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My Rose

April 28, 2013 6 comments

Just remember in the Winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun’s love

In the Spring becomes the rose.

~ “The Rose”/Lyrics Amanda McBroom

seedThe season has changed and Spring has finally found us. The promise of renewal, rebirth and hopeful thoughts surroroseund us. The sun is shining warm again. Seedlings that were planted falls-ago have taken root over the winter’s long days and new life is emerging. Vibrant bursts of color are popping up daily. The unexpected is happening. Everywhere. Be alert with eyes wide open or be jarred, as I was the other day; halted by beauty; startled in an unanticipated moment, forced to pause and see the sweet rose that shot up before me.

How did this happen right before my eyes without me seeing it?

Parenting is busy, worrisome work. It’s constant, at times, all-consuming. It’s a life-long learning adventure. Like most things I become immersed in, the deeper I’m in it, often times, the harder it is for me to step out and back and linger in the minutes of  the milestones and accomplishments of our ever-changing, day-to-day lives. Hours become days. Days extend into weeks which turn into months that become years. Even though I’ve been there all the while, the details are clouded and what seems like, in the blink of an eye, the bud becames a blossom and I’ve been caught completely off guard.

That sweet seedling that was just laughing-it-up in the park yesterday...

Hannah @ Playpland Park

…has grown into a flower, more beautiful than I could ever have imagined…

spring-dance 004

… and is laughing-it-up on her way into the Spring Dance today, in concert with these other lovelies who are flourishing in their own beautiful gardens.

spring-dance 020

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Spring is Here! Not.

April 7, 2013 6 comments

garden

“Is the spring coming?” he said.

“What is it like?”…

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

Frances Hodgson Burnett,

The Secret Garden

This weekend was opening day for town soccer in the Hudson Valley.The first day of soccer is always a clear indication that spring is truly here! Indeed, starting at 9am, the fields were flooded with kids ages 5 to 16, each one of whom came out ready to play ball!

There was just one problem.

game day 023

 It was 32 DEGREES!

Ehem!….that would be the temperature at which all things freeze! Including humans standing on a field.

But, Spring is here! Phil Said So! Remember? Two months ago in front of millions of people! Live! On television.Well Phil, it’s not and there’s a bit of an uproar here on the East Coast about it.In fact, there’s been talk of a lawsuit by a prosecutor in Ohio who wants to indict Phil for incorrectly predicting the weather, some back tracking gibberish about Phil’s “handler”mistranslating the prediction and even the calling of the poor fellow’s head by a radical few.

People who live on the East Coast take their weather very seriously and talk about it all-the-time! They really enjoy their four seasons: the (temporary) heat of summer, the cool of fall, the (temporary) cold of winter and the warmth of spring.Yes, the warmth of spring. Even though it made it to 50 degrees later in the day, well after the soccer games had ended, it was too little, too late. Thirty-two degrees at the start of any day is not spring. We were promised spring, an early spring! We’re waiting and we’re over due.

But heck people! We really can’t blame Phil. Even though Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the start or stall of spring for the last 123-years amidst great fanfare, pomp and circumstance, and even though he predicted an early spring for us this year (back in FEBRUARY) let’s face it; no matter how you slice it, the truth is, Phil, is a groundhog! A GROUNDHOG! And groundhogs really don’t have special communicative or weather related powers.There is no such thing as “groundhogese“. I don’t think they even make good house pets.

You never hear anyone talking about their pet groundhog — ever.

mother nature new

It’s Mother Nature who’s the real culprit here. 

She’s the one to blame.

Go ahead.

I dare you!


 

Photo Credits: #1 & #3 – Google Images

Photo Credit #2 – Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

Fish Out of Water!

February 24, 2013 13 comments

caution-sign

Caution: Some of the images contained in this post may be considered disturbing.

Ever find yourself in a situation where you feel like a “fish out of water?”

Ever wake up in the morning to find your fish – out – of- water?

As a mother, my nature is to nurture. Once you have a child and start taking care of it, something happens within you and you start taking care of EVERYTHING that comes into your life or crosses your path; extended family members, friends, other people’s kids, pets and plants included. You can’t help it. Unfortunately for me, while taking care of my children and other human beings has always come easily & naturally, the taking care of plants and animals, not-so-much. Last winter however, when we moved into our new place, a neighbor welcomed us with a beautiful poinsettia plant that regardless of any amount of neglect I seamlessly bestowed upon it, it not only thrived but has managed to survive, to this very day. It’s even budding new red leaves.

Astonishing!

plant 001

So, when my daughter won two gold-fish at the County Fair last August, thrilled with both her achievement and the notion of finally having a pet, I had hope and thought, why not? Maybe like the rest of my life, I’m headed in a different direction here. We’ll give it a try and see what happens I told her. Being reasonably skeptical however, we hesitated to name them, referring to them only as “Fish 1” and “Fish 2” (just-in-case ) and never quite knowing exactly which fish was which. Not surprisingly, about a month later we woke up to find a pair of floaters in the fishbowl. As I set about the business of transferring Fish 1 and Fish 2 to their final flushing resting bowl, I caught a faint fin-wiggle out of the corner of my eye. Upon closer examination I could see Fish 1 was actually still alive! Sure enough, after being put into a small holding tank and fed, he began to perk up and swim again.

Interesting. I thought.

Fish 008

Sometime in December however, again, I woke to find a barely breathing “Fish” (which is what we were now lovingly referring to him as),  struggling to stay alive. Oddly, again, I put him in our small holding tank, fed him and voila! He was back to his perky self in no time and carefully transferred back into his fishbowl.

If cats have nine lives, how many lives do fish have?

Strange. I thought.

Alas, a few weeks ago, I woke to find an empty fish bowl. Gone, he was. Indeed, Fish, it turned out was out of water! Seriously, sometime during the night, Fish had somehow jumped out of his fishbowl and landed in the kitchen sink! (I know, EW!)

True story. And dead he was. Truly.

Or  so  I  thought.

I left Fish in the sink. This was something I thought Hannah had to see for herself. A few hours later, when she got up and after delivering the sad news, in ceremonious fashion, I awkwardly scooped up Fish in his little net and quickly tossed him into the big bowl that would ultimately carry him to fish-heaven, if you will.

Is there anything you want to say before we flush him Hannah? I asked.

She is after all, such a dramatic sensitive child.

She nodded negatively, peered into the big bowl, put her hand on the lever and SCREAMED…

Mom! Quick! Get the food I think he’s still alive!

Disturbing Image #1 ~ Fish & food in the big bowl.

Disturbing Image #1 ~ Fish & food in the big bowl.

Instead of full-on-mouth-to-mouth, I did what she recommended and sprinkled some food into the bowl. Why? I have no idea but she was right and there was movement. You could see the ever-so-slightly wiggle (again) of our Fish’s fin and his teeny, tiny black eyes peering up from the big bowl.

Indeed, Fish was alive! Again.

Disturbing image #2 ~ Indeed, Fish is alive.

Disturbing Image #2 ~ Indeed, Fish is alive.

For a third time, Fish had been snatched from the jaws of death, quite possibly even the jaws of JAWS,  not to mention a fatal flush. And once again, we placed him into the now, magical holding tank of LIFE”…..

Disturbing Image #3 ~ Putting a net in the toilet. Ugh!

Disturbing Image #3 ~ Putting the net in the toilet to retrieve Fish. Ugh!

….where amazingly, Fish instantly, began to swim! Again.

Good God! I thought, I couldn’t kill this fish if I tried!

Somewhat Disturbing Image #4 ~ Fish alive again!

Somewhat Disturbing Image #4 ~ Fish alive again!

I consider myself  to be more of a spiritual rather than a religious person. Clearly, there is a greater power at work here.

Early on in motherhood, you quickly learn not to question certain things. Count your blessings and be grateful. You take the inexplicable and otherwise bizarre happenings in stride and simply say,

Yep, that seems about right.

Bizarre Image #5 ~ Fish back in his bowl.

Bizarre & Disturbing Image #5 ~ Fish, alive, yet-again and back in his fishbowl.

Good night, Fish.

Namaste’ Nemo!

February 10, 2013 10 comments

Snow1

Namaste’ whose origins come from India is a word and gesture exchanged in salutation when meeting and departing, usually said with a smile, pressing one’s hands together and giving a slight bow signifying reverence and respect.

Schools closed Friday in anticipation of his coming and folks prepared ahead of time; buying batteries for weather radios and filling bathtubs with water. We hunkered down with necessary supplies; food, water, flashlights, charged cell phones, blankets, a good book to read. Then, much like with the coming of Sandy, we waited, some of us more anxiously than others. With each passing hour we wondered just how fierce he would be, whether we’d lose power and if so, for how long. It’s a humbling predicament to be held captive in one’s own home by the uncertainty of what the weather will bring. There is no greater force than that of Mother Nature and her wrath, should she choose to unleash it. The only thing you can truly rely on, is that nature will do what nature will do. At 8:30am Friday morning, the flakes began to fall. At first in the form of sporadic showers but by1:30pm, the snow was steady. By evening-fall, we had settled into the knowing that the storm was upon us.

With all due respect, Namaste’ Nemo!

An inch of snow an hour quickly turned to two and up to five inches per hour fell mercilessly in parts of Connecticut overnight. With him came hurricane-force winds. Major roadways in two states were closed. Curfews and car bans were instituted. Nemo had been unleashed in the Northeast only 100-days after and hardly enough time to recover from Sandy’s visit. In one night, Nemo left up to 3-feet of snow in parts of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Over 650,000 homes were left without electricity.

Namaste’ Nemo!

Come Saturday morning, the sweet, steady hum of a snow-blower spewing its contents high above its handler filled the air. The scraping sounds of metal hitting asphalt could be heard too, for the many hours it took to shovel driveways and pathways freeing residents from Mother Nature’s captivity. Nemo was here and he left a thick, sparkling blanket of white as far as the eye could see in his wake.

Read

There is an oft-repeated phrase in A Game of Thrones, the series I’m reading, that gives the reader a sense of impending doom. Unlike the pleasant prediction that Punxsutawney Phil gave last week that Spring is coming, the repeated phrase in the books is that

Winter is coming…..

A chill runs down my spine, every time I read it. Winter, I am reminded, has not yet left us, which brings me to what lies ahead. Orko.

Last week, Phil said Spring was coming. This week Nemo said, not just yet.

Next week, Orko looms.

Oy!

Namaste’ Orko!

A Walk In The Woods

January 20, 2013 14 comments

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

For many, many moons now I’ve had the great fortune of a “standing“, weekly walk in the woods with a friend.  Last week, she suggested we tread a new path.

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

So, we did. We saw some interesting new sights…..

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

…and met a few new friends along the way. Standing still and strong and beautiful were two deer watching us, curiously and cautiously as we passed.

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

Cold Spring, NY ~ January 2013

Be true to your work, your word and your friend. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Mostly we lost sight of the path and got lost in the hour’s chatter like we always do. We talk about everything and nothing, all of which encompass the important happenings of our lives. We exchange intimate details that are meant to be freely shared with someone who will keep them safely to themselves. Trust. This ritual helps me stay centered within, ever reminding me to be grateful for the peace and beauty in the people and places that surround me and the ability to see them, touch them and be with them, giving me all I need to go forth.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Wappingers, NY ~ January 2013

Wappingers, NY ~ January 2013

For me, this is…

living life to the fullest, while fully awake. ~ Henry David Thoreau

What do you do to center yourself?

Photo Credits #1-4: Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

Worse Than The Worst

November 3, 2012 10 comments

With great anticipation we awaited her arrival.

Finally, nightfall brought her furiously nipping at our doorsteps, howling to get in. Seventy miles north of New York City windows shook and lights flickered as 60-mile per hour winds swept through the development I live in. Street lights dimmed while competing sheets of rain pounded the pavement demanding to be heard.

Shortly after 11pm, there was a loud, sputtering, buzzing sound that ended in an explosion somewhere nearby.

Mom! my daughter shouted from her bedroom,

What was that?

Not long after, a second thunderous explosion brought with it the deafening sound of silence. The eerie quiet filled everything around us with darkness. The air was still. There was no light. For several hours we had no electricity. Two transformers in our neighborhood blew. But this was not surprising nor was it a hardship. We knew she was coming. We were warned. And warned and warned. We knew she was quite possibly the worst storm to hit the East Coast in nearly 100-years. We were warned. We had ample time to ready ourselves for the worst. And we did, the best we could because we knew.

Yet, we had no idea. How could we? How can you know what is worse than the worst?

Who could anticipate watching water pour into the Hoboken Path Station or having to close the New York Stock Exchange for two days in a row– unplanned? How could you fathom that thousands of laboratory mice and biological research materials would perish in New York University Hospital’s basement drowning years worth of scientific research when fail-safe generators engulfed by water refused to turn on? And how could you imagine an entire neighborhood of over 100 homes catching on fire or a roller coaster partially submerged in the ocean?

Could you even envision a storm-surge so powerful that it could wash a boat up onto train tracks from the Hudson River?

I couldn’t. Yet it happened in Ossining, New York.

Five days later, the rippling effects of Sandy’s brief presence are more than evident. On Friday the gas station that I pass on the way to work listed $3.93 per gallon for regular unleaded gas. At noon, the same station listed regular unleaded gas at $4.09 a gallon. When I left work at 3:30pm I had to drive 20-minutes north to find fuel and paid $4.23 per gallon for regular unleaded gas. In less than a day’s time, gas prices sky-rocketed and drivers raged as they weaved recklessly in and out of lanes in our commuter-community in a mad hunt to fill their tanks. All along the main strip of Route 9 from Fishkill to Poughkeepsie gas pumps were idle, sitting with yellow bags over their nozzles indicating a lack of fuel. Indeed, signs posted at station after station read: NO GAS! Those stations that still had some to sell sported lines and lines and lines of cars backing up traffic on the main thoroughfare adding to the frustration and panic that has begun to settle into the minds of this otherwise unscathed community 70-miles north of New York City.

Still, I’m unbelievably fortunate and grateful for this small inconvenience in comparison to friends just a few miles south where over 70% of the people who live in my hometown were without power all week. Many still are. Chaos reigns without working traffic lights. Police officers stand guard at gas stations as rationing takes effect. Looting has begun.

My heart and thoughts are with them as well as my neighbors in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island and Staten Island where Sandy lingered long enough to leave unimaginable destruction; worse than the worst. They are heavy on my mind.

I pray for the human spirit of kindness to prevail as we brace ourselves for the nor’easter lurking in this week’s forecast.

Be safe.

Photo Credits #1-3: Google Images/Hurricane Sandy

Photo Credit #4:  Boat on Tracks/MTA

Photo Credit #5: Huff Post/Random Acts of Kindness

Summer Days

August 5, 2012 8 comments

This is where I’ve been spending lots of time lately.

It’s where tranquility can be found….

..through the captivating views,

filled with thought-provoking scenes,

that allow one’s brain to rest and wander at the same time.

There is something about this place that has the ability to center me. Always.

It is where I am truly humbled by nature’s simplicity, power and beauty. Always.

JOY resides here….

and kites fly.

This is where experiments are conducted….

….and laughter abounds!

It is a little piece of heaven on earth and I am blessed.

Where do you find your peace?

Photo credits #1-7 ©Karen Szcuzka Teich & http://www.Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

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