Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I never thought I’d be writing about the hurricane aftermath again, but here I am. I didn’t know how extensive the power outage is. There are towns still out of power. Tuesday is the third day.
On the up side, we have never seen so much of our neighbors. Everyone has a nose out the door looking around and checking on each other & the power status. As you gather the leaves & branches in the yard, people walking by are glad to stop & talk. Dog walkers are out in full force to give man’s best friend a neighborly tour.
On the ironic side…
The PWD kindly told us that the recycle center is open daily for the disposal of downed tree limbs and we should check on the local website. !!! Thanks for the info, but no power for the website!
You know how we usually make jokes about a cable company being on time for installation? We stare at the calendar instead of a watch to see if they show up. Well, irony being what it is, the cable company showed up exactly on time at 8AM. We called the day before to let them know there was no power. He showed up and we confirmed there was still no power. The cable guy said he would go to his other jobs and be back when the power is confirmed. He was still sitting in his truck an hour later. No homes had power. I do hope we see him again. He was such a nice cable guy…not like the one in the movie!
Yes, I do see the irony in writing a blog when there’s no power to read it.
That’s it for now.
Posted by Cathy at 7:31 AM
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I hope you are all doing well today. Our neighborhood, and possibly half the town, is still without power. The weather is great, the sun is shining, storm damage is minimal… but no power. The large, downed limb in our yard made a big crease in the hedge, but it will survive.
I just checked my email. It seems there was an eye-witness account of cows escaping and taking a jaunt down Bay Rd. Good for them! Just another “Irene” moment.
As I ventured out checking for stores to see what’s open, I headed to McDonald’s with laptop in hand. Eureka…power, food and free WiFi. God id good! As I enter I see WiFi central. Every poor soul with hopes of getting help after the storm is there with laptops, cell phones and a cup of coffee. God Bless McDonald’s for letting these people charge their equipment. People were looking for generators and such. “Can we meet, there’s no power, you can’t call, I’ll meet you, etc…” My email check was suddenly not so important.
It seems we have fared well. Water damage seems to be the worst culprit in Irene and our immediate area didn’t get too much rain. A local market managed to open without power to sell ice. The larger grocery stores seem to be OK.
Saw a utility truck man knocking on a neighbor’s door. I ran over and said they weren’t home. “Do you know if they are without power” he asked. “Yes the whole neighborhood has none” I said. “Really?” he said. “Why didn’t you call & report it too?” he said to me. “The phones don’t work without power” I replied. He said nothing & drove away. This repair may take a while!?
How did you do? Will let you know when power is up & running.
Posted by Cathy at 7:49 AM
Monday, August 29, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
If I had to choose a single item that reminds me of St. Mary School it would be the pitch pipe. There was always one on hand for our music lessons and singing of hymns. Every nun had one…. basic class equipment.
Each year there was always a different level of instruction in music. In the early grades it may have been a simple song, even a little march to sing inside on a rainy day to liven things up. As we progressed in our music we graduated to our beginner “recorder” aka “Flutophone”. In the latter years we participated in the church choir. All music lessons began with the pitch pipe.
We had at least four years of Gregorian chant, four lines to the staff with square notes. From here we graduated to contemporary music with a five-lined staff and round notes. The only other thing I remember is the line & spaces mnemonics: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge & F A C E. Regardless of the music style, there was the pitch pipe.
There was a level of anticipation in the playing of the pitch pipe. It signaled that you were ready in all ways to begin singing as a group. All the antsy-pantsy twitching had to settle down. Heads must be up for proper breath work, mouths in a perfect round ‘O’ as a cherub & all eyes on the teacher. When we were all ready, only then was the pitch pipe played. I don’t think of it as being as strict as the whistle blowing of Baron Von Trapp in the Sound of Music, but maybe not too far off either. After all, as the saying goes, singing is praying twice. This was serious stuff!
Perhaps if I had a musical background I would have come across a pitch pipe often. But, this is not the case. So, I choose the pitch pipe as my single most memory. To help you with your musical flashbacks, I have chosen a Gregorian chant to stir your memories. Enjoy.
Posted by Cathy at 7:46 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Gulp moments are the ones that take you by surprise with an obvious emotional double take. It needn’t be as extreme as Bugs Bunny doing the noisy head shakin’ blur of a double take, but you are quite aware of the memorable moment.
I have one every year at this time. It’s always with the first red leaf I see. It’s been this way for 30 years. Why not before? I don’t know. But since that day I’ve had the same gulp moment at every first red leaf. We wait through the hard winter & spring for the warmth of summer and just as we get comfortable with the season…BAM!…a red leaf! It’s usually subtle & small, almost shy, hiding behind other leaves, trees, brush and tall grasses. There’s nonchalance about the way it lounges across the green moss almost ‘toying’ with you. It doesn’t even have to wait for a first frost or temperature change. “Do you see me?” it says in a subtle thought aimed your way. Maybe you catch the thought, maybe you don’t. It’s a reminder that time is fleeting.
It’s capable of putting your head in a spin. Did I enjoy my summer? Did I enjoy it enough? Is there still time to cram some fun in? Did the kids have fun? Did I visit every BBQ I wanted to? Did all the family summer obligations get done? Didn’t the sun set at 9pm last week and now it’s setting at 7:30? Where did the time go?
You see, it leaves (pun intended) you with so many questions. There’s so much time to enjoy life ahead of you, but we have to shift gears into another season. Change is constant.
This year had an early spring and the seasons following have had a similar effect. I may be writing this today, but I found ‘the leaf’ 2 weeks ago, hoping it wouldn’t be an omen for an early fall & winter. So, before you go outside today, take my word for it, they’re out there…the ‘leaves’ that is. Don’t waste a moment wondering or worrying about what’s left of the summer. Go out & enjoy it now!
Posted by Cathy at 7:38 AM
Monday, August 22, 2011
New posts are added to "Pearls" & "Laugh-In".
Posted by Cathy at 8:20 AM
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I have added a new page titled "Pearls" for the Pearls of Wisdom sent in by all of you through your emails. I will add all the inspirational items sent.
There is an addition to the "Laugh-In' page as well. There have been so many funny emails coming through lately, I'll do my best to keep up with the postings!
Thanks for the contributions.
There is an addition to the "Laugh-In' page as well. There have been so many funny emails coming through lately, I'll do my best to keep up with the postings!
Thanks for the contributions.
Posted by Cathy at 9:35 AM
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
I was going through my morning routine as usual this morning with the TV on in the background. Ignoring most of what was on the morning news, there was a movie trailer on during a commercial break. In the trailer was the statement “What were you thinking?” Out of nowhere, this smirk came upon my face for an event that happened ages ago when my son was only three years old. So here goes.
Picture it. (I sound like Sophia from Golden Girls!) Getting ready for work, the sun is barely up, my son is dressed for daycare, I’m packing the lunches and doing the last minute checklist before walking out the door. So far the morning is golden; no glitches in the routine.
Me: “Are you done brushing your teeth?”
No comment. Take a breath, pause and peek around the corner.
Me: “What are you doing? We don’t want to be late.”
Son: “I’m cleaning up.”
Me: “There’s nothing to clean. Are you done with your teeth?”
Son: “Yes, but there’s this stuff that needs cleaning here.”
At a three year old’s eye height was the grout circling the sink.
Son: “This needs to be cleaned.”
I beg to differ.
Me: “It’s fine. Let’s go.”
Son: “I’m almost done.”
Me: “What are you cleaning it with?”
As I asked the question, I came to a dead halt. My eyes must have shot out of my head like in a cartoon. He had a toothbrush in his hand! Visions of going to the doctor immediately flashed before my eyes. What’s the pediatrician’s number? Did he have his shots? I may have to call work to tell them I’ll be late. Other visions followed…unpretty visions of possible outcomes. YUCK!
Son: “It’s OK. I do this all the time.”
Me: “You’re cleaning with your toothbrush?”
Son: “No. That would be silly! I’m cleaning with yours!”
Posted by Cathy at 6:30 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
There must have come a time in the history of our world that God looked upon us and said “something must be done”. The wealthy carry heavy purses about their waists and the poor have none. The poor carry heavy loads like beasts of burden. Fields are toiled and planted through all kinds of difficult climate and weather, mostly by the poor. The wealthy eat better than the poor. “Something must be done.”
I can imagine a decree going out throughout the heavens that said…
“Let there be pockets!”
Now this may sound like a simple, almost child-like solution, but a perfect one, as God does not make mistakes. “Everyone gets pockets on their clothing. The educated, wealthy land barons will surely notice the empty pockets that need to be filled. This will be a gentle reminder to share.”
Pockets can be filled with coins to buy more supplies to contribute to the greater good of the community. Pockets can be filled with implements of education for all. Pockets can be filled with food for one’s self, to bring home to the family, to share with neighbors and the sick. Pockets can be filled with healing herbs and medicine for the sick, usually grown by the poor, for surely even the wealthy get sick too.
And this perfect pocket idea came to be manifested on all the clothing of all the lands.
The seed has been planted and the rest must be watched to see what unfolds. And now God must wait. For God in his/her perfect thought has given us free will and must allow us the time to recognize our own needs and solutions. One day we will all come to recognize that our own needs include our family, neighbors, friends and strangers alike throughout all the lands.
What a perfect idea, but have we perfected it?
"When the solution is simple, God is answering."
— Albert Einstein
— Albert Einstein
God has answered our needs. It’s our turn to follow through. The question is…how do we fill the pockets with abundance for all? Nobody said it would be easy. It’s a balancing act.
Posted by Cathy at 7:12 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
We had a modest school financially supported in full by our parish. In thinking back, I am amazed at how creative our school was re: many aspects of our education. Some I hope to discuss in the future, but for the moment I will review our gym class.
I chose to write about this topic based on an article I saw this morning on TV about ‘cocooning yoga’. This is an anti-gravitational yoga that suspends you in a sheet hanging from a ceiling…very ‘Cirque de Soleil’. I was fascinated. I’m a big fan of all kinds of yoga. The thought of all the wondrous types of self-awareness & fitness modes that are available to us today made me smile when thinking of our early childhood physical fitness regime. It was almost non-existent, but not so bad either.
Our school’s basement was an all-purpose activity center. As I mentally retrace my footsteps down the stairs to the basement, there’s a kitchen to my right, utility closet to the left and ahead was our hall. The hall had a small stage with curtains for our plays/performances. A small room to the left of the stage was transformed to a library. The floor was marble, pebble-y beige with brass dividers inset to outline each 3 foot square block.
This brings us to our gym class. We had a volunteer physical ed. teacher who was also mom to a classmate. We would have gym class once a week with Mrs. L. ‘Take a square’ is how remember it. Quietly we would stand in formation. Marching music played on a record player and off we went with swinging arms, standing straight, taking deep breaths and marching around the room as our form of aerobic exercise. Stretching and twisting was always good to get the kinks out. This was for bad weather. On a good day we would be moved out of doors. Sometimes there’d be dodge ball, a jumping jack or two and occasionally a walk around the block. It was nice to get off school grounds, a real novelty.
I know we would roll our eyes a bit at this primitive gym class…that is when the nuns weren’t looking! This really wasn’t too different from the Jack LaLanne show except without the chair for balance & his trusty sidekick ‘Sarge’, a German Shepard. Now as I look back, these basics are still in place. It is recommended that we go outside, get some fresh air, stretch, twist, stand tall for good spine alignment and relax to music. Come to think of it, it’s not that different from basic yoga. Go figure!
Posted by Cathy at 6:37 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Miracles happen every day. You can look for them high & low but you just need to observe them right in front of you. Sometimes if you sit still they will find you. The difference between miracles & everyday life is your acknowledgement. They are one & the same.
One day awhile back, I was having a doldrummy day…not a bad day, but darkish outside, more cloudy than sunny, looking out the windows for a glimpse of a good time to take a walk with my dog…and that’s when my miracle happened. As I looked out my window for the second time, there to my delight was not just one pretty bird to make me smile, but a whole tree full! No, not like Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’, but more like a collection from Noah’s Ark. The entire tree was a flutter with a rainbow of colors. I didn’t have just one beautiful bird, nor a pair of feathered friends, but my own personal aviary of a bird of every color. I was mesmerized. It was so exciting I couldn’t move. There were blue jays, cardinals, goldfinches, cedar waxwings, orioles, sparrows, nuthatches and wrens just to name a few. It looked like they were dancing from branch to branch. It was like a Christmas tree in the springtime.
I turned my head for a moment looking for someone to tell. Where’s the camera? Perhaps if they were patient I could find a moment to take a photo. As quickly as I turned my head back they were gone. There was no proof it happened; but it did. I knew it happened, photo or not. It’s in my mind & heart forever.
Every time I think of it, it makes me smile still. Now that’s a real miracle.
Posted by Cathy at 7:26 AM
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I took my grandson for a walk in the park as I often do. After feeding the ducks, geese, 1 sparrow and a couple of seagulls three stacks of Saltines, we moved along to the shady path. Here we continued our journey. It’s always nice to point out some things we may not have noticed on our previous walk. In looking about, it seems that the things previously not noticed have a way of finding us.
As we paused by the swing set we found a cute little toad hopping by. We just happened to have our bug collecting kit on us, bug sleuths that we are. As we gently scoffed him (her?) up, we thought we should bond by giving it a name. My grandson named him Blondie to my surprise. For the next hour we were bosom buddies. I hope Blondie enjoyed the bumpy ride. To continue our nature walk, we practiced all the sounds of nature that crossed our paths. Our calls of the wild consisted of a catbird, cicada, bullfrog, duck, seagull, dancing like waterbugs, goose steppin’ over goose poop, flying like dragonflies and kissing like fishes. Not a bad repertoire for a short walk in the park. Blondie had no comment…the silent type.
Upon turning a corner we came across a family walking all holding large coffee cups from their favorite coffee emporium. As we passed they proceeded to show us their great finds of frogs, fish and a turtle. It’s amazing how quickly kids will strike up a conversation about their adventures & nature finds. As we proceeded to show off our prized toad they insisted we have some of their critters so Blondie wouldn’t be lonely! It was so generous of them to want to share. It took a bit of convincing that Blondie didn’t need any friends as she would be returning home very shortly…. but ‘thank you anyway’.
Upon that note, my grandson welled up with tears, as he wanted to take Blondie home. A quick ‘good bye’ to our passing family with critters led us to come and sit on a rock for our farewell to Blondie. It took some convincing but Blondie had come to a great drop off glen. I needed to have him make a quick and final decision thus preventing a tantrum and or postponing our departure, as I needed a nap more than he did. He agreed to let Blondie go with the saddest face. As I tried to redirect his sadness I said ‘How about giving that tree a hug goodbye’, thinking he would think it was a silly request. He immediately ran to the tree and gave it a big, long hug. As he started to leave he returned for a kiss goodbye. I asked if I could have a picture of him & the tree & he waved me away. The parting was overwhelming for both of us.
A few moments later, trying to lighten the emotions, I started chitchatting, explaining that we must wash the bug catcher when we get home. He nodded & looked inside. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Toad poop, I guess.’ He roared laughing, lifting my spirits. He then recalled all the ‘poop’ mishaps along the way. ‘Poop happens’ I said with memories of Shrek quotes floating in my head. Face it, it’s something we all have in common like it or not! Even toddlers know this. We laughed all the way home. The melancholy disappeared.
Besides the age-old play on words ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ there’s ‘don’t pet the small stuff. Words to live by. When that is said & done, never underestimate the power of the young heart to embrace nature. It is our true nature after all.
Posted by Cathy at 8:58 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
This weekend is Tax Free Shopping in Massachusetts. Grab the pocketbooks, debit cards, checkbooks, wallets, cash, charge cards and car keys & get going! You deserve it!
Be sure it is guilt free shopping. Get out, look around and find something that you need or just warms the cockles of your heart & get it. If you already have one at home…give the old one away. New things do have a tendency to renew the soul. If something old is not cherished for whatever reason suits you, give yourself a replacement. Get something in a different color, a newer model, a better fit and definitely more convenient. Whatever it is, big or small, make sure it puts a smile on your face.
Now don’t just stand there, take a gander around the house, see what needs replacing. Open the closet doors (if you dare!) and take a quick peek inside. Maybe what you need is a closet organizer to make your life easier! If all is status quo, good for you, go out & reward yourself. If you have all you need, go out and get the latest books you want & make some quiet time for self to read & relax. Don’t just stand there…move it or loose it as the saying goes.
If you still have doubts, remember you are contributing to our local economy. Support your neighbors. It’s OK to make them smile too. J
Just remember, this is guilt free shopping. When going home with your goodies you needn’t explain the smile on your face!
Posted by Cathy at 7:27 AM
Thursday, August 11, 2011
We’ve all seen the ads for ‘back-to-school’ everything. Backpacks may possibly be the most fashionable necessity of the school must-haves. It is a needed item by both sexes of all ages & grades including the teachers. They are in every color, fabric, design, logo, customized, personalized, commercially distributed, cinematically marketed, bedazzled, bling’d, accessorized, glow-in-the-dark, bells’n whistles and with or without wheels & handles. They have become so popular that they have replaced many a briefcase for work as well as traditional luggage when traveling for the convenience of the overhead storage on the planes. We’ve never seen so many since Admiral Byrd hit both poles!!! Backpacks are here to stay. And ‘why’ you ask I mention this now? What is the relevance?
We had a single drawstring canvas book bag that came in the color green only!!!
The only other options were your hands or a leather belt strap from the turn of the century! Forget the turn of the century…to go one further, a rope that goes back to Huck Finn days or beyond. You see, I’m not complaining about backpacks, merely pointing out the innumerable options that there are today. We had none! I think it’s a delight to have so many choices of personal expression: classic, flashy, traditional, durable, fun, worldly, trendy, serious, rugged, homespun or imported. Even dolls have them as well as our dogs when we go for a stroll with a matching leash!
So, don’t just sit there, go out & get a backpack & be young again! Express yourself!
PS…mine has sequins! I love the razzle-dazzle!
Posted by Cathy at 6:09 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
One of the most difficult things for a young SMF to grasp when growing up was the ‘meatless Friday’. Eating fish wasn’t difficult really once you got into the routine. At home, the responsibility of the meatless meals fell on Mom. We just ate it. It did become a habit for you & your family at mealtime, but when we were young it seemed to set your a world apart from others.
It was only when we tried to explain it to others that it seemed complicated. Actually lots of people didn’t eat meat on Fridays, we just didn’t know it. To explain why we couldn’t eat meat must have been fascinating to an adult and frustrating to a nun. “We offer it up to God.” “ It’s a fast.” “I dunno, but we can’t eat hot dogs, bologna, meatloaf, hamburgers or meatballs.” “Fish is what Jesus ate.” “ I’m Catholic and we eat fish on Fridays.” “Tuna fish is better.” “Do we have to eat fish?” “Can I skip the vegetables too?” “Did Jesus eat vegetables?” “I don’t remember all the rules.” “It’s a sin, I think, but a smaller sin than fighting with your brother.” “Can I just have tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich?” “Do we have to go to confession if we eat meat on Fridays?” “Does it count if we offer it up to the kids in poor countries?”
I believed that all PSKs ate hot dogs. The concept of PSKs eating fish on Fridays didn’t enter my mind till I was much older. “So that’s why there’s so many people getting fish & chips on a Friday night!” The questionable pieces finally got pulled together in my head. Thank heaven!
Posted by Cathy at 7:31 AM