London’s Calling

It’s been almost a year since I’ve met Vonnie.   Vonnie and I met while walking our pups on the connecting trails that intersect the suburban communities in which we live.   If you’ve ever tried to talk while walking two hyper-happy five month old puppies you don’t get much talking done.  More pulling sticks from their mouths or commanding “leave it!”.

Vonnie invited me to have a “proper chat” at one of our local coffee cafes.   The following week we met while sitting outside next to a pretty decorative fire pit.   Four hours later it was time to pick up our kiddo’s from school.

Jumping ahead.    Vonnie and I still enjoy our “proper chats” but we save money by meeting at one of our homes.   This week was at her home.   Vonnie’s urban townhouse is decorated in warm soft colors with a splash of London. If you haven’t figured it out – Vonnie is a Londonite.   That goes for Vonnie’s hospitality as well.   Every visit I’m stuffing my face with “naughty’s”.  Being naughty by eating deliciously fattening non-organic foods.   Bangers&Mash, without the bangers for me.  I take them home in a doggy bag for Football Superstar.   Crusty bread with tangy cheeses, jellies and clotted cream.   Forget the high tea at noon, this is Vonnie’s childhood tea with a backhoe full of sugar and cream.  Put the pinkie down!    My favorite is Vonnie’s homemade pear jelly (a friend who lives in DC makes for her) smeared on water crackers with a slice of Stilton or cave-aged Cheddar cheese.

Vonnie could make me a simple slice of toast and the toppings are always “naughty”.

Our conversations are just as warm and cozy as her hospitality.   With an occasional “rant”.  She’s in the process of putting her Flat on the market back home in England.  Her emotional connection to the 1930’s, 900 square foot home with a flower garden full of herbs (pronounced with the H, like his name Herb) and English lavender made me fall in love with a building I’ve never seen in person.   This tiny Flat was Vonnie’s home all her single life.   After she finished school and entered Travel Academy Flight school, she purchased her very own home and filled it with love, friends, dinners and eventually her future husband and a few years later – their surprise baby boy.    I could smell the fresh scent of her flower beds, the aroma of wine and cheese seeping from her tiny kitchen.  I could hear the laughter from her friends and family as they sat around an antique table.

The photos of this 900 square foot Flat made me fall in love with living in tight quarters.  Could it be possible?    Well, we’re not purchasing Vonnie’s Flat and moving to London tomorrow.  I know this for sure because I called my hubby the realtor right after leaving Vonnie’s home.   He asked me what beverage Vonnie served during my visit.   Haha.

Learning from Vonnie is an experience I appreciate.  We, here in the US, certainly have many avenues with many options.   Health insurance complaints, I’m going to put on the shelf for now.  I shouldn’t be complaining.   Schooling.   We have some of the best private and public schools in the DC Metro area.    One reason she and her husband moved to the states.  Their son needed specialized health services.   After two years in the United Kingdom waiting – they received services within two months here in the US.

Vonnie misses her family.  And of course her friends that filled the tiny Flat she called calls home.     For now, the home is being rented by a wonderful woman from Johannesburg, who just happens to love this cozy, 1930’s living space.

Sometimes when we uproot what we have had for so long – can be a positive change.  No doubt for us, moving our family was a good change.   Vonnie recognizes this too.   We live in an area of new urban development.  Suburban single homes surround man made lakes along high rise apartments and condo’s.  Arlington is busy with new tech companies and now Nestle headquarters  is moving in.     Dog friendly restaurants and connecting trails from Northern Virginia to Washington DC are consistently full of bikers, runners and dog walkers.   Crew teams can be seen practicing over the hill on the Potomac. Museums and history.  There’s so much more for Vonnie and her family to experience.  Before they move to Boston.

Massachusetts.

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I’ll see Vonnie in two weeks.  Boston….Massachusetts.

no More shopping 101?

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I recently had an inbox question regarding Shopping 101 post.

“Dear Momma Daisy,  what ever happened to your Shopping 101 post?  Are you no longer food shopping? ”   – M.L.  Kansas  

My family…sure they are fed, healthy and happy.   Not sure they are happy with each meal  I lovingly create.  Perhaps I should say throw together.   My menu planning has taken a back seat to other work related stuff.  As I sit here typing this post – my menu dinner planner is peaking out from behind a file titled “Family Meal Planner”.   Even I get such a chuckle out of the clearly marked vintage style tag attached to the vintage style folder placed neatly in the vintage galvanized organizer.   This brings out my inner Joanna Gaines, and because I am NO Joanna….my office area clearly shows this file has not been touched in months.   Except for the occasional dusting.

As for food shopping, well my latest experience at Costco was more like a skit from Seinfield.    Normally my blue ticking linen backpack is placed in the shopping cart in place of a child.   If it’s on my back where backpacks are to be displayed – then I run the chance my phone will chime and I may miss a call from school (never get calls) , college daughter (prefers texting) , hubby (reminding me to get shaving cream) my mother-in-law, my father…. you get my point.   Tuesday my backpack played the part of being just that- a backpack and looking quite cute if I may say.   Not me…the backpack.     I was seeking out the ginormous bag of Krusteaz Buttermilk pancake mix when my eyes caught the book section.  I can not stay away from books.  I smell them.  I track them down like a bloodhound on its trail.   I love books.   While joyfully filtering through the latest selection of arrivals (the dude was just opening up boxes of newly pressed hardbacks!) I forgot there was a linen growth attached to my back.  As I slowly turned to make my way up the sea of words, the growth then attached itself to the handle of a shopping cart.  As I walked….so did the cart.   A woman laughing – chuckles out  “hey…excuse me ma’am…you have my cart!”    Oh, well, yes, yes I do!

Released from the metal monster I waltzed down the bakery aisle remembering how much Football Superstar and I love Rosemary-Parmesan cheese bread.  Two come in one sleeve.  ($6.99)   It’s not exactly our favorite bakery’s version but dang when it’s pumped out of the mega ovens and placed (again TWO) in a plastic sleeve while still warm and seeping the aroma of rosemary…..sold!     I know I was smiling not only on the inside but my exterior had to be exploding.   You have no idea how much I LOVE fresh baked breads.   Just as I was walking towards the produce selection a quiet voice appears from behind Aloutte’s Goat Cheese vendor booth.  Wait…goat cheese?   Rosemary-Parmesan cheese bread needs goat cheese.  I gently pick up one of the teeny-weeny cupcake like papers with a morsel of Aloutte goat cheese just enough for a mouse – when out of nowhere a couple, well dressed , possibly between the ages of 65-70, pushes my arm to grab three teeny-weeny cupcake papers when my morsel of goat cheese went flying in the air directly landing on the gentleman to my left – his black dress coat.   Sticking to his coat.   Do I pick at the tiny morsel of cheese – do I tap him on the shoulder as he was looking at a selection of Cheval Blanc.   Do I walk away.   Did you know goat cheese can be rather sticky?  Firm curds that react when pitched in the air.

I shuddered in my L.L. Bean duck boots.  Just as I was about to pass by and pray my linen backpack would come in handy as the tool it was designed to do (not really) and gently knock the morsel of now warm and less firm goat cheese from this gentleman’s black dress coat – I noticed it on the floor by his shiny black loafers.    This tiny morsel of goat cheese went from its wrapper to a teeny-weeny cupcake paper to my hand to a coat to the floor in a matter of seven minutes.    There was no way I was about to approach the vendor for a second sample.   But. There. They. Were.  The couple.  The couple that first took THREE teeny-weeny cupcake papers.   They were back for more.   I watched from the other side of the aisle pretending to be selecting guacamole.  This couple went from sampling more Aloutte goat cheese to the happy vendor warming up organic Al Fresco tomato&basil 60% less fat chicken meatballs.     It was lunch time.

I made my way through the paper product aisle making a U-turn down the frozen fruit aisle.   No way.  A vendor sampling frozen smoothies (didn’t get the brand name) was talking rather loudly to – yep – the couple.     It was lunch time.

Fifteen minutes later I’m waiting in the check out line.  Backpack is now sitting in the child seat of my mega cart.  I’m smiling because the aroma of fresh bread is still seeping through its plastic wrap.  My membership card is placed between my fingers so the kind check out lady can quickly retrieve it.  And just then….there they are.   The couple.   Two rows across from where I wait.   Talking.  Sweetly laughing with each other.   And in their hands….more teeny-weeny cupcake papers that held small morsels of granola.

It was lunch time.

My food shopping days have been of no value to report.  Meaning, I am not saving as I should to be bragging of my hours spent at Wegmans, Costco or Harris Teeter.   My backpack and sometimes my black leather tote bag at times are filled with receipts.  If I were an accountant I would have them neatly organized and categorized on display in a vintage file holder labeled with a vintage tag.

Maybe, just maybe some day I will be back on track with my Shopping 101.  Until then I’ll waltz through Costco watching and waiting for the couple.

Shu…..up!

I was not going to post on this topic.  Actually my husband tried to encourage me not to think anymore about what has become the social media sensation.   I’ve stayed clear of this mega mess of a political campaign.    What an embarrassment.   Deep deep down inside my core I felt many emotions.   These two are the best we as Americans can elect to represent the parties?     I guess so.

 

Moving on to the present.   So perhaps you may or may not have voted.   Perhaps you did and your vote was a dream come true.  Perhaps you voted and you felt stuck between a rock and another rock.   Or perhaps you didn’t vote at all.    I voted.   As I walked into the voting center with my tail between my legs I was nervous and scared.   I was wishing I could just walk out and not be seen.   Football Superstar felt strongly we go in and vote, and though he disliked (I’m not going to really say what he said) the two academy awarded nominees…..he voted.    As I penned in my choice (I so wanted to pen in my pups name) I felt nauseated.    Football Superstar drove me home and went to pick up my favorite coffee cafe’s pick – of -the-week.  And it didn’t begin with the letter C or T.      We then talked for awhile before he headed to the office.

 

Jumping over the game board.   We, the Americans have a new Commander in Chief.   We are swarmed with social media banter and criticism.  With a glittery touch of celebration.

I’ve not celebrated nor am I swarming you on social media with my views.   They are mine and will remain mine – forever and ever.      What I will share with you – (and this is where I probably should rethink posting this post)  is when did celebrities become our value system?      When did an actress or actor become the role model in our homes?   In our children’s lives?     Sure, celebrities hold a higher ground when it comes to raising their voices – and giving charity support – and maybe at times making sense.   But when did we begin to worship these folks of fame?       I’m not talking about the young girl crush either.  I’m talking about cheering on and Tweeting back or yelling back and being down right nasty – you said this and he said that and she is this…..

 

Allow me to tell you something about BULLYING.   That raw word flows both up and down the stream.   With Ms. Streep speaking out (no I didn’t watch the show) against Bullying and Trump Tweeting back I felt as if I was sitting in the center of a Middle School classroom during the morning news.    If I could see both Streep and Trump, I would ask them to come spend time (not an hour or just a day) a very long time in a school that is blanketed with hate and bullying.   Who’s the adult here?     And we….Americans feed into this sh*t!

I’m going to just say it…..Mr. Trump didn’t start hate.   It was already in their hearts.  Does he never stop with the radical immature comments and behavior – no.    Will he?  I don’t know.    Does Ms. Streep think that her good natured speach the other evening heal what has been done in Chicago?   In North Carolina?    Does she?   I don’t know.

What I do know is I’ve had it with the tennis match of nasty and who has the better behavior.   I’ve heard worse come from her mouth.   I’m about over what comes out of his mouth.

Hate is in the hearts before it surfaces.   Do some have a following – of course.  But no matter what hate is in the heart before it surfaces.   Don’t fall in the traps of social media and the fabricated stories that are there for our entertainment.    Spend time with any social worker or school counselor and their files are piling up.    They know first hand what bullying and hate is – what it does to children.    Celebrities can help in many ways – but they can also create the damage.

Why are we not trying to be the better?    Why does it take a man like Trump, or a woman like Streep or a group of protesters to raise America to it’s potential?

I need to be the role model for my daughters.   Not her.  Not you.   Not them.   I will work the best to my ability to show them what it means to be kind, value what you have, love who you are and don’t allow hate to win.    Words can be tricky.   Be careful of what you do with your words.    And who you celebrate.

Oh, only if I could speak directly to Mr. Trump and Ms. Streep….. I’d love to tell them to Shu…..UP!      Get up off your expensive deary-reary’s and do what your mouth isn’t doing.

Football Superstar just read over this and said “let it go”.   So I decided to sing it “let it go – let it go”.

*disclosure:   Public service announcement – before I’m deleted or become the back end of social media – this was not to bully Trump or Streep.   They were used as tools.    Okay, well maybe not tools, but examples.  Okay, maybe not examples….yeah, I guess they were targets of my post.      * I had a dream last night that I ran up on the stairs of the Capitol building before inauguration began – I grabbed the microphone and as I started to speak – my voice was that of an auctioneer.     I was auctioning off things I had no idea were at an inauguration.   *

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The end.

 

 

 

Accountability now Organized

imagesHappy New Year!      A new year – a new me.   No, no, no…I’m not trying a new diet.  I’m not taking cooking classes.  And I’m not enrolled in a financial class in order to learn how to make Shopping 101 earn the A+ other food shoppers have bragged of so many times.    No, this is about getting organized.   Organized.      This is my resolution.  I don’t make resolutions.  Because I’ve never been able to keep it.  Giving up chocolate lasted a day.    And my new running shoes are still in the box.   Well, not in the box but sitting on top of the Mizuno box.     This resolution is to get so organized it’ll make Football Superstar feel as if he is married to a new woman!    Well, ok..maybe that was exaggerated but as organized as I’ve ever been.

Plan A – have an accountability partner.

This idea came from LeeAnn.  After LeeAnn filtered all the ideas and plans she had flowing through her mind – she then decided to revisit her passion.  Creating.   LeeAnn presented me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

After revisiting my own passion for creating, I thought why not.  Though my plans to resurrect my vintage business was always on my brains “back burner”….I just didn’t want to make such a commitment that I know (especially in the area where I live)  would need to jump kick the competitive  styles and items we are now exposed to on Pinterest, Fixer Upper and Etsy.  I live in such an area where the IN is IN and the IN is what’s wanted.  No matter the price.   So for me to create the IN – I need to be completely organized and focused.   If I’m in to create the IN then I must really be in – it.

Without this taking over my other priorities – organization is the key.   I’m still devoted to my community outreach with the pup.  I’m still that PTO mom.    I’m still assisting my hubby when needed and I haven’t starved my family with the lack of warm meals and they do have clean laundry.     My mother was very organized.   I believe she had organization skills tattooed in her mind.      I need an accountability pal.

So, LeeAnn…are we in for the long haul?!

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This is what my brain has tattooed at the present.  A completely organized work space.

Plan B -To be continued….

soup for the soul

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I believe I read there are two hundred and fifty Chicken Soup for the Soul books.   No, I haven’t read all 250….

Soup has always been good for the soul.  My mother was the Queen of Soups.  A serious title she was given.   Her ability to create such flavor with vegetables, noodles, oysters or the occasional clump of tofu would make me incredibly happy.    I can smell her corn chowder now.

If I had a sore throat – soup.   If my father was craving oysters – stew.  And I could always count on my mother making a large pot of her vegetable noodle soup at least once a month for me.  I would drive over to my parents home after work to pick up my two gigantic Tupperware containers to take back to my city apartment to enjoy during those rough winter months.   It was good for the soul.

This weekend our annual K&K family Christmas dinner took place.   Wild Wild West Wendy stirred up three different types of soup.   Corn Chowder with cheese, Chicken Noodle and Pasta Fagioli.   There is no doubt Wild Wild West Wendy was singing in her kitchen to Irish Christmas music as she baked chicken, grated cheeses, and seasoned broth.   Each soup was full of flavor and love.    Homemade bread and a spinach quiche made the perfect companion to this comfort meal we were served.    It was good for the soul.

Another dear friend is a Queen in the kitchen with her soups.  LeeAnn.   And I’m going to drive up north to find comfort in her soup.   As a matter of fact…..LeeAnn is a Queen in the kitchen for baking too!    yes, my friend…that was a hint.

Soup for your soul.

If you want to find yummy old fashioned recipes,check out Sheryl at A Hundred Years Ago.

https://ahundredyearsago.com

silent heart

today I sit here listening to the rain patter against my kitchen window.   it’s a slow moving rain.  this is the kind of rain that comes to join the flow of tears.

 

I was given the news of a dear friends death yesterday.   Her life cut short from a darkness that does not discriminate.   My mind hasn’t stopped asking the questions- wondering why.  Trying to replay our last few conversations.   Was there a subtle hint of sadness in her tone.  Did I miss something.

“M” and I met when our pup, Murphy was only four months old.  She and her husband recently brought home their  three month old pup.   Monster and Murphy became instant besties.   “M” joined our puppy play group.   As time grew – “M” became more like the younger sister I never had.   Her outward beauty matched the inner beauty.   Her neighborly graciousness was beyond what you could imagine.   “M” would have fit the mold of the 1930’s adoring housewife – only adding her own artistic style.   She was an artist.   A designer.

 

Within the past few months I’ve attended suicide prevention lectures/forums for our school district.   The rise of high school students ending their lives has risen.   These events have given our community a reason to join forces learning “signs” and or “verbal cues” that could be picked up from someone who has thought of taking their life.   Working in social services we were trained on what to look for – or what do say/do if a student or client were to give us a reason they are suicidal.    But I would have never given any thought.   There were no warning signs.

 

“M” and I chatted the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.   We planned to meet for tea at our local coffee cafe.   “M” sent me a text letting me know that day just didn’t work because she had a lot of packing to do before the movers arrived – as they were planning to move in their new townhouse during Thanksgiving weekend.    She and her husband were going to be attending an event on Saturday with us, so I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Saturday at 11am, I received a message from “M” telling me a family emergency came up and they would not be able to make it to the event.    I replied to her directly after reading her message – my usual – sad face emoji and lets make up the time – soon!    It was Sunday at 9:30am I then read her last message to me – “you’re such a good friend” with a heart.

Never.  Never did I feel she was planning to end her life.   From the moment we learned of their new home, the silly Christmas hats she ordered for Monster and Frank to wear this coming weekend when we would fight the crowds to have our puppies pictures taken with Santa or Elf.    To grab hot chocolate and a slice of pizza downtown Leesburg afterwards.  To have Apple part of the pictures.    To laugh.  Be silly.   Be together, because that’s what we did best.

Her husband is left with broken pieces.   His family is close and will be there for him.  He will move – and journey through life without his wife.   His friend.    “M” has left behind those who love her – will miss her – and may not have an answer.   From what I understand the letter she left behind mentioned a few people.   The selfish side of me wants an answer.   And yet I know there may never be one.   It’s not about me.   It’s keeping tight of those cherished memories – loving her unconditionally and remembering this illness – this dark horrible secret those who may fight each day can grab a hold of any walk of life.      The CEO, the housewife, the teacher or choir director.   The artist.  The wife.  My friend.

 

my heart is silent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so it came.

It came.   The moment I was waiting for.   The moment where my  Apple Cheeks gently instructs this momma (and daddy) to not pretend anymore.    While I’m driving – of course.

For the past fifteen [and then some] years, my dear friend Mark has been the assistant to Mr. Claus.  Yes, he’s been portraying Santa to my oldest and now youngest.  Each year a hand written letter was sent to Santa Claus with a Christmas wish list.   This letter to Santa would go out in the mail Black Friday.    By the second week of December, a letter and package would arrive to our door from the North Pole.    This magical experience for Apple was always the best.   As she would open the letter from Santa and read aloud  to us, her round-pink apple cheeks would glow as she smiled.   Little sparkles would appear in her eyes like glitter.   I love those moments.   Innocence.         In Santa’s letter he would ask about Apple’s friends, siblings, cousins and her beloved pets.    Last year Santa knew we were bringing home our puppy in January.   In the surprise box from the North Pole was a few Golden Retriever items and a beautiful set of Snow Babies holding a puppy.

No questions were ever asked.   No doubt was ever shown.

We are driving home from school heading to the eye doctor for Apple’s appointment.    After noticing [at the same time] we both shouted….   “Broadlands Center has the huge tree up! ” We agreed it’s way too early.      And this led me to the big question – are you thinking about what you would like for Christmas this year?      Just as quickly as those words came from my mouth – Apple tells me she knows it’s not true.   She reminds me of the  reason for the season…..however staying very serious in her tone….tells me how the real St. Nicholas brought joy to poor children and he was real.   By the time we left Dr. Mohanan’s office I wanted to revisit this conversation.    And that we did.    We took Murphy for a walk and we talked and talked and talked some more.

I knew this day was coming.   This is not my first.   I only wanted my youngest daughter to hang on to her childhood.   Try not to be “so cool” that it’s “too cool” to be ten.    I also gave instruction as my mother had done so many years ago.   Don’t steal another’s joy and magic.   No matter their age.

Apple quietly mentioned she had the “feeling” last year.   But added, when daddy and I were both in her bedroom tucking her in – and we heard the sleigh bells outside – it was hard to not believe something magical was happening.    Compliments of our young Redskins recruiter  neighbor and his adorable wife, ho-ho-ho’ing and shaking my Target fake antique sleigh bells behind our townhouse.

Football Superstar and I have had so much fun bringing Santa in our home – in our lives.   My favorite moment was when my husband stood on our garden shed roof shaking real antique sleigh bells directly under our kids bedroom windows – when he was about to step down on the ladder – it fell over and I couldn’t pick up the ladder quietly because I was laughing too hard and I almost lost control [you know] and the dogs somehow opened the French patio doors to join us.  Between the barking, laughing and scattering of noises I’m shocked neither kiddo looked out the window to find two grown adults looking more like thieves than Mr. Claus’s assistants.      I’m giggling at this moment – hard to type – so I’ll apologize for type-o’s.

Those antique sleigh bells that were purchased years ago in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania were not only handsome but very useful.    When we moved from our historic farmhouse I sold those awesome bells.   The woman who purchased them heard my story.   And from what I understand they were hanging in her family room next to a large walk-in fireplace.   I do hope they continue to make the magical sound I so remember.

Christmas in our home will not change.    Our traditions will remain the same.   Our faith will hold strong and the magic of St. Nick or St. Nicholas will rise to the occasion.   Our home will shine with fairy lights and glitter.  The giant tree will sit by the living room window for all to see.   Cookies and hot chocolate with be waiting for Santa.   Stockings will be hung from the mantel and filled Christmas Eve by the jolly man himself.

Nothing will change.    Well, except one little thing.   I needed to make a promise I will not sing “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” over and over again.

Thank you Santa, umm, Mark for spreading your magic.   You’re not out of the part time job – yet!

And thank you to my family for allowing me to be that kid you tolerate and love.  I love you all so very much!

a wise young lady once said…

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I have kept silent during the long and brutal campaign.   I didn’t want to speak to anyone about it.    My blog post June 6th -rant touched on Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton.   I am so happy it is finally over.  The election.  Though I voted, my candidate was removed by the American people long ago.

Wednesday morning my husband quietly announced who our American leader will be come January 2017.    Fluttered thoughts were cluttering my brain.   I remember crinkling my nose up in doubt.  Really?   The “you’re fired” dude is now our nations leader?    Will be our nations leader.     Okay now what.     I’m neither party.   It wasn’t my vote.   But sadly it wasn’t my vote that mattered.     Okay now what.

Jump ahead to Wednesday afternoon.

I was walking home with Murphy when my neighbors college daughter was parking her car in their driveway.   She works for a local dog walking company, so of course greeting my Murphy is always a must.    I adore this young lady.   She’s always full of high spirits and positive energy spills from every word – no matter what kind of day she’s having.

She’s wise beyond her years.   Does that make any sense?

I will refer to her as “Starbrite”.    Starbrite is twenty one years old.   Her dark eyes and skin are like a dolls.    And she stands maybe 5’1″.  Starbrite was born too late because she is the smallest and cutest little Hippy I’ve ever seen.   Her wide pants and loose fitting angel shirts make her appear even smaller.   Her voice is pixie like with a touch of California beach girl.   Starbrite and I have had in depth conversations at the pool regarding race and growing up with a single mother in DC.   After her father left them, her mother did everything under the sunny sky to make sure Starbrite would have the best education and life no matter what sacrifices mom would need to make.   (these were her words to me)

Starbrite asked me “how are you feeling on this post election afternoon?”.   I answered “numb”…. “not sure….but good and you?”      She laughed and said these exact words:

“Mr. Trump is not my choice for our leader.   He represented hate, but was he really?  His backers were loud and some obnoxious but who am I to judge them?   Hill, (as she referred to Ms. Clinton) is too bossy for me.   She is a “know it all”….and doesn’t represent women like myself.   I disliked both candidates actually, but hey, they are humans and we can’t control what any of political party does- right?   I wake up in the morning and the sun is out.  And if it’s not out…it will be out the next day!      I wake up and I’m happy to have a job, be in college, have my mom who loves me even though she tells me what to do [insert laughter] and have my adorable Yorkie whom I love with all my heart.   I have my friends and family.   And I have you as a neighbor/mom #2.   [insert my tears]   I feel fortunate.  My friends who have been crying over this election are wasting their precious time trying to “fix” something we have no control over to begin with.   Protesting is ridiculous.   Hate with more hate.”

And then Starbrite smiles.   And says ” I talk too much!”

No sweetie….keep talking.   What a wise young lady.  One who just made my day…week….year.

Is there a seat in congress for Starbrite?

a NEW beginning

Typically I shy away from posting about other peoples relationships.  Mine, yes.  But yours no.  Unless it has to do with finding new love, then yes, I’ll post.    About a month ago I met a woman who lives in my neighborhood.  We’ve met for coffee several times.  She recently opened up to me about her divorce.

Her story is like so many other women who found themselves in a hurtful – painful relationship.   Wondering will life ever be the same?   And if I choose to leave this unhealthy relationship – then what happens to me?   Kids?   Friends?     Long ago I too  was in an unhealthy relationship.  One that I can now say is so far behind me – I forget/forgot it ever happened.   But it took time to heal from abuse and the nasty scars that followed.  Over time we all heal. And everyone has their own path to healing.   My dearest friend LeeAnn experienced not only once but twice in her relationships – cheating and the uncertainty of “will this marriage ever mend?”.     It was a long road to healing for her.  But I’m delighted to say LeeAnn has remarried to a wonderful man, and this new journey will be made with Craig.  Oh, and Crosby their Yorkie!

We can’t help but question…..could and should those unhealthy relationships mend?       In my neighbors situation – no.    Even after counseling and mediation her marriage ended in divorce.   She’s picking up the pieces (as they say) and moving on with her life.  Her new journey has only just started.   I shared with my neighbor LeeAnn’s journey.  My story.    My neighbor is a beautiful woman inside and out.   She knows there is life after divorce – it’s the trust issues that come with a broken relationship.   LeeAnn just shared “the best is yet to come for her!”….”it can and will get better”.

When a relationship goes sour it’s not only the first step to walking away from the relationship – but knowing how to handle family and friends that come/came with that relationship.   Making boundaries and filtering through the painful “who’s side are you on?” kind of mess.    And some broken relationships are a mutual agreement where you keep mutual friends and everyone is just peachy.     But for most unhealthy relationships  it’s very rare there will be just peachy mutual friends.

Life has given me some pretty difficult moments where my journey didn’t seem as if there could be a more scenic route to take.   I wasn’t looking for the Yellow Brick Road route, and I was fortunate enough to have support and love from my family and friends to be there -just in case I took a detour.   Which I didn’t.   My journey picked up with Football Superstar.  He’s been my anchor – my best friend.   LeeAnn has Craig.   We have our friends and family.    As for my sweet neighbor….she too will find life is just beginning again.   Her family and friends are supporting just in case she should find a detour.   Oh, she also has two adorable dogs to snuggle with!

Thank you LeeAnn for giving her  strong advice and encouragement!!  I love you!!

And gals….we are all just peachy!

You’re a good man….Charlie Brown

I’ll admit, my inner child will begin to surface this time of year.   Beginning with Charlie Brown.  His disappointments always make my heart pound with disappointment for him.  And not to mention he gets nothing but rocks as the gang heads out to Trick-or-Treat throughout their monopoly like houses- suburban neighborhood.  I’ve often thought about writing to Mr. Shulz asking for one more ribbon winning moment for young Mr. Brown, sort of like his shinning spotlight in “Merry Christmas…Charlie Brown!” .

A question surfaced during the “moms who blog” mini group about life lessons and which cartoon character gives us those “ah-ha moments”  or “pick yourself up and dust off – move on moments”.       I have bins packed with books from my teaching years.  And from my own children’s collection that I can’t part with – yet.   But the one true character is Arthur who comes to mind.  That adorable aardvark who proved that anyone can get through some of the most difficult situations.  Especially his baby sister Francine.  My kids loved watching Arthur.  As did I.   But I never gave Charlie Brown the credit he deserves.

Charlie Brown is resilient.  Charlie has a flood of struggles… and if you think about it….most of the struggles come from the friendships he keeps.  I certainly find no problem at laughing at my own struggles and failures, but it’s very hard to watch a young bald kid who has a heart the size of Manhattan get knocked down because he’s a “block head”.   Bring in Linus.   The pint size-honor roll – blanket carrying elementary kid has been Charlie’s main life line for years.   I can only imagine these two guys in college.   The dialogue never changes.   But where does Charlie Brown give us the most valuable lesson?    Is it when he’s bullied by others?  He doesn’t bully another kid or make Snoopy go without food and water?    Snoopy has quite a life and yet  he even snubs the hand that feeds him!    Is it that Charlie Brown has a way of allowing others to take out their frustrations on this bald softy because they find their own fears from failures and mistakes cramping their style.     So lets just beat down good ol’ Chuck!    [hug,hug]

Yet, Chuck keeps on going.   His upside down smile goes to a crooked wiggly grin.  Then we finally see that smile we all know and love.

As most of us moms agreed during our own childhood, watching the Peanuts gang was not only exciting – we also shared moments as young girls tearing up over Charlie Brown.   One quote from Charlie comes to mind –  “I think I’m afraid to be happy because whenever I get too happy something bad always happens”.    Break. My. Heart!     But he always ended up having confidence!      Charlie Brown gave us love.  (thanks Mr. Shulz)   Charlie Brown gave us laughter and the desire to belt out “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” on those road trips during Thanksgiving week.  He gave us entertainment for many generations and to that I say you’re a good man Charlie Brown!

As we drank our coffee taking in the warm October sun, our topic flowed from bullying in schools, drug addiction in our suburban homes and throughout the DC metro area to teenage sex…..Charlie Brown came directly in my mind.   How did one kid find such strength and determination?    Because today there are those Charlie’s out there who are not able to grab enough determination or find their inner strength to stand up for themselves or to walk away.    Those Charlies struggle to just find the courage to seek out a counselor or adult they  are able to trust for outreach.    Praying those Charlie’s find it to fight their inner fears and anxiety.   And reach out.

If my kids were part of the Peanuts gang, I can honestly say I had no bossy Lucy’s or Peppermint Patty’s.   I may have had a touch of Sally. Possibly Freida.   And if Football Superstar wouldn’t have been the male hygiene enforcer….Pig Pen.

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We moms agreed that the friendship between Charlie Brown and his beloved beagle Snoopy was priceless.  Charlie was so patient with Snoopy.      Snoopy and Woodstock met giving us nothing but teamwork.   Who grabbed the firewood for the campsite?   Woodstock.    Who puffed the sheet for the sail on the sailboat?  Woodstock.   Like I said….teamwork.

The Great Pumpkin will glow once again this season on our televisions.   Apple Cheeks and I will bake pumpkin bread and enjoy slice after slice with hot chocolate.    And I will answer her questions after the show ends.     “Why are Charlie Browns friends so mean to him? ”   “If I were Charlie Brown’s friend….I would talk to the gang and tell them they are not being very nice to him! ”

Good grief, after all these years….you’re still my friend Chuck!