Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stormy Weather

Katherine just announced to her father, "You can't change nature."  She said she was telling him this because she loves him.  Not that he was trying to change nature or anything - she'd just heard it on her movie "Ratatouille".  She just cracks me up.  It's warmish outside and the rain is just pouring down.  There's an occasional rumble of thunder to make things interesting.  I was just outside for a few minutes enjoying the sight of my new geraniums, ranunculus, and other drinking it all up.  The new front walk just looks outstanding now with the flowers all coming up and the little tiny patch of grass green for the moment.  Jackson is at a movie party for his friend A, along with 3 other kids in the same kindergarten and tkd class.  So cute, especially the little girl that's with them.  She's a holy terror when she's in her kicking stance and tkd yelling, LOL.  A lives next door to Kate's little friend N who is in the same dance class and on the same soccer team as Kate.  We have a nice little neighborhood and it makes a huge difference now that we have kids in school and other lessons and on teams and have been meeting their parents.  For years it felt so isolated. 

Soheil was just here to repair some of our ceramic floor tiles where the grout had started to chip out.  Jeff had him look over the basement and the plan he'd sketched out for finishing it off.  We're like a glacier the way we move - imperceptible progress but we're definitely going somewhere.  Jeff had taken a bunch of pictures with the digital camera pointed out the back door and then used the autostitch function to make a panoramic view - wow, it looks nice out there.  My reaction was that if we were shopping for houses and saw that pic we'd be really impressed.  That tells me that we're still pretty much in love with this house.  I always have been in love with this house - warts and all.  Yes, the various nail pops that are multiplying like bunnies in the springtime are getting to me and so is the rag painting in all three of the bathrooms.  What the house needs the most if for me to continue to de-junk it.  That's an awkward word "de-junk".  I know, it's not even a word.  But the awkwardness of it is what makes it perfect to describe the not quite comfortableness of the housewith mess behind every door and inside every drawer.  We have too much stuff and the more I think I'm getting rid of it the more we have coming in the door.  One step forward one step back, two steps forward  three steps back, two steps forward - feel good for a while then another step forward....but I'm getting more and more ok with it.  I'm trying to be happier in the now of it.  Reading A New Earth is convincing me that I'm on the right track.  There are no do-overs so I may as well be as happy as I can be on this road that I'm on.  I'm managing that by focusing on the biggest blessings - my wonderful husband and children.  God has really taken care of me in this life and I'm so thankful for everything around me - the home, the job, the friends, the neighborhood.  It all adds up to make our life really great considering we're just two working fools trying to provide for the family and be happy. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Do You Spell Misery?


As much as I love the flowering redbuds, dogwood, tulips, daffodils, and everything else coming up around here I am in such misery. I've taken my Zyrtec, an Allevert, and sudafed sinus headache medicine. On top of itchy, stuffy sinuses I have a nagging pain in my (don't laugh) neck and now my nose is totally red and my lips are chapped too.

I ran around today picking up favors for dd's party tomorrow and came back planning to do laundry and pack my scrap stuff up to go crop at Angela's but I am so miserable I don't want to be out anywhere even if I did have the energy to get my act together. I did pull together the yummiest dinner and as an added treat for dh whipped up the breakfast blintz bake that I make for Easter every year. He's beside himself. That was my insurance in case he was annoyed that I was going to scrap but instead it's my insurance in case he's annoyed that I've taken to my bed again. Have I mentioned I'm miserable? The windows are closed and the air is on but that is offering only minimal relief. ok, I'm done - gonna go back to the scrabble because I am in no mood to scrap with this nagging pain in the neck and the noseblowing - I despise having to put down my ATG gun to blow my nose! If this sounds like a pity party you're very astute because I am feeling so sorry for myself at the moment!!!! I just pray that this clears up a little bit for the party tomorrow so I can really enjoy dd enjoying it!!

This just in…I took another allevert and as I was eating it read the box and saw that it has aspartame in it! Very odd because I have been taking this drug when my allergies get really severe since last summer and never had the nutrasweet reaction. It’s not making a dent though – I’ve taken as much of everything as Ican without being nervous about taking too much and it’s just not taking away these itchy stuffy sinus symptoms. Slipping back into the pity party so I’m reining it in, LOL

Just wrapped DD’s birthday gifts and they’re soo pretty in Littlest PetShop paper with pink background and lots of light pink ribbon. She’s gonna just squeal with delight when she sees them and opens them!! I’ve set the alarm for quarter to early and hopefully I’ll be able to spring out of bed, dress, run out for milk and special birthday donuts and get her to soccer on time! Back home and then off to Great Country Farm – hope it’s a wonderful magical beautiful day and the rain holds off until after it’s over. She’s so excited!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Sunday/Tiptoe Thru the Tulips

It’s Tulip Time

I’m so glad we had those few warm days in November that allowed me to get the new tulip bulbs into the ground.  What a huge difference and how exciting to check out the side of the house each day to see what’s blooming!

Another fortunate thing is that all 3 transplanted barberries survived both the move and the winter.  The new roses are looking good as are the ones I transplanted.  This promises to be a gorgeous display from now through the summer (fingers crossed!). 

I’m down here in the ScrapLair presumably to work on p.2 of the two page lo I started over a week ago and to make several cards for several people I owe birthday greetings, thank you’s, etc. to.  I also need to get a baby shower gift to mail for the shower I missed last weekend.  I really do not like that stuff hanging over my head and would like to get back to where I used to be when I remembered everything and bought everything on time. 

On the bright side I feel there’s hope of pushing the organizing envelope around here as Debbie has offered to help starting with getting the kids’ things organized and sorted out.  The other big help here will be the upcoming neighborhood-wide yard sale ina month that I want to get ready for.  The deadline will help motivate me!

Expecting to hear the oven timer go off any time now so will close on those optimistic notes for today!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Take Care of Me Day

Sunday has become take care of Cynde day. When things go really well I’m at Mass then getting a manicure maybe a pedicure if I’m due. I’ve gotten into going to church in a whole new way and really try to focus on the message I’m supposed to be receiving vs. what the priest is actually saying or what I have to do as soon as I can bolt out of there. Today was a little difficult because the pastor was talking about the proper way to approach the altar to receive communion and he has a little schtick about how people do strange things with their mouths if receiving by mouth, or with their hands if receiving in the hand. He also pulled out his lost & found box of kid items to talk about things people leave behind. I got there a little late and stood in the vestibule where the sound is piped in. It was interesting to see a guy standing there drinking from a bottle of Gatorade. At one of the breaks in action, when the ushers typically show people in and out of the main space, one of them approached him and asked if he was Catholic. I caught the response which was “I believe in God” and missed the rest but I’m thinking it had something to do with how we don’t enjoy a beverage during the service. So the guy caps his Gatorade, slips it into his pocket and went inside to take a seat. I was impressed because so often people are turned off easily and between how the usher approached the situation and thisguy’s frame of mind – it turned out ok.

The message today was to not be indignant about pastor’s response to a parent’s request that his kid be allowed to switch days for the religious ed class so that he could also attend football practice. The response was negative and the message was we have to make choices and prioritize. My thought was to give the parent credit for asking as there are really only 2 months left and this is a kindergarten class we’re talking about. They could have easily opted to skip the rest of the sessions for the year. I was disappointed in the response because there was an alternate day available and I can’t see the logic in making this an either/or decision for this boy. I believe this the type of experience that turns people off from the church. What disappoints me more is that they tag the church with the turn off vs. the person representing the church who made the decision. This pastor seems to revel in the fact that he has a reputation of ruling with an iron fist. I would love to see some examples of him acting out of kindness rather than fire and brimstone. There’s no reason to be a hardass about every single situation. I will say that this episode was the turning point for me in my ability to get over the fact that Jackson didn’t get accepted there for kindergarten. I understand that I’m living in a different place in a different age and the Catholic education I was privileged to have access to virtually unconditionally is not something I can expect for my kids. And I’m fine with it now.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Am I The Only One Who Digs Yanni?

I may not like Mondays much but this week sure did fly by. I was in HOT-lanta for an overnight business trip for training....the title of my course was "Delegating for Results" which I found so ironic as I'd just delegated most of my work and left my last role and now I'm in an in-between role where I'm being delegated to to help out during a busy time...I found it funny.

Today was dance class and my Kate E. Bug was a Dancin' Fool!

She had big fun this time and we came home and put on the prettiest party dress I've ever seen and went to Neena's birthday party which was a tea party unlike any even Martha Stewart could put together. The girls has strawberry tea, finger sandwiches cut into hearts and flowers, fruit kebabs, and birthday cake of course. The party kicked off with them picking out ribbons and silk flowers to add to white straw hats and they were so adorable. Great pics to scrap are on the way.

Must go see who's still up and herd them to bed. I'm in the middle of finishing a layout with the 2nd page planned but not started. I wanted to make two cards as well. I hope I can stay up and work some more.

It's been a great week, today was a great day off even though I'm just now doing something for me, and I'm so thankful things worked out the way they have lately.

God Bless everyone!

Friday, April 4, 2008

From Thursday's trip home

I’m here in the Atlanta airport with my idiot savant blackberry that has been continuously re-booting itself for the past week. I was on the phone with the AT&T and then the RIM people and wiped and reloaded it but since it’s still doing the re-booting it has been officially deemed “fried”. I ordered another one immediately and that was Tuesday night. My new one’s been shipped already but that doesn’t help me when I’m out of town on a business trip. If I’m on the phone it’s fine but as soon as I’m in the data or if it’s just sitting there by itself it’s cycling and re-cycling through the boot process….it’s ill, LOL.

My training is done and the topic was Delegating for Results. I figured out this morning that I could have taken a 2nd class here this afternoon and knocked another one off my curriculum but I’m glad I didn’t plan on that because I don’t think I would be in a very good humor if I sat through the same instructor all afternoon and it’s foggy and rainy here in Atlanta so I would have been sure to get caught up in an airport delay mess later this evening. I’m not a good traveler to begin with but a night flyer…forget it!

In the cab I realized that my flight leaves some 40 minutes later than I originally thought so I deposited myself in the Houlihan’s (after scaling the stairs in my heels with my heavy bag). I haven’t eaten all day so I’m munching on potato skins and drinking lemonade. I can’t get an internet connection in here either – actually that’s not totally accurate. I can get a connection but I get a freaky message when I try to open up Explorer saying ACCESS DENIED. Makes me feel like a spy or something. So I guess I’ll sit here a few more minutes then maybe repair to a Starbucks and try my luck with the network there.

Not a big deal anyway – the time will go quickly once I get on and off my conference call at 1:30, pay my tab here, change into my jeans, go through security screening, get to my gate….and the flight is not that long either. I can make some serious progress reading my book. Sounds like a plan! There’s always tonight to play Scrabulous. I feel like there is something I’m forgetting or that I should be doing right now or when I get home but tonight, other than kickboxing which I’m not going to because I need to give Jeff a break and be home to reconnect with him and the kids, there’s nothing. I’m working from home tomorrow. I should order groceries but that can wait until tomorrow morning. I should grab my two lists , consolidate them and add the things going through my head right now. That would make me feel better I think.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Day

I’m on a plane. Delta flight 561 to Atlanta to be exact. I’m sitting in the rear of the plane and my seatmate is a military man named Don. I’m headed to Atlanta for a training class tomorrow but I started the day driving in traffic for two hours to get to the DC office for a “Town Hall” meeting with our national Talent (HR) leader. I was late due to the traffic but felt it was especially important given my recent return to work in the office with the rest of the team, that I show my face and mingle a bit with my colleagues. As I sat in the seat I was fortunate to find in the last row, I reminded myself of the importance of being present, of showing up. Walking briskly back to my car I also congratulated myself on my growing knowledge of how to navigate the city. I could just as easily have been wrong but I decided to park at a meter, already had my quarters sorted out from the rest of my change, and hoof it a couple of blocks to the office vs. try to get closer. I was so glad I did because there was police activity about a block past the office and if the person I overheard talking on his cell phone is to be believed there was a report of a suspicious package that brought not only the cops but the firemen as well. I sailed to the airport with no problem and from previous experience knew to head for Daily Parking Garage #2 as the walkway dumps you right at the Delta terminal where I needed to be. To the kiosk to retrieve my boarding pass, whiz through security like a pro traveler, and jump on the shuttle to the gate area. While walking from the garage to the terminal I couldn’t help but be thankful that I’ve gotten to where I am in life – with a beautiful family and loving home, wonderful friends, and a career with a top-notch company. As well, I feel fortunate to have been brought up in the Catholic faith that provided a foundation for my spiritual journey once I was ready to embark on it nearly 20 years ago. When living in Fanwood, NJ I attended a Lenten seminar that dealt with spiritual journey – can’t remember the title or even the parish I belonged to but the instructor and pastor of my church was Father Joseph Barbone and he really affected me and my spirituality. Several years later I read M.Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and that was another significant experience for me. It’s been a long time and there have been many spirit strengthening moments and experiences and quite a few prayers for raised consciousness. I’m now reading The New Earth and I knew in the first couple of chapters that this book would affect me deeply. This knowledge and awareness of what the words in this book mean to me in my life are very exciting for me, both in my personal life and in my professional life.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Having just emerged from a situation that was both the best experience of my work life and a very stressful and upsetting experience at the same time I feel so many different emotions…relief – to have someone to talk to at the time and guide me out of the bad zone, thankfulness that I was able to make the decision to end the experience on my timeline (immediately) when things got to be too much for me, appreciation – for the colleagues back at the office and the way I was welcomed back, more gratitude for the insights the experience provided and is still providing me. I was worried at first that the way things went downhill fairly quickly would somehow taint my reputation. I’m already known to be someone who is not shy about speaking her mind, and who can, at times, become emotional when she feels strongly about things. My current boss is a very even person who, to my good fortune, sees the potential in me and chooses to focus on what I can contribute and how best to position me so that I can deliver for the organization to my full potential. I really cannot ask for more than this.

On another front I’m grateful that I’m at a decent place with my feeling about my family relationships back in PA. I’ve focused very hard on being honest with myself about my own feelings and acting on the good ones. But I’ve also tried really hard to not judge the individuals in my family by their actions by trying to see past the actions to the person and whatever past experiences may influence present behavior. Not that I’m trying to figure everyone out – but it is a different level of awareness that the people are not their actions. And I actually got to this level of awareness before I started Eckhart Tolle’s book (The New Earth). Yes, and I did stop and think after reading only a few pages…gee, I wish I’d read this book a couple of months ago before I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn’t rise above the issues any longer. Ben even with that, I’m acknowledging that I’m a human being and I was pushed to what, for me at that time, was my limit. Again, thanks to CPV for being where I needed her to be and doing the right thing.

Back to the family – even while all of the upsetting things were happening at the office I was very conscious of missing my sister and feeling love for my sister at a very deep and connected level. Another powerful insight from talking with her and also with her husband – who was instrumental in causing the rift between us in the first place – led me to see that in her present situation she really doesn’t have a choice about how to be. Just as I’m conscious of whether or not Jeff would be supportive or disapproving of something I did or someplace I went or even plans I make for the family – Val has to make decisions based on maintaining serenity in her own home. And I respect that. It’s easy for me to respect it since I’m just so thankful that we are on speaking terms and can have a sister chat once in a while. It took more years of separation than I want to think about to get to this place – and if I know my Aunt Dee a lot of working those rosary beads – but we are in the right place now - As right as is in our power to make it. I’m opting to focus on the beauty in that vs. the obstacles that remain.

And that is how I’m feeling today. I’m glad I brought along my computer on this trip so that I could take advantage of this quiet time in the clouds to express what I’ve been carrying around inside me for several weeks now.

There are many more things I’m thankful for, especially for my wonderful husband and all we’ve built together – the tangible things as well as the intangible – the atmosphere of our home, our relationship with each other, the parenting of our children together. And I’ll save the rest for another day.