Thursday, June 28, 2012


                                                                  so far, so nice...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The bumpy road

The other day, I was running errands, with all three girls in tow. Not so much fun. All of them wanted to be doing other things, including me, other than food shopping, and generally schlepping all over kingdom come.

 Charlotte whines every time we go out anywhere in the bleeding daylight, about how we never go out to lunch. Why can't we go to get some pizza? Donuts would be so goes on and on. She get the same response each and every time. I explain how expensive it is, and we have food in our refrigerator, and lunch will be served at home. I glance in the mirror, and see her blue eyes roll, every time. Ugh...

I was coming from Target, and wanted to get toward town, so I turned on Clearview. Everytime I turn down that road, the girls squeal with delight. They call it "the bumpy road". And, if you have been on it, it is. Sharp drops from steep hills make your guts quiver. The faster you go, the more thrilling the ride. You can see from the bottom out marks along the road that this is true. Me, the ever careful Mom driver, does not take these hills fast. But even at a legal pace, the road makes everyone giggle. Taking the "bumpy road" always entertains, so I opted for this route to lessen the backseat whining.

We were driving behind one of those little cars, that are made to sound awful. You know the ones. They drive down the street, and their exhaust system does something so terrible, and is unbearably loud, there are times when I have imagined myself scolding the driver for doing that on purpose to their car. This particular car was blue. An electric blue. And loud.

They took the bumpy road fast. Really fast. You could see the car in the distance approach the hills, and suddenly drop out of sight. They were flying. They were almost out of sight when I saw something that made me literally yell out loud. Garbage flew from the driver side window, out into the incredibly beautiful woods, that makes the ride so amazingly picturesque. Garbage!!! Out the window!!! On purpose!!!

It took all of my will not to stop, and pull over, and get the trash. There is no shoulder, and where the garbage had been tossed, there was no road to pull off. My girls saw it at the same time. We were all shocked. I was actually so angry. And then, as the road leveled off, and curved, leading into a neigborhood, they turned left, and pulled right into a driveway, and parked, and got out. Not 1/4 of a mile away! They couldn't take their trash into the house with them???? They had to litter? Did they not care about the beautiful place that we call home? Where they really that callous?

It is breathtaking here. Winding roads, and creeks alongside of them. Fields, and mountains. A Main Street that makes me smile each time I drive through it. I felt like I had to scold the driver. Like I had to ask "why"? Maybe they needed to hear that someone saw what they did, and it isn't ok. I slowed the car down, and for a moment, thought about doing it. But my girls were in the car. And I just couldn't risk it.

But I saw it. And I know where they live. And pretty soon, I will be on Clearview alone. Maybe I will bring them their garbage that they tossed into such a beautiful place. I certainly will clean up their mess.

 But I will never understand how anyone feels it's ok to toss what they no longer need, cigarette butts, and all, out into what belongs to everybody.

It is selfishness at it's highest level.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


My girls were playing next door, at their best friends house, as they always do, on the swing set. They run to and fro from our house to hers. The girls even made a tree limb lined path, between our homes. I had to let go of my worry long ago, and let them play outside, as kids do, and pray quietly that they aren't abducted. I cannot live in fear, and lock them up, so they have this small freedom. Right now.

Their best friend was going to be sleeping over. The girls were beyond excited. They were squealing. Molly came home alone, and looked sad as she walked in the door. She had wet her big girl panties, rushing home on the path, to use her little frog potty. I comforted her, and got her into the tub. As this was happening, David went to the door, and called the girls in for the evening. It was close to 8:00.

Within minutes, the house was bustling with very happy, loud girls. Molly wanted her beloved bath time cut short, so she could join in the fun.

Literally, maybe 10 minutes after the girls were all indoors, I heard David scream from the kitchen, "Bear!!" We rushed to the front door to see. Molly started screaming out of fright. I scooped her up, and made it to the screen, in time to see a massive, male, black bear, right where the girls had just been playing. I mean right there!!!!!

My heart was in my throat. It lumbered around for a bit, and made it's way back of the driveway, and then, turned and ran back down it. It walked around the side of the house, and disappeared.

I still cannot get the image of Molly walking along the little path, back to our house, with wet underwear, all alone. I cringed all night thinking of the girls playing on the swing set, not moments before the bears arrival. Images kept flashing into my brain all night.

David even went so far as to google the amount of fatalities at the hands (or paws!) of black bears. He read to me over and over, how they do not just attack people.

But still. I can't stop looking out at them. And every stick breaking in the woods, has my attention.

I can't cut their freedom. I can't keep constant watch. I so wish their was another option.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sweet summer

Sweet summer memories come back to me this time of year, and smack me on the side of the head. Buried deep in the recesses of my brain, I am always startled when they come back, in a rush. So sudden, and the cue is so subtle.

I was walking with David and the girls, through the woods. Alongside the path we were on were wild strawberries, and raspberries. The strawberries reminded me of the tiny ones that grew in front of my house, growing up. I have a memory of my mom giving me a bowl, and telling me to go outside, and pick what I could, for breakfast. I even remember the pajamas I was wearing. Big blue flowers, with smocking on the top. A hand me down from my sister.

My Dad cut the strawberries up, and sprinkled sugar on them. I swear, they were the sweetest, most delicious thing I had tasted. Sugar was never sprinkled on anything in my house growing up, so this was a treat. One of those hot summer mornings, that my Dad was already in his bathing suit, and no shirt, as he drank his tea, and had his toast. Everything felt carefree. Safe.

As we rounded another path, there was a flowering bush, that literally took me back to 3rd grade. Honeysuckles. I showed Charlotte, who is interested in anything to do with flora and fauna. "Smell these", I told her. We leaned in, and breathed in the sweet honey fragrance. I tried to pull out the stamen, to get a taste of the nectar for my girls, but someone else had already gotten to them. I told the girls how when I walked to my bus at the end of the school year when I was a kid, there was a giant honeysuckle bush along the fence, and I would gather as many blossoms as I could, and eat them on the bus. David told them, that he too would feast on the flowers, as he played little league.

We sat around a camp fire last night and took turns talking about the things we loved. Cotton candy, music, swimming, Christmas, and family time were all mentioned. Summer was agreed upon by all of us. We stayed up later than usual, and gazed at the fire, and the stars, and I saw what hopefully will be a memory for my own children. Not a big fancy party. Not a toy that they had hoped for.

 Maybe they will remember our walk in the woods, and our yummy dinner barbecued by Dad, and the vicious game of Uno afterwards. The fire, and the feeling of carefree days.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeding time at the zoo

So far, summer vacation has been somewhat peaceful. I haven't had to raise my voice that much, and it hasn't yet reached the volume where it actually hurts my throat, so I feel, so far so good. I don't want to jinx it by saying this, and most likely, in a few weeks, I will definitely be writing something different here, but I feel my attitude this summer is one of calm, and tolerance.

 Maybe I should call it fight, or flight parenting. Or, the best defense is a good offense mothering. We just have to get through the next couple of months, all here together, still liking one another for the most part, and maybe throw in a few good childhood memories to boot.

The need for food is astonishing, however. It goes on all day. I have limited snacks to fruit, and in one day, an entire bag of peaches, and one bunch of bananas were devoured. Blueberries and blackberries don't stand a chance around here. If the girls even catch the scent of bread on the breeze, they come running. Any sort of plastic bag sounds rustling in the kitchen sends them into a fever pitch. They are like detectives. "What are you doing Mom?" "What was that sound?"

Our grocery bill is more costly this time of year. I don't like giving them macaroni and cheese for lunch, but sometimes, it is just more cost effective. I find myself purchasing more bread, and milk and juice this time of year. I literally clean up from breakfast, and they are begging for a snack. I get in more face offs with them, refusing to feed them another bite until the next meal, because I have a count on what we have, and I ration it out. I have to, or I will be at the store every day. It is getting ridiculous. I get that they are all growing girls, but it is really too much some days. Charlotte is the skinniest little thing you have ever laid eyes on. I honestly do not know where she puts it! I refuse to believe their cries of hunger when they have just eaten a turkey sandwich.

The numbers of kids who were on free lunch at our area schools this past year were at numbers never before seen. I know what a stretch it is for my own family having to feed the kids. We go without other things because the cost of food is so high. But what about all of those kids depending on free breakfast and lunch at school? What happens to them these long summer months?

I read about something amazing the other day. It is a summer program that the East Stroudsburg Area School District is running. This summer, beginning June 11, 2012, the J M Hill Elementary School will have both breakfast and lunch available to children up to and including age 18.

This program is open to anyone even if your child does not attend East Stroudsburg Area School District.

Both breakfast and lunch are offered Monday through Friday (except July 4th). Breakfast is served from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Lunch is served from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

There is no charge for either the breakfast or lunch meal. Go to for more information.
I have a feeling this amazing program is going to help a lot of families get through the long summer months, and maybe bring some calm to some overly stressed parents, who are struggling just to pay for groceries.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scenes from a weekend..

Caught them sitting and talking. It made me happy to see that they like each other. Mostly.

Strung up some Christmas lights I made David get, out of the basement. One simple change, literally transformed our deck into a wonderland.

               It was magical. And dinner was great. Thanks to someone, stress was lessened.
                                                                           So much.

                                                   And the vodka didn't hurt either.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Lesson of the Guy in a Hole

Some months ago, I was sent a book, titled Waiting for Change, written by Dr. Christina McCale. I began reading it, and so much of it resonated with me. Sadly...too much of it.

 The last few years have been extremely tough for my family. Some days, it has felt as if we are descending to a place that we will never be able to dig ourselves out of.

Being broke, and working harder than ever, takes it's toll on everything, and everybody. It wraps it's sticky little fingers around your life, and effects every one in your family. Stress becomes a way of life, and most days, it is hard, at least for me, to remember living any other way.

Her book is amazing. I am honored she wrote a piece, just for my little space here. Thank you Dr. McCale!

The Lesson of the Guy in a Hole
By Dr. Christina McCale, author of "Waiting for Change"
So often when people ask me about surviving as a long term unemployed person, or how to help their friends or family who are going through difficult times. I wish I had a great answer or a magic formula. But I don't. What I am reminded of is the story of the man who was in a hole.
There once was a guy who fell in a hole… a hole he couldn’t get out of on his own. People passed by, and despite his obvious need or cries for help, they ignored him.
Then an acquaintance passed by, and the man in the hole shouted up “hey man, remember me? Can you give me a hand? I can’t seem to get out.” The old acquaintance threw down a rope to his buddy and said “here you go, this should take care of it” and continued on his way.
Then the man’s pastor walked by, and the man in the hole shouted up “hey Reverend! I really need help here – could you help get me out?” The pastor wrote down a prayer, tossed it down to the man saying, “here you are my son, here’s a prayer for you to say – and I’ll think of you.”
Discouraged and bereft, a little while later the man in the hole saw an old friend. “Hey Joe,” he said, “I really need help. Can you tell me how to get out?” Joe jumped down in the hole with the man. The man said,“What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck down here!”
Joe calmly said, “Yeah – but I know the way out!”
Surviving the loss of your professional identity is nothing short of a crisis. It's a loss that can be experienced though the various stages of grief. And like other losses, each person will experience that loss and grieve for that loss differently and in their own time.
But what the parable of the man in the hole reminds me is that different people will react to us during our crisises in different ways. Some will just give us the "tools" (ie: hand us a book on how to write a resume) and, because they've given you a tool, they've done their part: you're now "equipped" to deal with your situation on your own.
Others won't know what to do. They'll empathize, but not really sure how to react, or what steps to take, and so in order to not upset us worse often keep an arm's length, tell us "they'll be thinking of us ofen," but that's about it.
Then there are others who dig in with us, get down in the trenches and help. They won't quit on us during our time of need, and perhaps more importantly they won't let us quit on ourselves.
There are all kinds of people in our universe of friends, acquaintances and relatives, each one equipped to deal with situations like this differently. When we're in the middle of a crisis, one of the most important things we have to figure out (some how when we're grappling with all of our emotions) is who can we turn to, and for what. They may all be good people, but some might be emotionally stretched thin dealing with their own calamities. So maybe all they can offer you is best wishes; to think of you often; to drop you an email or Facebook posting from time to time. It doesn't make them a bad friend: that's all they have to give right now.
Others may not realize the emotional turmoil you're going through - especially if they haven't ever experienced this themselves (Lucky them!). So they may not understand the feeling of lying awake at night wondering how much milk you have for tomorrow's breakfast... or if you have enough gas to get the kids to school and back. Those are details they've never lived through. So sharing your experience with them may be a learning moment for them; or, they may be too removed to be an emotional support -- but perhaps can serve in a different way...? I have friends who would be great proof readers for my resume, but have the emotional bandwidth of a pencil. But others can be quite plugged into my own emotions - and yet can barely spell their own names consistently. Accept the gifts of friendship in any way you can during this time, in whatever shape or color they come in.
Those rare, few souls who will dig in, get down in that hole with you... they're gems. And yes, a rare find. But they too can become burdened or weary if you rely on them "too" much. What is "too much?" No one knows. But know it can be there.
The old African proverb that "It takes a village to raise a child" can be related here: it's going to take all kinds of people in your life to get you through this horrible time. Each will bring a variety of talents or gifts to you. While it's hard to remain open after being so wounded and rejected, try to stay open and emotionally present to recognize and accept those treasures when they arrive.
Part memoir and part social commentary, the book Waiting for Change profiles the very personal realities of job loss during the Great Recession and the domino effect to one’s housing, sustenance, employment, children, and social support systems. The book takes the reader on a guided tour “behind the story” of all the statistics on the evening news to explore the new and evolving landscape of poverty in the richest country on Earth. Waiting for Change provides a mental “travelogue” that illuminates not just the immediate impacts of poverty, but the downstream repercussions, all in very personal, relatable and easy to read ways.
About the Author:
Prior to getting her doctorate in Marketing, Christina McCale worked for 17+ years in some of corporate America's biggest companies. For the last 10 years she has taught marketing and management instructional duties at the university level for the last 10 years, she has also been one of the key and has conducted research on how to best prepare our undergraduates for career entry. Today, she lives in Olympia, Washington with her son, daughter, and their two beloved greyhounds.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Stunning words by my friend Kendra over at Lily.

Forget I Said A Word

sometimes you can't undo the done

can't take your wishes back

refold the roses, rewind summer's sun

sometimes it's done

I wait to hear a late train's clash

crying along night's inky tracks

shadows blowing away at dawn

breaking my fingers undoing the done

got no words for this kind of sad

stumbling along in love alone awhile

street corners wake up with banging doors

smashing car horns

my heart all undone

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Over the winter, Charlotte came home from school with the usual daily piles of paperwork. One page was a contest that I tossed aside, and only later, when Charlotte asked where it was, did I read what it actually was.

It was a contest, for an all inclusive playground, to be built here,  in Monroe County. The contest was being run by Crossing Abilities. It is their mission to build a playground that all children, regardless of being able bodied, or disabled, would be able to enjoy. The contest was asking for kids, in different age groups, to design a playground that fit the description.

Charlotte was interested in drawing something, and already was chattering away about a carnival theme, and how wheelchairs could double as roller coaster cars, and seats on a merry go round. I love that she is so creative. Any chance any of us get as parents, to encourage that is always great. But, as I read further, the prize for the winner was season tickets to Camelbeach. Whoa!

I took the girls to Camelbeach last summer. We went with my friend, who had season passes, and let us use her guest passes, so the day was free for us. My girls had a blast. Watching them race around the place from ride to slide with their friend, made me happy. Because let's face it, when our kids are happy, so are we.

When we left Camelbeach that day, they wanted to know when we would be returning. I thought to myself...not for a while. To take them, and pay for myself, is just too big of an expense. Maybe next summer we could go again. Maybe, I thought. It was a year away, and I put it out of my mind.

Charlotte drew up her playground plan, and really, I thought it was adorable. She had so many ideas for a tactile walkway for blind people, with music playing, and a snack area. She settled on drawing the carnival plan, and in her giant 6 year old writing, described what kids with disabilities, could do. We sealed it up in an envelope, and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if she won the passes. Selfishly, I wanted her to. But after I dropped it in the mailbox, I forgot all about it.

Until May. I received an e-mail, and it informed me that she was a runner up, and Camelbeach was awarding her two day passes. Holy cow!!! Two passes! I couldn't wait to tell her. When I finally did, the glowing look of pride, and happiness was contagious. She was thrilled. Beyond thrilled. She was so excited that she had won something. She didn't believe me for the first few minutes. And really, if the prize had been a certificate, that would have been enough.

So, this summer, thanks to Camelbeach, and Crossing Abilities, we will get that day at the water park. But what really amazed me, was at the award ceremony, the kids designs were mind blowing. One little guy made a whole Lego model. Another had a Sherwood Forest theme. And still another had an entire area where disabled kids could pull their wheel chairs up and play "drive in".

I am thankful that my kids have able bodies, and minds. And some days, I take that for granted.

Check out, and

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


He took the laundry out of the dryer, and put his only pair of jeans into it, wet from the washing machine, along with whatever else was in there, and threw the gigantic pile of freshly dried clothes onto the couch, slammed the dryer closed, and went to bed.

It is the ultimate middle finger to me. Because I have to fold it. And I have to unload the dishes, and reload the dirty ones, and scrub the pots, and prepare three square meals a day, and clean up after each of them, and tend to the disgusting bathroom, and scrub our one and only tub, and our toilet, and scrape toothpaste chunks off of the porcelain, and once again, do the laundry, and clean the floors, and run the errands. All of it. All the time.

And when I sat here, tonight at the table, and peeled a dead piece of callous off the bottom of my foot, and he looked at me in disgust, and said, "Where did that piece of skin go?" Why the fuck do you care? I will be the one to vacuum it up tomorrow.

 Me. Not you.

I used to get weekly manicures and pedicures. I never had callouses.


Bad dream

So....dinner was served last night, thanks to Olivia's piggy bank. I felt awful doing it, but what choice did I have?

I went to bed feeling worried and stressed, and I wound up having an awful night's sleep. I am worrying about everything.

I had a dream about Molly. She was a baby. So little. She fell into the deep end of a pool. I watched her go under, and disappear. I dove in, and got her, and brought her to the surface, and she was OK. But I snapped out of my sleep, and my heart was beating so fast, I felt the bed moving from it.

I reached over, and David wasn't there. He was on the couch. He must have gotten up shortly after we went to bed. It made me feel alone. The house was so still. I lay there, feeling my heart beating, and when I turned on my side, my ear pressed into the pillow, and I could hear my blood rushing with each beat.

Today I didn't want to get out of bed. I felt drugged. I just couldn't open my eyes. It seems so much easier to sleep.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Today, we have no money. None. Literally nothing.

 Thankfully, I got a cleaning job yesterday, but they paid me with a check. I have to wait until the money clears. So today, we have nothing. I have nothing for dinner, and we are on our last roll of toilet paper.

I can't wait for this day to be done. I just want to go to bed. My head is pounding, and I can't stop cracking my jaw.

Not feeling the love from the universe today. Oh..and it's the last day of school, a Monday, and it's raining.