Category Archives: Jana

Two dozen years of parenting

love-child

How can that be? One minute you are obsessing over nursery school and then you turn around and you have been at this for 24 years. And by some miracle you haven’t messed them up.

Yes, kiddies, today marks the 24th birthday of my girl. And oh what a difference a year makes. Since 23 she has found her dream job, moved into her own apartment and learned to balance a tight budget.

There is so much I can say about her, but mostly I want to thank her for being such a good sport about posing, for always being there to make me laugh and most of all for constantly reminding me why I was put on this earth.

To be a mom.

I love you Petuney; and I could not be any prouder of who you have become. May this be your best year ever!

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Filed under carry a camera, fashion, Jana, moms

God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving

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There are events in your life that change you. In big ways. That make you think, OMG why have I never done anything like this before?

This Thanksgiving we were fortunate enough to be part of just such an event, the annual God’s Love We Deliver Thanksgiving effort. Yesterday, we woke at 4:15 (ok, so I tend to be up then anyway, but Gary is certainly not), hopped into the city and jumped on the assembly lines of one of the most remarkable machines of humanity that I have ever seen. With logistics precision coupled with an undying spirit of combined compassion, humor and the sheer joy of volunteerism, 950 people came out to donate their time in the wee hours of Turkey Day to help make the holiday of the seriously ill a little more bearable.

In the neighborhood of under 7 hours, almost 3400 meals were assembled and delivered to 2014 homes; not just for clients, but for a guest, caregiver and children under 18 living in those homes. Not to be forgotten are the countless hours spent by the staff, prepping and cooking those meals.

Volunteerism. My dear friend Karen says sometimes she thinks that it is actually not a selfless act, but more a self satiating one, for the need it fills in all of us to help others. I cannot argue that point, for as amazing as receiving these meals is for those in need, the way we felt yesterday morning was a greater gift than we could ever provide. The people we met are veterans; most volunteers for this org are staff volunteers, meaning they work a set weekly shift, many more than one. The spirit of both having fun and the seriousness of the task is second to no other volunteer experience I have ever had. These are the kind of people we aspire to be. There is no place I can imagine spending Thanksgiving morning ever again. I have taken a big swig of this koolaid and nothing has ever tasted better!

Full disclosure, the over the top icing on the cake of this experience for us was that our oldest child, Jana, is the newest member of the GLWD staff. As a volunteer specialist, she took her special brand of camp counselor people skills and ran around with her clipboard and iPad, learning the ropes as the newbie in the dept. In the few short months that she has worked there she has experienced their gala fundraiser, worked the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, The Race to Deliver AND survived Sandy and her aftermath where they lost power and scrambled to save food and still deliver to those in need. Watching her do a job she loves AND being able to participate… Priceless!

Post Sandy has made me very reflective. I have yet to be able to finish my thoughts on that experience and get them down here, but I will. For now, I can say that being so incredibly fortunate surrounded by so much need has left me feeling highly motivated to do more. This chronic volunteer is ready to kick it up another notch. There is something about ground level, specific task driven volunteerism that leaves you feeling like nothing else.

The world is pretty broken, go out and fix a little piece.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and consider donating a portion of what you save on Black Friday to those in need. Hey GLWD is a good place to consider.

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Filed under charity, current events, food, holidays, Jana

Time to Cry Tuesday – Girl Launched

The picture above is the Holstee Manifesto. If you are not familiar with Holstee, I urge you to read about them here. When they started their company they wrote this manifesto. “It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto”. 

For those who don’t know our family, my girl is filled with this kind of passion. She has a spark in her eye and a smile that can knock you over (ok, I am her mom, but she does!). She has ideas about helping people and wanting to make a difference. And for the past year she found herself in a job that, let’s be kind and say, did not fit that bill. Not remotely. And it took its toll on her. At times she felt as if it would break her. But she stuck it out and trudged away, spending a year trying to get out of it the skills that she could.

And now? She has been given the opportunity to live the Manifesto. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job quit… Start doing things you love… Life is about the people you meet and the the things you create with them… Live your dream and share your passion.” (she is still working on the ‘stop watching TV piece… hey this is a launch post, not a miracle post).

They say that you are only as happy as your most miserable child. But in turn, you are also as happy as your most ecstatic child, too. When your daughter finds the world she expected to find after college, when she gets up in the morning with a smile on her face, when working on Sundays and odd hours is not a chore, when she stays up and rewrites her notes from work because she is so excited about what she is learning and wants to get it right… when the spark comes back in her eye and you see her smile more in a week than you have in the past year… well, you know your girl is launched.

And quite frankly, there is nothing better on this earth.

Congrats to my girl for being launched. May you shine as bright as you can. I love you to the moon and back again.

And then some.

 

 

 

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Filed under family, Jana, work

Chip Off the Old Garbage

If you are new here, I have been known to post about garbage now and then (define now and then). Ok, so maybe there is a little more spring in my step when I go out to walk in the AM on a garbage day. What can I say, I have very creative neighbors.

Today, my daughter came off the train from work with a story about the boxes of random stuff that has been in her office for weeks. She has been thinking to herself, “Hey, why have I not taken a picture of this garbage that appears to have a penis sticking out of the top of the box.” Then she asked a co-worker, why have we not talked about that garbage over there and the friend replied, “Oh, you mean the penis garbage?”.

No lie.

She then proceeded to make everyone sit at her desk so they could get a good view of said penis garbage.

Go head, look at that picture and tell me you don’t see the penis. What? You are on a mobile. Well then let me help you. Here is a close up.

Oh the little things we do to amuse ourselves during the day.

Do all families behave this way?

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Filed under absurdities, garbage, humor, Jana

All Stressed Out?

I received this as a text from my daughter on Saturday night. You have to love a kid that would send you something like this from the bathroom at a party.

I am not any more stressed then usual these days. And honestly, choking someone is not really my idea of a release. But I do like the homespun, country craft show look of the sign against that sweet calico wallpaper.

I am wondering if the woman of the house does her choking in a Martha Stewart apron.

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, Jana

The Famous Graduation Post 1 – This is Not a Dress Rehearal

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time of year. I wrote this before I was a blogger. It was an email I sent to those who had been parenting with me since preschool. It was written on the morning of my daughter’s HS graduation. It still makes me cry. Funny how she is now a COLLEGE grad, one year out and has been living home, soon to move on to her own apartment. THAT will be some post… the final launch.

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown.

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school.

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’.

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!”

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country!

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown!

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?!

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’.

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’.

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point.

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.

let the games begin!


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Filed under communities, family, Jana, parenting

Prehistoric Daughter

Being a family of women who are not known for our love of shopping, Jana and I try to do little things along the way to entertain ourselves.

As we were walking through Century 21 (the discount store, not the realtor for those who were confused last week), we came across a rack of fur jackets and dresses. As I was snapping away, my dear, sweet, thoughtful daughter uttered the words every blog mother dreams of, “Do you want me to try this on so you can get a shot of it?”

Being the coy blogger and considerate mother that I am, I asked, “Do you mind if I do a post on this?” Her response? “When I offer to do something like this it is understood that you want to blog about it.”

Damn I love that kid.

We have always held to the idea that women are slaves to fashion and will wear just about anything that the fashion gods tell them is chic. This dress was no exception, until Jana tried it on. She said, “Hey, I get why people would want to wear this. It is soft and warm.”

This style has a certain prehistoric charm to it, don’t you think?

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