Party, Party!!

It was a weekend full of events for us! Jamie and I went up Saturday to our good friend Rocking Robin's birthday party. We had a great time, good food and people always makes a party special. Though for a 'Surprise Birthday Party' she sure was dressed up :o) She got the info. out of me, I leak like a sieve, always have. Personal secrets I can take to the grave but fun exciting ones seem to find their way out of me quite easily.

On Sunday I went to my sister-in-laws baby shower. This was supposed to be a 'Surprise' as well. She sure was dressed up too though and she brought a gift for each mother :o) Her mother had gone to great lengths to keep it a surprise. The day before she hide all the food for the party in the trunk of her car while they visited and she set the party up at a friend's house so that she didn't see any of the prep work. This seems to be an on going game between mother and daughter; planning a surprise party and finding out about it.

Planning a surprise party for someone else always seems like a fun thing to try and do. In the same sense it's always a fun thing to try and play detective and figure out the surprise early and know what's going on. Part of making memories are the surprises in life and enjoying them as they come.

It's hard but it's always better to wait for the surprise. Around Christmas time everyone has the itch to try and find out what they are getting no matter what the age. By sneaking and finding out what you got before hand takes the magic and excitement out of when you do get to open it. Part of the fun of life is the anticipation of what it could be!! I love guessing what could that big present be?! Though I hate knowing I guessed correctly.

Life is made up of moments and you should never take away special ones from yourself, the anticipation moments are just as good and make the finally able to open the present moment better.


The Big 25 !!!!

Happy Birthday Robin!!! Congratulations and I can't wait to see you.

We're Buying a HOUSE !!!!!!!

So we are doing it!! We decided to buy the house ! Jamie talked to the mortgage guy and I talked to the real estate agent today. I'll pick up the papers today and we'll sign them by tomorrow. I can' believe it's really happening.

I was worried that if we did buy that I would feel overwhelmed and scared, but I am excited. I really think that we are making the right choice. It has a pool! and a big back yard! Whoo hooo!

I will keep you all posted on what happens, hopefully we will be able to move in by Sept. 1 because that is when our lease is up at our current rental.

Here is the link to the pictures of the home we are getting:

it's cute and I can't wait to have everyone over and have a big house party. Have a great weekend guys, I'm sure there will be more to tell on Monday.


Rent, Buy

Rent or Buy,
Rent or Buy,
Rent or Buy,
Rent, Buy, Rent, Buy. Buy, Rent, Buy.

Ahh, umm, maybe, not sure, possibly, down payment, let's go for it, I don't know, can you believe it, points, ummm, what do we want?

These have been our thoughts for the last few weeks. They kept me up all last night. How do we make this decision?

Rent, Buy, Rent, Buy.

If we buy will we ever be able to afford to have kids down the road? or to eat?? I'm more then willing to hear opinions on this one. Any one clairvoyant, give me an idea of where house prices are going.

Rent, Buy, Rent, Buy.

Rent and we can get the debt paid down and put together more of a down payment. Buy and we own a home, won't have to move in 6 months, can have barbecues and pool parties and will be building equity.


It doesn't matter if you win or lose but how you look doing it

There are many things in life I just don't understand.

A few weeks ago I was waiting at the salon and there was a woman at the front desk setting up an appointment. This is not strange I know, but let me try and explain why it has stuck with me. She was skinny, to the bone skinny; her face was all hollow and looked like a skeleton. Her knees were by far the widest part of her legs. Her neck looked so frail that it could hardly support her head. She had been tanning and was the color of a dark cherry wood stain; her face texture was that of leather. Her platinum blonde hair that was pulled back in a loose ponytail was fried from all the dyeing. Her sunken face looked to be 70 years old but I would have to guess she was in her 20's or 30's, it was hard to even take a guess.

She wore work out cloths, leggings and an oversized sweat shirt that went almost to her knees that was imprinted with the Champion logo. Her socks looked brand new and had the Nike symbol on them which matched the brand new Nike shoes. Over her shoulder was an oversized Louis Vuitton handbag, and on her head were Channel sunglasses with the fake rhinestones along the side.

She had seemed to take all the modern day female idealisms to the extreme. She was winning the contest to be skinniest, blondest, tannest and the biggest spender. To me it looked like she was losing the game of Life. My heart went out to her, I felt terrible and sad. She so clearly needed self acceptance and a hug to me.

These are just my opinions of this situation. I'm not saying having a Louis Vuitton bag is a bad thing, but it definitely doesn't make a person happy in itself. This woman may have been totally giddy with Life and had already checked off all the 'simple things that make you happy' boxes and had moved on to others. We won't know.

A little later I was sitting getting my nails done and the woman had walked by. I said to the manicurist "It must be really tough on her", gesturing towards the skeleton woman. The manicurist looks up and says "Yea I know, it must be really tough to buy pants that fit". Thankfully the manicurist was looking down at my nails when she said this because my face was transparently showing my thoughts, TOUGH TO BUY PANTS! My verbal response to her was

"Yea, plus the clearly self evident health, emotional, and physical issues".

Her response to me was a confused "humm". We were not on the same wave length.

I looked around and wonder am I in bizarre-o world or am I the odd ball here. I've gone out of my way to not get caught up with having all the latest toys and Name Brands that promise a false sense of self fulfillment. I work very hard at accepting myself and enjoying who I am, it's not easy but well worth the effort. I'm not perfect, no one is. Why do we all have to try and pretend that we are?

This is to be continued. This trend has overwhelmed us and I'm worried about what this means for all of us. This contest to be hottest and the biggest spender has totally warped the values of our society. If you are going to work so hard at a contest, make sure it's a contest you want to be a part of first. This trend seems as filling to your self esteem as a bag of potato chips.

There are many things in life I just don't understand.


2nd Month - a - versary

Beryl is moving in!! The waves were HUGE, and the tide came in further then I have ever seen. Of course with a Tropical Storm slamming our shores Jamie was tracking it closely on weather.com and determining high tide which was found to be 4:40 pm, absolutely perfect! A trifecta of colossal events leading to the makings of an amazing day.

Trifecta Facts:
1. Tropical Storm miles off the coast
2. Work end in time to be in the water by high tide
3. Our 2 Month - a - versary

We had our bathing suits on as quick as we could and were on the road. The wind had really picked up and was strong by the shore. When we got there Jamie asked the life guard if there had been any rescues that day. He said no there hadn't been. Jamie told him that we'll try and not be the first ones :o)

In the water we go, it felt really cold because of the wind and I whined my way through it. The sky was overcast and you could see the looming dark clouds of the storm. Usually if you stand in one spot the water recedes around your feet and pulls the sand out from around your feet. Not yesterday, once I was up to my knees the receding water was pulling me in!

We jumped over the crashing waves but more often we held our breath and went under them because they were way too big to jump. It's amazing feeling when a huge wave passes over you when you are below. You duck below the wave and everything is very quiet, the turbulent pull of the water moves over your body from head to toe, then there is a very strong 'after shock boom' feeling that moves over you much quicker. At first you think the wave has passed and then this thunder-ish boom hits you, it feels like Poseidon has slammed the ocean floor with his trident and the whole world is quaking. It's scary even when you know it's coming.

The receding water's pull was too strong and I couldn't stand in one place no matter how hard I tried. Jamie held my hand at times and when it would whoosh me away he held tight, I felt like a flailing kite. There was no way to just walk back to shore, you had to know when to ride a wave in and when to hold your ground as best you can. We both had a great time going in and out.

At one point the clouds broke and some sun got to shine through. It caused that hazy affect where you can see the sun's rays coming down on the water. It also caused a full rainbow! It streched from the beach to the ocean, I've never seen such a complete rainbow before. It looked just like the ones that little kids draw over there house. It was an amazing moment.

We swam for well over an hour in these giant waves. Once we got out we were both exhausted from the struggle. We sat and watched the waves from the beach. Jamie said that they look like they got smaller, I said that's only because we aren't in them anymore. Funny how it seems that way with most things.

Thank you Beryl for the giant waves, and thank you Jamie for a terrific 2nd Month-a-versary!


Planting a Garden

For a few years now my dad has always wanted a small garden of fresh herbs at the house that he can use to cook up his food masterpieces with. I have tried to grow different herbs for him from seeds in past summers but it never worked out good. Either too much water or not enough, and it seem to take a long time to get the plants large enough where you can actually use them.

The last time I visited my parent's house my mom and I went out to Home Depot to do some garden shopping. Out front there were racks of all different herbs in small pots on display. We decided to pick some up for him as a surprise. We got oregano, basil, parsley, cilantro, and thyme plants. We searched for the healthiest plants of each for his garden creation. We also picked up a long rectangular planter and soil so that we can get it all done for him. All the herbs smelled great in the summer heat.

At home my mom set up the soil in the planter and we planted each one with plenty of space to grow. It ended up looking real good so we gave it a good drink of water and placed it out in the late afternoon sun. When my dad got home later that day I showed him what we had put together for him. He was ohh-ing and ahh-ing all the different herbs as I read them off to him. "Ohh that's great I can make up some lemon thyme chicken, ohh great I can make up some pasta sauce with fresh oregano." He was all excited about the food possibilities.

It felt great to finally set my dad up with the herb garden that he has always wanted outside his kitchen. I'm looking forward to all the good food that I know will come out of this. Once we had finished getting it all together I was thinking how strange it was that it had taken so many summers for this happen. It was something that we all had wanted to do but never had finished before.

Sometimes when I feel I don't have any time constraint on me I have a harder time getting done what I need done. When I am working on things for work or for others I always try and get them done on time or early, but I'm not as conscious with my own dreams. Getting this small garden done for my dad reminded me that it's important to set goals and deadlines even when it's only for myself. Maybe it's more important when it's only for myself.

I realized how sad I would be if I had never put the time into making this small garden for him and for me. Tomorrow is never promised to us, this should be deadline enough.


Haiku for You - Numero Uno

Still working on the list, it ended up being a busy day at work today but I came up with a Haiku:

Waves crash over me,
Time now passes surreally,
Sunset always comes.

A reflection on life by Sondra (bow)

(wild applause)


Jumping in Puddles

Things that I want to do in my life:
start a book club,
be an amazing cook,
visit Montana,
see the Northern Lights,
have a baby,
own a home,
make a difference in my community,
start my own business,
eat vegetables that I have grown,
be a paid public speaker,
speak at high schools to young woman about respecting themselves & making good life choices,
learn more History and take away knowledge that is relevant today,
be a friend that can always be counted on,
see the Alaskan Tundra,
have another baby,
get my Master's Degree,
live a healthy life style,
exercise on a regular bases,
make Christmas magical for a child,
be a supportive loving wife,
host Thanksgiving at my house,
make my parent's proud,
visit every state on the East Coast,
keep a scrapbook of all our memories,
have a pet bunny,
paint a picture worthy of hanging up,
walk the streets of Italy,
make people laugh,
be financially secure,
jump in puddles in the rain,
bake a tiered cake,
be a part of the special moments as my children grow,
be an expert at something,
support woman who are victims of violence,
learn how to ballroom dance,
grow a beautiful garden,
make my children feel safe and secure,
see Niagara Falls,
go kayaking,
ride a horse,
dress successful at work,
be as success full as I dress at work,
take beautiful pictures,
fully enjoy the journey,
show the ones I love how special they are.

This is just a start for me, seems odd how tough it was at some points to make up things that I want to do. I'm really glad that I got it out here though, there is a better chance of achieving them. These are not in any particular order, sometimes it's better that way.

Patience vs. Drive

I seem to always have a constant battle between these two things. I have a very hard time finding a balance that lasts, it seems that the scales are always tipping one way or the other. I have a strong internal desire to drive hard for things that I want accomplished. I have a great ability to "get the job done" but this is not always a good thing.

I have found myself to far down the wrong path by being head strong. There are times when "going with the flow" would have gotten me to where I wanted to go much easier and the ride would have been more enjoyable.

The best comes from a blending of the two together. I want to have a larger goal and be working towards it while enjoying the steps it takes to get there. Much easier said then done, but life is about practice and learning not being perfect. So I continue to practice and try to improve.

I don't want time to pass by and not have accomplished something that betters myself, my community, family, woman's lives, or anything. I don't want to find myself looking back and seeing that only time has passed. This is one of my biggest fears.

The most recent battle field for Patience vs. Drive for me has been the attempt at deciding if we should rent for a little longer or buy a house. Pay off debt sooner or build equity and have a place that we won't have to move out of in six months. I am driven to buy, to have that same place to go home to every night that we own. I want to be Patient and rent to be that much closer to feeling secure financially. My desires push me to be Patient and Driven at the same time and I feel like I've been going in circles for months now.

I realize that with both my indecision on buying a house and my need to accomplish something big in life the main hurdle is that I don't know what I really want. This fact scares me the most. Do I want to save and rent or do I want to own? What larger goal in life do I want to work towards? If I had the answer to these two questions I know I could get what ever I dreamed of done. But I continue to move in circles trying to answer the question, what do I want out of life? The fact that I can't answer this question seems out of character to me and strange.

I don't know when I lost sight of my life's desires but I feel back on track now. First step will be to make a list of things I would like to accomplish in life. My only fear now is setting my expectations to low.


My favorite socks

While living in Gloucester I found my Mecca, a store called The Joy of Socks where they sell nothing but socks. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with merchandise. I visited this store many times while living there and have on occasion bought so many socks that I need to use plastic to pay. My favorite is the white one above, I have gotten a pair on two separate visits. It's socks of socks!!! Someone out there really understands me.

If you want to check them out they have a website set up http://www.joyofsocks.com


Wedding Pictures

Here are some of the pictures from the photographer! What an amazing day. Thank you everyone for making it such a special day for Jamie and me. We love you all!!!


Diving through the Waves

After work yesterday Jamie and I went down to Second Beach in Middletown and went swimming in the waves. The waves were as big as I had ever seen them there because it was a full moon and the tide was coming in, a great combination! Yesterday was the first day that I had been swimming this summer and Jamie was excited I was finally joining him. The water was a terrific 70 degrees and beautiful.

It’s always hard when you are first walking out to swim in the ocean. No matter what the temperature is, when the water first touches any part of your body it feels cold. The waves always come and splash the dry parts before you are ready for it and then just as quickly move on. Once your dry belly is splashed you walk out further and stop when the newly splashed parts are now under water because it doesn’t feel as cold any more. You then stand and wait, trying to hop over the smaller waves. Then another wave sneaks up and splashes you higher up on your belly. This continues until you are far enough out you decide to just dive through the next wave.

Through life there are always events that sneak up on us, ones that you were sure you weren’t ready for but some how came out of and ended up stronger for it. A childhood challenge makes us stronger for the challenges we face as teenagers. From these teen years we learn so much and take our lessons learned with us when facing our adult life. Each feels too hard at the time, but we grow stronger as we continue through life, sometimes unaware of the strength that has grown.

There have been times in my life when the waves chill has lasted longer then maybe it should have. I admit to standing and waiting, feeling over whelmed by the smallest of waves, just not ready to continue on. Through support from others and a strength I never knew was there I was able to move further and I am so glad that I did.

Jamie and I had a great time swimming. The waves were splashing and crashing, and I got tossed around from them. Jamie held my hand and kept me from falling over more then a few times. As we were walking out and the waves got stronger Jamie stood in front of me to help block them. We would swim out over, dive through and ride the waves in. We would swim out till we could barely touch the ground and then swim in, over and over. We tried swimming parallel to the shore but it didn’t work out well. We wouldn’t be watching and then a big wave would crash over us and we’d get water in our mouths. We had a great time and laughed the whole time, the scenery and water were picture perfect, it was great moments to remember.

This morning was Jamie’s doctor appointment with his cardiologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Neither of us slept to well. I have the hardest time sitting in the waiting room even though I have been before. Most of the other patients are babies and toddlers, and there are small tables and toys for them to play with. All of the kids seem happy, either playing with the toys or sitting with their parents listening to a book be read. The parents, when not distracted by their happy kid, have a look of dread and concern on their face. This look cuts deep in me, I feel very empathetic towards them and also I see my own feelings being reflected.

One couple held their son on their lap; he didn’t look older then 6 months to me. They both were doting on him and doing things to make him smile. The mother had clearly been crying and looked close to it still. There was a young girl playing with one of those wire frame toys that you slide colorfully shaped blocks along. Her father paced and organized magazines while watching her as her mother sat as still as I have ever seen anyone who has a child sit watching their daughter with an unblinking eye.

The wave was about to crash over me as I was sitting in the waiting room. So I read Jamie a book that was sitting near me, it was in Spanish and about a llama. It made us both laugh because we don’t really know what we were reading. He got tested, weighed and measured and everything is looking great!! The good Dr. Walsh says he is still going strong and his pace maker could possibly last 2 more years before we need to change the batteries; terrific news. He also said that his heart hasn’t changed and predicted him to live to 110 or 111!! Thank you Dr. Walsh for your work and kind words, you are an amazing person.

The water’s not as cold; we’ll take a few more steps out. Together.


The Eleventh Hour

Last night I watched the Movie Walk the Line about Johnny Cash. Terrific movie that I would recommend. Jamie started watching the movie with me but ended up falling asleep about 30 minutes into it, he still had his sunglasses on his forehead. I always find it interesting how a strong handsome man goes to cutest thing ever when asleep. The movie shows the deep love between Johnny and June that overcame so much.

When the movie finished I woke Jamie up, at least half way, and we got ready for bed. Laying there in the semi-dark with Jamie sleeping heavily my mind can't slow down. I was thinking about the movie, about us getting a house together, about the future, about Jamie having to go to his heart doctor's appointment on Tues. , about my love for him. These late night thoughts with myself are common and always end with me thinking about Jamie and how much he means to me.

He is always thinking of me and ways to make me smile. He is always happy to see me, he runs up the stairs of our apartment after work and comes calling out to me, comes around the corner and when he sees me his eyes light up and he is smiling. No matter what my day was like I always catch his happiness and we give each other a hug as though it's been months since we have seen each other. He says that he loves me throughout the day and night, but his actions shows that he loves me even more.

He tells me when America's Funniest Home Videos is on, points out when he sees a rabbit, takes out the trash, buys me the big container of ice tea mix, leaves me little love notes, always closes the cabinets, and loves to look at pictures of me. He loves me even when we disagree, he says that he loves that I stand up for myself and am so smart. His balance between enjoying life and all it's moments and having a strong desire to accomplish so much amazes me and something that I will always admire. He has taught me so much about life and myself.

As I look at him in the evening glow I am so proud of him I smile. I wonder about what our future holds and what adventures we will go on next. He is in a deep sleep and I kiss him softly on his shoulder and whisper that I love him. My heart aches to tell him how much but I know that words won't come close, and that our moments together both past and those to come are the only things that will fully say how deep my love is. In his sleep he says that he loves me too. I start to cry, I try not to wake him but he woke up enough to give me a hug and kiss me on my forehead. He says "Ohh girl, it's alright." And it was.

At the end of the movie it said that Johnny Cash died 4 months after his wife passed away. Love is a very tight bond between all of us. I try and make moments memorable and show loved ones how special they are.


Controlling the Gallery at the US Woman's Open

This past weekend Jamie and I volunteered as Gallery Control at the 2006 US Woman's Open hosted at Newport Country Club on the 10th tee. We had a great time working the ropes on the putting green and rubbing elbows with the best female golfers of today. I got my visor signed by Annika Sorenstam after the practice round on Tuesday. We also worked up at the tee which is shown in the picture, located on the right side of the club house. The crowds had gotten very large and both Annika and Michelle Wie had huge followings. We were able to see all the golfers up close on the ' inside ' of the ropes. I'm glad that we both did such an exciting event, life is made up of moments and we will always remember our time at the 2006 US Open in Newport, RI.

Annika and Pat Hurst ended up tie-ing on Sunday which lead to an 18 hole playoff on Monday. Annika took it down with a 5 stroke win. Here dedication and hard work was inspiring !