Tag Archive | memories

The Day My Heart Was Filled With More Love Than I Thought Possible…

11 years ago today I was still at Edinboro University, finishing up my 2nd to last month of undergraduate work….

I went back to living in the dorm that semester after having lived in a house with 3 of my best friends…

Me and my roomies plus Brian our shoulda been 5th roommate...

My class load was heavy… I was deep in the throes of my 2nd student teaching placement…

I worked 40 hours a week at Wood Catering Company…

Any and all free time that wasn’t already dedicated to school work was spent at the Boro Bar with my pals, at the Hockey House or  Hockey games…..

At one of MANY hockey games supporting our fellas!

or painting the town red with my Kennywood pals…

Break time!

 

Grove Party at the park after hours....

 

night out after work....

 

Yes, at the time I thought wearing PLEATHER pants was a good idea!

11 years ago today my nephew Brenden Shane was born…

11 years ago today my heart was filled with more love than I thought possible…

The 1 month old peanut at my graduation from Edinboro

Bringing smiles to our faces always…

Making us laugh every minute of every day…

Warming our hearts with tender moments…

 

 

The sheer pleasure we receive in watching you grow…

 

the always sweet, handsome, intelligent, sincere and caring young fella …

leaving me to be so proud of the AMAZINGLY AWESOME big brother you are…

and fantastically phenomenal nephew you are…

So very blessed to have you in my life B-Shane… And so very proud to call you my nephew…

 

EVEN more proud though I get to be called “Aunt Mae” by you… and with every time I hear you say it, I can still hear your wee little tiny voice calling me Mae Mae….

Happy 11th Birthday Brenden Shane!  I am so very proud of you and love you bunches!!!!

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I’ve come to realize …

I have borrowed this from my dear friend and kindred spirit, Donna,  at The Redneck Princess

I’ve come to realize (A journey into self-awareness)
Saturday October 14 2011

1. I’ve come to realize that my chest size…
Fluctuates in direct relation to weight gain or loss… Anyway you look at it though, lets just say I’m blessed! 😉

2. I’ve come to realize that my job…
Is new, exciting, unexpected AND it pays the bills.

3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving…
My window is ALWAYS open, even in the dead middle of winter with the music blasting, me singing like a rock star and perhaps a bit of seat dancing. 🙂

4. I’ve come to realize that I need…
To relax and not stress so I can enjoy the little things a bit more often.

5. I’ve come to realize that I have lost….
My tendency to sit back and take crap from people.  Speaking up and standing up for myself is very empowering.

6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when…
People aren’t who they say they are or who you think they are.

7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk…
it’s a rare occasion and I can’t hang like I used to.

8. I’ve come to realize that money…
is the root of all evil.  No matter how much a person has, it is never enough.

9. I’ve come to realize that certain people….
WILL.NEVER.CHANGE and WILL.NEVER.GROW.UP.

10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always …

Give a person the benefit of the doubt until proven not worthy.

11. I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s)…
Are phenomenal in their own right each possessing qualities I admire.

12. I’ve come to realize that my mom…
Is by far the strongest & most determined woman I know. She’s simply amazing.

13. I’ve come to realize that my cell phone…
Is my lifeline. Can’t live without it; sad, I know.

14. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep…
I was cranky & tired but got a pick-me-up from someone, which un-crankified me.

15. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning…
I was REALLY tired & perhaps I am a wimp & again can’t quite hang like I used to. Two near all-nighters in one week are not good for this gal.

16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking…
That I love seeing the sun shining. 🙂

17. I’ve come to realize that my dad….
Is a really hard worker & always has been.  Started young and hasn’t stopped since.

18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook…
I need to complain less and share more of my positive moments. OR just not get on there as much at all!

19. I’ve come to realize that today…
didn’t go quite as well as I’d have liked so far.  The craft show was another bust.  Giving it two more tries and may call an early retirement. 😉

20. I’ve come to realize that tonight…
is going to be interesting!  Watching the 3 month old and 10-year-old nephews over night.  Say some prayers that the little guy is a happy camper and not a cranky bugger!

21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow…
is Sunday, which isn’t my favorite day of the week.

22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to…
be able to make a serious go of my crafty business.

23. I’ve come to realize that the person who is most likely to re-post this is…
Maybe Tink or Vix. 🙂

24. I’ve come to realize that life…
is what you make of it and extremely unpredictable.  Forrest Gump said it best…. My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

25. I’ve come to realize that this weekend…
has been incredibly busy!!!

26. I’ve come to realize the best music to listen to when I am upset…
is the same music I listen to when I am happy!

27. I’ve come to realize that my friends…
are absolutely Ah-maz-ing…..  Couldn’t ask for better.  Love them all for the same reasons while each have something special that makes me adore them all the more.

28. I’ve come to realize that this year…
has been challenging but I’m stronger, wiser and much more determined than I ever thought possible.  “Damn the man!” Don’t let ’em get ya down.  *For the record not speaking of a man here, just people in general.

29. I’ve come to realize that my ex…
in speaking of the most recent…. MAKES NO SENSE.

30. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should….
have run in the Race for Pace 5K today instead of doing the craft show.

31. I’ve come to realize that I love…
my life, even though it’s not perfect, it’s mine.

32. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand…
why people lie and cheat.  I just don’t get it.

33. I’ve come to realize my past…
is just that, the past and doesn’t determine the path ahead of me.

34. I’ve come to realize that parties…
Need to be held at Donna’s house so I can come for a visit. 😉  (What do ya think?!  lol)

35. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified…
of losing those closest to me.  It’s not an everyday thing, just the reality is you never know when the last time is the last so enjoy every moment!

36. I’ve come to realize that my life…
is a work in progress… just as I am.  I am A-okay with that!

Ok…it’s your turn my loves, fill it out and link back in the comments below 🙂

Happy, happy to your day!!!

Tell us about you, come on!!!

…NEVER forget…

September 11, 2011…10 years later…

TODAY…

As many others have commented and contemplated upon the tragic events that occurred in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I have found myself  thinking of nothing but the same today.  It’s a hard feeling to shake.  The utter shock and disbelief that our country, our FREE country could be subjected to such an outrageous and devastating tragedy still reigns true till this day, 10 years after first hearing the news.  The hows and whys that were muttered by millions replay in my head as I begin to think of what my eyes stared at on the television and ears heard on the radio stations.  I, among others, stood in disbelief as each report broke over the sound waves. The trademark skyline, no longer pictures the World Trade Center… The world changed that day…Everything
just stopped.

For me, not much has changed in 10 years.  The shock and disbelief still linger on, but are intermingled with sadness, anger and pride in the present day.

After watching several documentaries in recent days and reading reports and articles, I am taken right back to that initial moment 10 years ago when the world STOPPED…   Overflowing with emotion, I sit and watch and relive the horrific scenes and emotions.  Still seemingly fresh wounds ever after time has transpired since the actual events occurred.  Here are my thoughts and tidbits about the day’s happenings on September 11, 2001 as well as my thoughts today.

Never Forget

HOW could this happen????

I still find myself asking this question.  How could something so devastating occur…How can so many people have lost their lives without a chance of escaping…How so many individuals gave of their own lives so freely while trying to save those trapped, hurt and afraid.

The fear that took over me, was something I had never experienced previously.  Staring at the images on the television have not gotten any easier.  As I sit here watching all of the coverage today, the chills down my spine and tears down my cheeks are as fresh and real as they were in 2001.  The emotional response that my body endured 10 years ago is still ever-present in today’s thoughts and experiences.  I was fortunate to not have any loved ones directly involved in the attacks or collapses or rescue efforts…yet I was still affected so strongly.  The outpouring of emotions I went through during those initial moments were inexplicable.  We as a Nation, were in shock..disbelief…angered…mourning… No matter where you were or who you were, you stopped what you were doing and watched, listened, cried and prayed…

…Sadness…

The sadness I experienced in 2001 is the much the same as the sadness I experienced today.  The sheer fact that the event occurred and that lives were lost saddens me.  The loss of so many lives saddens me still.  Sadness for many reasons… lives of innocent people were lost that day; lives of children, parents, firefighters, policemen, rescue personnel.  People were minding their own, going about their day-to-day when their world stopped and ended without them even so much as getting the opportunity to say good-bye or defend themselves.  Their lives were taken by sick, tormented individuals.

I think my sadness lies deepest with the families that were torn apart by the ruthless actions the terrorists carried out.  Children losing a parent… Unborn children having lost a parent… Wives losing husbands… Husbands losing wives… Parents losing children… SO many lives ended… THE WORLD JUST STOPPED on 9/11.  Eventually, many of us started to “pick up the pieces” and get our emotions in check, resuming our normal, day-to-day routines.  The families directly effected by that days events would never be the same.  Their normal, day – to – day just got ripped right out from under them.  The healing process is a long and hard road that so many had to embark upon much too soon…

…ANGER…

The fact that a group of individuals could be so ruthless as to carry out the events that occurred, sickens me beyond belief.  I hold such anger that there are such disturbed, evil individuals walking the same planet as me.  Anger that so many lives were lost, loves lost, breaths stopped.

So many lives were changed without warning, without care that I just simply get angry.  There is no further explanation I can provide.  I have such disdain for those whom orchestrated and carried out the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9.11.01.

…Pride…

One nation, indivisible…If ever there was anything good to occur out of these attacks this would be it.  Americans took pride in our country.  We banded together, stood strong and supported each other.  We came together to aid those directly affected by loss or injury.  We took pride in ourselves, in our rescue personnel. Words of encouragement were shared, patriotism abounded immediately.  Flags flying, hymns blaring.  Sadly it took something so tragic to help us exhibit such pride in our nation so freely.  Americans spoke out of their pride.  Americans stood behind each other.  We became ONE NATION in support of all those lives lost and loved.

I take pride in the fact that so many individuals displayed such heroic actions on that day and coming days afterwards.  The individuals aboard the hijacked flight that crashed near Somerset, PA come to mind first when thinking of heroic actions of that day. Their strength and endurance, ambition and selflessness amazed me.  The rescue personnel that so freely risked their lives or gave their lives during the rescue efforts at Ground Zero,  are the epitome of heroes.

TEN years ago….

WHERE I WAS and WHAT I was doing…

Seems like it was centuries ago at times…then again it seems like it was just yesterday.  I was 23 years old.  Had already graduated from college and was enjoying my job at Kennywood.  I was part of a group that worked at the Amusement Park in the offseason, wrapping things up for the current season and getting things situated for the following season.  We did odds and ends such as taking inventory, tagging merchandise, and restocking items.

One seemingly ordinary day, us girls were up in the gift shop in Lost Kennywood doing inventory.  One of my friends was upstairs folding shirts, another counting something else.  I was sitting outside, on a milk crate, counting key chains.  They looked like bouncy balls, were yellow and had the trademark Kennywood arrow on them.  The exact item bares no significance to the days events, I just find it interesting that I can remember those details of something that occurred 10 years ago and I can’t remember if I turned my flat-iron off when I leave for work on a daily basis these days, but that’s neither here nor there.

The radio was blasting…given the time of day, had we been in the warehouse, Howard Stern would have been on.  But I can almost guarantee that since it was just us girls in the gift shop, we probably had B94 on.  My friend, folding shirts upstairs yelled down that something happened in New York…we didn’t think much of it, but as she continued to listen and share and more reports kept coming over the radio, our world just STOPPED.

…TODAY…

Today I am reminded of how lucky I am to be a citizen of this great nation.  Albeit a nation that has seen such horrific tragedy, our nation came together on that day.  We came together in support, strength and prayer.  I continue to keep those whose lives were lost close to my heart, their families in my prayers.  I continue to pray for those who are haunted by their memories of that day. The heroes who risk their lives everyday to keep us safe will forever be honored.

  I am thankful for those who defend our country so that I can maintain the freedoms that make our country the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Our world stopped 10 years ago…we continue on.  Honor those who defend us.  Remember those who died for us.  Cherish those with us.

How were you affected?  Where were you at that very moment???

Tiny Tunes

image

When you were a teeny, tiny little one did you have any favorite tunes?

A song that you remember singing all the time?

Or a particular song sung to you by someone?

Today as I spent time with my 3 youngest nephews I got to thinking about this…

You all know just how much I love music. I grew up with it.

Listening to all sorts of oldies in addition to  Fleetwood Mac, Journey, The Beatles, U2, Christopher Cross, CCR, Simon & Garfunkel, Whitney Houston, Depeche Mode, Taylor Dane and loads more. Listening to mom’s records and both mom & dad’s tapes … owning my own tapes & CDs …now my music library chalked full with digital files that is ever growing.

As a kid I was sung to all the time. From itsy bitsy spider in the bath as a wee little one at home to begging my Aunt Sue to sing Puff the Magic Dragon 50 million times when we’d visit. Music was always there and very much loved.

With my 3 youngest nephews I find myself singing to them A LOT! To soothe them when they’re upset and to spark giggles and smiles at any given time.

B. Shane’s favorites sung by all of us were You Are My Sunshine and the ABCs. Not to mention all the songs from Thomas the Tank Engine & the Wiggles… we’d do motions, and dance and just be silly. Though now,  at age 10 he’d be quick to deny any and all of these ever occurred! 😉 His current favorites are now The Beatles,  Linkin Park & Green Day plus anything he can play on his guitar!

Here’s my favorite version of You Are My Sunshine

P. Dub is absolutely hysterical when music comes on. At the young age of 14 months old he already has quite an eclectic taste in tunes. From Twinkle,  Twinkle Little Star he has moved on to Green Day and If You’re Happy & You Know It. Yes, that is correct…. Green Day. B. Shane puts it on and P. Dub goes bonkers dancing along. It’s the cutest thing ever!!! If my laptop was up and running I’d share a video of this sweetness… grrr! Another favorite he demands his “gamma” sing again & again is Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

As for the newest, almost 2 month old nephew, J-Man… who knows what his favorite will be… we shall have to wait & see.

Little bro and I have already discussed staging a music intervention on the boys if they only end up listening to top 40, Pop, R&B & rap! According to little sis, Extreme’s “More Than Words” is a hippie song, so we may have our work cut out for ourselves! 🙂

In my opinion AND experience, exposing a child to music is just as important as reading. Music allows children to express themselves in ways they may not yet be able to communicate verbally… it has the power to teach (as made evident in my classrooms over the years)… it allows for creativity & independence.

From tiny tunes for toddlers to classical to contemporary to iconic artists spanning across the decades, music is a language of its very own.

What songs do you remember from your childhood?  What music/artist have you carried with you through the years from your childhood?

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Through the Looking Glass

Life is quite an adventure isn’t it?!

Some days it is a smooth sailing ride while others are up and down and all around crazy.

Writing for me has been the perfect way to document both sorts of days and every other kind in between.  From milestones to heartaches to celebrations and the mundane everyday goings on, writing it out just helps…helps me to deal; helps me to remember.  Some times I blog once a week; sometimes it’s twice a week; there was a time where I was posting each and every day and also a time where I only did one or two posts in an entire month.

Regardless of the frequency, I’ve shared my stories, my thoughts, my nonsense and my opinions… I’ve babbled on about my loves in the music world just as much as my loves in my family… I’ve sought encouragement and vented anger… I’ve jumped up and down in excitement in sharing some occasions with you as well.  It is quite a fun ride… even if I include the crummy days, because lets face it… I am here.

Which way to go what to do?!

With all that has gone on recently such as welcoming my newest nephew into the world, attending several concerts, losing my job, breaking the nicotine habit and spending time with friends  and family I find myself reflecting on all avenues of my life thus far and the road ahead which is somewhat unknown.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an outside observer in your own life?  To kinda step out of your skin and take watch of your world around you.

OR

Have you ever sat back and looked over decisions you’ve made and wish that you could change the outcome? Or have you ever revisited a situation in your past that you once felt VERY strongly about and find that years later your opinion on the matter is completely opposite than your original stance was?

Those questions my friends really make me think…

It is good to revisit situations and circumstances from the past and reflect on them retrospectively; taking from each pieces and tidbits of lessons learned. Yes, the past is the past but there is ALWAYS an opportunity to learn from the past in hopes of continual growth in the future. AND there are somethings that are just better off being left in the past…

The best I can relate it is to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass…

Looking through the glass

Alice went on a pretty incredible unknown adventure.  Was she scared?  unsure?  a bit confused, puzzled and perplexed?  Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.  BUT there were signs and clues along the way.  She took a leap of faith and followed those hints, unsure of where they’d lead her.  It was an incredible journey.  I find myself really relating to Alice these days.

So now, I sit here “looking through the glass” of my adventures so far; Adventures that have been documented through my writings here and writings I have not yet shared with you;  some of which are from 10 or more years ago.

I don’t fully believe the adage, “hind sight is 20/20.”  As with each bump or blessing that occurs I am truly beginning to believe that EVERYTHING in life really DOES happen for a reason, even if it is not immediately in sight. Looking back on the past (places, events and people) I still don’t have clear outlooks on many situations.  I’ve come to the realization as my 33rd birthday approaches next Thursday that it’s okay NOT to understand… It’s okay to NOT know the answers.  THAT is the journey

Looking through the glass on the different “versions” of me that have emerged throughout the years, made visible through my writing is showing me more about myself than I thought it would.  THROUGH the looking-glass I can appreciate ALL that has occurred and all that has changed.

I am the same person as I was some 15 years ago when I started writing… perhaps though;  I am older, I am getting healthier, I am a bit more seasoned, a bit wiser, and a whole lot stronger.

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, cousin, friend… I am a writer, crafter, music-lover looking for the right path to take… more accurately when to take that leap of faith.

In the meantime, I’ll continue taking glimpses through the looking-glass and continue on my own little nonsensical path until I find where ever it is I am meant to be.

Have you taken a glimpse lately?!

 

A Whole Lotta Fun! …with The Avett Brothers

I’ve been slacking!!!

Last night I attended my 6th concert of the year and realized I have only updated you on TWO of them so far!  Shame, shame on me!

So be expecting a couple of updates this week… hopefully!  🙂

Concert #3 was the Avett Brothers…

Poster I picked up at the show... but lil bro has been keeping it hostage! 😉

Talk about a F.U.N. live show!!!

Lil bro and I went to see them way back in MAY at Stage AE and had a blast!  It was our first time seeing them and believe me when I say they did NOT disappoint at all.  Honestly they blew me away with their high-energy performance.

We were also blown away by how many people were at the show… we didn’t really think there’d be many there at all; didn’t think they had that big of a following.  WRONG… boy, were we wrong.  As we got closer to the venue to park we saw a line stretched around the block and then some with people waiting to get inside.

It was hot and the line was INCREDIBLY long…BUT we befriended a nice couple behind us and chatted the time away talking about shows we’ve seen in the past, made artist comparisons and just plain old chatted about music.

AND lil bro even snagged a treat off the ice cream truck!

Mmmmm. Choco Tacos....

I’d also like to add that this was our first time at Stage AE so we had no clue what to expect….

I was very pleased with what we saw….

1.  It is an indoor/outdoor venue.  Some shows are inside while others are outside.  How cool is that?!?

2.  The location is awesome.  Right in the heart of Pittsburgh’s North Shore, just across from Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3.  The outside set-up is a small-scale version of  Starlake Amphitheater ( well, I guess it is officially known as First Niagra Pavilion, but will forever remain the Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheater as far as I am concerned) but even better.  This was a SOLD OUT show and there were no lines for the restrooms; the food and drink lines were fast-moving and there was ample room on the lawn for concert goers to kickback, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the stage.

I will most definitely be heading back there for future shows (heck, I’ll be there in August for Incubus!!!  Super stoked for that one too!)

Forgive as I digressed…

This show was phenomenal from beginning to end.  The set list was incredibly  fun and full of energy, charisma and plain old, good music.

If I had to put a “LABEL” on their sound I’d say it was funky folk infused with bluegrass, punk, and a lil bit of rock n’ roll.  They are so.much.fun. and have so.much.energy!!!  Their tunes are catchy…  the lyrics are true and real…  their heart and souls are left on the stage.  

You simply could not help but sing along and groove to the tunes as they JAMMED out…  

 

 

 

I would absolutely jump at the chance to see them play again… they were that good.  I actually prefer their live performances over their studio recordings!

So, if you haven’t checked them out, give ’em a shot… they’re a taste of something different in all that is mainstream and  what is considered to be “popular” music.  They leave ya feeling good and happy…. there can’t be too much wrong with that can there?!

 

Oh, Happy Day!

Today started off in the most perfect way possible!  (even if it was a little bit after 2:00 AM when I got the call, just as it is now when I am writing to you!)

You see, I generally love the 4th of July… excepting of course the year I made enemies with fireworks!

But on this July 4th, I got the best, most wonderful surprise ever imaginable!

I became an aunt for the 6th time!!!

Me & my little J-man...

At 5:23 AM this little fella joined the world at 7lbs. 11oz. and 19 inches long… the tiniest of lil sis’s boys decided he’d make his appearance in his own time, a while two weeks early!

Mommy, Daddy, biggest brother (B-Shane) and little big brother (P-Dub) are all doing well as is the newest, sweetest, most adorable little addition (J-Man).

J-Man, Me, & B-Shane

Talk about brightening some not so bright days!  It was pretty much impossible to NOT smile all day, even when I for a second would think about what is not so perfect lately.  (More to come on that in a later post… I promise!)

Love at first sight really does exist...

No matter how many times it happens, holding that little one for the first time…seriously it is love at first sight.   So blessed to have 5 happy and healthy nephews and 1 beautiful and bubbly niece.

Now, I may be a bit biased but….. he is the cutest, most adorably, handsome little man I’ve ever seen! Well, at least since P-Dub was born last year… 😉

What a perfect way to celebrate July 4th… with family and friends AND my sweet little J-Man.

Many congratulations and much love to lil sis… She done good!  Very proud of her…. such a tough cookie!!!

Many congratulations to bro-in-law… You make a great poppa!  I know you’re getting the B-ball team all lined up!

Hugs and congrats to the biggest brother, B-Shane… You are already a fabulous big brother!  You’re such a good role model for your little brothers; I just know, they’ll look up to you!

And our little P-Dub… How are you all of a sudden not a baby anymore?!?  You bring smiles and laughter to everyone around you!  Be nice to the baby and help mommy! 🙂

So for now, little sis and hubby have a perfect little family… made up of all the essentials… P B & J. Isn’t that cute?!  Totally unplanned too!

B-Shane, P-Dub & J-Man

Welcome to the world baby boy!  Aunt Mae loves you bunches already!!!

xoxoxo