Friday, June 12, 2015

J goes to England–a BTV production

A short 24 hours ago, I was standing with a group of other parents, a few grandparents and siblings, three teachers, and 21 students at the Indianapolis International Airport, preparing to put those teachers and students on the first of two planes that would carry them to London.

Y’all?

I just sent my 14 year old son to England.

(I’ve never even wandered across a border into Canada or Mexico. I’m trying to not be jealous, but I’m not sure it’s working!)

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(Me, my mom & J at the airport waiting on everyone to arrive.)

My son has had the opportunity to be part of an award-winning television and movie production program through his school for the last 2 years. Part of that program has included partnerships with schools in other parts of the world, including skype conferences and collaborations. This is part of the result of that effort – an exchange trip to the sister school in England!

You can follow along with us via the program’s twitter account – @BatchelorTV

Monday, May 11, 2015

raw

Frustration builds, and eventually we’re both in tears.

The child of mine, who is me. The stubborn set of his jaw, the stomp of a foot, the slam of a door. I know them all, because they are mine.

It’s like looking in a mirror, time warped and convoluted, but the images I see are my own, staring back at me. Screaming back at me. A face so red you are certain it will just burst. Eyes filled with unshed tears. Rage so powerful it hurts to breathe.

A pain so raw and real, with what age will show has no reason, but today? Today it is his, and it is real enough. It is reasonable.

Teeth are clenched. Angry words seep through them, curling and winding like a cold fog through a dark woods. I know those words, I have felt them, I have said them, as surely as I have regretted them.

My heart is raw. It hurts for the pain I cannot soothe. The pain I cannot heal. It hurts to know that in his eyes, I’m causing the pain. He doesn’t see the mirror yet. He can’t, the tears have blurred his vision. The rage has blinded him.

So I hold on. I cling to what I can. I remember I survived, as did my mother. My mirror.

Friday, May 8, 2015

On Giving Up and Giving Back

I shared a few days ago about how much I miss this space, but how difficult it has been to find words. My heart just wasn’t in it, I had quit. I wanted to be passionate about it, and I wasn’t anymore.

That’s hard for me to admit, because if there is anything I am not, a quitter is pretty much right there at the top of the list. I’m an adapter. A “roll with the punches” kind of person. Maybe it (whatever “it” is) isn’t going how I planned – no worries. Plan B. Or F. Or LL. I learned a long time ago that planning has value, but flexibility has MORE value. Know what your end goal is, but understand that the path to get there is NOT a straight line, no matter how hard you try.

So this “quitting” thing? It’s really not sat very well with me.

Part of my quit, I think, came from not having that end goal. There is no end goal with this space. It’s the best “roll with it” scenario I could have given myself! It’s MINE! I can do what I want to! I’m not here to make money, I don’t have a bunch of affiliate connections, I’ve got a few ads on here with the idea that maybe I’ll have a little income to cover the cost of my domain, but this isn’t a full time job or anything. I don’t promote the space because, well, it’s mine. It’s public, and sometimes I feel like I’ve written something that folks might want to read. Sometimes I write things that are important to me, and that I want others to know about. In general though? This is my space. It’s about me. It’s a place where I can share things that need more that 140 characters. I can document our lives a little, and one day the kids can look  back and share in some of the memories with me.  But there is no “end goal” – no target for hits per day. No revenue goals. Not even a posts per week goal.

With no goals, no guidelines, I didn’t have the focus to be here. To write here. I was so focused on doing other things, I lost the focus I needed to maintain this piece of me.

I’m not sad about it though. Really, this is just another step along the way, and my focus was in good places. I’ve been working, leading our elementary PTO, participating in charity events, and enjoying my family. We’ve travelled a little, visited some. I lost my grandfather, but celebrated an amazing man with people I love. I barely mentioned it, but a year ago, my 10 year old daughter and I participated in  St. Baldrick’s event and raised over $6,500 for pediatric cancer.

I’ve given. Time and again, I’ve given. I am not in a position to always give monetarily, but let me tell you something really, REALLY important.

It’s not always about the money.

More often than not, those folks you want to help? The group you want to support? They just need a little of your time. Can you work a school carnival booth? FANTASTIC. Your 30 minutes means the kids can play the games. Can you type? That group needs someone to put together some thank you letters to volunteers and donors. Clip Box Tops & such. Photocopy handouts for a teacher. Chaperone a field trip. Work a Book Fair. Read with students who are struggling readers. No kids in school? That’s ok – adopt a local elementary, they’ll likely adopt you right back.

Heart in other places? EMBRACE it. What can you do to help? Is there a family you know who is facing a challenge? Can you watch the kids for a couple hours so mom and dad get a break? Wash and vacuum the car? Come by and flip laundry, maybe sweep and mop the kitchen?

Volunteer at the food bank once a month. Offer to walk the dogs at the animal shelter. Visit the elderly – they may just need a friend.

Give back. Give of yourself. It doesn’t have to cost you a dime, but there is NOTHING that will fulfill you more.

I gave up a little here. I gave back in so many other places. I’m ok with that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time,

There was a girl. She was busy, as is common for girls who are also moms, employees, wives and the like, but she felt like she was missing something. Some creative space of her own, where she was all of those things, and could share about them, and learn from others, and others could learn from her, and together, all were happier.

So, she wrote.

For three or four years, she wrote regularly. She shared her heart, her photos, her recipes. She talked about books she read, and sports her kids played. She talked about charities she believed in, products she tried, pets she loved – whatever was on her mind.

She just wrote.

Somewhere along the way she slowed down. And then?

It stopped.

The words stopped. They just weren’t there anymore.

The photos were still taken, the food still cooked. She read books, and watched games, supported charities and held a dog as it crossed over the rainbow bridge. She buried loved ones, celebrated marriages and births. But there were no words.

The girl missed them, the words. And she would come back to the place where she shared them and try to find them, but they were not there. Every day she visited the places where others shared their words, hoping that she would find hers hiding among theirs, but they were not their either.

Eventually, sadly, the girl stopped looking for her words. She went to work, she took pictures, she laughed with her children, but she no longer sought out the words.

Then, one day, the words dropped in to visit. And again another day. Not nearly as often as they once did, but they stopped in. And the girl enjoyed her time with them.  She invited them over, told them to drop in any time.

Slowly, that fractured relationship seemed to heal. It may never again be quite what it was, but perhaps one day they could again be close friends, the girl and the words.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

it is so hard.

She’s dying.

We are pet owners – I can remember very few windows in time that didn’t have a dog in them. Even dogless, there was at least a cat, and the times without dogs were short.

Currently we have 2 dogs. Effie is a beautiful golden retriever mix of some sort, a shelter rescue who fits perfectly in our hearts and home. We adopted her as a puppy, and outside of the occasional grumble over the shedding,  we adore everything about her.

And then there is Peeg.

Peeg (Weeg, PG, Peeger Weeg, all variants that stemmed from “Pretty Girl”) parked herself in front of my vehicle one day and refused to move. She ended up making herself comfortable in my car, then in our home as we tried to figure out who she belonged to.

Apparently, she belonged to us, we just weren’t aware of it right away.

Peeg has lived in our house now for almost 6 years. She is a puggle (we think) with a coloring identical to Effie’s. The sisters that were simply meant to be. And they have been. There has never been aggression, animosity, difficulty – owning these two, picked up at different points in time and different stages in life has been as easy as it could have been. We don’t know how old Peeg is, but it’s estimated that she is about 9.

And she’s dying.

A sore that was swollen was not. It was a mass. And even when it all but went away, it didn’t really. And when it came back, it did so with a vengeance. And it’s cancer.

And it’s terminal.

We’ve had the mass removed, we have started medications to keep her as healthy as we can for as long as we can. We’ve told the kids… That’s not true. HE’S told the kids. My husband took on that challenge because it is tax season and I am not there. It was as hard as you would expect.

Hardest for my girl. She is a precious, tenderhearted child, and she loves that dog. We all love that dog, but the bond with the girl child is deep.

Her dying is crushing me. Hard now because she seems so healthy. She’s doing so well. Eating, playing, being her usual self. But you can see that it’s different. Or maybe we’re making it different. Could be that. It’s heavy in my chest, and I find myself overwhelmed by it.

This was not our dog, this pudgy, stinky-breathed, trash digger. She was just a dog dumped or lost, looking for home.

Home was our house. Home IS our house.

And she’s dying.

And it’s crushing me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Full Circle

Did anyone else get excited as a kid about new notebooks and sharp pencils and pens that were a rainbow of colors when it was back to school time? As a child in the ‘80’s, that Trapper Keeper decorated with Lisa Frank stickers meant it was time for a fresh start, a new opportunity to share ideas and grow, to mingle with friends I hadn’t seen all summer. While I wasn’t always excited about the actual “school” part, going back to school was exciting. New, fresh and exciting.

I went digging back in my blog history and realized something.

Five years ago this coming Monday I gutted my initial attempts at making this space my own, and started fresh. I pulled out a new notebook, sharpened a couple pencils, and went at it.

The last year or so have been more like the end of the school year. The notebook is tattered and dog-eared. The pencils broken, erasers worn down to their metal sleeves, tearing the pages when I use them. The pens have long run out of ink.

It’s the end of July, and this space, where I’ve shared our stories, our photos, our dreams for the last 5 years? It’s seen me four times.

Four.

In all of 2014.

Part of me knows that I’m not here because I’m busy being HERE. I’ve lived more in the moment, enjoying things because I enjoy them, and not thinking so much about “Oh, this will make a GREAT post!” I’m grateful for that, I really am. But the other part of me is sad, because this is where I wanted to record those moments, to share them, to have them to remember, and I just haven’t done it.

They’re on my Facebook, my Instagram, I’ve tweeted a lot of it, but seriously? I shaved my head 12 weeks ago. More importantly, my ten year old daughter shaved hers. Together, we raised over $6,000 for pediatric cancer research. That’s not here.

We’ve travelled, explored, ridden rides, partied with friends, rescued small animals, had a ROCKIN’ 60th birthday party for my momma, just done all kinds of fun stuff. And it’s not here.

So, yet again, I’m going to try harder. The kids go back to school next week, and my schedule will, in theory, start to normalize again.

Because this is my space. And I love it. Time to dust it off and give it the experience it deserves.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mario Marathon Time again!!

Our setup for MM7 – the feed is happening on a 32” TV, with chats and twitter on my laptop.

I’ve talked about Mario Marathon a zillion times, once here, again here, made some cookies here, and so on. (Search the blog for Mario Marathon to see the posts I’ve shared over the last 4 years!)

I’m sharing again.

The guys started their event on Friday, so at the time I’m writing this, they have been playing for 53 and a half hours. Unfortunately, last night, they endured a DDoS attack and were unable to properly process donations. As a result, they are behind pace.

Donations, you say? Yep. See, Mario Marathon is a volunteer run charity event. Exactly *ZERO* dollars of the money raised is used to cover the overhead for the organizers. They use their vacation time and personal funds to operate the event. All money raised goes directly to this amazing organization, Child’s Play Charity. Child’s Play uses the funds raised to fulfill wish lists from children’s hospitals around the world – games, books, movies and more. From the Child’s Play Charity site:

Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

Before the start of the event this year, Mario Marathon was responsible for bringing in over $400,000 to Child’s Play. I’d love to see them cross over the $500,000 mark this year! I continue to be so grateful for healthy children, and fight hard for families who are not as fortunate.