Thursday, May 26, 2011

One of Those Kinda Days----

I usually pride myself on being a pretty positive person.  Sometimes I am amazed that others think I am as positive as they do, my mind always tells me that I am more of a "realist" than I pretend.  Once in a great while; however, I find myself in one of those "why me?" sort of moods...and recently---I must say that I have been in that mode A LOT!

Just the other day, I began to lament my love life (or the lack thereof!).  I am moving in August, so not having someone to come home to has hit me kinda hard.  I miss being SO excited to come home and share the news of a really great day OR coming home to cry on someones shoulder.  ***I  KNOW I always have family, but sometimes, you need MORE***.  That always brings up the nasty "d" (divorce, btw) word and my personal resentment I still feel towards those involved in that process (myself included).  What if I had been more observant, what if I had seen the signs?  You know...the "could'a, would'a" routine.

I also start to think of the fact that I can not have children.  I have known this since I was 11.  It is not like I haven't had TIME to digest this fact.  It just seems to get worse with age.  I am not necessarily hearing that biological clock pound in my ears, but I am starting to think about my older years.  I wonder: who is going to be there to take care of me?  Who will visit me?  Who am going to pass my wisdom on to?  You know....who is my prosterity?

It is when I need to turn to my faith and realize how incredibly lucky I truly am.  The love life thing:  Who the hell wants a chick who is needy and desperate?!  I sure as hell wouldn't!  So I need to relax and realize, "Kim, you're just fine without a man in your life!".  Someone will come along when they are meant to, when I am ready. The divorce thing:  it boils down to this simple sentence, "Life sucks sometimes, get a damn helmet!" :0)  In less harsh terms, much worse happen to others and they seem to get on JUST FINE!  Some don't have homes to live in, some don't have much time left on this earth---so what the hell am I doing lamenting a relationship that obviously was one-sided.

Lastly, there are plenty of students who walk the halls of my school (and schools I have taught at before) that have PLENTY of my knowledge.  They know things they didn't before they came into my classroom---what more of a "prosterity" can a human want?  Then there are my nieces and nephews.  I don't think this "Auntie" has to worry that there will never be any visitors or people to take care of me in my old age <3. 

I am a truly blessed human being.  We all are.  If we look at biology--it was absolutely amazing that any of us made it here at all anyway!  That moment we were created was not a was a gift.  Wasting precious time whining about an imperfect life doesn't really seem do that justice in my humble thinking. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Lazy Day...what better way to spend a day!

     As I sit here on my bed doing absolutely NOTHING except wait for the next text or post on Facebook....I wonder, is this really a good use of a day?  Lord knows that we only have a few days on this Earth, should we just "waste" it?  I say HELL YES!  These are days for decompressing, days for reconnecting, and days for doing what we have put off enjoying for far too long! 
     In my case, I have been DYING to watch movies lately and just haven't found the time.  This has been a day of nothing BUT movies!  Watching those classics that I was drawn to as a child and rediscovering them with childlike wonder.  Ralph Macchio in the "Karate Kid"...I was going to marry him ya know!  Michael J. Fox...what an absolutely gifted man!  Watching him in both "Family Ties" and "Back to the Future" brought back those memories.   Then, there is "Casablanca"...ah, we'll always have Casablanca!  The romance, the adventure, and the just plain beauty of that film is exactly why it is beyond price!

    I am again wondering, was this a productive use of the day?  When your battery is recharged, when you are glowing with sheer delight....that is NEVER a waste of the precious time we all share here.  So....go ahead, have a day when you just stay in bed, skip the shower, and just DO what makes YOU happy.  You will be a better person for it :0)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Training....a Renewal of Hope :0)

     Ah....the fever is about to strike me!  It is that wondrous time of the year when any Red Sox fan feels that unbelievable serge of HOPE!  We can dream that our beloved team will make their special brand of magic occur right there on Yawkey Way.  It is almost a religious experience for me.  Very therapeutic.  All seems right with the world when I have my favorite team, my favorite cat, my favorite t-shirt, and my favorite seat in the house all ready to partake in the perfect game!  Yes, I am NOT that stupid, I realize there was quite a slump there...if 86 years can still be considered a "slump".  How can you maintain "hope", you ask, if your team always seems to lose?  It is the same reason that Christmas is magical even after you stop believing in Santa---it doesn't happen everyday, it brings people together, and you are always sad when it is over for another year.

     My love of "America's Passtime" started when I went to my first Eugene Emerald's game.  My parents brought their girls to the park for some together time and to enjoy the wonderful summer weather outside.  I was immediately hooked!  I couldn't possibly imagine any place better to be!  You could eat hot dogs, peanuts (and throw the shells on the ground at that!), and see the San Diego Chicken. was pure heaven!   It was the first sport that I learned to love while learning the intricacies of the game at my dad's side. 

     The Red Sox would come later....much later.  My family moved to Maine in 1988 and almost immediately I saw more Sox shirts, hats, etc. than I could shake a stick at!  I had always just followed minor league teams, so this was definitely NEW to me.  I began to follow the team just to have something to talk about with some of my friends----then (to quote the movie "Fever Pitch") I became one of the world's most pathetic creatures...yep, a Red Sox fan.  My 8th grade class went to Fenway...the Mecca of the baseball world, no matter WHAT team you root for.  Yaz, Williams, Pesky---legends and they had all been at THIS park!  I was absolutely hooked!

   I think it was absolutely out of control by 2003.  When Aaron-freakin'-Boone sent that homer over the wall and sent the Skankees  (oops, I mean Yankees) to the ALCS.  I could always imagine that it felt like that day when Buckner let the ball go between his legs----argh!  But there was always HOPE.  Hope that another game would send the Yankees home, or at the very least---they wouldn't make it to the Fall Classic.  There was always HOPE that next year Theo would make some magical trade that would make our team UNSTOPPABLE!
     It happened.  October 2004.  I have more historical dates than you can imagine running through my head, but October 28th, 2004 was absolutely cemented there.  2 outs, 2 on base, and we were ahead.  Foulke nabbed the batters best attempt, which was practically sent straight to his hands.  It was over.   The Cardinals broke that infamous curse.  They gave Sox fans everywhere more reason than ever to HOPE.  We had remained true to our love, we had showed our support, and we were given the ultimate reward. 

     All of this brings me back to hope.  Spring training and my favorite team bring me hope.  Hope of warm summer days, hope of spending time watching a game I love, hope of being with my family and spending that quality time that you just can buy!  So to all those teams that I have supported---thank you so much for the hope and wonderful memories you have helped make possible....oh, and GO SOX!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Paying attention to the "Footprints" in the sand...

     To say this week has been a little trying would be an understatement!  We lost our beloved family dog after her suffering a stroke,  my poor kitty still isn't feel "right", and then there is my job.  Do NOT get me wrong, I LOVE what I do---but the very nature of being a teacher is stressful (those in the profession can back me on that!).  It was in the middle of all of this that I saw something.  Something that would give me just what I needed when I needed it!   A key chain.  Yep, a key chain.  This particular key chain is in the shape of a footprint and contained the poem of the same name.  *I think that most of us have at least heard of it :0)

     I immediately realized that I had become so consumed by what was going on, that I literally was only focusing on the fact that there was only one set of footprints -not realizing that I was getting a "lift", so to speak, by a source much more powerful than myself.  The words of sympathy and support from friends, family, and some of the most beautiful condolences from my students--these were all examples of me getting helping hand.  These were His way of trying to show me that I was not alone---He was there right beside me.  This finally really hit home for me today.  I really hadn't had a chance to rest lately, then right on cue, we had an unscheduled day off.  In the middle of sitting there with my favorite furry friend and watching a movie, I realized that this was yet another "lift".  I was getting the therapy of time, rest, and attention from a little girly girl I totally adore. 

          The Lord replied,
"The times when you have seen
only one set of footprints, is when
I carried you."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Dreaded Christmas Family Portrait!

          It happens every year like clockwork around 7ish on Christmas Eve.  The dreaded Mason Family Christmas portrait in front of that years decorated tree.  There WILL be complaining.  There will be whining. There will be yelling.  There will eventually end up being laughter.  We usually get a picture in which someone is making a face, had their eyes closed, or someone is putting rabbit ears above someones head.  It is only natural that someone reading this might ask, why do you guys put yourself through that torture?  I have to admit, it wasn't until I was 11 years old that I actually understood why.

          Christmas 1985 seemed like any other Christmas.  Tree had been decorated, presents purchased, and Grandpa and Grandma were scheduled to arrive for the festivities.  I was in an 11 year olds bliss!  (This was supposed to be the year I finally got my Cabbage Patch I had prayed for so long to get!).  It wasn't until the trip to pick up George and Dodie from the airport that this normal Christmas changed.  Immediately, I recognized Dodie.  She was 4'11" of spitfire.  She was always beautiful to me and she seemed even more so this time.  It was the man next to her I had no clue who he was.  Upon closer examination, it was our George.  Grandpa had always been thin and short in stature, but this time he was almost skeletal!  We went upon our business as normal and exchanged pleasantries and let them settle into our home for the holidays.

          Christmas Eve arrives...argh, time for the damn portrait!  We girls had always HATED IT!  (we even have a picture of Dad glaring at Mom, Tammy and Pam smiling normally and me bawling my eyes out in the forefront :0) )  We simply couldn't see the point!  This year; however, we did notice both Grandma and Mom getting misty eyed.  Ok, this was absurd!  Why get misty over a few pictures of some dorky kids?   We humored them and hoped that would get us to the presents even faster.

          It was about a week after Christmas that we were told that Grandpa was not going to make it any longer.  The cancer that was playing parasite inside his body was winning its battle.  He passed away on January 9th.  We never would have another picture in front of the family Christmas tree that included Grandpa.  I was, of course, devastated he was gone--more than words could say, but strangely comforted by the fact that his pain and trial was over.  I loved him enough to wish that for him.  I didn't want him to suffer to satisfy my selfish little-girl wish that he would live forever.

          11 months later, we would have another devastating loss.  Dodie was called to be with her love.  I remember comforting myself with that thought.  George is fishing in heaven, and Dodie is nagging him for doing so :0).  It was December 3rd.  In a couple of weeks, we would be taking another portrait without, not one, but 2 of the worlds best people.   That thought was more than I could handle...and I sobbed.

          If you look at the family portraits of current years, you will see the adults trying  (and I say TRYING) to give a serious and lovely portrait---and the kids hamming it up.  I know that Alex, Court, and Ry have experienced loss and understand.  They are all too aware now of the frailty of life, but are still able to enjoy that moment.  I love that .  They are able to approach those moments, not as if they were their last, but as if they are ALIVE in the moment.  As I grow older, I realize my time with the most precious people in my life is limited.  Sometimes I find it difficult to get over that.  I wish that I was able to be just like Alex, Court, Ryan, Matt, and Jess----aware of the moment, living like there IS a tomorrow.  I know that Mom wants these portraits to capture a moment and people we never want to forget.  I want to return to a time when these portraits meant capturing a group of people being silly, angry, and totally devoted to one another.  So next time you take one of those family portraits that annoy all participants, don't think of it as "well, we might never be able to get another one of these together again", approach it with this thought---be who you are and be the family that you will love to see reflected back in the image.  Be able to look back at the image and say, "HA! There is a FUNNY story that goes with that!"  Those are more precious than remembering or lamenting over who isn't able to be there anymore.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why History? Why JFK?


     I don't think that there has been one day of my career as a teacher that I haven't heard someone ask, "Ms. Gibson, why are you SO fascinated by JFK?"  I always giggle and give some polite answer.  Usually something in the line of, "Well, I am not fascinated by JFK himself, it is more the time period."   Sure, I could bore them with the fact that I find the "Magic Bullet" theory a bunch of baloney.  I could also go into depth as to how the Warren Commission wasn't perfect, but got the general gist of the situation correct.  This would probably send them into a glassy eyed trance. **Although I have to note here, they LOVE their "Stump Ms. Gibson" contests we hold when there is time to spare on a slow day.   So I give them the quick, no nonsense answer I think they want to hear.

     I realize now that is probably a very generic and, probably, not all that true of an answer.  I just plain love history!  There is no rhyme or reason for it, it just IS!  I can explain myself this way, how can you MAKE this stuff up?!! All these horrific, wonderful, surprising, saddening, frustrating, and enlightening things REALLY happened.  These figures you see on your text page were real people---with real feelings, real mortaility, and real flaws.  I think what I love the most is the fact that it doesn't really matter WHO you are, you have the chance to achieve greatness if you truly believe.  You ,as a "regular Joe or Jane", have just as many hours in the day as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and (yes) even John F. Kennedy.  These were just individuals who chose to not waste those valuable 24 hours we all feel so constricted by.  (I have to remind myself of this often when I find myself complaining that I don't have enough time to do something.)

     I am not one who thinks everyone in history is fascinating.  The Guilded Age, for example...sends me into a slumber!  I just think that we are a HUGE global family with stories to tell and ideas to share.  You have your crazy Uncle Napoleon who has a real complex and thinks that he is greater than everyone else, even though he probably would need a phonebook to see over the steering wheel (to which I can relate).  You have your naughty Aunt Anne Boleyn who is kinda, well...skanky, but ends up losing her head for that really overweight, older Great Uncle Henry (probably so she can get some money).  You only find out later that he dumps her for a younger, more hip chick.  Then there is your Aunt Jacqueline.  She is classy, someone you look up to and wish you could be like.  She is aloof, shy, but there is just something about her that you find completely intriguing.  You also have people in your family that you would prefer not be a part of it, I won't mention them---but you know who they are.  They are those people who you spend time whispering about when  they are not in the room and NEVER mention in front company.  We hate to admit they exist, but inevitably someone always finds out they are your cousin.

     I don't know if I actually answered the question, WHY HISTORY?  WHY JFK?  I don't know if I ever could completely.  I just want my students,  my nieces/nephews, and the members of their generation to realize that they are going to be the ones writing the future historical account.  It is up to them whether or not they are apart of that account.  I might not be in a history book, but I am comfortable enough in my own abilities to realize that I have made an impact on the future in my own small way.


A Purrrfect Companion

     It was February 2002.  I had just recently moved in with my sweetheart, gotten my first teaching job, and watched (like the rest of America) as our world was forever altered on September of the previous year.  **Not to mention we had lost George Harrison of the Beatles, but that is a story for another day!**  Needless to say, I was feeling TOTALLY overwhelmed by all of the randomness and change in my life.  Steve and I had decided we wanted to have a Super Bowl party in our new apartment and just RELAX!  We had also been talking about making another life altering change and adopting....well, a cat anyways.  This was Super Bowl Sunday and my kitty fever was at its peak!  I asked, no I BEGGED, Steve to call PAWS (our local shelter) and ask if we could come in.  He assured me it would be a no go---after all, who wasn't home getting ready to watch the Pats win their first championship?  Well...he relented and dialed the number that I had so hastily written down for him.  It rang, then rang again...then I heard Steve say, "Hello?".  AH HA~  Of course, I was right :0) 

     My parents were coming soon, so I couldn't leave the apartment.  Steve was told that if we HURRIED, she would stay so we could take a peek at the cats.  I told him that I trusted him and would be happy with whatever kitten he brought home.  I emphasized, KITTEN!  It wasn't more than 15 minutes after he left that I got the call.  "Kim, she is GORGEOUS.  She is a cutie who is SO soft and absolutely cuddly."  Yes, he said those very words.  I knew there was a "but" I waited.  "She isn't exactly what you talked about though, but can we get her anyways?'  "Ok, Stephen (I always called him this when irritated), exactly WHAT about her isn't what we talked about?"..."Well, hun, she is 4 years old.  Not a kitten". 

     I knew by the way he was getting somewhat emotional on the phone, she was a keeper.  She came home about 2 hours before the game and checked out her new surroundings.  She gave the abode a once over and gave me a "this'll do" kinda glance.  I smiled.  Yep, she had a tude just like her adoptive Mama.   I was absolutely, irretrievably, and love with her.  She almost immediately seemed to know my moods, what to do, when to do it, and when to stay clear!  I had no idea HOW much I would come to love this little "fluff n' nutter" until a few years later.

   Fast forward.  December 2005.  I won't go into HUGE depth, but needless to say--Steve and I had reached the end of our marital rope.  Lace was there for the screaming, crying, and even the deafening silence.  When things got too intense, she would even stand in between the 2 combatants as if to create a wall of civility.  I realized, she was a child in the middle of a house that was now being divided.  She loved us both---her time in front of the heater with Daddy was legendary.  The cuddles with me, an absolute delight for the litttle girl.  Her being dragged around the house by Daddy inside a Payless boot box with a string attached, I am sure were some of her favorite moments EVER.  Now, the moment had come.  She was going to have to leave one of us behind.  Her happy home had been split. 

     I am going to be crass for a moment, but I always say this, "Steve got his 'ho, I took the cat!"  She and I had been through too much together to separate now.  Not to mention, in his current state of mind, Steve didn't even seem to care about her even most basic care, so she packed up with me and we moved in with my parents.  She was apprehensive at first, too many other animals and people.  She was simply not used to it.  She learned.  Papa gives her cuddles, Gramma gives her treats, Jess plays with her, Matt strokes her, and Auntie Pam....well, she introduced her to the love of her life---BACON!  This wasn't going to be as bad as she thought!

     I did get another job shortly after, and we moved---again. This time, back to Portland.  This was the time of our lives!  We lounged together, we talked, and we ate and ate---well, then we ate some more (post divorce is hardest on the kids :0)  )  It was then that I got the news that the earaches I had been dealing with required some specialized attention.  I needed to go and see an ENT for further eval.  He didn't see me for more than 4 minutes when he said, "did you know you have a tumor on your neck?".  Huh?  Tumor?  I was thinking, in my best Arnold voice "it's not a tumor!".  He was right, I was wrong.  It was indeed a tumor and was going to have to be biopsied.  argh!  Then I got even more great news a few days later.  My job was being eliminated and I was going to be forced to move.  Yet again!  Thank God, not until summer though.  I kept thinking to myself, "Jesus Christ, just ONE thing at a time, k!?".  I had gotten the biopsy....all was good.  The date for surgery set.  Fun, fun!  I broke down I don't know how many times on the side of a furry little girl.  She listened, meowed....and demanded to be fed.

     I went into surgery at Maine Med on March 22, 2008.  Our plan,  surgery on Friday.  A few days of recovery, then celebrate Mom's birthday on the 29th.  I got to call mom and dad from recovery.  Mom's words to me, "Lacey is sitting her all content...just relax.  Your girl is fine."  All was good. Things were going according to plan until Tuesday.  I will NEVER forget that day for as long as I live.  Dad's doctor calls with the results of a biopsy he had about a week earlier.  Cancer.  That word that I had heard 2 times before in my life and was like the ultimate swear word.  I cannot say that we didn't see it coming, but it was still a blow.  My grandfather had the same cancer, his brother, and my great-grandfather.  This was different.  This was the Pookster.  This was my Dad!  Mom and I didn't cry, but looked straight ahead and said, "ok, when do you start treatment."  It was just that mater of fact.  It was bad, but that was that.  As her usual, Lacey demanded to be fed in the middle of this emotional scene.

     Wednesday.  The reality of what had happened to Dad had set in.  So had my painkillers, so I was emotional and loopy.  The phone rings.  It was the surgeon.  "Kim, we got the results of the pathology report.  You have what is called Papillary Thyroid Cancer."  "Huh?"  I literally said that.  He kindly repeated himself.  "Um, but the biopsy was normal?"  "Yes, on the large tumor.  It was the 2 smaller ones that were cancerous.".  Lucky me!  I am totally devoid of emotion at this time.  I can't even fake cry.  I am SO over tears.  Then, I had to tell my parents.  Mom started crying first.  Yep, that brought me to reality.  Lacey's response?  You guessed it.  She demanded to be fed.

     I am not telling you all of these seemingly unrelated stories to "purge" so to speak.  I am giving you a glimpse into the dynamic relationship Lacey and I share.  She snaps me back into the real world.  She makes me realize...guess what, life goes on!  "So freakin' what, you got cancer---I gotta EAT!"  She has taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my adult life.  Humor.  It works.  Laughter.  Even in the most difficult of times, isn't a crime.  Most of all, make sure to eat.  It would be a horrendous thing if we stopped enjoying the things we love just because the situation seems a little tough.  Not bad for a cat, if I say so myself.