See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday was

This is probably one of the hardest posts that I will write. Recently, on facebook the question came up about the amount of impoverished children we have in this country and the inability of the government to supply all the needy. The answer is that the government should not have had to care for the poor and needy in the first place as it was said that the responsibility was to the Church. There is no debate there. The early Christian people shared what they had and even in the early days of let's say the "Village" in the late 1800's people used very little money and relied on the swapping method. The bartering system worked pretty well as everyone worked at something "useful" that added to everyone's life. No waste, no junk. Giving was also measured in your time, as well as talent. Black Friday was just that, Blackened by the violence of the must have generation. Because, things are necessary to celebrate Christmas in order to be happy. The sad part is that the poor are subjected to this in order to fulfill the desire of their children, in the name of Love.

Capitolism, who understands it? Buying because everyone has one, or it's on sale. Rather than can we afford it or do we really need to have it. People have nothing, yet they are buying because it's Black Friday, getting them deeper into the red. What is really the value of most of the junk that's being sold, "in order to keep people working?" All we can think about is the economy....What of the poor, we have always had them with us.

Some are really unaware of the plight of the poor....out of sight, out of mind. So, is it the church's responsibility to care for the many poor? How do empty churches do that?

So, where do you go when there is no where to go and your poor? Maybe you can find a shelter somewhere, and perhaps (one) meal a month or two, if you can get there.

There are no easy solutions to the mess that has been created, and that has been coming upon us for many years. Material goods are created cheaper and therefore, need replacement at a higher cost, purposefully. (It's good business practice). Having to constantly keep up with the demand of buying and maintaining a car, (is one example), especially in parts of the country which alternative modes of transportation are not available, can drain any budget. Don't get sick, or need dental care, your screwed. And, don't grow old, who can afford those bills. Did you see how much it costs to bury someone today? If you own a home, taxation will kill you as water bills and heating bills are on the rise. Try not to concern yourself, it's afterall the Christmas season, where you are advised to shop 'till you drop.

How can some worry about pepper spray, shopping on Black Friday, and overwhelming debt when everyday they must be confronted by "how will we survive the winter"? Just paying the doctor bills and prescriptions and putting food on the table may be all some can handle.

The blame game goes on. The reality is that some have "no problem" making it the Christmas Season presented to us on television, with all the beads and glamour, and oh yes, they are making their charity contribution, while the rest do the best they can with the season of giving.

How can you give when you have nothing yourself. Will you put yourself deeper in debt, as you are told to by so many "must have commercials," designed to "move you." I have personally spoken to many who actually "hate this time of the year," because of it's expectations, finding themselves deep in depression, again.

I recall seeing at the "Village" a small hand-cut tree, which I call the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It had a square box filled with dirt and small handmade decorations, which at that time, would contain a small amount of candy, or small handmade toys, or mittens. Scarves and hats were also knitted as well as warm socks. Christmas was a shared event with family and friends but not to the extent that it is today. What has happened!

We must stop and take an assessment of what we are doing, before it is too late. Is Christmas now just for the rich? What is Christmas? Is it a commercial Christmas that we are celebrating? We are on the road to Christmas right now. Just where is it taking us?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Steps

Yesterday, as I walked with my 14-month-old grandson, I realized that my steps were not much bigger than his. And, as he reached up to hold my hand, being as short as I am, the reach was not overwhelming. That meant that we could walk long distances without discomfort. Many times I would pick him up and carry him. He's around twenty pounds, I guess, and that's pretty light for grandma.

He had many times been pushed around in his carriage, and "carriage rides" are still on the list one of his favorite things, as he is able to explore new things visually, while still being contained, that is usually the preferred vehicle.

Yesterday, the freedom of having no carriage, enabled him to run up and down ramps. This brought back many memories of my two sons, who did the same at that age, as well as my other older grandson and nephew. They all love to hear the sound of their footsteps against the wood and the graded upcline gives them a chance to practice walking, other than flat surfaces. Not only different sounds are "fun" but textures like grass, stones and natural dirt paths, are awesome to explore.

Seeing his shadow was also grand and I don't have to say, that one the highlights of our morning walk, was shuffling through the fallen, dried leaves, which I still love to do.

It didn't surprise me one bit that he ventured to climb the little ladder that led to the horse-drawn cart, which other children were enjoying in the playground area. Of course, we sat on the bench, just giggling, from time to time, as he indicated by pointing to my purse, that he wanted the usual snack. He is such a happy little guy and is delightful to be with always.

We never have a conversation, as he has not yet learned to speak, but the love and joy in his eyes are "ever present". It reminded me of when I was a little girl going for walks with my dad, who's only words were, "can you walk a little faster? Take bigger steps." Our evenings walks were one of my greatest treats. He would predict the weather by noticing a starlit or starless sky. My dad was a very handsome man and the love of my life, then.

I don't mind "small steps" as it gets you where you want to go. We didn't miss a thing. Maybe people should learn to slow down a bit, in haste they miss so much. In life afterall, it is the little
things that count, all the little endless steps and gestures, especially with someone you love.

In those little steps are found the joys in life, that if missed, you may never have a second opportunity to retrieve. I've decided that in all "little steps and little actions" that you actually capture all "the precious things" that in preoccupation and haste, do not allow you to see. It's something like reading to fast and not really comprehending the meaning. Or, taking the fast route somewhere and missing all the beauty that you would see otherwise.

I call all these moments, "the Kodak moments of my life" which are all captured and stored in the valt of my heart, for all time. I know we all have those moments which are both precious and eternal. Life was not meant to be lived in the "fast lane," hold firmly to those little, valuable and seemily time -wasting steps, as they are the foundations to where you want to go in life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When it rains it pours

Today, my thoughts and prayers are with my cousins who lost their mother yesterday, unexpectedly. We never want to think that death is at our door even when we reach the tender age of ninty-something.

In the early hours I was reading the tones from the memorial service, which reads in part, but to your servants, O Lord, with the righteous grant rest. Jeanette was a servant, wife and mother of four. She worked hard all her life, and when her husband passed on, she was especially devoted to her church, administering communion and attending daily mass.

My own mother-in-law will be making a huge transition in her life, and it will be a bit unexpected. At ninety-one the time has come for her to make this adjustment. I often wonder how many realize how fast time goes and how in a split moment your life and those around you can change.

We are all so wrapped in things, and places we must go that we are unaware of the actual scope of things until it hits us in the face. It will be emotional in both cases. Today, tell those that you love, that you love them. The right time is always, now....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living on the Grid

Today, I went outside after visiting a family member who is in a local hospital, to remove a good size branch and drag it into the woods behind our home. My husband took care of all but this one, which required cutting. We have not seen this kind of destruction in all the years that we've lived here.

Just a taste of winter fell in our area, prior to the big one on Saturday. Enough of a storm to require my shoveling and ice scraping of the front stairs and inclining walkway. I recall saying that our house was the only one that still had snow, while others, if they had any at all, had already dissapated, and having cleared up, turned into what appeared to be a very nice fall day. The news was that we were expecting more and this time it was predicted that some would get up to two feet of snow. It was almost laughable to hear for the month of October, pre-halloween for that matter, no such turkey.

Living in New England, you do not take anything for granted. We prepared for it. I made a large batch of beef kielbasa with cabbage and vegtables, boiled eggs and made sure we had roast beef and chicken in the house along with bread and water. But, no coffee or tea in the morning. Everything else would be consumed cold, should we run out of electricity. From all reports, they said we would.

Five thirty that evening, I looked out the window to see many of my trees hitting the ground, and with the wind blowing those heavy snow consumed branches, and power lines, I knew it was just a matter of time before we lost power. Sure enough, even as I was thinking it, it happened and we were in the dark. Vesper service which is usually at 6P.M., had already been cancelled. My car was safely parked in the garage, and after my husband's visit to his mother's, we were home for the night. (A long and cold one at that.) I lit the candle in the candle stand in front of the Icon of the Theotokos and turned the radio on, listening to a sports broadcast, we waited for some news. There was news alright, news of outages in our state, and Connecticut and Rhode Island. In writing this, there are still people that do not have their electricity back.

Having no power, means no heat, no refrigeration, no internet, no light, no nothing. Normally, most can stand this type of torment for a few hours or so, but this was way beyond what should have been a standard repair. Schools in Charlton and Sturbridge are still out in this area. That means no day care, as their is no power. No doctor's appointments, and for some, no work as their shops, stores or companies were closed. This is the first time I saw cars lined up at fast food shops with an hour wait for coffee, breakfast or any type of food stuff they could get their hands on. Gasoline stations were the same, as people were running out of fuel for their generators. Some had cords running from neighbors homes, hooked up in order to salvage food in their refrigerators. (I can tell you right now, I never want an all electric car.)

The Red Cross had to set-up shelters in area towns to accommodate cold and hungry people. Luckily, we got our power back the very next day, along with telephone, cable and internet. Many came by for a bite to eat, take a shower, use the computer, and do laundry.

As I sat in the near dark, I thought that years prior, people didn't have indoor plumbing, so they didn't have to concern themselves with plumbing problems, water damage from pipes bursting. They put out their fires every night and oil lamps, jumped into feathered beds to keep warm, and it was business as usual the next day.There were no lines, and the meal was from whatever they grew or bought. They had eggs, milk and food.

The headline of our local paper indicated that there were power lines down on every street. It wasn't like you could go out in the storm, nor after for that matter, as electrical lines were not always visible.

It's been long and winter as we know it, is not here yet. As I lay in the cold dark, I wondered how long my cell phone batteries would last, and if they could not be recharged, how would we reach anyone in an emergcncy? Why do we stay? What is ahead, afterall, we have had this wicked preHalloween storm, a tornado, earthquake, hurricane and all of that since June 1. There is nowhere to go.

We've come a long way baby, and there is no going back. For one thing, there would not be enough wood to burn for generations to come, and no body is going to give up all the modern conveniences to return to the outhouse, horse and buggy. Just what would we do with all the cars?

We will continue to live on the grid. Are the alternatives just too difficult? The way people survived in the past, is far fetched and unrealistic for our now "modern world". So.....where do we go from here, with another winter season fast approaching? What is the cost of living off of the grid to your health and possibly your life and your family, especially the elderly and youngsters, should these storms continue to plague this area? The past few years have shown us that there is reason for concern ahead. These are just some of the questions that you ask yourself, when it is dark, cold and your alone in an all-electric home in an all electric world, besides--where are the flashlights and batteries? And, I hope the snowblower works...