I am the MOM and I was here FIRST!

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I am a 44 year old mother of three children and grandmother of one. I am divorced from my children's father whom I share joint physical custody of our youngest two children with. I have been married to my fabulous husband for over 9 near-perfect years. I LOVE this man! He is a wonderful generous, affectionate, tolerant and all forgiving husband. He is also a terrific step-dad/male role model to my kids and an even better grand father to our two year old grand daughter. My oldest daughter attends college to obtain her nursing degree. She has been on her own for over three years now (no longer part of a shared custody arrangement like her brother & sister) My middle daughter is in high school and plays on the freshmen volleyball & soccer teams. She's really creative and talented. My son is in middle school and plays hockey and lacrosse. He is a sweet sensitive boy who still says "I love you Mom" frequently. I work part time running an online ebay store. I have terrific and supportive relationships with my family, friends and of course my kids. I am extremely close to my sister, my Mom and my sister-in-laws. They are my best friends.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands.

It is a three word sentence.

At times, it is a plea. Other times ... a command.

Wash your hands.

How many times have I uttered these words?

I have three children. My oldest daughter is 22. I stopped telling her to wash her hands years and years ago.

My middle daughter is 15. It's been quite awhile since I had to tell her to wash her hands.

But the 13 year old boy that lives here... ???

Not a day goes by, when he's home with me, that those words don't find their way out of my mouth.


It all started with the boy right around the potty training years. He was approaching 3 years old. He would go to the bathroom and I would make him wash his hands.

And just like anything, consistency and routine were the order of the day to train him to wash his hands ALWAYS after going to the bathroom.

But, 10 years later, I am still waiting for this boy to manage this passage on his own.

Wash your hands.

I don't want to say those words anymore.

I want the boy to wash his hands after he goes to the bathroom.

In the early morning hours, he used to try to sneak to the bathroom, closing the door ever so quietly, NOT flushing the toilet, then tiptoe out, just to avoid washing his hands. But I'd bust him as he would inevitably run up the stairs to his room, cluing me in to what he was doing on the first floor. I'd come flying out of my bedroom and make him come back down to wash.

He used to flush the toilet and just run the water in the sink, leading me to believe he had washed his hands. He'd come out of the bathroom and even wipe his "wet" hands on his pants to drive home the point to "whoever" may actually check to see if he really washed his hands. I caught on to that one when I stood outside the door one day and actually caught him with dry (filthy) hands.

He then moved to, turning on the water and sticking just his fingertips in the water and then flicking the water on me to prove he'd washed. His sister caught him wiggling an inch of fingers in the water one day, sans soap and figured out what his latest hand washing hoax was.

He graduated to squirting soft soap in the sink and running the water for long periods of time, making a ton of bubbles. He'd spend so much time on this, that I was just sure he'd washed his hands, but sadly found out that he'd only gotten the sink really clean, not his hands.

And once I caught him just putting soft soap on his hands, rubbing it in like lotion, and walking out of the bathroom.

He hates getting caught.

I hate catching him.

Why won't he just wash his damn hands???

It's a simple task. The water's right there. The sink is just right for his height. The liquid soap comes out of the pump easily. The towel hangs right next to the sink.



But don't you know, I just told him to wash his hands.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Do You Do It?

How do you do it??

Blog... that is.

Some days, my brain feels empty or maybe just uninspired.

Some days, I don't feel like talking, sharing or blogging. Not because I'm in a bad mood or anything... just not feeling it, ya know?

Some days, thoughts or happenings from my past inspire an article.

Other days, it's simply outlining what I did for the day or the day before.

If I haven't checked "my friends" blogs in a couple of days or so... I feel a little anxious and overwhelmed. I'll start at the top of my buddy list and make sure I've read all the articles I have missed since from them since my last visit.

I comment on just about every article I read.

I visit the blogs of the new visitors that have visited my page, and usually add them to my friends list.

I try to be positive and encouraging when commenting. I would never intentionally hurt someones feelings.

I have my own opinions about many topics.

I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion too, so I don't criticize or try to maneuver anyone to my point of view.

That's how I do it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Adopted Son

We moved in this house the second weekend of October in 1998.

My son was 4 years old. My daughters were 6 & 13.

We were all playing in the driveway on a Sunday afternoon, after unpacking all weekend long. A little boy kept walking back and forth in front of our house. After a few minutes of this, it occurred to me that the little boy probably wanted to play with my kids. So we invited him over. His name is Nino. And he was 4 years old, just like my son.

It wasn't but a few short minutes that Nino was playing with us, when his Dad came looking for him. He introduced himself to me and my husband and welcome us to the neighborhood. He told us that his wife had just died of ovarian cancer a few short weeks ago. Poor guy. He could barely speak without crying. He and his son were going to be staying with his parents, three houses down from us, for awhile.

Unfortunately, Nino's Dad was involved in a serious car crash shortly following our first conversation with him. The accident left him badly injured, unable to walk without the assistant of braces/crutches.

That was almost 10 years ago now. Since then, Nino has become a part of our family. He is our "unofficially" adopted son. He's the dark haired boy that shows up everywhere with my two blonde kids. He's the child that sits in the middle of the back seat when we ride in my car.

He spends at least one night at our house during the weekends that my kids are home with me. He's here for hours on end. He eats here. He swims here. He plays here and sleeps here. He knows my children's visitation schedule with me, better than any other relative, living outside of this house, does. Our granddaughter thinks he lives here.

We take him places with us. To the movies. Putt putt golfing. Blockbuster. Lazer tag. Dairy Queen. Go Karts. Shopping. He has long since stopped having to ask permission to go anywhere with us. It is a given that he is safe when in our care.

And so, I've had a subtle hand in raising this boy. He knows what words I don't approve of. I've warned him about too much sarcasm. I've told him to wash his hands, shut the door, throw that away and quiet down right along with telling my own kids the same thing.

My husband and I have told him good job, nice manners, thank you, and you're welcome, as we echo those words to our kids.

Nino is my son's best friend. Another brother to my daughters. An uncle to our granddaughter.

His Grandma has thanked me countless times for all we do with Nino. I know that she and Nino's Dad are grateful that we take such good care of him.

But we are truly grateful Nino found us.

My kids have been with their Dad since Wednesday evening. I just picked them up this morning.

And there's my adopted son Nino, at the front door now ...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hail to the Graduate!

Yesterday, my husband and I attended a graduation party of one of our dear friends son.

The party started at 2:00pm. Our group of friends planned on all getting there around 4:00pm.

Earlier in the day, my husband and I were working on installing a fountain for our pool. My oldest daughter walked over to our house with her daughter to go swimming with us. I commented on what a beautiful day it was for the graduation party and how grateful I was for the hosts.

It was warm and sunny. I got a little sunburned.

I went in the house around 2:30pm to shower and get ready for the graduation party.

Dark clouds moved in quickly. There was lots of lightning and thunder. It was super windy.

Then it started to hail.

Hail like I've never witnessed in my life!
It rained so hard, the streets were flooding. The temperature dropped 20 degrees.

The graduation party was only 20 minutes from our house. I prayed that our friends had the where with all to rent tents, but even then, the rain was blowing sideways.

We made it to the party. Thank Goodness, there were tents, which we were all huddled under for most of the evening.

We had a great time visiting with all of our friends. This was the first "kick-start" party of our summer. We made plans and promises of getting together this summer. There is a girls get away day in the works. Our group of friends and our kids are meeting at the Dream Cruise in August. And we're all dying to try out Bill and Gayle's margarita machine so we've set aside a night for that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Missing Elusive Sock

Wouldn't you know... On my last load of laundry today, I come up with a lone sock missing it's mate.

It prompted me to find my old "sock" article and repost it.


There are times when I've done the laundry, as most have, and come up with a missing sock. The missing socks in our home always turn right up in the next load. A sock is never alone for long here.

But two weeks ago, one of my husband's socks was missing it's mate and it didn't turn up in the next load... or the next.... or the next.... never!

This really troubled my organized (anal) husband. He was sincerely bothered about the missing sock. He was concerned about it's whereabouts.... what happened to it.... well, where was it.... how can a sock just disappear?? .... (You'd not really believe how many conversations turned to where the damn sock was or did I find it yet, lol)

So ... not only was he concerned about the missing sock.... he simply did not know what to do with the "non-missing" sock! He actually asked me "What should I do with this sock??" (HUH?!)

I put the lone sock in his sock drawer with sure anticipation that it's mate would soon turn up. My husband took the lone sock out of his drawer. (He couldn't have the lone sock in his drawer... it apparently messed him up, LOL)

So the lone sock sat on top of his dresser for a couple days. This must have mis-aligned him with the planets, and caused sever anxiety, because he moved it to the top of my dresser. Now, I'm bothered. Why do I have to have his lone sock on MY dresser? Why do I have to look at his lone sock for weeks anyway??

So... I put it in a place where it could be found when the mate turned up.

The mate never turned up.


I get a phone call from husband while he's at work.

"Do you want to hear something funny?"

"Of course, I do"

"I got to work and went to rest my arm on my desk and felt a bulge in my shirt sleeve."


"Yeah, the sock. I walked around all morning, at home, with this shirt on. I drank coffee. I brushed my teeth. I shaved. I put my coat on. I drove the kids to school and then drove all the way to work. And it was only when I put my arm on my desk that I realized there was a BULGE in my sleeve."

"Cool...I'll go tell the good news to the lonely sock and prepare him for the reunion."

Dang it, I can't find it! Now that sock is missing.

ps. I guess I'll start checking shirt sleeves.


For all the artists and art fans out there ... Allow me to introduce some of my Uncle Jack Beal's works to you.

These next (4) murals hang in The Department of Labor in Washington D.C.
I have only had the pleasure of viewing them once while vacationing there. It is quite magnificent to see. The paintings are HUGE.

Jack Beal mural, 18th Century.

Beal Murals, 17th Century.

Jack Beal mural, 17th Century.

Beal Murals, 18th Century.

Jack Beal mural, 19th Century.

Beal Murals, 19th Century.

Jack Beal mural, 20th Century.

Beal Murals, 20th Century. (That is my Aunt Sandy, Uncle Jack's wife, in the yellow hard hat.)

These next two are paintings were turned into mosaics and can be seen in the Times Square Subway Station on 42nd street.



The Return of Spring (above) / The Onset of Winter (below),
Two 7'x20' glass mosaic murals at the 41st St. IRT mezzanine,
New York City, 1999 and 2003, respectively.

The pair of mosaics "The Return of Spring" and "The Onset of Winter" depict various New York City street scenes and were paintings translated to mosaics by Artistic Mosaics Travisanutto of Italy. They were first unveiled to the public at the Gallery of Modern Art in Udine, Italy, in 1999 and 2003 respectively. "The Return of Spring" depicts construction workers and other city dwellers in front of a rendering of an original IRT subway kiosk. The scene depicted in "The Onset of Winter" is a crowd (some with faces of the artist's friends) watching a film crew record a scene of a woman entering the subway, as the first snowflakes of winter come down on the background New York skyline.

(Source: udine.it)

You can view the installed mosaics in person at the Times Square/42nd Street IRT Subway station.

If my childhood memory serves me well, our family spent a week or two during summer vacation at my Aunt and Uncles farm in upstate New York and my Grandma would pose for this work. She is "Charity" (on the right) in the painting and she actually owned and wore that shirt with the hands on it.


Hope, Faith, Charity
Oil on canvas, 72 in. by 72 in., 1977-78.
G.U.C. Collection

My Uncle Jack is married to my Aunt Sandy. She is a wonderful artist too with many beautiful water color prints. They have been married for over 50 years. A couple of years back our family all met at their farm to celebrate their anniversary. It was a big, huge bash. So much fun!

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