September 03, 2017

You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

In the turmoil left by the recent murders of people of color in the United States, hate crimes and racially/culturally motivated violence, the lyrics for a song from the movie South Pacific really ring true.

You've Go To Be Carefully Taught

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween, everybody! The scary thing is that this blog has remained dormant for over a year now! Well, here goes........ to kick off reactivating The View From Toadcottage, here's my "Halloweensie" entry for Susanna Leonard Hill's annual Halloween story contest. This year was only 100 words containing the specific words: dark, costume and haunt.

(You can see it here where you can get links to all the other entries too.

The Witch

In a magical land full of cobwebs
was a pause in the thick foggy gloom.
Twas a dark spooky night,
with the moon shining bright
when a witch hopped up onto her broom.

Her cape whipped and waved in the tempest.
Her costume caused deep-seated frights.
When she took off on her steed,
her nose started to bleed.
Turns out the witch couldn't stand heights.

She traded her broom for a skateboard
and hoped that her fear could be beat.
Cause if she couldn't haunt,
what else would she want?
She cackled and yelled "Trick-or-Treat"!

January 02, 2014

Well, here we are two years after my last post. Rather pathetic if I do say so myself, but unfortunately life got in the way. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I have promised myself to redo both me and my schedule, to write every day (though perhaps not here every day), and to live a more happy and creative life. Thus, in my research on the subject, I ambled upon a really cool writer's challenge called Start the Year Off Write.  Here's where you can find out more about the challenge and join in the fun!

So, here's to more regular posting and writing each day. If you aren't a writer, here's to doing something creative just for yourself each day!

Happy New Year!

October 25, 2012

Hi all,
Sorry to have disappeared for awhile. Life took a challenging turn, but now I seem to be back on the straight and narrow. More interesting blog posts to come, as I am trapped at home with a broken foot, but meanwhile here's my latest news! 

I'm announcing the reopening of my Etsy store! Swing on by and take a look. I'm posting new listings each day, whilst continuing to create in between. With every purchase, you will also be donating to Ethiopia Reads, Selamta Family Project, and Clinic At A Time. The holidays are just around the corner, so come on over and do some shopping! More coin earrings, pendant necklaces and pendant earrings in the next few days!

November 26, 2011

In Which I Realize I'm Aging

Okay, so I know I said I was going to address the serious subjects I listed previously, but I ask your indulgence while I briefly investigate a completely different subject: Life Crisis. Now, I don't think Crisis is the correct word because I'm not currently in a crisis (defined as: 1. A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. or 2. A time when a difficult or important decision must be made: "a crisis point of history".), but I am in more of a ........ quandry.

I awoke this morning feeling much the same as I did yesterday. I arose with a very tiny bounce to my step, actually excited to see the sun glinting off the frosty grass outside, as I slipped on some shoes and plodded down to feed Maxie (* our beloved cat that has gone through a huge emotional knot due to surgery last month). Of course, he decided that the lovely can of food that I fought Black Friday crowds to purchase (since he politely turned his nose up at the 4 other selections I had purchased before Thanksgiving) was not exactly what he had in mind. He touched it lightly with his nose, and delicately pretended to cover it up. Mommy's had enough of that, so it'll stay in his bowl until he decides to eat it. Last time I tried this take-no-prisoners 'tude, he starved himself for a solid week. My cat has obviously been human in a previous life, and a strong minded one at that. But, I digress.

After dealing with the cat, feeding my darling children, checking the news online, and downing a vitamin C drink for myself, I repaired to the salon (as my great grandmother might have said). With the shower running and my mouth chock full of Aquafresh, I happened to catch my own eye in the bathroom mirror. This is where my pseudo crisis comes in. I. did. not. recognize. the. hag. in. the. mirror.

In my own mind, I guess I remain about 32 when my hair was still shiny and blonde, my face did not resemble a road map of New York so much as a soft hillside, and my body was a tad more taught. What I saw, in that mirrored moment of stunning clarity, was not the youngish ball of energy I picture myself as, but a (gulp) older, tired, sagging mom. Part of this might be the sad military haircut I was blessed with at a salon last week. (Military cuts, for future reference, are never attractive and do not, repeat do not, resemble in any way the cute pixie cut picture I showed the stylist.) That said, the cut cannot be blamed for the Shar-pei like wrinkle party commencing on my visage. The past 6 years of sleepless stress has taken a toll apparently.

Lacking smelling salts, I revived myself by with a bottle of hairspray and steeled myself to take another look at the hag. Yes, I have earned all of my winkles, but I've also earned the dark circles under my eyes, the squint line across the top of my nose, the crow's feet marks at my temples, the overgrown eyebrows threatening to descend onto the lids themselves, and the sagging neck. At this point, we won't go into exactly how I've earned all of those special treats, but suffice it to say - continuing to breathe for decades does eventaully exact a price. Had I asked close friends, they may (after promises of sweets or bags of money) have been honest and told me that I had started showing my age a while ago, but it didn't even cross my mind to ask. As I said, in my mind I remained about 32.

Ok, that was the initial shock, not really the crisis part. Here goes, the crisis part is that I realized that (without going into exactly how many rings this tree really has) I am nearing the halfway point in my life. I remember when my parents reached this age, and it truly doesn't seem so long ago! A bit of back story assuming you have not gone back to reread the past 5 years of blogging:

I have dedicated my life, for the past six years, to my devinely adorable children. I've enjoyed strengthening our little clan, puring my love into my children like water into an empty glass, introducing them to American life, to school, to winters full of snowy fun (and colds), to summers at the beach, to new family, and to their legions of friends and fans. I've reveled in their joy and actually trembled with the strength of the love I have for them. I've fought for them against bullying, struggled for them to achieve at school, made a lesson out of practically everything, worried myself sick, and celebrated each day with them. At the same time, I've fought for them, struggled for them, worried for them, and foregone sleep to sit up with them waiting for the night terrors. (Get it? There are pluses AND minuses here...) I've dealt with loss, with health scares, with the very personal effects of our downward spiraling economy, and worried about where we were going to get the dollars to heat the house and put food on the table. I know, I know, wah wah wah. Everyone has gone through this, is going through it presently, or will go through it. My point is that all of this has created the hag in the mirror.

A friend has counseled me to embrace this new woman, to cherish all of the life that is now written on her face, to become the book from which others can read about strength in adversity and survival. I might aspire to this, but realistically speaking - I'm human and do have a little vanity. I steadfastly refuse a surgical remedy to her loose skinned and papery look, but I am investigating face creams, vitamins, miracles, and magical age reducers. So far, I think I'm stuck with the hag. I shall have to think of her as an experienced and wise version of me instead of a hag.

Along with this new-looking me, I've also realized that quite a few years have slipped by without having accomplished the things I have held dear. I am not yet published in book form, I have not yet built a home for Ethiopian families affected by HIV, established college scholarships for 5 girls in the US, begun a writing "club" for children held down by poverty, given 10,000 to St. Jude's (the hospital that literally saved the life of my daughter's best friend), trained to run a mini marathon, grown all of my own fruit and vegetables for an entire summer, made sure my daughters are confident self assured young ladies, traveled to Hong Kong, or let my friends and family know clearly what they have done for me and my life. (These are just a few of the items on my list. The list is quite long, and keeps growing.)

So, rather than treat this a crisis, I guess I will choose to look at the shock as a catalyst. I'm definately a list person (read as: I have a rhinestone encrusted notebook of Life Lists. Yes, I will admit to being a tad detail-oriented.), and will begin to try to check off items on my Big List each month. The larger items, like those I mentioned above may have to wait until I publish books, win the lottery, or get elected Queen, but I will hold out hope that I can accomplish them. My sparkling book of lists must get longer with steps to achieve the larger items, but I think this can give me focus for the upcoming years. Perhaps I can involve my girls in achieving my goals and in turn instill in them the drive to accomplish whatever they dream.

And now, an admission. I used to think, before my girls arrived  home from Ethiopia, that friends who were stay-at-home moms were neglecting themselves. I felt strongly that they had traded who they were for the initials M.O.M., and were choosing to lose their path willingly. I guess I still feel that way, but now I realize that the choice is one that a mother cannot help but make. I chose to leave the corporate world and regular socializing with adults, but I traded it for the miraculous magic of watching my children grow and learn. I spent my time experiencing each moment with my children instead of achieving status and a more stable bank account. Now I realize that while it may be possible to combine both lives, retain a bit of oneself and still be present for one's family, I have already chosen for the past years. It's left a mark, as Chris Farley used to say, but it's a mark that I'm not sure I would trade. What I have learned should make me stronger. Yes, I may be an older mom and may not compare favorably to the much younger, yoga clothed, made-up, lithe moms at the school, but I can ace them with life knowledge, with wisdom, strength of character, and now I have extensive knowledge of face creams. Later, I can beat them with my cane.

September 12, 2011

Well, hi there!

Hi there, dear readers. I'm a bit suprised but glad that you're still here patiently awaiting my return. Hope you have helped yourself to the fridge and enjoyed the comfy furnishings here at Toad Cottage.  I do apologize for my absence! It's not that I have not been thinking of you and The View from Toad Cottage, but life and it's subsequent challenges sort of sucked me into it's swirling vortex for awhile. Thankfully I yanked myself free and am back. :) We'll discuss the details later.

So, with renewed focus and creative oomph, please stay tuned for the following posts over the next few weeks:
1.)  Bullying & Racism in Elementary School
2.)  On Having Become What I Previously Mistakenly Looked Down Upon
3,)  Feeling Like a Pretender In The Writing World, or When One Can call Themselves A Real Writer
4.)  Review Of Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri
5.)  5 Easy Pieces: Simple & Delicious Recipes for Busy Moms To Satisfy The Masses
6.)  'Big Hair Mood'; A Tale of Ethiopian Hair In The Great White North

So happy to see your smiling faces again, at least in my imagination! Join me on Wednesday for a bit of birthday fun & a giveaway.


December 07, 2010

Those Darned Holiday Cards!

Hi all,

Well, time has sufficiently sped by without my paying the least bit of attention, and holiday card time is nearly past! I still have some cards left in the attic from 15 yrs. ago depicting Santa in red trunks lying underneath a decorated palm tree, but they just don't give the sentiment I want. (Now a card with Mrs. Claus dressed in ratty sweatpants, an old t-shirt, an apron covered in flour, and large bags under her eyes might be more appropriate!) So the lovely folks at Shutterfly are offering 50 free holiday cards to bloggers, and I'm going for it! (You can get some too if you are a blogger right here. )

When we threw my parents a 50th Wedding Anniversary party 2 summers ago, it was Shutterfly that helped us with a photo party invitation that knocked everyone's socks right off! My mom teared up when she saw it, which was exactly the reaction we were going for. Got them a photo book, too, that collected photos from before they were married up until that day and it is beautiful. But I digress - back to the current challenge....

Right. So now we have to pick the style (waaaaaaaaaay too many gorgeous ones to choose from and the photo or photos to go on it! Hmmmmm. We had a photo shoot here at home. Did you hear the complaining and fighting from where you are? I was ready to break out a fire hose, but we got 3 okay shots of the girls in front of the absolutely exquisite quilt that our friend Julie made and raffled for us to bring our little one home from Ethiopia. Take a peek. What do you think?

Of course I picked a completely lovely style on Shutterfly that takes 3 photos, so now I must either force them into reasonably good looking outfits and go out to our favorite garden store (Churchills' in Exeter) to take some other pictures (Good luck, Mommy.) or pick some from the fall. I wanted to include the shot of the girls' playing in vibrant colored wigs and bathing suits, but K has threatened to move out on her own (she's 9) if I do. Should I force her hand? :)

Anyway, it's very exciting being able to use real printed photo Christmas cards for the first time in our family! I sure do love Shutterfly, and am thrilled that they are offering us the cards this year. They're smart, because they know that I will be hooked for every holiday season hereafter! Please do hop on over to the Shutterfly site. They have really wonderful cards for every occasion and great photo gifts. I'll post my final choice for our cards later this week!

Stay tuned for a Cool Holiday Gift list coming soon!