Monthly Archives: December 2013

More snow…

Well it’s snowing….AGAIN! Not that I am surprised but I’m a fan of “Christmas Day” snow ONLY! Living in Maine, I should anticipate storm after storm but am always frustrated when more cold moves in, skies are gray, and sunshine is nowhere to be found. Today however, i admit that as I stood outside, the snow is absolutely breathtaking. At my office just into the tree line, there are trees with a darker colored bark…against the white snow…and just at those trees, is a bush of red berries, and just behind the berries is a small young tree with light green pine needles. Man, why didn’t I bring my camera to work? The contrast of those colors is so beautiful, and so often I want my camera to be here with me. My phone will do but wouldn’t do justice in this case though I may go out and try at lunch. The deep bark and white snow in contrast with the rich red berries and light green pine needles is just amazing. The snow is falling steadily in large white flake form…coating the ground and cars…the air is crisp though not unbearably cold. It’s small images, like this one outside, that hide my disdain for cold snowy weather…images that encompass the beauty of winter life in Maine…images that warm my heart and soul on cold crisp days like today. (Lunch…time to give it a whirl with the camera phone. If it comes out ok, I will post)

New beginnings…

It wasn’t so long ago that my boys were under 4 ft tall, playing and laughing, baseball was the game of choice, maybe an adventure walk with Mom, backpacks packed with snacks and juices, or just a good old fashioned day at the playground. It wasn’t so long ago that I smiled imagining their futures, who they would be as they grew up, high school…always knew they would be Bubbas, work boots, ball caps, CarrHart clothing…motorheads and big trucks (they are!). It wasn’t long ago that I imagined who would catch their eye and hold their heart, even if just for a little while as high school and teen years are often so flighty.

Where is this going, and why? I got word that my youngest son, R who is 17, is going to see the girlfriend’s family for Christmas Eve dinner. While I am thrilled, as not long ago they weren’t fans of his, it brings me to the realization that this one might be different from the rest. She fits the mold of being shorter than him (mind you he is 6 ft so that’s not a stretch for him to be taller) but the rest of the details vary from his “norm.” And that’s the one people often choose…the one outside the norm, the one that breaks tradition with the rest, and maybe that is what appeals to him about her! She is cute as a button, good curves, great sassy female personality, and no doubt could hold her own in a fight. She doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, would rather wear jeans than anything too short or tight, sneakers vs heels…you get the idea, just a regular girl! (That’s what I love about her actually!)

I remember yellow ducky feet pajamas, dinosaur pj’s, little hiking boots, and both sets of smiling sparkling blue eyes. Those fresh young faces have given way to the smiles and smirks of handsome young men, the smiles still melt my heart, and the sparkle is still there in both of their eyes. And when I imagine the future, the girl with my son, it would be this one if I could choose or at least someone like her. Her smile is infectious; she still has the deep belly laugh of a young kiddo, and my son glows when she is around. They are not the traditional clingy teens, no foaming in front of Mom or the friends, just regular hangout playdates!

But tonight is a formality of sorts…the first formal holiday with her family. It’s a new bridge for my son…”Best behavior” I told him, “Dress nice, look good, and have fun.”  “I know Moooommmmm!” is his response followed immediately by “I love you!” Good kid! As this year closes, I’m celebrating this milestone in his life, this new adventure he is embarking on, and pushing forward into the new Year with hope. I challenge my son to take every lesson he can from this new love, this new family, these new moments…learn what you like, what you don’t, and use that to propel yourself (and possibly the GF) to the next chapter.

The Holidays…

While growing up, the holidays signified a time of getting together with family, sharing food and meals and singing and laughter, meals with my grandmothers, the smell of a freshly baking ham when we entered the kitchen, seeing unwrapped gifts beneath the Christmas trees. I miss those traditions immensely but am so glad and so blessed to have grown up surrounded by such holidays, families, traditions, and such.

As a grown up, I tried desperately to keep those traditions alive, though grandparents have passed and family has not kept in quite so close touch. As a wife, I did my best to provide a nice decorated tree when I could afford it, supply a luscious meal for friends and family, and to bring my husband into the traditions that so represented the magic of Christmas…he wasn’t buying. As a mother, I provided the ridiculous Christmas mornings, stockings full of goodies, watching the traditional holiday specials and movies. I tried…mostly tried, didn’t I? I failed….

I am now at a point where I dread the holidays and the feeling of failure I feel each year. We don’t make a lot of money, the music I love and grew up singing has not been a part of my holidays; I could care less about having a tree; I’ve failed when I don’t have enough gifts; I’ve let my family down. I tried to explain this last night to my husband, who started his response with “You know why I hate Christmas….” which of course, did not help me at all.

I wrote about arriving at a beach and rushing to the shore simply for the thrill of burning my feet on the sand and plunging into the ice cold waters of the Atlantic…I used to feel that way about the holidays. For so long I feel like I’ve disappointed my kids, not being able to give them the traditional holidays I grew up with. We host the meal each year but can never provide gifts…they’re teenagers as are my nieces, so gifts are everything. I feel inept, totally useless, like a failure and disappointment. The holidays, to me, really bring out my shortcomings as a person and a mother…am I alone? Why do I feel this way year after year? And isn’t it amazing that my children love me despite my shortcomings?  

The Quest Continues…

In the throes of just writing again, simply to reactivate vocabulary and written communication skills, I’m finding it more and more difficult to stay away from my blog. I’m finding that ideas and words are flowing more freely, and that I’d rather spend time typing out my ideas and epiphanies and thoughts than do my actual day to day work and at home chores. Is that a bad thing I find me asking myself? Is it wrong to want to keep expounding and chatting and seeing occasional feedback? Is it bad that I’m just writing and not taking more photographs? My answer to those questions is NO! Absolutely not!!

I have to admit that pushing my limits has become my normal mode of thinking these days, refusing to give up the good fight. Whether it’s inner turmoil, handling issues at work and at home, pacing myself to read a book I’d rather rip through in order to get my next new book fix at the bookstore, or even just simply utilizing quiet time to get my head in order, I’m taking steps to live outside my normal realm. Recently I mentioned music, how it had been such an integral part of my pre-mom/wife lifestyle. I’ve found a show, the Sing Off (all accapella) which fits not only my love of music but the thrill of hearing voices and harmonies and percussion and bass all blending together. My favorite group has a solid country feel, and the bass singer has the most amazing voice, striking a low note that made my chest rumble. A full octave below the normal bass notes…blown away, just completely blown away. Music moves me in a way nothing else can, and I’m getting my fix regularly even if it is on television…the best part, my husband is addicted to the show as well so I don’t even have to fight for the remote! LOL Living outside the norm for sure and having my hubby come along for that musical ride is even better. Soon contestants from that show will be touring and you can bet, I will be there…it’s my birthday soon and I’m due! I work every day and balance my house…I’m due!

There it is…giving something to myself, investing in my heart and passion, allowing my guilty pleasure of music to dictate my birthday wishes. I will be there, even if I have to sneak in the backstage somehow! Isn’t it wonderful though, to feel so caught up, so alive again, so much involved with the arts whether as a listener, writer, photographer, or as an audience member. We get lost so easily, push off what we love for what we are supposed to do, get so caught up in what is “reality” and often times forgetting what brings us true joy. Writing…music…it’s all there. Written words with a melody, harmony, percussion…music, the expressions and fire that words cannot cross, emotions that lift and raise and fall and rise and take our breath away. Lost, just totally lost in the rapture of having found my joy, in being involved again, in feeling such a lift.

Perspective

Being that I work in mental health, my perspective is often altered. I think to my self, every now and then, that my “problems” have me so bogged down in life that I can’t see straight; that I have done something to someone in a past life or maybe even present life, to cause me to struggle and feel frustrated. I get frustrated by working each and every day and feeling, like so many people, that the amount is just never enough…even with two adults working, how is it that there’s never enough. I get frustrated by not being able to be that parent who can just give my kids everything…the money they want, the big Christmas, a new truck or car, or a loan towards some BIG item they desperately want. I’m disappointed and frustrated. I haven’t given up…I keep fighting, I keep pluggin along. Hell…I just got a free tree for the holidays, that’s something right?
And then…in my office, Perspective! While I whine about being broke, people’s businesses are closing, houses are being foreclosed on, feelings of suicide, parents trying to process kids hurting themselves or taking drugs and making bad decisions. Money won’t fix this. Gifts won’t fix this. Loans and new cars won’t fix any of this. My “problems” seem inconsequential, my heart is lightened just for a moment though the looming bills are now tapping me on the shoulder. While my heart goes out to these people and families, it reminds me that perspective is so important in our world.
Perspective…my word of the day. Per www.Dictionary.com, here is part of the formal definition:
1. a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2. the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity:

That’s it…regarding situations, facts, relative importance, “point of view or the ability to see it.” The Ability To See It…it’s easy, so easy, to live inside our own little world, to forget we are not the center, that at times it seems easy to be blinded by the shades we pull down and the curtains we draw at the end of the day. And what did I learn today? I SEE that my problems are minimal and probably no different than so many others. I SEE that my children are healthy and strong. I SEE that my house payments are paid. I SEE objectively that my levels of frustration are nothing compared to so many others. Perspective…word of the day.

 

Today

I have to admit that today is the first time I could completely go on a rant, call someone out who doesn’t read my Blog anyway, probably rip someone to shreds in words, but refuse to do it. In keeping in line with my need to step outside myself, the actual approach would indeed be to tear someone up, as my usual approach is a little sarcasm and humor but again, not going to do it. instead, Im just going to talk then move along, and there won’t be any tags with this one. just a bunch of words. While I could point out in general how insensitive people can be, self centered, and ignorant, again, I just won’t. But boy, I’m really itchin’ to launch into a tirade…

But let’s keep it simple! Today was a good day, quiet and calm. Movies. My kiddos. Comfort food. Snow falling outside as what’s supposed to be a crazy storm is taking hold here, blowing wind and repeated plow truck drive bys out on 236. The best news of course is that my computer power cord arrived today courtesy of Amazon.com so I am able to type once again from the comfort of home, and as of this moment, from the comfort of my bed. I normally don’t bring the computer into my room…but after not having had it for a while, I’m feeling a tad possessive and am holding it hostage in the Mother Space. Sorry boys, mama’s taking back the laptop! My husband, after going out to a vehicle that wouldn’t start (dead battery), got to work and home safely saying only that work was wild today and he was glad to be home! the boys, as I mentioned, are home…and actually went to bed fairly early, no doubt in the hopes that this storm will bring them some work tomorrow as they work doing the snow removal bit! (I dont envy that)

I didn’t do much at all today except enjoy being home, being off, being warm, and spending time with my kids…even when the XBox keeps them tied to their bedroom for gaming, knowing they are here truly brings me comfort. I stayed in bed a little longer this morning and read yet another book centered on beach life, though much different than the one I finished about a week ago. this one focuses on a couple determined to move to an island nation and build a beach side bar & grille…I’ve just scratched the surface of the book but can do updates later if it’s worth discussing, and if not, will find and relay my next great read! My phone didn’t ring much today, which means tomorrow should be fairly busy. 

Boy this one is entirely boring…need to write when I’m more centered and focused and can contribute something more solid. It’s late, I’m tired. Checking out…

 

Storm’s A-Comin!!!!

It’s all over the news and radio, getting messages via email from driver’s ed instructors, and no doubt will be in a panic come Monday morning. The Storm is Coming…and I’m not talking a metaphorical storm, but a good 8-12 inches of snow. That means that this afternoon’s shopping expedition will be a mob scene event, people wrestling along aggressively to get survival staples (these days that doesn’t mean water and batteries but rather snacks to hold over the kiddos) before we get snowed in! I complain and complain about this weather, I repeat how I Just Hate It Here but ya know, being from New England, I don’t think we ever really feel that way. Granted, it’s annoying and can definitely feel disruptive, the shoveling and scraping, moving cars for the plow truck to sweep the driveway, making sure we have the candles and wooden matches, water, food to get by in case we lose power. But its what makes us who we are, makes us strong and determined, knowing that someone close by has a wood stove as I don’t have one, that our friends will welcome us when they have power and we don’t. The smart ones even has gas stoves…I have a generator, just enough to push the fridge and heater, which is enough…and a grill if push comes to shove!

For my kids, the Storm is Coming has monetary value as they work for a friend, making more an hour than I do (ironic isn’t it) moving snow and removing snow from hospital parking lots and sidewalks, making sure areas are safe, that people can come and go, that emergency vehicles can rush in and provide services required for each person. They both find the manual work rewarding, and love that they are helping the elderly patients be able to walk and move safely…there’s something honorable about that to my boys, making sure that no one slips and falls on their watch, and if need be, providing that sturdy arm/escort through the door if needed. Good values, I did something right I think, and admire their work, work ethic, and pride in this new opportunity. It won’t be easy for them, that’s for sure, but their wallets will thank them next week on payday!!

I’m all smiles thinking about them collecting that first big check for the work they have put in. They’ve both had jobs but this is the “construction connection” they’ve both been waiting for, it’s a big deal!  This weekend will separate the boys from the men from what we are hearing. I’m wondering which of them fall asleep first…LOL! But in truth, I think a cooler full of food, thermos bottles of soup and hot chocolate, and money for runs to the store should keep them going. Water bottles ice cold to keep them hydrated… my rugid Maine boys! Just makes me laugh.

Yes, the Storms A Comin…nothing to do with me this time, no hurdles for me to overcome, just sharing a smile and mom moment!!

Moving on, moving forward…

 

I spent yesterday afternoon with my supervisor at work, in my yearly review. I must admit, I’m a morning person so when our appointment was pushed out to the afternoon, it literally caused my stomach to turn. Mornings…you’re up, still fresh, caffeine is flowing, my brain is still thinking straight. Afternoon, I’m ready for a nap – enough said!!! So there I am, sitting with my supervisor, ironically sitting in the same office in which my interview was conducted…and I mentioned to my supervisor “We have come full circle. This office is where it all began!” She laughed saying, “You’re absolutely right!”

I admit I was nervous though it’s been a great year at work. As of late, I have an offer that is on-hold, with a new company and with any luck, with a substantial raise. I’ve interviewed, done all the footwork for them, and at this point, am waiting for the formal closure and signatures on an account I will be assigned to. It’s exciting to think the change is coming, and in my mind, I’d be moving on and moving forward. We know that’s a huge deal for me right now. The downfall…it’s still in the future, and a lack of communication from said prospective employer is making me a little shaky. I’m an avid and often times Over Communicator when it comes to employment and in the workplace…clearly, this company is not!

But back to my review! I scored very well and was labeled a very logical and business minded individual. I was told I am an out of the box thinker with much to contribute to my office. I was told my communication skills are second to none. I was told that my ability to flex among various positions has made me a huge asset. The review was a big ole pat on the back…Well Done Kath!!

AND THEN…Supervisor: “So what is going on with you lately? It seems that you are disconnected and stand-off-ish.” 

Kath: “I’m fine. There’s a lot happening at home right now. While we are seeing some triumphs, especially with M, there are still a few obstacles.” (The color literally drained out of my face. I could feel it, and have no doubt she could see it.)

Supervisor: “Are you sure you aren’t looking? Somewhere that would allow you to make more money? I wouldn’t blame you if you decide you have to go. I know you are the primary breadwinner and understand the financial side of things. I don’t want you to go, but I understand if that is a decision you have to make.”

Kath: “No…I’m fine, like I said; it’s just things at the house.”  (Being that the new opportunity is not set in stone, I certainly don’t want to burn this bridge in any way, shape or form.)

As a counter, my supervisor knows and understands I have a creative streak…that I love being out in the community and don’t mind pounding the pavement to get information about our services out there…that I enjoy my work but always enjoy more the challenge of something new…knows that I am looking to grow within the company which ultimately will produce more money and opportunity…SO – I’ve been presented with opportunities to work on various committees within my current company. Creative endeavors as well as a new Branding team as we are in the midst of a merger. I must admit, opportunities like this will involve rubbing elbows with the right people in our company, to promote the growth I am looking for; it will take me away from my daily chores and place me in new settings pushing around new ideas, marketing, creativity, writing opportunities. It’s exciting, and I’m excited that I have been invited to be a part of this.

Moving on, moving forward: My thought on this today is…what makes one position more important than another. What percentage value do I place on money above remaining part of a company that thus far, has been nothing but wonderful to me? How much am I worth as an employee, and how much of me am I will to trade to either remain where I am or move forward onto something else? I admit, this is a tough one for me. On one hand, I have my current company who has been amazing to work with, a stellar group of coworkers, and now, the opportunity to work with various committees that may ultimately allow me to move up in the company…but the pay is a tad rough.  On the other hand, a new opportunity that is currently on hold, as I had previously mentioned, in a totally new field, that probably will involve a raise…alternate highlight, I will be working with my sister which will be fun! Do I move on and move forward by continuing to grow with my current company OR do I take a step into something unknown for a bit more money? Is a bigger paycheck the only reason I’m considering the change…do I no longer believe my current company has anything more to offer me? The answer to this all is I genuinely don’t know, that I’m still feeling confused about the “right thing” for me, and that disappointing my supervisor ranks up there with disappointing my close friends as she is a most amazing woman. Dilemmas dilemmas…

My favorite line from the Little Mermaid is “Life is full of tough choices, Isn’t it?” Ironically it’s asked by the Sea Witch who is out to steal her voice. A little symbolism there as well, as I worry that I’ve lost my voice, that which represents me best both at work and at home, in public and in private…that I’ve lost an element of myself which is why I’m desperate to write daily, to maybe find that voice once again. And which professional voice will I take on…my current voice, which is appreciated and respected and valued and listened to though underpaid OR my potential voice which I hope gets the same respect, value, and appreciation for a little more money. I’m just going to ponder I think, let it mull around in my brain while I complete my chores here in the office today.

 

cheering up

I had to share this beautiful photo! While the weather becomes increasingly colder in New England, as temps are still dropping, and snowstorms are beginning to become a regularity, this image makes me so happy and takes me back to warmer sunshine!! Enjoy!

Another Step

I’ve never been one to wait until the last minute for anything Except Christmas shopping! However, last night, after a day at home not feeling well, my husband announced “He ruined my car.” (Mind you…in New England yesterday there was ice, snow, sleet, minimal visibility and of course, very slippery roads.) This “Car” is actually a four wheel drive Durango…my heart immediately sank into my stomach.

“Were you in an accident” I asked cautiously.

“No” Hubby replied, “I still don’t have any heat after fixing the thermostat. He Ruined my car.”

The realist in me, who doesn’t wait until crisis strikes, wanted to lash out saying…how many times did I ask you to go to a garage, to have it looked at, and how many of our mechanical friends have said BRING THE TRUCK TO ME. Now in the throes of a storm, in a vehicle without heat, you’re shocked that the defrost isn’t working and that your feet aren’t being toasted on the floor? REALLY? Did you not have an entire year to get that fixed? But of course, being the immediate fixer that I am, I Instead replied with…”That’s ok. R can take the bus to school tomorrow. I will get a ride with a coworker and you can just have my car. I will get the truck to the garage and get it fixed. Don’t worry…that’s an easy fix.” Done…NEXT!

I jokingly talked to my sister and said, thank goodness D (hubby) has a husband who makes sure he always has a running vehicle for work…wish I had one of those, a HUSBAND I mean. LOL She laughed…funny but true she replied.

So…while this isn’t technically a step, it’s me again pushing back in that I’m damn tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. I can no longer hope the truck stays operational and I will not sacrifice my own vehicle for any longer than the repair takes. In a world where, according to my husband, men are being bound and dragged down by XBox or in his case too much television, where MEN no longer want to work when they can stay home and collect unemployment or disability, does type of behavior stymy or enforce that behavior?  (Side note – there are genuinely people out there that CANNOT work for various reasons. I do not envy the frustration this must cause. I’m talking about those who take advantage of a system…)

The bigger question is again, Do I Care? Do I care enough to get all worked up and angry? Yes, for the briefest moment I did and I did get angry. As the House Mediator, negotiator, fixer, and Husband, it is my job to resolve these crises. And I did this one just like I would any other…step by step, covering each person and chore stem to stern. What’s bigger though, in all this, is that for me it was a moment of freedom. Like I said, I’m done with the dropping shoes…I plan ahead…I make pro-active choices and take forward moving steps…I’m always looking ahead, removing obstacles, and not being bogged down in the local seaweed that sometimes threatens to choke me. Moving on, moving up…that’s me and the direction I am heading in.

So dear reader, underneath the frustration and touches of sarcasm, I did get this resolved. Everyone arrived to their desired or required destinations in a timely manner. I got to work, with the help of my coworker. And while I have not yet reached out to a local garage, I have a gameplan in mind and will, I assure you, get this heater situation resolved once and for all. Moving on, moving forward…defrosted windows and toasty toes!