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A Grateful Flea

More optimist than cynic. Always grateful.

Updated: 2014-10-04T20:21:36.829-04:00


Merry & Bright





  • I don't know how I could possibly forget Mad Men in my favorite TV show post! Seriously, I lurve that show a ton. Colbert Report, too.
  • Obviously, my sporadic posting has driven the Chinese spammers away. Hah! Now, the question anyone else out there? (Hi, Lorraine!)
  • How was your Thanksgiving? We had a lovely time here with family. I love hosting the Holidays, mostly because I'm a control freak. But, I'm also (let me blow my own horn here) really pretty good at it. I love the controlled chaos, the baking, the time management of trying to serve everything hot...I just love it all. This year, I used a probe thermometer for the first time and it was fabulous! It made knowing when the turkey was done a hell of a lot easier. Also, J discovered a new talent for making gravy. I will gladly hand that task over to him, since I've always been a bit intimidated by making gravy (really, it's not that difficult, but I think that, by that point in the meal prep, I'm just over it already).
  • I need to find my passport. It's going to expire soon, but I need to apply for a renewal. Eldest Niece found a killer deal to go to Iceland and I really, really, really want to go. It's on my list of top 3 places I want to see and the deal is fantabulous. We're kind of crazy and thinking of only going for a weekend, but I don't care. She's been twice and says that should be plenty of time. Plus, we're looking at going in January; a Northern Lights tour would be included in the package. How awesome is that?!
  • I think I've settled on a program for graduate school. It's a program that I've been thinking about for years and most likely should have done waaay back in the day (you know, before kids). I had been conflicted between choosing a program/path that spoke to my heart and one that was more practical. In the end, practicality won out but I'm happy with my decision.
  • Miss Ella needs to have her bangs trimmed. I'm taking her to our hair stylist on Saturday. The part I'm a little antsy about is that I think I'm going to let Linda take a couple of inches off of E's hair in the back. I'm still on the fence about it, but I think it needs to be done. Her first "real" haircut...eek!

Postus Interruptus


This break in the 30 days of posting has been unintentional, I promise. Or has it? Maybe I want to keep you on your toes. When will I post? Will I ever return? Do I know you care?

Actually, it really has. I've been crazy busy with Christmas Fairs and other Pampered Chef related things and I turned 35 last Wednesday. An occasion I saw fit to mark as though it were my 21st. Let's just say it was a rockin' good night. The above picture is from Wednesday night. Pictured are Jeeps, Eldest Niece, Friend Katie, Cait, my brother, P, me and J. I love these people so much and it was fabulous to celebrate with them.

I'm not lying when I say it by far the best birthday ever and one of the best nights of my life.

Day 11 - Favorite TV Shows


Ah, well, this could be long, but I'll try to keep it brief-ish.

I adore a fair amount of reality TV. I love Top Chef, Top Chef Just Desserts (crazy drama there!), House Hunters, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars (although I don't always keep up with this one), any of the Food Network Challenges and, up until the most recent season, Project Runway (seriously, I am so disappointed by the winner that I may give the show up).

Last year, through the wonder that is netflix, I fell in love with Bones. For fiction, I can also easily get sucked into an episode of Law & Order (pretty much any incarnation, but I tend to watch SVU most often), and this summer discovered Rizzoli & Isles, which is based on characters created by of one of my favorite authors, Tess Gerritson. In trying to figure out what I watch, I'm realizing that I don't want much that's not reality. At least, I don't have the DVR set to record much that isn't kid programming or reality.

And, speaking of kid programming (which you might imagine there's quite a bit of around here, and you'd be right), I'm partial to the Imagination Movers and Phineas and Ferb. In fact, I love Phineas and Ferb.

On a side, but very important, note, we waited far too long to get DVR - the best invention ever - we should have gotten it before the kids were born, but instead we waited until last year. It has made a huge difference in how we watch TV and how we unwind.

Day 10 - Something I'm Afraid Of


On a serious note, I'm afraid of something happening to the kids, J or anyone in my family (in particular, Mom).

On a completely irrational note, I have a bizarre, inexplicable fear of people in gorilla suits and black holes. Seriously. Once, in high school, I went to a haunted house type of event at my school (it was a haunted tunnel, but you get the picture) and, at the end of the tunnel a freakin' giant in a gorilla suit jumped out and scared the living crap out of me. I kid you not. Turns out, it was my history teacher (who was well over 6 feet tall), but that didn't stop me from bawling like a newborn and freaking the hell out. But, my fear of people in gorilla suits was established long before that event. I just don't know where it comes from. The black hole thing I don't really understand, either. Ever since I was a kid, though, I've been terrified of being sucked into a black hole. I know that it's not possible, but it's this stupid little fear that I have. And now I've put it out there for you all the make fun of me.

Knowledge is power, people, and now you know my weak points.

Day 9 - A Picture of My Friends


Short of ripping off all of my friend's facebook profile pictures or photos, I don't really have a lot of photos of my friends. This one, however, is from just last week. Halloween to be exact.

Katie and I have known each other practically our entire lives, but we've only really become amazing friends over the past couple of years. When we were younger, our mothers tried to force friendship on us, but it didn't really work. Thanks to facebook, however, we reconnected and have been practically inseparable. Now, I can't imagine not having Katie in my life. Our friendship is easy and comfortable, as though we've known each other for, well, ever and FILLED with laughter. Katie is seriously one of the funniest people I've ever known. Liam and Ella adore her, and she them. J thinks she's hilarious and Katie's a perfect fit in our family; we're routinely asked if we're sisters. When Katie had spinal surgery in August, it was a no-brainer to me that she would come here to recuperate and we all loved every minute of having her around and taking care of her.

I'm very, very lucky to have such an amazing friend.

Day 8 - A Place I've Traveled


I've traveled much of the Eastern Seaboard, been to Canada a few times and J and I took a cruise to the Caribbean in January of 2001. The longer list is of the places I'd like to travel to, but I won't bore you with that.

The Caribbean trip is by far the biggest trip I've ever taken. To this day, though, I'm still not sure why I chose the Caribbean as I'm not a fan of the heat AT ALL. We'd never been on a cruise and I thought it'd be fun. Suffice it to say that I don't ever really think I'll feel the need to go on another one (although, I could be persuaded to go on an Alaskan cruise).

We took off in a blizzard from Logan Airport in Boston and flew down to Aruba where we set sail for a week. It was hot, hot, HOT. Even in January. I will say, though, that I've never slept as well as I did on the ship. There was something so lulling about the waves that was conducive to fabulous sleep.

From Aruba, we sailed to St. Thomas, where we spent the day on an excursion to St. John - which was truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen in my life. Our next port of call was St. Kitts, which was a bit depressing. We didn't opt for any of the offered excursions and instead spent the day walking around the island, exploring little nooks. The poverty was almost unbearable to witness and it was by far the part of our trip that made us hyperaware of the privilege and ease of our lives that we take for granted. I did, however, purchase some lovely handmade glass coasters that I cherish to this day and they remind me of the beauty of the island. From St. Kitts, we traveled on to St. Lucia, which tied with our last port of call, Barbados, as our favorite place. In St. Lucia, we swam in the sea and enjoyed our of the best days ever. Everything was so breathtakingly beautiful. The water. Oh, the water! You truly cannot believe that it's real until you stare down into it, absolutely mesmerized. Our last port of call was Barbados. We enjoyed a tour of a rum distillery (yum!) and a fabulous tour of the island. We wrapped up our time there by shopping in a sweet market, where I purchased a fabulous homemade tea pot that I still love to this day. Of all of our stops, J and I agreed that, should we ever travel to the Caribbean again, we'd most likely choose an all-inclusive resort on either St. Lucia or Barbados. St. Lucia may win by a hair.

Overall, it was a nice trip, but I was happy to come home to snowy, cold New Hampshire.

Day 7 - My Favorite Movies


Compiling a list of my favorite movies has actually been tougher than I thought it'd be. A couple spring to mind immediately, but then I think to myself that surely I must have more than two favorite movies? So I asked J to help me think of some of my favorite movies. It was interesting hearing what I like from someone else.

  • Terms of Endearment: I love, love, love this movie. My sister took me to it when I spent my entire first grade Christmas vacation visiting her in Boston. It's the first movie I ever cried during (I thought it wasn't OK to cry in public for some silly reason, so I kept trying to conceal my tears form the kid who kept coming into the theatre to check the thermostat). To this day, it's my go-to movie if I want or need a good cry. Which is ironic, because I DO NOT like to let people see me cry. The scene in the hospital where Shirley MacLaine yells to get pain medication for her daughter? Heartbreaking!
  • Shadowlands: I'm apparently a Debra Winger fan. I just love this story of C.S. Lewis and his relationship with American poet Joy Gresham. This is one movie that always gets to me, too. Anthony Hopkins performance as the tight-laced Lewis is so charming that it makes me grin like a goofball.
  • Braveheart: Ah, well I have a fondness for anything related to Scotland and I think Mel Gibson just did a spectacular job with this film. I caught a fair amount of it on TV the other night and it made me happy.
  • Gone With the Wind: This used to air every New Year's Day and I would just be transfixed. It's one of those movies that I would never watch if I actually owned it, but if I happen to catch it on TV I have to sit and watch. Actually, I tend to not watch any of the movies I own, which is an odd little bit about me.
  • Up: Lest you think I only have a thing for downers and epics, I discovered this movie last year and fell in love with it. Fortunately, the kids love it, too. The relationship between Carl and Russell is so sweet and adorable that it just makes my heart melt a little every time I watch the movie (thank you, Netflix on Roku!).
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: I LOVE this movie. I think it's hilarious and the soundtrack is AWESOME. This modern retelling of The Odyssey is one I could watch time and again. And, the cast is just fabuolous.
  • Pulp Fiction: This is just plain awesome. Again, a killer soundtrack (no pun intended).
  • Fargo: Yep, there's some pretty fabulous black humor for you. I first saw this movie right before J and I boarded a plane to fly out to Minnesota for a job opportunity for him. Imagine my shock when we got off the plane to discover that the accent was not fake! The Coen brothers are just fabulous. I'll watch anything that they make.
I think I'll leave it at that. I'm sure there are other films that I love or that make me happy, but the above list is a pretty good sampling and gives you a fair idea of my tastes. However, I do have a wicked sense of humor, and it's pretty black at that. I've been known to laugh inappropriately at some pretty gruesome death scenes and dialogue.

Day 6 - A Picture That Makes Me Happy


(image) I bet you thought I'd post a picture of the kids, right? Well, of course I have a ton of photos of them that make me happy, but I opted for a picture that, for me at least, encompasses my family and more.

A couple of weeks ago, J decided that we needed to have a family day. He took a day off from work and we went to a local farm/zoo. It was a gorgeous day, there was hardly anyone there and the kids had a wonderful time running around, feeding the goats and seeing all of the different animals. It was a beautiful Fall day and I'll treasure the memories for a long, long time to come.

The berries (?) in the picture above I discovered quite by accident, as we were over near the wolves' area. I've never seen these before and I was taken by the color. I love the little leaf that fell into the bush, and I love the blurred fence in the background.

This picture most definitely makes me happy :)

More Day 5 - My Siblings, Part 2

2010-11-02T14:05:29.399-04:00 we've gone over the 5 oldest. Now, for the next 4. You might expect that I have more of a relationship with them, and for the most part you'd be correct.My sister, M, is next. She turned 50 earlier this year. Growing up, she was my absolute favorite sibling and I would do anything to spend time with her. Over the years, though, her life has taken twists and turns that I don't necessarily agree with and our relationship has been somewhat strained at times. But, she's my sister and I love her. She lives here in Concord and adores Liam and Ella, but doesn't get to see them as often as she'd like. Of all of us, she's the most "alternative," I guess you could say. M is Cait's mother, so there's been a little bit of tension at times since Cait and I are so close (after all, she lived with us for 5 years), but we've learned to negotiate those waters.My sister, K, is next. She and I have the same father. We don't really have a close relationship, though, and that makes me sad. Growing up, I think she was jealous of me because her childhood was more difficult than mine. When my parents got together, Mom showed my father a new world of love and warmth that he hadn't really known before (his parents were pretty strict and his first marriage, which is where my other 5 siblings come from, ended badly). Because of this, I think he was able to be more affectionate with me (even though I was scared of him) and K saw this and was envious. Also, K and my sister, N, are only separated by not quite 3 months, so there was a LOT of sibling rivalry between them when I was little. It was stressful. To this day, there's some underlying tension between the two of them that I don't really get. However, K and N's daughters adore each other, so the adults have been forced to work around/through their issues for the sake of the girls. I really, really wish that K and I were closer. Aside from the fact that she's really the only link to our father that I have, I love her children very much and would love to be more a part of their lives. Basically, though, we're pretty much polar opposites. As warm and gregarious as I am, K is buttoned up and kind of a cold fish. I think that we're both just kind of alien to the other and, as much as I reach out to her, she just doesn't know how to handle it. K is an awesome cook and baker and she also loves, love, loves her pets.N's next. N and K are both not quite 10 years older than I. Growing up, N was my second favorite sibling. She was the cool older sister who didn't mind the kid sister tagging along. One of my fondest memories of N is when she was a cheerleader in high school and I was in awe of her. She taught me the dance routine to the half-time number, which was Beat It. We spent hours in the driveway practicing and I was so excited to see her perform the routine at P's football game. N's husband is the one who committed suicide last year. N has two children and a step-daughter. I love N very much, but she's one of those people who can be nasty mean, but in a way that makes you feel sorry for her because she can just be so unrelenting. I thought she may have mellowed with Mark's death, but sometimes I don't know. We're not overly close these days, although we do live pretty much right around the corner from each other. I'll always be there for her, though, so I suppose that's more a measure of our relationship than anything else.And now for my brother, P. He and I have a crazy relationship. He's 8 years older than I and I adore him, but he infuriates me at the same time. P is the reason I wanted to have a boy first, because I felt that every little girl should have a big brother. When I was a little girl, there was a Holiday auction at P's high school and he really wanted to win the Cabbage Patch Koosa for me (th[...]

Day 5 - My Siblings, Part 1


This could be a long and complicated post, so I'll direct you here to read about my siblings in a general sense.I grew up the youngest of 10 children. Turns out, I actually have 15 siblings, but the other six don't really have a relationship with me (aside from Cyndee, but we've lost touch to some extent and I feel guilty about that). However you look at it, I am most definitely a youngest child (hello, Adler!).There is a 23 year age difference between the oldest of my mother's children and myself. Growing up, it was never weird to me that half of my brothers and sisters were technically old enough to be my parents or that I had nieces and nephews who were around my age. It wasn't until I was in middle school that I realized my family was kind of unique. We're all very different, but we're all in New England and do see each other several times a year. There are obvious cliques, for lack of a better word, amongst my siblings, but I think that's bound to happen when there's a massive age difference and when there are so many people/different personalities. We really know how to rally as a family, though. Unfortunately, we've had a good deal of experience with this when it comes to death.Here's the rundown on the 5 oldest, to some extent I'll most likely define my relationship to/with them in respect to my relationship with their children:Eldest Sister is 58 and currently lives in Maine (though very near the NH border), where she runs a battered women's shelter. Because the majority of her life is consumed with sadness and drama and helping people solve their problems, she tries to live a drama free life. She subscribes to several Buddhist tenets and I don't think it would be going out on a limb to say that she considers herself a Buddhist for the most part. Eldest Sister has 3 children, the oldest of which are also boy/girl twins, who are 28 years older than Liam and Ella (I'm fond of calling both sets of twins "the book ends"). Her youngest was a surprise baby and he was born on Eldest Sister's birthday 26 years ago. He is one of the happiest people I've ever met. Seriously, nothing gets the kid down and just being around him is a joy. Eldest Sister has a very strong personality, but we get along well and she's funny as hell. Growing up, I spent a fair amount of time at her house playing with my niece and nephew and I have many fond childhood memories that include times at Eldest Sister's home.Chuck, my eldest brother, died of pneumonia when I was 19. He was out at his cabin in California for a little time off and was intending to come back to New Hampshire. His death was a major shock to Mom, who has not gotten over it to this day. Growing up, he was sort of on the periphery of my life. He was around, but never in any great detail. I have good memories of him, and we did grow closer as I got older, but we weren't particularly close. He did have a lovely daughter, my God-daughter, Monty, who is growing into a strong young woman of whom I am very proud. Chuck would be 57 if he were alive today.I think I've referred to my next brother as Boston on here way back in the day. Boston is 55 and the most financially successful among us. I don't make note of that to be gauche, but it is a significant fact about him. He lives a good life that he has worked extremely hard for. He, uh, lives in Boston in case you were wondering how I so cleverly assigned his moniker, but bought a lovely second home on the coast of Maine last year and spends nearly all of his free time there with his partner, my fabulous brother-in-law, Bello. He is the father of my eldest niece (who is nearly 3 years older than I); Boston became the default patriarch of the family when my father died; we aren't particularly close but we have a strong mutual respect for e[...]

Day 4 - My Parents


Ah...this should be interesting. There's really no way to cleanly separate this entry from the next, which is about siblings, but I'll do my best. The very short version is that I am the product of my mother's second marriage and my father's third. More on that later...My parents are a funny thing. They met while Mom was working in admitting in the emergency room at a local hospital and my father's wife was a patient. My father's wife died and he was looking for someone to care for his daughter. My mother, being an amazingly generous person, had previously taken in a family of 13 from her church - this in addition to already having 8 children of her own at home - so the priest immediately thought of Mom when my father approached him looking for someone to care for my sister, K, for the remainder of the school year. (My father owned businesses in Massachusetts and needed to be down there during the week, only coming back to NH on the weekends, and he didn't want to uproot K during the school year.) My mother agreed to take K in and my father would visit every weekend.My older siblings apparently were in favor of something happening between my parents, but everyone was shocked when something actually did. After months of visits, providing for K, and spending time with Mom and the rest of my siblings, my father asked Mom to go for a drive. After a while, he pulled over and quite seriously proposed marriage to my mother. She scoffed at the idea, but he very practically laid out the points that her children needed a father (since theirs had left them high and dry) and that his daughter needed a mother. He wanted to care for Mom and my siblings and asked her to consider. She said yes. Personally, I've always thought this story was rather romantic.Somehow, my father had procured a marriage license and, upon Mom's acceptance of his proposal, he drove to a Justice of the Peace and they were married on the spot. I was born 13 months and 5 days later.My father died when I was 6. He was a large man with a booming voice, strong and strong-willed, loud and opinionated. Quite frankly, I was scared of him. Since he worked in Massachusetts all week, I really didn't get that he was my father. When he died, I didn't really feel much of anything. That all came later on, in my teen years. I regret deeply that I was afraid of him. By all accounts, he was a puddle of mush whenever I was around and, much to most everyone's dismay, I had him wrapped around my little finger. He even named one of his companies after me. I miss my father every single day. My mother is very fond of saying that he was a bull in a china shop and that I'm pretty much the same way. I take it as a compliment. I'm strong and can hold my own and you always know where you stand with me. I get all of that from him and I'm grateful to be Clem Walker's daughter (now, if you remember the name of the blog post, you might be saying "Clem?" It was his middle name (more specifically, it was Clement). No one called him Francis).My mother... Ah, Mom. Mom is the strongest woman I know. She has survived the abandonment of a husband, the death of another, the death of two sons and a son-in-law, as well as breast cancer. She is a gifted musician, playing the piano and pipe organ for more than 60 years now and being the church organist for the parish I grew up in for the past 33 years. She's still going strong with her music, too, and it is one of the joys of my life to sit in the house where I grew up and listen to her play the piano. Growing up, I have very fond memories of going to sleep at night and listening to her music throughout the house. Liam and Ella adore it when Nana sits down at her piano. I love seeing their appreciation of music deepen with [...]



The best laid plans....right?

I've had a crazy busy past couple of days and was at a church fair today as a vendor for the Pampered Chef. So, I'll pick back up with the 30 days of blogging tomorrow.

Please stay tuned.

Day 3 - My First Love


*Le sigh*

My first real love was in high school. I was 15 and he was 18. I was a sophomore and he was a junior. I was a day student at a private boarding school, he was a boarder. I was a local girl from the small town, he was from a posh town in New York (I refuse to call places that are only an hour or so away from NYC "upstate"). He was one of the popular guys and it was a small enough school that everyone knew everyone else to some extent, but I was what I like to describe as "second tier popular." He was a jock and I most definitely was not. Because I apparently had a penchant for science, I was in chemistry with a bunch of juniors and that's how we met. Then, he signed on to be in the winter musical . Since I was also cast in the musical, we started spending more time together.

On a freezing cold January day we went to a peace rally/march in the state's capital to oppose the Gulf War (what idealists we were!). We flirted mightily and, by the time the musical was in full swing - 42nd Street, in case you're wondering, I played Maggie - we were an item. Sam joined the a capella group that I sang in and we were pretty much inseparable. Our attire for a capella gigs was blue jeans, white button up shirts and ties. After I admired one of his ties, he gave it to me. (insert swoon here) His parents owned a summer camp for boys in Maine and we got to see each other fairly often outside of the school year. A series of events conspired to make it so that Sam couldn't return to Tilton for his senior year, and it ended up being for the best. He had some issues that he needed to sort through and it still means the world to me that he called to make amends as he sorted out his life. We dated off and on for 3 years and I loved him deeply.

The last time we spoke was shortly before I was married. I had intended to send his tie back to him and tracked him down for his mailing address. Over the years, I thought of Sam and wondered how he was. I hoped that he was happy and his life was good.

As luck would have it, we reconnected a while ago on facebook. He's married now, has two beautiful daughters and, last I knew, was in law school. It's been great to see how well his life has turned out.

Sam'll always be my first love and I'll always have a couple of regrets about our relationship, but I'll never forget him and he'll always hold a special place in my heart.

I never did get around to sending his tie back to him.

Day 2 - Meaning Behind Name of Blog


I explained it back at the beginning, but I'm happy to do so again.

Flea is one of my nicknames. However, ONLY my mother calls me Flea. It's not that no one else is allowed to call me Flea, it's just that no one else ever has and, for some reason, I don't know as though I'd respond if someone other than Mom referred to me as Flea. Chalk it up to a mother-daughter thing.

OK, so the story is that I was quite the active child and would "bounce around from place to a flea." Hence the nickname.

When asked why she called me Flea, she said "because it's her name." Huh? Alright...short story long:

When I was born my parents had no clue what to name me. I came this close to being Clementine (thank you, Dad), but my mother objected vigorously to that selection so it was off the table for discussion. I left the hospital as "Baby Girl Walker" and was summarily baptized within a week of my birth (go, Mom - I couldn't get it together to have Liam and Ella baptized until they were 7 months old). Needing a name for the baptism, my parents culled from their own names and I was baptized Lee Frances Walker. Lee being my mother's middle name and Frances being the female variation of my father's first name. My mother, however, didn't like Lee as a first name for a baby; she thought it was too adult (because, you know, babies don't grow up or anything) so that is not the name that went on my birth certificate.

Apparently, way back when, you had time to file birth certificates. None of this name your baby before you leave the hospital and you can pick up the birth certificate within 10 days business. So...after much consideration and debate, coupled with my mother's desire to have a name that "sounded good with Walker," I was finally, officially Heather Lee Walker, "Heather" being my sister, A's, suggestion. Frances was dropped and I never liked the spelling of Lee. Fast forward to high school: I changed the spelling of Lee to Leigh and, to honor my father who died when I was 6, I took Frances back. So, then I was Heather Leigh Frances Walker. Sometimes, I feel a pang of guilt about changing the spelling of Lee and I know it made Mom a little sad, but it's Leigh and I'm sticking with it.

OK, but where the hell does "Flea" come from? Well...apparently, my mother reversed the order of Lee and Frances and created "Flea." I'll admit, I like Frances Lee much more than Lee Frances, but still - when she said it was my name, I looked at her as though she had 4 heads...because didn't she remember the very name she had given me?! Granted, when you've got 10 kids, it's hard to keep everyone straight.

So, that's where the Flea part comes from...

When I was contemplating starting a blog, I wanted to play off of my nickname and also convey how I try to live my life with gratitude. I batted different ideas around, with the top contender being "Gratefulea," but I wasn't sure if worked. So, I eventually settled on A Grateful Flea.

Because, really, that's who and what I am. A grateful flea.

And now you know.

In Case You're Wondering...

2010-10-27T07:51:24.355-04:00 is far easier to bang out an hour on the treadmill at 6:30 in the morning when you can watch a movie on closed captioning (as opposed to kids' programming) and have some great tunes on your work out playlist. The time passes more quickly and you're less tempted to peek at your progress. Just sayin'.

I try to pick a movie I've already seen at some point so that I don't have to pay close attention to it, but can still follow for the most part and also, because I only end up watching ~ 2/3 of any given movie, so I don't feel compelled to finish watching it once I'm off the 'mill. This morning's selection was The Rock and, although I already feel the need to create a new work out playlist, all of the songs that came up, save one, were just what I needed for some beats motivation.

Now, I need to shower. I stink.

Day 1 - Intro/Recent Pic/15 Interesting Facts


As promised, I'll follow right up with the first of the 30 day posts. Since I can't get the picture to post properly, it's right here at the beginning. Frankly, there aren't any recent pictures of me, so I took this one just now to make up for that. I'm usually the one behind the camera, so that's the way the cookie crumbles. Here, I'm laughing at something Miss Ella was doing.So...well, since I've had this blog for a while now, there is an intro waaaay back in the beginning, but it can't hurt to "update" me, can it? On facebook, my "about me" section reads as follows:"Mother. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend. News junkie. Democrat. Wannabe quilter. Recovering Diet Coke addict. Gym rat. Reader. Fierce Trivial Pursuit player. All-around strong chick."That's a pretty apt description. I might actually change the order of some of those descriptors, moving "Friend" higher up on the list. When I wrote it, though, I apparently felt the need to define myself in terms of my family relations first, so there you have it.I'm a stay-at-home Mumma to 4 1/2 year-old twins - when did that happen? Age 35 is knocking on the door and will be here in a couple of weeks. The nearer I get to my birthday, the less bothered by the number I become - I'll admit to having some anxiety about the big 3-5 a few months ago, but I think it's mostly passed. If anything, I was more bothered by the fact that I was bothered to begin with, if that makes any sense. The real issue is that I just don't feel like I'm in my mid-30s, whatever that's supposed to feel like.I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up. At some point, I think I would really like to go back to school and pursue a Master's in Social Work and work with sufferers of combat-induced PTSD. Let's just say that it's not a point people in my life can agree on. I wish I had more time to quilt and read. I really wish I had more time to work out. I joined a gym in January 2008 and quickly, and much to my surprise, became addicted to the endorphin high of a great work out. Sadly, over the past months, that aspect of my life has faded far into the background, but I'm beginning to reclaim it by working out at home and have definite plans to get back in the gym within the next month. I love my children more than I ever dreamed was imaginable, but will admit that motherhood is far more difficult than I thought it could be. It truly is the toughest job I'll ever love.OK...15 "interesting" facts. I could be literal here and post any 15 facts, but I suppose I'll follow the intention of the post and make them facts about me. I just need to remember what I've already put out there, so as not to repeat myself.The older I get, the more genuine confidence I develop.My favorite cardio machine at the gym in the arc trainer. I love doing weights, though. I rock the leg press and smith squat.I am in constant awe of my children.My not-so-secret wish is to one day raise Liam and Ella in the house that I grew up in. It's a lovely old farmhouse on 20 acres of land.I'd love to be a good gardener one day, and have a big garden. You know, at the house where I grew up.I admit to owning Barbies when I was a little girl, but I am still confused as to how to raise such a girly daughter. Miss Ella is enamored of all things pink, Princess and sparkly. It confuses me.I think intelligence is the most attractive quality in a man. That, and eyes.It has been over a year since I've had a drop of Diet Coke. I spent more than 20 years of my life addicted to the stuff and then quit cold turkey one day last September. I thought it would be far m[...]



I'm stealing this from Lorraine's blog. (Thanks for the idea, Lorraine!) I've been avoiding posting anything here for quite some time, partly because I haven't had the time to put up anything I felt worthy of your time, but mostly because I am beyond sick and tired of the Chinese spammers. we go, folks. I'm back!

At least for the next 30 days, this is what I'll be up to here...

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts
Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3-Your first love
Day 4-Your parents
Day 5-Your siblings
Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 7-Favorite movies
Day 8-A place you've traveled to
Day 9-A picture of your friends
Day 10-Something you're afraid of
Day 11-Favorite TV shows
Day 12-What you believe
Day 13-Goals
Day 14-A picture you love
Day 15-Bible verse
Day 16-Dream house
Day 17-Something you're looking forward to
Day 18-Something you regret
Day 19-Something you miss
Day 20-Nicknames
Day 21-Picture of yourself
Day 22-Favorite city
Day 23-Favorite vacation
Day 24-Something you've learned
Day 25-Put your MP3 player on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26-Picture of your family
Day 27-Pets
Day 28-Something that stresses you out
Day 29-3 Wishes
Day 30-a picture

Another One


Ella's been into telling (really bad) knock-knock jokes lately. The other day, from the back seat, her brother decided he didn't want to play along any longer. This is what I heard:

Ella: Knock-knock!
Ella: Knock-knock, Liam!
Ella: Liam! KNOCK-KNOCK!
Liam: No one's home!

Answers To Questions I Still Get Asked


  • Yes, my oldest sister also has twins. Yep, a set of boy/girl twins, too. The age difference is 23 years between my sister and me and 28 years between my niece and nephew and Liam and Ella.
  • Yes, I always had a feeling that I was going to have twins. Ever since I was about 10.
  • Nope, you're right, I don't know what it's like to "just have one."
  • No, it's not quite like "just doing everything twice."
  • I haven't had a solid night's sleep since sometime in 2005.
  • Technically Liam is a minute older, but who's counting?
  • Uhm, nope, they're not identical.
  • Nope, they're not "maternal" or "paternal," either.
  • Yep, they're fraternal.
  • Yes, as a matter of fact they do keep us on our toes.
  • Yes, I can tell them apart.
  • Well, I don't subscribe to the "one and done" philosophy, although if that's what works for you great! We'll see what the universe has in store for us.
  • Yes, I would love more children. See above.
  • Yes, even another set of twins. (This is my not so secret wish, actually.)
  • Well, double trouble *polite grin* sort of, but more so double blessing (not technically a question, I know, but a statement I hear a lot...still).

Recently Overheard


The kids have been taking separate baths for a while now. Not because of any Victorian sense of propriety, but more out of necessity. They're just too big - and too rambunctious - to put in the bathtub together if I don't want my bathroom to get soaked.

The other night, while Ella was in the tub and Liam was waiting not-so-patiently for his bath, I happen to hear the following exchange:

Liam: "I want to get in the bath with you, Ella."
Ella: "No!"
Liam: "YES! I want to get in the bath RIGHT NOW!"
Ella: "No! I don't like your penis!"
Liam, very calmly and rationally: "Well, you don't have to look at it."

To which I couldn't help but laugh. You would have, too.



Sometimes I wonder if my father hadn't died so early in my life - I was 6 - if I would be as acutely aware of my mother's mortality. The truth is, though, that even though my father's death did provoke a steady level of anxiety about Mom's health and eventual death (I think I held my breath on some level until my 18th birthday because I was very nervous about where I'd end up in the event that she died before I was of legal age), I was always hyperaware of my parents' age and the fact that some of my friends had grandparents who were the same age as my parents (it didn't help that my mother actually did come to grandparents' day at school one year, either).What I'm getting at is that, even though I always knew it was inevitable, I'm living smack-dab in the middle of my own personal sandwich and finding some semblance of balance is more than a little tricky. I'm a stay-at-home Mom, and Josh is absolutely fabulous about being involved pretty much from the moment he walks the through the door at the end of the day, but Mom needs more and more consideration, for lack of a better word. She has enough nagging, nuisance health problems that can knock her out of commission at any given time - nothing that in and of itself is fatal or even life threatening, but issues that are constant and keep her functioning at less than 100%. And, really, at almost 77 years-old I'm not quite sure what "100%" would really mean. Lately, I've found myself describing it to others as "85% would be her 100%," but I might be being generous even with that.Mom has Meniere's Disease, a condition of the inner ear that can cause her to lose her balance, have intense vertigo and nausea. Unfortunately, the attacks are random and increasing in severity as she ages. She can be confined to bed for up to a week or more when hit with symptoms - seriously, bending over to pick something up from the floor can land her in bed for days. Afterwards, it can take up to another week for her to really feel "normal." Her most recent attack, only a couple of weeks ago, brought her to tears (not the first time, but perhaps the most poignant) and made her realize that she shouldn't be living alone. Additionally, Mom suffers from intense postherpetic neuralgia following a nasty bout of shingles in late 2001/early 2002. She seems to have won the lottery for nuisance conditions, because this one really takes the cake when she has an attack. Rather than break out in another case of shingles, she develops severe pain on the left side of her head, radiating down her scalp and over her left eye. Again, another condition that can render her bed-ridden. Fortunately, these attacks seem to be brought on by stress, so she can try to prevent them but isn't always successful. The constant unknown of when another Meniere's attack will happen is something that provokes a great deal of constant anxiety for her and, coupled with the stressors of everyday life as the matriarch of a large family (some of which are greater than others - ranging from the death of a husband, two sons and a son-in-law to somewhat petty, though justified at the time, squabbles amongst us kids) and she can develop a case at any time. On top of all of this, Mom's got Type II diabetes, but really we don't worry all that much about this one. Her numbers aren't so out of whack that it requires major intervention but it is one more thing to always keep in mind.We do have some health victories, too. This past January, Mom marked 5 years free [...]

Then & Now


January 1, 2009

May 16, 2010




What a GORGEOUS day for a wedding! It was sunny and bright, not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was perfect and there was even a great (strong at times) breeze.

Cait and Jeeps were married Sunday and it was perfect. Of course, I cried walking down the aisle, and when they exchanged vows. My shoes could have been used as an implement of torture (true story: I ended up taking them off half way through the Mass because I was going to fall over in pain if I didn't), but my solo went off quite well and the reception was a VERY good time (I cried a LOT during my toast, but my waterproof mascara stayed in place!). Alas, I couldn't find my camera (because Cait had to take it away from Ella while we were getting ready and I had no clue where she put it) so I'm relying on others' photos but trust me when I say it was just beautiful.

All of her hard work paid off and I hope they enjoy their little get away to Maine.

Of Course...


...I think the promise of Super Mario Galaxy 2 when he fully trains might have something to do with it, but, again, I'm not complaining!