Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hang Up The Stockings or Put Out Your Shoes

Today could not be more beautiful if it tried.  Last night snow started falling at about 10 pm--the kind that looks like powdered sugar and settles on the ground as if diamonds were just thrown about.  This morning, in the dark at 6:30, much to our surprise, there was about 4 inches of icing sugar everywhere and drives to school to worry about.  Alas, not a snow day for us rugged mid-westerners who can plough through anything!  Our backyard has been transformed--the lake that we live on froze over to the smoothest silver grey glass with not a ripple in it-a beautiful mirror creating a reverse world where all of us must be doing things backwards! And the sky is piercing blue, the color that almost hurts your eyes when you look at it while the sun has everything sparkling!  All this beauty however does mean one thing, baby--it's cold outside!  SO glad I don't have to venture out in it unless I want to! A perfect day to get ready for the upcoming holiday.  Last year at this time, I was struggling with some health issues that required major surgery and to complicate things I scheduled it for 2 weeks before Christmas.  Shopping was done on line which I had never really tried before and let me tell you--I am a convert.   Being able to click a button and "proceed to check-out" is a gift in itself.  As much as I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I find that as I get older I would rather pick and choose what I hustle and bustle over.  Like giving parties and making gifts for people and baking great things that we save just for this time of year-- like gingerbread cookies and Italian fig goodies--following an old recipe that my great aunt passed down.  Having my daughters in the kitchen with me, one helping me bake,  her twin playing DJ with the Christmas music and my youngest testing the dough is exactly what I want happening in my pre-holiday routine.  Tonight is a biggie in our world--St. Nicholas visits those of us who have been good girls and boys.  I know this isn't a tradition celebrated by everyone--perhaps my eastern European ancestors brought it with them from Prague.  My girls still love digging in to find what was left in their Minnie Mouse stockings-(Mickey for my husband).  He is the biggest baby of all.  When they were little, Polly Pockets and gummy bears were enough to keep them happy.  Now i-tunes and Starbucks cards bring smiles.  As long as no one finds a piece of coal we know it has been a good year.  

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hot Showers

Some things I can't be without in a shower:

This may be way too much information but I have my best, most enlightening thoughts in the shower.  It is one of those huge cavernous ones with duel shower heads and really, you just don't want to get out once you are in.  For some reason things become clearer for me there.  Maybe it is the solitude or the whole cleansing thing.  I don't know but honestly, I could solve the world's problems if I had to.  But usually I stick to my own and those of my loved ones.  Today it was all about me.  Thoughts were randomly floating around in my brain, which happens a lot, and I zero in on them and work them through.  Which is the beauty I think of being open and present so that when I am faced with something I am able to acknowledge it.  So different from when my girls were little.  I remember being so wrapped in my head that there were times when through the fog I could hear their tiny voices saying "mommy" and finally would come back to the present.  Today my thoughts had to do with being stuck in the past and wanting to move forward to the future.  A few years ago, we went out to Las Vegas to visit my mom and dad who retired out there. (yes, I know it's a weird place to go visit Gramma and Grandpa but that explains much about me!) We were at Hoover Dam and there is a point where you can straddle 2 states--Nevada and Arizona.  This morning that scene came back to me as I stood there with feet firmly planted in 2 different places and thought that is exactly how I feel about my life right now.  One foot is in my past literally and figuratively and the other is in the future and wants to get moving.  It is that darn back leg that is almost cemented into place and no matter what I do, it won't budge.   I think a better way to look at it is that it doesn't really know what direction it needs to go in.   And if it did, how would it get there--to the future.  To all the things that swirl inside my head and heart aching to come out as the new me.  I am thinking that fear or failure or the fear of failure is the biggest issue for me.  How do I make all the changes I need to make and will all those around me be ok with it.  As I write this I a little light bulb went off in my head and realize that that is it--how will my family handle it all. I am so use to putting them first that I can't go to that selfish place and put me first for a bit.   That is where the change has to come in my head and my heart.  For me to know and for them to know that I can be other than what I have been for the last 27 years and still love them as much today in a new role as I have over the years.  
Hmm....well that is my homework for the day--to work through that!  I knew writing this would get me somewhere!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Right Now in Paris

I go to this website every day to see what is happening at one of my favorite  It is a webcam that shows the Eiffel Tower all day and night.  Check it out on the hour in the evenings (Paris time) and watch it do its beautiful thing!!!!   Here it is veiled in fog.  It still is magnificent.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To Live is to Change...... be perfect is to have changed often.  
My daughter in college sent me that quote yesterday.  I had sent out a long email to everyone in my family about how i envisioned our future.  So far, I have failed to mention that each one of us is in transition which makes everything either easier or more complicated.  We probably won't know until we are all having a glass of wine somewhere together looking back from the future.  
The biggest change happened this past May as my husband re-invented himself yet again and took a job with an executive search firm.  This is after he has been a professional athlete. a college coach and a fund raiser for a major university.  We are living apart(again) while our youngest finishes her senior year in high school.  Which brings us to her transition with the whole mind boggling, nerve rattling college application process.  We have been through this before with our twins but every child is unique and handles things his or her own way and well, it just feels more traumatic.  Thank God for early action!  At least some of the waiting will be over by the holidays and we can celebrate in a big way!  My twins, both liberal arts majors with an emphasis on languages, are graduating in May as well and are struggling with what lies ahead for them. They are at a competitive university and half their friends already have jobs lined up (all very business related which my girls would hate) but still the pressure is there for them to feel as though these last four, very expensive years will pay off.  My husband and I try to tell them that nothing is ever set in stone and suggest that perhaps they need to look at the next year or two as a process to sort of get a sense of what they see themselves doing.  The same daughter that sent me the quote said the other day, "Mom, we are so lucky to have you guys as parents.  We (she and her sister) are liberal arts majors and you guys are such liberal arts parents!" I liked that.  So, by the end of next summer, the five of us could be just about anywhere.  I will be an empty-nester for real--even though it feels that way now as my senior is on the go 24/7.  A great big open book awaits for all of us and we each get to write our own chapter to continue the story of our family.  It is such a wonderful place to be even with all its ups and downs and stresses and unknowns.  I can't wait to look back from the future over a good glass of wine.  Speaking of wines, a wonderful one to try.............Masi "Campofiorian".
Rich, full-bodied and velvety.  All good qualities don't you think?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Here Lies The Problem

This photo helps to explain why I find myself going through a HUGE transformation--some would call it a mid-life crisis.  I think no-more like puberty at 50!  In 2005 I spent a year in this fabulous city with all three of my daughters.  My oldest, twins, were studying abroad for the year with their university.  I suggested (after some great wine out on our deck back in the states) that it would be fun (I used the word fun) if I could find a cute little apartment in Paris and take my younger daughter-then a sophomore in high school-with me and the four of us women could enjoy France for the year.  My husband, the prince that he is, said, "If you can make it happen, you should go."  Hmmm.......a year later I was on a plane with both he and my daughter winging our way to Paris after having rented a GREAT apartment in the 7th, finding an international high school for my daughter, arranging the proper papers for us to live there and finding a way to fit a year's worth of clothes in one suitcase.  I make it sound quite easy--actually it was one of the hardest things that I have tried to do but the bottom line is, I did it.  And I haven't been the same since.  Really none of us have been.  It was the most life-altering experience with both good and bad attached to it.  For the first time in my life I actually made decisions just for me!  Getting married young and moving out of my parents home into my own left no in between time to just be me.  Now all of a sudden I could wake up and go to the Louvre for four hours and not have to ask anyone if that was ok or arrange schedules for kids to be picked up.  It was crazy weird!!!  I think it is called freedom and it had been sooo long since I felt that.  I was totally responsible for my daughter's and my well-being and quite frankly, did a great job.  Not only that, I was living in the most fabulous place on Earth.  Not all would agree and that's a good thing because there isn't enough space for everyone there but for those of you who feel as I do about that city it is magical.  And to live there and discover all its layers at a leisurely pace was heaven.  It spun a web around me that I am still tangled up in!  The dilemma--how do I fit it and the people I love more than anything in the world into my life?  

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

This is the start of a whole new way of looking at my life.  It started with an e-mail to my family which seems to be the easiest way for us to communicate these days as we are scattered throughout the country.  I woke up feeling the need to put things in order for myself, to "clean house" if you will of all the accumulated thoughts and notions of when will it be my turn to be who I am supposed to be.  I have been working on it for a few years but have always found reasons to put things on the back burner.  There are no excuses anymore.  Which is clearly the scary part that has me stuck in quicksand.   I have my family's blessings to finally go be Kim.  My favorite quote by Eleanor Roosevelt would be most appropriate right now......."We must do that which we think we cannot."  Well, here I go.