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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Third Time Around

"Adam, you need more sleep."
"Adam, you have too much on your plate."
"Adam, don't call me Gayle."
"Adam, if you don't wake up to your alarm, I'm NOT waking you up anymore.  You are overtired."
"Adam, I think we should visit more colleges."
"Adam, do you think you need a SAT prep course?"
"Adam, you cannot drive kids to the beach after prom."

"Annie, wow, you finished your paper and still got an hour of sleep?  Good job!"
"Where is Annie? Did she tell any one where she was going?"
"It's 11PM and Annie's not home yet.  She was supposed to be home an
   hour ago.  What shall I have for a snack before bed?"
"I wonder if Annie ever signed up to take the SAT?"
"Prep course?  You don't want to do that!"
"Let us know if you want to visit any more colleges"

How things change from the first child to the third!

When Adam was in high school, I used to take my job a lot more seriously!
I used to lay awake at night rehashing arguments.
I would worry about how he would survive when he went to college!
I would feel guilty when I made parental demands.
I would worry that he was too stressed out.
I would worry if I was a good parent.
I would be bothered when he didn't speak to me.

Annie is now ending her Junior year of high school.
I don't worry half as much about her as I did about Adam.

I sleep really well every night - maybe because I don't wake up in time to even know if she overslept!

I know she'll be fine when she gets to college.  After all, I hear she can't wait until she's 5 hours away!

I hear she can't wait to be 5 hours away, and it doesn't bother me one bit.  It's a little funny, actually.

When she's moody (almost every day) I know it's because she's not getting enough sleep.

It's like a game, guessing which Annie will come home from school each day!

When I get fed up with Annie not using her phone to let me know when her plans
change, I put my foot down and never think twice about it.

When she argues that she told me and I must have forgotten,  I realize she has been using that excuse WAY TO OFTEN lately and I KNOW I am not that forgetful!  Even if I did forget, I figure it's her job to make me remember.  Write me a note or something!

It's funny when the first words she's spoken to me in a week are
"You went to JCrew without me!"

We are constantly changing, evolving, learning from our past mistakes.  I have now seen Adam grow out of childhood and know he appreciates us and doesn't hold a grudge about all we did to him in his high school years.  And I know when they have a few kids of their own,  they will do the same things we did.  Worry, try to fix things for them, aggravate their kids, get angry, put their foot down.

That's just the way it is.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Proud to Be an American

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. -Lee Greenwood

Talking with my son, Adam, on our recent visit with him in Rome, he make many comments about how much he misses America.  Not home, but our country, our customs, our people,our modern conveniences.  I guess until you've spent an extended period of time outside of our great country, you don't fully appreciate it for all that it is.

Today is Memorial Day here in America, and just like in so many towns and cities around the United States,  our town gathered for a parade to honor our veterans - those living and not living.

As we waited on the town green for the parade to begin,  it was impossible not to notice the festive red, white, and blue outfits on the young...

and the old...

and even the pets...

This little girl was NOT dressed with American garb, but she was too cute not to snap a picture!

The parade finally reached us and it was the same as in past years.

The Veterans, some happy, some pensive...

The fire fighters..

Pastor Buisch sporting his flag tie...

The high school band sporting their brand new uniforms...

There is my daughter, Annie (far right)...

Two decked-out members of the Women's Club...

Some very cute Daisy Scouts...

And Brownie Scouts...

And Boy Scouts too...

The local sports teams are even represented (and Vicki)...

After the parade, there is a little ceremony on the town green honoring our town veterans who have died while in service to our country...

The band plays...

Finally, a procession into the cemetery where a prayer is given...

Shots are fired...

And Taps is sounded...

An American holiday.  A town tradition.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Top Five Observations in Rome

After reading my son's blog of his observations during his semester in Rome,  I kept my eyes open and made a few observations of my own. 

Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):

1.  Italians love to smoke. 
Or maybe I should say Romans since it might be more predominant in big cities.  Everywhere you went, people were smoking.  Young, old, men, women.  There were cigarette butts littering the ground, and the scent of cigarette smoke in the air.

The warning "Smoke kills" is written on all packages of cigarettes, but it doesn't seem to matter.

2.  Romans don't use leashes on their dogs.
If my dogs were with me in Rome,  I think I would have a hard time walking them ON LEASH.   Outdoor cafes with food dropped on the ground, cats, pigeons, busy streets with motorcycles, fast cars,  alleyways, hordes of tourists - I wouldn't stand a chance of keeping my dogs focused.
If they were off-leash, they'd be dead!
  This little dogs was following its owner (the lady in the coat) as she walked the streets.  The dog would stop to sniff something then run to catch up.  The owner seemed almost oblivious that the dog was there.  She would cross streets and turn corners all without a backwards glance.   One morning I watched a man with 3 greyhounds walking on the Via Veneto.  He stepped into a cafe to get coffee without saying anything to the dogs and they just hung out on the sidewalk until he came back out.  Not a word to the dogs, he just kept walking and they fell in step beside him!  Incredible!
The BIG downside to this easygoing attitude is the owners don't even notice if the dog poops.  Dog poop does NOT get picked up!

3.  Beggars are everywhere.

There are plenty of beggars ALL OVER ROME. 
Outside of churches seem to be popular spots.
Many of them were without hands or feet, and I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to them.  Thinking back to the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" where acid was poured into the eyes of the children so they could make money begging, could it be possible that these poor men and women had once been whole?

4.  There are probably as many statues in Rome as there are cats!

Everywhere you look there are statues.  On fountains,  on buildings, in parks and churches, and especially in museums.  If you stopped to look at every statue in the Vatican Museums you would never come out.  After a short time, they all start looking alike - except for the truly remarkable ones like Michaelangelo's David in Florence.

5.  There may be more Japanese tourists than Roman statues and cats combined!

Ok, maybe it's because they're easy to recognize but they seem to be everywhere!  Yes, they carried cameras, but I observed a few other traits during my stay in Rome.
-  They dress for the weather.  Not Roman weather, though.  Maybe for the weather back in Japan.
   It was 85 degrees and sunny and we were sitting in the shade eating gelato, and this large Japanese tour group walks by us with hats, coats, pants, socks,  and walking shoes (or sandals with socks). 
-  In the same tour group, many of them had backpacks.  Or I should say frontpacks since they were wearing them backwards and hugging them with their arms - most likely to guard against theft.

Seeing all of these Japanese tourists was also a blessing.  My husband had so much fun and fit right in!  He was so happy!

He even made friends!

I'll zoom in closer...

That's him - hugging  the lady with the red hat!  He's such a friendly guy!


The real picture looked like this...

Not nearly as interesting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mamma, Ti Voglio Bene

I had a rather unique Mother's Day this year.

It began with a very sweet gift from my son - a cookie and red roses!
The cookie stands for

"Mamma, ti voglio bene" or
"Mom, I love you".

It was my day and we could go wherever I wanted to go!
And I wanted to see some not so typical tourist sights.

After going to a Farmer's Market and having a nice lunch,
we set out to find a the Knights of Malta keyhole.

 When we found it, there was a line of visitors waiting for their chance to look into the keyhole.
 When my turn came, this is what I saw!

 Through a long tunnel of hedges was the dome of St. Peter's Basilica!

Next, we headed to the Via Appia Antica.

This ancient road, constructed in the 5th century B.C. originally spanned about 330 miles from Rome to a seaport on the Adriatic where boats left for Egypt, Greece, or Africa. 

Much of the Appian Way has been preserved, the stones polished by thousands of years of use. It was thrilling to walk on the same stones as the ancient Romans (although I doubt if Vance and Adam shared my enthusiasm!)

As sunset approached, we made our way to a Aqueduct Park on the outskirts of Rome where remnants of ancient aqueducts still remain. 

The fields around the aqueducts were filled with graceful grasses and beautiful red poppies!

It was absolutely gorgeous at sunset...

The constantly changing light and shadows combined with the majestic arches of stone was like a dream to a photographer!

Thank you, Adam, for an unusual, but very wonderful Mother's Day!