The Only Things I’m Certain About

I’m certain about death and taxes, love and life, rainbow sprinkles and mashed potatoes.

I’m certain about death and taxes, love and life, rainbow sprinkles and mashed potatoes, and that I was handmade and homemade and home-grown to be a mama, writer, photographer. And I’m certain I’m even-tempered, but only as even-tempered as someone who is HIGHLY sensitive to the changes and the shifts, the tastes and the smells, the FEELS… oh, the FEELS – like fingernails lightly down your back, or staring into space for five minutes after an evocative episode of This is Us.

Ok, they’re ALL evocative. For me, it’s the doctor character. And William. Sweet, sweet William.

I’m certain about legacies.

Sometimes I feel it coming – these changing tides – even while they’re still being born and unfolding, and I have to type fast before they implode. Or I have to race to a computer or phone before I explode. Today is a mix, like sun and clouds.

I’m certain about loss and grief, but not about the paths they take. I’m certain we have to rise up to move through paths and waves, and probably not as seamlessly as we’d like. Life’s greatest challenge. I once wrote a piece about grief that has since disappeared, but I think of it every now and then. Since I can’t get it back, I can rewrite it and give it to you right here and now. So let’s ride the waves together. FTSF Topic: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes ..”

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I once wrote that grief is like “the princess is in another castle” theme from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. games.

grief

Just when you have confronted demons, fought valiantly, been sucked through warp zones, and fought on in endless pursuit of fireballs, feathers, mushrooms, and frog suits, you arrive at the castle level to fight the next big bad buy. And you do it, and you do it in style. You fight so hard and so well, only to be rewarded with a simple message printed across the screen.

Super Mario Brothers

So then you leave to enter a brand new world – full of brand new demons, and one brand new big bad guy at the end of the castle at the end of this world. You defeat the brand new bad guy, only to be greeted with the same disappointing message.

When does it end? Where is your reward? Where is your princess?

personal blogging

Eventually in the game, you get to the real end, you defeat the final bad guy, and you get your princess. For keeps, this time. It doesn’t work that way in real life, although we certainly do have our rewards – like learning to unlock new layers and worlds within your own heart and mind. And finding yourself to be stronger and smarter than you ever thought possible.

The problem is that grief doesn’t have a set endpoint – there is no final big bad guy you can defeat, and then expect to never be challenged again. You will most likely continue to unlock new levels and worlds – through warp zones and not – collecting gold coins and stars, new weapons and new rewards, only to find yourself once again at the doors of a gated fortress.

It’s disorienting, isn’t it?

grief

My life has been full of such fortresses. After my father passed away suddenly from a heart attack when I was just about four-years-old, there was that first night without him. And then there were subsequent nights of resisting but having to let my sister and my mom out of my sight during day to day life. There were the weekdays that I waited for him to come home from work. There was the year following his death which I have mostly blacked out from memory. Therapy. A fear of loud noises.

A new home, a new dad and new siblings. A new school – the start of kindergarten.

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When I thought I was past a lot of my anxiety and grief, there were new challenges in young adulthood – going to college and falling in love. Moving several times. Becoming a mom to a girl who looked like me. And to a boy who reminded me of me.

A challenging time for me was being pregnant with Des – a baby due right around my father’s birthday. It wasn’t until Scarlet approached her fourth birthday that I began a new grieving process. My father had passed away three weeks before my fourth birthday, so I breathed a huge sigh of relief when that day passed, and we sailed through her fourth birthday party happily and whole. I then had a calmness I hadn’t thought possible, until a new trigger revealed itself – signing her up for kindergarten. I showed up on the first day of registration, as the first parent there, and my heart was pounding in my throat and my chest was constricting. How could I be back here – so far and so grown, but still shaking at the thoughts of change?

We defeated that bad guy, and now it’s Des’ turn for kindergarten.

Where is my next castle/challenge/bad guy? I don’t know what it will be and how it will hit me. I know I will probably live my life with challenges, but hopefully with gaining new skills, weapons and tools too. Moving through, as I also move on.

I’ll live my life fully and effectively, until I get the next message – “Great job, but your princess is still in another castle, and probably always will be.” And then I’ll stop, reassess my tool belt, add new weapons, and learn to move through.

This brand new world, until the next one comes along.

This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday topic is “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

What are you certain about?

Easter Egg Felt Pouches & My Hometown

I think this nearly deserves a post of its own, and will get one, but I left NJ ten years ago this Monday.

easter egg

Who’s counting, right?

I had big dreams – of great mountains, and bacon-smoked air. Steadiness and flying. Steady flying. I wanted to build a life and a family – and even a home. I had no idea all of these things would happen, and are still happening (house renovations!!), and my biggest dream used to be that I’d get to this place without anxiety. Wow, how I’m glad I still got to this place anyway, even with my anxiety. It’s made the climb more ragged and dangerous, but with the air up there sweeter than I imagined.

What’s coming is coming for you anyway, and oh how it is to rise to meet it head-on.

easter egg

That doesn’t mean I don’t think about my hometown. Scarlet and Des live in the very town they were born in – what kind of magic is that? Me? I never did live in the town with the hospital that held my birth. It was a zig-zaggy, to-and-fro journey.

By the way, did you come here for the amazing Easter craft, or for the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt? I got ya either way! Sometimes I’m one or the other, and sometimes I’m all at once. I needed to end this week a certain way – with tiny spots of wisdom and experience – in between adorable Easter pics. Or is it tiny Easter pics in between wisdom and experience?

Well hey, keep reading and you’ll find both. And not in order!

You will not be able to believe the cuteness of these Easter Egg Felt Pouches. They're easy to make, and then fill them with your favorite #Easter treats.

In NJ, it is customary to love either Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, or a hearty dose of both. For years, I preferred another Bruce – Bruce Hornsby. I fell in love with Bruce Springsteen on my 9th year out of New Jersey. I don’t think it has anything to do with taking the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the girl. It’s just that Bruce Springsteen rocks. I’m not so far from home anymore that I miss what I missed when I was in California – Dunkin Donuts. Autumn. 24hr diners.

I was born in Dover, NJ. I lived near there in Rockaway, NJ for the first five years of my life but did all my schooling, from elementary school to high school, in Roxbury, NJ. Specifically, we lived in Flanders, since Roxbury is giant and full of several towns. During college and for a few years after graduation, I lived in central New Jersey – in or near Rutgers University.

Sometimes I miss a lot of things about this girl.

I miss my family and friends. I miss the roots that took 27 years to lay down. You can’t just rip them up and leave. Rather, you leave roots down there and every now and then, you need to visit and nurture your roots. I have no desire to ever move back, but I do miss the people. As for Massachusetts, I love that we’re 2-3 hours from NYC, 1-2 hours from Boston, three hours from Maine, and under an hour to Connecticut and the Berkshires. I love the wilderness in our city, the politics and people, the local, organic food, the dreamy springs and exquisite autumns..what we find in our gardens.. the spirt and togetherness.

This is Scarlet and Des’ hometown, and that will always mean a heck of a lot!

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“When the day goes down on the water town
When the sun sinks low all around
That’s when I know I need you now
You’re what I miss” — Bruce Hornsby

In my hometown, I learned how to do arts and crafts. Silly as it sounds, it’s one of the single most powerful memories I have. My mom’s art studio above the trees – looking out from the third floor of the house, and her art school below my bedroom. I looked out over the woods too, and I often woke up to the murmur of children’s voices below the floorboards. Learning art.

What’s Needed

Felt, multi-colors
Embroidery Floss, multi-colors
Sewing Needle
Candy, suckers or small chocolate bunnies
Scissors

Directions

  1. Draw some large and small egg shapes on the different colors of felt. You can make these any size you would like.
  2. Cut these out.
  3. Now draw half egg shapes the same size as the other eggs you drew on the felt, but make the tops jagged like the top of a cracked egg.
  4. Cut these out and lay one jagged half egg on top of a whole egg you cut out earlier.
  5. Thread your needle with a piece of embroidery thread and tie a knot at the end. Sew the top piece to the bottom piece by sewing along the outer edges of the egg. Do not sew the top jagged edge to the back piece (just sew on itself), as this will be your opening for your candy.
  6. Now that the eggs are sewn together and you should have a little pouch so you can put a piece of candy in it!
  7. Have fun!

You will not be able to believe the cuteness of these Easter Egg Felt Pouches. They're easy to make, and then fill them with your favorite #Easter treats.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “My Hometown..” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

Where is your hometown?