Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

Heart in My Throat . . . July 30, 2009

Filed under: Reflections — everydaywomanusa @ 5:10 pm
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That’s how I felt the other day;  it was very emotional.

I was just leaving school (yes, I’m one of those dorky teachers who goes into school over the summer to work), and I saw this field of flags . . . hundreds of flags flowing softly in the summer breeze.  I just knew I had to stop for a closer look. . .


It was such a somber sight . . .


This “Field of Flags” is a traveling memorial for every American who died in the line of service in Iraq and Afghanitan.  Each flag represents a person’s ultimate sacrifice—there were 5,061 of them!


An accompanying board listed each person, his/her hometown, branch of service, and date of death.


The sad thing, this memorial is growing.  There were 5,061 casualties as of July 15.  It reminded me of another time, during the Vietnam War, when each night on the evening news, we heard the death count. . . each and every day.


I lingered for a bit, offering a silent prayer for each of these brave souls and for their families and friends, who must live without them.  I felt like my heart was in my throat. . . and then I realized that someone behind me was probably sharing the same kind of thoughts.  A former Marine was cruising by on his motorcycle and noticed the flag display, too.  He stopped to give his condolences and to sign the guest book, as I did.  He was wearing a vest with various Marine regalia on it.  I found myself thanking him for his service to our country and offering to take his photo with the flags.  He was very appreciative of the gesture and said his family in Ohio, where he was from, would enjoy that photo.


At that point, I just felt so reflective and grateful for these soldiers, but at the same time, I also felt grateful that I wasn’t a mother to one of them. . . and I  felt a bit guilty for that, too.   A a parent, this has to be the ultimate loss . . . the los of one’s child, no matter how noble the circumstances . . .


1/2 Empty or 1/2 Full? April 14, 2009

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Chile,  got me thinking with her “Half Empty or Half Full?” post.

I’ve always seen my glass as “half full,” I think, and a couple of recent events really convinced me of this.  I think I’m a pretty positive person, at least that what everyone tells me . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in a very minor head-on accident.  (Minor and head-on are oxymorons, don’t they?)  Anyway, an elderly woman hit me as we were both pulling out of driveways across from each other, onto a very busy state road.  I saw her coming into my lane and I braked and she was just crawling, so we really barely hit.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I had just popped the top down on my convertible that my family had given me for Mother’s Day.  All I could think of was my little ‘stang would be crushed and my wonderful family’s feelings would be crushed, too.  I certainly didn’t want to be the first one to put a dent or ding in it.

I got out to see how the other woman was.  Neither of us was hurt, physically, thankfully.  We both just shook our heads, so sorry that it had happened.  I encouraged her to pull into our farm market driveway (that’s where it happened) and I called our local police, because that’s what you’re supposed to do.  Since it wasn’t an emergency, we must have waited 20 minutes or so.  In that time, we chatted and she said that she used to sell bread to my mother-in-law at our farm market and what respect she always had for farmers.  We then talked about organic gardening, insurance rates, and how she was afraid her rates might go up or she might lose her license.  She was really a very nice woman.

What really surpised me was that the damage to my little red ride was very minimal, perhaps  nonexistent.  How is that possible with a head-on collision?  When the cop finally arrived, he asked, “Where is the damage to your car?  Do you really want me to fill out a police report?”


Wow!  There really wasn’t any visible damage.  Then, the young cop (young enough to be my son) told me what a nice car I have . . .and if I ever got tired of driving it . . .

Back to the 1/2 full . . . I was a little “gun shy” the next few days when I was pulling out, always looking left, right, and straight ahead, a few extra times . . . and all I could feel was thankful.  I took this minor accident as a wake-up call.  It could have been a lot worse and I really should pay more attention to the job at hand when driving instead of thinking of all the things I have on my “to-do” list.

I felt so lucky that this woman and I were both fine, really no damage to our vehicles, and we both had another chance to be more careful next time.  Some people don’t get a second chance.

OK, there’s something else too, but this is really gross . . . I don’t think I’ll post a picture just yet.  I had to go through a very ugly procedure recently to take care of pre-cancerous cells on my forehead.  It was actually a chemotherapy cream that BURNS your skin–all layers—and then forms these VERY UGLY scabs that take forever to fall off before the new skin forms.  All I could think was THANK GOODNESS for bangs (which I had cut to hide the ugliness, because I felt like a leper!) . . . and now thank goodness for the new, baby-like skin which I have now. . . and that I have a second chance to take care of it, to be smart enough to wear sunscreen and cover up, so it won’t get worse!  (More on that later. . . as I do have pix, that my own kids are threatening to break out when they see me in the sun again!)

I was also concerned about scaring the children at school because I really did look like a leper.  My doctor said I should use it as a Science lesson, but I really didn’t want 8- and 9-year olds to think their teacher was dying or something, so I hid it the best I could.   A colleague suggested I should make up a good story to explain the scabs to the kids.  I really wasn’t into story telling until this happened . . .

8-yr-old girl, looking at me, kind of strange.  (I realized my bangs must have opened to reveal the crusty scabs on my forehead.)

Me:  “Oh, don’t let that distract you.  Just a little snowboarding accident.”

Girl:  “How OLD are you?”

Me:  “Old enough to know better.  I should have been skiing instead of snowboarding.  I’m a much better skiier!”

And that was that . . .

OK, so I’m pretty much a “half-full” kind of person, but what about you?



Valentines Meme February 21, 2009

Here’s a little Valentine meme I stole from the Farmer’s DaughterActually, she encouraged me to do it. If you want to try it, too, by all means, “steal” it from me!

My Valentine and Me

What are your middle names?
My given middle name is Susan after my grandmother on my Mom’s side, but I changed it to my maiden name  when we got married.  My DH’s middle name is David, after his Dad, also a family name from generations way back.  By the way, I was delighted to change my last name when we got married:  much prettier and easier for everyone to spell!

How long have you been together?
Wow, married 31 years, together for 34 in all, but it seems like just yesterday . . . 

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We first met when my uncle took me on a fishing trip to my future husband’s farm when we were about 12.  All I remember is that this cute guy baited my hook because I thought it was gross and his Mom made great cupcakes.  He remembers my floppy red hat.  We both attended the wedding of that same uncle’s daughter in our pre-teen years, as  the two families were mutual friends.  But, we really noticed each other when we met again at the same uncle’s pool during our high school years.  My valentine remembers a white bikini I wore (that my Mom had made!)  and I remember him coming straight from football practice . . . I guess it was destiny . . . it just took a few times meeting!

Who asked whom out?
He definitely asked me out.  I had a line of babysitting jobs and actually said no the first three times.  No one had EVER said no to him before, so I guess I was playing hard to get.  My mom finally covered for me on a babysitting job, so I could go out!

How old are each of you?
Old enough to know better . . . and old enough that 2 of our 3 children are of legal age!!!

Whose siblings do you see the most?
He sees his most, just about every day at work . . . family business.  I don’t see his–or mine–nearly enough, due to work commitments and distance.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Demands on our time . . . making time for each other!

Did you go to the same school?
Nope.  We went to different high schools, and if we had EVER gone to the same school, we would NEVER had hooked up.  He was a jock; I was a nerd . . . oh, and did I say I was in the band?  And, yes, I’m still in college as well as working full-time, going for a 4th degree, so I guess I’m still a nerd. . .  and I believe opposites DO definitely attract!

Are you from the same home town?
Nope, we’re from neighboring towns, though.  Now, I actually live in my husband’s family’s town, which is the town MY mother grew up in!

Who is smarter?
I will NOT answer this question on the grounds that it may/will incriminate me!  He’s definitely more common-sense smart, though!  We’re both smart in different ways, in different things . . . again that “opposite” thing!

Who is the most sensitive?
Me, hands down.  I’ll cry at the drop of a hat . . . or when a sad country song is on the radio . . . or an upsetting news story . . . or a happy memory . . . or a touching moment . . . or pretty much any good movie!  Although I’ve noticed, he’s growing more sensitive with age . . . or is it living with me?

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Wherever the kids decide that they want us to take them for their birthday dinners!

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
To the wilds of Katmai, Alaska, to walk with the Alaska Brown Bears (his dream); and to the tropical islands of Jamaica, Nassau, and Bimini (my dream!)

Who has the worst temper?

Again, can’t answer this one on the grounds that it may incriminate me, but it’s definitely NOT me!  I’m always the one who gives in!

Who does the cooking?
Me.  Although our kids tell me it doesn’t really count as cooking if you don’t use more than three ingredients.  He does make a mean cheesecake and baked Alaska, though. . . that is, he made each one exactly once in 34 years.

Who is the neat-freak?
Neither one of us and it would probably be a good think if ONE of us were . . .

Who is more stubborn?
Again, I plead the 5th, but I’ll give you a hint . . . it’s the taller one of us!

Who hogs the bed?
The one who’s 6’4″.  I just take up less space.  The “hogs” used to be our kids and the dogs, but now they finally have their own beds.

Who wakes up earlier?
Me.  I’ve gotten into the habit of starting my day at 3 or 3:30 am.  I just naturally wake up then.  It’s getting harder to stay awake at night, though!

Where was your first date?   The Durham Fair–an agricultural fair in a neighboring town.  Actually, my future DH went to ask my father’s permission first, who was in the barn milking cows at the time!

How long did it take to get serious?

Once we actually went out on that first date, not long at all!  I think my Mom liked him as immediately as I did!

Who eats more?
I cook for three BIG guys with football-player appetites most of the time.  They like meat; I don’t.  You guess!

Who does the laundry?

 I totally spoiled my family when I was a stay-at-home Mom with our three children, doing ALL of the household duties.  Even though I’m working full-time now, the division of duties really hasn’t changed.  We’re just each better at some things, like I could NEVER EVER mow the law, weedwack, and chop wood as GOOD as him, plow snow, so who’s complaining?

Who’s better with the computer?
Let’s just say that he fully expects he can go through life as what he terms “computer-illiterate” and I’m blogging . . .

Who drives when you are together?
He does.  It’s just easier . . . I get to catch up on sleep!

What’s the sweetest thing he’s ever said to you?  (I just added this one because I have a great answer!)

Just a couple of days ago, he said, “You’re my heartbeat!”   Awwww……I just melted!

Include a wedding picture or a picture from your early dating days!

We are both not recognizable from those early days, so here’s a more recent one.  Notice the bear in the background?  My Valentine keeps life exciting for me!!!


PLEASE feel free to answer these questions in the comment section or post on your own blog—and leave a link so we can read it!


3 Generations January 3, 2009


I am often inspired by the generations around me, both older and younger, and this holiday season was no exception.

My  Mom (center) has the most positive attitude of any 86-year-old I know.  Recently, she wanted to show a granddaughter who lives in Texas how much she enjoyed her Christmas gift of a new “cowgirl” hat, so she posed for this picture with horses on her own farm. 


Despite being robbed of her sight by glaucoma over the years, she manages to be extremely agile, upbeat, and pretty darn technologically proficient.  Recently, we finally convinced her that she could use a cell phone (for her safety) after she accidentally locked herself in the chicken coop and had to crawl out the tiny “chicken door.”  Now, she uses her cell for enjoyment as well when she discovered that she has “free” nights and weekends, calling long-time friends who now live further away.

While “Mema” can be pretty hip, my daughter, two generations younger, can also be very fashionably “old-fashioned.”    Abbie, also known as the Farmer’s Daughter, is another person who impresses me to no end, linking family values, social issues, and a purposeful lifestyle.  A teacher and environmentalist at heart, she “walks the talk,” living a green, old-fashioned lifestyle today, embracing family values, good old-fashioned cooking, growing and using local foods, sewing, knitting, and creating wonderful gifts of herself for those around her!


Each day I feel thankful for these incredible women around me.  Thank goodness for the three generations in our family!


What are YOU thankful for? November 14, 2008

Filed under: Reflections,Thankful Thursday — everydaywomanusa @ 6:19 am
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I was inspired by Joyce, over at Tall Grass Worship, to reflect on all the many things we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.  What a perfect opportunity to reflect and revisit some of my earlier “Thankful Thursday” posts.

To read about the women in my life that I’m thankful for, click on:

I’m also thankful for some simple things:

To read about being thankful for “going topless,” click here:

This particular Thursday, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for all these things and more.  Mostly, I’m thankful that as the winds swirl outside, I have a warm fire to warm my close family as we enjoy a meal together and share memories of holidays past and when our grown children act like kids again.  I’m grateful when what all the news shows lately is gloom and doom, we feel safe and warm in our little family circle.  I wish the same for you and your family.  And who knows, maybe I can even convince my family to usher in the Christmas season by enjoying a classic movie like “Christmas Vacation” or “Christmas with the Kranks” over leftovers and dessert tonight.  Wait . . . let me get my Christmas vest!

What are you feeling particularly thankful for today?  Please share it here, or on your own blog by posting a link.  Enjoy the day and thanks for taking a minute to reflect with me!


Time’s a wastin’… November 9, 2008

Filed under: Reflections — everydaywomanusa @ 6:12 pm
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I’ve been feeling kind of reflective lately, probably because I’ve passed yet another birthday and have finally heard the results of a pathology report, after having some minor surgery and a biopsy last week.


Just a small,  little word, but so meaningful.  Not cancer, not now, not yet, at least.

OK, on with my life, not that things had ever come to a standstill.  While I was busy with all the commitments of school this past week, working with students, presenting workshops and meetings for colleagues, completing coursework . . . as well as trying to keep up the demands and responsibilities of family and home, those unknown results were nagging at the back of my mind.

Good news, great news, but also the clock is always ticking.  As I enter my “next 50 years,” as Tim McGraw sings in his song, will I have time to accomplish all that I want to do?  I’m always setting new goals and reaching for more; things are never stagnant or still.  I want to have enough time–and more–to get it all done!  Am I crazy? Is this unusual?  Does anyone else ever think this way?  Do you ever stop in the middle of the million demands of the day to wonder . . . will I have enough time to do all I want to accomplish?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this . . .

So, this weekend, amid the demands of ambitions, career, family, and goals, I did celebrate this good news.  I’m so fortunate for all I have and am very thankful for family and friends who care so much.  This weekend, I celebrated by . . .

  • taking a bike ride on a sunny afternoon on the farm, around the pond, and into the woods
  • cruising top-less, letting my hair fly in the wind (in other words, in my ‘stang with the top down!)
  • enjoying a lovely dinner out with my family to celebrate that birthday that I’m no longer counting
  • joining dear friends for another, double birthday dinner celebration
  • visiting with my Mom
  • updating my blogs
  • working on school work
  • making homemade turkey soup
  • picking apples
  • lingering a bit this morning over coffee with my dear husband
  •  . . . and yes, I even did laundry, vacuuming, and grocery shopping . . . and it all felt great!

Hope you had a GREAT weekend.  What did you do for fun?  What did you think/worry/obsess about?

Now, to get ready for tomorrow . . .


Thankful Thursday July 24, 2008

Filed under: Reflections,Thankful Thursday — everydaywomanusa @ 11:08 am
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I absolutely adore Green Mamma’s Gratitude Sunday  posts, so I’ve decided to adopt a slightly different spin on that idea.  Imitation is the best form of flattery, isn’t it?  I will attempt to post 5 things I am thankful for each Thursday in a Thankful Thursday post.

This Thursday, I am thankful . . .

  1. . . . that I get to spend my days with kids, namely elementary school children–now that my own children are much bigger than me!
  2. . . . for hot, steamy, sultry summers . . . and chilly, snowy, white winters.  (It’s so much fun to experience it all in New England!)
  3. . . . for electronic communication.  (It’s so much easier to stay in touch via e-mail than if I had to hand-write everything and search for stamps!  Also, the fact that I can find anything my family needs online, like jeans long enough for my 6’5″ son, instead of running to 4 different stores and still coming up empty.)
  4. . . . for the multitude of pink and purple blooms that grace my Rose of Sharon bushes at the moment.  (They remind me of the seductive hybiscus flowers of the islands, which I haven’t had much luck growing here!)
  5. . . . for chocolate and coffee.  (‘nuf said!)