Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Continued Journey...

I began a quest a short time ago to seek, and hopefully find, covered bridges close to home here in New Hampshire.  I posted one a while back, and visited just one more after that until today.  What was funny about today was that my initial plan had little to do with covered bridges, my newest love...  I REALLY wanted to go apple picking!!  My girls, however were not having it.  So I bargained.  I bribed.  I insisted finally, in the end, that they let ME have a voice for a change and go where I wanted to go!  Okay, so the bribe was convincing enough... but we still didn't go apple picking. 

I took them over the river into Vermont.  I took them to a fancy restaurant and a little shopping along the quaint, small town roads.  Then my turn finally came,  quite unexpectedly. 

I was pulled into a welcoming gift shop, and I lingered around the calendar section while the girls picked out candy and gum.  A Vermont COVERED BRIDGES calendar caught my eye.  I flipped through the pages, admiring all the beautiful, scenic bridges until... WAIT!  There's one here in this town?  OH JOY!  I knew there was a cast iron bridge down the road, made famous by the movie "A Ghost Story", which was filmed in that town back in the 80's, but a covered bridge?  Had I simply forgotten?  At any rate, I eagerly approached the nice lady at the counter who had been engaging my children in a conversation about Mailee's broken arm and asked her about the covered bridge.  She smiled and gave me directions as far as, well, right down the road because there it was for Pete's sake!  But here's the real biggie:  THERE ARE THREE MORE WITHIN 5 MINUTES OF US?!  Sweet rapture...

Okay, so it's not as exciting as all that... but geesh.  I needed a pick me up.  So off we went, my girls and I, on a journey that lasted most of the afternoon.  I will share a few of my personal favorites on this page, but also include photos from throughout the day in the picture box up top.

Hope you are all having a warm and peaceful weekend, and that moments will touch your heart as the beauty of my day touched mine... 


Side view of above bridge... a scenic spot found by accident on the ride home!

The following is from my second trip into Meriden, NH a couple weeks ago:

So, those are my newest bridge encounters!  There are many more "scenic" photos up top there...   Please forgive my lack of professionalism in the technical aspects.  This is truly for my own pleasure!  THANKS!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Two Words..

Time to lighten up a bit and post a little survey.  (snagged from Queeniemart, as well as a few others!  ;o) )  

Two Words: 

1.yourself:  passionate, spiritual

2. your husband:  provider, chef

3. your hair:  peachy, soft

4. your mother:  loving, emotional

5. your father:  strong, outdoorsman

6. your favorite item:  CDs, computer

7. your dream last night:  sensual, musical

8. your favorite drink:  Iced tea

9. your car:  dependable, pretty

10. the room you are in:  homey, quiet

11. your ex boyfriend/girlfriend:  quietly remembering

12. your fear:  bats, loss

13. where you want to be in 10 years:  happily living

14. what you're not:  self centered

15. your best friends:  always treasured

16. one of your wish list items:  a ticket

17. the last thing you did:  kissed goodnight

18. what are you wearing:  jeans, tshirt

19. your favorite weather:  warm, breezy

20.your favorite zoo animals?  Tigers, bears

21. your thought for the day?  breathe deep

22. your favorite book:  anything Picoult

23. last thing you ate:  BBQ Chicken

24. your life:  a gift

25. your mood:  happy, peaceful

26. your body:  changing, soft

27. what are you thinking about right now:  friends, family

28. your crush: ......

29. what are you doing at the moment: ....Smiling, thinking

30. your summer schedule:  spontaneous, free 


                        Have a wonderful weekend!!!!!!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Where I Was...

"Where were you when the world stopped turning ~ that September day?"

I wasn't planning to do this today. I wrote my tribute over the weekend for Mr. Raja, and while I remember it all in my heart, I didn't think blogging about it was for me. Sometimes things happen throughout the day that just changes the way one thinks.

For one, I hadn't planned to be here at home today. I went to work as usual... and I remember telling my oldest daughter last night that there was to be a moment of silence today followed by the sounding of sirens by the fire department at the moment of the World Trade Center collapse. I also remember wondering if there would be any sort of "moment" at school, but assuming there wouldn't be, as all the kids who were at our school at the time have since moved on, and these little ones surely have very little remembrance or understanding... as it should be, at such a young age.

There was no such silent moment. Our classroom was a bit frenzied today, and the time came and went in my head and in my heart. I had missed the moment that I had so wanted to take, the time to stop and remember. Even though it was appropriate for the sake of the young children, I felt very sad.

So right before lunch I got a call to pick up my oldest daughter from school and bring her home, as she was not feeling well and was running a slight fever. She fell into the couch to watch a movie, and here I sat. Still without any intentions of writing about 9/11.

And then I found journals editor Joe's entry with a link to the CNN website story. I clicked on America Remembers.... The most incredibly beautiful, music began to play... that's all. I sat silent, hand pressed to my lips, staring at the screen, completely taken hold of by this haunting yet beautiful music... my throat tightened, and I was simply moved to tears.

Journal time...

SO... where was I that day?

It was the first day of preschool. My first day working at a new school. My own daughter's school, as well as the school I attended as a child. At the time, I was working in the morning preschool class as well as the afternoon kindergarten. I was a one on one aide for a little girl who was in a wheelchair and could not speak. It was the beginning of a new career for me. A new passion. And I was very excited about it.

As the morning continued, our class went about setting up a routine, but it was pretty busy. We had a birthday to celebrate. Brenna was turning four. Her dad, who worked at the Pentagon, had taken the morning off from work to stop in and give her a birthday kiss and well wishes. Looking back, I always wonder about the fact that he took that morning off, and if that twist of fate had indeed spared his life...

I was in the hallway outside my classroom, for whatever reason I can't recall, when a third grade teacher/family friend walked over to me and leaned on the wall infront of me as if she had a secret...

"Have you heard?" She asked me.

I looked at her, wrinkling up my eyes, not knowing what she was getting at, but figuring it was something big. I had no idea how big.

"The World Trade Center has been stuck by an airplane."


I had no idea what she meant. I was thinking a plane had run off course, or the pilot had suffered a heart attack or something. I didn't understand, and terrorism was not on the forefront of my mind. I just remember telling her how terrible it was, and then returning to my class, still a bit perplexed. As the students were leaving, I noticed a nervousness in the parents... a sort of hidden panic. I felt my heart beating through my chest. Something entirely different was going on. And it was bad.

The children went about leaving and more teachers came out into the hall... the older kids were at recess. Out came the t.v. and I watched as teachers quietly stood around it, watching in apparent shock, and hesitantly, I made my way over there.

The hell that displayed itself on that screen will forever be implanted in my heart. All of a sudden I realized, and yet at the same time continued to not understand. I recall everyone just standing there with their shocked expressions, looking at each other. Whispering, "Oh, my God..." I couldn't wait to get my girls and go home.

Home never felt so good, and yet how could one feel safe? My little girls, 7 and 4 at the time, knew something bad had happened. I did explain it, in simple terms... that airplanes had indeed crashed into buildings as well as into a field, and that some very bad people were responsible for it happening. Mailee was SO little, and so confused, but I knew that she would be hearing about it at school and through friends and wanted to be the one to give her the right information the best way I possibly knew how. I recall just a couple days later how she went to bed crying because she was afraid. We live near an airport and have planes fly overhead every day. She was afraid that one would crash into our home or that of her friend down the road. It was so hard to say it would never happen, when I so quickly had learned that ANYTHING can happen. I'll always have that in the back of my heart due to the events of 9/11. Our country should remember that as well. It CAN happen again. We can pray that it doesn't. We can pray for the families of those who lost their lives that horrible day. We can pray for peace. And if you don't pray, hope with all your might.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love..."

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" Alan Jackson

Never Forget...




Saturday, September 9, 2006

A Bit of Catching Up...

Other than last night's entry, I haven't posted in a while... I've been writing, just keeping it a little closer to home, finding comfort in the ole' pen and paper.  I'd like to share a bit of what's been happening in my life though, as some of you have been wondering where I've been ~ Thank you for the emails ladies...   


Okay, so first of all I want to tell you about my daughter's little accident on her scooter.  Okay, so it wasn't very little at all... as a matter of fact it was downright awful!  She broke her sweet little arm!!  She'll be alright, of course, and it could've been much worse, but her little girl arm in a long cast... oh my goodness.

Here, let me show you:     :o(

She's handling it quite well, but of course is discouraged about starting school and being unable to participate in Phys. Ed. or play the way she usually does with her friends at recess.  She was looking forward to playing field hockey for the first time as well.  Her big sis has been teaching her, and it's been a nice experience for them to share an interest in something and actually get along while in the same breathing space!  (this is a bit of an exaggeration... they've been doing quite well together lately)  I, of course, have been going through the usual motherly guilt stuff... you know, feeling responsible just for buying the dang scooter in the first place.  I'm just so thankful that she was right outside the door when it happened so that I could be right there for her. 

In other news...  school for ME is going very well.  I am so pleased with how things have begun in our classroom.  The teacher I work with treats me as a complete equal, always making sure that she adds my name to every sentence that her name is in.  I'm enjoying working with her and sharing the class and the kids... they are all adorable.  Even the little blondie that pushes my buttons all day.  I could just pick him up and squeeze him!  Yeah, will see how long THAT lasts!  <smiling>

Amanda is finding the work load of seventh grade to be overwhelming... 3-4 hours of homework every night.  One thing I can be happy about is that the TV hasn't been on for a week!  She has been handling it alright, going through some tough moments and then willing herself to let go, take time to breathe, and go back to it.  She's very discouraged and fears she will have to quit field hockey... I have fears, too... playtime is officially over!

But we will make it through it all.  I've been through it myself, ya know.  If any of you who have gone through the whole "teenage drama" with your own children, survived to tell about it, and would like to give me a tip or two 


I just know how I was.  It wasn't pretty.

What a beautiful weekend... I was out enjoying the warm sun and soft breeze earlier.  Think it's time to finish up my chores and get myself back out there.  There surely will be fewer and fewer days like this as fall draws closer.  Leaves are coloring, nights are cooling, and I find I am looking forward to the upcoming holidays and even the first scent of snow...  Yeah.  I said snow. 

So those are the events of the past week or so.  Hope everyone has a happy weekend!



Friday, September 8, 2006

Remembering Ehtesham U. Raja


                                                              Ehtesham U. Raja


For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to seek, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace…    

Ecclesiastes 3:4


Ehtesham U. Raja loved a good time…

One thing that stood out in my mind while searching for a glimpse into the life of Mr. Raja was that he loved to sing ~ especially in the shower...

Mr.Raja was a Muslim, orginally from Lahore, Pakistan.  He had been living in Bloomfield, NJ where he worked for TCG Software. 

He loved Hindi movies and was especially fond of Hindi movie star Amitabh Bachan.

Although Mr. Raja was a Muslim, he deeply disapproved of Fundamentalism, believing that religion was a more personal and spiritual journey.

He followed his heart, and while in the states he met Christina ~ the love of his life.  While Mr. Raja was well known for "partying the night away", he had plans of settling down and marrying her.

His prized possession was his $70,000 BMW!

The weekend before he was to attend a conference at the World Trade Center, Mr. Raja and his best friend had their last "guys night out", painting the town till a new dawn emerged.  His friend holds on to this memory and countless others.  He remembers a fun loving man who cared for many and was cared FOR by many. 

There is so much more to Mr. Raja's life that I could share, right down to the very moment the first plane struck and the moments following.  I have chosen to keep those details private.  When I first decided to take part in this tribute, I really felt ill equipped to take on such an entry... How could I possibly write a deserving tribute to a man I never knew?  I understand now.  I have come to know Mr. Raja through writings of other's... family, friends, his former employers... I hope the "good" memories will always over shadow the bad.  Through the blessing of this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of this tragedy, I pray their memories will live on for always.

And I pray for peace....