Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

  Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!  If you didn't have anyone pamper you today, I hope you took some time for yourself.
   Let's face it, being a mom is a tough job.  We try and do everything right, but sometimes we just suck at it.  I take comfort in the fact that I agonized over each decision, and thought I made sound and responsible choices.  Yet many times, my kid thought I was trying to make his life more difficult.  I can only hope that time will show that I acted as a  loving and dedicated parent.  I'm not sure if I was the mom he needed, or the mom I wish I had.  I wanted to give my child roots and wings, and he has grown up to be responsible, and an extremely productive member of society.  He even remembered to call me today.
    I always thought of myself as a "smother", but there are "helicopter moms who hover", and hands off moms who just let things happen.   Whatever kind of a mom you are, put your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder, and give yourself a hug!  Just remember that some days will be better than others.
     Today was sunny and warm, and so I decided to get a couple of errands done.  I tried to just live in the moment.  I noticed the blue sky and the puffy clouds.  The warm sun felt fantastic, and so I decided to make a gratitude list while I drove.  I try and think of five things for which  I am grateful.  It never has to be fancy or elaborate, just whatever crosses my mind.
     I am always grateful that my family is healthy, and that we all get along.
     I love warm and sunny days because they always lighten my mood.
     Both the Bruins and Red Sox won last night, and that is really something to be thankful for.
     I know that there are lots of things I can worry about, but today I refuse to go there.
     I focus on things that give me joy, peace and serenity.
     I reflect on my favorite Mother's Day memories, and enjoy them all again.  I remember the times I got it right, and know that I was an OK mom.  I didn't need to be perfect,  I just needed to be willing to be the mom he needed at the time. We should take comfort in the fact that while we never had the best of everything, we made the best of everything.   Have a wonderful day, and many wonderful days ahead......and the beat goes on ......the beat goes on........

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ask, and Believe, then Wait to Receive

   I like to watch the House Hunter shows on the Home and Garden channel.    Every episode follows the same format.  Buyers are shown several houses, but only three options are included.  The buyers must decide if they want to place a formal offer, and if so, we get to see the price negotiations, and the conclusion.    Recently, I watched a program about a first time home buyer, who's motto was "ask, and believe, then wait to receive".  Her approach was the same with every house.  She had asked for a home that would be perfect for her,  and she believed that it would become available.  Of course, she had a small budget to work with, and a wish list that would be difficult to find.  She fell in love with a house that was outside her budget, but she put in an offer for the maximum that she could borrow.  Sadly, the offer was rejected, and the agent stated that the deal was done.  The buyer repeated her mantra, and said that she would wait to receive her blessing.  If this house wasn't the one for her, she knew that another one would come along.  Apparently she wound up getting the house of her dreams, because the original offer fell through.  A true happy ending!
    I decided to try and use this in my own life.  I've begun to ask for good things, and believe that I will receive them.  While I'm stuck in traffic, or in the long line at the grocery store, I use the time to let my mind wander of good things to come.  We all have heard that we are meant to enjoy many more blessings than we actually do.  Some say that we need to ask for things like love, good health, the right job, and financial security.  I'm willing to take that chance.  My friends say that I've been able to accomplish things when I've  put my mind to it, and maybe this is the same idea.  I need to focus on what is important to me, and take steps to get what I want.  I am going to ask,  and believe, then wait to receive.  I'll update again as my wishes come true.....and the beat goes on......the beat goes on........

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marathon Monday

  Tomorrow is the 118th Boston Marathon.  This year will be different for many reasons.  Tomorrow, there will be more runners and spectators than ever.  There will also be more security, and news coverage.   Last year the race was interrupted for many,  when two homemade bombs were left to explode near the finish line.  Three innocent victims died at the scene, and a police officer was killed a few days later.  I've also learned that another officer who was involved,  passed away recently.
  The bombers could never have predicted that their acts of hatred would have galvanized the city of Boston, the country and the world.  Boston Strong is the perfect way to describe how we emerged after this horrible tragedy.  Bostonians are just too stubborn to let the bad guys win.  Boston was determined to not be defined by a senseless act of violence, but of a city that wanted to show that love will always trump hatred.  Our love of freedom, friendship, and our flag helped us to triumph over terrorism.
   This week, I watched many of the TV shows and tributes to honor the victims, and celebrate the remarkable journey of the survivors.  We all marvel at the resolve of the injured to live their lives to the fullest.  I was so touched to see and hear from the survivors.  We all watched news footage as strangers ran toward the danger, and helped get the injured life saving medical care.  Big Papi of the Red Sox  spoke for all of us which included the famous "bleep".
  This week, we heard from the medical staff of the Boston hospitals, and the Watertown cops who recounted the events.  It took just 108 hours for Boston to apprehend the bad guys.  When it was all over, residents lined the streets to cheer on the police officers as they left that small town.  Citizens who would have never believed that they would need SWAT teams and armored vehicles in their neighborhood.  Americans who were so grateful that our government is big enough to fight for us, that they sang "God Bless America" as the tanks left.  
  Everyone who made it to the hospital that day, is alive and still fighting to recover from their injuries.  The One Fund has been set up to help as long as is needed.  This year, many runners are raising money to help with ongoing medical expenses.  It will be a long road to recovery, but we will all get through it together.   I'm always proud to be an American......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finding the Best Solution

  Our new puppy Zoey is already a celebrity in the neighborhood.  We've had neighbors drop by with gourmet peanut butter dog bones, and someone else gave us two coats that their dog had outgrown.  We will begin our sixth week tomorrow, and she is settling in beautifully.  I believe that puppies train us on how to care for them, and then we have a wonderful life together.  In six weeks, we have learned that Zoey will need to go out as soon as her feet hit the floor, and so I'm happy to say that accidents are few and far between.  It seems that for a small dog, she really loves to be outside.  She will go for walks several times each day, as long as we stop and talk to everyone.  She loves to be petted, and looks for the neighborhood kids who generously give her extra hugs.
    We are working on getting Zoey to come when she is called.  It's fair to say that progress is slow.  It is pretty easy to get her to find me when we are in the house.  I just have to make one of the toys squeak, and she will come running.  What happens outside is an entirely different story.  She bounces over to me, then darts off to chase a leaf, or anything else that has her attention.  This is a problem if she won't come to me, and I need to leave for work.  I need to resolve this issue quickly.
    The solution is the thirty foot training leash.  It gives her plenty of room to run around, but I can get her into the house quickly.  Of course, I just pull on the leash while calling her name.  I also praise her for coming towards me.  A friend also suggested finding a "high value" reward of some kind.  I've decided to use something that she will never get as part of her daily routine, which rules out all the toys, as well as dog bones,  ice cubes, and frozen string beans.
    Zoey went crazy when I microwaved some pre-cooked bacon strips for BLT sandwiches. I believe that bacon may be something impossible to resist.  I'm thinking the real thing is probably healthier than the processed dog treats. I like the fact that I can crumble it up into tiny bite sized pieces.
     I begin by letting her smell the bacon, then I walk into another room, calling Zoey as I go.  Of course, she is hooked, and does not leave my side.  Nevertheless, I reward her with a tasty morsel.  After a minute, I go back to the kitchen, and call again.  She bounced to my side, and gobbled up her treat.  I try and let enough time go by that she becomes preoccupied with a toy, then call again and reward.  After fifteen minutes, we have done this about ten times.  Half the bacon strip is gone, and I decide to stop and try again the next time we are outside.  Even though she is on the leash,  it works beautifully.  I know that we can use bacon for training, as long as I use it sparingly.  We will spend a few minutes each day, both inside and out working on this.  Sometimes,  I will not have the treats, but I can use praise and affection as my reward.  It is all about consistency.  I want her to know what I expect, and what she can expect in return.  This is the foundation of a beautiful friendship....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.........

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Winter Break

   Yikes!  I cannot believe that I have not posted for a month.  During that time, I've taken two vacations, got a new puppy, had lots of snow days, and finished my taxes.  One trip was a family reunion with Ron's siblings, and we were lucky that Matt could meet us there.  We all spent a few days in Vegas, enjoying the warm weather.  We had enough luck in the casinos to play for a while on house money.  My favorite thing was the day trip to the Hoover Damn.  It was incredible!  This massive project was completed in the 1930's,  under budget and two years before the deadline.  Workers made twice the national average wage, which was about $0.50 per hour, and it was built with math and muscle.
    We picked up our new puppy, Zoey, on the way home from the airport.  We took the Red Eye flight from Vegas, and the breeder was sort of on the way home.  She is a sixteen week Cavalier Spaniel, and she is doing great!  She has slept through the night from day one, and that is a big help.  It is a lot to ask a puppy to train in the middle of the coldest winter in years.  We have had her for four weeks, and we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The weather is getting warmer, and we can go for short walks.  Once the snow is melted and the mud is gone, I know she will love her back yard.
     My second mini vacation took me to Florida to visit my folks for the annual St. Patrick's long weekend.  We had another block party with seventy neighbors complete with catered meal, and a DJ.  The weather cooperated, and we soaked up the sunshine and vitamin D.  We also attended a fiftieth anniversary party, and had a wonderful time.  It was in a "Happy Days" themed diner with karaoke, and we sang and danced. Usually we bring back some warm weather and sunshine, but Mother Nature had different ideas this year.
    I cannot wait for this winter to be finished, as it has been raining for the past two days.  Every day that the sun shines, and the temperature gets close to forty degrees, I feel encouraged that better days are coming.  New England certainly paid its dues this winter, and I hope that means a beautiful spring and a fantastic summer......and the beat goes on.......the beat goes on.........

Saturday, February 15, 2014

When in Doubt--Chicken Out

    This has been a good week to stay home and watch the Olympics.  New England is in the midst of our second huge storm this week.  Thursday was an all day snow event, and we were clobbered with another foot of heavy wet snow.  It's been snowing lightly since noon today, just enough to make it treacherous.             Cape Cod area is getting the jackpot, which means they will get the most snow.  There is another snow and rain mix scheduled to hit on Tuesday, then in typical New England form, we may see fifty degrees on Friday.  It will be nice to see a lot of the snow piles melt.  It will begin to feel like the end of winter.
   The snowstorms gave us a good excuse to stay home and watch the Olympics on TV.  I watched most of the US vs Russian hockey game early this morning.  The game was very exciting, and the US won in a shoot-out.  This was not a medal game, and it is quite possible that these two teams may meet again with the gold medal on the line.  Some very familiar NHL superstars are playing for their home countries, and teammates may face off during the games.  Several Boston Bruins are playing for Canada, Sweden, Russia, and other countries.  It must be a thrill to represent their home countries, although I will always root for the United States.
     My favorite events are the ice dancers, and I also saw the luge and skeleton races, as well as the snowboard and some of the skiing events.  The US has not done very well in the speed skating events, and I'm not sure if we have any more chances to compete in that venue.  Win or lose, I'm proud to be an American.  I love hearing the background stories on the athletes.  It is such a huge commitment to prepare to be an Olympian, and they all deserve a fantastic experience.
     Tonight, the Russians have won 15 medals, and the US is in second place with 14 total medals.  There is still another week of competition, and I wish all the Athletes good luck....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII

   Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks, 2014's Super Bowl Champions!  It was billed as an epic match-up between Denver's  number one offense,  competing against Seattle's number one defense.   On paper, it looked like it would be a very close game.  In the end, the Seahawks won by 35 points.  The final score was 43 to 8.  It was the young gun against the seasoned veteran, and tonight the kid played great.
    Russell Wilson has just played two seasons, but he shows a lot of poise and class.  I like him, and he played a flawless game.  I hope he is the face of the new young quarterbacks in the NFL.
     Pete Carroll coached in New England, and so we are pretty familiar with his coaching style.  The defense was excellent, and scored on an interception.  They call themselves the "Legion of Boom", and they lived up to their name tonight.  Special teams also scored on a kick return.  It is nearly impossible to beat a team when all three phases of the game are solid.
   Denver did not look good on their very first play, when a bad snap caused a safety, and gave Seattle two points without even touching the ball.  The Broncos offense never looked sharp in this game, which is the job of an outstanding defense.
   Peyton Manning had set records this season for the most touchdowns in a season, and the most points in any season.  Both of those records had been held by Tom Brady and the Patriots.  A part of me wanted to see Manning finish the season with the Championship, because it is not sure how much longer he will play.  He deserves all the respect and praise that he receives.  He has been a great player and fantastic ambassador for the sport of football.
   Besides the game, the extravaganza includes the commercials, and half-time show.  This year, many ads
featured huge stars like Ellen, Arnold and Bruce Willis.  My favorite ad was from Budweiser with the puppy and the horse.  It was excellent, and I know we will see it many times in the next few weeks....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....