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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.... How does your garden grow?

Tending to relationships is much like tending to a garden.

In order for a garden to flourish and grow, you need to care for it.  You need to water it, fertilize it and sometimes pluck the weeds.  In return, the plant will (hopefully) bloom and grow and produce good fruits to be enjoyed.

Some gardens may need more care than others for sure, but you would you completely neglect your prize rose garden for that new tomato plant?

If a garden is not tended to, the plants and flowers can wilt - and even die.
How awful would it be for your if you've moved years of concentration and effort from your prize rose garden onto that new tomato plant, a plant that only flourishes for a bit, gives it's fruit & dies and then your roses begin to wilt?

You've neglected your roses thinking ... they'll be fine.  I ALWAYS tend to them.  Then after a while, you realize that your once strong and healthy roses now have aphids and browned petals.  Their bloom is no longer as full.  The once prize winning roses that you've spent years and years tending to and loving are now in such great need of care you don't even know where to begin.

What's important?  Where is your time best spent?

Gardens are much like friendships and other relationships - they require constant work in order to bloom and grow.  To reap the fruits of the good times and happy memories.

All too often I see people neglecting their relationships.  Taking them for granted, as if they're a given.  Not just marriages - but friendships & family relationships too!

It's a constant give and take.  The good, the bad and the ugly.

It's not always going to be sunshine & flowers.  There will always be periods of rain and sometimes real storms.

Sometimes the rain is important - not every care taker can water every garden at the same time and some gardens need more attention than others.

It's about preparing for the storms.  Caring for all your relationships in a way that they are able to withstand the coming storms.  You may not always be able to protect every single plant from the storm, but I'll bet the ones you've given the most to will endure and remain strong, while others will fade away.

So, Mary, Mary...How DOES your garden grow?  With silver bells & cockle shells & pretty maids in a row?

Or, do you need to tend to your garden so it can endure the storm?

Thank you for reading my blog!


...if tomorrow never comes, will they know how much you love them?

In loving memory of Gary 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Camping with the family! the rain

Presently, I'm sitting in a quiet house.

The only noises I hear are the ceiling fan, the a/c and the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.  LOVE it!

The short one - comatose!  Absolutely, positively - shot.  Out like a light.
Call it anything you want.  I call it quiet time!  Also, hubby & the princess are out grocery shopping.

This weekend was our annual church camping trip.  Now for those of you who will be turned off by the "c word" - get over it!  If you've read long enough you know - Yes, I go to church and no I'm not going to cram church down your throat.  For my newbies, now you know.  We good now?

Truth be told, we DO happen to attend a REALLY cool church!  I mean, how many churches host an annual camping trip, AND like each other enough to WANT to hang out with each other for a whole weekend?  I could go on and on about how cool our church is, but I'm talking about the camping trip.

It was definitely a rainy weekend.
Before you go feeling all sorry for me about camping in the rain...the last time I "tented" was October, 2004 - I believe.

I can still feel the cold coming up through the air mattress and crippling my back, and still hear the never ending parade of 18 wheelers in the distance - down shifting every 20 minutes from 10 pm to 5 am.  Ahh, rest & relaxation.

Yeah, my tenting days are LONG OVER!  I'm entirely too old to for that crap!

We have a camper.
I have my own bedroom, the kids have their own area.  There's a kitchen, a shower & a toilet.  No midnight fumbling to get out of the tent to make my way over to the disgusting bath house.  Camper!  It's nice for family travel & no one else, besides us, has drooled on the pillows or done you know what in the bed.  It's my home away from home that I can take where ever I want, or allow it to be our rolling guest house when need be.

So back to the camping trip...What is it that tuckers the short one out so??

Well, the campground we went to is very family oriented.  Lots of kids & our group alone consisted of about 12-14 kids under the age of 10.  We were parked in an area that was much like the track at your local high school.  A big circle around the area where the farm animals were penned.  We could see around the entire circle, which they continually ran laps around.

Then of course there was the swimming pool... Rain??  Pfft... they were already wet...  Mostly, the kids just played & we knew where the were at all times - well, except once when the short one took off without telling me where she was going.
I'm happy to report I've survived that mild total flippin' coronary!

The rain matters very little when you're around people you enjoy.  There were EZ Ups & tables & tons food.  It really was just great.

Ya know what's not so great?
OK, maybe not that much.....
Laundry.  Yeah, I had no laundry before we left.  I don't know what it is about camping that can create 5 loads of laundry in 2 1/2 days - but that's where I am now.

So it's off to slay the dreaded laundry monster.  If you don't hear from me in a while, send help!

However, I do fully expect the house to go dark by 8 pm this evening... after all, we're shot!

Thank you for reading my blog!!



Friday, July 27, 2012

Pecking order.... It's not just for chickens...

Ah yes, the pecking order.

You know, the unspoken rule of who's the top dog - right on down the line to the one who's fighting for the next, better spot.

You see it everywhere.  In families, at work, amongst friendships - even on Survivor.
I've been seeing so much of this lately - mostly among the short ones.

Having been at the top of my family's pecking order (oldest sibling) and watching the interactions of my kids and other people's kids - the rule of the pecking order never really changes.

The eldest is (almost) always the top dog.  The younger, weaker, whatever are always at or close to the bottom - trying in vain to over throw the top dog, or at least next in line to be in the "better" spot.

A few weeks ago my sister in law and her three littles stayed with us.  Her eldest is my daughter's age & two younger boys.  Now, my sister in law was the baby of her family.  She sympathizes with the plight of the youngers.  Me - I was the eldest, so I see my niece bossing her little brothers around and I think "you go girl".  To an extent, of course. My sister in law didn't like how "mean" her daughter was being to her younger brother.

I thought it was funny - because I can STILL relate to that specific family dynamic.

I may be the shortest, but I was in charge!
I was the big sister - the numero uno.  Then came my brother, Eric, 3 years later.  HIM, the kid that stole my mommy and daddy away from me as far as I was concerned, at the tender age of three.  The kid that I accidentally, on purpose tripped when no one was looking - just because he was there.  Don't go saying how mean I was... PECKING ORDER.  I was establishing my dominance.

You know that some of  you elder siblings were doing the same thing, or similar!

Looking back now, no I wasn't always the nicest and I'd do anything to have my brother back now.  Of one thing I'm certain, as mean as I may have been, my brother always knew that no one would mess with him (besides me).  He knew that I'd always look out for him and even though I'd be the first to kick his butt, I was his big sister and I loved him.  He also knew to come to me for help if he was in some sort of trouble, or was in a situation he couldn't handle and didn't want our parents to know about.
He also became one to "not be messed with."

The next in line after Eric is my baby brother, as I still lovingly refer to him.  He and I clicked.  I loved him and cared for him and protected him, because, ya know - he isn't the one who came along to steal my mommy & daddy away - it was that other one.

Eric, however, didn't see the new little "invader" in the same way & he was the one to keep our baby brother in line.  After all, THIS kid is the one who stole HIS mommy & daddy away from HIM.

It was a healthy line of respect, even if it seems really whacked!

I've got two of my own children.  Ten years apart.  Now you'd think that pecking order wouldn't come into into play with such an age difference... not so!

I vividly remember a day when my darling son was teasing the ever living crap out of his sister.  There was really no harm, he was just playing.  When it got to a point where she was upset and started to cry, I intervened.  I asked him why in God's name would he continue to tease her - after all she's 10 years younger.  His reply?  "Expressing my dominance, mom."  I let it go.  No on was hurt, nothing mean spirited or violent was going on.  She was just pissed she wasn't getting her way.  PECKING ORDER!

It's good to be queen...
My young man has since left the nest.  "Baby Girl" is now considered to be at the top of the sibling pecking order, since we are a foster family and chickadee is younger.  Now it's "baby girl's" turn to show the younger sibling the ropes.  To express her dominance in a healthy way so that she feels good about herself and chickadee will learn to be tough, to speak up and to fight for what she wants.

To learn that even though there IS an unspoken pecking order - not just at home, but in life - she can still climb her way through & not take anyone's crap.

She'll learn that the pecking order isn't just about being in charge - but setting an example of loving and caring to the younger ones.

Thank you for reading my blog!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gonna Party, Cuz it's my Blog-Day!

That's right....

Just a year ago today my little baby bloggie was born.  Awww, look - isn't she cute?  Yes - SHE.

Looking back over the last year was really eye opening.

We all go through different phases in our lives at different times - but seeing it right out there, re-reading & remembering is a whole new ball game.  I never really thought of this as  journaling, but I guess on some level it is.

My very first post was, well - absurd!  I can remember the day I wanted to start a blog.  I love to write.  I didn't say I was GOOD, I said I like to write.  Yes, I have books in progress - which is why I really started this.  To get my creative juices flowing & actually get my books re-written, re-edited and perhaps published.

At first, it was great - I was writing, writing, writing.  I went back and re-read the drivel I'd written almost 20 years ago.  I added to it, I deleted it, I edited the crap out of it.  I was on a roll.  It almost looked as if I'd actually finish the book I'd started so many years prior.  I was happy.  It was going!

And then...Brain fart.

My life got a little weird - OK, very weird.  Well, not really my life so much as me.  I got weird.
My medication started doing weird things to me and I became this person I didn't know.  I started reacting oddly to situations I normally wouldn't give a flying crap about.  I over reacted and over everything'ed in so many areas I can't even begin to say.  So I just continued blogging.

Did I push people away and burn some bridges?  Yeah - I did.  I even blogged about it.  I feel kind of sad about it still, but everything works out in time - or not.
Happily, I'm back to me again - and my little book...  Well, it's still incomplete.  Did I mention that I have 4 incomplete books?  Four books, four topics all undone.  One I've actually scrapped to be honest - I started it in my 20's.

I'm actually ashamed of the person who wrote that book.  I'm not her.  I don't know who she is.  I can't relate to her anymore.  That should be a fabulous reason to publish it - but nope.  It's done.

The one thing I was able to continue - was this little blog.  My therapy.  :)  The place where I could just be me and put it all out there, in black and white.  To be held accountable.  To say my sorry's or kiss my arse.  Whatever.  Where I don't have to be so careful, so entertaining or so literate.  It's a blog, not a friggin' novel! 

In celebration of my Blog-Day - here is my very first post.

Yes, it's kinda lame - but hey, I didn't know where I was going with any of this.  Enjoy the silliness.

Frogs ARE Smart!

I hate for my opening blog to be ridiculous, but this is officially a day in the life of Jenn...

OK, so back when my little girl was in 1st grade, I thought it would be really cool to get her a Grow a Frog kit for Christmas.  (available at

Mommy loves and collects frogs (but please don't buy me any for my collection) and CC has learned to love them to.  So, we got and grew our frogs.

Now 2 1/2 years later - the 3 tadpoles have grown into rather large aquatic frogs & we have them in a 5 gallon tank with a gold fish.  There used to be 3 frogs...  One frog mysteriously disappeared sometime last year (we blamed the kitty). 

Ahhhh, it flippin' moved!
Descending the stairs to the basement yesterday, I noted a frog shaped blob on the floor.  YUCK...
I thought, crap how did this guy escape & here's another dead one to explain to my daughter.  I grab a paper towel & he jumped....  OMG he's alive!!

I quickly scooped him up in a cup of water, brought him to the sink & he shook off the fuzz and lint he'd collected and I threw him back into the tank.  Still completely and totally perplexed on how he escaped to begin with, we sealed all potential exits & moved on with the day.

At dinnertime, I went to feed the frogs & fish and lo and behold, we were again shy a frog.  I was SHOCKED - I looked again, and there he was INSIDE of the filter, again trying to escape.  Really??  Why the heck would this frog want to endure the torture of being covered in lint almost dead again?  I fished him out of the filter & went on.

Sure enough last night, while lying in bed last night I hear - clank, clank, clank - that little bugger found his escape route, remembered it & was trying to get out once again.

No more screenings of Finding Nemo for this frog!!

I was relieved to see that he was still in the tank this morning, but he's clearly not a happy froggie anymore.

Looks like I'll be calling the frog farm today on the other side of town.  I'd much rather have him live out the rest of his little life with other froggie friends.  So later we will say bye to Sunshine.  Moonlight will be a very lonely little froggie until we set her free too.

So you see - frogs ARE smart!

See, I told you - Lame!
To recap this particular blog - Sunshine & Moonlight are still a part of our family.  I don't even know which one it was that tried to escape - but he/she/it now has "the mark of the wizard" like Gil from Finding Nemo, from getting caught in the filter trying to escape so many times.

I never freed them, we just got a bigger tank & added more goldfish.

Can you see the glowing neon SUCKER light from there???  I know that you can :)

Thank you so much for your continued love & support.  You being a part of my little "Blogisphere" means so much to me!

If you care to go back and read the oldies, great - if not, that's fine too.  :)  I'm just happy your here!!

Lots of love & big, fat, juicy SMOOCHIES from the slightly warped Jersey Girl!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hello Outside! Are you calling to me??

Sometimes this whole work thing really gets in the way of my life!

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE my job & I prefer to work.  I had the option to stay home, but why??  My kids are in school all day.  But you know all this crap - we've discussed it before.

Sometimes, on days that I'm not jumping through hoops to keep the average Italian happy (owned by an Italian company) I look out my office window to the sunshine & trees across the parking lot & think MAN, do I want to be out there right now!

Then I fall into my brain & dreams of wanderlust.  Yes I can dream of wanderlust, not just have it!  Cuz' ya know - my actual wanderlust has been thwarted by the short people that live in my home.  Yeah, yeah - I could take them - but I want to go places - see things. Things that the short people would somehow foul at the tender ages of 10 & 6.

I know some of you out there are nodding your heads in agreement so hard they're about to snap off your neck.

Lately, I'm dreaming of San Diego.  Not with my family - alone!  Yep, just me.  Me, me, me!

I want to fly, free as a bird, even just for a few days & go see my first born.

When not with my young sailor, I'd love time to to walk the beaches of Cali - alone and just listen to the Pacific crash against the shore - even for just a little while.

And then, after the day is done... to watch the sun SET instead of rise, as it does on the East coast.  To just relax & snap back into gear.  Yes - this is my wanderlust dream of late.

It's this and the many other random dreams of travel that flit through my head randomly through the beautiful sunny days.  Like today.

While the pile of papers next to my desk may be staring me down - I know it's the warm, sunny breeze outside that's really calling to me.  Throwing me the mental image of me in a long flowing skirt & my hair blowing gently in the breeze - sitting on a blanket under a tree in the bright sunlight.  Then pouring a nice glass of red & nibbling on fabulous gourmet cheese.

Ah - you see it too, don't you.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Poof - back to reality.

Oh well - I'd probably be bored if I were independently wealthy anyway.


Thank you for reading my blog!

Wishing you a day full a beautiful dreams & even better realities!



Friday, July 20, 2012

Time Sure Flies When You're Having Fun...

Wow, what a whirl wind of days that flew by me before I could notice!

Work has had a stronghold over me lately.  I blinked & two weeks just zoomed right past.  Don't you hate that?

Today is Friday, and Friday is full of awesomeness in my house!  We stay up late and act goofy and then tomorrow we get to sleep in - stay in our jammies all day if we want, until it's time to go in the pool.  THIS is what I love about summer, about weekends & about the time with my kids.  Carefree - have fun, do what we want.  No rules!  Well, OK - some rules.

No matter how old he is, this is how I see him.
The time with my son screamed by.
I can't even believe that he's grown, out of the house and defending our country.  We had our fun while he was really little & things got hard for us.  Then time took hold & ran so fast I don't know what happened.  School, Sports - I blinked.

When I was younger, my body wouldn't cooperate in the "child manufacturing department".
So my "bio babies" are ten years apart and then the little chickadee is 5 years younger than my baby girl.

I have a second chance at enjoying my babies while they're still young, but it's happening again. 

"Baby Girl" is almost 10.
She's already rolling her eyes at me.  I'm only cool some of the time & the rest of the time I'm just REALLY MEAN and "don't let her do anything."  Ho hum...

Well, I've still got chickadee - for as long as she stays with us.
She still seems to like me, but then I'm also not "bio mom" so I totally rock.  Well, most of the time.

Some days, I wish I could stop time, or even have a remote control to pause or rewind.  Sometimes fast forward - you know the times.  Just more time to enjoy the things that go by so fast.  The things that rob you of the good stuff.

I'm definitely rolling into the time of my life where I've gotten my "freedom to be me" back.  I still have to get babysitters if I want to go out, but no more diapers, no more bottles or feeding little people who can't feed themselves.  I'm finally getting to enjoy my friends & be a big person again.

Before I know it, the short ones will be big ones & following their big brother onto the next phase of their life.

It makes me sad to think about it sometimes, but for now - I'm just going to soak up every second of the little people time.

Don't blink!

As always, thank you for your continued support & for reading my blog!

Have an amazing weekend!!

Big Smoochies!!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Deep Thought for the Day....

For anyone who's received or read the Sunshine Blogger Award, you've noted that the first question is:
What would you most like to change about yourself?

I immediately knew what my answer would be.  It's the one thing about myself that I can't control, for whatever reason.

That is that I'm "over the top".  In your face.  Too much.  Too everything.

Then I began to think - well, how did I get here?

Naked time....

OK, so if you've been reading for a while or even reading back - you may have noted that I've had quite a bit of loss in my life.  Much of it happening while I was quite young.  My dad when I was 18 and my first love, who I had remained very close with, at 21.

Prior to all of that - I'd taken life and the people around me for granted.

Losing my dad was more than difficult for me.  My parents were divorced.  I was living with my dad and had an awful relationship with my mother.  When my dad committed suicide I was alone.
I wasn't welcome to live back in my mother's house - because I chose to go live with my dad and well, it was my problem that he was gone, not hers.

I struggled for years over my dad's death.  I made stupid choices just latching on to anything that would help me to find an ounce of security.  To feel safe in my own skin.  Whatever I tried didn't work.

After my dear sweet friend, my "big little sister" & also Gary's little sister, Karen became my room mate I was able to start re-building me.  She was great for me.  She was good with who I was.  No pretending with her - because she knew me for who I really was.  She was/is as fun loving and goofy as I am.  She also knew my dad, my family, my relationship with Gary and loved me anyway.  I didn't need to rely on some outside source to help me.
I was figuring it out & Karen was right along side me figuring out her stuff.  The two of us laughing OFTEN!

I slowly began to heal.  I still made really stupid choices - heck these were the the ages between 18-21 we're talking about here.  I was a big ol ball of stupid - with a sprinkle of the responsibility of work, school & bills & a whole lotta crazy!

When Gary died, it both strengthened & killed our relationship.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was stupid.  She was absolutely grief stricken & we just couldn't help each other.  I went my way, she went hers.  We stayed in touch sporadically - but sadly - didn't talk for a long time.  If we did - it wasn't like it had been.  Not for a very long time.

Looking back now - I know it was my fault.
She needed me - and I was just too freaked out by major loss #2 that I pushed her away.  Not because she'd done anything to me, but because I was afraid to lose her too.  Pushing her away was within my control.

After many more mistakes & years of therapy - I'd regained me.  I'd regained the person who I am - but now instead of pushing people away - I never let them go.

Before you think I'm this insecure little hausfrau - please know, I'm good with me.  I'm a good person and really, I am very secure about myself.  I could actually stand to be taken down a few pegs from time to time :)   My problem is the fear of losing someone & the need to keep them close.

I love everyone.  Yes, even you, person reading this blog!  I genuinely care about people.  I want to do good for others & care for anyone I am able to care for.  Does it hurt me when I'm pushed away - yeah, of course - but I'll go on.  I've got lots of people & I keep finding more.

At the risk of seeming like I'm being a copy cat, I love the mental image of being tackled by your puppy who hasn't seen you in a full 2 minutes, yet they feel as if they haven't seen you in FOREVER when you walk in the door!  The love that they throw all over you.  THAT is who I am.  *To give proper credit where credit is due - this is Katy at I Want a Dumpster Baby's M.O.
I had to borrow this, since I feel like I fit comfortably into that little niche.

I often wonder if the puppy ever feels neglected.  If the puppy thinks; "Man, I just love these people to death.  I give them all my love and wet kisses.  I always make them feel special.  I leave them presents.  Why do they leave me in this crate all day?"

I feel like that sometimes.  Probably a little more today since I've got a wicked case of PMS brewing and oh, my horoscope said something about Cancer mooning me or something...  Who knows?

Mostly, this behavior of mine is received well.

I guess it's better to be overly friendly than an angry bitch, right

I know I'm over the top.  Overly everything.  The one thing about myself that I wish I could tone down.  The piece of me that not everyone gets - or realizes that I really will settle down after a while.

Ya know, just like the excited puppy.  After a while - he'll just plop at your feet and take a nap.

So how about you??  Since we're getting all deep & thinking on Thursday.... What's your issue?

Come on... bring it!

Have a fabulous day & thank you for reading my drivel... Um, I mean blog today.



PS.  For anyone who doesn't know - I am still in touch with Karen.  She lives far, far away - but she and I are still "sisters".  And Kar, if you're reading this (because I sent it to ya - so you better be)  I LOVE YOU!!  Big Hugs & Smooches!