Valentine Roses

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On the first Valentine’s Day after September 11, 2001, Bruce’s firehouse, Squad 41, sent me one dozen long stem red roses. They send a dozen roses to each of six widows from Squad 41. It was an amazing gesture.

I cried because of their kindness.

I also laughed because those were the first Valentine’s roses I ever received.

For each of the twenty-one years we were married, I told Bruce “don’t buy me roses on Valentine’s Day. They are too expensive. The price is inflated. Buy me flowers any other day but not Valentine’s Day.”

He did buy me flowers on random days.

And I am grateful ūüôā

 

 

12 in 2017

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I decided I would do my end of the year recount using twelve photos of mine from 2017.

One of my 2017 favorites on multiple levels. First it is a great photo of my daughter. Second I love the little girl  statue standing up for herself being fearless. 2017 was a year of women doing that Рstanding up. And to me the best thing about women standing up was they were standing up together. Women backing up and coming along side other women. We need each other. We are stronger together.

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Visiting the Ringling Circus Museum in Florida with friends was a highlight but bittersweet with the reality that the days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus were over in May 2017. ¬†Travel Tuesdays ‚Äď The Ringling

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My second grandson was born on March 30, 2017.

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My first grandson turned two years old on April 29. He has decided my name is mommom.  I am fine with that. I babysat both of my little men on Mondays and Tuesdays for June Рend of August 2017. It was fun and I slept well.

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Family vacation with my girls and their guys was a delightful week at the end of May. We rented a house in Annapolis, MD with day trips to Baltimore and the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Best part just being together. Added bonus being together for both of my daughters’ birthdays – 5/31 & 6/3. Fun moment was the Memorial Day parade. I love a parade. When was the last time you watched a small town parade? Add it to your to do list for 2018 you won’t regret it.

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The 9/11 Tribute Center grew into the 9/11 Tribute Museum in June 2017. Our new location at 92 Greenwich Street has the potential for educating large numbers of people but has not been without challenges as we settle into our new space just a tad further away from The Plaza. Still telling my story whether to school groups or on walking tours or in the galleries. Blessed to volunteer with the most amazing group of people.

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June 14, 2017 was my Mum’s 85th birthday. A few weeks later we gathered with old friends and family to celebrate her.

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I have seen Come From Away four times and I would see it again without hesitation. If you only see one Broadway show in 2018, make it Come from Away. If you plan to see more than one, add it to our list.  Come From Away

“We honor what we lost. But we also commemorate what we found!” Come from Away

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I have been to Seattle, WA many times. My daughter and her husband lived there for nine years. September 2017 was the first time I went to Seattle to visit Seattle. After my trip, I told Emily I understood why she loved Seattle. Had a great trip with good friends.

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On the way home from Seattle, I spent the weekend with family in Denver, CO.  I hope to spend more time with extended family in 2018. Aunts, Uncles, all manner of in laws, cousins, nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews are blessings.

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Family and those who are family through years of friendship came together to celebrate and remember my Mum.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” C.S.Lewis

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This is my number one photo for 2017. My daughter introducing her son to her grandmother, my Mum aka Nanny. Neither of my daughters could make it to my mother’s party in June. They decided they would both visit her on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. My sister graciously opened her home again for a mini get together that day was my mother’s last good day she died less than a week later on September 8.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ¬† Dr. Seuss

 

A Love Story

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Today would have been my parent’s wedding anniversary. My Dad died in November 2012. Actually, we lost my Dad much early due to a massive stroke in 2006. ¬†My sister and I have discussed if we are the people we are “because of or in spite of” my¬†parents. We have “played” pop psychologist analyzing¬†and scrutinizing my parents’ relationship and personalities.¬†During one of those conversations my sister commented “their story was truly a love story”. Wait! What! I wanted to ask didn’t she remember slammed doors, raised voices, less than stellar choices on many levels.. Their story wasn’t a fairy tale – American serviceman from Oklahoma meets young British woman during Korean war and they live happily ever after.¬† No that wasn’t it. Their life together wasn’t perfect or maybe even what they each expected it to be¬†–¬†4 children,¬†financial stress, mental health issues,¬†miscarriages,¬†moving a lot – Oklahoma, Utah, Arizona and finally New Jersey.*

However just this week I realized my sister was right¬†my parents’ story was a love story. Because after it was all said and done from April 22, 1953 until November 25, 2012.

”¬†I, James,¬†take thee, Margaret, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.”

I, Margaret, take thee, James, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”

They kept their vows definitely not perfectly but they kept their vows and something bigger than words makes you keep those vows – love!

IMG_1034 Mom and Dad in Christmas 1988.

 

*Years ago I realized that my parents did the best they could with the resources (financial, emotional, mental and spiritual) they had. There is a sense of freedom when you come to that point.

April 19 – then and now

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. My prayers and thoughts are with the family members, victims, fire responders, all who have always known whether it is the first, seventh, thirteenth or twentieth time April 19 has been the date on the calendar since that terrible day in 1995. My prayers are also with those who served on the jury for the trial of the accused bomber. This has to be difficult day for so many.

Twenty years ago I was in England with my two daughters and my British born mum for a two-week¬†vacation to introduce my girls to the “mother country” of their Nanny. We were fortunate to have family to stay with and who were also willingly to drive us hither and fro through the British Countryside.¬†We had already visited the sights of London – toured ¬†the Tower, heard Big Ben chime twelve as we came out of the underground, visited the stables to see the Queens horses, shopped for English sweets and souvenirs. We had taken the train to Oxford to see the universities and where I was born. On Easter Sunday we had gone to Windsor Castle and had a glimpse of the Queen Mother leaving church.

On Wednesday April 19 we had visited Hampton Court and my daughters had participated in the “Jeweled Egg Hunt”, a scavenger hunt designed to make historical places a little more interesting to a 7 and 10-year-old.¬†Upon returning¬†to Auntie Mirrey’s house¬†while enjoying a cup of tea there was breaking news report on the television¬†of a bombing in Oklahoma City. My dad is from Oklahoma. Oklahoma was far away but not foreign to us. I had lived on the campus of the University of Oklahoma as a little girl. I remember trying to listen to the information¬†and at the same time shielding my daughters from the news. A telephone call “home” would give more information but the sense of disbelief would remain. Sadness for those who were lost, sadness for innocence lost, sadness for lives changed, sadness for my country being bombed.

On that day twenty years ago I didn’t know that 6.5 years later¬†I would become a member of a select group of people¬†those who have experienced a personal loss¬†¬†in the midst of a national tragedy. I didn’t realize that I would be able to understand in ways I wish I didn’t know what it is like to have a nation remember the anniversary of your loved ones death. ¬†I pray that no one else ever has that distinction.

Star Trek and my childhood

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Reading about Leonard Nimoy’s death today brought back¬†childhood memories of¬†watching Star Trek with my parents and siblings. There weren’t many shows that we watched as a family but Star Trek was definitely one of them.¬†Growing up we¬†didn’t have a television in our living room so we would all pile into my parents’ ¬†bedroom to watch Star Trek.¬† I remember my Dad telling us my mother included¬†to watch the show or leave but don’t talk expect during the commercials. As I remember my brother, James,¬†was really into Star Trek. James was always challenging me to do that tricky finger thing (which for the record I still can’t do it) and he loved to say “that isn’t logical”.

James was Mr. Spock for Halloween one year.¬†His costume had been designed¬†by my Dad¬†complete with¬†“pointy ears” and a Starship Enterprise insignia. I don’t remember if¬†James had any kind of phaser or¬†“beam me up Scotty device”¬†but I am thinking¬†he¬†did. Due to the fact that the ¬†Halloween costumes my Dad designed were always amazing and “state of the art”.¬† Of course “state of the art” in the 1960’s meant¬† boxes, paint, big batteries, wiring and¬†flashing lights. One year my¬†brother’s robot costume made from boxes, a¬†bucket and blinking lights won my brother a bicycle and his photo in the newspaper.¬†Another year my traffic light costume¬†had lights that flashed green, yellow and red. That same year my sister’s¬†pumpkin costume wasn’t just a pumpkin it was a jack o lantern that¬†lit up.¬†A side story:¬†my sister’s pumpkin costume was perfectly round and looked great. The problem was¬†she was a¬†little girl in this big orange pumpkin costume and at one point¬†she slipped on the walkway and rolled all the way¬†down neighbor’s driveway.¬†She was okay but I can still remember worrying she was going to¬†roll¬†into our “busy”¬†street as¬†we called it. But my Dad’s piece de resistant¬†was the Starship Enterprise he built in our attached one car¬†garage.¬† Oh, it wasn’t a boxed model or a jigsaw puzzle¬†it was¬†the bridge of the Enterprise. I think my sister and I were allowed to use it but mostly it was for my brother. There¬†was silver painted plywood, blinking lights, computer screens, all kinds of buttons and switches and charts. It was the stuff of childhood dreams and adventures. To be honest I don’t know what happened to it. Eventually the attached garage would be¬†renovated into a family room and then my Dad’s library.

I don’t remember many of the story lines of Star¬†Trek as they “boldly went where no man had gone before”.¬†The one¬†episode where some tiny creature crawled into people’s ear¬†is still disturbing.¬†Whenever I see a gerbil, the furry tribble ¬†episode comes to mind. I was never a Trekkie but I saw a couple of the Star Trek movies and was delighted when the original Mr. Spock had a cameo. Oddly enough¬†when the signs for the Renaissance Festival are displayed I always think of Star Trek. Some years ago my brother and his family lived in California and he had mentioned that¬†advertisements for the Renaissance Festival in CA stated “no Trekkie time travelers.” ūüėČ

Rest in Peace! Mr. Nimoy.  Your role as Mr. Spock brought many happy memories to my mind today. Praying that your family and friends may find peace and comfort in the roles you played as friend, father, husband and grandfather. Safe journey.

 

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My year in review. The ABCs of 2014.

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year in reviewA is for arabesque. I taught one ballet class a week.

B is for book clubs. I belonged to two.

C is for children’s camp. I directed with the best team ever.

D is for Dunkin Donuts. I drank a lot of coffee.

E is for East of Eden. I enjoyed reading this John Steinbeck classic.

F is for family and friends. Fun, food and fantastic stories.‚̧

G is God. He is good.

H is for home. I accomplished a few items on the ‚Äúto do list‚ÄĚ.

I is for ice cream. Always a yummy treat.ūüėč

J is for Japan. Amazing second visit.

K is for Kansas. Time spent with family.

L is for library. My daughter completed her masters in library information science.

M is for Minnesota. I spent ten days caring for my grand-nieces and nephews.

N is for National September 11 Museum. It opened in May.

O is for opportunities. I am blessed with many.

P is for PA. My new secondary residence.

Q is for quizzing. I teach in my local church and direct on the district.

S is for speaking. I spoke at 4 events including one all-day conference with my daughter.

T is for tea with Miss Carol. Always a treat.

U is for United. The airline I usually use. Flew to San Antonio, Seattle and Minneapolis.

V is for volunteering at Tribute Center. Lead and supported tours, spoke to school groups.

W is for writing. I took a writing course and now I need to get busy!

X is for eXcerise. I need to be more disciplined.ūüėź

Y is for year. Hard to believe another year has come and gone.

Z is for zero. The number of regrets I have.

In 2015- my goals are to read and write more, watch television less, enjoy simple times with family and friends and relish in being a grandma in the near future.ūüėä

a birth story – child # 2

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My first child was born three weeks after her due date and then only by force. My second child would arrive 5 days early. I would actually have labor with my second but she would also be born by C-section. My hubby would be seated next to me and I would watch in the mirror my doctors had set up. She would be totally wrapped in the cord just like baby #1 and the nurse would lay the baby’s cheek on mine and I would be in love. Wristbands would be placed on the baby and me and my hubby would leave the delivery room with the baby to head for the nursery. Within a matter of moments, Bruce, the baby and the nurse would be back. “What’s wrong?” The wrong date had been written on the wristbands it said June 2 but it was after midnight so it was June 3. So my wristband and baby’s wristband had to be changed and they had to be changed in my presence.

My daughters are 3 years and 3 days apart. There was no planning in that. It just worked out that way. It made it easy for family birthday parties which were always combined. Even though my children are born the same time of year and are both girls, they are very different. When they were little I would say they were night and day. I think God did that intentionally so I won’t think I had parenthood figured out. My first was a little timid about trying new things. She had to “check things out” before taking part in activities. My second would “jump right in” and then have a look of oops! For example, when my girls were little we belonged to the Sterling Forest Beach Club. It was a lovely beach on Greenwood Lake probably less than two miles from my house. There was a sandy beach area that gently sloped down to the water. The area was surrounded by beautiful trees as it was part of Sterling Forest. There was a playground and free swim lessons for the kiddos. I would sit on the beach in my sand chair and Emily, child #1, would play at the water’s edge with her sand toys. Meghan, child #2, was more adventurous. I remember one day in particular when Meghan at age 2 walked into the lake. I was watching her and so was the lifeguard. The lifeguard commented “how far do you think she will go?”. I said “let’s see.” Emily was concerned that the lifeguard and I were allowing Meghan to walk in. We were both standing close enough to grab her but that little stinker walked in up to her chin. Unbelievable!! That little stinker turns 27 today. Where do the years go!

Happy Birthday, Meghan! I am blessed to be your mom and so very proud of you.

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