Sunday, April 27, 2008


Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all"--Emily Dickinson
A beautiful spring day in Buffalo. Sunny, 81 at 11 A.M. It doesn't get any better then this. Woke up and went to the nearby Home Depot to buy mulch. Can you believe they weren't open yet at 7:45? Come on people, the early bird gets the worm. Open those doors! Buy the mulch and weed killer. And begin. Clean and dig out the weeds and grass. Cut off the dead stuff. Clean out the dead leaves. By noon, I had the front garden cleared out and looking good. Ready for the season. Green buds on the bushes. Hostas popping up. And Aunt Betty's myrtle spreading like wildfire, just mocking me in the sunlight.
I could never get myrtle to grow on my own. We had a huge area around our front maple when we moved in. So pretty. The lovely purple flowers in the spring really warm the heart. But I somehow couldn't keep it going. Bought tons more, and it all died. Everyone said, next time you are at "The Cabin" bring some back. The hunting cabin, 2 hours away near Corning, NY, way up in the hills. There is a large one acre patch of the myrtle there now. Aunt Betty planted it around a family cabin 40 years ago. The cabin and Aunt Betty are long gone, but the myrtle lives on, with no one helping it.
Last year, we brought some baby lilacs back from this cabin area. Planted them, but they didn't survive. The bleeding heart we also took seems to be coming in wonderfully. And in the dirt where we had tried the lilacs, Aunt Betty's myrtle popped up. We didn't even grab any to plant with the lilacs, not a leaf at all. I didn't want the misery of trying to nurture it again. But still it grew. Now we have a 2 x 3 foot patch. It will probably cover the entire garden before I know it. It seems to be telling me not to give up.
The seeds of Aunt Betty's myrtle live on without any encouragement. They just know how to live anywhere. They know exactly what to do, and even when I have given up hope, they have not. The joy of life is still in them.
Many time in the past weeks I have felt like I had no hope. All I can do is get out a little prayer to keep my faith going. And the amazing thing, is I usually always get it in lots of surprising ways. Miss Kodak sends me job tips and invites me to come out to a party. Syd's Mom invites me to tea and plays, and listens to me while I wail and blubber like a two year old. The Queen calls unexpectedly at lunch to see if she can get me to go leave the warm confines of the comforter I am wearing like a robe and go out for happy hour. Miss Virgina calls me and makes me crazy by having 3 job offers while she is still gainfully employed. Mr. Comedy gets me to play checkers, whooping my butt and making me laugh. My dogs throws her ball around the house, saying to me, "Hey if you won't play ball with me, I will just have to play catch with myself." My DH brings me pizza just because I am blue. Maggie's softball coach--gainfully employee and working like a dog in the family business his whole life--tells me to apply for the job I worry is too much work, "just to practice on the interview. My Dad gets people to send me job postings by snail mail. Old school is good too Dad. My brother emails me and meets with another friend who was also laid off from my company. My gym friends tell me I am funny and get me to try spinning class. (I think this was because the pain in my privates would distract me from any other thought for a week. I am still sitting on a pillow.) Old friends email jokes to make me laugh. Maverick doesn't get detention for a whole week! A whole week! And my twins run in from school, all excited and happy that they can wear shorts in April in Buffalo, and ask me, "How was work?"--just as they have every day their whole lives.
Hope is everywhere, even when we don't plant the stalk ourselves, God plants it for us. And keeps planting it again and again, just to make sure we are hearing him.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Road Trip

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

Day 38 of Free Agency

"What kind of Mom doesn't know what type of chocolate their daughter likes?"--Maggie, incredulous that I bought orange chocolate instead of dark

Kids off school this week. Opened food containers and wrappers cover the terrain. The towel farm has increased ten fold in their rooms. Shoes multiplied and mixed with all seasons of coats. Started the week at 22 degrees to go to church, ended today at 89. Such is spring break in Buffalo.

On a nice clear Tuesday, we went to Cleveland. Why, you ask? Because we could. No job. No school. No schedule. Road trip is necessary. Time to load up Vicky with all kinds of junk food (but the wrong chocolate evidently) and hit the road. Mom, Maverick, Godson, Maggie, Maggie best friend, Luke and lots of Cd's. Blast the stereo. Eat girl scout cookies for breakfast, egg mcmuffin for lunch, milkshakes for dinner. Dip french fries in chocolate shakes, swiggle Monster for early morning drive. Yell as we cross each state, and insist on peeing immediately in new state. Wave to truckers. Slow down and smile at troopers, who are wondering how we are surviving having 5 kids and one adult stuck in one car. Easy, I say, it's called, portable DVDs and Ipod. Gotta love technology.

3 hours and 20 minutes later we arrive at the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Might have speeded slightly, just to keep pace with the other cars of course. I wouldn't want to be a bad influence on the kids or anything. The Rock is all glass, geometrical, awesome building. Fabulous exhibits. If you haven't gone, do it. Take the 90 into Cleveland and follow the signs. Very fun. There's lots of other stuff to do in Cleveland, like take in the Indians and whoever is it town. Go to the science museum next door. Check out downtown. Really neat.

None of us are huge fans of any one group, so I wondered how the experience would be for us. It's not like we were making a pilgrimage to all things Jimi Hendrix. If you were, it would be a cool place. Lots of his guitars. Tons of handwritten notes where he wrote the songs. I never knew he had such fabulous lyrics or that he did much of anything besides play the guitar fast. ZZ tops car is there. Micheal Jackson's sparkling glove. Madonna's cone bra. Lots of stuff on Jim Morrison. I did not know he was arrested for allegedly exposing his penis in Miami. Fascinating.

For Buffalo fans, they show where the term "Rock and Roll" came from ( Alan Freed, Cleveland DJ is credited) but they also show lots of other DJ's that had a strong influence on developing the genre. You can plug in a city, and then its list the local guys...and then you can hear the shows. And who was there for Buffalo. None other then Danny Neverath. ..can you say, "Danny moves your fanny." They really showed lots of musical types, the top group and the top songs. As you pulled up the songs in the little cubby, then you can see what other songs influenced the songwriting. Neat way to educate yourself on music.

We leave the Rock and walk around downtown while the boys skateboard. Who knew they would have a skate park right behind the Hall of fame? We of course have skateboards because life does not exist without them. We load up on cheap souvenirs-- after all we have to commemorate the 5 hour visit with an 8x10 rock band photo, key chain, coffee cup, magnets, official guitar souvenir of the Hall of Fame, complete with certificate of authenticity, and one Jack Black movie for the ride home. We pee one last time in Ohio and journey back. Stop for milkshakes and fries in Erie--and yes, it's still under construction, and hit NY in time for the news.

And not one fight the whole day. Mom got the name "Bad ass" from Godson for making an illegal left out of McDonald's (don't they know people exit the 90 and need to go back on the 90? Do they think we want to turn and to Ashtabula? I don't think so Tim.) And at the end of the day, Maggie said to BUFF, "Best Road Trip ever---NOT!!!"

For a minute there, I thought I was actually a cool Mom.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mrs. Goodwrench

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

Day 31 of Free Agency

I pulled myself out of nap mode long enough to try and blog again. It's amazing how time expands when you have no constraints. The same chores that you rush through in 30 minutes in between day job and night job as chauffeur, can take you 3 hours, 3 days, or in some cases, months.

Finishing up the RW Caldwell what do you want to be when you grow up? Name you three biggest strengths. Tell me your greatest weakness?

Weakness? Chocolate bars dipped in peanut butter at 1 a.m. while watching Conan? Oh, you mean in business. Well, I have no mechanical ability. Zip. Zilch. Impossible. Can't figure one thing out, pretty sure gravity doesn't even exist. Nothing seems to gel inside my brain.

You know the genome project where they are documenting all the genetic codes? I am positive they will find there is a chromosome just for mechanics. And God left mine out. My proof that it's genetic? My brothers, and my twins, both evidence of the genetic predisposition to many things in life.

My eldest brother, Mr. Computer, is a wizard at anything electronic or computer gadgetry. When he was a teenager, he took apart my parents new stereo, just to see how it worked. Then he went out and bought the parts to make his own top notch stereo system. He funded this little project with money he made at school. My brother is a money magnet. From age 6, he knew how to cash in. He used to sell his homemade lunch, his sandwich, his cookies and his chips, and use the money to buy a school lunch and have money left over to save. When he was in high school, he again analyzed the situation and figured out how to profit.

Back in the day, they had lock built into the lockers in the high school. My bro got tired of using a combination for the lock, and wanted a key instead. They school had a master key that worked all locks. My brother bought a blank key, and notched, and filed, and worked it until he made a key that fit the lock. But he did not stop there. No, all his friends wanted keys. He went to the hardware store and ordered a gross of blank keys--144 blanks. He sat in the garage and hand cut and filed all the keys. Sold them for $5 each, at a time when minimum wage was a $1. The school didn't take too kindly, and called my parents to ask him to stop. Can you imagine that today? His butt would be long gone from the school in this age, but all they did was call. Please cease and desist. Funny.

My other brother was a genius with cars. When he was 12, he tore apart his mini bike and built a go-cart. Designed a frame and welded it to fit his 5'6' frame. Made a roll cage for the go-cart and padded it. Put on regular brakes on it. Painted it. He and all his friends tore up and down the fields with that thing. Lots of fun. My brother could look at something and figure out how it worked. Not a lot of training needed, just a natural talent.

And my twins? Luke has a lot of the same talents. He started putting his chain on his bike and his sisters at age 6. We know Mom couldn't get them back on . Once we went to a team baseball party at a private home with a 5 acre man-made pond. All the toys a kid could want there, a trampoline on the water, a diving dock, trout for fishing, a beach, and paddle boats. Now my twins hadn't been on a paddle boat. As soon as we got there, Luke put on the swimming vest and pushed the boat in the water and hops in alone. You see him take a minute, paddle forward, paddle backward, turn right, turn left, figuring it out. He calmly backs up, turns and plays in the boat for 20 minutes. Brings it to shore, backing it in, pulling it on the sand for the next people. Then he hops in the canoe with some other kids, to paddle the lake.

Out comes Maggie, swim vest on, hops in the paddle boat. If her twin can do it, so can she. No fear here like Mom has of new things, but also no natural abilities. She paddles all around the lake, having fun, but ends up in the middle. Going around in circles. No clue how to stop or go another direction or how to get back. Starts screaming, "Mom, Mom, help! help!"

Of course you know I can't help. Luke is on the trampoline by now. Elder son Wild child is swimming. Wild child hops in the other paddle boat, goes to the trampoline to pick up Luke, who hops in the side. Luke doesn't even sit, just crouches ready to jump in the other paddle boat. They pull up along side Maggie, and Luke jumps in, pushing Maggie to the other seat, and steers her back to shore. All at age 8. Amazing.

Mom was on shore watching with amused eyes, trying hard not to cry as I was holding in the laughter. Poor Maggie I thought, she has my stupid mechanical genes. Well, I knew just what to do. Bake cookies. Why cookies? Because I always bake cookies to get what I want fixed. Age old solution, the way to a man's....mechanics is through his stomach.

Come on Maggie, time for that baking lesson. And that entry level mechanics class. It's the 21st century. Women need to do it all. And boys, Luke and Wild Child, come learn how to bake those cookies you love. The way to a good woman's heart is through a gourmet meal, so let's go.

Well rounded strengths. That's what we all need. As for me, well, what kind of cookies do you want?