Wednesday, September 24, 2008

three months down




He's three months old, my beautiful boy. The reason I wake in the morning, much earlier than I would like. My reason for moving forward. My hope. My continued faith in a loving and aweful God. Wonderful boy.

My days are stressful. I have this sweet face to come home to. My calm. I find, despite my short attention span, I can stare at this wonderful creature for hours. Touch his little fingers, toes. Smell his sweetness. Listen to him coo, breathe, snore. I'm enthralled.

Can time slow down a bit? I don't want to miss any of this. Precious time. Growing, changing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friends & Such

So things at work have been not so wonderful of late. Office politics can put a huge damper on the day, week, month. Too many coworkers have mentioned to me that they are disgruntled and unhappy. It's a serious bummer. Who wants to work in a world like that? Makes it difficult to get up each morning and go to work. What's worse, we're in the field of social work. We help people. So why is it, then, that we cannot help one another? A smile. A hello. Telling one another something nice. When problems arise, saying something to impact positive change. It's baffling and frustrating. I wish, oh how, I knew the exact right way to make things better.

What is better? I have wonderful friends. Too many to name, but amazing they all are. They never fail to remind me I am loved and needed by them. It seriously makes life worthwhile. Of course I love my husband and my beautiful son, but a girl needs pals as well.

I just wish they lived closer. Especially a few who live in other states, clear across the country nd even some in other countries. Telephone calls and letters aren't the same, but they help. Actual human contact is so needed. In a world where almost everything we do can be done via cyberspace, it is so wonderful to receive a piece of mail.

I spoke with my best friend today for close to an hour. I think it lifted my spirits exponentially. She is a wonderful person and I miss her dearly. I actually sent her a list of ten reasons why she should live closer to me. Alas, her husband is bravely serving in the military and thus, their station is not up to me, or her. We wait, and hope, though. We may live nearer eventually. I pray her children can grow up with mine. She's amazing. I miss her everyday.

She's not the only one. It's difficult to work in a sometimes hostile environment and come home to a place where few friends reside. I lean on them, my friends, for their support, their encouragement, their willingness to listen, their openness, their joy, their ability to point out my weaknesses and help me through, their shoulder to cry on, their hopefullness, their love. They make me smile and my heart feels good.

Wherever you are, my friends--you know who you are--I love you and thank you.

I am blessed. Lest I ever forget. I am blessed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Remember

Did you ever ask your grandparents where they were when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened? What about asking your parents where they were when Kennedy was assasinated? My son will one day ask me where I was on September 11, 2001 and I know exactly what to tell him. It's forever etched in my mind.

My roommate's mother woke us up with a telephone call. It was 8:30am on that Tuesday morning. A plane had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. We turned on CNN, like so many around our nation, and we saw a second plane fly into the other tower. We were dumbstruck. Shocked, appalled. What had just happend? We then watched the towers collapse. Within a few hours, we would learn that four planes were highjacked. People dead in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. 2,999 in total. America changed forever on this day, and I remember.

I was a freshman in college and had only been at school for about 2.5 weeks. We all muddled through the day, talking, crying, watching the news. Discussing what happened, why, how, what could have been done to prevent it. Wondering if we were safe. CNN/MSNBC stayed on our television around the clock for a week. We couldn't do much else. It bonded us together, this terrible tragedy. I learned a dear friend's mother passed away in the Pentagon. I can still feel the way my gut twisted upon seeing a still smoking Pentagon weeks later while driving past.

What I remember most, aside from the sadness, the fear and the politics, was pride in our national spirit. We began to see a collective movement of patriotism. While I've never appreciated the "put the boot in their ass, it's the American way" or "with us or against us" mentalities, I do like the joining together of the people of a nation to say: "We can overcome this. We are strong. We will survive. We will go on. We will not forget."

Today, I'm thinking of all of those who lost their lives, so senselessly and yet bravely. I'm thinking of the families and friends who were lost. And most of all, I'm thinking of America and how proud I am of all of us.

Someday I will take Wiggly to see the memorials at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. I want him to know the history of our country. This event that changed the course of American history. Wiggly will see, Gigi has a picture of mommy, Uncle R, and Uncle J sitting on Liberty island as small children. In the background, the Twin Towers. I want him to know. Mommy remembers.

I remember.

Baby Jem

I have a network of friends. Yes, internet friends but amazing friends none the less. Yesterday, one of those friends had a baby girl. A baby so dreamed of, wished for. Her mother endured years of heartache between a child born too early who didn't survive, a traumatizing birth of another child born early who is now healthy and strong, and fear of losing this child for much of the first half of the pregnancy. The baby girl is here. Jem is healthy, and from what I hear, beautiful.

I'm so happy for their family. I wept with joy this morning at hearing the news of her safe arrival into the world. I've prayed a great deal and hoped for B. She deserved this, this beautiful miracle.

Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!!!

Congratulations, B, D & O. Welcome precious Jem. Welcome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


His name was Jason and he would have been 28 today. My eldest cousin on my mother's side; he died suddenly in May. Our entire family is still in shock over the loss. A life cut too short. A man/boy still so young and full of life.

I'll be honest, I don't think Jason was thrilled to have a new cousin when I was born. Or, maybe, he liked me for the first few moments and then it was over. He was just over two at the time of my birth and he had been the center of the universe in our family. Suddenly, his thunder had been stolen. He picked on me mercilessly and yet, I adored him. He was always so cool in my eyes, especially when I was small. He was bigger and smarter and knew so much more than I did. My brother admired him more than I did and they built a strong friendship, even spending time together the night Jason passed. As we got older, my other cousins and I learned how to push his buttons and set him off, sometimes with outcomes that did not make any of our parents very happy. We had fun, too, spending time together at holidays, family get togethers, the beach. We drifted apart in our adulthood but I can say without a doubt, I always loved him. Even when he got on my nerves.
Precocious from a very early age, Jason never did anything small or slow. Things had to go fast and faster and faster. He rarely showed fear and was willing to face danger head on. He learned how to water ski at the age of three. Jumped off of furniture. Consistently scaring his poor mother. He always seemed to live his life this way. Jumping out of a truck on a bicycle at the age of 21 and breaking his back; he still kept going. He jumped from job to job, always wanting to try something new and discover his talents. His power washing business is probably the most noteable to my family. He had, finally, started to think about the idea of settling and slowing down with the love of his life, M. They were to have been married on November 1st and had plans to buy a home together. They had been together sporadically since they were fifteen years old. Ironically, the same age Jason's parents started dating. Like most things in his life, Jason tended to not think about the consequences of many of his actions, including his use of drugs. This, sadly, would be his ultimate undoing, his tragic end. It is still hard to fathom that this is the end of his story. A story that should have had many, many more chapters. A tale cut short and leaving its readers baffled by the abrupt and sudden conclusion.
I'll always remember Jason. His obsession for pigs. The nickname "Hog" given to him as a wee boy. His intrigue by all things fast: cars, motorcycles. His stubborness and pride. His humor, even when I didn't get it. His willingness to dare, to try new things. His love of music, especially rock. His adoration of his beautiful little sister. His love for M.
I'm sad. Sad that he never was able to finish what he had started. He'll never meet Wiggly or any of the children I have in the future. He never met Belle or any of my other cousins'/siblings' future children. He was never able to live out his dreams with M. No children of his own. No house. No settling down. I'm sad I didn't know him better when he died and never had the chance to tell him that I loved him.
Happy Birthday, Jason, wherever you are. I hope you're happy. I hope you're well. We're thinking of you. Missing you. Ride on.

Friday, September 5, 2008


So here we go again, I'm obsessing over John McCain. I just can't help myself. I stayed up till midnight last night to watch his speech. I must say, I was impressed. I'm amazed by his patriotism and dedication to our country. As I've stated before, I also agree with most of his political leanings.

If you want to read the whole speech:

A few highlights for me:

  • His thanking of many people, including the other candidates who ran for president along side him. In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn't any different. That's a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They're leaders of great ability who love our country and wish to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor that I won't forget. I found this to be gracious and humble.
  • His statement toward Obama and company: We'll go at it -- we'll go at it over the next two months -- you know that's the nature of this business -- and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and my admiration.
    Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that's an association that means more to me than any other.
    We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country -- no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Sen. Obama and his supporters for their achievement.
    I was thrilled to hear this and glad he made a point to reach out to his opponent and make it a fair fight.
  • And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me first, country second crowd: Change is coming. Much of the Obama campaign has focused on "Change" and the McCain camp is really trying to make everyone see that they want change, too. McCain does not tend to backdown from adversaries, Democrat or Republican. It's one of the reasons I like him so much.
  • You well know I've been called a maverick, someone who...marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it's meant as a compliment; sometimes it's not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don't work for a party. I don't work for a special interest. I don't work for myself. I work for you. On the topic of the "Maverick" nickname. I thought this was fitting.
  • He talked about big spenders and his fights against them in the past and his dedication to continue doing so in the future. I'm a fiscally conservative Republican and it makes me ill to see a White House that has spent more money frivolously than any other president in history. That's not being a responsible president or Republican.
  • Talking about his fights for the military: when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I'd rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.
  • The mentioning of specific families and their needs. I liked that, sincerely. There are over 300 million people in the US. It was nice to hear a few of their stories.
  • I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. Why has every other person brought up Lincoln? I find this a bit odd. I mean he was an amazing president but why is he in nearly every speech of this convention?
  • Beliefs and promises. I. Agree. On. Almost. All. Fronts.
  • I didn't particularly like the jabs at Sen. Obama, but I did see the point in showing the differences between the two candidates. I can appreciate it, even if I didn't like it.
  • I loved his statement on education. I believe in equal access to education and believe it should be the right of the parent to choose the schooling for their child. I believe in vouchers and competition. When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them...I want schools to answer to parents and students.
  • Energy & Terrorism had to be discussed. They continue to be hot topics. I think they always will be. I just don't know that change is going to come as swiftly as we would like. We'll always be dependent on an energy source, I just wish it wasn't oil. Terrorism isn't going to go away. It has existed for thousands of years and it's difficult to see an end in sight. I think we just want to believe we're safe. Or at least safer than we have been.
  • This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I'll ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability. I'm beyond ecstatic he made this point. He's standing in front of a crowd of die hard Republicans and he's making the point to them that we MUST learn to work together to impact change. I was blown away.
  • His comments on duty and bravery. His heroism in Vietnam and the men that saved him there. He brought me to tears. His commentary on serving our country in some capacity made me proud to be a civil servant. My friends, if you find faults with our country, make it a better one...Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself. And hasn't he lived his life in this manner?

On the crowd of delegates, etc. Seriously, why the chanting of "USA" every chance you got? You were annoying me. You're at a Republican National Convention for the USA. It's not the Olympics. We're not fighting another country. Just shut up and let the man speak. ps. That's the reason why it looks like he's stuttering throughout the speech but it's really because he got interrupted repeatedly.

I'll be honest, I didn't watch many of the other speeches because, well, I have a 10 week old child and I can't pay attention to the television for long periods of time while he's awake. He puts a damper on my tv time. Ha. I did, however, catch Rudy Guiliani and Cindy McCain. I was far from blown away by Rudy Guiliani. I'm just not a fan of his. Yes, he was mayor of NYC on 9/11/01 and did an amazing job of rebuilding the city in infrastructure and morale. BUT, I just don't like his politics. Again, too conservative and close-minded for me. I also didn't like the repeated jabs at Barack Obama. It came off as childish. Seriously, why all the jokes about "community organizer"? I'm a social worker and I understand the importance of people working in the communities to create change. Why is this something funny? I though Cindy McCain's speech was nice. She was far more eloquent than I had originally thought she would be. I, also, was not fully aware of all of her humanitarian work around the world. Kudos to her.

And finally, my favorite part of the speech. Not for the content but because of the power it exuded: Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We don't hide from history. We make history. He started speaking faster and louder over the roar of the crowd. I loved this. I wanted to be there. Cheering him on.

If you didn't catch it, he also accepted the nomination to the presidency by the Republican party. Don't worry, Mr. McCain. As for me and my house, you have our vote.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary. Bubby and I have been together for well over five years but married for one. I'm not sure where time goes. I don't think we realized on the day we were wed, how different our lives would be just one year later.

I feel as though I should really express how amazing my husband is. Because, frankly, he is. And I don't tell him often enough.

We began dating when we were going to two different universities more than a hundred miles apart (127 miles on the highway!). He once surprised me to front row tickets to a concert I was desperate to see. We danced through the whole thing. One summer, we watched a meteor shower while at the beach, curled around each other in the sand. My last semester, he was not attending school and came to visit me EVERY weekend. For Valentine's Day that year, he bought me 9 dozen roses, cooked me dinner and bought me a board game. He's not always that romantic, but the brownie points from that will most likely last for at least the next few decades. The marriage proposal didn't hurt either...

It's not the big grand gestures that matter most to me, though. It's the little things. It's the kiss and "I love you" when he leaves for work. It's the big hug and "I missed you" when he returns home. It's the calls in the middle of the afternoon just to tell me he he's thinking of me. It's the way he looks at our son when they're cuddled on the couch. It's the way he listens when he knows I've had a rough day. It's the way he worries about me when I go to work. It's the way he doted on me during my pregnancy, even when I was not very nice. It's how he tucked me into bed when my belly was so big and my back hurt too bad to share our queen sized bed with anyone, even him. It's for making me laugh everyday. It's how he plays with our dogs, after he's had a long day at work. It's the dreams of the future we've always shared. It's the joy he expresses over being a father. It's how he sacrifices fun to do well at work to provide for our family. It's the respect he gives me. The loyalty I never have to question. The honor he shows as a man and husband and father. It's how he makes sure I know I'm loved every minute of every day of my life.

He's wonderful. And I'm incredibly lucky to have him by my side. Happy Anniversary, Bubby.