Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laugh-lines, my ass.

.... The lines on my face, that is. I was staring at myself in the mirror the other day wondering "when did I get old?" Was it the moment I saw my 2 year old close our cat in the dishwasher? Or those few crazy week's when I was 28? Did it happen when I wasn't looking? These days I resemble a frowning-Joker. My laugh-lines (more like ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL LINES) are about a mile long and my "I'm not really happy with this situation and the sun is in my eyes" lines just above the bridge of my nose are slowly sauntering towards my hairline. And the lines are not my only gripe. The spots. When on God's green earth did these things appear? You can only call them "Freckles" so long. Maybe it was all those afternoons when I was 17, laying on my front porch in direct sunlight from 10 -2 listening to The Smiths "Louder than Bombs", covered in baby oil (yes, baby oil). I can still hear my mother yelling out the window "don't stay out in the sun too long - it's not good for you". Yeah right mom, what do you know. WHY DIDN'T I LISTEN TO MY MOTHER? So, here I am 19 years later in the isle at CVS staring at cold creams, body wraps, seaweeds, clay masks, grapefruit-infused eye gel, mineral body-butters wondering what the hell to do. I could try each one - dropping a few hundred bucks or I could take out a second mortgage and get injections laced with pigs blood and Agent Orange. If I only knew then what I know now....If I had only listened to my mother. If only I didn't look like an over-tired, polka-dotted slightly-upset Heath Ledger. Men seem to age with such style, and grace. Besides the hair loss and beer gut, what do they have to complain about? Women on the other hand - tend to end up looking like an old leather boot. One you've worn again and again to nightclub after nightclub - until eventually its' sole falls off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Shoes, No Shirt - No Problem!

I never thought I'd be the kind of girl who would actually enjoy country music. But, I kind of do these days and here's why. A few years back when Pete & I lived in Franklin, NH - a small town between two valleys - only a few radio stations came in clear enough to listen to and one was ALL COUNTRY, ALL THE TIME. I used to be the girl who made fun of country. Thought it was all white-trash, red-neck, hill-billy, banjo, bubba bluegrass CRAPOLA! It was all the same. It sucked, with no wiggle room as far as I was concerned. In my mind, every song was about sick dogs, gun racks, corn fields and confederate flags flying. Typical Stereo-Types. It's a tough pill to swallow - but I stand corrected. The first country song I remember sitting and listening to was "God's Will" by Martina McBride. I could still cry thinking about that freaking song. It haunts me. Many other heartfelt songs have followed. I stopped hearing the melody, and started listening to the words. The great thing about country music is I'm never embarrassed by the words in front of my kids. No F-bombs, "Niggas", "Whore's", Baby-daddy ghetto shit. No "poor me, my life sucks and everyone in it sucks". With country there are no surprises - just heartfelt advice, encouragement, and well-told stories about everyday situations. If it's broke - fix it. If your heart is breaking - talk about it. If your tired and stressed raising small children - don't wish it away - your going to miss it. Country music is like Seinfeld. You can relate, even in the smallest way. Keith Urban's "Only you can love me this way"... Are you serious?  Or "There Goes my life" by Kenny Chesney? Now that I have children of my own - I get it. These days, country music brings forward new pictures in my mind (not the gun racks and burning crosses of 10 years ago). Now, its sipping lemonade out of mason jars, catching fireflies with my sons, and spending quality time with the people I love.  Maybe one day, I'll hate country music again but during THIS particular chapter, it's just about right.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's about the journey....

Nine years ago - when I was 27 I signed up for the 3-day Avon Breast Cancer walk. The walk started in Leominster, Massachusetts and ended in Boston. I decided to walk after I lost my fiance at the time, Jared Tuccolo to brain cancer. I wanted to do something as a way to give back to all of the people, relatives, friends, doctors, nurses and perfect strangers that offered an ear, a caring smile, and top notch treatment at one of the best hospitals in the world - Massachusetts General Hospital. After he died I needed something to pass the time away - replace my sadness with a sense of purpose again. I think many people caring for someone dying have felt the same way. You become so used to dealing with the sickness, pills, schedules, and doctors that once it's over - you don't know what to do with yourself. At least, I didn't. So, I joined the gym and began walking everyday on the treadmill. First - walking 1 mile. Then, 4 miles. A few months after that - 6 miles and I realized how much I loved to walk - and still do. One afternoon at the gym, I saw a sign up sheet for the 3-day walk. My first thought was "60 miles in 3 days? How the hell am I going to do that?". But then, the more I thought about it, I realized - "If people fight everyday, battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases - I can walk 60 little miles". So I signed up and began training and raising money. Most of my donations ($1200.00!) came from people who had also lost someone to cancer. Once the day finally arrived, I began walking. And walking. And walking some more. Sometimes, I walked alone. Sometimes in small groups. Sometimes with one person - and we'd share our stories. I met mothers, daughters, parents, and many widows. It was the people and the stories that made this walk the most important walk I've ever gone on. As mile 60 approached, and the crowds and news crews gathered in the streets along the Charles River, I understood that my purpose in life - was to keep living. The walk allowed me to grieve and heal and ultimately move on. Two years later - I walked into a pub in Manchester NH and met a man named Peter. I married him 2 years later. He and I are talking about walking again - together. He lost his mother a few years ago to the same disease. Life has a funny, strange and unpredictable way of working itself out. Personally, I think it's all about the journey.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tub Toys & Plastic Bins

I remember finding out I was pregnant for the first time. Boy, was I excited, nervous and sick. After the hugs, congratulations and questions ("How'd you find out?".... "When are you due?") the WARNINGS came. 1. Kid's are so expensive! 2. Ya better start saving for college now! 3. Wait until they can walk! (or drive, or date) But the one thing nobody ever mentioned to me was the mess. The sticky glaze, crunchy stuck things, crayon marks, tub toys and unimaginable amounts of plastic bins covering every inch of my home. Bins for race cars, bins for Legos (OUCH, if you step on one!), bins for art supplies, bins for hats and mittens, bins for bins! Only 7 short years ago - I hadn't even heard of "Rubbermaid Stackable Bins". Back in that life -everything smelled good, was neatly folded and put away. My dishes matched. The fancy glasses weren't plastic sippy cups of every color (with missing lids). My fridge was in order: salad mix, tofu, wine, fruit - maybe some lunch meat and soy milk. Today: 100 juice boxes, cheese sticks, a few 1/2 eaten things wrapped up for later, pudding cups, science experiements and milk. Just stepping into the tub takes some fancy foot work trying to avoid all the army men and squirt guns. Cleaning when your children are young is like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound. But, dispite the complaining - I wouldn't change it for the world!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Behold - the first post of "The First Half"

The official "first half" of my life will be completed in four years. Then, I'll be 40 but I don't care about the number as much as I do the quality of life I've lived so far. Maybe I'll luck out and live to be 100 and if that's the case... I'm alot further away from the middle than I thought. More time is always a good thing! The places I've been, the people I've met, the conversations I never wanted to end, and the ones I dreaded - have all impacted my life in some way. People I have loved, and lost, teachers for one semester, strangers in airports, the five friends I've known my entire life, and the 100 "friends" I have on facebook - each person in my life now, or before are all pieces of my own personal puzzle. A puzzle that is finally finished when death comes and that last corner piece is found! I think my first half hasn't been so bad. It's given me two beautiful sons - Cooper and Wyatt Henry, two college degrees, a happy home ... but I'm still longing for something more. So, I started this Blog for me. A place to sort out my thoughts, tell a few stories, and prepare for the second half.