Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's been far too long since I've visited these pages. Oh, I know I always grumble about not having enough time, or having too many other things on my plate. But since when did writing become a chore, rather than a pleasure? I may not have a whole lot to say or to share, but I've almost forgotten how to simply write for myself. I miss allowing myself that freedom. That expressive outlet. But where did it go? And why? No one took it from me. In fact, some have expressed concern about why I haven't been writing, and how things have been going in my life since my last entry. I had a blog-scare a few weeks ago, when someone emailed me to say Reflections had disappeared! Oh, how I scrambled to find my beloved pages and thankfully, here it sat ~ unscathed but nearly yellowed with age and painful neglect.

Okay, so that may be a slight exaggeration, but still...

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and the girls and I will be spending it with mom and dad. It's always a quiet and peaceful time for us. Especially now that the girls are older. Dad will be out hunting in the morning, and mom will have done all the prepping by the time we arrive. I'm bringing the dinner rolls and cranberry sauce, but mom takes pride in preparing elaborate holiday dinners, just like her mom, my nana, always did. I know better now, than to ask if I can help. I usually get asked to set the table....

So there are many things I'm thankful for, and I mentioned "blessings" in my sister journal, More Than Words. I thought I'd list a few of them here, in case I find myself forgetting in another day or two.

I'm thankful to God, for His love and guidance. For my beautiful daughters and for the joy they bring to my life. I am thankful they are healthy and happy and both doing well in school. I'm thankful for their father, who gives them more of what they WANT than I ever could, but also for his support for the things they need as well.

I'm thankful for my parents and for the strength they inspire me to find when the going gets tough. I'm thankful for their support in all I do, and for their patience as they watch their daughter continue to struggle to find her way in life, and in love.

I'm thankful for my beloved grandfather, my gramps. Who strives to make every single day count for something, no matter how difficult that day may be. I may not take the time to tell you as often as I should, but I love you.

I'm thankful for my friends. For those who are near ~ who care so much about me that I never have to worry about where to turn in times of need. And for those not so near in miles, but are as close as those I see each and every day ~ and sometimes closer.

I am thankful for the beauty of the earth and all it's creatures. For the gifts that the sky itself brings each and every day and night. For the warmth of the sun and for newly fallen snow. For the scenes and scents of every season, and for the peace that each one brings.

And I am thankful, for YOU.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I haven't much time, but wanted to update you all on my good fortune.

The ultrasound went very well.  I have a cluster of cysts which, on the screen, looked mammoth in size.  But they are all fluid filled and pretty harmless.  Unless they become uncomfortable for me (and at times, they HAVE been ~ just not enough to be overly concerned) we will simply keep watch of them and leave them be otherwise. 

I finally told the girls about what was going on.  I'd kept it to myself mostly, telling only a few close friends and family members and then, of course, sharing it here with all of you.  I decided it was good for them to know, and although they weren't all that appreciative for the unsolicited advice about getting to know their own bodies, they were relieved to know it had turned out to be nothing.  And I was thankful they did not hold it against me for not telling them sooner. 

Thank you all, for prayers, good thoughts and encouraging words.  I am truly blessed.



Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm not a "look at me" kind of person.  I share about myself because I want YOU to share about you, and to me, friendship is about just that:  sharing of life.  When someone I care about is relaying information or sharing an experience, I'm not the sort of person that will say, "Yeah, but listen to what happened to ME today...".  Instead, I might say something like, "I understand from a certain stand point, because I've been through something similar..." and so on and so on.  Not because I think I understand what someone else is going through, because we're all different ~ but because i like to find as many ways to relate with someone as possible. 

I've had a lot of support lately, from women that are somewhat close to me who have been where I am right now ~ wondering (when allowing the mind to go there), worrying, scheduling, waiting....  It's nice, really.  When we're uncertain about something, we seek to understand better in some way.  When I was going through the Bell's Palsy I did that.  I sought others who could share with me their own experience.  I researched the disorder on all sorts of sites.  I found YouTube videos that those suffering through it had made as a way of reaching out and I appreciated their courage and willingness to putting the ugliness of BP aside, to help others. 

I don't know why this is so hard for me to talk about.  I do want to write about it, explore my feelings and my fears, as well as examine what is more likely and most probable.  And yet, I hesitate.  I worry, that others will think I am overreacting, or looking for attention, or revealing too much.  I also don't wish to worry or upset anyone, especially those closest to me (who understand my good intentions), by having my thoughts and fears wash over onto them. 


I have a private journal (group) that I am part of, but I've never written in it.  I've tried to be a support, to those who DO choose to write.  But for some reason, I want all my words to be here.  So what, if I eat them someday? 

I don't even know for sure when it was that I felt the lump.  I just know that moments before I was to have my yearly exam in early August, I thought it might be worth mentioning. 

She told me not to tell her where, and when she did the exam, she found it on her own (which she later denied, after not having passed along the appropriate information to the hospital and being questioned).  Afterwards, she drew a small diagram on a piece of paper, showing where it was by darkening the area in pen (a new drawing, without the marking, was later placed in my file, making it look as though nothing was there).  She said that it didn't immediately alarm her, but that she would like me to have a mammogram to "keep a watch of it" and rule anything out.  So, before leaving, an appointment was made for the following Thursday. 

Even though no information was passed on as it should have been, the woman performing the mammogram asked to feel my lump ~ which she did (thank God, otherwise I would have felt like a complete ass), mark it and take the appropriate number of slides which is about twice the norm for a routine mammo (which is what I was told, since this was my first one).

I was called back and asked to come in for an ultrasound (which is not uncommon for a lump) on Monday and then the following day will see a surgeon to go over the results and decide what if any action to take.  I was told that I would not leave the day of the ultrasound with any questions left unanswered. 

Okay, so part of me is completely freaking out, when I allow my thoughts to go there....  Which is NOT often, and probably why writing about it is a little difficult.  The unimaginable, put in black and white ~ and I can't even force myself to write any further in that direction.

BUT, the better, smarter part of me says it's nothing.  I have no breast cancer in my family history.  I am not high risk. I feel good, physically, for the most part.  It's the sort of lump that says "cyst" (yes, my lump talks to me..... lol). 

So this is on my mind some lately ~ though not overwhelmingly so.  I will know more by Monday afternoon and I look forward to writing again and telling you how silly I was with all my fears and anxieties.  Even while I am feeling quite positive that it's all good anyway....



P.S.  The Bell's has improved.  I now only deal with a long term affect called Synkinesis , which is when the nerves of the eye and mouth are crossed.  Meaning, when I move my mouth or tighten it in any way, my eye closes.  Cool, huh?








Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The changing of a season always brings about a certain degree of thoughtfulness and reflection for me.  I am not always comfortable with change, because it often means that something must inevitably end in order for something to begin anew. 

But there are times, when change is a blessing.  And I'm also learning, that there ARE those rare occasions when something doesn't necessarily have to end, but instead, develops into something even more meaningful than we had anticipated or even dared hope.

The summer months brought many challenges.  But with the help of family and friends, I have faced those challenges head on and seen what the strength of love can do.  I have many to thank, and some of you are at the top of that list and hopefully, know who you are. 

The weather in NH has been absolutely perfect for days upon days.  A new school year has begun, and I adore my class and look forward to all that lies ahead in the next few months.  My daughters have begun their own school year with a great amount of enthusiasm, and that my oldest is now a freshman in high school simply blows my mind.  I am surrounded by people who love me and care for me and want the best for me.  What a feeling.....

But, there is something, that I've been struggling over whether or not to share for a while now.  I have been writing in this journal for over three years, and have shared many ups and downs and found strength and kindness and understanding in the hearts of many.  There are times, though, when I do settle into a quieter world.  I hate the thought of someone judging me, for what I write or choose to share ~ but then, this is my journal, and I've always been driven to write for and about myself, with the hope that others might also relate, and I have found this to be the case on more than one occasion.  Most of the time, I wear my heart on my sleeve, only to whip it away from public view without a second to spare for reasons I cannot quite explain. 

I love to write.  It's no secret.  It's therapeutic and helpful (to me) on many levels and for many different reasons, depending on the situation. 

And so here I go, beating around the bush again....

I am facing a bit of fear. 

A woman knows.  When something isn't right...  Whether bodily or mentally, that basic human instinct kicks right the heck in.  While I cannot say for sure, if it is something serious or not, I will confide in you all that my heart tells me it isn't.  But I am not hesitating in the least, to make sure that what needs to be done is DONE ~ and done right.  It's hard to wait.  It's hard not really "knowing". 

I want to write about this because like I said, it's my journal and this is something that I am going through right now and would like to have some place of reference to look back on later, just as I do with my older entries that revolve around the other events that have molded and continue to shape my life. 

I will have to elaborate further, in a future entry, because my time online is limited these days, and I have to scurry on out the door in a few minutes.  But what I want to say, more than anything else right now, is how happy I've become and how much more I appreciate things lately.  Let me also say, that as this point, NOTHING IS WRONG, and it's simply waiting for the confirmation day to come. 

I made my journal private, for a time, and some of you noticed and responded with concern, and for that I am truly grateful.  For those of you who quietly respected my decision and kept me in your thoughts, I am as equally indebted.  It's good to be back.  My heart is in these pages.  There is no need to hide from anyone ~ especially myself.  Thank you, friends.

And Love knows no boundaries.

Welcome, gentle autumn.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Open Up and Say, "Ahhhh...."

There simply aren't words to express my appreciation and gratitude for the many gifts in my life.  Gifts which include friends both near and far, who are there for me and offer words of support and a shoulder to lean (or cry) on when times are (or seem) tough.  I know that my previous post gave at least one or two of you reason to question our closeness and/or your place in my heart, and for that I deeply apologize.  It was never my intention to place blame or hurt on anyone, but to simply share a moment of disorderly thinking and internal suffocation that I happened to have awakened upon without warning.

I value each and every person who has touched and continues to touch my life, as well as savor the memories of those who have come and gone.  While I never wish anyone to feel as if they are alone in the world even for a moment, it was also somewhat calming to read comments that were left by those who could relate to how I was feeling in some way.  Yes, we all have those days, when we have to carry ourselves through with a smile ~ no matter how we may be feeling on the inside.  Let's face it, we all feel just a little empty sometimes.  Even when we know ~ if we really take a moment and think ~ that each and every one of us is blessed in ways we forget to be thankful for, when faced with even the smallest of circumstantial difficulty. 

A reader and friend (who deserves a tight hug) emailed me and offered the idea that perhaps if I opened myself up to others a little more, I might find acceptance and understanding where I least expect it ~ particularly by those who truly count.  It reminded me of the saying (and Maria, this one's for you): "those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter".  There are many facets to my personality.  Many unresolved issues, complications and contradictions in my life.  Those of you who have followed my journal and have come to know me through my words KNOW how moody and puzzled I can be at times.  One dear friend even went so far as to call me "mysterious" and is probably still wondering where I've been hiding myself. 

I still feel that writing is a very therapeutic and cleansing way to express oneself, and we all have different reasons and ways of doing it.  I judge NO ONE, for what they write, how they write or why.  And how lucky am I, to have such thoughtful and supportive people along for the ride, to share my own personal and sometimes cloudy journey through life with?  Extremely. 

Thank you.


(coming soon:  Job, family, Bell's, creative muse and LIFE update, while I work on that opening myself up thing... ::smiles::)


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sometimes I wake up and wonder if there isn't a single person in my life who truly knows me.  Someone who knows how I feel at all times and is still there when I turn around, despite how I feel inside.  Anyone at all, who I don't have to pretend to feel or be something or someone that I'm not, for. 

It's a lonely place, to suddenly realize that there isn't.


Monday, August 4, 2008

(note:  the subject matter in the following words may be difficult depending on your personal experiences and/or beliefs.  i hope i don't offended anyone)

I think it was my senior year in high school, when I took a class called Death and Dying ~ or something sounding morbidly similar.  It was one of those Human Relations classes, that bridged the various cliques and personalities together in a way no other class could.  I remember certain classmates, who I never would have made contact with outside of the classroom due to differences that today of course, seem (and probably are) irrelevant.  Many times, the majority of us would walk out of that room a little more sensitive and empathetic to each other than we were when we arrived.

I recall one class in particular ~ one that pertained to the whole grieving process, that struck a chord in me which still chimes now and again some twenty years later. 

Tears stung many eyes that day, as many of us had already experienced such a loss in one way or another, but it was also uplifting in a sense, and that is what I'm thinking about today. 

I can still picture our teacher, Mr. Wood, standing in front of the class and demonstrating how the body is like a glove for the soul (of course, this was his own personal take on the matter, and I have to wonder if such a display would be considered inappropriate today). 

Holding out one hand (the soul), he placed the other over it (the body) and stated simply that, when we die, our body "slips off like a glove" and our soul is then free.  A simple idea, but where I went with it in the afterglow has been and is still very meaningful to me. 

Our physical being is a magnificent thing.  We are all different and our bodies don't always look, work or feel the way we would like them to.  Young or old, there are many who struggle physically in one way or another and that can have a pretty profound and lasting effect on who we are and how we feel on the inside.  Our bodies may delight, deceive, burden or strengthen us to an astounding degree, depending on circumstances within or beyond our control.  If we are lucky, in most instances those we are in physical contact with treat us kindly and lovingly ~ or, at the very least, respectfully.  But sometimes, it's when our souls  are deeply touched that we feel it the most, and I'm starting to wonder if that isn't what it's all about in the first place.  Our time on earth is so very brief, in the grand scheme of things, and sometimes, that thought scares the hell out of me and keeps me up at night. 

Other times, it thrills me to no end. 

So, friendly readers, may your souls be touched and well guarded in countless ways for many, many years to come, and your gloves be worn with beauty and grace. 

That's all for now.....  ;o)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

With Striking Contradiction

The storms in NH seem to get progressively worse year after year.  This past Thursday, a tornado ripped through parts of the state leaving 11 towns in a state of emergency, one person dead and dozens injured.  One town that was affected, Ossipee, is a mere five minutes from my grampa's house.  When we called to see if he was okay, we found him sitting on his breeze way drinking tea and watching the storm pass by.  His thoughts are, that at 92 years old, if his house goes ~ he's going with it.

But thank God, he was fine as was his little old house in Union, NH. 


I wrote of spring in my previous entry, because I had started the painting that accompanied it at that time, and it still seemed fitting.  I wrote the poem this morning, as another storm passed by and the sun began to peek out from behind the dark clouds.  One thing you can never quite count on in NH is nature's consistency!

Things have been incredibly busy and I've unintentionally neglected many journal friends over the past few weeks.  As it so happens, I'm between chores at the moment and have to head out in about two.  I will try to visit you all in the days to come.  I have a new job that I'll be starting tomorrow, one that will enable me to keep my job at school and still continue working there part time on the weekends throughout the year. 

Hope all is well with each and every one of you.  And that many happy summer memories are being made.


Spring Serenade

In the sacred hush

of early morning dew

when spring serenades her

earthly realm

and butterflies dance on 

angel colored wings

a heart opens

like delicate tulip petals

warmed moment by

precious moment

in sun's everlasting love 


chelle  2008







Monday, July 14, 2008

Colorful Calm


Just as the rainbow promises Hope after the rain, so does a garden in bloom.  If you'd like to see mine, please click on the smilebox creation below.  My images seem to be too large, and some of the petals are cut off, but so be it....  :o/

AOL won't let me post albums any longer ~ Something to do with my browser.  I'm assuming it's the change in computers and nothing else.  No, I haven't gotten a new one and most likely won't be getting one for a while.  For now, I'm content (grateful, really) for the use of my daughter's. 

Speaking of my daughter....  Thank you, for the kind and supportive words I received after my previous rant.... uh, post.  Of course, things settled down and improved greatly as that particular evening went on.  Just recently, she pointed out that she tells me things her friends would NEVER tell their parents.  THAT, my dear friends, is good to know. 

I also have another vehicle now, so the problem is mostly just financial at this point.  I have two catering jobs coming up and another possibility or two in the making, so for now, I'm doing okay. 

Life is good.  I've been enjoying it lately, which is a plus.  Let's hope it stays that way.

Hope you enjoy the photos ~


Click to play Colorful Calm
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Friday, July 11, 2008

To Top It All Off....

"So, are you going to have a car tomorrow, or what?  'Cuz H. wants me to come over, and I need a new charger for my cell phone since you ran over it with the vacuum cleaner, and we want to do something else, and ....."

Somebody stop me......

This, at the end of a day I've been struggling to ignore. 

I guess it's too much to ask, that my teenager be appreciative of all that I've done for her this week.  The money I spent getting the paint she wanted for her room (even though technically we're not allowed to paint the walls here) and the time I took to help her finish it.  The camp-out I planned for us (more money), with all the fixin's for a night under the stars.  The one we are supposed to be at right now, but aren't because after packing the car all up this morning, it died again.  This, after spending half of what remains of my summer funds to have it fixed just days ago.  This, after spending the day trying to think of something to do to make up for it.  THIS, just moments after coming in the door from walking 3 miles to and from Dairy Twirl so her little sister could have an ice cream cone (and don't think for a minute I didn't have one myself!).  Not to mention everything else that's gone wrong this week.

I'm just plain pissed off ~ and I rarely write when I'm pissed off.  Shocking, I know.

She's in her room sulking now, because I asked her to get up off the couch (for the first time today) and pick things up a bit.  She's been sleeping in the living room since we finished painting, not wanting to over-exert herself and get it done with. 

I AM the meanest mother in the world, you know.

I understand she's disappointed about a lot of things right now.  So am I.  The difference is, I'm finally allowing it to show.  Consider the rules broken. 

Thank you, I feel much better now. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


When our hearts are willing and able to accept what is and what is not, there is a feeling of Peace that transcends even Hope.  I've always believed that without Hope, all is lost ~ but what I'm finding is that Acceptance is much more essential to a healthy outlook on life ~ among other things. 

Of course, we all have hopes and dreams and goals.  We MUST!  Each one gives meaning and purpose and color to our own personal journey through time.  One should never be without them.  

But sometimes our hopes are not answered.  Our dreams are not meant to be.  Our goals are not reached.  That doesn't necessarily mean that we have failed, but simply that Someone has other plans. 

I am learning to derive a great amount of comfort from that.  Notice I've said "am learning" and not "have learned".   It's a process, really.  One that works and sometimes not so much.  I was inspired by comments left in my previous post, to share these thoughts.  Yes, most of the time, my priorities are in order and my outlook is as it should be ~ Acceptance has a great deal to do with that...

That, and summer breezes.



Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Breezes

Summer is always filled with adventure of some kind.  I always start out by thinking of it as my "down" time.  My "me" time.  A (paid) break away from the classroom.  A time for my kids to take a long trip away with their dad (already home, safe and sound).  Time for a bit of leisure and time for my hobbies.  Maybe a few days here and there, just hangin' by the water, soaking in the sun....


As it turns out, summer has been and will continue to be an adventure all right ~ and a costly one.

First my desktop pc crashed and burned.  I've decided NOT to pay the $800 to get it fixed, but instead have my hard drive copied onto disk for $99.  As much as they can fit onto it for that price, anyway... 

Then my car broke down.  I found out Friday that it will cost about $1,200 to have it fixed.  I've looked into trading it in, but I still owe so much on it that it makes no sense to even consider doing that for more than five minutes.  I've had to cancel my trip to Maine with the girls and drain my savings account to a meager existence.  .

THEN my camera started acting up again ~ just in time for the 4th of July, of course.  I was so excited (and READY, dammit!) to attempt some half way decent fireworks shots, then I find those same distorted zig zaggy lines I started seeing a couple months ago (they were gone again yesterday, btw... ::sigh::).

So what might seem like a rant to most of you reading this, is actually more of a thing.  Just a "thing" I'm going through ~ making life a little more challenging in some ways right now. 

But what I really want to share is how little any of this really matters.  Not only is there a flip side to each of these situations, there is also something much more powerful and extraordinary than any financial pitfall I have fillingmy plate. 

My girls are happy.  I am happy.  We are all healthy.  Thankful by day and comfortable by night as we sleep.  I'm finding new and creative ways to (hopefully) earn more money.  I feel the warmth of love and the fulfillment of peace in all that I do and all that I face each and every day because of the presence of family and friends and loved ones by my side. 

Summer breezes ~ take me away.

Enjoy yours, if you are able.




Monday, June 30, 2008

Basic Instincts

"The active part of man consists of powerful instincts, some of which are gentle and continuous; others violent and short; some baser, some nobler, and all necessary."

Francis W. Newman 

'Tis true, what they say...  Our instincts are better followed than ignored.  But honestly, how many of you actually DO? 

I've been thinking lately, about my own instinctive abilities and inabilities.  Therefore, I am second guessing myself left and right ~ thoroughly frustrating myself to the point of exhaustion.  Looking back ~ and I'm talking YEARS, I consider all the crossroads I have come to and ponder my actions and choices based on instinct alone.  That's not at all to say that I have followed my inner voice on every occasion, because more often than not, I chose to do the opposite of what my instincts were telling me ~ and got myself in a heap of trouble.  Maybe not at that exact moment in time, mind you, but at some point soon thereafter. 

Like the fact that most recently, I KNEW my car would break down again... And it did.

My instincts HAVE gotten better over the years.  That is, while I continue to fail miserably at following them, I can honestly look back and see HOW strong those instincts were at the time, and how badly things turned out, by my having NOT followed them. 

I think about the day I became engaged and then of course, the wedding itself...  And the lingering doubt that crept it's way into my thoughts at the most INOPPORTUNE times (so i thought)...

I think about events that shattered innocence and hearts.  Events that, to this day, I continue to believe ~ had I followed my instincts, never would have happened.

Part of trusting your own instinct is having the very courage to do so.  Oftentimes, what we feel deep down is the truth, may in fact be what hurts the most.  It may be what brings us to our knees in the darkest hours of night.  Who wants to come face to face with that kind of pain?

But what if knowing and feeling and enduring brings us to that beautiful somewhere we thought we'd never go?  Isn't that what instinct IS?  Our gut ~ or our God, if I may, leading us into greener pastures and brighter tomorrows? 

And does basic human instinct originate in the heart ~ or the mind?  Someplace else then?  What if our hearts and minds tell us two completely different things ~ each one bringing very different results?  What then?

I will more than likely contemplate this forever... 

May your instincts guide you well in all you do...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer's Bloom ~ a video

Summer has officially begun, and I've had a lot more time to experiment and redevelop my creativity lately, which is a nice distraction from some of the heavier issues weighing on my mind. 

The video above is my first attempt at creating a slideshow using my photos AND putting it to music AND posting it on YouTube.  I've had a YT account for quite some time, but have never done anything with it till now.  The video ends abruptly and the song is cut short ~ I'm just glad I managed to figure out how to do it.  Of course now, I have the perfect song in mind  that would fit right in with the time frame....  "LittleTooLate" is my middle name, don'tcha know.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, for what it's worth.  The photos themselves seem blurrier than they do on the computer.  My desktop hard drive holds every digital photo I've ever taken, and is currently in the hands of the Geek Squad at Best Buy, so it's been theraputic to do something with the only photos I currently have on this PC. 

Happy Summer! 


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reflections ~ Magic Smoke Style

(as written in Magic Smoke)


"And the day came  when the risk [it took]  to remain tight in the bud 

Was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."     Anais Nin    



Greetings, fellow journalists ~ And a warm welcome to all those passing through


Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Michelle, and I've been sharing my thoughts, feelings and fateful journey in the pages of my journal, Reflections, for over three years now.  What began as simple documentary of my daily activities turned into something I never would have imagined ~ a beautiful, fulfilling and delightful way of reaching out and searching within.  Reflections has been and continues to be so many things to me:  A place to vent.  A quiet retreat.  A connection to the world.  A place where friends always know they are welcome to visit and share a smile ~ or offer a shoulder.  It has become a celebration of the moments I have captured through my camera's lens.  There are times when I reflect quietly ~ even silently, as a picture paints a thousand words, or a poem finds my heart when my own words elude me. 


More importantly, I've been incredibly fortunate to have stumbled upon some wonderful journals that have brought some very special people into my life.  Many of them have been mentioned on these pages before, and I would gladly add them (and countless others) to my personal list of "must read's".  What I would like to do today however, is highlight a few journals that are relatively new additions to that list. And if you haven't yet already, I'd like to suggest you pay them a visit sometime as well.  You won't be disappointed.



VagabondJourneys "Ambling through a forest of ideas, influences, events, art and people I have known, trying to define in some positive way a difficult and troubled life, with honesty, humility and humor. No rituals, no rules, no summations."   A thoughtful man with clever with words and inspiring thoughts and ideas, DB has become someone I am honored to call "friend". 

Porchswingpoet  "my journey through time......"    Rarely do I find a journal that reaches deep inside and touches me as instantly as this one.  Your heart needs a little understanding?  Go here. 


Rosarium  "Mindscapes, rants, deep philosophical reflections...Well, okay, let's just say rants and leave it at that.  Man, you're fussy!"    Honestly, you won't want to fuss after reading some of these stories.  I have been deeply moved here as well.  Especially by the "Thankfulness" entries.

ChosenWords  "... mostly about poetry, sometimes art."   This is a brand new one for me, too...  But with each new visit, I am always left looking forward to the next one.


Iwasthinking...  ~ "Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can." ~ Douglas Pagels   Memories, thoughts and personal reflection ~ a journey ~ honestly and thoughtfully shared with the world.  You'll find yourself wanting to ride along. 


Thank you for allowing me the opportunity and honor of being this week's Guest Editor!  Happy reading ~ and writing!





Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Up, Up and Away.....

The above photos were taken Friday evening at the Quechee Balloon Festival in Vermont.  The NEPE (New England Photo Expedition) group had a Meetup planned for the entire weekend, but I was only able to spend a few hours ~ thankfully, a few GOOD hours! 

If you've never been to a hot air balloon festival, I would like to suggest that you search for one in your area to attend.  There is nothing quite like observing and experiencing such a magical event...  As soon as the balloons begin to inflate with their hot air ~ one by one until there are too many to count, it's like being a kid in a candy store. 

However, I must admit, I couldn't imagine actually riding in one...  I have a fear of heights that puts my kids into fits of laughter at any carnival.  It's gotten better over the past couple years ~ as I've found the inner strength to settle my self and my heart as needed, to will a friend across the edge of a bridge for a photo op, or to accompany my kids on a high gondola ride.  But inside, I am absolutely fluttering.  I find it interesting, that even with such inexplicable fears, my most enjoyable dreams are those in which I am flying...

Thank you friends, who have decorated my life in countless ways and have given me wings to fly.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Saint Gaudens National Historic Site

Our class recently took our annual field trip to St. Gaudens National Park in Meriden, NH.  We spent time in and around the gardens and home of artist/sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens.  We visited a sculptor in residence as well as a museum of St. Gaudens' work.  We also explored the grounds, ate a picnic lunch and hiked a trail through the woods (my favorite part).





View of Mount Ascutney from the porch (see below)


One of many beautiful spots


This angel seemed to be craving a burst of sunlight, so I gave her one.... ::smile::

Things are finally beginning to settle down here, as the end of this school year quickly approaches.  The students, however, are far from settled, as they anxiously await the first day of summer vacation.  Today was step up day, and we welcomed 17 new, energetic students into our classroom for introductions and activities. 

My own "little" ones are also finding it hard to sit still. They have some fun of their own planned for the summer months, and we are all looking forward to having a bit of time offI know I'll enjoy having more time to enjoy reading journals and hopefully writing a little more myself.  Still, the lazy days of summer will be hardly that ~ I'll be working part time, for the same catering business I worked for last year (put in almost 14 hours on Saturday alone!), and the "off" time will be well spent and celebrated in every which way.

Nothing new with regards to my PC troubles.  I'm having a difficult time trusting programs that offer to remove the bug(s) from my system.  I was finally able to get online for the first time in days (on that computer at least... Thank goodness my daughter is willing to share!) and tried a few things to no avail.   ::sigh::

Thank you to all who offered support and words of advice.  As always, your comments, emails and friendships are very much appreciated! 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Beware: Munching CYBERBUGS!

We've been invaded.....

MalwareProtector is a program that has just recently been launched (or so I've read ~ maybe you've all heard of this to some degree...) into cyberspace and is infecting computers at an astoundingly high rate of speed.

Mine's one of them.

At this very moment, as I type away at the notebook PC, large, disgusting black bugs (literally) are crawling all over my desktop computer screen, eating away at my files.  A tad bit disconcerting, to say the very least... A swift swipe of the mouse temporarily exterminates the little buggers, but soon thereafter, not one, not two but countless hungry critters return to dine upon my precious electronic world. 

The program flashes a warning that your computer has been infected and insists that in order to fix it, you will need to purchase Malware Protector for 50 smackeroos (don't waste this week's gas money, people....).  If you click on the link provided up above, you'll see that this is in fact a SCAM, to steal your money and perhaps destroy what's LEFT of your computer and all the files you've meticulously created and organized since the very first day you logged on.

I've downloaded the software needed to remove the program to no avail.  I just thought I'd put the warning out there to anyone else who may be experimenting the same technical glitch in their system.  There ARE ways of exterminating the little buggers for good ~ I just haven't found them yet.  When i DO, I'll be sure to let you know....

This is what your computer screen will look like when you've been infested:



Luck be with you.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More From The Clouds...

Per request, I've decided to share a few more photos from the New England Photo Expeditions Meetup trip to Castle in the Clouds.

Thank you to Gina from Gina'sSpace, for thinking my photos worthy of sharing ~ and for telling me so.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Castle in the Clouds



Betty from My Day, My Interests Photo Blog and I are part of an online photo club called New England Photo Expeditions.  It's a group made up of over 200 members (some more active than others) and once or twice a month the group organizer plans a meetup place and time.  This month, one of the meetups was at Castle in the Clouds in Moultonburough, NH. 

So Betty and I decided to join in and meet up with the group as well as each other for the first time!  We had a really nice time (with the acception of the restaurant service, which was atrocious!) and took loads of pictures.  I'd never before tried to photograph a waterfall (and my camera just cannot capture one as nicely as I'd like), but this was by far my favorite photo moment of the trip.  The scenic views from the castle were magnificent, but there's just something about being in the woods that appeals to me like nothing else. 

Of course, meeting Betty and her husband Bob was the biggest highlight of the day.  To me, it felt as if we were old friends meeting up again after some time apart.  The group itself was also very welcoming and friendly, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming meetups currently scheduled on the calender. 

View from the castle grounds:


Thursday, May 22, 2008


There were many children, all living together in one room with one adult.  One room.  Only the lucky ones were fortunate enough to snag a mattress, tattered and torn.  The others gathered around and spread themselves out on the floor for the night..... Night after night.

When the adults in the orphanage would fight, the children, scared and alone, would run and hide and lock themselves in one of the rooms till it was over.  More often than not, a fight would end in bloodshed. 

And there was no water...  In temperatures often reaching over 100 degrees, they would bathe and drink from the polluted river nearby.  This lead to disease and malnutrition.  The children were fed twice daily, if they were lucky.  Oftentimes, they would go a day ~ maybe two, without any food at all. 

There were no toys.  No television.  Only music, and when permitted, the children would dance all through the night.  They played soccer, using whatever they could find to use as a ball.  Sometimes even a real one!  But mostly, they would run...  They would run and run, morning till night when there was no school, chasing each other around the dirt roads and dry lands till they could run no more. 

And they would walk....  For a while, his daily journey to school took an hour one way.  If he was late (and he admits, with a sly grin, that he often was), the doors were closed and he would have to walk all the way back home. 

One small voices asks, "Did you ever get sick from drinking the polluted water?"

"Oh, yes...."  He answers...  "Before my mom and dad came to adopt me, I wasvery, very sick and almost dying......They saved me."

Unexpected tears filled my eyes and I had to turn away.  I have never felt so much love for a student, or for someone else's child.  On the first day of school, this little one proudly walked into the room (I met him at the door and knew immediately who he was) with the biggest, brightest smile you could ever imagine, and within a moment, he held my heart.

This year has not been easy for J.  His frustrations with learning the English language and his struggle to belong in a foreign world nothing at all like his own overwhelms him daily.  He's made friends, but he becomes very angry and takes it out on them, and on us.  He often refuses to work and calls everything and everyone "stupid". 

He is a mathematician, when he puts his mind to it.  He has gone from being a beginning first grade reader to a beginning third grade reader in a matter of months.  His English is as good as any other child's.  His wide smile still lights up a room, and when he isn't putting himself and his efforts down, he is very, very proud.

And so am I.  I'm proud of you, J.  I've learned more from you than you will ever know.  You will go far, and I will celebrate for you, simply knowing....

I will miss you, but I will NEVER forget you. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've been reading, "Change of Heart", the newest Jodi Picoult book (avid readers take note:  this book may keep you up at night..) and while I'm now finally nearing the end (I like to read slowly, taking characters to heart and memory), I came across something earlier on that I thought was interesting enough to share.

I know there's something in journals that goes around once in a while ~ a meme of sorts, asking us to grab the book we are currently reading, flip through to page 123 and record the first, second and third sentence in paragraph three.  I dunno... just 'cuz....

So when I reached page 123, I couldn't help but read with mild curiosity, the words found there:

"one two three, one two three.  There was a rhythm to fly-fishing, like a ballroom dance.  I waited until we had both unspooled the long tongue of line over the lake, until the flies that my grandfather laboriously tied in his basement had tightly come to rest on the surface."

Just coincidence... 1,2,3...   No big deal, but kinda cool.

Because who DOESN'T think about all the coincidences in their own life ~ and the "not coincidences"?  I've always been a firm believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason.  Of course, there are many problems in the world that make me question that as well:  Natural disasters, child abuse, disease, addiction, loss... quite a substantial list of things that makes anyone of us shudder to think about. 

Not believing in coincidence makes me nuts, really.  I am CONSTANTLY searching for reasons and answers.  Very rarely, do I just simply let things be ~ just because they ARE.  I need to be fully engrossed in something, not to let my mind wander to the how's and why's. 

I am so ready for summer. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pow WOW!

It isn't often, that I venture out on my own for an afternoon.  I find it ironic, that I would choose Mother's Day to "take off" so to speak, when it's usually my children's activities that make up the majority of my free time.  And rightly so, I might add.  My daughters are and have always been the highlight of my life. 

But lately, I've been considering the possibility that I might have interests of my own to explore as well. 

So I allowed myself that privilege today and went to the pow wow on my own.  It was very interesting, colorful and enlightening.  I sat alone, enjoying the festivities and the traditional Native American dancing, ate lunch alone (no buffalo tacos this year, thank you... :o) ) and walked among the crowd of people, fighting the urge not to spend all my money! 

I took lots of photos, and even though the sun was bright (I'm thankful for that) and I had to zoom in from afar to capture most of my images, I found a colorful few that I am happy with:







I do believe I'm going to try to do this sort of thing more often.  "Get a life" as the kids would say.  I not only enjoyed the pow wow, but also walked all around campus and down Main Street.  I spent some time in the Dartmouth Bookstore and even struck up conversation with strangers!  Somebody STOP ME!  hehehe...

Our custodian at school is an avid outdoorsman and hiker.  We've been talking, and I've decided that I shouldn't let my fear of being alone stop me from doing the things that I enjoy ~ even if it means I must enjoy them sans partner.  He's given me a couple of books on area hikes and trails.  I DO hope, that my girls will join me on these adventures, but if they decide they're not interested, I will not let that decision persuade me one way or the other.  There are groups in the upper valley that take hiking trips as well, and I haven't ruled out that possibility either.  I'd like to start fishing again, and someday, I might even buy myself a little fishing boat! 

There are simpler things, of course, to do on my own...  Go to a movie, visit a museum, see a play, etc...  And of course, the anytime, anywhere activities that I enjoy, like drawing, painting and reading.  The bottom line is, I need to start living my life again and stop letting my "aloneness" get the best of me.  Don't get me wrong ~ I'm happier now than I was a year ago in many ways.  But I've been letting the overall picture get me down. 

It's time to snap out of it.

I hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful, relaxing Sunday!




I apologize for having so little to say or share lately.  My creative muse is currently on Sabbatical, and the need to share the scattered pieces of my life has been less apparent.  Unfortunately, that has kept me away from other journals as well, and I haven't always been commenting the way i'd like.  To friends who are reading this:  please know I have thought of you.

Here's wishing every mother and child a Happy Mother's Day... I'll be heading out soon to enjoy the Pow Wow festivities on the green at Dartmouth college.  My children are not interested in going ~ they're doing their own thing.  (Might have something to do with the buffalo tacos they ate the last time we went....)  I, for one, am eager to do something that I am interested in today.  All I've been doing for the past two hours is housework.  Fun Fun.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Community Challenge•Landscapes in Black & White•JUDGED


JUDGED Category

Take a Landscape photo in B & W or transform a photo into    
B & W. You can sepia tone the image, frame it, but keep in mind when framing, not to take
away from the image. 



                              Quechee, Vermont


Monday, April 21, 2008

A Day in the Park

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden

Hartford, CT      Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thank you Nancy, for a day filled with warmth, smiles and FUN!!  Oh, and let's not forget PHOTOS!!  I will never forget the times we've shared ~ the laughter, the tears (FROM THE LAUGHTER!), the stories told and the nature enjoyed.  Thank you, for being such a dear friend. 

(Please feel free to rummage through the photos in the album above.)









Friday, April 11, 2008



Taking into consideration that the day will soon be over, I'll share five things that I DID do today:

~ Woke up

~ Made coffee

~ Attended an all day workshop on teaching social skills to students with autism and using video modeling to demonstrate appropriate social interactions and behaviors. 

~ Ate dinner

~ Enjoyed a nice phone conversation with a friend.



Crackers and extra sharp cheddar cheese, salsa and chips, fruit salad


You know, I honestly try not to let my mind wander down this fantasy very often, because I always try to be content with what I DO have.  But......

In my dreams, I would buy or build a beautiful but modest home near some body of water ~ preferably a lake.  I would own a small boat ~ nothing too intimidating or difficult to maneuver or travel with.  I would put money aside for my children's future.  The bills would be paid.  I'd own my car(okay, so I'd PROBABLY buy a new one....).  Take a dream vacation say, like.... once a year?  Wow.... now that I think about it.... I would love to have an art studio, music/recording studio, and hey, while we're at it, why not throw in a hot tub?  Massage once a week....  omg.. somebody stop me!!   ;o)


Tilting my head while engaged in conversation or listening to a presentation of some sort ~ I always feel like it makes me look dingy.

Forgetting to take my thyroid medicine.


NH, MA, NH, NH, NH.....


7. 5 JOBS I'VE HAD (I know I've answered this one before)

Live in nanny for three children 

Immediate Care Admissions



Special Education Aide


ANYONE who wants to play along! 

Reposting part one ~ please disregard!

(trying to delete previous entry and repost to eliminate irritating wideness of my journal!!)
I've been gently nudged by this person, politely prodded by that person and now, most tactfully tagged by our friend, Greg, to take part in one of the many meme's floating around in Jland lately.  I haven't posted (written) anything incredibly substantial for a while, but this one is somewhat simple and easy ~ and I tend to gravitate towards simple and easy lately.
Note:  Unfortunately, my computer is acting up and I lost my entry again, so I'm going to answer question one and go to bed.  I have a long drive tomorrow to attend an all day workshop focusing on Autism.  I'll post more at another time.
So here goes:

1. The rules of the game

2. Each player answers questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post the player then tags 5 people, and posts their names, goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know they've been tagged.


   We had just been told that the duplex we were renting had been sold and that we had 60 days to find a new place to live.  It was stressful, and we looked at a lot of dumps before finally settling on the condominium where my children and I still currently reside. 

   In November of '98, I began my work in Special Education.  I was offered a position by the Preschool Coordinator, to work a couple days a week offering support to a little girl with special needs.  Initially, I was hesitant, having no experience and not knowing what to expect or what would be expected of me.  I was told that this little girl could not walk, speak or feed herself properly....  In a matter of seconds, I fell in love.  Thus began my now 10 year career in Special Education.

My daughters, then one and four years old, ruled my heart (as they always will) and gave me reason to laugh, cry and celebrate every day.

I was two years into a lifeless marriage and learning to accept and live with it.  The thought of divorce had never crossed my mind.

To be continued....

Monday, March 31, 2008

Come On Baby Light My Candle....

Everyone has a collection of some sort...  Whether it's a collection of "things" or of memories or stories told and untold....  You get the idea.  This particular challenge was started by Monica, and you can find her journal entry about "Every Picture Tells a Story" here and play along.

This weeks photo/story:

I collect ________________ (dust bunnies, spoons, dogs, rings, etc).  Share a photo of what you collect and tell us how or when you got started with the collection.  Is there something you are looking to add to the collection? 


This challenge had me thinking...  What do I collect, that I could photograph and share?  I have a collection of Jodi Picoult books!  Nah...  I have a jar of sea glass....  maaaaybe.. 

Then I remembered (yeah, it happens....), that I have CANDLES all around me...  On the walls (not pictured), tables, shelves..  you name it.  In my bathroom, bedroom, kitchen...  I think every room, with the exception of my children's rooms, have candles.  Mostly Partylite candles and holders.  I buy many of my favorite scents on Ebay ~ Honeydew, Peach, Mulberry, etc...  I'm FRUIT FRENZIED!  But have been to and hosted Partylite gatherings at my home as well.



I've been enjoying candles for many, manyyears.  I do not light them all at the same like this EVER!  As a matter of fact, I'm still sneezing from having them all lit at once for this photo (thanks for the idea, Nance.... ;oP)!  But, I do light one or two.... maybe three, depending on the mood... more than a couple times a week.  I have favorites for certain moods, hours in the day and times of the year. 

I hope that whatever it is you collect, whether it be "things" or something even MORE meaningful to you, I hope it brings you many moments of warmth and enjoyment through the years.

Thanks for visiting!