June 30, 2010

What a Week!

This really has been a crazy week and I am exhausted!

Last Thursday, on the same day was my younger niece's moving up ceremony from middle school to high school and my older niece's prom. Both turned out outrageous with my younger niece getting many academic and community service awards and my older niece looking just gorgeous.

Of course, in the back of my mind was "my brother should be here for all of these great things."
He worked so hard to raise these girls and how they are is a testament to him.

Then on Saturday was my older niece's high school graduation. It was emotional for me. She is so smart and beautiful. My brother's name was mentioned during the graduation ceremony which was very special.

On Sunday, I drove my niece, a friend and my sister-in-law to their college orientation. Hello. No longer seniors, they are now freshmen once again.

The school she chose is 5 hours away and once out of NYC, the drive is a nice one - meaning, no traffic. A long drive. My sister-in-law doesn't know the roads and is nervous about crossing bridges. She will have to learn real quick.

My brother did the drive in one day which to me is not a good thing to do.

So here I sit, less than a week later totally spent and exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

I feel as if my cup is empty. I have nothing left to give. I need to start giving to myself more. I am tired of doing and doing and having it not be appreciated.

I need some shut eye.

June 24, 2010

Gold and Health Care Insurance

Hmmm. What do gold and health care insurance have in common?

Well, my friend Marie had a cocktail party and at the party was a mother/daughter team buying gold. I had heard about this practice and just needed the right opportunity to unload some items.

I looked through my stash and selected 12 pieces. Now, I was into gold several years ago but not any more. I now prefer colorful chunky costume jewelery.

I had some receipts for my purchases and went in with a figure of what I would accept and a notepad listing my items and prices.

So, I packed up my stash.
And - wait for it.

I came away with $1,050.00 !! Yeah for me. Health care insurance baby! These pieces were just sitting there for years, not being worn.

And to think I left several items behind.

I need to go to another one of these parties!

June 22, 2010

Seashell Remembrance

Since it is now summer and was Father's Day, I thought it time to share this post.

My brother's parish held a Remembrance Prayer Service for parish families who had lost loved ones in the last three months. There were 53 names listed but not everyone's family attended the service.

We went as a family and I thought it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had.

There were many tears all around but it was also comforting to be around people who were grieving just like us.

The theme of the service was "Bright Seashells" and since we live near the ocean, it was very fitting. The songs and prayers were lovely.

The priest's homily really touched me. He said to not look for God in anger and hatred and self-righteousness but to look for God in family, friends whom you trust and nature.

As each person's name was called, the family and friends went up to the altar and selected a seashell from a basket of seashells.

We also received this lovely poem -

Now, I believe in coinky dinkies. Sitting right behind us was the family of a local 12-year-old boy who passed away from cancer three days before my brother. I mentioned this boy in my eulogy because while out with my niece one day, my brother stopped to help this boy who had fallen off his bike and couldn't get up.

I know that my brother is in heaven helping this boy get back on his bike.

June 17, 2010

Golf is Good for the Soul - Part 2

Had my last make-up golf lesson.

Another glorious day at the course.
Can you believe this course is a public course? Now I know that some public golf courses are amazing like Bethpage Black where the US Open was just last year.

However, I have been to some courses that are real doozies! Cigarette butts and beer bottles strewn about. Heck, I have even seen a used condom. Ick.

But this course is just gorgeous.
Started out at the driving range with my 7 iron.
Then ended the lesson with some chipping and putting. Lots of fun and I didn't do too bad. I actually did good. Not many of my drives are crooked. They are fairly straight. I say that now. On the course is another thing.

Val has given me some great tips and things to keep in mind. I will definitely be back for some more lessons.

Afterwards, off to Starbucks for my Caramel Frappaccino.
I love this particular SB because it is spacious with comfy chairs. It used to be a Wendy's.

I get some of my best writing done at SB.
"A golfer's diet: live on greens as much as possible." - Author Unknown

June 11, 2010

History Interrupted

My brother is 5 years older than me. Notice how I say "is" instead of "was." He will always be 5 years older than me.In the future, I am sure someone will ask me if I have any brothers or sisters. And I will always say one because I do have only one.

Since my brother is 5 years older than me, he is more aware of what was going on in our family's life back in the day. I was 1 and he was 6. I was 5 and he was 10. So naturally, he would be more aware and know more things because he is older.

Now that he has passed, half of my history is gone. And it totally sucks.

I grieve for the lost stories and knowledge.

I grieve that I am all alone.

I grieve for what was and for what would have been.
I grieve.

June 9, 2010

Golf is Good for the Soul

A week before my brother passed away, I had started group golf lessons with 5 gals. We met through a golf league we had all joined. The first lesson was great. I loved the instructor Val, learned a great deal and had a blast with the girls.

Having taken lessons from men in the past, having a female golf pro was refreshing.

Well, I missed the remaining lessons and yesterday, in need of some fresh air, I had a make-up lesson.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

It felt good to hit some balls (really hard). It was a gorgeous, cloudless-sky-kinda-day and Val, besides being a great teacher, asked me a question; "How are you doing?"

I am so used to everyone asking how the girls are and how my dad is that it felt nice to be asked first and foremost about me.

A former social worker turned golf pro, she listened and felt genuinely interested. She is definitely using skills from her former occupation.

It was nice.

Also, how awesome that Val started out in one field and is now giving golf lessons 5 days a week as a golf pro?

Ahhhh . . . now if I could only figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

What I do know is that I love golf and I need to go hit some balls - really hard!

"It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf." - Robert Lynd

June 8, 2010

D.W.C. - Driving While Crying

Since my brother's passing, some things are okay but in some respects, some other things are getting worse.

I don't usually cry when I see others cry. I am so used to being the strong one and putting others before me that I hold on to the tears.

I try not to cry in front of dad or my nieces. Once again, trying to be strong.

So, I cry before I fall asleep each night.

And, I cry while driving.

I don't know what it is. Maybe because no one can see me and I am all alone with my thoughts.

It is probably not a good thing to cry while driving from Point A to Point B.

But right now, it's all I got.
"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly." - Author Unknown

June 3, 2010

Glee at Radio City Music Hall

My nieces are big Glee fans. Who isn't, right? Back in March, when it was announced that Glee would be performing at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, my brother tried really hard to get them tickets. Unable to, he asked his good friend Scott to see what he could do. Well, Scott got my nieces two tickets back on March 6.

This past Saturday afternoon was the performance and as my sister-in-law does not know the city that well and I know it quite well having commuted there for 15 years, I accompanied them into the city.

It was a gorgeous day and I am certain my brother was happy that the girls were happy and excited. Here they are walking up 6th Avenue in front of Bryant Park (where fashion week is held).
Approaching Radio City Music Hall which is a beautiful venue, the excitement was palpable. Tons of kids and their parents. It was like nothing I had ever seen.

There was a long line to purchase Glee merchandise so we waited and went back after the show had started to get the girls tee-shirts.
While the girls were inside Radio City, we walked around. Anthropology, of course. The 5th Avenue store is beautiful and I should have taken photos.

We went to St. Patrick's Cathedral and there happened to be a wedding going on. Once again, I forgot I had my camera. Argh!

Behind the altar is a section with another altar and where various cardinals are buried. There are also other saints, including St. Therese which was my mom's favorite saint. I wanted to light a candle. So I asked this really hot-looking security guard if we could sneak back there as it was roped off. He had a lovely accent and he let us through. Anytime I have wanted to visit this little area behind the altar, the staff have always been so nice and allowed me through.

As it was Fleet Week in Manhattan, there were tons of military personnel all around. I totally embarrassed my nieces by wishing every man and woman in a uniform "Happy Memorial Day."

This is a photo of Rockefeller Plaza (where the Christmas tree is lit every December) with all the flags flying proudly.
After our walk, we waited for the girls on 51st by "the Golden Door."
This is where the Glee cast members were "supposed to" exit. Now, I didn't really think they were going to leave the building as they had another performance in 3 hours. So for an hour, we waited. This area was pretty empty and then when the show let out, it was utter chaos. My nieces are somewhere in this mess.
The only person I saw was Ryan Murphy, the creator of the show.
In this photo, the cop on the right was gorgeous and the cop on the left is "pretending" to write tickets as people were not standing on the sidewalk. Really?
After waiting by the Golden Door, we went to Carnegie Deli for some delicious pastrami and then back through Times Square heading home.
It was a welcome distraction from all of the sadness and as I said earlier, I am certain my brother was smiling down on his girls who were happy, for a bit.
"Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance the lasting perfume."
Jean de Boufflers
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