Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Once a week I read the classified ads in Michigan (and now some in Tennessee and even locally here in PA, too, just cause). When I'm done searching for a job that will relocate me to MI, I tend to wander off to realtor.com and look over the housing options that are within my price range in Michigan (since literally NONE are here in PA).

I don't know if the current owner knows it just yet, but this is MY house. It looks like my house, it is described like my house, it has all the amenities I want in a house...it's MY HOUSE. I just don't have a job to get me there so I can buy it.

Three bedrooms, THREE bathrooms, two car (two story, even) heated garage, fireplace, arched doorways, three season room, fenced back yard, basement rec room (with bathroom). Sigh. I could move in today. Look at all the windows, and the curved front door. I can even look past all the snow and say this is the most gorgeous, perfect sized house I have laid eyes on.

Sigh.

Someone hurry up and tell me something dreadfully wrong with this place so I won't want it anymore.

In Case You Felt the Shift

The universe is balanced out again. Tuesday was terrible.

A few weeks ago, LM's report card came home with an "N" (for "Needs Improvement")in "turns homework in on time". I was stunned. I closely monitor his homework each night that he is with me and I know that he does it each and every day. Well, the true story came out that there had been occasions when he hadn't exactly brought home all of his homework. A long discussion ensued (this year, the discussions mostly revolve around the fact that fifth grade is prep for SIXTH grade when he will have multiple classrooms and multiple teachers and therefore LOADS more responsibility required of him.) He was grounded for ten days so he could show us that he could turn in his schoolwork (all of it) for ten days in a row. He lucked out, as he actually had three days off during those two weeks of school, but on the eve of being ungrounded, he forgot his homework again. I knew he had been looking forward to having his privileges back, so I was stunned. We (his dad and I) decided to up the ante and give him extra chores for the next week, hoping to keep this fresh in his mind the next time he thought about hustling out of school without the right books. THE VERY NEXT DAY HE FORGOT HIS HOMEWORK. Shows how well our parenting techniques work, huh?

So, we had another family pow-wow and decided maybe we had the wrong approach. If grounding didn't really work, and more consequences didn't really work, we'd try a reversal - we would REWARD him for 10 days of schoolwork completed and turned in on time!! Oh are we brilliant or what?! So, LM was GREATLY relieved when the proclamation came that there would be no punishments, that we would simply provide him with a little notebook where he was to write down his assignments each day in class, and then check them off as he made sure they were in his backpack. His dad or I would sign it each day and when he had 10 we would give him a small gift card to Lowe's (a favorite of his) or something of the sort. Nothing HUGE, but a little incentive anyway. We received hugs and kisses and many many thanks from LM for our revolutionary parenting idea.

That was Friday.

Yesterday, LM was funny when I called to see that he made it home okay. Tuesdays he normally gets picked up from school by his dad, but this week he was to take the bus home to my house. I had to stop at the bank on my way home and decided I would get an oil change while I thought of it and had the cash in my wallet. I called to let him know. He didn't sound very upbeat.

On my drive home, G called and I talked with him while I parked the car and got into the house. It wasn't long before I noticed LM was pacing around the house. I finally concluded my conversation with my brother and asked what was up. LM said he had forgotten his homework again and immediately commenced sobbing.

OH MY.

I didn't even know what to do with him. The sign for the gypsies was covered with snow, ebay had proclaimed it illegal to sell children on their site and I was fresh out of cabbage to put into a kid stew.

Words were exchanged. A new book that had been purchased was revoked. I sent him off to clean the bathroom, explaning that I hoped when he was leaving school he might think of cleaning toilets and NOT wish that upon himself again and might make the extra effort to actually put his worksheets into his backpack. (His notebook had been filled out, he just didn't look at it at the end of the day.)

Sobbing ensued.

More sobbing ensued.

I had called his dad to explain the matter, and when he called back an hour later to check on things, LM was crying so loudly in the bathroom that you would have thought I had beat him to within an inch of his life (I swear I didn't!! The meat is too tough to chew if you beat them before stewing!) As I explained to his dad that he was too upset to come to the phone because I made him clean the bathroom as punishment, I heard LM sob, "That's not why I'm upset!"

I got off the phone.

I went to the bathroom.

I opened the door and asked what on earth the problem was.

"I don't want to tell you."

Um, yeah, well, now you have to.

"I just feel like you don't care about me!" SOB SOB SOB SOB I swear I have never seen such tears in all my life from this child.

I told him sternly that he might look back to 24 hours ago and revisit the idea of my concern and love for him, and that if he had further doubts he might realize that if I didn't care, I wouldn't have been at all upset over him forgetting his homework in the first place because I simply WOULDN'T CARE. I then reminded him that we have two pictures on our fridge of children in Africa who certainly have much more reasons to cry and sob than my poor child who has to have a punishment for not fulfilling his responsibilities and that he was to pull himself together and get to work.

(I sounded like my mom and my dad all in one on that one. Well done, huh?)

I went back out to the living room and sat for awhile on the couch. I counted back...2007-1996=11. Hmm...

I wondered how on earth we had made such a quick leap into the teenage years.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mondays

Mondays seem to get a bad rep anymore. LM never seems happy to know it's Monday. I dread Mondays mainly because it means I'm back to my ever-so-boring job. However, Mondays are the only day of the week, every week, that I have with LM without any other obligations. Tuesdays are Dad nights, immediately after school; Wednesdays we rush off to church and don't return home until after 9; Thursdays we have dinner together, but it's rushed because his dad picks him up at 6:30; and every other Friday he's off to his dad's for the weekend. Mondays, in my house, are sacred.

Yesterday, due to a school delay (which means I can head in to work early since I don't have to get the neighbor girl to the bus), I was able to get home earlier than normal. I grabbed LM right off the bus and off we went to B&N. I've been waiting for a certain book to be available (see the post below) at the library, but I think it will be checked out perpetually right now, so we decided to just go buy a copy. We even had a coupon. B&N is one of our favorite places to be. We did show remarkable restraint, although LM wasn't too happy about it. He wanted three new Star Wars novels, but since he still has more than 5 new books on his shelf from Christmas, I refused to buy any more new books until those are read. I know, mean mother. I did pick up a couple books that I've been wanting to read that have not been available at my library, but I did not buy each and every book I lusted after.

Monday nights are also KICK'N (Kid in Charge of the Kitchen Night) when LM is supposed to cook. We decided since we were out and about, to check out the new "Fresh Market" that is located near the B&N store. IT WAS GORGEOUS. Oh, to be rich and shop for groceries in such an environment every day! They had great music playing and a wonderful store layout, and while everything was remarkably overpriced, you felt so pampered that it seemed worth the indulgence. We decided to give LM the night off from head chef duties and bought a pork roast (already marinated and cooked), some salad fixings , some fresh fruit and at LM's request, a jug of apple cider. I splurged and bought myself some fresh flowers, an indulgence I haven't had in nearly a year.

LM did his homework during the ride home and then quickly took the dog out while I put dinner together. I lit a couple candles, put the flowers in a vase and poured milk into the wine goblets. We enjoyed an incredible meal together, complete with all the luxuries.

Star gazer lillies, some of my favorite flowers. (The cats are probably eating them today.)

Candlelight dinner for two. (I just turned the light on to take the picture.)

There was an after-dinner book reading of "Bridge to Terabithia".
It was a BYOB/pajama event (Bring Your Own Blanket).

LM indulged in some gummies.

We finished the book in one sitting, LM had already heard from classmates what happens, so he wasn't too upset or surprised. He completely agreed that "Bridge" will be our Saturday night movie night choice this weekend. We both headed to bed with warm hearts, warm toes and with the gentle mellow feeling of being loved.


Bridge To Terabithia - Paterson

I first read this book while I was in college, trying to research great books to read in the classrooms I was doing clinical hours in. I didn't actually read it to any students until my student teaching days, when I chose to use it as the daily read-aloud book to my sixth graders. The students could choose to read their own book silently or listen along. I was amazed at how many of the kids still enjoyed being read to and listened to my reading.

I will never forget the look of my favorite student's face (I had nicknamed him "Art" for reasons I'm cloudy about today) when I got to the sad part of the book. He cried. Huge tears silently rolling down his face as he sat in the front row hanging on every word that I read. I wanted to cry, too. But I was the teacher.

Bridge to Terabithia is a wonderful story about children. About childhood. About being afraid and about being loved. About friendship and about family. It's a story that reminds us that making the choice to welcome in a new friend can often be the most defining moment of our life.

If you plan to see the movie, I encourage you to read the book first. There is nothing in the world like being lost in the pages of a great book. This one won't take you long, but keep the tissues nearby. If you plan to let your children read it, I recommend reading it to them, no matter what age they may be. Paterson chose to use a few words I wouldn't necessarily include myself, so I prefer to read the book aloud and skip over those unnecessary words. I also like gauging my son's reactions to various things in the book - he's a ten year old fifth grader, just like the main character, Jess.

I handed our copy of the book to my neighbor this morning when she dropped off her daughter. I gave her the same recommendations I just mentioned above. She stared at me as though I were asking her to give her daughters poison and said, "My friend read this book and said she cried and cried." I do not think shielding our children from saddness or sorrow helps them to grow as human beings. Jess learned to face his own fears in the book, as should our own children. Saddness and sorrow are parts of life.

If you know what happens in the book, please don't reveal it in the comments. While I didn't want LM to suffer unnecessarily, he was disappointed last night that his friends had already told him the ending. It's worth the experience.

Eli and the Frog

I shared the other day about Eli picking out a new toy at the pet store. His frog is his new best friend. In the crate, out of the crate, whatever room he is in, Eli knows where Frog is at all times. If you call him to go outside, he'll come running with his frog in his mouth, as if the stuffed thing would like to venture out into the snow. We take it away when we put the leash on, but the minute you let him back in the door, he bounds up the stairs and snatches up Frog in his mouth and prances around the house as if he just won Olympic gold.

LM went out to fill the bird feeders the other day in the snow, and we let Eli out on the deck for the first time. I didn't realize he had Frog with him until he turned around. I swear, if that dog could talk he was telling me, "Na na na na na na na!!!" I sure hope Frog enjoyed his moment in the snow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Notting Hill

Watching a movie is one of my favorite Saturday afternoon indulgences, and Notting Hill is one of the few "chick flicks" that I have watched numerous times. I'm not sure exactly what I love most about this movie; the wonderfully imperfect characters that all adore each other unquestionably; the story of the most unlikely love being not only possible, but desireable; the setting, quaint London, full of quirks and novelties not found in my own life; the accents - it's just a cute little package of a movie that I love. Perfect for a cold, windy Saturday.

You'll pardon me if I go dream of my own Englishman with a cute little home with a blue door and a mail slot and a fantastically charming sense of humor (not that I'm any movie star...it just seems as unlikely for this American girl...)

Have I mentioned this movie has a fantastic soundtrack? ("You say it best, when you say nothing at all...")

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Eli

What a rough life: toys, love and belly rubs.

Eli likes to sing along when LM practices his trumpet.

He really gets into it.

Even when he's laying down, he's still singing a little.

When you were rescued, you had to have part of your back shaved and then two painful injections to cure your heartworm condition. A month later, when your new mom takes you to the vet and the vet probes deep in your ear and declares a nasty (and expensive) ear infection (that's resistent to antibiotics), and the vet tries to clean it out as best she can, and you sit real still and let her do it for five long minutes without so much as snipping in her direction (much to the amazement of the vet), and you woo everyone in the waiting room with your charm and obedience (all except the beagle who wasn't too impressed with you), your mom just might let you pick out a new toy at the pet store.
Word on the street is frogs rock - they taste just like chicken!



Sucker

And so this is how it happens. Word gets out that you played fantasy football, and then somehow the wrong people find out that you won your league even though you kept really quiet about it (really) and when asked you attributed it to the biggest fluke in history, and the next thing you know, you're being pressured to join the fantasy baseball league they are putting together at church. Initially, they sell it as being easy and not time-consuming, and no, you don't have to actually WATCH a lot of baseball (cause I don't anymore) and blah, blah, blah, and you actually convince yourself that maybe this is a good way to meet more people, and hey, they do have a get together for the draft, don't they? And then your mind wanders further and you figure that the league will be mostly men, right? So here's a simple way to meet a dozen men you didn't know before, how bad can that be? And next thing you know, you're nodding and saying, "Oh sure, I'll give it a try" and then they hand you a MAGAZINE and tell you it will be helpful to read up and study a bit before the draft, and oh, have you met the other league members? Let me introduce you to a few.... (as you take note they are all married)....and you slowly realize the only interaction you'll have with fellow league members is via the computer and not really getting to know anyone at all...

UM, YEAH. So, about that baseball thing....

Note: I don't think it's time to panic just yet. If there was money involved or if this were say, a HOCKEY league (heaven forbid!) then you would have cause to worry. Immediate action would be required to transport me to the nearest psych ward and admitted without the option of release. Until then, don't panic. Or just panic a little maybe. Yes, definitely panic a little. This is me. Eliza Jane. And we are talking baseball.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What I Have Learned During My Job Search

1. "Dear ElizaJane: Thank you for your interest in employment as a Widget Finder at our company. A search committee has been established and will be reviewing resumes and selecting qualified candidates to interview. If your resume meets the established criteria, you will be contacted by the search committee to initiate the next steps in our recruitment process. Should you not hear from us, your resume will be retained for two months to be considered for future vacancies." actually means, "Dear ElizaJane: Thanks so much for wasting your time sending us your resume and carefully crafted cover letter. While we appreciate your interest in the job you are overqualified for at our company, there is no way you will ever be interviewed because the President's daughter's friend's neice's pet turtle has already been granted the position and we are simply going through the motions. Should you not hear from us, be delighted that your mailbox was not inundated with yet another 'you suck' letter as we chose instead to simply shred your ridiculous resume after spending much time laughing at the way you made filing seem so important. Best wishes for your life stuck in the most mundane job in the world."

2. Suggesting to a company in your cover letter that you will be coming to Michigan within the next month and could schedule an interview during that time frame will not increase your chances of getting said interview despite pardoning the company from paying for the trip.

3. Despite agonizing over every word and character in your resume and cover letter, the admin in charge of your rejection letter can still erroneously address it to: Mr. ElizaJane.

4. Despite a degree in Elementary Education and four years in event planning experience, you can still fail to receive so much as a phone call regarding a position planning events in local schools.

5. Do not expect any special consideration when applying for a position to a company where you know the man in charge relocated from the midwest to Michigan for exactly the same reasons you are (as stated in your cover letter). He will not be sympathetic at all.

6. The ease of sending out resumes and cover letters electronically also translates into the speed with which you may be rejected. 24 hours is apparently plenty of time for some companies to give thorough consideration to your applicable skills and experience and deem them unworthy.

7. For all those days when you wished aloud that the mail would bring something other than bills, months of rejection letters will make you quickly recant that statement and beg for something from Verizon.

8. Recognizing that your current job needs to change no matter if you relocate to Michigan or not, expanding your search to include local PA jobs will only double the number of times you are rejected.

Sigh. I'm trying to keep an open attitude, giving consideration to graduate school, and other opportunities here, in case this is God's plan for us. If nothing else, I've at least learned how to have thicker skin!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Not Just a Way With Words, A Way With Life

I have been an avid reader of Katrina's blog for awhile now and since the first day that I stumbled across her writing, I have become an avid fan of Katrina herself. Not only is she a wonderful wife, mother and friend, but she has a gift with words.

Today she wrote words that will rumble through my soul all day- perhaps all weekend, and only because I know what an incredibly beautiful soul she is, will I not feel an ounce of envy for her gift, for I know it is directly from God and I know, that Katrina embraces it fully.

Katrina, you are a poet. In your words, in your family, in your life. You make all things more beautiful.


"Sweet morning child. Keeper of the dawn. How would I know the sun was shining if you didn't drag it around behind you, dripping its rays all over the place?"

If you have not read Notes on a Napkin before, don't just stop by today, bookmark it. Stop by everyday. You will cherish every word. I do.

If you are a publisher, or know one, would you PLEASE hire this woman? Seriously.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's Official

I have jumped the shark. I didn't even realize "Lost" was on last night until I saw the red light on my DVR come on at10pm. I had no interest in quickly switching over to "Lost" nor did I replay the DVR later to see what I had missed.

Maybe, some day down the road, I'll watch to see what all I've missed. But only when I hear significant rumors from many sources that the show has decided to start doling out answers and not just questions.

Until then, anyone want to do coffee on Wednesday nights?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Not to Be Outdone

Bear asked George where he went on his field trip today at school. "We went to the funeral home." Bear looked quizzically at Jules, wondering when the school district started taking Kindergarteners to funeral homes. "He means the nursing home." Oh George.

A Bird of Very Little Brain

Most of the funny stories that come my way from Michigan have to do with my adorable if not mischievious nephew, George (here or here or here or here). This weekend, my sister learned that Little Bird wasn't necessarily immune from blog-worthy anecdotes.

Little Bird brought home a "Girls on the Run" flyer and said that she would like to sign up for it. It's 10 weeks, 2 days a week after school and it is about working up to running a 5K race. You get a new pair of tennis shoes and 2 t-shrits for your $120.00. Surprised by the interest of their normally un-athletic daughter, my sister and husband made sure she understood this was a running thing. OOOOH, she didn't really get that part. I guess "Girls on the Run" had been misleading about that running part. It had been a suspicious interest coming from the child who came home from school on Thursday telling how great school was because the water (from the main break) ruined the gym floor so now the gym was in a classroom without running. In the end, with an understanding that this wasn't just two t-shirts and running shoes for $120, but an actual training course for running, she's decided that it's not for her! Truly the blonde in the family!
And all of this happened after she got mad because her shampoo leaked in her swim bag. When my sister pulled the bottle out and showed her it was OPEN and explained that's why it leaked LB said, "So I was supposed to close it?"

Perhaps, Jules, for $120, you can sign her up for a 10-week, 2 days a week after school activity where she'll get 2 t-shirts and a bottle of hair dye and they will teach her some common sense. You can call the program "Jog Your Mind". LB will be all over that one.

Chicks Rule

I never watch the Grammy awards. I couldn't tell you who half the artists are that are recognized on the show, but last night I tuned in to watch the Dixie Chicks perform and was thrilled with what I witnessed.


After long last, the Dixie Chicks were celebrated, not only their talents, but for their defiant stand to support America's freedom of speech. I have long said the American public (more specifically country music) owed the Chicks an apology. Last night, receiving all five of the awards they were nominated for, including the incredibly ironic Best Country Album, the Dixie Chicks stood proud for the fight they fought for all of us, the right to speak your mind. As I tuned in to my standard country music station this morning, I wasn't at all shocked to find no mention whatsoever of the Chicks' accomplishment last evening, it is now par for the course, but I didn't find it difficult at all to turn off the station and turn on my "Taking the Long Way" Dixie Chicks CD. The Chicks don't owe it to anyone to "make nice", they've done us all proud. It's time country music owed up to it's hypocrisy by not only apologizing, but by playing music regardless of personal political beliefs. It is, afterall, the American thing to do.


It is, by the way, okay if you disagree with this post.
That is, ironically the whole point of the matter.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Dirty Job - Moore

I'm not sure how I came across having Christopher Moore in my notes as an author worth reading, I think I need to keep better track of who recommends what to me.

I read the first hundred pages and have quit. I never quit on a book, but this is such a weird, darkly satirical novel, full of profanity and evil spirits that I simply do not wish to continue. If you are a Moore fan, perhaps you can tell me how to get past the profanity and cult references to actually find his writing to be humorous.

If you're not familiar with Moore, I don't recommend him.

Now, on to Lonesome Dove, which I have no doubt I will enjoy tremendously.

Archiving Blogs

So, when I started this blog thing, I thought it'd just be for fun. And it is, but the more I do it, the more it has become a scrapbook/journal thingy and the more I'm beginning to think I want to make sure it exists for awhile.

So, I pose the question to all the bloggers out there who are far more html savvy than me (than I?): How can I save my blog onto a disc, or publish it onto a hard copy or in some way PRESERVE all my hard work in case something bad should happen to Blogger?

I'm already noticing when I go back to link older posts that some of the pictures no longer come up. What's with that?

Anyone know?

Anyone?

Bueller?

HELP!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I Know This Much is True - Lamb

I believe I have read Lamb's previous novel, "She's Come Undone" but without my ever-faithful shelf of books, I can't be certain. If I have, it's been awhile.

"I Know This Much is True" is an undertaking not to be taken lightly. The enormity of the book itself mirrors the enormity of the battles within. The story is told through the voice of an indentical twin in his 40's, as he wrestles with his past, the history of his family, the schizophrenia of his twin brother and his present relationships. As his story unravels for the reader, we are also given the chance to read a novel of his grandfather's writing, a history that traces back the long reach of abuse in the narrator's family, a legacy of broken people, a parable on the exploitation of power.

As we struggle alongside the narrator to uncover the truths to the mysteries that plague the novel, we find the plot only thickens as answers are elusive. Lamb tells in tanglible detail a personal history that has raged like a river through this family. The detail is rough, crass, and even gruesome. His characters are troubled, selfish and broken. The plot is huge in scope and yet particular in it's detail. Seek answers and find only more questions.

I was captivated by the novel by the mid-point. The characters had attached themselves to me and I was eager to pay witness to their struggle, to hope for their personal recovery, to plead for their forgiveness. Beyond the mid-point, I struggled to take it all in. I wanted more answers and fewer questions. I wanted something to play out with grace and dignity and nothing did. I, like the narrator had grown tired of fighting the fight for absolution.

Lamb wraps up the ending in his own due time, following his own lengthy course. Some answers were not difficult to predict, some outcomes feel more similar to what he hoped would happen than to what seems realistic, but we reach a point where we understand that for the fight of all that was unknown through the novel, throughout the life of the narrator, we do, perhaps, alongside each other, come together at the end to understand a few certain truths.

While I'm not certain I would put this book near the top of my "must-read" list for life, it was certainly a book that I will think over for awhile. A struggle with questions not unfamiliar; a lesson on the necessity of forgiveness that we all need to hear. Sometimes it is not the answers to questions that we wrestle with that bring our lives meaning, but the process of wrestling through the questions. At least from my own life, I know this much is true.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The SuperBowl

I think Peyton Manning should send Rex Grossman to Disney World as a thank you for the gift of his first SuperBowl win. It wasn't so much that Rex lost the game for the Bears as he gift wrapped it and hand delivered it for the Colts.

At least people will stop talking about 'when' Peyton will win a big game, though.

And Tony Dungy deserves the Championship.

The Queen's English

When I moved to the East Coast nearly 9 years ago, I was astounded by how frequently people stopped to ask me where I was from. People all around me noticed immediately from my speech that I wasn't 'from here'. Having been raised in northern Illionis, it had never crossed my mind that I had an accent. Where I live in Pennsylvania, we are situated south of the New England/Boston/New York accents, west of the Jersey accent and north of anything southern. I had not recognized there was a uniqueness to this area as well.

Sometimes it wasn't an accent per se that gave me away, it was my choice of words. Over the years, I've learned to say 'pocketbook' instead of 'purse', sometimes I even say 'carriage' for a stroller. No one here goes to the 'beach', they all go to the 'shore'. If I listen closely, I notice a difference in the way people say 'water' here, it sounds more like 'wudder', but in general, I've learned to tame my Chicago 'A' sound and have changed the way I say 'pajamas', 'radiator' and sometimes even 'aunt' depending on whom I'm speaking to.

Having just watched an interview with a Brit named Bear Grylls (from Discovery's 'Man v. Wild') and I have to say, if I could choose how to speak, I would speak like he does. There is something so incredibly proper and sophisticated and intelligent in the way a Brit speaks (in my mind). Perhaps it would lose it's appeal if I lived there and I understood the slang and noticed the dropped syllables and the mispronunciations, but it seems as if the language is cleaner, and more correct than ours is anymore. Even their idioms seem more entertaining and creative. Their word choices seem to elevate a conversation to a more sophisticated level.

I am sure to some, the English accent and even the East Coast accent sound snobbish (I hear you nodding, Bear and Jules). And I am certain my Dad and Judy would have much to say about learning the southern speak after they moved to Tennessee a number of years ago. My brother, G, switches between a southern drawl and his Illinois upbringing anytime you talk with him.

All I can say is, if Hallmark would make a talking card with a British Accent, it would be the best Valentine card ever.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Little Altars Everywhere - Wells

I could not begin to review this book and do it justice. I will simply quote the author. "Hidden blessings inside suffering. This is ultimately what "Little Altars Everywhere" is about. We are given our lives, our fear, our broken bones and broken hearts. Breaks create openings that were not there beefore, and in that space grow the seeds for new creation."

Exactly what I needed today. Thanks, Poka, for the recommendation.

Dear Dad (and Mom):

I need to apologize. Remember all those times when I was a kid and you told me to do something a hundred times and I didn't do it? Remember when you paid for piano lessons and for my flute and even later for my oboe, and you insisted that I practice, but I didn't, or I said I did, but I really didn't? Remember when you told me to plan ahead with my homework so I wouldn't have it all to do in one night? Remember when we stayed up late the night before that big math project was due so I could get it done because I hadn't planned ahead? Remember when you told me to double check my work to make sure I turned in my best but I rushed through it and turned it in incomplete anyway? Remember when you took me to some cool event (no, not the Captain and Tennille concert) and I moaned and groaned about how miserable it was going to be, and even during the event I was completely uninvolved and distracted but afterwards I spoke like it was the most amazing thing I'd ever done? Remember how it took teamwork between the both of you not to kill me before we got home? Remember when you wanted to take me out to do something nice for me as a surprise but I spent the whole time complaining about some silly little issue that you turned the car around and went home instead? Remember how I thought you were always wrong and I was always right? Remember how I resented how you pushed me to do and to be my best even though it helped me to get an academic scholarship and then a 4.0 in my major? Remember all those times I just drove you batty as a child? I AM SO SORRY!!!!

All I can say is, paybacks are hell.

Love,

Eliza Jane