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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Big Happy Family - Not

How is it that some siblings can argue and fight one minute and be best friends the next?
And other siblings just can't get past their differences to find a common ground?

I'm a member of a family that just can't get along, and I'm not proud of it.

Growing up, we never really fought a lot.  The first two of my siblings were spaced two years apart, then I was 4 years from my brother, and my sister Lori was 4 years after me. 

The first two interacted a lot as children, but given the 4 years between the rest of us there wasn't a lot of "playing together" as children.  I was at home alone with mom for 4 years while my brother and older sister were in school and my sister Lori had mom all to herself when I went to school.  We weren't in high school or college together.  My older sister is 6 years older than me.  Other than our time at home, we just didn't interact with each other very much.

So it's really been in the years that we have been adults that we haven't gotten along. 

It's not all of us.  There is a real bond between the first 2 siblings and the last 2 siblings.
But there is little or no friendship between the two pairs.

They say that sibling rivalry during childhood plays a role in adult sibling relationships, but I think in the case of our family the rivalry BEGAN as we progressed into adulthood and started our families.

Sibling rivalry is a normal aspect of childhood, experts say. Our siblings are our first rivals. They competed with us for the love and attention of the people we needed most, our parents, and it is understandable that we occasionally felt threatened. Much of what is written about sibling rivalry focuses on its effects during childhood.

But our sibling relationships are often the longest of our lives, lasting 80 years or more. Several research studies indicate that up to 45% of adults have a rivalrous or distant relationship with a sibling.

In the case of my family, it seems the rivalry began AFTER we were adults.  It makes sense because that was finally a time when we were all at a common place - working, buying our first houses, cars, having children.  Even as adults, it seemed that it revolved around competition for the love and attention of our parents.  

My younger sister and I had formed a strong bond in the years we were home alone together in high school and college.  My brother and older sister had formed a bond in their younger years and also in high school and college, given their closeness in age.

We were never a family that threw our differences out there and had a rip-roaring fight to sort it out.  We internalized things and kept all of the pain and hurt inside to keep the peace.  If we HAD fought as children, maybe we would have been better equipped to handle differences as adults.  We would know our bond was forever - no matter what.  We would care enough to make sure our differences didn't drive us apart.  We would be each other's cheerleaders.  And we would understand that our parents were trying their best to meet the needs of their children, but they were not perfect. It may have seemed that they had chosen favorites, loved unevenly or compared one child with the other.

Our parents have been gone now for over 3 years.  I had hopes that all of this nonsense would end.
But it hasn't.   I know it made my parents sad in the later years of their lives that they couldn't get all of their children together and have a happy, loving time together.

It saddens me that it continues.

But I've come to accept that it probably will never change.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meet the Oshiros!

If you're looking for a website to make your own Christmas cards
this year - you know, the ones with a pictures of your kids or family
on the front - then check out this one:

We used them last year and it really paid off!

I got an email from a company representative in June.
She told me they really liked our family picture that
we used on the card and they would like to use it on
their website to show cards for the 2012 collection!

Wow!  I was so excited! 

After signing a photo release form that they sent,
I got a coupon for 25% off and a voucher for $150!

Sooooooo,  the 2012 collection is out!

There are a lot of pretty designs...

But,  meet the Oshiros...

I kind of like our new name!

I looked it up:

Oshiro is a popular family name in Okinawa, from the large castle of the former Okinawan kingdoms. This literally translates into "big castle"

In the United States, this surname ranks 9,791st out of a total of 88,799 Japanese surnames.

Thanks for reading!

Gayle Oshiro  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poison Ivy, Oatmeal and Motherhood

A few weeks ago, I was feeling like the hours I spend being a mom were waning.

Adam, who hasn't lived at home more than a few weeks in the last year, has moved into a house on campus for his final year of college.

Kerry, a Junior in college, has moved into a beautiful apartment on campus.

And Annie - well,  let's just say I haven't been feeling needed or wanted lately.
In her last year of high school, her world is very busy and she is capable of handling
the events of her life pretty well on her own. 
Until now.

She got poison ivy over a week ago when she was helping
clear the cross country course at school.

When she told me only a few days ago, I figured she had
everything under control.  If she needed my help, she would ask for it.

Before bed late last night she showed me her ankle.
I have never had poison ivy, but I thought it looked pretty nasty.
She showed where it had been spread up her leg and to her other ankle.

Then she told me how she had made a concoction of oatmeal and
baking soda earlier in the evening.  You were supposed to
put in on the blisters and let it dry, but she told me it just kept running off
her ankle and dripping.  It never got a chance to dry.  She had even tried
to keep it on with saran wrap.


It was then that I began questioning her. 
I asked her if she had changed her towel since the breakout.
I asked her if she had changed her sheets since the breakout.
I asked her if she had worn the same shoes since the breakout.
Same clothing?

My motherhood juices started flowing!
I had a job again!  I was needed!
Like when they were little and would come running
inside when they got a boo-boo!

After making sure there were clean sheets on the bed,
a clean towel in the bathroom, and a pile of dirty
clothes and bed linen to wash, I went to bed.

When I got up this morning, Annie had gone to school already.
As usual, I went to the sink to put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher
when I saw a dried up bowl of Cream of Wheat.

I smiled and chuckled to myself!

No wonder the "oatmeal" had run down her leg last night!

So, to finish the story...

I took Annie to our pediatrician, Dr. Steve, after school today.
She got to go into the "space" room!
He thought it looked infected and gave her antibiotics.

Now she has another problem.

She can't swallow pills!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lessons from a Squirrel

When I think about writing a new blog post, I usually have a general idea of what I want to say then I do a little research online for quotes or information that will support or contribute to the topic in some way.  I actually end up learning a few things in the process.

Today I knew what I wanted to write about.


In particular, the hundreds of squirrels that have run in front of my car
in the past few weeks.
EVERY time I drive anywhere, it happens.

They sit on the side of the road and wait until the last minute
to dart across in front of me.

OR, they stop in the middle of the road long enough to make eye contact - causing me to swerve my car to avoid them.  The only problem is, they don't always continue across where I expect them to go!
Sometimes they deliberately go back in the direction I have gone to avoid them!

I swear I saw a squirrel yesterday carrying something - and it wasn't a nut!
Probably trying to capture the look on my face to publish in some squirrel newpaper!

But seriously,  in my research forced me to think deeper about squirrels
and what we can learn from.

1)  The squirrel only actually finds 10% of the nuts he hides for safekeeping.

      I know that I am guilty of over-preparing sometimes.  I try to think of all
      of the possible things that can happen and cover for them.  A lot of time
      and money is wasted preparing for things that never actually happen. 

2)  I wish I had the guts to just sprint to where I want to go,
     taking risks more readily,
     leaping from branch to branch without a care about falling.

3)  Sometimes you can't sprint to the finish line.  Often you cannot rush things. 
     Some things just take time.  No matter how much you want them to happen faster
     or how much you try.

and lastly

4)  Often the squirrel is almost across the road, but when scared by an oncoming car
     turns around retreats back to where he came from.  Isn't this true of us too? 
     We often get scared or let minor setbacks stop us from doing something,
     when in fact we were closer to our goal than we thought.

In my research, I never actually found out why squirrels are darting in front of my car
so much this year.  If anyone knows, please tell me.  I don't remember them being so
active ever before. 

Does it have to do with the weather? 

Does it say something about the upcoming winter?

Or since last winter was so mild,  are there just more squirrels this year?

I wish I knew.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Waterfront

The beauty of a Lake Champlain sunset fills me with awe.

I've seen many sunsets here in my 53 years.
As I watch the changing light and colors,  it brings me back to other sunsets.
It brings me back to other times in my life.

 As a fifteen year old with thoughts of friends, crushes, fears and triumphs...

As an eighteen year old trying to envision my future in college and beyond...

As a 22 year about to move away from home, full of uncertainty and hope, fear and excitement...

As a 25 year old with my new husband looking forward to our life together...

As a 40 year old watching the same awe in the eyes of my children...

And in my 50's, with hopes for the futures of my children and an ache for the past when my parents were alive and life was not so complicated.

Throughout the years, the lake has helped me put life into perspective.
As you sit and watch the sun sink below the horizon
bringing the darkness of night,
you see the colors are constantly changing.
Just when you think it can't possibly get any prettier, it does.

When the clouds are present,  it makes the sky even more colorful and glorious.

And on rainy days when the colors over the lake are more gloomy,
you might just turn around to leave and see that they have just moved
to a different place in the sky... 

Then, when driving back to real life once again, up the hill,
you see the clouds have cleared and the sky is the bluest blue,
causing you to catch your breath once again with the beauty of it all.

Being here grounds me, calms me, and gives me hope for a bright future.

With certainty, I know I will be back again.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Masks We Wear

We all do it.
We all wear masks.
For one reason or another.

Throughout my life, I have worn many masks.

As a child, I was very shy. 
I saw this as a flaw. 
After all, my teachers were quick to point it out on almost every report card.
I tried to wear a mask of self-confidence back then, but I know I wasn't very good at it.

As my life went on, I became much better at wearing masks.
I think we all do.

Masks of happiness when everything in life seems like it is crashing down on us.
Masks of confidence in the face of uncertainty.
Masks of indifference when we feel hurt or friends let us down.

How many of us would go out in public without make-up on?
There are so many ways we hide our true selves!

BUT, wearing these masks constantly causes us to feel alone. A popular quote says "You are only ever loved to the extent that you are known". We cannot feel loved for who we really are as long as we are not known as we really are. At the same time, we fear that if we expose our true selves we will be rejected.

I've been doing a lot of photography this summer - many senior portraits.
I get nervous every single time.
There are so many unknowns. 
I want so much to make each of these kids look good.
If they knew how anxious I really am, they would never want me taking their pictures.
They would never trust me with the job.
So I wear my photographer mask - a mask that I am confident and calm and know exactly what I'm doing!  If only they knew!
But as the summer went on,  I needed my mask less and less because I had actually gained REAL confidence.  The mask is not totally gone, but I'm getting there!

Writing this blog serves many purposes in my life.
One of these is letting the world know my true self - the real me.
Some people can't understand this.
They ask why I would want to talk about personal things in such a public way.

I guess it's my way of taking off my masks.
And it feels good.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In My Head

I'm so glad the summer is coming to an end.

I hope Ali likes her pictures.

I can't wait for the fall TV shows to start.

The dogs need a bath.

I will not put on my winter weight this year.

I wish I liked coffee.

September 27 - October 2 will be so much fun!

I'm sick of political ads already.

If Linda McMahon calls one more time...

I love my new sweater.

My garden needs work.

The bird feeders are running low.

I need to exercise more.

I love my Sanuks.

My new bathrooms make me feel happy.

I need to paint the trim.

Why doesn't Momo come in when she's sitting at the door?

The bananas are getting spotted.

Momo and Halle need vet appointments.

I'm glad Kerry came home for the weekend.

I'm not going outside again until the humidity goes away!

I'm excited that Hali is writing a blog.

I wish Vance could relax more.

I need to get more editing done.

I need to set up more photo sessions.

I need to clean the bathroom.

What will we eat for dinner tonight?

Who will Kelly's new co-host be?

I need to clean the kitchen.

I need a shower.

I can't wait to have fried dough at the Four Town Fair.

I wonder what Annie's college essay will be about.

I love that fall coat in the catalog I got yesterday.

Maddie makes me laugh.

What book will I read next?

I need to begin going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.

Why do so many squirrels keep running in front of my car?

Kerry doesn't have a garbage disposal...

The grapes are nice and crispy lately.

Macoun apples will be ready to pick soon.

Will we have a fall storm this year?

I love autumn.

Will Annie be in a good mood today?

The dogs need brushing.

Why does Maddie LEAP out the door instead of walk?

I love sleeping with the windows open.

I saw a maple tree with orange leaves already.

I need to listen to the news more.

I need to read the newspaper more.

I'm so happy I am so busy with photography.

I wish I had more free time.

We need parsley.

I shouldn't be taking so much time writing this blog.