Friday, January 31, 2014


I love Fridays.  I always have.  When I was a kid, it meant we went out for dinner, unless my dad's bowling league was on a Friday night.  Then it meant I went up and marked score for the guys, who showered me with chocolate and Coke.  That is probably the one area where I think technology sucks - automated scorers, but I digress.

I love Fridays even more as a grown-up.  Teaching high school makes for a long week. And Friday means we made it and it

I love them even more than that when a shift day falls on a Thursday.  Mondays and Thursdays are crazy.  The boys have chess (practice one day, tournament the next) and D has judo.  Luckily, I am blessed to have an amazing FFW neighbor (or in yesterday's case, her FF) who drops my boys off at the high school when they have chess tournaments on a shift day.

But that is where my easy day ends, when Thursday falls on a shift day.  I have to run out with my kids at work - dodging completely unaware teenagers and frighteningly inattentive school bus drivers, swing back to my neighbor's house, grab my girls.  Run to the house, grab the judo bag, fight rush hour traffic and head north to my dad's house on the exact opposite side of town...probably about a 45-55 minute drive.  My dad feeds the girls for me. I take a quick potty break (Sorry if it is TMI, but it is significant because it usually the first time since 5am I have had the chance.)  Grab the little one, bring her back down to Bay View, where the boys' bus has usually returned from their tournament...after another 45 minute tredge through bumper to bumper traffic in the slippery (don't think it is time for spring, yet) snow.  Only to have them yapping for food because their snacks have lost their staying power and it is almost 7pm.


Last night I was struggling to keep my eyes open for grandpa to bring my judo girl home.  I zonked on the couch.

I was up before 4 this AM, got some paperwork done for school.  And the day began.

We got out early enough to stop at Starbucks, where I paid for my FFW's Chai when she came through AND I got everyone to school on time.

Tonight, Friday is upon us!  My hubby's engine company is having their holiday get together.  I get to pretend to be a real live grown up for one more time.  WOW, two weekends in a row!

So, stay warm, be sure to enjoy a piece of your weekend.  Love on those kids and snuggle with your FFs.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Sometimes I just need change.  My FF has learned to accept it.

Sometimes it is furniture, sometimes it is schools, sometimes it is my hair.

This time it was my hair.  I just decided that I needed change.  

That was last week.  My FF was on shift, I made the appointment for his next shift day.  That way he needn't know until I was done. Because I was planning drastic change.

But of course...the best laid plans...and I had to switch it to a day earlier.  Which meant I had to have the FF help with the kids and then he knew.  Which meant he wanted to see.  

When I got home, he was still at judo with our daughter and he started demanding a picture. I had made a HUGE change.

I take horrible selfies.  

His response was to tell me that it looked Old Lady-ish.

Ugh.  Not what I wanted to hear.

I cut off 15 inches and colored it a color that made people think I was a mistress - at the department holiday party.  Awkward.  

So, me, the non-girly one who took a HUGE risk with her hair, was told by her husband that she looked Old Ladyish.

And he heard about it all night long...

But, he loved it when he got home. I still reminded him that I was an old lady, apparently. 

And he couldn't stop gawking.  I love it, I shocked the heck out of my kids at work on Friday and even more so at the department party Saturday they were wondering who my FF brought with him to the party.  I will say, I enjoyed the laugh a bit. ;)  

So, today, my FF is on his way home from his coldest shift ever.  (I will be happy when he quits breaking that record.) My muppets are still in bed, enjoying their unexpected 4 day weekend.  And I am starting to truly accept that change is not something to fear, but to embrace.  Whether it is your career or your hair, change is part of life.  Embrace it and make it your own.

For now, I will snuggle the cold away, preparing for my new semester starting tomorrow and embrace the changes that it will bring!

Monday, January 27, 2014


It can go away.  And I NEVER say that.

I wait for that first snowflake to come.  I want to play in the snow, watch my Muppets and Polar Bears romp in the fluffy beautiful-ness that is winter.  Snowmen, snowball fights, sledding and walks in the snowflakes.  All so very Norman Rockwell.  

I mourn the winters when we have 65 degree Christmas breaks and dread the muddy paw prints that coat my kitchen floor.

This year, it can all GO!  

It is too cold for the kids to play.  It is too cold for the polar bears to go out and play.  They are all caged animals at the moment and we are on our 4th cancelled day of school.  I am OVER IT!  

I want sun and 65 and green grass and ... anything but this. 

My FF is on shift - so unfair.  Leaving me with the caged monkeys AND making me distract myself, rather than continually hope he does NOT catch a fire in this weather.  We won't see ZERO for a few days, and that is without figuring in the wind chill factor.  Sooo, there are several sets of cotton and wool long underwear, quite a few sets of hand and feet warmers and several pairs of wool socks.  We hit up the sporting good stores the last round of polar air.  

We mourn the passing of two of Toledo's own.  There is nothing that will warm up those families.  Sending thoughts and prayers for healing and acceptance of your new reality.  Please hold the families and the departments close to your heart.

It is so cold.  But, God willing, he will come home  to me tomorrow.  For that I will settle in and be grateful.  It is still cold, but it my lovely FF makes it a bit warmer.

To all the fire, police, EMS personnel out there.  Be safe, stay warm, come home.

To my FF, come home, our children will need your sanity by morning.

Stay Warm.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Pondering

I am sitting here, watching my students take their first final.  Their faces are all so serious.  They crammed and prepared and are ready...or are they. We reviewed, I bribed t hem with candy.  Study sessions over lunch and after school...taken advantage of by 6 of my 143 history.  Their values are so different than any other group I have worked with in the better part of two decades and I have absolutely no clue if they are truly prepared.  Or if they care. Or if I am making the slightest bit of difference.

I struggle getting them to write a paragraph, much less an essay.  They struggle expressing themselves properly verbally, much less in a written form.  I feel like I am in a no win situation.  I came in thinking I would have them analyzing historically significant pieces of literature and find myself dragging them through DBQs that we write together. 

My usual 100 question multiple choice is whittled down to 60.  My usual three full essay question exam down to five single paragraph short answer question.  They are working diligently and I hoping they see a glimmer of success.  This is 25% of their grade.  It is HUGE!  And I worry for them.  

My goal is to have them taste success - PASSING A FINAL EXAM!  And want more.  Develop a HUNGER for it.  To see that they CAN INDEED do it and want to move on from here.  Not look back and focus on past failures.  My goal is to make them want success and have them strive to reach it.

And I am nervous...

However, yesterday, I was graciously given a glimmer of hope.

One of my seniors came to me before class, last hour of the day and  nonchalantly  commented, "Don't know how you did in such a short time H, but everybody loves you.  Even kids you don't know."  And then he walked into my class.  Yah!  Uh-huh.  The same kids that are in my face because I am "forcing" it.  The same kid that walk by me day after day on their phones, with their hats on...uh-huh.  The same kids that I am fighting with to bring their book, a binder with paper and something to write with. Uh...okay.

But, clearly he sees something that I don't.  I can't even place the blame on the rose colored glasses of youth.  My boy has seen more than he even knows.  His PTSD has blessedly blocked most of it from being retrieved. 

And I am going to go with it.  I am going to accept that the change is there, even though I am not seeing it.  I am going to trust that I AM making a difference somewhere along this line.  Because this is the time of the year where I need that.  The media is telling me I am failing my kids.  The MAP scores are telling me I am failing my kids.  The kids are telling me I am the worst teacher ever.  Parents are telling me their child had straight As last year, so I am CLEARLY doing something wrong. 

That is hard to take.  

So, back I go to correcting these exams.  Wish me luck.  

The new semester is a fresh start for all of us!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Little Slice of Heaven

From earlier in the season when they played each other...
It was indeed heavenly.  My classes were all beautiful.  My FF brought the boys up to the high school for chess practice.  He also took our youngest with him when he went to go work out while D was in judo class.  They all got fed before I even thought about coming home.  Ahhhhh, I cold get used to this.
This is its own little state of chaos.

While the boys were in chess I was going to organize the shelf behind my "desk".  It is in a sad, sad state at the moment.  Instead, I crashed a study session going on with one of the newer teachers in my department for a bit.  He in turn came back and bugged me, during which time we solved all the ills of the educational world.  Until the boys got done with chess. 

Sounds very ordinary, but here is where it gets good.

Usually Mondays and Thursdays are a bit looney. We have chess and judo, every week both days J usually drops off our youngest when he drops off the boys.  That means there is no chance of getting anything done.  Today, he took her along.  AND the stars aligned.

It was also one of the two Mondays a month that the boys also have youth group.  

Usually these Mondays are shift days - meaning...I run out of the building with the kids to sweep up all the muppets and D's judo bag.  I drop the boys off at the high school, fight traffic to get to the exact opposite side of town (hoping there is no accident or I choose the right portion of the freeway f or volume), drop off D with my dad (who is gracious enough to feed her), grandpa sneaks a snack to O, we hop back in the car, come back down to our side of town, grab the boys from chess and swing over to the Basilica drop the boys off for youth group.  Come home, throw some food at O, run back to the Basilica and grab the boys and finally hurry home - feed the boys, shower O and wait for my dad to bring D home.  After I get them all fed, showered, and in bed...I eat and grade papers...hoping the drool dries by morning.

You can see that they are hectic nights.

Last night...was ...AMAZING.

Since J took O with him and the boys had Youth Group, that meant that I had an hour and a HALF. TO. MY. SELF.

I took shower.

I bragged about it on FB...all females in the 'Like' and comment section...until the other FF on my hubby's engine piped up with a "Thanks for sharing" snotty remark.  
People are always bugging for a
picture of me with no make-up.
Here ya go...

It was all good - because it came AFTER my shower.  You know, the shower where I got to condition my hair AND shave my legs.  The shower where Pandora was BLARING, playing from my S4.  The shower where even the dogs simply slept in the living room.


After I was able to take my time brushing out my freshly conditioned hair, I reminded said FF that he has ONE school-aged child...who is, oh I don't know, in SCHOOL when he comes off shift.  For him, a shower is just a shower.

Me, quadruple the kids - make 2 of them younger girls - and have them home when I am home.  Up, when I am up.  I turn that shower on at 5am and it is a glanging gong of an alarm clock, waking up my little muppets.  There is no time.  AND, do you think they wake up daddy to get some breakfast because they are hungry??  NOPE!  That would be rude, so they whimper at me which wakes up the boys.  NOW, you have a teen and preteen boy each causing their own form of havoc with their the 7 minutes I tried to sneak in a shower just to wash the grime off.  (I am with teenagers all day, ya know)  Shift showers...are mythical events, I don't think they actually exist.

I may have reminded said firefighter of the difference and went back to my recliner, in my fuzzy fleece pj pants with my soft fur lined slippers and watched grown up TV until daddy came home with the monsters Muppets... I got a spa day, the rest was just details.

Have a great day!  Prepare for the next polar vortex.  Laugh with the Muppets and laugh at your FFs...just make sure he's not looking. ;)  Sending love and warm thoughts your way...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Downside to Being Married to a Firefighter

For the most part, I love this life.  We can divide and conquer when it comes to the kids' activities and I don't (usually) have to run around like a lunatic.  I can watch TV - what I want, every three days - whether he likes it or not.  I enjoy having the bed to myself, believe it or not.  I wake up and get the kids moving easier, when he is not in bed with me when that alarms goes off.  I can keep the TV on as long as I want, without worrying about whether or not it is keeping him.  You get the idea.

But, that I also means that every third day, I completely hold down the fort alone.  Kids getting sick, houses being broken into, ER visits...that is all on me.  

Tonight is one of those nights.

Nothing has happened.  There was a pounding on the front door around 8pm...setting the dogs into an alert frenzy.  Our neighbor came over at 9:30pm on Friday, with a similar event.  He wanted to make sure that we had not needed something.

So, when this happens again, to makes me wonder if someone is checking houses.  I let the LEOs know and the neighborhood watch group.  And I let the dogs bark - inside and out.  I wanted them to hear AND see my big dogs, if they were indeed watching.  So, there are lights on, doors locked and vigilance is in place.  had our neighbor not stopped by, I would have presumed it was a night of ding dong ditch, but when it is both our houses...I begin to wonder.

I am not quite ready to go to sleep, gives me the opportunity to catch up on my DVR...

Have a good night and hug those firefighters tight.  Happy Monday.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

She Sparkles...and I am Just Gonna Let Her

You have to understand, my youngest marches to the beat of her own drum.  Sometimes it is offbeat and sometimes I have no clue what she even hears.  But, she is always true to herself.  I do try to contain it.  She wears what she wants, when she wants and how she wants.  Rules for what to wear when, don't really apply.  I really do try to contain it, but she has so much sunshine and glitter in her veins that sometimes it just oozes out of her pores.  

 Would you care for a spot of tea??  One minute she is lecturing on the proper procedures on brewing and serving tea.

And the Next...
...she is running around in a tutu bunker gear. 

Other times she is just hanging around.

Also after mass...who buys these girls all these polka dotted tights!  Sheesh!  Here, she is a barrage of dotty glee. 

Today we had mass.  8AM mass...on shift day.  We got daddy out the door and we followed shortly there after.  I did a quick glance to make sure that there were undies, shoes, tights, etc...but notice I said quick.  As we were walking into the sanctuary...I looked at the little people in front of me. D was in one of Christmas dresses, looking adorable.  B was looking like a boy, but in nice jeans and a sweater.  My soon to be too cool high school was in a button down and khakis...sounds like a Christmas card.
Until you get to O.  She was walking in to this beautiful house of worship...  

in a red shirt/skirt outfit with flowing sleeves reminiscent of wings, with faint gold glitteries going through it, black knit tights with shiny silver polka dots the size of dimes (see above) and blue glitter tennis shoes - that are clearly the love child of a pair of my Chuck Taylor's and pair of their Twinkle Toes.  The shoes make the outfit, this was no exception. And she walked down the aisle, smiling the whole way, waving like Miss Tiny America to her fans...and all I could do was smirk.  That is my girl.

I tried to get a picture after her CARE class ended, but no go.  I will have to leave that to your imagination.  But, it is not the first time.  So I will leave you with this image to help you along...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hell Has Frozen Over...

and so has Milwaukee.

I come to you, in my flannel PJs, with my snowflake flannel sheets and a polar bear on one side and a sleeping fireman on the other.  All in an effort to stay warm.  

Please note, I do not usually fuss about cold weather.  I did not don a jacket once yesterday - it was a balmy 29 degrees.  I am aware that it is winter in Wisconsin, as reminded from my high school doubles partner...from HAWAII!  I get all of that.  

But, when the air temp never sees 0, much less the right side of zero and polar ice caps have sent their winds our way, a-howling  and the snot in your nose freezes upon entry into the outside world, it is freakin' cold.

I am truly okay with the cold weather.  It got me an extra day of vacation. In spite of the fact that it stole a day of education from my classes.  But what I am upset with is it also stole a Packer Play-off Game from me.  Tickets were as good  as mine.  FOUR of them.  But, that Paramedic masquerading as a firefighter that got my pretty carbon laced handcuff beautiful wedding rings fixed, so I can't be mad at him for a month, was being all logical.  Something about the fact that I  have been sick for a month and I just stopped hacking up a lung and...well, I don't remember the rest.  He started speaking Charlie Brown teacher-speak.

But, I digress...

Truth of the matter - it is going to be cold.  Cold as Hell...Michigan.  I don't envision the other locale having heating concerns.  Stay warm.  Check on your neighbors, check on your pipes.  But, a word of caution, I would be sure to ASK PERMISSION before checking your neighbor's pipes...I don't any sexual harassment suit coming back my way.  Make sure your FFs are warm.  

I caught the ninja girl on "film".
Improve she must.
We spent two hours scouring the southside of Milwaukee for more cold weather stuff for J's shift tomorrow.  Mind you that was after my FF was late getting off shift.  (But, I can't be remotely mad - a 92 year-old nun at the convent broke her hip and my FF made sure she was good to go.  Prayers for you Sr. Mary.) And we drove up to his folks for Christmas - which had already been delayed by snow once.  So, we're talking 7pm - the day before a FREEZE YO' A$$ OFF PLAY-OFF GAME.  So, ya, I could have done this Friday when he was on shift.  Being all firewifey and stuff, but A) I didn't think about it, B) I was watching Dr. Who with the muppets and C) it was cold out.  (But, you will notice, I braved the cold for my ring.  There are priorities!)  Instead, we were scouring the empty shelves.

After some time, we found cotton and wool - got some of each,  I also made him grab more wool socks and he replenished his pocket warmers.  He always keeps enough for his crew with him.  

Stay warm.  It is going to be cold. Someone's heat is going to go out.  Poverty being what it is, the landlord will get to it and in the mean time alternative methods will be used and there will be some crazy gazillion alarm fire - because it is cold.  And hopefully I have deterred Murphy and his law from stopping in Milwaukee, because I made him add to his greater alarm bag.  AND I'm going to nag him about wearing his thermals to begin his shift tomorrow.  I stayed home from the Packer game because of his concern, he can stay warm  on shift because of mine.

Stay warm.  Kiss your FF.  Snuggle with your muppets.  Be safe.  GO APCK GO!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Am Not Naked Anymore!

Okay, that sounds bad!  That sounds really bad.  I swear, I am not a streaker!  But, I did get my wedding ring back!

I have been without it in March.  After I broke my ankle, the snow did not stop.  Wet dogs defrosting make for slippery floors.  Crutches don't really care for wet floors and rather than putting my foot down, I threw my crutch down and stopped myself with my hand - jamming my finger pretty good.  That led to a swollen finger and dangit - I couldn't get my ring off.

My FFW next door is an ICU nurse and has a trick with lotion, silk thread and some faith, trust and pixie dust.  Unfortunately, she was not home.

And of  course it was a shift day.

So, after my finger started to turn blue, I took my broken self to the Park and asked the truck Captain if he would cut my ring off.

They all felt horrible...and so did I. 

It took forever because there are 4 bands and I thanked them as the tones went off and  they scurried out of the firehouse.  And cried all the way home.  I took them donuts in the morning because I was so thankful to still have my big, fat, swollen finger.

And it has been forever it seems since that day.

I took my ring into several places and the estimates for all around $500.  Which isn't that much, but it really is.  It could go for so many other things like, groceries, birthday and Christmas gifts, car repairs.  <sigh>

I looked into redesigning event, but there was no way I could pull the trigger.

And then my FF looked into the place where I got my diamond upgraded.
Now, I have not been back to that store in years, it was an odd separation. I broke up a fight at work and my main stone was the biggest casualty of that fight - snapped it right off the ring, platinum setting and all.  I searched the halls and  begged the janitors to keep their eyes open - all to no avail.  The  jewelers replaced it and  life went on.

And then, in the next fall, I pulled out my sweaters and there it was - snagged on the sweater I must have been wearing that day.  So, what do you do?  You have this big diamond, that you won't have spare change for again...for QUITE some time. I had two other diamonds for an anniversary ring, it could work. Well, we took  it into the jeweler... and returned it.  Like fine upstanding citizens. Our regular salesperson was not there, so we worked with whomever was there. And we were treated like crap.  "Why did you actually return this?"  WOW!  We thought we doing what was right, what we SHOULD be doing and this is how you treat us??  I was shocked!  And I have  never walked back in.

Well, my hubby was obviously tired of me looking at my hand, longingly and for Christmas, he had it fixed for me - at the same store we walked out of all those years ago.  My FF explained the situation and they had it in their records, saying  that NEVER happens.  And they were going to make it right.

Tonight, he called me and said that my ring was in.  All I needed was the claim slip...which was in his wallet... at the firehouse.  And tomorrow we have Christmas with my FF's family.  Well, I waited this long, what's few more days.

Yeah, right.  You all know me better than that.  We called and I was able to pick it up with just my driver's license. Away I went.

And here I am blogging about it.  Oh, so happy to not be nekkid anymore.

Now, the real question is - are you guys ready for me to be back?  Three posts in three days!  I don't know. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Two Questions

My FF is on shift.  My children are insane from cabin fever.  Rooms are "being cleaned."  I am ancy.  I am snuggled up with my two favorite moving rugs, watching The Bucket List.  I am at the part where they are sitting on top of the pyramids discussing the entrance exam for admittance into Egyptian "heaven".  Fairly straight forward.   Maybe this should be my final exam.  Far more implications for their lives than, "Explain the implications of colonialism on the state of early 20th century world politics."
Have you found joy in your life? 
Has your life brought joy to others?
Again, very forward and to the point.

I've got death on the brain, which amazingly brings me to life on the brain.  It is a nice paradox to be certain, ironically.  Some of you will totally get that, others will look at this post and declare me insane.  Too often we forget about the implications our lives have on the lives of others.  

Sometimes it is indeed the experiences that we experience.  Walking down the aisle or across the stage or on the beach barefoot or across the finish line.  Sometimes it is witnessing the paintbrush in nature's tapestry of the light show in the sky's technical display.  Sometimes it is sitting back and enjoying the music and ambiance of the cityscape around us.  

Other times it is significantly less impressive and involves hot cocoa and a favorite movie.  Perhaps it is as simple as knowing that the meal you brought someone who thought the world around them had forgotten about them was less significant than the conversation about their story you were having with them.  Laughing at the shenanigans your kids bring to the firehouse on the holidays.  Or the laughter as the scary ghost story around the campfire turns incredibly hokey.  Maybe it was just bringing together  pieces of a puzzle that had been missing for a family you just met. 

Laughter, tears, hugs, giggles, conversations through the wee hours of the morning, screaming show tunes at the top of your lungs...all things that can't be counted, but do indeed count for so much. 

I am certain I will quit being philosophical and reflective soon.  I am currently working on my FF letting me be part of history and have a story to tell my grandkids, but he's being all logical and stuff.  Silly fireman.

I can never know for sure what joy I truly bring.  I can only hope and pray that I do.  Or perhaps I'll bring peace to someone in turmoil.  Or happiness. Or comfort.  Simply that I make some difference somewhere to someone.

So, as you begin 2014, keep those two questions in mind.  Perhaps heaven is right here - with our loved ones.  Perhaps heaven is what we make of what we are  given here and now.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No More Excuses, Just Effort

I know I have been gone for a bit.  I have been overwhelmed with life and  health and school and holidays and I have had a very hard time just FINDING something that I wanted to write about.  One of my dear FFW friends even called me out on it - "Is Trina EVER going to blog again?!?"  And I was apathetic in my answer, at best. I just didn't have anything to say.  Which is kinda hard to believe when you think of it.

And here, I am motivated to get the world to listen to me, if for no other reasons than prayers are needed. 

Facebook does wonderful things.  It allows new friends to connect over common ground and old friends to bridge the gap that the years have suddenly put between us.

I can't find the box that has these pictures in them.  I wish I
could for this post.
8th grade graduation - we were so cool.
A few years ago a middle school friend found me and through stalking her lists, I made more connections, a few of us worked together to bring others into the scene.  I went to a different high school than everyone else did.  Rehearsals and tournaments and performances and auditions and practices and homework made it insane and I lost track of so many of them.  We found each other through the miracle of modern social media and we said, we all need to get together.  

And that was a few years ago.

We  are scattered.  From Salt Lake City to blocks away from where we all went to school.  We are married and divorced and single and dating and parents and not.  We are just as diverse as we  were all those years ago when we were tight rolling our frosted jeans.

And now  we are  losing one of our one.  We are not yet into our 40s.  We have had one beat off breast cancer bravely and  beautifully.  We have had a scare or two.  And now one of us is in hospice because cancer sucks.  He got his diagnosis - a diffuse astrocytoma, fibrillary type, WHO grade II - in 2009 and bounced back amazingly.  But, a year and half ago, it came back.  He and his beautiful family have brought strength and love and inspiration every step of the way, to this dreadful journey. 
Such a beautiful family - courtesy of Anna Pocaro Photography
and Heal Courageously 
The holidays are over and he has been in the hospital since the day after Christmas.  And he will he never go home.  He has been moved to hospice.
courtesy of Anna Pocaro Photography
and Heal Courageously
We're not even 40, yet.  We have not had those over the hill parties where we share stories about how kids these days don't know what it was like and share all the lovely tales of all the Aqua Net in the bathroom and the amazing bus ride to DC that we all shared in 7th grade.  

So, here is the moral of my tale.  (Every good story has one, ya know.)  Tomorrow is  not guaranteed - so many of us have firefighters in our lives, we know that.  But that applies to everyone.  No one makes friends and thinks, "Hmmm, which one of us won't be here long?  I'll hang out with them."  We just don't work that way.  We never think it, that tragic moment when horrible news is given, will be here and yet, here it is. Whether it be cancer or a tragic accident, tomorrow is not promised.  So, instead, no more excuses.  Have that BBQ with childhood friends that has been talked about for all these years.  Celebrate your birthday with all your loved ones, no matter how many candles are on that cake - you're still here to blow them out.  Get together with all those co-workers that you bonded with in the beginning of your career.  Grab that cup of coffee, easier to apologize for being late to a previous engagement than wishing you had just taken the time to get together.  Call, email, send cards, have lunch.  Excuses will always be there.  There will always be something that comes up.  Figure it out.  We will not always be here.  Our kids will grow and  leave the nest.  Our loved one will not always be here. Fact of  life.  Some sooner, some later.  None worth the risk.

Now to take my own pontification to heart.  

The beautiful pictures of Mark, Jenny and their beautiful crew are from one of "us".  Anna Pocaro Photography did an amazing shoot when she came home last summer.  After surviving breast cancer not too long ago, she has begun to work with Heal Courageously, a non-profit focused on reaching out to the families and those affected by major illnesses.   Anna is definitely an angel among us.  She lives on the other side of the country and was home last summer to take these pictures.  I wish I had taken the time to meet up with her and her lovely family - but I let the excuses win.  No reminiscing over the Duran Duran concert or the slumber parties in the basement or going through the drive-through with our limo for our EIGHTH grade graduation, because I let life get in the way.  All I can do is shake my head and move on from here.

The true inspiration for today came as I was  reading a blog post about how  Mark and his family came out to the blogger's show and how moved she was  by that small gesture. They came to her opening even though they had so much already on their plates. It is a good piece, but nothing that would really be on my radar...until her last two sentences.
 In fact, each time you order a coffee this week and the barista asks you for your name, tell them that your name is Mark. Each time that a barista writes Mark on the side of yet another paper cup, it will be a prayer, and together all of our souls will spin like wheels and together, we will make room for miracles.
How simple and fast and easy is that?  No excuses, just effort.  And that was simple kick in the butt I needed to get back to my blog. Also a good excuse to send some prayers and good juju Mark's way.  Miracles happen everyday, whether we acknowledge them or not.  Buy your coffee and your lattes and put his name on that cup.  Starbucks might be confused, but they will get over it.  

And here's my New Year's Resolution - No More Excuses, Just Effort.  I know I can't be everything to everyone and every where every time.  BUT, I can make the effort - to play instead  of folding laundry, to have a cup of coffee, even if it is only f or an hour, to read one more book, to get the families together, to smile and make it happen - instead of going through the list of all the things I still have to do.

That list will always be there, but will they.

Peace, love and healing for 2014.  When they ask for your name - Mark.  And send your thoughts his way.
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