Saturday, October 30, 2010

Young Frankenstein Clips to Make You Laugh

                 Busy Busy Busy; not a minute (much less 10 to breathe). Fall clean-up, food shopping for myfamily and my Mother; cleaning the house and yes...getting ready for all those trick or treaters tomorrow....oops I forgot ...I need to buy some candy! Well, since I really  have nothing to post today (about my ten minutes) I figured I would post some clips of one of my favorite movies Young Frankenstein. I always watch it around this time of year and it always cracks me up.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween!
                                               Young Frankenstein : Whos brain was it ???

Planning Something to Look Forward to

                  When my daughter was first born I was 34 years old. I was married already two years and she was the most wanted baby ever. I loved her even before I knew she was growing inside me. About three weeks after she was born I took a look at myself in the mirror and was horrified to see an unkempt weary woman with breast milk stains on her t-shirt. How come I couldn't get my act together? I had heard of all those horror stories of women not being able to take showers for days and I thought...impossible. But there I was waiting anxiously for my husband to come home from work so that I could take my ten minute vacation in the shower...aaahhhh bliss.....a shower had never felt so good. A few more weeks passed and even though I loved being a new mommy; I did miss one aspect of my previous life.......the planning. I loved being able to plan. I was wrapped up in everyday; every minute; every second routines that I really missed the planning. No matter how much money we had or didn't have my husband and I always enjoyed planning for the next outing or next trip. The time between the end of summer and right before the chill of fall is when we start to make plans.  We talk about things we would like to see and do in the winter all the way up to the spring and summer. And low costs is a priority of course. We go camping, go on day outings and if we can afford it....plan a vacation. So I have spent ten minutes today jotting down all the things I would like to do with my family for the next year. Many are day trips and one (I hope ) will be a vacation out of state.....I dream of Cinderella's castle!  I look at my beautiful children now and I know that one day they may very well not want to hang out with us as much and that's OK....(I've never been to therapy but I hear it does wonders). But now, right now they still do.Thank God. This year we'll go into the city to see the tree and then January Medieval Times maybe or February or March go to see a show. April...haven't gotten there yet but you get the picture. It feels so good to plan, to have plans, and ultimately to live those plans. You have to have something to look forward if you have any places that you have visited and are great family trips; I would love to hear from you. I need to plan for the summer;-)
How to Plan a Vacation on a Budget
                                                                     Hope these links help with your own plans!
How to Take a Nice Vacation on a Budget

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No one wants to win the "I got it worse than you game" so why do so many people play?

               Conversations with my friends at 16
                                    "Did you see the new Madonna video?"
                                    "What are you wearing to the dance?"
                                     "Did he say he likes me likes me or just just likes me?"

               Conversations with friends in my twenties
                                    "I'm only going to work here a few years then I'm going to do what I really want to do"
                                    " If I get to bed by 5am, I'll be totally fine with just two hours sleep"
                                    " Pass the baby oil, I need to tan"

                Conversations with friends in our thirties.
                                     "Getting Married!"
                                     "Did you see that Sesame Street video? My baby loves it!"
                                     "I'd kill for more sleep."
                                      "I can't leave this job, I need the insurance."

                 Conversations in our 40's
                                      "I can't sleep."
                                      "I'm worried about the kids."
                                      "I'm worried about my Parents"
                                      "My knees hurt."
                                      "I heard she also has cancer"
                                      "What are you taking for acid reflux, because the doctor told me to..."

Recently at a family dinner party My Brother-in-law whipped out the blood pressure machine and we all proceeded to get our stats. We all joked around and had a good conversation about healthy living but deep underneath all the laughs there is a quiet fear sprouting; a what if  kind of fear that wasn't really prevalent in our twenties and thirties. I looked around and realized hey how did we all get here? It seems that just yesterday (OK, twenty years ago) we would have conversations about every other topic but health. But then again we probably ate at McDonald's everyday for lunch too. Cholesterol? Blood pressure? hogwash!  not us......idiots. Something happens in your forties. Its a realization that time flies. We are mortal, and the indescribable yearning for not fame or fortune, but Happiness, health and Family are most important. I catch myself at times wanting to waaa waa waaaaa cry and complain; then suddenly everyone around you is doing the same thing.  "Oh my back!" then someone else says "Oh, you think you got it bad? Doctor says I might need an operation!" Then someone else adds "I knew someone who died right on the operating table!" Round and round we play the game of whose got it worse. I'm out.  I don't want to win that game.So I've decided today to take a few minutes to meditate and exhale the bad and breathe in the good. I Thanked God for all the great Blessings he has given me and I will try my hardest not to tarnish this day with negative thoughts. Oh my is this an irregular shaped mole!? Nope just spilled a bit of brown paint on my hand. PHEW!close one. Hey, I said I would try.

the hills are alive with only my own stupid voice 'cause i think no ones reading my blog :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


          This year I tried hard to get the kids their costumes early. Bouncing from one party store to the next trying to find the one costume that my son absolutely must wear was not going to be me this year. He loves the Harry Potter books and so of course he is going to be Harry Potter.  "Real" Harry Potter broom stick...$20 Harry Potter glasses 6.99, Harry Potter wand 5.99 and oh yes that darn robe...another 20; for a grand total of $53- My Daughter (who had decided just today that she indeed is not too old for trick or treating) opted for a Alice in wonderland costume for 35.  I know I know some of you Mom are experts in sewing and coming up with creative ways to make costumes but I have tried and I have come to believe making them more often then not costs just about the same. My experiences as a kid was going to the local card store and picking out a box (for about $5) with a mask and some kind of plastic costume that ripped and came apart two minutes after putting it on. Do any of you remember that? Please tell me that I wasn't the only one. Do you remember those creepy princess masks that could only be worn for a few minutes because of the claustrophobia it produced? I envied my friends whose Moms made their costumes every year; At least they weren't dying from heat stroke in something that was just one level from a plastic bag, but it really didn't matter was and is all about the candy. For about a week after Halloween I stuffed my face with chocolate bars, lolly pops and chewy fruity candies. When I first got married I moved from the big city to the burbs and was eagerly awaiting my first Halloween here. I went out and spent a fortune on chocolate bars and even made goodies bags to hand out. After waiting and waiting the bell finally rang. I played the spooky music and ran downstairs to give out the treats. As soon as the first group saw that I was giving out bags of candies instead of individual treats they yelled to their friends
"Hey this lady has bags! This lady has bags!" From everywhere hoards of kids came and I was out of candy within an hour. The next year I bought twice as much and as Murphy's law would have it ...I had to stay extra late at work and missed the majority of the trick or  treaters. I was stuck with so much candy that later on the mere sight of a Three Musketeers bar would make me dry heave. I have learned a few lessons.....always buy candies that you yourself like ( you might be stuck with them) Don't open your door after a certain time. At 9:30 a kid ( I think) came to the door wearing that hideous scream mask,  He or she didn't say a word...just slowly stuck out his bag in front of him.....creeped me out! If you can avoid it don't place the bowl in from of the house and expect kids to take just one...maybe the little guys early on with do that because Mom is watching but later on when the bigger kids come its another story. Don't leave real pumpkins lit with real candles outside. Kids costumes can catch fire; use the small battery operated candles instead. As always inspect all candies. Have fun and please tell the kids to watch out for cars. Oh very a few candies for yourself. I'll be putting aside some peanut butter cups...those are my favorites.     

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Doll House

          click here----->  Sesame Street Dollhouse song. Remember this?

                               Today I went to the toy store with my kids. My son had saved up for a Lego set and now he was ready to buy it. The store was not crowded and so we took our time after we found his legos to look around and see what was new. I love toy stores. The only time I don't particularly care for them is around Christmas time when they are hot and crowded and the energy in them is that of pure desperation to find that one toy missing on the list; but today was different.  It wasn't crowded and Christmas is still far enough away. My daughter who is 12 still enjoys looking at all the cute stuffed animals and craft projects. My son was pretty much dedicated to the Lego aisle. I am always drawn to the doll houses. Every since I could remember Doll houses have been my favorite. The dolls house sold at toy stores are usually made of hard plastic and cost anywhere between $59. to $179.+ dollars.  The ones that I was always intrigued with were the wooden ones.  I had friend who had a real doll house; one with mini wall paper and moulding on the walls. It had real rugs and the plates and utensils were made of porcelain and metal. The chandelier seemed made of real crystals and the baby's room even had tiny teddy bears made of material and stuffed to feel the same as the real thing. When my friend got older the dollhouse became a part of her mother and father's living room dusted occasionally but never really played with. A guest to their home once offered them 5,000 dollars for the house and my friend flatly refused.  Another friend of mine showed me her childhood doll house that her brother lovingly built for her. There before me was another masterpiece of miniature proportions. Beds made out of real wood and curtains perfectly sewn with teeny tiny lace edgings were trapped in time. Every now and then I would come across a doll house in a craft store or on display and that old yearning for one bubbled through. You see a doll house was never on my list for Christmas and I don't know why. Maybe I thought they might be too expensive and I knew my Mom and Dad could not afford such a thing? I don't know. All I know is the yearning for one was always there. A few years back I went to my favorite craft store and saw that they were having a sale on.....doll houses! They are sold in kits but were still  priced a bit too high for me; The least of which was $250. Then I saw the cabin. A box with a  one room cabin kit inside. Perfect size and perfect price. It was marked down to $25. I quickly bought it and spent one afternoon putting it together and painting it. In the following weeks my daughter and I bought furniture and she volunteered her old "Loving Family" dolls as the new "home owners" I made pioneer or Amish clothes for them. They are a bit disproportionate not being exactly the 1/12 ratio but look cute just the same. I placed the whole thing in the bay window of the kitchen and  for the most part watch it get destroyed everyday as my dog max shoves his front paws on the window to watch for squirrels ( well, at least he doesn't eat them). Now today while we looked at all those toys (and I mentally took notes of all the prices) I looked at the doll houses and turned to my daughter and asked......Hey what about.....  She said " Naw mom,....I'm kind of big for that now." Too grown for a doll house? My Twelve year old is too grown for a doll house. How come I'm not?  At home I took ten minutes or so to fix up the cabin . I placed the toppled over dolls in their rightful spots and straightened the table setting with the fake chocolate cake I made. My daughter fixed the animals in the barn (we made out of lincoln logs) and said "Hey mom, you know what we need here? A garden.".... I just listened and smiled.

Friday, October 22, 2010

10 Minutes To Pray for.....

             I am a great believer in prayer. It was prayer and God's answer to them that gave me strength and held me up during the worst times of my life. I felt others giving me strength through their prayers for me. In turn I have seen the results of praying with others as well. A calmness and clarity that seems to envelope people after they pray is truly God's way of saying
 "It's OK, I am here."
Over the summer I was at a J's house enjoying her bath temp pool. As my other friend A and I were having a conversation about prayer J's husband asked
" What is it exactly that you pray for?"
I answered. "I pray for my family, my friends. I pray to give thanks...." I have so much to be thankful for. Today I was going to write about something completely different but this post kept creeping in nagging at me and finally I have given in. I believe in prayer. I  pray for those close to me and those around the world that may be suffering, but today I chose to pray for those that perhaps have lost their way.  In the news recently was reported a story of a neighbor feud that has resulted in one neighbor harassing a dying child. Despicable I thought. When I saw this woman's face on TV spouting such evilness I wished ( like I'm sure many have ) I could have reached through the screen and given her a taste of what she has inflicted to that little girl. I read that many have taken to the Internet to post their own version of taunts at this woman and her husband. I wondered if instead of doing that we all prayed for her? The thought almost left a bad taste in my mouth. I remember being bullied as a child and even so I cannot fathom what this little girl and her family have been going through. Then I thought again, what if....I took time out today to pray for the little girl but at the same time I prayed for her tormentor and her family too. For me this is not that easy. I am not a readily forgiving person; it takes me a long long time (something I struggle with and pray constantly about )and quite honestly I don't know if (God forbid) this happened to me or my family I would be able to pray for her. I hope and pray that I never have to find that out. That being said I thought hard and tried to place my heart in a giving, calm, loving state. I mean  I spend so much time praying for those who I love; why not pray for those who at this moment are in a very dark place in their lives?  I prayed that God would change that woman and her husband's heart. I prayed that God's light would shine on them and they would see...truly see God's love for them because once we see and feel His love for us there is NO turning back!  Do I hear an Amen? 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dinner Party, Dinner Flop

                        Do you float through your dinner parties gracefully filling glasses and plates with sumptuous drinks and foods that are so artfully put together people don't know whether to eat them or frame them? When you welcome your guest at the door are you in full professional-like makeup wearing some beautiful designer outfit? I am NOT that person and it has been a struggle, but a funny one.

OK, picture it. I was married a little under a year and was very nervous to cook for anyone much less my Husband's family.  I invited my in laws My Mother-in-law (who's a great cook) My Father-in-law (who's not afraid to state his opinions), My two Brothers-in-law and Sister-in-law. My Husband and I decided to cook fresh fish with a side of pasta and home-made pesto. We would have a great starter (don't remember what it was) and a home-made cake with gourmet ice cream. Simple enough right? Hold that thought.

Early that morning my husband went to the Fish market to get the freshest fish fillets possible. Light beautiful fish fillets....He came back with thick cuts of fish steaks (fish cut across the spine instead of long thinner slices cut along either side of the spine. no bones) I was a bit peeved. OK, I'm lying I was fuming! I had no time to go on a rant because I was busy making fresh pesto and decided there was nothing I could do about it. The dinner would be OK I was sure. Since my husband and I weren't used to both being in the kitchen working together we were completely stepping on each other's toes figuratively and physically.

 Everything took twice as long to make and we didn't figure in the time to clean up and the time it would take to get ready. Our guests found us both in our jeans, bare foot and me fresh face no make up. We said the heck with it and kept on going. Wine served and appetizers on their way. Now what happened next wasn't tragic or life threating but we look back and my husband and I think it was hilarious. My husband or I (we blame each other) decided to put the pasta in the boiling water way too early then forgot about it. The resulting pasta, was not al dente more like al mushe. We tried again. As I collected all the appetizer plates my darling husband was serving the pasta and fish dishes. Now anyone who knows my Husband knows he definitely comes from a place called More is More.  I watched in horror as our guests were being served pasta with Mountains of pesto on top.

As I prayed that no one would choke on  fish bones I was sent on the brink of insanity and complete despair when as our family conversed I discovered their teeth were covered with the green pesto. I was mortified. My Gracious in-laws accepted this disastrous meal (which tasted OK) with the love that it was intended for them to feel...  and never spoke of it again. Since then My husband and I have entertained quite a bit and have gotten the hang of working together as a team. With a few exceptions... the great Meatball debacle of 2004 and the barbecue that almost wasn't of 2006. We decide ahead of time who is in charge of what and we keep to that agreement throughout the night. Helping each other only when asked and scheduling twice as much time for everything just in case things go wrong. So far so good; which brings me back to how I spent my ten minutes today. I made a list of possible meals ideas and dates when we could have guests thing though ....pesto is NOT on the list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Have Ice Cream

            It started the one year where we went on a family vacation. I had spent weeks preparing. I bought the cutest summer outfits for my Daughter who was 18 months old at the time; making sure that I had packed more than enough baby foods, diapers, and medicines just in case. I packed toys for the plane and snacks that I knew would be hard to find at our destination.
Day of: Excitedly we boarded a very early flight My husband carried the car seat to secure our daughter on the plane. Trying to attach the car seat to the seat was no easy task but hey he did it. Baby secured we took our seats on either side of her and broke out the toys. As the minutes ticked by without any sort of movement from the plane I began to get antsy. About an hour or so after we had boarded; all the passengers were  told to disembark the plane. My husband and I quickly unstrapped and lugged both tired baby and carrier only to be told just minutes after we got off to get back on. Fast forward to the mad dash across another airport to try to catch an connecting flight (we didn't make it); an excruciating wait in standby, and only one diaper left in the bag. We made it. From then on everything was a blurr. All plans that I had painstakingly made went wrong in one way or another. Around the fourth day of our beautiful vaca we wandered around with our baby (she was content and full of her favorite foods) and realized my husband and I had not eaten at all that day.  Every restaurant and fast food stands were bulging with people. The thought of bringing our now sleeping daughter into another crowded noisy place was not an option. "I'm staying here." I informed my husband "I don't want a thing."
"OK, stay here he said. "I'll get us some lunch." I was annoyed at his chipper attitude and the only thing I looked forward to was sweet sleep later on. I was nearly just about to give up on him when he appeared through the crowd...holding two huge ice cream cones.
"Here ya go." he said joyfully. "Lunch."
What? he looked at his exhausted wife and said "You know what Honey, sometimes you just gotta have ice cream."
 I smiled.  A lady next to us nodded and laughed then said "I'm going to have that too."  My mood instantly changed. There's just something about that creamy smooth frozen treat that defies any ill temperament. So as hoards of people raced here and there to get the next must see attraction we sat happily licking our ice cream cones as if we were five. Our daughter woke up just in time to try some too.  The rest of the vacation wasn't picture perfect as I had hoped but it was great just the same. Today was one of those days when things just didn't go well. My mood was crappy, bills are piling up on the table, my TV is still on the blink and even the kids were complaining about one thing or another that did not go well today. We all needed a break. In the middle of home work and me starting dinner preparations I summoned the kids to the car and we all got ice cream cones from one of our favorite drive-thrus. We spent ten minutes quietly enjoying our treat Before dinner....sometimes you just have to have ice cream....or in my case a Yogurt parfait...I'm on a diet, but you get the picture.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Death of the Vacuum, the Printer and Anything Else?

                    It never fails. Every Fall as the leaves turn different shades of red, orange and of our  appliances breakdown. So, I was not surprised while vacuuming that my vacuum decided to smoke then die. Goodbye vacuum say hello to the washer and dryer, the microwave and stove when you get to that great place where all appliances go to rest forever. I mean is it me or do appliances or things in general not last long at all anymore? I recall my family having the same TV for as long as I could remember; same fridge, same radio even. At my in-laws where there must be a flux in the Time Space Continuum everything last forever. Dishes from before my mother-in-laws birth lay spotless and unchipped in the china cabinet. Plates that are used on a continual basis look brand new and she even has clothes from the fifties that look as if she bought them yesterday..."What gives?" I ask myself.  I mean just yesterday I was ironing a blouse and it shredded before my eyes...not burned SHREDDED! And something is definitely wrong with our printer because it refuses to even turn on every now and then. I am convinced that nothing is built to last anymore and the "help" 1-800 numbers are filled with people who ( I think) are told to make you wait as long as possible and then they repeat everything you say in the form of a question so that the whole ordeal brings your blood pressure up to lethal levels... 
"Hello, I'm having trouble with my printer".
"So you say you're having trouble with your printer?"
"Yes, It doesn't turn on at all right now."
"So you say you're having trouble with your printer and it doesn't turn on right now??"
" was working fine yesterday"
"Yes. so it was working fine yesterday but does not turn on today? on and on until you ultimately decide that it would be better and probably less expensive to replace the darn thing. So after a long day, dishes cleared, kids in bed, house calm; I would spend my 10 minutes watching a little TV (that's about how much time it take me to fall asleep in front of it ) Our five year old TV.What? the color green doesn't appear....... I turn it off and open a magazine ......the curse is alive and well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dogs in Heaven? Ten Minutes With Max and You'd say YES

My Max

           A while ago while having a pleasant conversation with a friend, we were sharing funny stories about our Dogs (which are many) and she commented on how some people believe that animals don't go to heaven. I hadn't given it much thought ever and quite frankly the whole idea of it made me sad. My dog Max is a little over a year and a half old and is just about the sweetest dog there is. I got him at the pound and they told me they got him from a kill shelter in Tenn. When I first saw him his tag read TLC which meant he was quite sick. He was the tiniest dog up for adoption that day. He had black fur from tiny head to tiny tail, he smelled like old newspapers and his tiny black nose was runny. I was in love.  He quickly grew but not by much really. the enormous lab we expected turned into a terrier lab mix we think; and he is small. But quite frankly big on love. He is generous with his kisses and he loves to cuddle. He was a quick learner and was housebroken within two weeks. While surfing different blogs I came across someone who had just lost their dog. It was heart breaking and it reminded me of the conversation with my friend. Today I spent extra time with my dog, we walked around the neighborhood and even ran a bit. I believe that something that loves so unconditionally; an animal that is so devoted and protective and yes even animal that is all that and more God most definitely has a place in heaven for them. I believe that with all my heart and as I type this post Max is wagging his tail......I think he agrees.

Down with Dream Squashers

             There was an incident today that I witnessed between two people which made me think of an episode of Everybody loves Raymond. I over heard one lady telling another about her exciting news. She was about to finally sell her crafts at some craft fair in the spring. The other said "Ugh, Crafts fairs? They are alright but......".She went on about how the craft lady will probably not get what she wants for the crafts. Blah blah blah. then added "Do you think your crafts are good enough for a Craft fair?" The craft lady listened and tried to interject but was left with simply nodding and listening to doubt and what seemed like disapproval.  After a while the lady who was so happy about her news lowered her voice and then changed the subject altogether. The other lady seemed unaware of what she had just done. The craft lady seemed dejected. I felt badly for her. I spent the next few minutes thinking about the lady with the good news. Will she go ahead with her plans? I hope so.I theorize that in everyone's life there exists a Dream Squasher. I first heard that term on an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Robert, the long suffering jealous brother of Ray advises Debra (his sister-in-law) to stay away from the Dream Squashers (the family members that had not supported any dream that he had growing up).  He called them Dream Squashers and it was hilarious. It was so true. Everyone has a Dream Squasher in their lives. Now, I'm not talking about those individuals in your life that might be showing concern for your safety or who question on occasion because they truly want to understand your choices. I'm writing about those who consistently question; consistently doubt.  You might have a Dream Squasher in your life right now. Do you hear this?
"That'll never work"
"Hey, good for you but are you sure you want to go that route?"
"Oh you lost some weight? I couldn't tell"
"No offense but that's dumb."
"You're wearing that?"
"You'll never..."
 They could be a co-worker that makes you second guess your work constantly or a family member or friend who regularly  no matter what you have accomplished (or are happy about in your life)  they, instead of saying "way to go!" they say..."Really? That's good , but... I don't think you can........" or even worse they say nothing at all. There's nothing worse than receiving an apathetic response when you are on a high over a great moment or decision  in your life. While most are saying go for it or congratulations the D Ss are telling you everything that you are doing wrong or how it might just blow up in your face. Do you leave feeling sort of robbed of your joy? Dream Squashers. Think about it...when was the last time you were excited about something? New job? Got a raise? Started a hobby? Met someone new? Made something with your own two hands? Or even something as simple as getting recognized for something you did. You are so happy and when people find out about it....Which are the people that say
 "Hey, great job! Well done Congratulations!" Picture them. See them? Good. Now, on the other hand you'll know who the Dreams Squashers are by their BUTS
"Ah new job huh....well that's great, but..."
" Alot more responsibility for you? that's great ,but......
 "That's great news, but ..
"...but...that will never work...ever".
Or the dreaded " Hey you're losing the baby how much more weight do you have to lose?".....Dream Squashers. There's only one way to handle them I think; ask
 "Now what made you say that?" because you see they might not know that they are a Dream Squasher.  Then just wait; eventually they'll get it...hopefully. So currently what are you working on?  Going for that promotion or spending more time exploring? Are you building something? Writing a book?  Going back to school? Going back to your Faith? Donating your time to a Charity? Painting? Arranging Flowers? Learning to cook? Reading more? Great! Good for you! ...I theorize that almost everyone has been a Dream Squasher at some time or another.We all have our moments. I know I have. We are all human. Hopefully we are blessed with more people that support and encourage us then not. And hopefully we support and encourage others then not. We have a choice. Do we want to crush dreams or encourage and support? I  hope and pray to do the latter. This afternoon I had a great conversation with my son. He was reading to me a "Book"  he is writing. He's decided to continue the Harry Potter series and he says he is going to send the finished story to J.K.Rowling ( the creator and writer of the Harry Potter books)so she could read it and maybe get ideas for some "new" stories . He asks me what I thought of the idea. I looked at his big handwriting and saw all the hard work he has already put into it. I listened intently to all the plots he came up with. His excitement was inspiring. Did I look in my nine-year-old's beautiful eyes and tell him that the text was a bit sloppy and J. K. Rowling would probably never see freaking way. I said "Go for it! You are a great writer." He left my side with a great big smile on his face and you know what? Who knows, Maybe J. K. will read it and like it...I look at my son and I bet he will be a great writer some day, or Lego designer,or Scientist,or even an ice cream man.........No Dream Squashing here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ten minutes to gather up the change.

                Ode to  the change jar. Nah, I can't write poetry. My husband And I have this jar... an enormous jar that once I think held pickles. It's big. I think we bought those pickles from Costco. Now you know how big the jar is.  After the jar was empty we decided  it could be a great change jar. We kept it under the counter and every now and then would empty our pockets and in my case an extremely cluttered purse and mindlessly tink, tink, tink the change would fall into the change jar. Fast forward to when we decided to take our first family trip to Disney. Right before our trip we experienced a unexpected money crises (with us cars and big appliances always break down when its close to Christmas or right before a trip). We couldn't cancel the trip.. the flights we already paid for, but if we went this meant that we were going to be short of cash for the first two days on our vacation (until direct deposit would have our pay checks). Now if you have ever gone to Disney you know that everything there cost twice as much as you think it might. Sometimes even three times as much. "Hey what about the change jar?" I asked. "We should cash it in." I added thinking that we would get a bit of cushion money until we got paid. So off we went to cash in the enormous glass jar. I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed. In order to avoid rolling the coins we walked into the local supermarket (where they had one of those Coin Star Machines) only to find that we had to wait while two other people changed their coins. It was sort like a club.. a "Need Money Now" club. I thought we would get maybe a hundred dollars or so. Turns out we were able to pay for most the hotel bill with what was in that jar! From then on we lovingly called it our vacation jar and have used it from time to time to help with expenses for a family get-a-ways. Now since we are experts we just take it to the bank that has a coin machine of their own and they don't charge a fee per dollar.On our last camping trip we bought the groceries with it! I've even gotten friends to use one too. My friend recently cashed in her tiny jar that she keeps on her kitchen table and got $167.00! So today I took ten minutes to go through all my purses and deposited all the change in the jar. Mickey.....I'll see you next year!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


            I used to think that asking for help or even accepting it made me weak.  My Brothers would get mad at me when we were younger because they would find out about my problems after I had already solved them or after I had a complete and total meltdown. Asking for help I thought was not an option. While I was in High School my Dad became very sick and then was temporarily laid off from his job. The result...very hard times. Since I attended a Catholic school the effort that it took to keep me enrolled was daunting. I had joined a club and in it we were to have a dinner. I bowed out gracefully knowing that I could not afford the 10 dollars that was needed to attend. My friends (knowing my plight) paid for me and made me go. I thanked them but inside I was furious. I didn't want to be a charity case. I felt embarrassed and weak when the night of the dinner came. I faked my smile the whole time. I knew that everyone there knew how I had gotten there and my pride was bruised. I equated their kindness to losing my dignity. I wasn't grateful. I know that  God was probably trying to tell me something but I was too tangled in my pride to listen. Fast forward 30+ years. Before my cancer (which is now gone). I was in the super market (My least favorite place in the world) and as I was about to pay the middle-aged cashier, a man who looked like he was homeless walked up to her and handed her some change. She in turn rolled her eyes and said  "No, it's OK don't worry about it." He then said "Thank you so much for what you did before, but I got the money and I can pay you now." She sighed and took what looked like less than ten cents. As he walked away she muttered "I told him that it was OK he shouldn't have come back here. He apparently had bought something and didn't have the correct change. She added "came back to give me just a few pennies...please" she was unbelievably annoyed. I got it I got it.It wasn't the money . He was saving his dignity. He had to bring that money to her. That small gesture was his way of saying "I still have my dignity." This man who has practically nothing and who is probably seen by some as nothing graciously accepted her gift and came back to give her a gift in return. He wanted to thank and show her that he was someone in dire straits but with dignity just the same. He was able to receive graciously and give back but she didn't see or understand him.(or maybe she did later on I hope).  He was trying to let her see him as a person. A real flesh and blood person. I am convinced that lesson was for me to remember.  I can give but accepting help is hard. When I got sick a few years later I was forced to think of that man over and over as I had to accept that people were praying for me instead of the other way round. I had to accept my sister-in -law's help with consistent (and sometimes without much warning) help with babysitting. I had to give my husband the task of drainage tubes, and cleaning scars that I myself could not even look at. I had to accept that it didn't make me weak, or less made me loved. Lesson finally learned. I am grateful so grateful to God for it. Every now and then I need a reminder but with age come wisdom....I hope. So for a long time today I prayed for anyone who is going through the tough battle of cancer and hope that you allow others who love you to help you. Whether it's the neighbor who brings you dinner or the person who offers to pick up your kids from school. Their gift to you is their way of helping and accepting is your way of helping them too.  So these ten minutes have been spent writing this but today was a day to remember, pray and to finally look back to those High School friends and say Hey guys, Thank you so much...I really do appreciate it now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Kiss for Mom

             This morning I got up at the unbelievably ugly hour of 6am...actually it was more like 5:55 (damn that internal clock!). I robotically  started the day by getting my daughter and son up for school. Mindlessly I made two breakfasts and packed two lunches. I ran downstairs to get the clothes I washed and dried at 11pm, then I ironed and made sure everyone looked their best. I, on the other hand sported a lopsided pony tail and wore a flowered print pajama top and a completely different patterned pajama bottom. Hey, its clean! My daughter, who is in middle school caught the early bus and I drove my son to his elementary school  for before-school-activities. As I walked with him to the school doors I leaned to give him a kiss and he turned his face away. Naturally I thought he was joking so I tried to kiss him goodbye again. He said in a whiny bothered tone "Mom,.....stop."  I was getting the BRUSH OFF the HEAVE HOE The SEE YA LATER ALLIGATOR The DON"T CALL US WE"LL CALL YOU. ....ME...MOM! He's nine! Isn't this supposed to happen when he's 12 or 13? I mean I wasn't wearing the mismatched PJs anymore. Just last night he gave me a big hug. What the heck happened? I 'll tell you what happened. I have officially become embarrassing to him. There is a stage in a child's life where the mere presence of a parent within ten feet of  them and their friends will send a child into a mortified frenzy. So shocked and yes a tiny bit hurt I came home and took ten minutes to look at pictures of my son; from birth to now. So sweet, and always by my side. he's kind and loving and creative and now HE DOESN'T want to kiss me goodbye. I was having a virtual pity party until....I found a picture of me; in it I was about 10. I remember feeling a bit embarrassed whenever my mother was around when I was with friends, but eventually kids find out that every parent is embarrassing to their own kids and they come around. I kiss my mom and my husband kisses his parents hello and goodbye. So I spent ten minutes longingly looking at snap shots of the past and being grateful that there are more to come. He's healthy thank God; and I'll wait patiently for tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that... until I get my kiss.

Hating on Oprah

              Ok, I don't hate Oprah. I admire her very much. I mean the woman came from practically nothing and created a kingdom where she is the supreme ruler. Anyone who has written a book and it gets mentioned on Oprah....well suddenly that book is flying off the shelves; And if she cries while you're singing lookout Grammys! She definitely has the Midas touch.  I am  JEALOUS, not of Oprah...I'm jealous of those damn people that get to be on her give-a-way shows. I mean could you imagine being on one of those shows? She has been interviewed about those episodes and she says that it's kept hush hush; no one knows until she starts screaming "You get a car and You get a car!" When I turned 39 all of a sudden I became very consumed with my mortality and yes, even a bit depressed that all the things that I thought I would do I probably wouldn't. I would never be a ballerina (didn't matter that I never took a lesson in my life). I would never be a professional singer (my voice is OK but I can't sing in front of crowds) and I would never be a mega bazillionaire with my own talk show. It wasn't so much that I really wanted to do those was that the possibility was there. In my twenties the sky was the limit. In your forties reality sets in and you either reach for different goals or live in the past. So whenever I would see one of those shows I would say "Man one day wouldn't it be great to get on that show?One day I'll write in for tickets." Now that she is leaving; there's another damn thing I won't be able to do... ever. The possibility of her pointing at me and saying "You get a villa in France!" are nill and void. So today I took ten minutes to make a list of all the great things I have done and things I want to do. Top of the list of great things I have done in my life....My Kids. Top of the list of things I want to do...Spend more time with my family. Oh there was more stuff written on both lists. I just wanted to share the most important. So keep the Villa Oprah. I'll be just fine giving up that dream ....but if you happen to want to give me a car........ ;-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekends Are Full of Hope and Thank God For That

             Today was a another beautiful sunny Fall day. We woke up a bit later than usual and as is our ritual we had a big leisurely breakfast. I love Saturdays and Sundays. Saturdays especially are one day that anything can happen. As a child the most incredible adventures happened on the weekend. To me these days are full of ...Hope. These are the days when breakfast isn't rushed and lunch doesn't come in a lunch box. As a kid weekends were two days to hang out and have fun; as an adult its a few days to reconnect, renew, and rediscover. Today was no different. Invited to my Brother and Sister-in-law's house today for a quiet dinner is always great. My Daughter and Nephew who are both 12 are six months apart and so they act like brother and sister....(without the fighting) and my 9 year-old tags along and they don't mind. Grandma and Grandpa took the long drive out to spend time with family and enjoy great spaghetti and meatballs...And especially to see and enjoy our latest addition to the family sweet baby niece who is 11 months old today, but who took 8 years to get here.  Because this morning and afternoon went by in a flash I feared that I would not have time to take ten minutes out to meditate or do anything by myself without being interrupted....until I spent time with the baby. My sister-in-law appreciated the time to finish cooking without the gently tug of the baby needing attention and I  didn't realize it but my wonderful ten minutes today were spent with " da baby" as my nephew likes to say. We sat on the rug and she showed me how she plays. She pushed buttons that played music, knocked down stacking bowls and hugged her little ladybug dolly. She even gave me a hug and I was in heaven. Playing with her made me think of how much she is loved and how much her parents prayed and hoped for her. Hope is an amazing thing isn't it? Whether it's the hope of having a great Weekend with your family or the hope of having another child. Without it life would be so sad indeed. Hope gives us reason to think yes, can happen. Thank God. So today I spent 10+minutes with a miracle...who is possibly cutting a tooth.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Time Flies

              As you can tell I am new to blogging. Quite frankly up until very recently I didn't really know what it was. On the computer I can't seem to figure out even the simplest things. The language is completely new too--and its quite embarrassing when after spending an hour trying to figure something out my 12-year-old Daughter (having complete pity on me) clicks a few buttons and voila..problem solved. How did I get so behind? How did I get such a big behind? Time,Time, Time and bread and butter. I used to be current with everything now I feel like I fell asleep and woke up 20 years later. Time seems to go by at super sonic speed and we don't realize it until its gone. One second could mean the difference between life and death and yet we waste so much of it;  or we try to cram so much into it that it loses it's quality. Today was a beautiful Fall day and right in the middle of doing things that I had to do. I decided to go for a walk with my Daughter. She on her skates and me frantically trying to control our dog Max. We took a lot longer than 10 minutes and I don't remember talking about anything life changing but it was nice all the same. Before I know it she will be off to college and I'll wonder (as I do now) where has the time gone. I'm glad I got to freeze it for a little while this afternoon.

Ten minutes dreading Christmas

                                       I decided to get up ten minutes earlier today...OK not really. I just didn't hit the snooze. I love Fridays, because on Saturdays I DON'T have to get up at 6am. Ooh that is such an awful awful time to get up! I am definite a night owl.  I put one foot on the floor and the chill zapped me into the realization that summer is officially over. I'm one of those people that refuse to accept the inevitable; I live in complete denial of the fact that summer has eventually come to an end. I'm that idiot who will wear flip flops until the crunching of brown and red  leaves beneath them cements the reality of Autumn in my brain. Listen, I appreciate the change colors of the season. I love looking at the myriad of trees and the explosion of reds yellows and orange, but does that also have to mean sweaters, jeans and gasp...socks and shoes? I guess the real reason why I get so sad about the end of summer is that my mind goes straight to Christmas. Christmas? Yeah Christmas! It seems that one day we are barbecuing on labor day then bam I'm running around Christmas eve trying to find that little something for someone I forgot to buy for. It doesn't help that stores have Christmas stuff up day after Halloween or even in the case of my local Stop and Shop...NOW. And let me tell you store owners...listening? It does not soothe or put me in the Christmas spirit when you start piping in Christmas songs in October. So This morning I meditated for ten minutes. my mantra was "I will enjoy the Fall. I will enjoy the fall". Relaxed and calm I then woke up the kids to start the day. During breakfast my nine year old son said "Hey mom, I started my Christmas list." my neck went stiff and heartburn was on its way. I responded "That's good Hun, show me later".  Fa la la la la  I need another ten minutes...

Friday, October 08, 2010

why "10 minutes 2 breathe?"

       Why? Because that is what I say everyday several times a day. Hi, my name is Joanne and this is my very first blog...big deal right? Everyone has a blog these days.I am 47 sheeze...wait...I'm 35 yep that's better.I know a lot about many things but i am an expert in why blog? Because I need ten minutes everyday where i can just breathe. I know i know we all breathe, but what i mean is b r e a t h e. 

I mean do you ever find yourself so tense that you have kept your eyebrows up in a surprise position for an extended period of time; and when they are back to their normal position you ask "Wow, how long have i been walking around like that? 

Or everything you do during the day seems like it is being accomplished by auto pilot.Driving home from work and not remembering the drive? Sound familiar? Everyday I say or yell "I just need ten minutes to breathe!" But I never quite get around to it. 

If I sit down for a second '''There goes the mind racing to all the things that need to be done, money problems, and the dreaded "What the H#ll am i going to cook for dinner?" I hate that one. And  believe me I know things could be so much worse. I have experienced the depths of despair (cancer) and perhaps that experience has made me antsy to just change things up a bit; nothing major like training for a marathon or losing 50 pounds (which was on my list last year for about one minute. Bread and weakness) I am taking ten minutes everyday to breathe. whether those minutes are spent praying, doing yoga, meditating, writing this blog or dancing to 80's music in my living room those ten minutes are mine. I don't know exactly what this blog will be about exactly and I am not going to wait to come up with a fab idea. Maybe I'll write about what I do in those ten minutes everyday...all I know is that I'm diving in and what will be will be. Hopefully someone will read it...maybe someone will spend their ten minutes reading this blog...that would be fab.