Archive | February 1, 2011

…Common Ground… PART 2



You know the saying, “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”… I LOVE it.  Why, you may ask?  Family is what life is about.  As I have shared in previous posts, my family is BIG due to divorce and remarriages and what not.  Would I want it any other way?  ABSOLUTELY not!  I’ve got more cousins than I can even begin to count (about 27 including spouses, give or take a couple).  I had more grandmas than I ever thought possible.  With such a large family, there’s a lot than go wrong with the combining of so many different personalities and beliefs…BUT the cool thing is, you’ve got that many more people that care about you and would stick their neck out for ya in a heartbeat.  And in a family such as mine, having experienced more heartache through deaths in the last 10 years than I ever thought imaginable, we’ve been given opportunity after opportunity to prove or disprove our closeness. Happily I can say that even though the boat can get rocked at times, with feelings being hurt during sensitive times and situations, we remain an extremely large and closely bonded family.

Somehow in the mix of the family I ended up being the middle child… Hmmm… Not sure how I feel about that in a stereotypical sense so to speak.  I would have to say I don’t fit that mold at all.  Perhaps it is because my role was assumed after divorces and remarriages.    Do I wish I had a close bond to all of ’em ?  For sure; but here’s the thing.  Life, distance and circumstances sometimes tend to get in the way.   

My sisters and I are close… yes, I said it… We are close.  It may not have always been that way at one time or another…We may not talk for a week or 2 but that sisterly love runs very deep.  Are all 3 of us exactly alike?  Ummmmm, ya.  That’s a big at NO! But that’s what’s so cool.  My little sister and I couldn’t be more different but that doesn’t change the fact that I would do anything for her.  Including her homework in 3rd grade and dressing her so she wouldn’t get in trouble for not being ready when we were kids. My “step” sister and I share ALOT of similar character traits and our careers.    They bond over certain situations and circumstances while I have all together different bonds with each of them individually.

The little brother is a whole other story.  I don’t think I was ever more excited than when I found out that I was going to be a big sister.  That is excepting the days when I watched him graduate highschool and also when I found out he was getting offers for grad school.  One smart cookie that little brother is.  We’ve got lots in common as well,  from music to personality traits. Jokingly we always say that the little bro got the best combination of personality traits from my sister and I. 

My “Step” brother and I don’t get to see or talk to each other often… It’s definitely been a long time, but I have some really good memories of having gone down to visit him when my nephew was born. He’s definitely a phenomenal and proud papa to his son.  I hope that the father of my children shares an ounce of the same pride he takes in being a father.

I really try to think about each of my cousins individually  and think about what makes MY relationship with them so unique.  With each there is something special that just “CLICKS” … something different for every single one.  Whether it’s a specific memory shared, tough moments shared when a loved one was lost, common interests such as crafting, scrapbooking, music or cooking or just their individual ability to “GET” me without having to say anything.

All time with the family is the BEST.  Especially as we’ve grown older and have responsibilities and families and what not.  What little time we do get to spend together is held more closely to the heart and cherished all the more. From having cousins come visit and stay to games nights to cousin nights out or annual Kennywood trips as we’ve gotten older.

Family dynamics allow you to find common ground on many different levels.  Common ground isn’t always a given in families…Blood doesn’t always create the common ground one would think.  It takes work, love and understanding to find it and maintain it.  My family gives me a lot to be proud of and to be thankful for on a daily basis.  Gotta take a moment or two every day to be thankful for each and every moment shared… every little piece of common ground discovered. 

PART 3 to follow…

…Common Ground… PART 1

There is nothing better than discovering you have common ground with someone… especially cool feeling when newly discovered common ground is established between long time friends or family or even people you have just met.

In my chosen field of employment one of the things we teach the kiddos is the “Golden Rule“… treat others the way you want to be treated. Simple, true words to believe in and live by yet a seemingly a fading trend in today’s society. At times I am astonished at the sight and sound of actions and words exchanged between individuals.  Leading by example is huge in my profession and as difficult as it can be at times, you just gotta suck it up and deal. In general, you’re going to come across people in life that you don’t see eye to eye with… the most difficult thing to do some times is to concede your thoughts and beliefs for the sake of all individuals involved.  It’s just not always about you.  Other people have feelings to…gotta take that into account in all that you and say.

But when you find people that get you and your point; what you think and believe; how you feel and what you think and better yet, they get what MAKES you feel and think that way,  the whole treating others as you want to be treated can be much easier.

believe it or not…they are out there…at times though hard to come by.  I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded with several such people in my life. Friends, family and a certain fella I’ve recently come to know…Yep, they just get me.  From finishing sentences, to reading facial expressions, to knowing that a phone call is appreciated or an “I miss you” is needed and appreciated… They’ve got it down and I’d like to think they would say the same about me.  It’s hard to explain.  Seriously, ridiculously hard to explain.  Am I going to question it?  Nope.  Am I going to go with it?  Yep. 

The break down…


I’ve got three of those things you’d call a best friend and I thank my freakin’ lucky stars for each of them.  These three ladies are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO extremely different, yet each know ALL the ins and outs of me. They can look at me in a split second and know that I need to talk, cry, or laugh.  They could tell by the tone of my voice or the look in my eyes that somethin’ just ain’t right or that I’m so flippin’ excited that I can barely contain myself without ever having to mutter a word.   one in highschool, the other in college and the other upon moving home from Maryland.  With each there have been periods without contact but each has been a constant in this crazy roller coaster of a ride I’ve experienced for the last 32 years.  We have a mutual respect for each other.  We see eye to eye on many a things, but even if we don’t, we respect each other.  Friends like these don’t judge.  They take your for what you are…faults and all.  They understand that life and all it’s experiences can change you in ways that just cannot be explained.  We listen to each other.  We comfort each other.  We get tough with each other when the need arises.  The part that I am amazingly blessed by experiencing is knowing that no matter what… I am “surrounded” by three of the most amazing women a girl could ask for.  Amazingly beautiful, strong, dependable, and determined women.  Three women who have my uttermost respect for staying true to themselves as well as me throughout some of the absolute TOUGHEST experiences I have been through, knowing that I would do the same in a heart beat. Always there.  Day or night, as cliché as that sounds…it is the truth.   In one way or another common ground was established long ago with each of these ladies.  Common ground being, respect, understanding, dependability, loyalty, and love.  Seriously, one would think these qualities would be common sense when labeling people as “friends,” but common ground can be difficult to find…Surround yourself with good people; great friends…True friends.

              As I’ve gotten older….

Some friendships come and go.  People change. Sometimes friendships end because of changes.  Life is life.  You can’t hold regret for things that happened in the past.  I am thankful for the many I have considered as friends in the past but have lost touch with.  Time, circumstances and situations change…people change. There are some friendships that just can’t hang in there…not for lack of trying, but just out of the sheer fact that people change.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.  A friendship is similar to a relationship…it takes work.  Not the kind that exhausts you and leaves you high and dry, burned in the end.  Working at a friendship should be easy; especially if common ground has been established.  But even still life has a way of throwing curve balls…not everything ends happily.  It is what it is…I am ok with that. It doesn’t diminish the importance of any of those friendships.  Each of you have played a significant role in helping me get to this point in my life…so THANKS.

Part 2 soon to follow… FAMILY


Woo Hoo!!!!!

I did it! Made my first pot roast without setting off the smoke alarms and no food poisoning!

The whole dinner was quite easy to put together actually. Two quick short cuts that made preparation and clean up SUPER easy made for a nice, relaxing & enjoyable dinner. Definitely would recommend McCormick’s bag/seasoning kits and Ore-Ida’s Steam and Mash Potatoes.  Yes, I cheated a little, but short cuts one was willing to take living in a small apartment… You’ll have that sometimes. 😉

I will admit though, that “the worrier” absolutely made an appearance a couple times as I began preparing the meal and even as we sat down to eat. Having only cooked for myself most often I began worrying if the meal I was making would not only be edible but be liked as well. Throw into the mix that you’re making someone’s favorite meal, pressure for success is enormous. After much gratitude and a 2nd helping of dinner… I think I began to relax a little more. Success levels in my “cooking” abilities moved up a notch. Woo Hooo!!!! Thanks to the brave fella that trusted me enough to try it and then actually liked it too!

Going to the grocery store even had me worried a bit.  Wasn’t sure what kind of “meat” to get… Anxiety setting in as I approached the cooler…and was super excited to find something labeled “pot roast.”  Could it really have been that easy??? Well, I was excited; then slightly disappointed at ALL THE FAT through out even after trimming it.  Lesson learned…go to the meat department and talk to the butcher.  All in all though  I was assured that the meal was yummy the day of and even when I shared my left overs with mom. So I asked myself… Success?  Eh… Sure.  Why not?

While I do enjoy cooking, I admittedly am hesitant to try making new things….usually just stick to a few handy go to recipes such as chili, turkey tacos or egg dumplings. Yep, I am a novice.  If you remember, one of my “must-do” items on THE LIST involves trying new recipes…think I have started off on a good foot. One new recipe a month is the goal I set for myself… Definitely thinking it’s more attainable now that I have my FIRST pot roast under my belt. 

The taste of success is pretty sweet… Not gonna lie 😉