Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I found this in my inbox today and thought I'd share it here. May everyone have a fulfilling 2009.

And remember...21 more days until the best President evah!!

December 31, 2008
New Year's Resolutions: The Two Lists
A Message from DailyOM Co-Founder Scott Blum

I was fortunate to spend time with an enigmatic man named Robert during a very special period of my life. Robert taught me many things during our days together, and this time of year reminds me of one particular interaction we had.

"Now that you are becoming more aware," Robert said, "you need to begin to set goals for yourself so you don't lose the momentum you have built."

"Like New Year's resolutions?" I asked.

"That's an interesting idea," he smirked. "Let's do that."

By then I was used to his cryptic responses, so I knew something was up because of the way his eyes sparkled as he let out an impish laugh.

"Tonight's assignment is to make two lists," Robert continued. "The first is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WANT to keep, and the second is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WILL keep. Write the WANT List first, and when you have exhausted all of your ideas, then write the second list on another sheet of paper."

That night I went home and spent several hours working on the two lists. The WANT List felt overwhelming at first, but after a while I got into writing all the things I had always wanted to do if the burdens of life hadn't gotten in the way. After nearly an hour, the list swelled to fill the entire page and contained nearly all of my ideas of an ideal life. The second list was much easier, and I was able to quickly commit ten practical resolutions that I felt would be both realistic and helpful.

The next day, I met Robert in front of the local food Co-op, where we seemed to have most of our enlightening conversations. "Tell me about your two lists," Robert said as the familiar smirk crept onto his face.

"The first list contains all the things I SHOULD do if I completely changed my life to be the person I always wanted to be. And the second list contains all the things I COULD do by accepting my current life, and taking realistic steps towards the life I want to lead."

"Let me see the second list," he said.

I handed him the second list, and without even looking at it, he ripped the paper into tiny pieces and threw it in the nearby garbage can. His disregard for the effort I had put into the list annoyed me at first, but after I calmed down I began to think about the first list in a different light. In my heart, I knew the second list was a cop out, and the first list was the only one that really mattered.

"And now, the first list." Robert bowed his head and held out both of his hands.

I purposefully handed him the first list and held his gaze for several seconds, waiting for him to begin reading the page. After an unusually long silence, he began to crumple the paper into a ball and once again tossed it into the can without looking at it.

"What did you do that for?!" I couldn't hide my anger any longer.

Robert began to speak in a quiet and assured voice. "What you SHOULD or COULD do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters, from this day forward, is what you MUST do."

He then drew a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to me.

I opened it carefully, and found a single word floating in the middle of the white page:


Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Big City Holiday

I do enjoy Christmas, but I am glad for the day after, when things can settle down freshly. While shopping and preparing for the holidays, my oldest went on a big adventure to New York City. He has two very generous and loving aunts (hubby's sisters) who live in Brooklyn, and they invited him to come visit for a couple of days. He and one of his aunts took the train to Boston from the bottom of our street, then the subway, then the Amtrak to NYC, travelling door-to-door without a car. This was his first journey away from home, and he was not nervous or frightened or worried... he seemed so ready. I realized after he walked out the door, that this was a benchmark moment for us as a family...for me as a mom. One of many more to come, but one that I really noticed. I felt a clear tug of letting go as he headed out the door with his bag and a smile, looking forward to his adventure. I was glad for him, and I knew he would be with people who loved him.

He loved the train ride, watching a movie, visiting the snack car,and watching a snowy New England whiz by the window.The snow fell on the way in to Penn Station, and they started with a snowball fight in the evening in Central Park.

They went to the Met and saw an exhibit on arms and armor. His aunt said he was fascinated and talked much about what he knew, and what he noticed. They ate at a Middle-Eastern restaurant, they watched High Noon and Rear Window. They went to Rockefeller Center and saw the big tree. He was not impressed when they cleared the famous ice rink there, so that a man could propose marriage; rather he was disappointed that they were not bringing out the Zamboni instead.
They took him to Times Square where he said he felt really small, and amazed by all the lights. He went to Greenwich Village to go to a gaming store he had looked up before he left. They went out for pancakes and pizza and bagels. They watched Elf. When we spoke on the phone I mentioned that I missed him. He said, "Well, I would miss you too, but I'm having too much fun!"
Some of the best pictures are from the NYC Transit Museum where you could pretend to drive a bus and run over your aunt...They took some very funny videos of each other trying to sell tokens and give directions from the pretend ticket booth. A snowstorm made travel difficult, so he stayed an extra day and they took him on the Staten Island Ferry, which turned out to be his favorite part. He was in awe of the Statue of Liberty, having seen so many pictures of it, and his aunt said he stared out the window quietly at it for a long time.

My first boy arrived home a couple of days before Christmas with lots of stories and funny moments and a gigantic hug for us all. In most of the photos he looks genuinely happy, reveling in the fun of exploring a new place away from home. I am glad that he felt secure enough to leave us, remembering the littler boy who never wanted to leave my side, even at the playground.

To sweeten the deal, my awesome mother-in-law very graciously took the other two boys overnight, leaving my husband and I with any empty house and a snowstorm outside...
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ramblings and a Christmas Meme

Today was a lazy day at home during a cold, rainy afternoon. We had planned to go to the YMCA for some open gym time, but the momentum wasn't there. We watched Wind in the Willows on DVD, layed about, and the boys played some pretend Star Wars games upstairs while I did some baking.

A few days ago I found a Lord of the Rings Monopoly game at a thrift store for $4 with all the pieces and cards intact. I felt like I struck gold! It was fun to lay it out on the table and have them find it there. After playing it through once by the rules, they brought out more toy figures and made up other games and stories with the board. My oldest was more patient than usual with my youngest while they played and while there were some tense moments, they did okay. I find that it is easier if I remain on the outskirts for support rather than playing, as they all tend to be very sensitive to my advancing at their expense in any way. The dynamic just doesn't work right now.

When the weather is cold and rainy, I sometimes get antsy for outdoor time, but it's early yet, and I find I am enjoying the slower pace of indoor time. The time for quiet and blankets. Movies, board games, baking, and the sound of three boys stomping through our house, using every inch of it. We are enjoying the lead-in time to Christmas, anticipating gifts, hiding surprises, and decorating. The boys love their advent calendars with the daily chocolates. We have paper snowflakes on the windows made by the middle boy and me.

This is a Christmas meme I found over at Frank's blog. Take it and run with it if you like.

1. Real tree or artificial? Real. I enjoy the ritual of picking out the tree at a local place with the kiddos. Many memories of my Yankee Dad fretting about how much water the tree was drinking or not, as an indication of how fresh it was and ultimately, the quality of the deal he got on the tree.

2. When do you put up the tree? Earlier and earlier it seems as the kids have gotten a bit older and its more fun to have it up.

3. When do you take down the tree? After New Year's. Our town has a bonfire of spent Christmas trees on the Epiphany (Jan.6th). I'll try to blog photos of it this year. Nice big blazing fire!!

4.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly paper, but gift bags are very alluring. Pop it in and you're done. Santa uses different wraps than I do. I did use Trader Joe's re-usable bags last year for some gifts. They are festive and red.

5. When do you start Christmas shopping?I am always looking for cool things that the kids like. I have a hard time waiting to give them things that I get in August or September. I really can't wait that long. So, I start restraining myself and saving Christmas gifts in November.

6. Who is the hardest person to buy for? My husband and my Dad.

7. Easiest person to buy for? My Mom. She likes everything, and she likes to be surprised. It's like giving a gift to a little kid. As much as she gives, she is also a wonderful receiver.

8. Angel on top of the tree, or star? A pretty tin star.

9. What is the worst Christmas gift you ever got? Anti-wrinkle cream. Yes, really.

10. What is the best gift you received as a child? When I was very little, I got a baby doll that I loved and (s)mothered. I was also very fond of a pink velour sweatsuit I got when I was seven. A little older, and I remember tickets to an ice show that was magical and special to me.

11. What is your favorite food to eat at Christmas time? Church window cookies made by my MIL.

12. What do you want for Christmas this year?(Frank's answer, which I love): I want the Constitution back! I think I might even get it, starting after January 20th. I can never have enough warm, fuzzy socks either.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Prop 8 The Musical

I thought this was cute, funny, and to the point. Hay, if you are reading this, I think you'll love it.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die