Sunday, December 30, 2012

Puppy Love

  We adopted an adorable puppy today.  We've been fostering this sweet six month old pup for two weeks, but we fell in love with him the very first day we met.  He is all white with a brown patch on one of his eyes, and some brown spots on both ears.  We decided to name him Bruno, and we are trying to smother him with love.
   We came across the pup called "King",  on a web site  "Ruff Road Rescue", which we have learned is a fantastic organization.  They foster dogs in private homes while they work to find permanent homes.  This means they can only rescue a dog if they have a temporary foster home.  The benefits of this process is that the dogs are pretty well adjusted by the time they are adopted.  Our little guy sleeps through the night  in his crate, has not had an accident, and has pretty good manners for a pup with such a tough start.
   His journey to our home began about five weeks ago as a stray in New York City.   Ruff Road Rescue brought him to New Hampshire,  where  he spent one week with the director.  He stayed another week on a farm with dogs, cats, and chickens, owned by a woman who trains dogs.  She did an excellent job, because he has been totally comfortable in our home, and very easy to work with.  When they brought the pup for the home visit,  I thought they would have more questions for us.  I was told that they get a "vibe" as soon as they walk in the house.  I realize now that they were watching the dog to see if he was anxious or nervous, and that the pup would tell them all they needed to know.  He picked us before we chose him.
    I like the idea of the two week test run, because we know that Bruno will be a perfect fit in our family.  He  loves the back yard, and doesn't bark at the dogs next door.  He was well behaved on Christmas Eve with the little kids and all the adults.  He is not phased by any of the commotion, and does not gobble his food. He is happiest sitting in our lap, and loves ice cubes more than any treats.  He does not like the cold, and wears his jacket on walks.  His dog bed in the den is shaped like a couch, and he is content to lounge around and play with his toys.  He is teething, and so he needs a variety of chew toys.  Matt recommended an elk antler, which is almost indestructible and it is one of Bruno's favorites.  He destroyed all of the soft toys, and is working through his rope toys.  He has no interest in our shoes or stuff, and I hope it stays that way.
   Bruno has gained nine pounds in two weeks, and we promise that he will never miss another meal.  Ruff Road made sure that all his shots are current, he has a micro chip, and he has been neutered.  Our adoption fee helps cover those expenses.  He came to our home calm and well adjusted, and we will continue to build on those good traits.  He will attend obedience classes because we want our dog to be safe, and to know how to follow the rules.  We are looking forward to this new chapter, and I'll update often.
    Have a safe and Happy New Year.......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

  Our family festivities will begin Christmas Eve at 2 pm, and end around 10 pm.  We'll attend the early Mass, enjoy a feast, and exchange gifts.  A few weeks ago, I began to panic because I had so much to do.  I took a deep breath, and reminded  myself that I had never missed Christmas, and I would be ready for this one.  It's all part of the hustle and bustle that gets me into the Christmas spirit.
  Yesterday, I shopped until I had purchased the last few gifts and gift cards, as well as the necessary gift bags.  Last year, I bought extra large gift bags, but this year  they are way too big for the toys I bought.  I decide to buy a few extra medium size bags with the hope that I will be more prepared next year.  Tonight, I baked macaroon bars for dessert tomorrow night, and diced the red peppers for the family's favorite cheese ball.  It's important to wrap the peppers in paper towels and leave in the fridge overnight,  in order to absorb the juice.  If they are too watery, I will not be able to form the ball before I coat with crushed walnuts.  It's one of the items everyone will be expecting, and I take this assignment seriously.
   Tomorrow, my short list includes the five gifts for the kids, and two Yankee Swap gifts for the adults.  There should be twenty of us from my side of the family, and we will call my folks in Florida and our son in California, as they were not able to get home this year.
    Christmas Day will begin with dinner at Ron's brother's house for his siblings and their families.  We will exchange more gifts there, and meet at a cousins house for dessert and another Yankee swap.  This will be fun and hectic with ten kids under ten years, several dogs and the parents drove them there.  I love to sit and listen to the different conversations.  It really will be great to see everyone again, especially those  we have not seen since last year.
    I hope you all enjoy your family celebrations for the entire Holiday Season.  Please travel safely, and take time to count your blessings.  May your family be rich with laughter, may you feel an abundance of love, and may you experience all the joys of the season....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayers and Tears for Connecticut School Children

   My heart breaks for the children and families involved in the deadly shooting at a school in Connecticut.  We have relatives who work in the Connecticut school system, and were horrified to hear about this latest act of violence against innocent kids and teachers.  This time, twenty 6 and 7 year old kids were killed by a twenty year old young man who had never been in trouble.  It is every parents worst nightmare, and it is happening too often in our country.  My reaction was both tears and prayers.
  It is also a fact that in the past twenty-four hours, ten people have been shot and killed in Chicago alone.  I think that it is disgraceful  to accept this as the ' just way it is'.  I've got to believe that if the same number of people died each day because of a virus, we'd call it an epidemic.  Let's use that outrage to make things better.  2013 is the year to address this tough topic, and make some tougher decisions for the good of our citizens.
   I've heard some say that 'this is not the time' to discuss laws, and I agree.  I think we should have begun the discussions years ago.  If we had the courage to debate this issue, we might be one step closer to keeping our children safer.  I've also heard that there will always be bad people in the world, and we must accept it.  As a parent, you will never convince me that the United States of America is not capable of keeping our children safe.  I refuse to believe that we should not even try to ensure that our kids feel safe and secure at school.  Please tell me that I am not the only parent in America who would rather try and fall short of 100 percent, than give up without a fight.  We send representatives to Washington to represent our concerns.  We need to demand that they do their jobs.
   We are a country of laws, and I believe that it is time for stricter rules and regulations.  I will always favor regulations that keep me and my family safe, so let's start the conversation there.  If "Susie Snowflake" can figure it out, then folks who are much smarter than I am must also have the same concerns.  Let's refuse to play stupid on this important issue.......and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Festive Decorations for the Season

   I decorated the tree today while I listened to Christmas music.  I've cut back over the years, and only put out my favorite things when we are not hosting the dinner.  Even so, every room is decorated downstairs, and there are lights outside and wreaths on the doors.  My tree is beautiful, even though I'm no longer determined to put an ornament on every branch.  This year, less is more, and if I'm smart, I'll pack things together to make things even easier next year.
   I never trim the entire tree without shedding both tears of joy and sadness.  A lifetime of memories are found in my ornament totes. There are souvenirs from vacations, and dated ornaments since 1976. There are snowmen, reindeer, flowers, sleighs, red hats, snow globes, golfers. My oldest figurine was a gift for my first communion, and it is more than fifty years old.  Many signify important events and happy times . I light a candle that smells like Christmas and begin unwrapping the ornaments.  I burn the candle in memory of those friends and relatives who died during the past year. Each year I will buy an ornament to remind me of that person. Sadly, this year I will need to buy several.
   All the special decorations are in the box they came in,  or are carefully wrapped in tissue paper.  The totes have separate sections to keep them safe. Matt won't get home this year, but I still smile as I hang the ornaments that have his baby pictures.  I tear up when I find the ornaments he made for us decades ago. I cherish those cardboard ornaments as much as my hand blown crystal figurines.  They all have a special place on the tree, and in my heart.
   This year, we lost our boxer, Vito, and I cried when I came across his stocking.  The ornaments for our pets, or "four legged kids" are on the tree surrounded by angels.  We've had four dogs so far during our marriage, and we have begun to talk about adopting another.  That will mean lots of changes for next year!  It does not seem possible that twelve months have passed since we last decorated for the season.  I'm grateful for my family and friends, and think about all the good things that happened in 2012.  Let's all  vow to focus only on positive things this holiday season,  and we should all look forward to many blessings in the coming year.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on........

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Red Hatters Celebrate the Holiday Season

   My Red Hat chapter had its annual Christmas Party on Saturday.  The Red Hat Society is an organization for women, and there are more than three thousand chapters across the states and other countries. Our group is called the "Improper Bostonians", and we had lunch with almost fifty members.  The number 50 is relevant to us because we need to be at least fifty years old in order to wear a red hat and a purple outfit.  Those under fifty wear a pink hat and lavender.  Each month we celebrate birthdays, and we are asked to wear a purple hat and red outfit to signify the event.  We try to leave our problems at home and just have fun for a few hours.  We do get pretty silly at times, and its nice to see everyone laughing and having a good time.  Many of us get to go to plays and events that our husbands would not enjoy, which gets them off the hook.
    I've read that having a support network is very important as we age.  We are there for each other through emails, and many close friendships have been formed.  It really is a powerful tool, and I'm glad that I'm a part of it.  Many of the women in our group work at the same hospital, although more are retiring each year.  This year we celebrated my sister's sixtieth birthday, and a bunch of her former lunch buddies surprised her by attending.  We all brought a small gift, and I'm happy that we pulled it off without her knowing about it.
    Our group donates to several charities throughout the year.  The funds are raised by adding a little bit to the cost of each event.  We all pay a set amount, and the extras are forwarded to the charity of the month.  It  is an easy way to give back, and we can feel good about helping others.  Some chapters volunteer as well, and we can do as much or as little as we like, which keeps a lot of us active and involved.
     Enjoy the season everyone......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend Foodfest

     Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, and it was the usual culinary marathon.  We began with appetizers at 1:00 pm at my sisters. Our day ended at home with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches during halftime of the Patriots game at 10:00 pm.  There were only nine of us at dinner this year, and we showed pictures of the cruise, and Dad's birthday.  We called the family who could not attend, and passed the phone around so everyone got to say hello.  Thanksgiving is all about family and friends and food and fun.  We try to use family recipes, and remember the cooks who made them famous.
     Our family favorite starters include pineapple cheese ball,  stuffed celery topped with olives, as well as our regulars like shrimp cocktail and  different cheese and crackers.  
     Our main course is turkey,  mom's sausage stuffing, with six colorful vegetables and gravy.  I always skip the mashed potatoes, but enjoy sweet potatoes, and the calorie rich casseroles. Yum-yum.
     The guys did the dishes, while the cooks, and the kids took a short walk in order to make room for the dessert sampler.  Everyone takes a small piece, or a sample of their favorite desserts.  After all, if we don't enjoy our favorites now, many of them will not be made again until next year.  It really is now or never.
      I cooked a small turkey, and made stuffing for the sandwiches.  I always make turkey soup and a turkey pot pie with the leftovers.  I feel like we have been cooking and eating non-stop for days.  It will feel good to get back to our schedule tomorrow.  This weekend is December 1, and our first Christmas Party, so we will be busy now till the new year.  2012 has gone by quickly, but it has been very full.  The highs have been high, and the lows have been low.  I'll reflect on the year shortly, but for now,  I plan to enjoy the season.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

    I've got a lot to be thankful for this year.  We are all healthy and employed.  November 2012 has been wonderful for my family, and I'll give you my short list of what made it so special for us.
     First of all, President Obama was re-elected without the need for a recount or any legal involvement.  I believe he deserves a second term, and look forward to a growing  economy with a strong middle class. I am hopeful that the next four years will be better than the last.  My state of New Hampshire made history because it elected the first all female delegation.  Our governor, both Senators, and both members of Congress are all women.  I am excited, and wish them all well, because we have so much work to do.
      Next, my Dad turned eighty-five on November 11, and ten of us celebrated with a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico.  Our dinner table consisted of the three sisters and our husbands, as well as our brother and his wife, and Dad and June.  We enjoyed fabulous meals and our excellent waitstaff pampered us daily.  We saw three awesome shows, won some money at the casino, and played trivia games.  There were too many things happening each day, but we managed to find a good mix of activity and relaxation.  We watched line dance competitions, and name that tune game shows by the pool.  We shopped for the daily specials, and took in as many activities as possible.  The on shore excursions were a lot of fun.  As always it is tough to say good-bye, but we are all happy that we were able to spend the week together.  We had a lot of laughs, and made some nice memories.
        This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving, and we will get together again.  This time some of our children will be at dinner, and we'll try to see everyone through the weekend.  I am lucky to have my family close, and we still enjoy spending time together.  We do have a lot to be thankful for.....and I'd like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sandy the Superstorm

  Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest storms ever recorded.  It was more than 900 miles wide, and slammed the entire east coast  from Miami to Maine.  The jet stream allowed it to incorporate a nor'easter, which is why it is now called a super-storm.  I watched the news coverage in horror as it washed away lives, many homes, and the New York and Jersey coastlines. It was mother nature at her worst.  There will be plenty of time for the climate change discussions later.  Right now there is too much to do.  Some have said that New York has always been the first state to work to find long term solutions after a catastrophe.  I hope so, because everyone in the country who lives near the ocean, will be affected sooner or later with this type of storm.
   I was happy to see neighbors helping neighbors, as well as the politicians working together on behalf of American citizens.  It is going to take a long time to rebuild, even with help from the Federal Government.  I like having my government big enough to provide a safety net when disasters happen. I like to see the national guard bringing food and supplies to folks stranded in their homes.  I am encouraged when I watch Americans getting free gas from our guardsmen until the power is restored at gas stations.  I am shocked that Americans will actually vote for smaller government.  How can we continue to vote against our own interests, knowing that we have had two "storms of the Century" in the last three years?  It just does not make any sense to me.
   I have always believed that if Congress really wanted to solve problems, they'd find a way to cut through the baloney and get things done.  We need to reward our elected officials when they behave properly, and we must not let the obstructionists win.  We all have neighbors and relatives who do not agree with us politically, but would we ever let that get in the way of doing the right thing?  Democracy must be bigger than that.  We live in the greatest country on earth, and now it's time to act like it.
    Tuesday is Election Day.  As Americans, we each get one vote.  Please use it to voice your choice on the issues important to you.  We should not reward the bullies, the haters, or the obstructionists.  I want to hire politicians who will work to solve problems for the middle class, and believe that everyone must be included in our democratic process.  Please grab your ID, and head to the polls.  Stand up for a New Jersey voter who is staying with friends, and is unable to get back to vote.  Act on behalf of all those New York folks who cannot get back to their old neighborhoods until the trains begin running again.  Vote for those who may be attending funeral services, and just cannot get it done.
   I will also donate one day's pay to the Red Cross.  I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, and this is one way that I can make my words match my actions.   Please join me in supporting the storm victims.  These are real people who didn't deserve to have their lives devastated by mother nature.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Pom-Pom Girl

    I spend two mornings a week with a young women with disabilities,  who I'll call "Pom-Pom Girl".  It is hard to believe that we have been friends now for six years.  I sing silly songs, or read to pass the time, and this seems to go very quickly.  It gives new meaning to the saying "time flies when you're having fun".   I started out thinking that I might be able to help someone else, but  I soon learned that I get a lot back.
   It had been a long time since I was able to "smother" someone, and the Pom-Pom Girl loves to be pampered.  I'm told I'm like a doting aunt or grandma, and that's OK with me.  She has a nice collection of light blankets, and so I cover her up when she sits in her favorite chair while I read aloud.  I'm also very good with snacks and juice breaks.  It's important to drink a lot of fluids each day, so when the characters in our story have a drink or meal, we have something also.  We also critique everyone from each book, and decide who we would think would be a  friend.  We don't like mean people, or really sad stories.  Books with animals and kids working together to solve problems are the most enjoyable.  I realized that I could talk or sing for hours, and it actually made someone happy.
   I decided to write the Matt and Muggzy books a few years ago.  I would always talk about my doggy, and tell stories about Matt as a little boy.  I remembered things that he liked, silly songs and party sandwiches.  If I could make it fun, he would be more cooperative.  I wrote the stories that we liked to read.
   We try to keep to a daily routine, because I think consistency is important.  First we do our chores, which is anything that needs to be done, then we get to play.  I talk through everything as we go, which causes less anxiety for both of us.  I've enjoyed the last six years, and look forward to many more....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sisters go on a Road Trip

  Three years ago, the sisters  decided to celebrate our birthdays by going away overnight.  It's a lot better than trying to find a gift for each other.  At our age, we tend to all have we need, and most of us are always trying to simplify our lives.  These days I ask for things I can use up because I've run out of space to display stuff.  My collectibles sometimes feel more like dust collectors than treasures.
   This weekend, five of us piled into a car driven by the youngest member of the group,  and headed to Cape Cod.  We are all celebrating birthdays before the end of the year, and our ages range from 52 to 60.
My two sisters and I , our brother's wife, and a friend from grade school were going on a road trip.  We tend to have a lot to laugh about, and sometimes get hysterical about nothing.  I'll share some of the highlights.
   We are all hearing a little less than perfect these days, and it was like playing a game of telephone.  We all were having the same conversation, but we all heard things "just a little differently".  Some of us heard things "a lot differently", and we would crack up as we said what we thought we had heard.
   We went to a beautiful restaurant with a piano player.  We were seated at a round table in a corner near the window with the palm trees.  There were lovely chandeliers, but they did not provide much light for our table.  My sister had a hard time reading her menu, so I retrieved a small flashlight from my purse.  Everyone squealed with laughter, but we passed it around as needed.  We even had our waitress joking about the "electric light show".  I reminded them that the girl scout motto is "Be Prepared", which brought up memories of being in the scouts, and all sorts of silly things.
     We learned that a smart route system can be annoying, especially when the driver decides to ignore the directions.  Obviously, the term "bear left" can be interpreted several ways.  We turned around and drove passed the same police cruiser a couple of times before we understood the instructions.  Eventually, we arrived at our destination, and enjoyed a wonderful museum.  It included an antique auto exhibit, beautiful artwork, and  we even got a ride on a working carousel.  We stopped for lunch, then decided to head home.  One of the sisters asked to stop at an antique shop, and another said we had been there the day before.  The argument was settled when we realized that we had just walked the entire area that morning when we passed the Victorian Inn where we  had spent the night.  We couldn't decide if we are a comedy or a tragedy, but we do have fun!  There is something to the saying that reality is stranger than fiction,  you just cannot make this stuff up!
      On the two hour drive home, I was having trouble with my seat belt, because it got increasingly tight.  I tried to loosen it, but that didn't work, so I would release it and start again.  At least three times, I unlocked my sister's belt instead of my own.  There was another incident where my sisters tried to help me.  I was holding the seat belt with one hand  to keep it from getting too tight.  I was also trying to drink my iced latte, but the straw they had given me was not long enough for the domed lid.  I would have to let go of the seat belt in order to get the straw. As I lamented my situation, one sister told me to "put it under my arm".  Of course, she was talking about the seat belt, but I tried to hold the cup in the crook of my arm!   We are all amazed that I've managed to live 59 years.  Hey, when they are picking on me, they are leaving someone else alone.  Actually we had a ball!  We aren't sure where we will go next year, but we've already decided on our 2014 destination, and I cannot wait.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.........

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scary Halloween Movies

  When Matt was 8 or 9, his favorite Halloween movie was the "Goonies".   I still recommend it.  So, if you think it is age appropriate, try to watch it this Halloween season.  It is about a bunch of friends who work together to find the treasure of a pirate named One Eyed Willie.  It has bravery, drama, humor, and some pretty scary parts. I actually typed "very", but it really is a kids movie.   I jumped every time we watched it, and since we had it on tape, we watched it a lot.  We talked about it a lot, too.  We can learn a lot from our kids by talking about things they like.
  I loved driving a car load of kids when they were talking about stuff as if I weren't even there.  Talk about being a "fly on the wall".  I'd  ask a few questions to get the discussion started, then try and stay out of the conversation.   Everyone had to tell his favorite,  and least favorite character.  Each got the chance to tell the best part of the movie, and the worst part of the movie.  We voted on the scariest parts, and the grossest scene.  We talked about teamwork and problem solving.  I wanted to know who they would like to play, and which of their friends would they choose to play each character.
   I always volunteered to play the part of the jumpy kid, or the one who 'screamed like a girl'.  I didn't want anyone getting singled out or picked on for being frightened of scary movies.  I still jump when someone gets attacked on TV, even when I know that something scary is about to happen.  I cannot help it, and I guess it can be pretty annoying for my family.  I cover my eyes and say "ick" a lot.
   I hope you all get to enjoy a scary movie this Halloween season.  It will give ideas for costumes for parties or trick or treating....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Patriots Needed November 6, 2012

    Almost sixty million people watched the debate between President Obama and Mr. Romney on Wednesday night.  It's always good to hear the candidates speak in their own words.  A lot has been said about style and our President's body language.  Many were shocked to hear Mr Romney change his statements from the speech he gave at the August convention.  Some have used the word "lies" to describe them.  With two presidential debates and one vice presidential debate scheduled before the election, we are sure to get more information.  Please pay attention, as we must decide on November 6.  
      I am not going to tell anyone how to think or what to believe.  I just want to emphasize how important it is for all Americans to vote in this election.  Here are the Americans I am asking to vote. Not sure about all the issues?  Then just pick one or two and vote for the candidate that agrees with you on those issues.

  • All Americans who are pretty happy with the way the country is going must vote to show support.
  • All Americans who are unhappy with the direction of the country must vote and be counted.
  • Middle class voters need to cast a ballot that will keep us strong.
  • Patriotic Americans will get to hire the team in Washington to get things done.  Please Vote wisely.
  • Servicemen and their families must allow their voices to be heard with their ballot. We thank you.
  • Senior citizens must weigh in on issues that will affect them directly.
  • Teachers and students must go to the polls and vote for education.
  • Women must vote for fair pay and other women's health issues.
  • Cops,  firefighters, and emergency workers must vote to keep their communities safe.
  • Healthcare professionals can send a message to our elected officials about care and coverage.
  • Construction workers need to make their voices heard at the polls, and ask for more jobs.
  • City and state and federal employees must vote to support candidates who support your issues.
  • Every man and woman who loves our country must do their patriotic duty and vote.
They say all politics is local.  Some say they don't vote because no one has asked.  I'm asking.  Please listen at the debates, and I hope you'll hear that request directly from the candidates.  Listen for the issues that are important to you and your family.  When the candidates show you what they are really like, you must believe them.  One thousand votes in any district may swing the election one way or another.  It's true and it really is that important.  Your country is counting on you to stand up and be counted.  Get to the polls and vote and drive a neighbor if  you can......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Old Friends

     Ron and I went to an Oktoberfest cookout last weekend, and we had a wonderful time.  I got to see some people that I had not seen in more than twenty years!  The guys have been getting together for lunch for about a year.  The wives are included occasionally, and it was great to see everyone.  These are my husband's grade school friends, and some couples double-dated when we were in college.  Where has the time gone?   It seems like only yesterday that we were going to each other's weddings, and now we are all getting ready to retire!  In a blink of an eye, there have been children, divorces, health issues, and careers.
      I am always amazed at how people's outlook seems to stay the same.  The way we viewed the world in the 1970's is still the way we are today.  The upbeat ones are still smiling, and the miserable ones are still complaining.  The jokers are still making everyone laugh, and the ones that loved to aggravate are poking fun at their friends.  Some are still having the same arguments about who got the group in trouble.  One of the dad's was the chief of detectives in town, and of course, these guys were hellions.  Today, they realize that they weren't fooling anyone.  It's hysterical to hear them rewrite the stories with better endings!
     The biggest adjustments though, have to do with maturity.  At some point they decided to drink less and try to eat healthy.  They do not take risks with safety, but think and act responsibly.  We grew up!   We all make mistakes in our youth, but hopefully we avoid  making bad decisions  that have dire consequences.
       In girl scouts we learned a song with a verse  "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold."   A few of the couples are planning to meet for dinner soon.  I'm sure it will be like old times... ...have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.........

Monday, September 24, 2012

All Patriotic Americans need to Vote in November

  I voted in the New Hampshire Primaries on September 11, 2012.  The woman who handed me my ballot and I have been neighbors for more than twenty years.  After chatting about our families, she asked me for my identification.  Although I am not happy about the new voting laws, I was prepared to follow the rules and show my license.  I questioned the fairness and timing of this, but decided that I would not take it out on the volunteers who work the polls.  We are a nation of laws, and I believe that this one provides a solution to a non- existent problem.   I also believe that we need to include voters, and encourage more participation in this important civil right.  Pleases check your state's voting laws, and take steps to register in time to vote,
  New Hampshire does not have good public transportation, which means that  residents  must drive in order to get to work.  I am calling on all registered voters with proper ID, to vote this November.  Vote for the senior citizens who stopped driving a few years ago, and now have an expired license.  They will be allowed to vote November 6, but will have just two weeks to provide a correct ID before their vote will count.
Vote for the college kids who cannot vote in New Hampshire with a college ID, if they live in another state.  They may have to choose between flying home to vote, or getting home for the Holidays.  This may seem like too much of a hassle for older and younger voters.  After all, it's only one vote.
    Many argue that so many Americans vote in the Presidential elections, that their one vote won't matter.  Both the 2000 and 2004 elections were won by less than 1000 votes when it came down counting the votes for the last district.  Our votes do matter, and any attempts to give people an excuse to stay home is not patriotic.  We should make voting easier, not more complicated.  Adding steps to the voting process and cutting the weekend voting days makes me very concerned.  
     In 2008, only 63% of registered voters cast a ballot.  That sounded pretty good to me, until I learned that more than 80% voted in the election for Abraham Lincoln more than one hundred years ago.  I think we can do better in 2012.  I'm calling on all registered voters  to grab their ID and head to the polls.  I think we can send the message that we can follow the laws and still make our voices heard. I do not care who you vote for, I just want to see more citizens stand and be counted.   It's the one day when all Americans are equal.  Rich or poor, we each get one vote.  I plan to use my wisely, and it's the patriotic thing to do.  Until we have the rules we want, let's work with the rules we have....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Remembering September 11

    I know exactly where I was at 8:45am on September 11, 2001.  I was studying for the state board exam that was  scheduled over the next two days.   It was cold on the porch, and so I decided to pour a cup of coffee, and snap on the news.  Eleven years later, I can still vividly recall my horror as I watched the events unfold real time.  My heart  breaks when I hear the names of the victims, and see family members still trying to deal with their sorrow.  Life has been so unfair to all of them.
    This year, four Americans were killed in Libya and my condolences go out to their families.  I believe it was a planned attack, which was timed as part of a protest toward a hate filled movie made in the states, and shown on yahoo. A Libyan cleric told his church members that the movie was going to be a blockbuster in the U.S., even bigger than Batman, and the people needed to protest.  A Florida minister has been linked to the men  involved in the making of the movie.  Extremely vicious language was dubbed over the original words according to the actors. I wonder how people can blindly follow their religious leaders.  I think about the Americans who believe things heard in Church, even more than what they see on news. We probably have more access to all viewpoints than those in other countries, yet many don't dare to question.
     Religious leaders have a responsibility to promote more love than hate, and forgiveness over retaliation.  I was taught by Catholic nuns, and learned songs about the love of Christians.  We were taught that we should take care of each other, and there are seven corporal works of mercy that urge us to get involved.  Feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick are three that are easy to do.  Two of the Ten Commandments deal directly with lying and killing.  The Golden Rule tells us how to treat each other.  Whether we practice a religion or not, most of us learned the difference between right and wrong before we got to the first grade.
     I saw the videos from Benghazi with the citizens holding up signs apologizing to the United States for the death of our Ambassador.  We cannot think that all Muslims want violence, just as we do not want the world to view Americans from the actions of a college student who shot seventy innocent people at a movie.
    I was taught that evil exists when good people do nothing to stop it.  I think it's time for all good people to stand up for tolerance, and respect for others,  even when we do not think alike.  I am only one person, but I do get one vote, and I plan to use it to stand up for what I believe.  Actions have consequences.  Those in power must act responsibly, and provide a good example.  Religious Leaders and elected officials must know that Americans are watching, and  our voices will be heard.  Our words can match our actions, if we vote our conscience and values.
By the way,  we all passed those exams, and I cannot believe that I am about to begin my twelfth year in my profession.........and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Spider Man Party

   My nephew's son turned five years old a few weeks ago, and we attended his Spider Man birthday party.  This was the first time that friends of the birthday boy were invited without their parents.  After all, Kindergarten kids are beginning to feel independent.  It's a big deal to be dropped off, then picked up after the party.
   There was a bouncy house in the backyard, and games set up as well.  The boys were having a ball, and getting along very well together.  I forgot how loud little kids can get!
   Opening presents was organized chaos, and the biggest packages were opened first.   We all had a great time playing with the silly string, and the other toys.  The birthday boy made out like a bandit, and his friends hooted and howled over every gift.  I love seeing a kid's eyes pop out of their heads, when they realize they have gotten that special gift. It's like seeing pure joy!  Of course, new clothes can be a real buzz kill, but a new backpack filled with books and school supplies was a big hit. Some cool stuff that brought cheers were trucks, comic books, and a remote controlled motor cycle. A Spider man skate board and a fishing pole were among the crowd favorites.  The adults had fun because the kids were having a blast!
    Lunch was pizza and salad, and watermelon.  Cake and ice cream and juice boxes came later after singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles.  It was the best day ever!!!  As one of the aunties, I could sit back,  take it all in and just enjoy it!  All the adults were pooped at the end of they day, and the kids went home with a sugar buzz.  That makes it a success!   I know that parties are a lot of work, but it sure is fun to attend them, and not have to do a lot.   I'm looking forward to the Holidays this year, because excited kids make it a lot more fun.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on........

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

    Labor Day means a three day weekend at the end of summer for many Americans.   I'd like to  give a shout out to all  workers across our country.  Here are some that quickly come to mind,  just by thinking about my family and friends.
If you can read this, then thank the teachers you had in school.
If you eat it, wear it or sit on it, you need to acknowledge the farmers, and manufacturing workers, as well as the truckers who deliver the products to us.
My neighborhood is filled with teachers, cops, high tech workers, and city workers, including our Mayor who proudly serve with dedication.
Our family has folks from the financial, aerospace and medical sectors,  who work long hours and make a difference.
Thanks to our military,  firefighters and EMT's who do everything they can to keep us safe.
This week, remember to thank the sales clerks, and wait staff who help us get through each day.
This month, our pool company will close our pool for the season. and we will need our mail carrier to deliver our passports. 
Later this year, we'll rely on pilots and cruise staff to provide the transportation for my Dad's 85th birthday celebration.
Our auto mechanic keeps our cars dependable.  Electricians, plumbers, and contractors helped with the recent renovations to our home.
If I've forgotten anyone, please know that you have my gratitude.  We cannot do it alone, but "we all get by with a little help from our friends".
I hope that more and more people get back to work, and that our economy continues to improve....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.........

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Ready to go Back to School

    When Matt was young, the month of August was always bittersweet for me.  It felt like every positive was balanced with a negative. I cannot believe that Matt started first grade more than twenty years ago.  It seems like only yesterday that we were all excited about the first day of school.   I wanted to make the morning routine easy on us, and so  I'll share a couple of my best tips.
    It's fun to shop for back to school stuff, but it means that summer is going to end soon.  Sadly, it's getting dark at 8 o'clock now, but the cooler nights  gives us some great sleeping weather.  School will be starting soon, and that means it's important  to come up with the right schedule to accommodate each busy day.   
   Getting everyone out of the house in the morning  can be a nightmare, and so I'd like to offer two simple solutions.  This week, start the practice runs for the new school year.   Have the kids set their alarms for a school day.  Tell them they cannot spend the last week of summer sleeping late, they need to enjoy the last week of summer.  Spend the morning organizing their rooms, then get out and enjoy the day.  After a few days of getting up early, let's hope the kids will want to call it a night earlier.  Have them go to their rooms at their new bedtime, even if they read or listen to music for an hour before lights out.  
   Work on a reasonable estimate of how much time each will need in the morning, then write the schedule out and put on the refrigerator.  I was finally grateful that my son was wide awake from the minute he opened his eyes in the morning, and we could get up and out in 30 minutes if we tried.  We allowed 45 minutes for our morning routine, and I divided it in three segments.  At 7am, Matt had fifteen minutes to get up and dressed (uniforms made this easy) . The next fifteen minutes was allowed for breakfast, which was finished by 7:30 (I worked with moms who said their kids fell asleep in their cereal bowls).   He then had fifteen minutes to wash his face, brush his teeth, comb his hair, and fill the backpack with lunch and homework.  The goal was to be in the car, and on the way to the bus stop by 7:45am.  At any time, we could look at the clock, and know if we were going to be on time.  I only had to point to  the schedule on the fridge, and we knew if we were running late.  This saved a lot of discussions, and stopped a lot of  morning battles.  I also added an incentive.  As a reward, Matt could pick out his snacks for school lunch, if he was ready on time.  I always packed fruit, which I was told was not cool.  
   The idea is to take the drama out of mornings, so be realistic about the time you will need.  Factor in a few minutes for unexpected delays.....after all, spills happen.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......


Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Celebration of Life

   A good friend of mine used to always say "Today is a gift, and that's why we call it the 'present."   I get up everyday and give thanks, then decide to enjoy my day.  Since tomorrow is still a mystery, today might be as good as it gets.
  One of my step-sisters died suddenly a few weeks ago.  Marianne was a young and vibrant 58yr old, and it has hit all of us very hard.   By the time our folks married, and their families blended,  we were all  married with kids of our own. They share seven children, and we all all very close in age.  We were closest with Mare and her four daughters,  because we all live in New Hampshire, and we got to see them the most.   The girls were teenagers when we met them more than twenty years ago, and now they are grown with children.  They did a fantastic job with the memorial service, and it truly was a celebration of life.  There were several photo collages, as well as some of Marianne's own artwork at the calling hours.  The memorial service  had poems and stories, and the church was full of friends and family.  I don't know how my folks got through it, because they never expected to survive one of their kids.  They were comforted by the fact that all six of us attended with our spouses, and four generations were there to support them.
    Marianne's youngest daughter read a beautiful poem, which put into words what many were feeling, and I'll share a verse. I could not find the author's name.
   "If tears could build a stairway, and thoughts a memory lane, I'd walk right up to heaven, and bring you home again.  No farewell words were spoken, no time to say good-bye, you were gone before I knew it, and only God know's why."   
    Death does help us keep things in perspective.  I want my family to feel the love that I have in my heart for all of them.  I refuse to squander  today, because I'm consumed with what may go wrong tomorrow.  I vow to make healthy choices, and to count my blessings.  I need to take a look at my bucket list, and get serious about the important  items.  I'll try not to worry so much about the small stuff, and try to make the most of my opportunities.......have a good week everyone...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Closing Ceremony

    I just finished watching the closing ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics.  I learned that 204 countries participated in the games,  85 nations earned at least one medal, and that 7 countries won a medal for the very first time.  The United States won the most gold medals with 46, and the most overall with 104.  We can be extremely proud of all the Olympians who competed with such courage.  I wish I could have seen everything, but I was thrilled with the swimming, gymnastics, track and field, volleyball and basketball.
     The music from the closing was wonderful, and I enjoyed watching the athletes sing along with the performers.  So much  of the popular music we all grew up on, came from England.  Everyone seemed to know the words to the songs, and I loved watching the world sing together!
      As the Olympic flames died out, we were reminded that each petal was engraved with the name of one country,  which will be able to take that petal home.  I thought that was fantastic!
      I heard someone comment that the Brits put on a "Jolly Good Show", and I would say that sums it up quite well!  Many of the athletes hope to compete in the 2016 games, which will be held in Brazil.  It would be a dream come true, and I wish everyone well.......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It takes a Village

   I hope everyone likes the Blog's new look!!  I need to give a huge THANK YOU to  Taunia for the makeover.   It's great to have a friend with the talent and energy to perform such a face-lift!  It reminds me of the song verse "I get by with a little help from my friends."  I'm reminded of all the people in my life who have taken the time to help me through the years.  Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and co-workers all have a  big influence as we grow and develop into adulthood and beyond.  I'm lucky to have had so many positive relationships in my life.  I never thought I had all the answers, and so I welcomed guidance and direction.
   As I watch the second week of these Olympic games, I wonder how many hundreds of people worked together to help each Olympian get the chance to compete at this level.  I marvel at the time and energy required to train and excel.  It must be a dream come true for all of the athletes, and those who helped make it a reality.  I hear the emotional interviews after winning a medal, and I find myself tearing up as well.
    The United States is doing great, and I'm proud to be an American.  I tip my hat to to the USA team, and their circle of friends.  Best of luck in the week ahead.  I hope you get the chance to make history, and enjoy every minute of it !....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......


Sunday, July 29, 2012

2012 Olympians Go for the Gold

    I really enjoy watching the Olympics.  I always tear up when the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies, and I loved that the audience all sang "Hey Jude" with Paul McCartney.  I find that I cry along with both the medal winners, and those athletes whose dreams have been crushed.  I stay up way too late, glued to the TV, watching the "thrill of victory" and the "agony of defeat."  I love to hear the stories about the athletes,  and their families, who seem to agonize over each round of competition.  I get emotional every time our national anthem is played for the gold medal recipient.  It's going to be a long couple of weeks!
     Today I caught synchronized diving, swimming, water polo, volleyball, and gymnastics.  I am struck by both the ability and concentration of our young American Olympians!  I can only imagine the work and dedication required to get to these games, because it's exhausting just watching them compete!   Of course, I cheer the American teams on from my easy chair , even though the event  may have been recorded due to the difference in time zones.
      Today,  the USA medal count is second only to China.   I hope that Great Britain wins their share of medals this year in front of their fans and citizens, provided they don't knock us out of contention.  I hate seeing an athlete get hurt, because we enjoy it more when we beat our opponents at the top of their game.
Patriotism is a beautiful thing to watch, and it is a common denominator for the American athletes who represent our country.  This proud American would like to  thank you and your families for your commitment to excellence.  I hope you all see your Olympic dreams come true! ....have a good week everyone!!
.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Prayer Vigil from Aurora Colorado

   I have been watching the prayer service held for the victims in Aurora, Colorado.  More than ten thousand attended the prayer vigil. It broke my heart to hear the names and ages of the twelve killed at the movie theater.  In the days ahead, we will learn more about the fifty-eight injured as well as the hundreds of others affected by the tragedy.  Lives will be changed forever because of the actions of one bad guy.
   There were so many stories told about the kindness of strangers.  We learned that cops, EMT's, medical staff and ordinary citizens worked together so that the incident did not go the way the shooter wanted.  The name of the suspect was not mentioned once in the ninety minute service,  as he does not deserve any fame for his actions.  If his gun did not jam,  the number of casualties would have been much worse.  
   President  Obama visited the hospital, and spoke to the injured and the families.  Prayers were led by  clergy from many denominations.  I think about the serenity prayer, which ends "courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."   If the country can unite through a tragedy, perhaps it is time for the country to work together to prevent this type of tragedy.  I do not believe that citizens should be able to purchase military weapons, and full riot gear.  The suspect had a pistol, a shotgun,  and an assault rifle which was illegal until ten years ago when the ban was allowed to expire.  He bought 6000 rounds of ammunition, and one of the clips held one hundred bullets.  He was also making bombs in his apartment building which housed close to thirty apartments.  All of this was purchased  legally in the United States of America.  Really?????  I know we can do better!
     I'm told that fifty-five people are killed by guns every day in my country.   Let's honor them by having the courage to ban military grade weapons, and high capacity ammunition clips.  I do not believe our founding fathers had this in mind with the second amendment.  They wanted us to hunt, and be able to protect ourselves, not massacre kids in movies, colleges, and high schools. Enough is enough!
   I believe that the actions of one bad person can be a catalyst to bring out the best in all of us.  Americans should demand common sense solutions when it comes to our safety.  Evil exists when  good people stay silent, so it's time to speak up and weigh in.  I'm for regulations that help people.  I hope you are, too.....
have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anniversaries and Birthdays

      July has always been a busy month in our family.  We celebrated our thirty-sixth wedding anniversary on July 10th.  Twenty-nine years ago today, we moved into our house.  As I floated around the pool this afternoon,  I let my mind wander back through time.  We bought the house from a couple who were retiring to Florida.  They wanted to take a few weeks to pack and move, but we were too anxious.  I was nine months pregnant and my due date was July19th.  Luckily, our families all helped us move and unpack boxes.  We would work for a few hours, then cool off in the pool.  I waddled around trying to decide where furniture and dishes should go.  My sisters set up my entire kitchen, while I dangled my swollen ankles in the pool. 
     I wished I had paid more attention to things, because friends came up to visit on the 19th, and I wasn't sure where things like the can opener were.  Of course, I wasn't at home because I was in the hospital with labor pains.  Our friends called from our home as they were trying to feed the dogs, and neither one of us could direct them how to find stuff.  I'm not sure I thought any of this were funny then,  but it would make for a funny sitcom episode today.   My mom stopped by on her way back from her lung cancer treatment, and the nurses were upset that I was too busy yakking to monitor my pains and do my breathing exercises.  I was the last of eleven women to give birth that day, and the doctor couldn't believe that I was recounting the days events after almost twenty hours of labor.  In between contractions he told me a joke about cleaning the cat box which I cannot remember now.  We were having a fine time, but my husband and the nurses thought we should be more serious.  He said our baby was strong because I was strong, and that made all the difference.  We left the hospital on Friday, and had a houseful of company the next day which was a Saturday, and every day of each weekend that entire summer.  
    Looking back, it never dawned on us to say we had a newborn, and wanted to have some quiet time.  We had a pool,  it was summer, and I was on maternity leave.  Our mom was battling cancer, and we all wanted to be together.  I'm sure mom made the salads, and we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers.  My father- in- law loved my fruit salad because I put lots of blueberries in it, and so I made it often.   We wanted to enjoy life as much as possible, and that's what we did.  Matt loved to be held, and he was not a good sleeper.  Perhaps because there was always a dozen grandparents, aunts and uncles around . Whenever he was fussy, we took turns holding and rocking him, and that  gave us comfort.  I always knew that there would be plenty of time to have quiet weekends, and we got to have one today.  Of course,  part of me would love to have that summer back, and to have everyone together again......have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We're Having a Heat Wave

   Hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July.  Our family got together for a cookout, and we video chatted with  the kids out of state.  The fireworks displays were beautiful, although the Boston Pops celebration was interrupted with a downpour accompanied with thunder and lightning.
   It's back to work for many of us tomorrow, but anyone on vacation will be treated to a fabulous week.  Our New England temperatures have not been as extreme as much of the country.  Record high temps continue to sizzle the south and mid west, and new records are set every day.  I'm beginning to take this climate change stuff seriously.  I heard a fire victim from Colorado talk about the state becoming a tinderbox, because of the lack of snow this past winter.  Many of my relatives are talking about the unusual and extreme storms we've seen during the past few years.  Tornado's in Massachusetts last spring, a blizzard in New Hampshire in late October, then one of the mildest winters on record in New England.
    I heard a discussion about climate change and it's validity.  The best argument compared this to the debate about cigarettes causing cancer, and how difficult is was to convince people of the connection.  My mom died of lung cancer in 1983.  She was 54 years old and had smoked for more than forty years.  We all believed that smoking caused her untimely death,  but in 1996 there were still ads stating that Joe Camel was not the problem.  Camels were a popular brand of cigarettes, and their mascot was a cigarette smoking camel named Joe.  The tobacco industry set up a nonthreatening symbol to dispute the warnings from the surgeon general.  In the end, I believe that too many of us had sat in hospitals with loved ones dying from diseases caused from smoking.  TV commercials and ad campaigns could not get Americans to change our minds about the dangers of cigarette smoking.  I think the same thing will happen with regard to climate change as more and more Americans live through devastating storms.  We will believe what our eyes and ears tell us more than what any paid spokesperson has been paid to sell us .
    As soon as the citizens of the country are ready, I'm sure we will be able to tap into alternatives and solutions.  I'd love to have a solar powered home and car, as long as it is reliable.  The baby boomers may live to see a whole new world,  made possible by our children and grandchildren......and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Birthday America

  July 4th is the day we celebrate America's 236th birthday, and commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  It contains phrases such as "We the People", "By the People, and "For the People" as it outlines our Constitution. At the time,. it must have seemed outrageous, and today we use terms like progressive as if it were a bad thing.  I get tired of hearing Americans complain and focus only on our problems, and so I've decided to list  my top ten favorite things.  I'm all for regulation that helps people, and I want my Government to be big enough to insure liberty and justice for all.  I also want to thank the liberals who fought for these laws and privileges. I hope the best is yet to come!

 1.  Holidays - because without them we'd all have to work this Wednesday, July 4!
 2.  The 40hr workweek - because we wouldn't get to enjoy any weekends.
 3.  Social Security and Medicare for Seniors - because we'll never get to retire without our safety net.
 4.  Regulations for Clean water and Clean Air because I do not trust that corporations will do the right thing.
 5.  Laws that insure safe cars, planes and trains keep because we are all precious cargo.
 6.  Healthcare-  when my husband got laid off from his job, we lost our health insurance that very day.
 7.  Women's right's - "We are women, hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore!".  This will say it all to the          
      baby-boomers who remember this old song.  Let's keep moving forward.
 8.  Voter's rights - We each get one vote- Let's use our vote wisely - and fight against suppression. 
 9.  Equal rights for all - we get to choose our church and our spouse by ourselves- period.
10.  Education that puts students first, and their budgets get cut last (You will have to thank liberals for that)

 My wish list for the future is short.  
1. I want  corporate and international money out of elections, and full disclosure for big donations.
2. I want Medicare for all - it works , it's simple, and it's not tied with employment.
3. I want banks to use their own money when they gamble - we've lost enough from our retirement accounts.
4. I want teacher, cops and construction workers back to work- because the first thing they'll do is buy stuff-
    and that's the best way to grow the economy.  That's my view of capitalism - a strong middle class with 
    enough spendable cash to buy the goods and services that drive prosperity. 
5. I want Congress to put the people first, and actually get something done.  We are watching, and we vote!

I still believe that our best days are ahead of us, and our problems can be fixed.  I heard some reporter say they would move to Canada because of the recent  Healthcare ruling.  Really????  You do know that Canada has Universal Healthcare, right ???   I'd like to see all journalists fact check their statements before making announcements on TV.  I also think it's important to fact check the statements made by the candidates as well as their TV ads.  It's the responsible thing to do.   
Just sign me a proud American.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....


Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Rainbow Bridge

  Two weeks ago I wrote about our five hour ordeal at the animal hospital with our boxer, Vito.  I am sorry to report that our beloved pet died that same night in his sleep.  I am so thankful that we decided to bring him home that night.  It is still unbelievable to me that we could take a happy, healthy five year old boxer to the Vet at 5pm on a Sunday evening, and he was dead at 5am Monday morning.  Today we can take comfort in the fact that we had ruled out anything that could have been fixed or prevented.  Our Vet believes that it was probably a tumor that had begun to bleed,  which caused him to become so disoriented. Even if we had found it that night, he assures us it would have been inoperable.   It has been a very tough two weeks, but each day seems to be a little  Let me tell you a little about ''my doggy".
   Vito was a celebrity in our neighborhood.  My husband, Ron was his favorite, and they walked every night.  If they walked every street in our development, they would do two miles, and everyone knew them.  Folks who don't even have a pet, bought dog bones to give 'Big V' a treat when he stopped to visit.  He was a ninety pound gentle giant who loved everyone, and now we realize how much everyone loved him. Friends swear that when they smiled at Vito, he actually smiled back.   We have received fifteen cards from family and neighbors, as well as an edible arrangement, and two plants.  Every day we had cards in the mailbox.  Our favorite is a handmade card from one of the little girls around the corner, and another contained a beautiful poem.  One card described the Rainbow Bridge, as the place where we will meet our pet one day.  The author is unknown, but it is beautiful sentiment, and gave us comfort.
    Ron has taken a few walks around the neighborhood in the last two weeks.  He walked every day until he had told everyone personally.  He brought a couple of tissues for him, and some for everyone he might meet.
He plans to walk and thank everyone for their cards and  gifts.  Ron gave the food, treats and dog dishes to the young couple who got a boxer because they liked Vito so much.   This weekend we passed on two of Vito's dog beds, and a bunch of toys and other supplies.  Some things will be thrown away, and some special things will be saved forever.  It's a lot of decisions and a lot of emotions.
    Pets are such a big part of any family, and our daily routine.  I still look for him to be catching the sunshine, sprawled out on the living room rug.  He could always find the sun streaming in some window, and was right there to catch the rays.  He met us at the door when we got home, and waited for his treats before we left the house.  He loved ice cubes, and was always sitting by his dish when I turned around from the ice maker. I automatically have one in my hand ready to give him, and I'm sure I will  for a few more weeks.  It makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time.
     My husband says that we will never get another pet because Vito was the perfect dog.  He never barked, chewed anything, or got into anything that he shouldn't.  Ron always called him an angel, and they were inseparable.  I think that when the time is right, another dog will find us because we are dog people.  We know that we can never replace Vito, and will only get another dog when we are ready to move on.  We have already had four dogs since we have been married, and each time we thought we'd never get another pet.  Vito was extra special, and if love alone could have saved him, he never would have died.....
     Matt suggested that everyone hug their pets, and he is calling often to make sure we are OK.  Have a good week everyone, and give your pets some extra love.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

  I want to wish all the Dad's a very happy Father's Day, and send a special shout out to my Dad !!   I look back at my own childhood, and have so much respect for my Dad.  He was hardworking and dedicated to my mom, my two sisters, my brother and me .  My mom didn't drive, and so it was his job to get us all anywhere we had to go.  He never complained or seemed aggravated no matter how hectic things got.  As a matter of fact, he was just as happy to play board games, or go ice skating or sledding or swimming.  He worked for the phone company as a linesman, which meant putting telephone poles and lines in every new neighborhood in Massachusetts during the 1950's.  As ship-to-shore technology paved the way for long distance communication throughout the entire country, he was asked to take classes and learn how to implement it.  In order to pass, he would have to take a three hour verbal test.  He got the top grade from his group which gave him seniority status, and the chance to work indoors.  He retired from the phone company after thirty-two years.  So much of what we take for granted and enjoy today, is only possible due to the hard work of  dads like mine.  Let's all take a few minutes and thank them.
   Have a good week everyone...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Man's Best Friend

   We just spent the last four hours in the Animal Hospital's Emergency Room with our boxer Vito.  He had vomited Friday and Saturday nights, and wouldn't eat anything today.  We were afraid that he might become dehydrated, and he appeared to be "out of it".  Hundreds of dollars in test ruled out the obvious.  He didn't eat anything, and all the blood tests were negative.  He was sedated and given some fluids, with instructions for a bland diet for the next few days.  He was still in a very deep sleep when we got home, and so we picked him us in his blanket like they'd do with a dolphin, and carried him to his bed. If he bounces back tomorrow, we will all breathe a big sigh of relief.  If not, it will mean more tests for neurological causes.
  Vito is just five years old and is definitely my husband's dog.  I'll sleep in the recliner tonight because  Vito does not look like he will be awake enough to climb the stairs. He looks like he might get up, then just lies back down and goes back to sleep.  It is scary to think that our lovable dog could be very sick.  We promise to take one day at a time, and not get ahead of ourselves.  I know that things can improve greatly overnight, and so I'll sign off now, and keep you all posted...please keep a good thought everyone.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We Win from Within

   I just watched the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat in overtime tonight!  On paper, the Celtics do not look like they should have a chance against LeBron and the younger guys.  No one should be ready to count them out, because these old guys won't quit!  Two games were decided in overtime, when the Heat were expected to cruise through the series.  One of the commercials during the game featured former NBA champions, and the quote I liked the best is that we "win from within."  I also like the Celtics commercial that says something to the effect "We are not Hollywood, and we are not South Beach, we are Causeway Street (which is where the Boston Garden is located)."  My take away is that attitude is everything.
   Years ago when I was in direct sales, every consultant had a chance to earn a trip to Hawaii. We needed to meet requirements of total sales and recruits in order to win the trip.  I thought it would be fantastic,  because Ron and I  were celebrating ten years of marriage.  Our team leader told us that "whether we thought we could qualify, or if we thought that we couldn't ...we would be right".  In other words, we probably would not have a chance if we didn't believe we could do it.  I decided to go for it, and I won the trip!  I kept my eye on the prize and took one day at a time.  Every day I did something to work towards my goal, and I used the theme from the Rocky movies for motivation!  I was told that if I reached for the skies and failed, I'd end up in the clouds, which would still be really great!  I learned that those of us who earned the trip would  only have to work ten percent harder than those who failed to qualify.
    Tonight I decided to take another look at my goals for 2012.  If the Celtics can compete, then I can stop making excuses about being too old, and get back to work.  No matter what happens to the Celtics in games 5, 6, and 7, they deserve a lot of credit.  I hope they win another Championship for themselves and their fans!  They are proving to the world that when we work hard and stay in the game, anything is possible.  Never underestimate the heart of a champion.  No excuses for age or injuries...just keep  going.
Take what you like and leave the rest....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

  I've been able to watch several TV shows this weekend that dealt with Memorial Day.  60 Minutes did a segment about an organization that helps wounded warriors return to Iraq and Afghanistan long after their physical injuries have healed.  It's called Operation Proper Exit, and it helps them tour the country and then leave Iraq on their own terms, because many of them left the battlefield unconscious.
  Another segment was done on five different sets of brothers all serving together in Afghanistan. It seems that there has been an unwritten rule about allowing this.  The first set of brothers were given permission when their parents wrote a letter requesting that their boys be allowed to serve together.  This gave the others the same opportunity, and all ten of them have returned home safely.
   I teared up many times as I watched these young men recount their stories.   I realized the scope of the sacrifices that our servicemen and women, and their families must face every day.
   I just want to say thank you , thank you , thank you all.  It is because of your tremendous personal and financial sacrifices that the rest of us get to enjoy our routine lives.  I urge our country to continue to protect those who protect us with medical care, and health insurance, and a job when they get home.  Troops should not have to worry about foreclosure while they are serving, or recovering from injuries.  I believe it is the least we can do for our brave men and women.  Let's all be as willing to help them, as they were willing to fight for our freedom.
    Just sign me a proud American, one of millions from your grateful nation.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Getting Ready for Summer

  Well, the pool cover is off, and we are getting ready for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer 2012.  The water is never warm enough for any of the adults to swim, however, the kids are always ready to start the summer with a splash!  Temperatures in New Hampshire have hit the 70's during the day, but since it cools down overnight, the pool water doesn't get a chance to stay warm.
   With a stroke of good luck, the gas grill tank ran out while we were grilling today, so we can start the new season with a full tank.  It's always such a pain when we are in the middle of a cookout, and we run out of gas while the steaks are on the grill.
    The yard outside is looking great, our roses are blooming, and the flowers and lawn are thriving with the help of some rainy weekdays we've had lately.  I bought two new American Flags, one for near the mailbox, the other will be near our planters.  Baskets of flowers will hang from our outdoor pole lamp.
    As I look around our three season room, everything gets a daily coating of pollen, and so I know I'll have my work cut out for me each Friday in order to make it company ready for the weekends.  My routine has been the same for the last twenty-eight years, clean and cook on Fridays, then entertain on Saturdays or Sundays.  I often wonder how many hamburgers my husband, Ron has grilled, and just how many bowls of potato salad and fruit salad I've prepared through the years. I ponder how many times I've said "I'm cooking for fifteen or twenty of my closest relatives", just the siblings and their children.   When all the kids were young, we had all the parties, now it's just a few times each year.  Teenagers play sports on weekends, and have summer jobs.  If the summer is hot though, we may  have more company.
    I'm ready to enjoy this summer, however it goes.  If we are not entertaining guests,  I'll be on my float with a book.  If we are busy, I'll be the "'hostess with the most-ess"", and will make sure I make all the favorites.
    This year, when you are out at the dollar store picking up paper plates for your parties, don't forget to get a flag and display it at your house.  Memorial day is when we commemorate our military who fought for us, so that we can all be free.  I'm proud to live in America, and I'm very grateful to those who serve.
     Have a good week everyone...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

  I'd like to wish all the Mom's a very Happy Mother's Day!!!  Today was a quiet day for me.   This seems pretty ironic, because there were many years when all that I wished for were a couple of hours of peace and quiet.  If I was lucky, my guys would go out and wash my car, while I read a book or watched a chick movie.
   I'm looking back at how quickly the years have flown, even though at the time, it looked like some days and weeks might never end.  Some of my favorite Mother's Days  were spent as a fun day for kids.  I've spent Mother's Day car shopping for a 16 yr old, provided we ate out together.  We've eaten at barbecue joints that used rolls of paper towels for napkins, and spent the day at an amusement park.  I thought it would be fun to spend the day together, and it didn't matter that  much what we did.
  Early Saturday morning,  Matt called to tell me to wait for a package delivery.  It wasn't long before I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers containing pink roses and mums!  They made the house smell great!
  He checked later to make sure I'd gotten the flowers, and he promised to call Sunday when we could talk longer.  He called while I was sending him one of my silly messages,  "Roses are red;  storm clouds are grey; you're the kid who made me the mother I am today"!!  I told him the flowers looked and smelled fabulous, and that I was drinking my coffee from a mug he had given me when he was twelve years old.  I also said I missed him, especially since he would always get me a refill, and as a matter of fact, I needed a 'splash'.  I won't repeat what he replied, but it made me laugh!!
   Today I enjoy every day as it comes, and not wish for what might be, or could be.  I'm proud of my son, and am grateful for all the good things in my life.  I'm not going to wait for things to be perfect, before I allow myself to be happy.   Have a good week everyone....
These are my opinions, so take what you like and leave the rest....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mamma Said There'd be Days Like This

  As a Mom, I've always relied on different sayings in order to get my point across.  I try my best not to be sarcastic, and I usually only say one of the ten things that may be on the tip of my tongue.  Here are some of my favorite "mommy-isms", and when I suggest using them.
  "I'm a smother, not a mother" comes in handy when your kid wants you to back off, and give them some space.  Helicopter Mom is another popular term for a mom who hovers too close to her children.
   "I can't give you anything but love" is the best fallback song when kids continue to ask for things that you cannot do for them right now.  It always stopped the conversation, however the fact that I actually sang it may have helped my cause.
   "You have five minutes to tell me everything that I'm going to find out anyway" is great when you've caught your kid in a lie.  It serves two excellent purposes.  Kids get to talk and parents listen.  This gives us a chance to review the list of things running through our heads, before we say too much. I found that if I spoke too quickly,  I may need to spend a week apologizing for what and how I said things.   I'd have to spend the next few days making it up to my family.  I also promised to cut the punishment time in half,  if I got the truth immediately.  I don't think it's cheating to threaten to ground your kids twice as long as you would normally, then look like the nice guy when you agree to shorten it.
   "I know you are not out stealing cars, but you still have to clean your room" is one of my love sandwiches.  I compliment, then give my complaint, and wind up acknowledging that I know that I have a good kid.
  "You are the kid who made me the mother I am today" always cracked Matt up.  Each Mother's Day I thanked him for doing a good job.  I reminded him that I knew it was hard to be a twelve year old, and then a teenager who worked hard and was respectful (the only  things I asked him to do when he started first grade).
I knew what some of my friends were dealing with, and I really did feel grateful.
    I loved being a mom, even when I felt like I stunk at it.  I always took comfort in the saying that "practice makes perfect", and I know I have a lifetime to get it right.  Remember to get your cards and gifts in the mail in time for Mother's Day which is Sunday, May 13th. A phone call is easy...we'd love to hear your voice.
These are my opinions, so take what you like and leave the rest....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......have a good week everyone.....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

See the Glass as Half-Full

   I think Abraham Lincoln said that "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."   While nothing is perfect, it always puzzles me when people cannot enjoy their good days.  Here's the way positive and  negative folks differ.
  I wake up and say "thanks for today, I'm going to enjoy my day."   I know someone who says that they are afraid to wake up, because they fear what might go wrong that day.
  The glass half- full crowd takes comfort in the fact that insurance companies get rich because 85% of everything we worry about never happens!  The half-empty crowd waits for the "other shoe" to drop.
   More positive folks say things like "every rose has some thorns", and "this too will pass".  More negative folks don't even notice the rose, and treat every bad day as a the beginning of a long term trend.
    I believe that we all have the tools to solve most of the issues we face.  Having a loaded toolbox won't help unless we pick them up and use them.  My most used tools are positive sayings, and here are some of my favorites.

  •     If you are happy, then tell your face.  (Excellent with teenagers)
  •     Showing up is half the battle.  (Many would rather not try, than try and fail)
  •     Accentuate the positive. (Keep a gratitude list- seeing is believing)
  •     Keep your eyes on the prize.  ( Don't allow setbacks to derail your path)
      Having a visual  helps a lot, and here those that I use the most.  
  • A friend told me to visualize putting a huge X through a negative thought  until I could let go of it.  Make sure you have some positive goals to focus on now.
  • Think about placing your problems in a pan, and put them on the back burner of the stove.  Bring the things you need to deal with to a front burner, and tackle problems when you can better handle them.
  • Write your worries on small slips of paper, then put your notes in a jar or box.  Every six months go through the jar.  You'll be amazed at what consumed you.  (This is how I proved to myself  that nothing lasts forever, and what I agonized over a short time ago, just might seem pretty  silly in a few months).  Use the same concept with your wish list- and see what happens!
  • Turn them over to your Higher Power.  I heard that someone actually prayed and asked that HP keep track of their problems so they could get a good night sleep!   I guess they didn't want to lose track of them overnight.
If you wish you had a yacht, I hope one of these suggestions "floats your boat"!
Need a new car?  Take a few of these positive ideas "out for a spin"!
Getting in shape for the summer, and need a new wardrobe?  Try a couple of these "on for size"!

As always, these are my opinions, so take what you like and leave the rest....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.  Have a good week everyone....


Monday, April 23, 2012

Fenway Park

  Fenway Park turned 100yrs old April 20th!   The Red Sox invited former players to attend, and they each walked out and stood near their position in the field!  It was wonderful to see players from all of the last five decades get standing ovations and huge applause!   Johnny Pesky now in his nineties, was in a wheel chair, as were several other players.  History was everywhere, and the sell out crowd loved it!  Two antique planes did the flyover.  The event also broke a world record for the largest group of people to toast at the same time.  Welches juice was put on every seat, and  two players from the 2004 World Series led the crowd of more than 32,000 to raise their glasses.  The record is confirmed.
   I've loved the Red Sox since I was in high school, and the 1967 Impossible Dream team stole my heart.  I went to college in Boston, where we could sit in the bleacher seats for $2.00 while we worked on our tans, and watched  the Sox.  Everyone has a favorite story.  My brother caught a fowl ball when he attended a game with my Dad, and our grandfather.  How many times have three and four generations watched a baseball game together?  Baseball gives teenagers and parents some common ground during those years when they may not feel  like they have anything in common. 
  Baseball fans everywhere are excited about this season.  We all hope our team wins the championship, and that gives us hope, and encouragement.  We all witness teamwork, and commitment in action.  Spectacular plays, and lucky bounces are all part of the mystique. It's time to make history again this year, and Johnny Pesky got it started when he said "Play Ball".  Have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on...the beat goes on..... 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Boston Marathon

  Tomorrow is known as Marathon Monday in New England.  The Boston Marathon is always run on Patriot's Day, which celebrates Paul Revere's midnight ride.  Revere raced on horseback from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts in order to warn that the British soldiers were coming.  The year was 1775 and the Colonists were fighting for  freedom from England.  We are blessed to live close enough to be able to visit Plymouth Rock, the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor, and historic Lexington and Concord.  My Dad grew up one block from the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and we climbed those steps many times as kids.  I've walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, featuring Paul Revere's home and many other  historic buildings.  The Boston Tea Party was real, and it happened in my backyard!
  Fenway Park turns 100 yrs old April 20th, and we will celebrate it throughout this entire baseball  season.  The Red Sox game will start at 11am tomorrow in order to close the streets for the marathoners.  The  race ends  within walking distance of  Fenway, so the Red Sox can play their game, then get to the finish line to greet and congratulate family members who have run.  The entire metro area gets in on the celebration!
   Good luck to all those competing on Patriot's Day this year.  If you cannot get close to the festivities, you can still wear red to show support, and talk about the significance of Patriots Day for New England.  We might not be called the United States of America today, if it were not for the courage of Paul Revere, and the bravery of those fighting with him.  When we hear the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America sung at sporting events, we should  take a minute to give thanks, and remember our American History.
  Have a good week everyone. I'm just giving my opinion, so take what you like and leave the rest...and the beat goes on...the beat goes on......

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hippity-Hoppity Easter's here today

  Happy Easter everyone!  I spent today with my sisters and our families, and our brother's family joined us for dessert and coffee.  Three generations all on a sugar high at the same time.  Talk about lively conversations, and heated discussions.  I'm not sure we solved any issues, but we did get silly and have a lot of laughs.  New clothes and candy---the perfect combination for good times in my book!!
  Easter is one of the more low key holidays, unless you are hosting the neighborhood easter egg and candy hunt.  This year I kept my decorations simple.  We learned how to make an Easter Bunny floral decoration at Church, which was made with a flower called a football mum.  We took ribbons, pipe cleaners, pompoms, and googlie eyes and transformed them into a face on the mum.  It was relatively easy, we had fun, and we took home a fresh flower arrangement to enjoy. 
  We thought that we might skype with Matt in California, but we did not reach him while we were all together.  Thank goodness we had a high schooler, a college student and a four year old to help us to not miss our son.  I sent him a silly card so he would know that we would be thinking of him.  As always, I included one of my lame "roses are red, violets are blue" poems. I hope it would make him smile after he made a face and rolled his eyes.  I take it as a compliment when Matt calls me "one weird woman" after getting my cards and notes.  I love getting any kind of a reaction, especially if it makes him laugh!
   Now that we've turned the clocks ahead, and celebrated Easter, I feel it's officially spring.  School will be out in less than ten weeks!  It's daylight until 7pm now, and the sunsets are beautiful.  April showers (also known as mud season) will bring May flowers, and baseball season just got started!  I'll acknowledge all of these in my gratitude list, and get ready to enjoy springtime in New England.
  Have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day

  Today is April 1st, otherwise known as April Fool's Day.  Did anyone play a joke on you today??  I know several people who have birthday's today, and their childhood birthday parties were always fun.  One of my cousins was born today, and we never knew what to expect at her birthday bash.  One of the oldest cousins, usually the most recently married, woulds suddenly blurt out that she was pregnant.  After squeals and hugs, we learned that it was an "April Fool's joke".  We announced vacations, weddings and all kinds of good news on April 1st, then called it wishful thinking!
  Today I told someone that I had won some money on  that mega millions game, where the top prize money was more than $500 million.  Of course, I was one of the millions who had won less than ten dollars, not one of the few who had won millions!  Seeing the look of joy on her face was priceless, as I'm sure she thought of some family and friends cruise that would celebrate my windfall.  We had a few laughs and talked about what we would have done with that money.  My plan has never changed, splitting the total into thirds.  One third will deal with the past, and pay off all debts.  Next we will deal with the present, and share it with family and friends.  The final third will go to the future, which I hope will allow me to retire, travel and make a difference.  Hey, it never hurts to have a plan.
   My uncle pulled a prank on us years ago, and it would still work today.  He tightly wrapped an elastic band around a paper clip and put it in an envelope, which he had folded to seal it.  He had written 'rattlesnake eggs ' on the front of the envelope.  He asked us if we wanted to see the eggs, but we must open the envelope very carefully, as to not hurt the eggs.  We had to get a look in that envelope.  As soon as the envelope was loosened the elastic started to unwind against the paper, sounding like a rattle!  We jumped back and dropped the envelope.  He tried to look serious, but he could not contain his laughter.  We knew we had been tricked!  Of course, we couldn't wait to try it on our friends. It was so-o-oo much better than the snake in the can tricks that we had seen before.  It didn't matter that we wouldn't get to use it as an official April Fool's prank, we pulled it as soon as we got back to school.  It's harmless and easy, and kids will love it.  Try using a few paper clips, and wrapping the elastic the entire length of the clip.
  Have a good week always take what you like and leave the rest...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......