Today is the day to celebrate your siblings.

It is National Siblings Day. The day was picked by the founder of the Siblings Day Foundation to honor her late siblings and is in fact, the birthday of her sister. For more information about National Siblings Day look here.

I love my brother and my sister, they are a big part of my life and for that I will be always grateful for their love, friendship and support, to them I send my love on this day and always.

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Today, I also want to celebrate the siblings that we created. They are three amazing young men and I love them more than words can say. They are the best part of my life. While each of them is amazing individually, together they are so much more. I am happy that they will always have each other as they journey through life and will always share the common bond of family that is unique just to the three of them. While others will come and go in their lives, they will always have each other. By birth, they are stuck together and labeled as siblings. My wish for them, now and always, is that they remember that they are the best part of our family, in fact they are what makes the five of us a family. As the ties that bind all of us together loosen with their independence, my hope is that they have learned and will remember until their last breath, that they will always have each other. As different as each of them are, they share a common and unbreakable tie that is part of their very soul. They know each other better than anyone, even better in some respects than their father and I know them. If we have done our job well as their parents, that is the lesson that they will take with them as they go do great things in this world.

Grown and Flown had a wonderful article on siblings which I encourage you to read. Perhaps it struck a special chord with me because the author speaks to their three boys and their family of five.

My favorite part of that post is the following:

They hold each other’s childhood and with a word or a phrase the five of us are back together again, and we are all young with so much of our lives still unknown.  I told them that I wanted them to be close forever because in the end they would always have each other, because it is truly a blessing in life if there is someone who can be counted on at any time.  But I now realize I was being far more selfish, because as long as they are there for each other, they will always have us.

 

Once again, we need to read between the lines and maybe, just maybe, read the lines themselves, rather than let the media do the reading and interpreting for us. The new law passed in North Carolina is more than just a law regulating the use of public bathrooms in the state.

At the time of the Boston marathon bombing, we had a very interesting discussion at our dining room table to explain to the boys why, as horrible as it might seem at that time, that the suspected bomber needed to have his rights protected. The basic reason, is because they are your rights and my rights too. It is a very slippery slope that we go down when we think it’s okay to take away one person’s rights or deny one his or her rights. While it might seem perfectly fine under one circumstance (think the marathon bomber), what happens when it’s your turn and your rights that are up for grabs? Not so okay now is it? Like it or not, the rights we have apply to all of us, not just the ones that we pick and choose under the circumstances. When folks were opening up their doors to allow police to search their homes, how many invoked that wonderful little right called the 4th Amendment and said, no. No, you cannot just come into my home police, without a warrant and search it. Not now, not ever, because my constitutional rights say so.

If you actually read the new law in North Carolina, it has two parts. One part regulates the use of public restroom facilities and limits their use to a single sex based upon a person’s biological sex. The second part, entitled the Wage and Hour Act prevents any local government (read: city or town) from passing any law, ordinance or regulation that regulates the minimum wage in the state. That means that any person in North Carolina, not just transgender folks are subject to North Carolina’s whim on whether or not to raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage in North Carolina is presently $7.25 per hour. Unlike other places in the country where cities have chosen to raise the minimum wage because they recognize that living in a city may be more expensive, cities are now prohibited from any such actions.

The law addresses the minimum wage, and does not allow any local government to set a minimum wage.“The legislature took that power expressly away, so forbade any local government from raising the minimum wage beyond what federal and state law require,” Charlotte Law School Professor Brian Clarke said.

To give you an idea of why folks, all folks not just the transgender and LBGQ folks should be jumping up and down in protest, many places in the country have enacted $15 minimum wages. Realize this means that minimum wage workers in North Carolina are getting paid just about 1/2 of what other people working minimum wage jobs can get paid. Here in little tiny Vermont our minimum wage is $9.60 per hour and while that’s not great, it’s still way better than North Carolina. Do you see something wrong with what North Carolina did with this law? You should.

The law also prevents any person (read: ANY PERSON) from pursuing a state action under the law for the public policies expressed in the act which also governs employment discrimination. Guess what folks? Under the law and its line “This Article does not create, and shall not be construed to create or support, a statutory or common law private right of action, and no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein” seems that all persons in the state are affected. Got that? Everyone.

Have a discrimination claim based upon religion, race, color  that does not fall into one of the state’s already established laws, guess what, you have no civil right to file suit in the state  court according to this law. According to  Charlotte School of Law professor, Brian Clark (who knows way more than little ‘ol lawyer me does) “In a very hidden way, it eliminated the ability for employees in North Carolina to file claims under state law for employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, color and age,” Clarke said, “And that’s a right that North Carolina employees have had since 1982… and it’s gone.” Poof. Gone. Folks should be rioting in the streets.

So, people, especially those who are peppering Facebook with their very prejudiced views of the rights of the transgender community under the North Carolina law and those that are speaking out against it, perhaps you should realize that when a particular group’s rights are affected, maybe, just maybe your rights are too. Under this law, rights were affected, not just for a particular segment of the North Carolina population but for all of the North Carolina population.

See, it’s really not an us v. them mentality. People are people and under the laws of this country we are all entitled to our rights, whether or not each of us personally stands for or against the person behind the right.  My kids understand this and have for some time. It’s about time that the adult population in this country realizes it too. One day, it could be your right that at stake. Remember that. Always.

 

tj

Dearest TJ,

It is so very hard to believe that 21 years have gone by since the day I first held you in my arms. You were the one that made me understand that the heart is a truly amazing thing, that it can expand way beyond the physical limits of the body. The day you were born, my heart grew a hundred times over and filled with love. A love that you will not really grasp yourself until you also stand in the role of parent looking down for the first time on your own child.

While I sometimes wish for another chance to get one of your little boy hugs or spend another day holding your little hand, I realize that is just plain selfish of me. You are everything that I would wish for you and so much more than I could every have imagined on that evening 21 years ago when I held you for the first time.

My wish for you as you embark on adulthood is that you see what your father and I see in you – a smart, handsome, funny, loving and kind young man who makes his parents very, very proud. While you step your feet further and further away from our home and into the world, remember that you are loved beyond the mere words I can write on this page. I know that you will do great things and you will do them with that wonderful smile and kindness that I have seen in your heart throughout the past 21 years. Those that are fortunate enough to cross paths with you as you walk through this journey called life will come to know you like I know you and they will be all the better for that.

Be kind to those you come upon in this life and share your smile, your laughter and your talents. Even at 21 years of age, an adult to all the world, you are and always will be my baby.

I love you forever. Happy Birthday!

(The woman who has the privilege to call herself your)

Mom

 

 

 

Yesterday, Easter Sunday was a beautiful day. The weather was absolutely wonderfully spring-like and warm. It was made better because I was able to spend it with my sweetie, two of my three boys, my youngest nephew, my sister and my brother-in-law.

We were able to celebrate Tyler’s birthday on Saturday after the Easter Vigil mass where Tim did the readings.

 Sunday afternoon I went for a nice long walk with my dog, getting a nice dose of sunshine and endorphins. All in all, a good day, a nice weekend and a chance to do some community service with my Rotary club.

Since I have moved here, I have been truly blessed to have some wonderful people come into my life. People who inspire me to make our world a better place and give me the faith that there really are good souls in the world despite how our mass media constantly blankets us in the ugly and the horrific nature of our fellow humans.

A group of community members and teenagers came together to help make our town a better place, to instill some beauty into our little corner of the world. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Most of these folks I met as members of my Rotary club, which I will proudly assume the reins of president for in a few months. These folks, like many others in the community where I live, try to make the world a better place and truly embody the Rotary motto of “service above self”. I am proud to be counted among their ranks.

To perfectly top off the wonderful weekend that it was, I noticed that spring has truly come to the hill. My first crocus not only sprouted forth from the depths of its winter slumber but found the warm of the sun sufficient to bloom – sharing its beautiful colors with me.

 I hope you find the time to make your world a better place, “do good and so good will come to you.” Happy Monday. 

Today starts the cycle of birthdays here in the Heffernan house. Two of our boys celebrate birthdays 10 days apart. For many years when they were younger, we celebrated their birthdays together with family and friends. I have yet to adjust to the whole college life where birthdays are often spent apart and celebrated together when we can. I do miss hanging the “Happy Birthday” banner and setting up their place at the table with presents for when they woke up.

Twenty years ago this afternoon, we welcomed Tyler to the world. He came bouncing into this world at 5 p.m. and has held my heart ever since. He has the unique spot in the family to be both a big brother and a little brother, something neither of his siblings can claim.

It has been amazing to watch him grow into the young man that he has become and I know that the world is, and will continue to be, a better place with him in it. He has such a  big heart and is probably the most empathetic person that I know. He is the strong silent type, soft spoken, quiet and very observant.  If you are able to have him flash you one of his smiles, you are lucky indeed because his entire soul lights up with that smile.

Tyler:

It is a privilege to be your mom. I wish I could be there to give you a birthday hug but instead I send a heart full of wishes for lots of love, laughter, happiness and success as you embark on a new decade in your life. You will do great things. I am very, very proud of you and love you with all my heart. Happy Birthday!

Love you,

Mom

The magic of cooking greens never ceases to amaze me.  It is always interesting to watch an overflowing pan (of escarole in this case) that looks like this when it goes into the pan….

  Reduce down……
and down……
 until it ends up able to fit in a container like this….

P1090776-WMToday, March 20th marks the vernal equinox or one of two days in the year that the length of daylight and the length of darkness are equal. “Equinox” is Latin for “equal night”. Today, neither the South Pole or the North Pole are tilted toward the sun. When the South Pole is tilted toward the sun, the southern hemisphere gets more light during the days and when the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, the northern hemisphere gets more light during the days. Hence, the longer days of summer and the shorter days of winter for us folks here in the northern hemisphere. The equinox occurs at the same time regardless of where you are in the world.

Spring brings with it revitalization and rebirth. It is the time of the year when we shake off our winter hibernation and think of the warm days ahead of us as we slowly start to see longer and warmer days in the weeks leading up to the first day of summer or the summer solstice.

Around the world there are lots of different ways that folks celebrate the vernal equinox. One of the biggest myths is that you can balance an egg or a broomstick on this day due to the gravitational forces at play in the sun being equally distant from the North and South poles. While fun to try, you won’t be successful because it is only a myth.

The shamrock is the official plant of the equinox — according to Celtic mythology, the shamrock represents the three hearts of the Celtic goddess also referred to as the Three Morgans. The shamrock symbolizes the regenerative powers of nature — and you thought it was only for St. Patrick’s Day!

In Italy it was symbolic for women to plant seeds on the vernal equinox in the gardens of Adonis. According to the Mirror, the custom persists in Sicily where  women plant seeds of grains – lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers – in baskets and pots.

When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the flowers are placed on graves on Good Friday, symbolizing the triumph of life over death.

However you may celebrate, Happy Spring to you!

 

 

 

Tim is starting his own business this summer and here’s the article that showed up in the business section of this morning’s paper. One proud mama – no need to say more.

tim

Photo credit: Rutland Herald

Robert Layman / Staff Photo Tim Heffernan poses outside his home in East Wallingford Thursday morning.Program gives local student a start in business

By Gareth Henderson

Staff Writer | March 14,2016

While many students were busy vacationing, local college student Tim Heffernan spent his recent spring break planning his first business.
Heffernan, 18, lives in East Wallingford and is a Mill River High School graduate in his freshman year at the University of Vermont. Already, he is well on his way to starting a residential painting business, thanks to the company Collegiate Entrepreneurs Painting Services. 

The company, which operates throughout New England, hires students as branch managers and gives them a chance to create their own painting business. 

Shortly after arriving at UVM last fall, Heffernan went for an interview with the company and was accepted as a branch manager. The intensive training process started in November.

Officials with the company warn that it’s not for the faint of heart — students quickly dive into the challenging process of starting a business. The point is to immerse them into the startup process and have them grow a strong set of entrepreneurial skills they can use throughout their careers.

The program trains the students on business planning, hiring employees, marketing, sales and other key aspects of starting a business. Collegiate Entrepreneurs handles the accounting tasks for the students, but other than that, it’s up to the student to build the business, gain customers and grow income. 

Heffernan is studying history and economics at UVM, and he said the Collegiate Entrepreneurs experience is helping him put business concepts into practice quickly. 

“I’ve always had a keen interest in how these things work, as applied to real markets and real business,” he said. 

Also, it’s a true hands-on approach. The branch managers are out in the field training with their regional managers in the program, as they learn the ins and outs of starting and running their own business. 

Heffernan enjoys the idea of building it from the ground up.

“My success is dictated by what I do,” he said. 

Currently, he is learning about the marketing and sales aspect of starting a business, including booking a full summer of house-painting jobs — which will happen this year. 

This goes along with learning the craft of interior and exterior house painting, along with power washing and deck staining.

“We will be going into production training and a more detailed look at painting a house,” Heffernan said. He will also learn how to train and hire a team of painters. 

He added that Collegiate Entrepreneurs works in full compliance with federal environmental regulations and is lead-certified. Branch managers are trained on lead renovation and will learn all about the related rules.

Heffernan will hire and train a team of painters during the spring, and he’ll continue to oversee various painting jobs in the area until the fall semester starts. 

“I’ll be at least on site, if not painting with my team, most days of the summer,” Heffernan said. 

His business will be primarily based in the Rutland area, but he is able to give bids for any painting jobs within an hour of the area.

Heffernan has already begun the process of dropping off fliers in different locations, going door-to-door to speak with potential customers and booking estimates for painting jobs.

“I’ve also put a great deal of time and effort into developing goals and a specific business plan so that I stay on track throughout the remainder of the semester and the summer,” he said, describing his spring break routine last week.

In the training program, Heffernan said one of the key things he’s learning about his how to find and train reliable employees. 

“That sort of sets the tone for the work you’re providing and the quality of work you’re providing,” Heffernan said. 

He added that a big part of this is making sure there are clear lines of communication between the business owner, the employees and the customer — to ensure the customer’s needs are met and the employees are having a positive experience as well. 

Heffernan said Collegiate Entrepreneurs puts a strong emphasis on being professional and having that drive the company’s public image. 

“We’re not going to be the people who are cursing and swearing and leaving cigarette butts all over the yard,” he said. “We’re going to be a team of respectful and professional painters.” 

Alex Arrick, a 20-year-old business major at UVM, is Heffernan’s regional manager and has already gone through the startup portion of the program that Heffernan is now experiencing. Arrick ran his own branch last summer in Burlington. 

He described Collegiate Entrepreneurs as “an entrepreneurial development company.” 

“We take college students and we teach them, mentor them and provide them with the resources and training on how to run their own business,” Arrick said. 

He said the company focuses on residential house painting because it’s a fairly simple trade to teach and is not as training-intensive as some manufacturing jobs and other fields. Therefore, the company is able to put more time into focusing on giving students the skills they need to run a business.

Another reason is, that house painting is “high-volume,” Arrick said. 

“Our average branch manager runs a $50,000 business in revenue,” he said. 

Collegiate Entrepreneurs officials spread the word through career services offices at colleges and universities, distributing fliers and having face-to-face meetings with interested students and classes. They emphasize that the program will be very challenging. 

“I would not say it’s an easy program,” Arrick said. “Running a business obviously takes a lot of work and involves a lot of different stages.”

The recruiting lasts for about a week, and “very in-depth, we go over what’s involved,” he added.

The program gets students out into the field fairly quickly, and provides them with business know-how that many entrepreneurs don’t have until later in life. 

“He’s out there getting skills that most people don’t get until they’re 28,” Arrick said of Heffernan. “We put people way ahead of their peers. That’s what we pride ourselves on.” 

Collegiate Entrepreneurs is a for-profit company and does business throughout the Northeast. 

More information is available at http://www.collegiateentrepreneurs.com.

 

img_5143Bagel chips are a popular snack. You can pay about $3.50 or so and grab yourself a bag at the supermarket. But, the next time you buy bagels and have some sticking around, it’s really easy to make them yourself. Usually when I buy bagels, I will buy extra with the thought of bagel chips in mind. When you make bagel chips yourself, you can also season them as you like, either by buying a particular type of bagel (onion, garlic) or season them as you make them. You can also adjust the salt as is best for your dietary preferences.

Recipe:

  • Bagels, thinly sliced
  • Canola oil
  • Salt

Place the sliced bagels on a sheet in your toaster oven. Brush or spray with canola oil to coat and toast for about 4 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the first batch so you can adjust your toasting time accordingly. I have had some rather crunchy chips that I thought needed a little more time and it turned out, the “little more” was too much. When they are nicely toasted, season with salt to your taste. If you are seasoning them yourself, now would also be a good time to sprinkle your garlic or onion powder or other seasoning.

Toss into a bowl and enjoy. At our house, these don’t last very long at all. If you really wanted to make bagel chips completely homemade, you could also make your own bagels first. Check out this link for that post.

 

IMG_4989These two. These two are amazing people (and I’m not saying that just because I am related to them.) I complain when my day becomes a bit overwhelming, yet their every day is filled with many things that I can only try to wrap my head around and understand. Every day these two deal with the challenges that having autism in your family brings and they do it with such strength and love.  Even though their plates are already very full, they always, always find the time to fit in something for someone else who needs it. They are the first to offer help and they are sincere in their offer. They don’t complain and they always manage to bring laughter and good cheer along with them. I have seen them do things for others with such selflessness and love.   These two people always have a smile on their faces.  I am proud to call them my family.

Today these two celebrate their wedding anniversary. They have raised three wonderful boys who I am proud to call my nephews. They are an inspiration to all of us that have the privilege of being related to them or having them as a part of our lives.

They deserve a little love and a big Happy Anniversary! from us.

Happy Anniversary to my little sister and her wonderful husband. May you be blessed with many, many more!

Love you!

The title of this post is just wrong. Rain and February should not be in the same sentence in the State of Vermont. We went from one weather extreme to the other in a matter of days. On Saturday evening, the temperatures were -19 degrees without a wind chill factored into the mix. Some spots reported temperatures with wind chills of -50. The summit at Whiteface mountain reported -114 degrees with the wind chill. Yesterday evening it began snowing and there were about 4-5 inches of new snow on the ground this morning before the rain started. Now, as I type this, the rain is pounding the rooftop, reminiscent of a warm July afternoon than a February day. The temperature hovered just around 50 degrees about 70 degrees different than Saturday night. Amazing – simply amazing.

Every time I glanced out my office window this afternoon, there was less and less snow. Now, we are once again back to mainly grass with the occasional pile of plowed snow. Depressing. Makes one want to pack her bags and her dog and move to colder climates, someplace like the North Pole perhaps – maybe they have some snow?

 

A year ago for my birthday, Tim gave me a beautiful orange Kalanchoe plant. The flowers died and the plant thrived, but I was uncertain if it would in fact flower again for me. I have that kind of luck, we are talking about the girl whose dad saved, rooted and nurtured the ivy from my wedding bouquet and planted it for me, only for it to slowly die on me.

Surprisingly, just recently, there were buds as it sat on the kitchen windowsill. The flowers came again, beautiful orange flowers. As I wash the dishes, it is right there, on the windowsill, making me smile, reminding me of my boys. Today, the sun was just perfect this afternoon.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. Tim, thanks again for the beautiful plant, it makes me smile and think of you when I see it everyday.

Evilwife on the move

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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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