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There are after all thirty or thirty-one days in each month, depending on the month. Why then, do tell, is it that everything has to fall on the same darn day? For example, tomorrow is July 1st – tomorrow we have:
3:30 – 8 p.m. Picnic for Tim’s Odyssey team at Lake Bomoseen (which is about 35 minutes from our house)
5 p.m. Tim’s interview for peer counseling here in town
7 p.m. Tim’s Board of Review for his First Class at scouts
-Wait, it appears that tomorrow should really be re-named “It’s all about Tim” day. Okay, that’s really beside the point. The point is that we basically have to be in three places on the same date almost simultaneously and the following day, July 2nd, not so much. The same thing applies in August. We leave on vacation the same day that our oldest has his first soccer practice and come home the day that the other two start soccer practice. Amazing. The only vacation this year and it has to conflict with something.
So, at some point, decisions have to be made, priorities established. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be crappy. Crappy like not just rain, but heavy rain and thunderstorms. I have been assured that the picnic is a go – no matter the weather. Personally, though it is not very appealing to drive 35 or so minutes to hang out in the pouring rain by a lake in the middle of a thunderstorm. So…… if the weather stays true to the forecast, we will likely not make the drive to the lake so Tim can instead do his board of review for scouts and have his First Class for Scout camp at the end of the month. Plus, I don’t want him to miss the interview for the peer counseling, it is something that I think he would be very, very good at and well suited to do. So… again, the hard choices but we are only one family unit and something’s gotta give.
Last week we were pounded with the news of the deaths of several celebrities including Michael Jackson, who died suddenly and Farrah Fawcett who succumbed to cancer after a long, brave battle. This morning I was alerted to the fact that a female judge in the county in NJ were I used to practice law, a woman only a couple years older than I, died from cancer. She was the honored guest at our annual dinner where I was sworn in as president of the women’s bar association and although I didn’t personally know her, she seemed a sweet, very nice woman and we had a good evening that night. Perhaps it is just the gloomy skies that have been with us for a few days now and the rainy weather, but all of this has put a funk on me. It is always sad to hear about a death, it even hits harder when it is someone you know personally and still harder when that person is also someone right around your own age. We are all reminded of our own mortality and the fact that life is, indeed, quite short and very special. It should not be taken for granted, or taken lightly and opportunities to spend time with family and friends should not be missed. We are all here for a very limited amount of time, some of us with the foresight to know that the end is coming sooner than others, who are snatched away quickly and unexpectedly. In any event, every day, even those as bleak and dreary as today is here, are blessings, gifts that should not be overlooked. For as much as any of us know, it could always be our last.
Northshire Bookstore is a pretty awesome book store located in Manchester, VT. It is everything that the major booksellers have going for them, with quaint Vermont charm. Now, it also has something that nobody else does – Lurch. Lurch is the nickname that the Northshire employees have given the Espresso Book Machine, which is a piece of equipment new to the store that gives the reader the opportunity to download thousands of books which are no longer in print and even can print your own book from your usb drive. The concept is pretty cool and brings the world of internet books and out of print books that can only be found by crawling through attics or scrounging at garage sales or sifting through on-line booksellers right to our doorstep, almost quite literally. There is a very interesting article about it in the Boston Globe together with a very cool video of exactly how this machine works. Check it out!
I am a believer that things happen for a reason. There is a purpose to things. Call it fate, karma, coincidence.
Last week I was honored to be asked if I would consider being on the town’s historical society board. Today, I read this article in the newspaper about the concern over the lack of preservation of Vermont’s historical documents and relics. There is a need for access by grass roots country towns and historical societies to access federal and other grants which can provide them with the financial means to properly protect important historical information and documents from deterioration from the weather, in addition to theft because they are often maintained in less than ideal situations.
To help, a national coalition of institutions is trying to develop a local grant program.
“Federal funds need to be getting down to the grass roots to address questions of collections care,” says David Donath, president of Vermont’s Woodstock Foundation and chairman of the American Association for State and Local History.
Although Vermont historical societies welcome money, they’re also calling for grant-writing assistance, as almost 90 percent surveyed are run by volunteers.
“As funders continue to increase their requirements, request more information on their applications and only provide for online filing,” the study says, “Vermont’s many volunteer or part-time staffed institutions find the process frustrating, overwhelming, and exclusionary.”
In the meantime, the report suggests institutions draft a simple emergency plan, noting more than two-thirds don’t have one and consider it their greatest need.
“Most Vermont institutions have a good sense of what they need in order to take care of their collections, but lack the staff, money and expertise to do so,” the study says. “Finding the most popular and affordable type of educational assistance for institutions will be key to collections care in Vermont.”
There appears to be frustration in the public’s volunteer ability to have the time and experience to access some of the funding out there that might be available to fix the storage and preservation problems. This opportunity which I have been offered might prove not only informative, and educational, but also interesting. I think, that my answer to the question, must be “yes”.
We just got back from dropping TJ off at camp. He is attending his weeklong programming course camp at Smith College. Seems like a really nice place and he is staying in a dorm that it a converted old house. He seemed like he settled in really well and was pretty excited to be there. I hope that he has a good week, but it was hard to see him off. I guess that this is a preview of what we will have to look forward to in another 4 years when he is going off to college for real. Anxious to see what he is up to during the week, how he likes the programming course and how much he learns.
Today officially starts the camp season at the T’s. Today, our oldest, TJ is off to Smith College for a weeklong computer programming camp with his friend. The two boys attended a similar program as a day camp last year, but this year is sleep-away. The camp is put together by IDTech Camps. They do these type of technology related camps throughout universities across the whole country. I have to say that they do a pretty darn good job, since they take everything into account and the kids have a fantastic time.
Tim is supposed to be working at a peer counselor at a camp for autistic children here in town in another week and then all three boys are off to northern Maine. They are doing a 50 mile canoe trip with their boy scout troop which sounds like it is going to be the adventure of a lifetime. After that, they are off to Scout camp for a week. Then, well, everyone gets to relax until school starts again, which doesn’t seem that very far away now.
We recently put up finch feeders. We had never seen finches around our property, although neighbors up the road do have finches. We had tons of finches at feeders in NJ or “yellow birds” as the boys affectionately called them. It didn’t take long and we noticed that the feeders were going down, but we didn’t see the birds. Then we spotted them, one at a time, they arrived. and now the feeders are usually full with a beautiful assortment of birds. Our favorite thing to do is to enjoy coffee in the morning on the porch, watching the birds.
I grew up with Italian grandparents. Superstition and folklore are ingrained in my very being. I can list them here at length but I won’t bore you with that, although it might be a topic for a future post. Come into my house and throw a pair of shoes on the table and my skin crawls. Anyway, I grew up with the saying that bad things come in three’s. Deaths, misfortune, all that is bad and horrific, always comes in three’s. So when I heard the news that both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson passed away, the first question out of my mouth was “who’s next?” I was assured by my husband (who knows me and loves me anyway) that there were three alreay since Ed McMahon had also passed away. Ahhhh…not that I was happy to hear that but somehow the dread that comes from waiting for the other shoe to drop could be lifted from my shoulders. Weird isn’t it how we are so unaware of all the things that completely shape who we are. I wonder through the years, exactly what weird things I have unintentionally bestowed upon my own children? I don’t see them avoiding black cats, or ladders or throwing salt over their shoulders, so…. maybe I am safe.
In any event, this week the world of entertainment has lost some very iconic individuals. Their loss will be felt for months to come. My condolences go out to the families of these people, may they find some comfort in knowing how much the world will miss their loved ones.
Everything old is new again…. Remember that Etch-A-Sketch that we all had as kids. Well, one of Tom’s co-workers thought it would be a goof to give one to him – a “netbook” version – the small 6 inch model. This has intrigued my oldest – the 14-year-old has spent endless hours working on the Etch-A-Sketch both on our drive down and back from NJ last week and even here during the evenings. He has created some pretty awesome pictures. The effort needed to be memorialized on camera and shared with those of you who remember exactly how difficult it was to make that thing do exactly what you wanted. Enjoy!
(Like my camera reflection?)
I love flowers and a Daysie would just be dandy. If you love me, vote for me. Vermont’s 7Days is having its annual Daisies Awards and one of the categories is your favorite blog (non-political). It’s an online vote and I would appreciate it. You can’t just vote for the blogs, though, there are other categories that you have to cast a ballot for in order for your vote to count.
Here’s the link to the home page – just click on the Daysies Vote image and it will put you through to the balloting. Seven Days
This morning marked the “official” start of summer vacation at the T’s. Middle son finished the last of his exams this morning and just got home a few minutes ago. Summer has officially started (“Hooray” say the kids!) Approximately 64 days until school starts (“Hooray” say the parents!) Seriously, though, I wonder how long before “I’m bored” resonates the T’s house? There is lots to do this summer and lots of down time in between. The boys have boy scout camp, a 50 mile canoe trip and family vacation to Maine to look forward to. They have plenty of projects planned so we’ll check back and see what got accomplished.
I started this for me. Somehow, like therapy, things are better when they come out of my head and get put somewhere else. While more and more people read this blog, I tend to think alot about what I write down beforehand so it is less a journal and more a reflection. Sometimes however, it still needs to be for me. Sorry folks, but this one is entirely selfish. Read it if you want. Just a warning. I know that I can write it and hit draft and it would stay in a state of limbo as long as I wanted. Or I can write the whole thing and hit delete and it would be out of me but I don’t think that either of those options would make me feel any better. It’s kind of like cheating. This is supposed to be about the good and the bad, everything rolled into one – me.
We went down to NJ to a family party this weekend. It was my niece’s first birthday Saturday. We had a good time, saw family and friends and ate and laughed. There was one person that I didn’t see. I could have visited him, but I didn’t. I want to think that he was there somewhere and I missed him. For some reason, I physically cannot get myself to go where he is now. I did go in the past. I went a couple times. But for all its serenity and quietness, it is not the place I want to be, not where I want to go to visit. Saturday marked 8 years since my dad passed away, suddenly. The sadness of the day has been replaced by happiness since my niece was born last year, and that is good, but somehow for me it cannot erase that empty feeling that came when he left. To make matters all that much better this year, yesterday was Father’s Day. Double whammy. Back to back sadness. Phone calls to all the dads in our life – my father-in-law, my brother, my brother-in-law, and most importantly, my husband. The last time I heard my dad’s voice was on Father’s Day. It’s been eight years, I am a grown woman with a family of boys on the cusp of manhood, I should not get all teary-eyed every year – parents die and so goes the circle of life. But I do, I didn’t talk about it, everyone else didn’t even seem to remember, so caught up in all the happiness that now surrounds the day. It seems wrong not to at least remember, he would have remembered us. But I can’t bring myself to go to the cemetery and bring flowers. I thought about it, it is only blocks from where the party was held and we drove all the way down almost four hours to get there, but I couldn’t do it. It is like someone sticking a knife into my heart. I cry, I feel guilty and hurt and miserable and miss him very much. I cannot bring the boys with me and have them watch their mother fall apart – and whatever memories they have of him, should be the memories that they keep, not the stone on the ground with his name on it and their mother crying like an idiot. So, I didn’t say anything. Somehow I’d like to think that he was there, at the party. That he knows that I think about him often and miss him dearly and wish desperately that he could have been around to see my boys grow and spend time with them and make them laugh. And that he would be proud. Like Dads are supposed to be of their kids.