a game three weeks from now as my Mother’s Day present. I have been really looking forward to it, but the latest Yankee news has put a little damper on that…Mariano Rivera won’t be there to close.
I am not embarrassed to admit that I have felt pretty sad and depressed all day. Right before I went to bed last night, I saw the clip of Mo going down and grimacing in the outfield…and I felt my heart sink. As they carted him off though, he displayed that huge smile that I love, and I figured when I woke up in the morning, they would still say it was just a twisted knee and he’d just be out for a while. When my alarm went off this morning, The first thing I saw on the news was Mo being interviewed with tears in his eyes, and being asked if his torn ACL would be the end of his career. Nooooooo!
I have some fantastic memories of #42. Mo dropping to his knees on the mound after winning the World Series
Mo holding up many a World Series Trophy
Going to the last Yankees World Series Parade and snapping this picture of him – looking like the King of NY
And Jorge pushing Mo back out onto the mound after save #602 so the crowd could cheer him some more..
The biggest thrill of being a Yankee fan though is being at the Stadium for a tight game and hearing the opening chords of “Enter Sandman” begin to blare. If you have never experienced what that’s like… WOW have you missed out on something special in life. There’s no way to truly describe what it feels like to be a part of that crowd, erupting with cheers, as #42 jogs onto the field…
The closest I can come to phrasing it is “part frenzy/part serenity”. The frenzy is the whole feeling of the moment. The serenity is knowing that chances are Mo is going to sit them down and close it out. It’s a feeling Yankee fans LOVE, especially this one. The time I have enjoyed it the most was being at the Stadium and watching Rivera shut down the Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th. All I can say is the place went BERSERK and I got to jump up and down with, bear hug, and high five all of the people in the rows around me. Mariano Rivera creates a magic that you have to physically witness to fully understand.
So, now this. I refuse to accept that this is how one of the greatest Yankees ever will end his legendary career. When the season started they interviewed Mo and asked if this year would be it for him. He danced around the question and said he’d reveal his answer at the end of the season. We all knew what that meant though…this year was likely it. I have watched the games this season and tried to picture what it would be like watching games without him…and it made me feel sad. (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) I figured that I would have all year to try to get ready for that. I even tried to picture what his final send off at Yankee Stadium would be like. (Again, it made me feel sad!) Therefore, him being carted off the field with a hurt knee cannot be the storybook ending for a man every Yankee fan idolizes. He has been nothing but clutch and pure class over the years. He deserves better.
I pray that he comes back…even if it’s for one more game so us Yankee fans can say thank you and goodbye the right way. Whether it is at home in our living rooms, or live at the Stadium – it’s a moment every Yankee fan wants to be a part of and remember. There’s a reason he’s the only man in baseball allowed to wear #42…I just hope I get to hear the opening strains of “Enter Sandman”, and see that magical man jog out of the bullpen to sit them down one more time.
We’ll be anxiously awaiting his return!
Words that straight haired girls say: “I wish I had curly hair! You’re so lucky!”.
Words that most curly haired girls say in reply: “No, you don’t and no, I’m definitely not!”
I am a curly haired girl. In my lifetime, I have never once agreed with someone when they said that to me. In fact, I actually look at people like they are out of their minds when they say that (as I stare at their sleek, straight, beautiful hair in envy). Only girls born with curly hair understand the plight of what it’s like to have such a “blessing”. Have you ever seen the episode of Friends when they go on vacation and Monica’s hair turns into an afro? Yeah, it’s like that.
When I was a kid, I didn’t really care that I had curls. I was too young to understand that my hair was just unruly…and my mom could put it in a ponytail and twist it into a perfect Shirley Temple curl…which I loved. Then when I was about 9, she told me we were going for a “haircut”. Little did I know that my hair that touched the middle of my back was going to be cut into a pixie cut. I looked like a boy, and not a cute boy either. (Granted, I was a tomboy and never brushed my hair, so it was always a giant knot, but I’m still a little bitter about it. OK, I’m lying – I’m a lot bitter!) I hated that haircut so much that I stayed in the backyard with a woolen ski-cap on for 2 months. (I’m not joking!). I distinctly remember that it was during one of those 70’s heatwaves and I sweated my ass off, but that hat didn’t come off all summer. It was then that I realized that my curly hair was a curse, because that was one bad look when it started growing back….and that’s where the battle officially started.
My teen years were in the late 80’s, where big hair ruled. I was almost decent with that because I could make the top of my hair look like a giant wall, with enough Aqua Net to choke a horse. (By the way, I was about 5 inches taller then). The bottom was just curls turned dried out fuzz because no matter how hard I tried to brush the bottom out, that’s what I got. I look back at pictures and just cringe.
The straight haired girls seriously have no idea what it’s like to have curly hair. Their biggest gripe in life is “My hair goes flat!” I would have given a piece of a limb over the years to know what that felt like. They don’t know what it’s like to spend a half hour trying to smooth your hair with a blow dryer, only to walk 25 feet to your car, get in, and have a Zulu Princess looking back at you in the rear view mirror. It honestly goes south that quickly. They can have cute haircuts and semi-bangs. Anything even remotely bang-like on a curly haired girl is the devil. It’s the first thing that acts crazy. They don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety about going to an outdoor function on a humid day and having your hair scrunch up about 3 inches shorter than it was when you left the house. It never scrunches up nicely either because it has an evil mind of its own. They don’t know what it’s like to have to carry a hair tie with you at all times because there is a good chance it’s going to have to be pulled back at some point. They enjoy driving with the windows open…curly haired girls don’t…at least not this one!
I’ve tried everything…smoothing shampoos, deep conditioners, gels, mousse, using a curling iron to get them to be “normal” curls, hot rollers, air drying it, flat irons, and even once (way back) resorted to using a crimper. That was such an outright disaster that it’s painful to even remember that. None of them worked. Once someone even said to me “Maybe you should get a perm and it’ll soften your curls.” Gahhhhh a perm?!?!? That is just unthinkable. (Of course this came from a straight haired girl, because NO ONE with curls would EVER suggest such an atrocity!)
It took me 39 years to find my life changer…keratin treatments. It was like the angels in heaven sang to me the first time I had it done. Sure, I have to walk around for 3 days with my hair pin straight, and by day 3 you could lube a car with my head, but Christ on a donkey it is the best thing EVER when I wash it out. I can blow dry my hair in about 5 minutes WITH MY FINGERS and it is smooth, sleek, and beautiful. It’s not completely pin straight either…just nice! No curls or frizz in sight baby…not even if I go stand in the fog or mist! (I’ve done that for fun, just because I could!) It’s like a dream come true…at least for me it is. (And don’t go trying to destroy my dream with your formaldehyde comments either. The kind I use has none in it…and besides, I live in New Jersey – I’m pretty sure the air I breathe on a daily basis is worse for me than getting these treatments done twice a year!)
So there it is…this curly haired girl is finally happy with the hair on my head. Thank you keratin treatments! You have changed my life! I look the same all day as I do when I leave the house in the morning, I love anxiety-free outdoor functions, and I even drive with the windows wide open and my hair blowing in the breeze…and it feels so right….because it finally is!
PS – To this very day, I have “short hair” phobia because of that damn pixie cut. I’ll never get over it…never, I say!
I can’t help but chuckle at all of the people on Facebook and in the media lamenting Whitney Houston’s death. They all feel “so horrible” and “so sad” about her “untimely passing”. Well guess what? I don’t. Not an ounce of me feels bad and I refuse to apologize for my stance on this too.
I can credit my parents for my complete lack of sympathy for anyone who chooses to ruin their life with drugs. Growing up, my dad went out of his way every chance he got to not only tell us that drugs ruin people’s lives, but he would show us too. A few times a year, he would drive us over to the Bronx and let us see how other people lived. That was in the 70’s when the Bronx was in its poverty heyday. (Watch Fort Apache, The Bronx if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) He would drive us through neighborhoods where people had cardboard for windows, half of the buildings were abandoned, graffiti was everywhere, and junkies roamed the streets. He would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you do drugs, that’s how you are going to live! It’s pretty cold in the winter when you have cardboard windows”. He would drive us past the Bronx Detention Center, where I still remember the inmates being able to yell out the windows. He would say “They can’t go to a Yankee game like we are because they are locked up for drugs.” Drugs over the Yankees? Never!
He also taught this lesson close to home, every chance he got. He would comment every time we drove past the park by my house and saw people were sniffing glue out of paper bags. Again, he would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you want to ruin your life and be homeless, then sniff glue like that guy is doing! You will melt your brain and definitely won’t live in our house. You can live at the park with that guy instead!”. Living in the park with glue sniffers never sounded very appealing to me. Neither did cardboard windows or a half melted brain. In fact, all of his examples scared the sh*t out of me! Thus I never did drugs.
I don’t raise my daughter any differently than my parents raised me. This morning she came downstairs and asked if I was sad because someone named Whitney Houston died. I told her “Absolutely not!” and used it as an example of drugs completely ruining someone’s life. I told her all about what a great singer she used to be, and let her hear some of her songs. Then I showed her the picture in the paper of her from one day ago, all sweaty and drugged out, and told her that Daddy and I don’t have any sympathy for people who choose to destroy their lives and throw their gifts away, and neither should she! This isn’t a new topic for her. I have also let her see parts of Celebrity Rehab and Intervention so she can see what a disaster drugs are on people’s lives. I have friends that have told me that perhaps that’s a little much, but I don’t think it is. My parents went out of their way to make sure I never did drugs by showing me examples, and I hope for the same outcome by showing my daughter the same things every chance I get. I hope I am scaring the sh*t out of her, and that someday she does the same to her kids!
So there it is…my two cents. I’m not being holier than thou. If people want to destroy their lives using drugs, that’s their choice…but there will be no sympathy coming from me. I don’t feel sorry for Joe Schmo drug addict and I don’t feel sorry for Whitney Houston either.
PS – Thanks Mom and Dad!