For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Am I Ready (or not?)

I know myself very well.
I guess it comes from so many years of being me.

If I had to tell you my best and worst traits,
they would be one and the same.

I am a perfectionist.

Perfectionism has worked well for me in many ways. 
I did extremely well in school, especially in math.
My attention to detail and need to get things 100% right were great attributes during my career as a computer programmer.

But more often than not,  my fear of "not being perfect" has deterred me from trying new things in life.
I don't like this about myself.  In fact, I hate it. 

Lately, I have been in conflict with myself once again.

Entering what I think of as the 2nd phase of my life,  I know I want to do something with photography.  It has been a love of mine since I was a child.  More than anything else,  I love taking pictures of people.

Two years ago I purchased a really nice camera and really nice lenses.  For the past two years I have been taking courses and practicing.  I have become very good at portrait retouching, realizing that less is more.
I have photographed quite a few people, each time learning something new.

I am happy with my progress.

My goal?  I'd like to become a professional photographer of some sort.
Why?  Because I love trying to capture the "beauty" of people.

I have learned so much about photography since I bought my first camera back in high school, but have I learned enough to expect people to pay me for my services?

It's easy to take pictures when it is just for fun.


Do I know enough?  There will always be more to learn.
Am I good enough?   There will always be those who are better than me.
Am I ready?  Sometimes I believe I am, and sometimes those old perfectionist doubts come creeping into my head!

I am trying hard to push those doubts aside.

I really am!

But old habits die hard.

Monday, May 16, 2011

52 Pick-up

I just celebrated my 52nd birthday.


That's a lot of years!

To give you a visual,  I have lived one year for every card in this deck.

That's a lot of cards!

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not complaining.

I am celebrating.

I have made it though the insecurities of youth.
I have conquered many adversities.
I have experienced the joys of raising 3 exceptional children.
I have realized love.


I have lived 18980 days.
That's a lot!

On each of these 18980 days, I have learned so many things.
I DON'T FEEL a lot older,  but I DO FEEL a lot wiser.

Did you know the Mayan calendar  has a 52 year cycle?

I am thinking my life does too.

I feel like I am on the brink of the second cycle of my life.
I look forward to it.
I embrace it.

So here is my new deck of cards. 
I am starting the deck over.

The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away; than what it leaves behind.
                                                   - William Wordsworth

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pre-Prom Processing

Prom was last night.

But the fun began at noon.

Annie and Jojo got out of school early and headed straight to the "beauty parlor".

Kara started on Annie's hair while Aimee did Jojo's make-up.

It was a lot of fun to watch the transformation of Annie with her up-do...

and Jojo with her make-up...

While Jojo was waiting to get her hair done,  Kerry painted her fingernails and toenails for her!

What a friend!

Annie worked on her own make-up while Jojo got her hair done.

Now all they needed was their dresses!

And a few more pictures before the night would begin...

Simply lovely!

Mr. Wiggles is looking good too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Pregnant Pause

In many ways, I feel the same today that I did 20 years ago. 

My life was about to be turned upside down. 

I wanted that child badly, but was I ready?

I was tired.  I was trying to get the house clean so that there would be less to do "afterward".

The house was about to be filled with everything a baby needs.

And I knew that my time would not be my own for a long time.


Adam and Kerry have both been away at college all year.

We bring Kerry home tomorrow and Adam on Sunday.

And we bring home everything that has been stuffed into both of their dorm rooms.

I have to admit that as much as I have missed them,  I have not missed the extra cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping that goes along with 2 more bodies in the house.

It has actually been kind of nice.

But just like 20 years ago,  I know I wouldn't want it any other way!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Maid Marion

Mother's Day is in a few days.

My mother, Marion,  has been gone for almost 4 years.
I miss my mom and still think about her all the time.

The summer after my mom died,  I started a rose garden in my backyard.  I love gardening, but I was never particularly fond of roses.  But my mother loved them.  After she was gone,  I just had to plant roses, and they have become one of my favorite flowers.

My father loved gardening too.  He used to grow roses on the side of the house for my mother.  You could see them from the kitchen table where my mother would sit.  I remember the look on my father's face when he brought a spectacular rose into the house to give to my mother.  It would be put in a vase in the center of the kitchen table and my mom would ooh and aah over it. 

The week after my mother's funeral, I went to Woodland Gardens in Manchester to get some roses.  As I was wandering around,  I met Marci Martin.  She worked at Woodland Gardens part-time.  She is the President of the Connecticut Rose Society and the Rosarian at Elizabeth Park.  She is also a warm, wonderful person.

Marci was just the person I needed to talk to that day.  After my initial question asking if there were any roses named Marion,  I proceeded to pour my heart out to her about my mother's passing.  Marci listened and comforted me.  She did not know of any roses with my mother's name, but she taught me everything I needed to know to start a wonderful rose garden.  And she helped me load up my van with more rose bushes than I ever imagined I would own!

I would see Marci from time to time over the next few years, and every time I saw her there was a warm smile.  And she would always tell me she was working on getting a Marion rose!

Last year,   a mass email was sent out from Woodland Gardens entitled "Looking for Gayle".  Marci was looking for me but she only knew my first name.

I replied to the email and she gave me the most wonderful news! 

She had been in contact with David Austin, one of the finest breeders of English roses to try to get a rose named Marion for me.  Marci had written to  David Austin about the possibility of starting a "Sherwood Forest" series of roses ... Maid Marion, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, etc... 

After 3 years in the making,  she succeeded! 

"Maid Marion" was launched at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show in England, complete with Robin Hood and Maid Marion in full dress!

Maid Marion
English Musk Hybrid

Maid Marion produces some of the most beautiful of flowers: they are fully double and very nicely quartered. The inner petals are an absolutely pure rose pink, fading to a very soft pink on the outer petals. The flowers are produced in small groups, the individual blooms just slightly nodding in the manner characteristic of many of the best-loved English Roses. It repeats well, the blooms becoming slightly less double later in the season. The growth is relatively upright but quite bushy and compact, making it ideal for formal rose beds or more informal borders. Like so many English Roses, this variety is a great choice for a large, decorative planter. Initially the fragrance is a soft myrrh, although as the flower ages, it become more fruity, with a distinct clove character.  3 x 3ft

"Maid Marion" will not be available in the USA until next summer and I can't wait!

My initial goal was to give a Marion rose to my father for his garden.  My father has since passed away. 
But I will place her in a prominent spot in my garden and always remember how she came to be!

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So Vein!

I didn't spell it wrong. 

Veins are those little blood vessels. 
Everyone has them.  Lots of them.

I know I have lots of veins.
How do I know?

I don't like to think of myself as a vain person.

But nonetheless, they bother me sometimes.

I remember back when Adam was in kindergarten and I would go into the classroom to be the helping mom once a week.  I was sitting next to this little girl and she pointed at my hands and said "Your hands look old". 

She didn't mean anything by it. 
She was just making an innocent observation.

Yet there was a vein of truth to what she said.

I can make my hands look younger by holding them upright.

           Hand down.
        Hand held upright.

But I don't really want to walk around all
     day with my hands raised, do I?

In a similar vein,  take a look at my feet.

 Fortunately,  for 3/4 of the year my feet are covered. 

And it REALLY would look silly to keep my feet
     up in the air all day.
I am not THAT vain!

Whenever I think too seriously about my veins, 
there is one thing that makes me feel better.

I know it could be worse.
Much worse.

At least my arms still look young!