Friday, May 28, 2010

Book recommendation

I haven't been commenting much on books that I have been reading. I don't know why because I have been reading. Well, maybe not in the past month or so because I was focused on graduation and the scrapbooks I was making for my son but now I can get back to the regular pace of life.

Where do you get your book recommendations from? I get them from all over. I read the NY Times Sunday book review online and go through most of the previews they offer. I an a member of GoodReads which is a site to track what you read and share this info with friends. Not that I have been updating this but my friends have and so I see what they are reading. NPR reviews many books and I also get newsletters from Book List, Books and Books (a local indie store), and a few others. So, I get a lot of info about books aside from just talking to people about books.

This past weekend I got a book recommendation that I just couldn't turn down. While at my sister-in-laws I started perusing the Scholastic catalog that schools send home in grade school. My nephew, N8, saw me going over it and came to join me and I started pointing out to him that some of these books were some that I had read as a kid, I praised books like Charlotte's Web, series like Amelia Bedelia, Cam Jansen, and Nancy Drew. In that conversation we discussed some of Matt Christopher's works which he was familiar with and I introduced him to The Hardy Boys. Then he told me about The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He has read them and enjoyed them and highly recommends them. They are all EXCELLENT. We discussed what I had read about them and he explained why he liked them and then ran away. He returned with 3 books from the series to show me the illustrations and how it actually looks like a diary because the pages are lined. He then asked me if I wanted to borrow one. I looked at that face and although my brain was saying 'seriously?' I of course, said sure which is the first one, I should read that one. The pride on his face as he handed me the book was endearing. As he watched me I read the back cover. When I finished and started to put the book away in my purse he asked Doesn't it seem interesting? I assured him it did and told him it would be the next book I read.

And so, this weekend while we drive to St. Augustine I will be reading The Diary of a Wimpy Kid which although it says diary on the front cover is a journal. Do not be mistaken.

I can't wait to read it and talk to him about it. Too much fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

All the same...

Everything is the same. I have been telling my kids this for years. If you learn how to stand in line and wait your turn for the slide in the playground then later you can stand in line at the grocery store. If you helped a teammate get up on a field of play then later you give a friend a ride to the airport. If you got stuck on a problem and asked the teacher a question then later you will ask for help. If you can translate a picture in your head to something on a piece of paper then later you can prepare presentations whether in a boardroom or the dinning room. If you had an idea and were encouraged to voice it then later you will be willing to offer new concepts in the workplace. If you sat quietly through a Sunday mass then later you can sit through a meeting or a presentation. It's all the same and for that reason it all matters.

I am convinced of this and I seriously doubt you could change my mind about it because each day that passes I see it more and more.

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending my nephew's (he's 13, we'll call him N13) piano recital. Because of timing restraints I was only able to go to one and not the other because they are now go to different teachers. There were going to be 11 performances. It was a small venue and all the students are truly talented.

My BIL was going to video the entire performance to later give copies to the other parents. He set up his tripod and camera coincidentally right next to where we were sitting as it was the best vantage point. My younger nephew (N8) was in the aisle seat and was warned to not kick, touch, bump etc the tripod. He also warned all of us sitting nearest that ANYthing we say will come out in the video to be gifted to all the parents.

The first student , she was maybe 8, went up and played from memory their solo. The woman sitting behind me whispered something to her neighbor, she opened the zipper on her purse removed and opened a pack of tissues. The rest of the students went up for their performances and she continued to whisper comments, removed water bottle from her purse which her neighbor had to open and made more noise than I could stand. In a short break where they had to change the piano bench for someone, I turned and reminded the woman that everything was being recorded right next to her. She just smiled at me. She was perfectly quiet when her grandson performed but not the others.

Later BIL joked with me and thanked me for making the comment because he felt awkward doing so since this person was related to him and N8 commented to me that he behaved better than she did. He hoped she'd be more respectful at his recital and wondered if she does all that at Mass. From the mouths of babes....

It's all the same people and it matters.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Through the years when I have given pictures of my kids to people I write something on the back; a dedication of sorts. If I am really pressed for time I at a minimum write the date of the event of the picture and the pictured person's name on the back. Does everyone do this? I don't know. Why do I do this? I have a few reasons.
First, because that's what my momma taught me. She always had me sign the back of the picture I was giving to grandparents or aunts etc. I never asked why. Being the obedient (stop laughing!) child that I was I simply did as I was told.
Second, I have seen this on odd pictures I have come across over the years when sorting through things after my mother and grandmother passed away. The picture may say 'To my favorite Aunt from cookie' with the date or at least a year on it and then we are able to figure out who the baby is.
Third, because the pictures that have been passed down to me by previous generations that don't have anything on the back to indicate the who, why, where, or what of the picture has sometimes been unidentifiable by us who are still here trying to figure out what this is a picture of.

So, in conclusion, at a minimum I write the name and date on the back.

Now that you know all that, I can tell you this story.
As my boys are now both high school graduates and I theoretically adult men beginning their individual paths in this world, I thought it was the appropriate time for them to dedicate the pictures themselves. They are big boys and as evidenced by the diplomas they were given know who to choose words and string them together coherently and write them all by themselves. Well, let me tell you something. You would have thought that I asked for a 57 page MLA-style thesis. I pulled out the pictures with a week advance notice and told him who they were for. Nothing outrageous here just grandparents, godparents and aunt and uncle. After reminding him and being asked what to write for the umpteenth time. I said just at least put 'For my grandparents, love 17' with the date. Don't make this harder than it is, it's very simple.

I still have 2 pictures that were not handed out at our graduation lunch celebration this past weekend because he couldn't bring himself to even write his name on them. But I did notice that he gave some wallet size photos to a couple of people. So, I asked last night who he gave pictures to on Saturday. He told me 3 friends of mine. Granted, if they are friends of mine they are friends of his but what I mean is he gave pictures to 3 of my girlfriends. So, I continued to probe and was told that he thought it was nice to give them something because they were a big part of his life and a big reason he's the man he is. Yes, I got teary-eyed. But I'm still his mom so I asked if he just randomly handed them the photo and he told me that he wrote something on the back of each one. He tells me it was 'just a little thing so they would know how important they are'. And here I was all upset because the boy can't write to my godparents with love, 17. It seems the boy can write when he wants. I have no idea what he wrote on the photo for my 3 girlfriends but I know that they are probably just as touched as I am knowing that he felt they were a significant part of his life that he wanted to acknowledge them in that way.
I guess I will put the date and his name on the other 2 and hand them out at the next family gathering because really those are from me not him.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cool Quote

"Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference."

- Arie Pencovici

I don't know who this Pencovici is. I tried searching him online and didn't find much other than this and a couple of other quotes but I truly like the sentiment in this particular quote. Of course, tomorrow 17 graduates from high school and I am in the mood for this type of thing.

One of my gifts to him is a book of quotes. I didn't buy it. I made it. Well, I made it in the sense that I bought a blank book and have spent the past year jotting down quotes that I liked. The thing is even he contributed a few quotes that he came across and liked. He knew I was collecting quotes I always have. It's something I have liked since I was a kid. When I graduated from high school my mother gave me a book similar to the one I did for 17. The fun part is that he gave me some quotes for the book and he doesn't know that its for him. He thinks its just something I was doing for me.

So, tomorrow will be a mixed emotion day. One of those that days that will be all good but emotionally draining even though its a happy occasion. I'm sure there will be more written about this later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gifts & Moms

This past weekend was Mother's Day. I read the best article about what a mom really wants here in our local paper.
I think that article hit the nail on the head, at least for me. I don't need you to rack your head trying to find a gift that will fit your budget. I just need to know you are living a good life. This year I got a some really good stuff.

17 bought me a Harry Connick Jr CD. It meant that he was listening and paying attention when I was giving my undivided attention to AI this past week when he was the shows mentor for the singers. I love his voice. It was very thoughtful. In addition to that he gave me the go ahead to register him (and pay for-duh!) his college orientation. Why is that a gift because it's a decision. He has been waffling for the past 2 months and he finally decided. I was thrilled with both of his gifts.

20 is away at school and so he couldn't spend the day with us and the extended family. First, he sent me a text. "Hey, mom ru up? Happy Mother's Day!" It was 11am- the middle of the morning, of course I was up. I was getting ready to head out the door for the day's activities but he's in college and still sleeps in - a nice luxury most of us don't have anymore. Once I assured him I was up he called and we chatted for about 1/2 an hour. In that conversation he gave me what I think was the real gift (other than an uninterrupted and unrushed conversation). First he made sure that I was sitting down and then he told me that it was official he had declared his major as Political Science. I was so happy and excited that he had finally picked something. Then in true mother form I started inquiring about a second major or a minor perhaps. I could hear him roll his eyes through the phone lines as he said ma, please. But we'll see. I'll keep watering that seed and see if anything pops out. Later in the day he sent me a picture via text of a bunch of mixed flowers that said what I wanted to send you but I'm a broke college student. I told him they were lovely and would last longer this way.

Later as I reflected on the day I felt all warm and fuzzy inside because what they gave me was signs that they are doing what they need to do, taking control of the next steps in their lives and making progress. It felt good and made me smile. Of course, the smile was bittersweet as the first person I wanted to share this all with was my mom and I couldn't the way I wanted to. I did walk over to a picture of us that I have and say out loud to it (her) they're doing good, huh? And I know she was smiling down on us as I was smiling at her.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Does anyone know how to perform CPR on a air conditioning unit? All I know how to do is turn it off and on and that's not working. ;)

The only room that still has a ceiling fan is 20s. Guess where I'm sleeping? I borrowed a couple of desk top fans from a friend and now the 3 of us each have one to take around the house and use as we like.

I'm waiting for the repairman to come this afternoon. I hope it's something simple. Actually, more than that I hope its something cheap because I need my air conditioning. This is NOT a luxury.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I was at the flower shop the other day ordering some flowers for a prom date of 17s and I picked up a bunch of purple tulips for moi for no reason other than they were pretty. They are beautiful. Its a small bunch, only 6 flowers. They are in a small vase at the entrance of the house. When they open up they have yellow inside which just looks fabulous.
Every single time I see them I smile. They are just so pretty to look at. I absolutely love the color of the deep purple and I love the clean lines of the tulip stem and flower. Such an easy and simple way to make me smile over and over and over again.
Thanks me!