Sunday, June 30, 2013

Boston Strong Concert

     The Boston Strong Concert which was held Memorial Day weekend, was televised Saturday night, and we got a chance to watch it.  Musicians and celebrities with ties to Boston performed to raise money to support the victims of the Marathon bombings.  It aired commercial free for more than four hours, and it was outstanding.  It honored the victims, and paid tribute to the runners and emergency medical staff that saved  lives.   Three people died at the scene, but that means that everyone else who was taken to area hospitals survived. The bombers expected that most of those within the bomb blast would bleed to death in the street.  But THEY WERE WRONG !  As usual, the bad guys underestimated the strength and resolve of average Bostonians. Many survivors attended the concert in their wheel chairs.  Dozens will have to endure multiple surgeries, and learn to walk, run and dance with prosthetic limbs.  Those who are still growing will need to be refitted, and medical care will be needed for the rest of their lives.
      My favorite performers were Carole King and James Taylor, because I grew up on their music.  Jimmy Buffet, the New Kids on the Block, and Boys to Men were also excellent.  Aerosmith,  J Geil's Band, Boston, and the Drop Kick Murphy's rocked out the Garden.  I loved it when the audience sang along and danced in the aisles.  It was a fun celebration, but it got emotional when the celebrities spoke about what happened to their friends and neighbors.  One of the New Kids on the Block wore his medal,  because he ran and finished the marathon less than ten minutes before the explosions.  It was personal, and it showed.
   I got choked up when I saw people in the audience crying. It is heart wrenching to think of the hundreds of peoples whose lives are now changed forever.  I know that millions of dollars have been raised to help with  expenses, and that more is realistically needed.   One of the groups performing  said they will be ready  to do it again next year.  I know that local sports teams and companies have been extremely generous to the cause.  Millions of Americans have also donated and help has come from every state and around the world.  The Boston Marathon has been run for 116 years, and it will be bigger and better than ever next year because it is Boston Strong.
    Boston is a relatively small area with many neighborhood, all of which were affected by this tragedy.  I'm proud to have grown up near Boston, and many of my relatives are scattered throughout Massachusetts.   I attended college in Boston, and worked at Filene's Basement until I graduated.  We live close enough that we can go into the city for sporting events, plays in the theater district, and restaurants....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Sprinkle

   I went to a sprinkle today.  I found out recently that a "sprinkle"  is a light baby shower.  My nephew and his wife are expecting their second child soon, and they know that they will be having a girl.  Their first born is a boy, and so they already have all the big stuff.  All they need now are pink outfits, bedding and accessories that are suitable for a baby girl.
   Clothes for baby girls are adorable, and we all ooh-ed and aah-ed over the new wardrobe.  We were smart enough to buy clothes from newborn to 12 months, and so the new arrival will have a beautiful collection of bibs,  pajamas, sundresses, shirts with ruffles and of course, shoes that will last a few months.
    There were three great-grandmothers in attendance, and they provided some of the best gifts.  One painted a picture for the baby's room, and another brought a handmade blanket and sweater set, and the third gave the baby her very first Red Sox  team shirts.   These active women are close to eighty, and are all going strong.  I hope I am doing as well in another twenty years.
   Someone folded tee shirts and socks to look like cupcakes.  Apparently directions are available on line.
We all had a wonderful time, and  look forward to welcoming  a happy and healthy addition to our family.   It's exciting to see the next generation, and the promise of good things to come.  I have to smile as I think about the circle of life.  Last weekend we celebrated one niece's graduation, and this weekend another niece's baby shower...all the kids are growing up so fast...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day

   I wanted to give a shout out to all the Dad's and wish them all a Happy Father's Day!   I hope you all took the time to thank the Dad's in your life, and acknowledge their love and hard work through the years.  I think every parent likes to hear that they did a good job, and it really costs nothing to say thanks.
  We had a hectic weekend with a graduation on Sunday morning, and a celebration on Saturday.  My folks are visiting from Florida, and so we try and have as many meals together as possible while they are here.  People always comment when I say that I'm cooking for fifteen of my closest relatives, but there were only twelve for dinner  last night.  We had spiral ham with all the fixings. I used my crock pots to keep things warm, and it worked great.  There were lots of funny cards and silly stories, and it is always hard for me to keep up with all the conversations at once.  We all have a lot of good memories, and we know we were blessed to have a Dad like ours.  He was always there for us and kept his sense of humor through it all the drama of life.  Even now, they just "go with the flow".
   It's always good to see my dad, and it's remarkable that they have the energy to cram so much into a two week visit.  I hope I am able to do as well when I am in my eighties.  They have made the rounds in three different New England states, and had visits with all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that are living within driving distance.
   Tonight we will do it all over again, except that we will get pizza delivered.  I am excited to use all the appetizers and desserts that have been accumulating in my fridge.  My mom would call them must-goes because she needed to make room for the next big meal.
    Our dog Bruno has behaved pretty well through all the festivities, although he is determined to get into my father's lap when we watch TV.  The only problem is that the pup now weighs about fifty pounds, and is too big and heavy to be a lap dog.  He is snoozing as I type this, but it is almost time for a walk, so I gotta run...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'll Be a Fly on the Wall

   Death is a natural part of life, but it is very hard on family and friends when someone dies too young.  My cousin Darlene who was forty-seven, lost her battle with cancer recently, and we celebrated her life at a Memorial Service Thursday morning.  It was beautiful, and I hope it brought a  small amount of comfort to those closest to her.  Relatives told stories about her life with humor and love.  
   The night before the service, my step mom June shared a story about one of her sisters who had passed away a few years ago.  Anne lived into her nineties, and she told her grown daughters that she would always be with them, like "a fly on the wall".  Several times since her death,  when the women got together, there seemed to be a fly hovering around.  It was uncanny, and the girls believe that it is a sign from their mom.  
   June recently felt it too, as a fly landed on her arm while she was thinking about all our relatives who have died in the past few years.  My folks are coming up to New Hampshire  for a graduation, and then again in September for a wedding.  During one of the visits,  family will get together to scatter the ashes of June's daughter Marianne, who died July 2012.  
   I was more than a little surprised when I saw a fly land on Darlene's mom's head during Thursday's service.  
It brought a smile to my lips, and I will definitely relay the story to my cousin.  Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, and I cannot believe how difficult this must have been for her mother.  
    The last time something like this happened was about twenty years ago, when a bird was inside the church during my uncle's funeral mass. His daughters were sure it was their dad saying good-bye to them.
   I believe that all of these examples may be signs from heaven, and I think it is a comfort to anyone who believes.  I had a friend who died in hospice care in February 2009.  While I sat with my friend,  a cardinal slammed into the window of her room and fell to the ground.  When I looked back at my friend to tell her what just happened, she was gone.  Every time I see a cardinal, I say a quick prayer for her.  I believe that it is more than a little unusual that a cardinal would be flying around New Hampshire during the winter.  Now, when I see a fly, I won't swat it away until I say a quick prayer for my cousin, and June's daughter and sister.  
   This week, please remember that life is short, and  try and enjoy every day.  I can offer up my busy work days in memory of those who left this world too early, and I will concentrate on all the positive things  in my life....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wild Weather Rocks the Midwest

   I cannot believe that Oklahoma and Missouri have been hit with more devastating tornadoes.  People from those areas hardest hit have to be reaching their breaking points.  Homes have been destroyed and neighborhoods leveled.  Those of us on the east coast can only watch in horror as live newscasts cover the storms.  Our hearts ache as we see and hear from folks who have lost family and friends, as well as their homes.  It seems that we are talking about "storms of the century" and "storms of a lifetime" every few weeks lately.  I am convinced that climate change is a contributing factor, because while it cannot cause every storm, it definitely makes things worse.  It's time to work on finding some common sense solutions that will help to save lives and our property.  I know Americans are strong and resilient, but there must be a better way of dealing with killer storms.  It's a lot to ask that we just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and rebuild time and again.
    In New England, we have gone from "drizzle to sizzle" within one week.  Last weekend, upstate New York got 34 inches of snow, and northern New Hampshire had more than one foot of snow.  The rest of New England got rain that lasted several days. This weekend we were locked into hazy, hot and humid weather, with temps hitting the 90's!  Memorial Day weekend, we had the heat on, and this weekend we are melting.  Even with air conditioning, it's uncomfortable.  The temperature changed by forty degrees withing twelve hours.  Last Saturday, I made soup because it was raining and raw, and I could not get warm.  Five days later, we are digging out our bathing suits, and pulling the cover off our swimming pools.
    Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, and this year has seen both ends of the weather spectrum.  This week will be more seasonable with lots of sun, and temps in the 70's.  It will be a nice relief for New England.  Do we dare to complain when we see others dealing with so much more?  I think I'll consider myself lucky, and enjoy  each day as it comes.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......