A somber anniversary and call to action!

July 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm (Friends)

You may recall this post from January about the death of my friend Gary.  Today marks 6 months that he’s been gone.  6 months, half a year.  My friend, Samantha, his wife has been incredible during the past 6 months.

Last year, I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk.  Gary was with us during the walk.  We talked about “next year” and how this would all be a memory.  Never did I think that he would not be walking with us this year.

Our team, Gary’s Guardian Angels, led by Samantha is once again walking and it’s more important than ever to find a cure so that no one else has to go through what my friends have been through and will continue to.

So, I’m posting a link to my fund raising page and I ask that you help, and spread the word!!

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The soundtrack of my life

May 2, 2010 at 10:14 pm (Concert, Friends, Music, Opinion, Random)

Last week, I was in my car listening to music and all of a sudden I heard it.  One of “my” songs.  One of the songs that I consider to be in an elite category.  This one happened to be Southern Cross.  I turned up the volume and listened to the words and remembered the times I had heard it before and how much I loved the song.  Music is everywhere.  You can’t escape it.  Some people listen to music as background.  I don’t.  I have always been very in tune with the music that surrounds me.  I listen to lyrics and they can at times deeply affect me.  Of course there is the fluff, the silly music that I listen to and enjoy just because.  But there is always the other stuff, the song that you haven’t heard in 15 years that can make you stop in your tracks and transport you to a moment or a time in life.  I can’t listen to music without hearing the words.

I also have an innate ability to recognize songs and artists that makes most people refuse to play any kind of music trivia game with me.  It’s just something I’ve always been able to do, I certainly don’t study or work at it.  My taste in music is wildly eclectic and includes just about every genre from the 1960’s through now.  As a kid, I listened to classic rock because it’s what I was exposed to, I knew all of Led Zeppelin IV when I was still in grade school, my love of the Doors began when I was still in single digits.  Obviously artists come and go and tastes mature and change but the fundamentals are still there.  While a lot of my friends were listening to New kids on the block, I was listening to Motley Crue, Skid Row, and Poison.  I loved it.  Whenever I turn on Hair Nation in my car on XM, I find that I can still sing along with the lyrics and I can remember listening to those songs so many years ago, and there is a kind of innocence about that.

There is, as anyone who knows me at all can attest to, a special place in my heart for U2.  I have been a fan for as long as I can remember, I have been to every concert they have played in south florida since about 1990 – except one because I was out of the country and I’m still sad about it.  Their music as a whole has more meaning to me than anything I have ever heard.  Not every song or every album has had the same effect on me.  However, there are some songs that I can listen to and be moved in a way that nothing else can do.  To name a few songs, Kite, Moment of Surrender, Where the Streets Have No Name, All I Want is You, One, Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own, Electrical Storm, The Sweetest Thing.  I have heard most of those live and to hear a song that has meaning to me sung live by a band who I admire so much is truly a spiritual moment.  Moment of Surrender, off their most recent album, caught me from the moment I heard it.  I can listen to it over and over and over again and it gets to me every time.  When I went to see them in Tampa this past fall and heard them sing that live, I wish I could capture that feeling and that moment and replay it whenever I need to.  My all time favorite, All I Want is You, was featured in the movie Reality Bites.  It’s haunting and sad and beautiful.  I will post the lyrics to both of those at the end, the rest can be looked up if anyone is curious.

Aside from U2, there is a whole list of other artists who I consider superior to the masses.  Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, REM, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Eagles, Doors, Queen to name a few.  I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are the ones who I can recall right now.  I’m not going to list all the songs that I would put in the category of outstanding or that can really captivate me, but there are a lot.

It’s amazing how a song can bring back a memory so viscerally and truly make you feel as if you were in that place again.  Sometimes this is good.  When I hear a song that brings me back to a happy time, songs that were playing when I was out having fun with friends, or that remind me of high school dances and football games.  Those songs that have the power to bring me back to a happy place and time are priceless.  But then there are the songs that bring back bad memories of heartache, or not so fun moments.  The only one that I can think of that I still have a hard time listening to is Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, I won’t go into the reasons why here, but for a long time I couldn’t listen to it at all, and now only sometimes, but it always makes me think of the same thing and always makes me sad.  I’m sure there are others, but that one stands out.  There are songs that can make us feel empowered or emotional, can help us get through tough times, or inspire us.  There are songs that are important in a certain stage of our life, but not so much in others.

I think this is a testament to the songwriters and performers.  It’s an amazing thing to be able to write a song that is powerful enough to have such long-lasting effects on people.  As I said at the beginning, I know not everyone is as affected by music as I am, but I’m glad that I am.  And when I meet someone who has the same affinity for music and lyrics as I do, I can’t help but like them immediately.  I love when I’m blindsided by an old memory or a not often thought about moment.   I love that I can so quickly be 13 again when I hear Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

As promised, lyrics:

All I Want is You

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want your story to remain untold.
All the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

You say you’ll give me a highway with no-one on it
Treasure, just to look upon it
All the riches in the night.

You say you’ll give me eyes in the moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbour in the tempest.
All the promises we make, from the cradle to the grave
When all I need is you.

You say you want your love to work out right
To last with me through the night.

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
Your story to remain untold
Your love not to grow cold.
All the promises we break, from the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

Moment of Surrender

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too cool to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
But if love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pentecost

At the moment of surrender
Of vision of over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

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I admit it, I’m over protective

February 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm (Baby, Family, Friends, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler) (, , , )

But I would rather be over protective than under protective and regretful.  I just finished watching an episode of Oprah about child sex offenders.  These men all knew the children they molested.  Family members or close friends.  I don’t remember the exact statistic they said but I believe it was 90% of victims know their abuser.  People are sick and twisted, there is no question about that.

Being mom to a young daughter, unfortunately i think about these things.  She is innocent and does not know about evil people and cannot fathom that there are people who would want to hurt her.   Its my job to keep it that way.  No, I would not leave her with a babysitter who I did not know.  She was 18 months before I left her with anyone who was not family.  And even then it was because I had surgery and needed the help, but I was there with her most of the time.  And she was someone who came highly recommended from family.

I am mainly skeeved about diaper changes.  There are only a very very limited number of people who I feel need to be seeing her privates.  So even if it’s me changing her, I’m cautious about who is around, I don’t do it if there are people around who can look. Because, again, people are SICK.  I don’t like lap-sitting for the most part either, depends on the person, but again the number of people is very small.  It makes me uncomfortable.

I want  to raise her to be strong and have a voice and a mouth and be very familiar with the word NO (though she seems to have that one down pat).  Yes, I will teach her all about staying away from strangers, but there are a lot of non-strangers that can be worse.  I will have to find the balance between making her aware and cautious without making her fearful and nervous.

One of the most important things that I heard in the Oprah show was from one of the sex offenders he said (I’m paraphrasing) ‘if a child says they were molested, believe them, kids don’t lie about this’.  That really struck a nerve with me.  I can’t imagine ever not believing Alexis if she told me anything happened to her, but I know it happens.  People don’t want  to cause trouble in families or think the kids are looking for attention.  I know that if she ever told me anything like that, I would not be responsible for my actions towards the person.

I would rather question people and their intentions than be too trusting because you just never know.

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Is your kid perfect?

February 5, 2010 at 10:19 am (Baby, Friends, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler) (, , )

Because I know that mine is not.  Of course she is perfect in my eyes 🙂

I know she has her moments.  All kids do.  All adults do too! She is a toddler after all.  She has tantrums and meltdowns, issues sleeping, etc.  It’s normal.  When she was little, there were issues with feeding and crying and just general baby stuff.

I think its so important to have a good support system when these things arise.  People to talk to.  To vent your frustrations to.  That’s why I love being part of a message board filled with other mommies like me.  We can vent and share our frustrations and get help, or at least get sympathy.  It’s a place where I don’t feel like I should be judged because I know that I wouldn’t.

Why do I bring this up?  Because lately I’ve noticed something.  The “perfect kid” syndrome.  There are those moms (this also applies to facebook and real life) who like to pretend that everything is puppies and rainbows.  All we ever hear from them is bragging.  Bragging about how wonderful their kid is, or how he or she did such a cute thing the other day.  They will be the first ones  to jump on and offer advice from their vast experience of raising a perfect child(ren).   Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with bragging about your kids or sharing cute stories, but I really think that needs to be tempered with the reality that is parenthood.  Life, actually.   Kids are not always perfect, life is not always perfect.  It’s messy and full of potholes and surprises that come out of nowhere.  That’s why I love having people I know I can talk to and be open with and be frustrated.  The same people I can share good news with and cute pictures and funny stories.  It’s real.

So, for those who think that you will be judged or who feel like you can only share the good stuff, i encourage you to open up.  It’s cathartic to talk to others.  Who knows, someone may be able to have just  the rights words of wisdom.  Or someone may have been exactly where you are and they can say, “i understand”.  Believe me, by not venting, you’re not fooling anyone.  Because no one has that perfect  of a life, so everyone knows that you’re just trying to be someone you’re not.

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The diplomacy of kiddie parties

February 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm (Family, Friends, Toddler) ()

Alexis’ 2nd birthday is coming up, along with that comes the Birthday Party.   Last year was easy b/c I wanted to make it low key, no need to have a huge party for me, b/c she would not enjoy it.  This year is a different story.  I’m doing a bigger party, more friends, more theme-y, etc.  I’m pretty excited about everything.

Except the guest list.

The first wave was easy, my friends.  The ones I really like, whose company I enjoy.  Most have kids, but some don’t.  Those were a no-brainer.  Then there are the others.  The ones I feel I have to invite for a variety of reasons.  1. I was invited to their kids party so I feel it’s only right to return the invitation.  2. They are friends of friends I am inviting and it would be odd to invite a group of friends minus one.  It would be awkward and I don’t like to make people feel left out.   3. The ones I’m friends with out of obligation, you know the ones.  I’ve been friends with them for a long time, or the person I see often enough at social occasions but don’t really like and yet need to invite anyway.

I’m fortunate in that 95% of the people I’m inviting and genuinely people I want to invite, but then there are those few who I know I have to, so I will suck it up and do it.

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A new decade has begun… can we go back?

January 2, 2010 at 10:49 am (Family, Friends, Marriage, Uncategorized)

This is a blog post I didn’t think I would be writing.  This is not a reality I thought I would be facing.  It should not be.  People my age should not be widows.  It’s not right.  Little 2 year old boys should not lose fathers.  Something in the universe did not work properly yesterday to allow this to happen.

My friend Gary had been battling Lymphoma courageously and had completed his course of chemo.   He was declared basically cancer-free.  He and his wife, Samantha believed they were in the home stretch of their battle.

Until Christmas Day.  Of all days.

Samantha had to take Gary to the ER believing that he was suffering from dehydration and needed IV fluids.  Never in her worst nightmares did she think that he would not walk out of the hospital, like he had done numerous times before.  Nothing prepared her for the week that would follow.  Gary was taken from the ER to ICU in kidney failure and diagnosed with pneumonia.  He did not show symptoms of being so sick.  The night before he was having fun at a Christmas Eve celebration with friends!  It came out of left field.  From there the roller coaster began- no need to detail the ups and downs that would become the way of life for Sam in the coming week.  She spent the final minutes of 2009 holding his hand welcoming in a new year, a new decade.  When she went home, she believed that New Year’s Day would be a new day.  She did not imagine the phone would ring in the early dawn hours.  She did not expect the call from the hospital to come right away.

When my phone rang before 7am and I saw the caller ID, I knew it wasn’t good.  I was at the hospital in minutes.  As I was walking into ICU as I had done several times in the past week, I heard it.  I heard crying.  Not just sad cries.  The cries of something tragic.  I knew.  I didn’t need to be told.  My friend Sam had just become a widow, Gary’s mother had lost her only child.  They, along with Sam’s mom, were destroyed.  It was a terrible scene.

Now the really hard part begins for Sam.  Planning a funeral for her 33 year-old husband.  Picking up the pieces.  Starting a new life as a single mom.  Raising her son without his dad.  I, along with so many other friends, will be by her side helping to support her and helping her figure out her new place, but it will not be easy.  And it’s not something that I thought that one of my friends would have to go through.

Gary will be missed.  He was very smart, funny, caring, kind.  He was a wonderful husband to Samantha and an excellent father to Mikey.

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The Internet is not just for dating anymore!

May 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm (Friends, Parenting) (, )

This post is about friendship.  The title is because I have met a lot of my friends via the Internet.

I first started posting on the Knot when I got engaged and met people through there.  But I never really made friendships.  Then after I was married I transferred over to the Nest.  That’s when I got to know some of the girls better.  Most were still Internet – only but now I had a group of friends who I spoke to regularly and met for lunch and even one who was a neighbor!!! I still referred to them as my Internet friends.  Then when I got pregnant I went over to the Nest Baby (now the Bump) and the friendships grew deeper and I met even more friends.  Now almost 4 years after I got engaged I have a whole new circle of friends.  They are no longer Internet friends.  They are friends.  I make no distinction anymore.  I call them, email them.  These are women who are mothers of young children, they know what I’m dealing with.  I can confide in them.  They are truly special to me.

This does not make my other friends less important, only different.  I have extremely close friends who I was friends with in college and immediately after.  When I was single and dating,  having a close group of friends was my whole life.  We were family to each other.  We never made a move without consulting each other.  These were not only women, but also guy friends.  We spent every weekend together, and also many a night finishing off a few bottles of wine and listening to music and just talking.  These were my friends during a very important part of my life and even though some are married, some not yet, we remain friends and talk all the time.  Of course we also reminisce.

Then there are my friends who really know me.  The ones I’ve had since elementary school.  There are only a few of these, but these are the really deep friendships.  The people who have seen me grow up, who used to come over and play.  These are the people who have been there for 8th grade graduation, homecomings, proms, first boyfriends, heartbreak.  There is a bond  there that no one can touch.  I feel special knowing I have these people in my life.  And yes they are still in my life – we talk, we see each other, we will always be part of each others lives.

I’m lucky to have so many special people in my life.  And I love that I am adding new friends to my life, while keeping the old ones.  I’m so happy that my “internet friends” have now become friends 🙂

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Why did I win the fertility lottery?

May 6, 2009 at 10:00 am (Baby, Family, Friends, Parenting) (, , )

There are things in life that are not fair, I know that.  Fertility seems to be one of those things.  It was extremely easy for my husband and I to conceive Alexis.  We decided to start trying and boom! pregnant first month.  I never had to experience the let down of negative tests, the month after month of disappointment.  I had the usual nerves during my first trimester but everything was fine.  I don’t know the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy.  I don’t know what it feels like to have to “un-tell”.  I am grateful and lucky.  My daughter is perfect and beautiful.

However, many of the closest people to me have a different experience.  At least 5 of my friends had to see fertility specialists in order to conceive and some still have not been able to.   Countless others have lost pregnancies.  There is no reason for this and it’s not fair.  Why did I win the fertility lottery while they struggle?  I feel guilty around them because I don’t know how I would feel if i were in their shoes.  I don’t know if I would be able to be genuinely happy for my friend who so easily has something that I have wanted and can’t have.  They are all strong women and deserving of motherhood.  I only wish it were as easy for them as it was for me.

I know there are no answers to this and I know that they would not wish their struggles on me.  I guess it just gives me something else to be grateful for and that I should count my blessings because things could always be different.

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Milestones

October 21, 2008 at 10:35 am (Baby, Family, Friends, Parenting) (, )

Since I haven’t blogged in a while I have not mentioned 2 very important events!  2 of my good friends babies turned ONE!!!!! It’s amazing because we were pregnant at the same time, of course they were further along that me.  I clearly remember their pregnancies and births and of course the days leading up to and following the births of their babies.  And I remember when they were both teeny babies and now they’re ONE!!!!!!

So, Happy Birthday Sophia and Mikey!!!

Another milestone.  Today Alexis is 8 months old.  I know it’s not a “big one” like 6 months was or 9 months or a year will be.  But it seems huge to me.  I don’t know why 8 months old sounds like a lot, but it does.  It really makes me realize that she is getting bigger and that time is just flying by!!!  At 8 months she is now rolling around the floor like a sausage.  I have to put pillows bewtween my bed and the floor or she will roll right under it.  She is scooting forward.  She also rocks on all fours.  So if she could combine the scooting and the rocking then she would be crawling, I am just waiting for it to happen any day.  She can also stand while holding on to something for a few seconds.  She is starting to eat table foods, I give her bits and pieces of my food to expose her to new flavors and textures.  She responds to her name and is beginning to remind me of me in her very willful and stubborn personality!!  I see some definite temper tantrums in her toddler-hood and lots of arguments in her teen years.  She is very independent.  She doesn’t want to be held very much anymore, she stretches her legs out and demands to be on the floor so she can be free to explore.  I love seeing all these facets of her personality surface!

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