Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Full Cold Moon

Full Cold Moon. December is usually considered the month that the winter cold begins to fasten its grip. (Certainly true in Boston this year, it has been a very mild fall but today it was below freezing when I left for work!!)

Naturally I have been thinking of the holidays lately and with it missing John...still.

I have tried to snap myself out of the constant state of sadness by focusing on the fact that he was truly a gift given to me. A source of amusement (most of the time) to me his entire life. In fact once, when he was little, I was complaining about his behavior to my husband and the reply was "well, if you didn't always laugh at him he might behave better" (true, I did always think he was funny...even when he was a terror)

After John died I have spent my time focused on the sadness within my family but recently I have realized that he is so missed by many, many more people than I could ever imagine. The wonderful and talented man, (Scott Norton) who produced the first EP that John's band did offered to take all the recordings off his recorder for was such a thoughtful gesture by an incredible guy who I would trust with John's work above all others. Well, we met him one night this fall when he came to Boston with a band he was working for and he told me how hard it was for him to do this listen to John's voice, his songs, his little snippets of conversations to himself as he recorded. I have been thinking of it since that night and feel so much more gratitude towards him...if that was possible...I just never realized how hard that would be for a guy as sensitive as he is...and there is really nothing I could ever do to repay him for that...

Then, a few weeks ago, out of the blue we got an email from another friend of John's named Geneva, who was on Craig's list and saw instruments for she let us know about it so we can get them for our little foundation! It is incredible to me to think that anyone outside our circle would still think of him...and try to help.

This just blows me away...and makes me realize that not only did I get him for a gift ... he was the gift that keeps on giving because so many people who he knew are still there for him (and by How lucky are we????

So, my thought this month is that if we try very, very, hard...we can find the good in anything. Believe me, I still feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest every day but I am trying...and I hope that someday I will trade the elephant for something a little smaller.

I do know this.... I am so grateful for the gifts I have been given in life, even if they were only given to me for a short time...they have all been worth it and I am glad that I knew it even when I had take a moment to appreciate what you have been may not be there tomorrow.

So..Thank you Scott and Geneva, you made realize how much I owe to so many like you who are always there...I do so appreciate each and every one of you and pray that you will be acknowledged by others too...for certainly your kindness is not limited to me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Full Hunters Moon

Happy Hunters Moon…Did you know that the names given to the full moon each month date back to Native Americans who lived in what is now the northeastern United States?
The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Each moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. Though there was some variation among the moon names used by various tribes, in general, the same ones were used by the Algonquin tribes whose territory stretched from New England to Lake Superior. When the European settlers arrived, they adopted the custom, and also created some of their own names. Since a lunar month is only 29 days long, on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.
November's traditional full moon name is the Full Hunter's Moon because the Harvest Moon came late (October rather than September), so when this happens, November's moon becomes the hunter's moon. (It is usually the beaver moon because traps are set at this time of year)

I find this so interesting and for some of you it may be the only thing that you will like from my monthly ramblings!

And speaking of which… I drove to school today and tried and tried to get a feeling for what I was going to write tonight…I had several ideas but nothing hit me and I was worried that for the first time I would sit at the computer and nothing would be there!!! I like to think that John inspires makes my life easier to pretend he is still with me…so I was thinking today .. “Geeze, John, what the heck??? Don’t you know I still need you???

Well, I get to school and have a meeting with some parents I don’t know and the Mom starts talking about how her son from a first marriage is in jail and her daughter (who was the student we were talking about) misses him so much and doesn’t understand why he takes drugs and gets himself into trouble! We talked about the fact it is a sickness and people don’t always understand that…yada yada yada.. When the meeting was over she came over to me and thanked me! She said most people don’t understand (including her husband) but she said …he is still my son!! I told her never to be ashamed to be his mom…and told her “at least he is still here, and as long as you have him there is always hope!” I told her things could always be worse…she could be me! (and of course, told her about John) I think it did make her feel better…and I like it when his death could at least be used for some good…he would like it too..of that I am certain.( I found out later that the mother and father are in a rock and roll band…so I guess John was telling me not to worry, he is still here for me!)

It is John’s birthday this month and I have to say I am no closer to healing than I was when he died…I miss him more if that is possible…I am slowly beginning to realize that I am just never, ever, going to be really, truly, happy again…and it is a lot of work to get up every day and pretend otherwise. But that is my job now..and believe me … it is a job!
So, for his birthday…I would like to ask you to try to think of everyone you meet as having a story…and be understanding…because you never know what others are carting around for baggage…be thankful for what you have…it could ALWAYS be worse!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

John's Paver

The Alumni at Syracuse have donated a paver in John's name. Check it out if you visit the Orange Grove. He would be humbled by this kind and thoughtful gesture.
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October 4, 2009 Harvest Moon

Full Harvest Moon. Traditionally, this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal (fall) Equinox. The Harvest Moon usually comes in September, but sometimes it will fall in early October as is the case in 2009; the next time won't come until 2017. At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. Usually a full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice -- the chief Indian staples -- are now ready for gathering. Interesting, isn't it?

Well, every month I worry about what I am going to write about but this month it came to me several weeks ago and I haven't had anything else pop into my head that I think is better so here it is..
I was driving home from school one day and someones trash barrel had blown into the street. I thought about pulling over and getting it but I didn't ... I just kept driving and by the time I got home I was feeling so guilty I couldn't believe it!! I just kept thinking it wouldn't have killed me to get out and save that barrel ... and my feet weren't even killing me that I had no excuse! Of course I knew John was disappointed...I will never forget the time that Lauren and John were driving home from school and saw an old lady dragging her barrel down a long driveway to her house. Lauren felt bad for her and mentioned they should help so she stopped the car and John got out..well, when he went to the woman she was frightened at first and then his soft charm took over and she let him take the barrel for her. I loved that story then and I love it still...the mental picture I have of the whole scene makes me smile....the world was a better place when he was in it.
so, I feel like a real stinker for just not taking a minute to help a stranger...and have felt guilty about it for a few weeks now...and the lesson I have learned from it is that it is so much better to carry a feeling with you when you have been kind to someone than when you missed a chance and have to live with the never know when you will run out of chances to do good...take them when you can and enjoy the happy, content feeling they will give you in return!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Full Corn Moon

Sometimes this month's moon is also called the Fruit Moon; such monikers were used for a full moon that occurs during the first week of September, so as to keep the Harvest Moon from coming too early in the calendar.
.. just my little FYI of the month!! Hope you get to use this information today :)

For me, September has always been the beginning of the year. I have lived this timetable forever, and remember having an "ah ha" moment when my mom told me that when she went on vacation from work, the whole time she was there new work was still coming to her desk! That is life for everyone who works a whole year!! UGG...that really stinks. I like that my life has a beginning middle and end every year. I like the closure of June and the fresh beginning of September. There is always hope in that life.

I am sure you remember that when you went to school. You were always going to have a great supplies would allow you to get your homework done in a timely fashion and not let things slide...You would love your teacher...and make new was going to be the best year of your life! You had positive expectations and that is a very good place to be...even if only for a little while.

Well, I have begun a new job in a new school system and this has given me the opportunity to think about that again. Even though I have had some first day (week) nervousness, I have been able to look at the situation and reflect on my past expereinces.

And... the one thing that has jumped out at me was how kind the administration has been to me. They have all treated me as though they are lucky to have me and taken the time to say it in front of me...which has really made me feel so welcome! I have always gotten along with my peers and have been lucky to work with many wonderful teachers...truly gifted and sooooo nice. But can't always say that for administration...maybe they forget that as they move up the ladder, which is too bad because good manners do count.

Which gets to my story of John. Everyone who knows him is aware of the many, many acts of kindness he was able to accomplish in his life...and I will probably use them as my starting point for as long as I can write these blogs...but I thought I would tell you of a time that he was so hurt by someone's lack of it.

When the band started to become popular people wrote about them in music blogs. Well, once, a person wrote a horrible blog saying not just that they were bad musicians but went on and on about how he wished they would all die and their families would die was just plain mean. This person didn't know us (at least I don't think they did...if they did know us they could have probably have grounds for saying some stuff...we all let John carry the kindness banner for the family while the rest of us loafed) and of course, anything can be said on a blog without identifing who cares, right? Well, let me tell you, it bothered John more than you can imagine...mostly because he couldn't get why someone would, or could, get so worked up to say things like that in a public forum. It was so out of his realm of comprehension! He didn't speak of it often but the one time he brought it up he even showed us the site, so I know he was hurt beyond belief. The funny thing about it is that they didn't even say anything too bad about him personally ...just something like the drummer is guilty by association...but it didn't matter to John...mean is mean any way you cut it.

Which gets to my current point about just having good manners, or treating people as you would like to be treated...I wonder about that post now, that John is dead...does that person feel bad? Does he wish he could just take it back? Well, he can't change the damage he did to John...but maybe we can all think a little before we put in print things we can't take would be nice if we could also at least take today to also take a minute to think how what we say to people also hurts..but in the heat of the moment it is difficult to do. Written language is something different..we have the abilty to put that aside and reflect before it is published. So today, let's try to just use some good manners and think before we act...sometimes it comes back to you in ways (good or bad) that you would never imagine.

Good luck

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sturgeon Moon

My nephew died this month…twenty three years old… same as Johnny. Sad beyond belief…I can’t begin to explain the helplessness you feel watching your sister go through this pain. In some ways it is worse because you know the feelings so well but are powerless to help others cope.

Sometimes life just stinks.

But I must say that I am convinced more than ever that you have to be so happy for the gifts you are given every day…I certain I am not supposed to dwell in the sadness that can so easily envelop me...if we spend any time feeling sorry for ourselves because we don’t have as much money as we would like, or the job we want, or the family life we think we deserve, or perfect health..then we have wasted that time and we simply can not get it back…and who knows what events are ahead for us…we could actually look back at the current situation and think that was a piece of cake!!!

I have had many other issues in life that, at the time, I thought were horrendous! Boy, do they seem like little bumps in the road now...I often forget about them…but the feeling of someone sitting on my chest when I think about John just never goes away…ever…
Today when I saw Mrs. Ling rubbing and rubbing her daughter’s arm I remembered that when I had my one dream about John I was kissing and kissing his arm! And I was off…bad, bad day… God, I wish I had him back to hug and kiss and laugh with (or at)…or just get to be his mom again.

And then I just have to stop myself and not stay in this place. I have to think about the things in my life that are positive…my future son in-law who has made my daughter so happy that she has returned to the care free girl I knew when she was in grade school, my friends, my family... and I think I am lucky for that.

So…today…try to think of one thing that makes you feel lucky and hang on to that for dear life…because to have it is such a gift.

Happy Full Sturgeon Moon! The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Full Buck Moon.

"July is normally the month when the new antlers of the buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It is also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's moon was the Full Hay Moon." Thanks to Toni Twomey, she keeps me posted every month..I think they are so interesting so I am sharing.

Well, I have just joined the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed. My boss decided to break my job into two and I just have to deal with it…

It certainly isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to me. In fact, it is not even a blip on the radar compared to my past two years so I am making the best of it!

And that has given me the opportunity to reflect on John’s work experiences, which were all a story in themselves. In fact, I am having trouble deciding which one to share!

Let me begin by saying that I only remember him looking for a job twice..and both times it was because he knew from experience that I would get him one if he didn’t and he would have a miserable summer because of it.

Once Lauren even got into the act. She had friends who were painting houses for the summer and asked if they needed help. The “boss” did her a favor and put John on a crew. About half way through the summer he told us that the jobs were over and we all felt so sorry for him. How was he to get a job with only a few weeks before school started? Well, Lauren bumped into her friend and he told her John was fired because he would fall asleep in his car at lunch and no one could wake him because he locked the door to his car! We probably should have known something was up when he told us that he was put on trim…I thought that was maybe he was detailed oriented, something I never noticed in him but was happy to think he was developing a good work ethic!

Couldn’t have been more wrong…

And the worst part is we actually hired him the next summer to paint our house…because he didn’t have a job (again) and I had tapped out all my friends. That was the worst experience because I was trapped in my house all summer…I would bug him to start work and then if I went out all work would cease! I had more paint in my house than outside because every time he would come in he would track the paint with him! He even got paint on Lauren’s car!! The funny part is that he actually wanted me to hire his friend too! They were supposed to both do my house and then do his….can you imagine what that would have been like??? God!
He was only truly happy when he could read, spend time with his peeps (including “the fam”) or play his music, and if I had had a crystal ball I would have let him, because I could still be hearing his beautiful lyrics and melodies today. I think now of my situation and it really doesn’t worry me because I look back and can see that he knew what was important…other people. He was such a devoted son, brother, and friend. He read a lot about many subjects so he could talk to anyone…and did. He gave everyone his full attention…because he didn’t worry about the mundane pieces of life..the ones you can’t take with you. He only worried about people…and how they felt, or what they liked…and those connections are what you leave behind. That is why so many people still think of him and act on his behalf…because he somehow knew to his core what counts.

So, today, I ask that you just spend a little time attending to someone fully, without worrying about the bills, the project at work that is due…your kids who are not acting as you think they should…just be “in the moment” for someone. It is not easy to do but you may get a surprise and feel good about life after you do.
Good luck!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strawberry Moon

Almost forgot to post today because I am still recovering from the HomeRun Derby we had yesterday. ...

When John died it was so diffcult for his friends because they were still so young and had never expected this to, in an effort to cope and keep the group together, one of his friends (Richard) came to us as they were all going back to thier lives and asked if they could all come back every June 3rd and "take us out to eat or something". How cute was that? These kids were just starting out or still in school and they wanted to come to treat us to dinner!! It was just the dearest gesture... and I got it.

So, when Lauren started the foundation to give kids the ability to borrow instruments we naturally thought that a fundraiser on that weekend would be a good idea...that way they could get together and have fun, and for me, remember happy times.

Saturday was our second annual "Home Run Derby" and I got to spend the day with all of John's friends ...from home and from Syracuse. John was a good athlete and loved baseball so all his friends from that area of his life had fun doing that and we also have all his friends that played music come and perform at the gazebo in our park where John played many times over the years. We have pictures of him drumming as a middle school student in his band "Johnny Elastic and the Rubber Bands" and then playing the guitar with "The Sunbeams" in high school...we even have a picture of him in the high school band, plume on the hat and all!! And as I sat and listened to his friends play his songs along with those of famous people I had to think how much he would have loved that would have been his idea of perfection...sports and music. He would have been in awe of the number of people that came from so far away to pay homage to him...I know he would have been humbled by it because we always are.

I started thinking about the foundation that his sister Lauren has begun and wonder how we are going to keep it going...will these kids move on in life...get so caught up in their lives that they can't keep the committment? It worries me because Lauren is alone and clings to this for him. But then I realized that John would only care that people committ to something in pick a cause that you have a passion for and support it ... in short...just help....contribute to the planet in some way...and that is what I would like to suggest today. For us all to take a minute before we fall asleep tonight to think of what good we can do, to pick something that we can keep at for a while, and do it. I have had mine given to me but many of you are lucky enough to actually have an option...and that is a wonderful gift to have been given in life. Good luck and thanks for your endless support.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Full Flower Moon

John loved spring…Every year when John was in college we would have the same conversation at this time of year. School would be finishing up and we would be talking often to find out when he was finished with finals so we could come and pick up his stuff to bring home (which was always a truckload of musical instruments, including a full drum set, at least one guitar, an amp and a full sized organ along with his beer making equipment) It was testimony to how smart he was that he graduated magna cum laude when you notice how little “school” related items that went back and forth every year! People tell us all the time funny stories about his study skills!!!
But I digress…our discussions at this time of year always centered around the amount of bloom on the trees and did I think they would be out before he came home. He was very concerned that he would come home after the flowering trees had lost their flowers and the trees would be in full bloom. There was something about the color of the trees when they first bud that he loved.
Well, I was pulling out of our driveway this week and noticed that the sunlight was filtering through the baby leaves and it was just beautiful. Naturally I thought about him and wished he could be here to see it. But I also took a minute to thank him for teaching me to notice. So my full moon wish for you this month is to take the time to notice the gifts you have been given in life…sometimes they are so beautiful, simple, and free and to thank anyone who has made you stop and notice it!! Enjoy the beautiful spring.

ps. thank you Toni for telling me about the "flower moon" I think that is what made me notice the trees!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8,2009

This month I have decided to share with you a beautiful poem John wrote. We found it after he died and have framed it because it was titled "for Mom and Dad"

To say that John was a handful when he was young is an understatement. There were times when he was two that I would lay in bed at night and tell my husband that I didn't say one kind thing to him all day.

Oh, the stories are endless...he told my 90 year old great aunt to "drop the pwesants and weave" at his second birthday..then when she tried to steady herself by holding on to the back of his high chair while we were singing happy birthday to him, he noticed she had invaded his space and proceeded to physically remove her hands! And the face on him while it was happening..we have it on tape!

He was caught more than once relieving himself in the bushes of the Carmelite Nursery and single-handedly caused the retirement of one nun...who told me once that the problem with him was that you couldn't make him cry! (to which I replied that I didn't realize that was a goal of nursery school)

It goes on and on...and I probably will mention more of them as this blog proceeds... However, I often think I wish that I could go back and tell him how much I always loved him, how proud I was of the man he had become..and to ask if I was forgiven for any time I had done anything that was hurtful toward him. In short, I wish I could ask him if I was a good enough mother...
and then we found this...

Blessed are the ones who sow
for they alone bring crops to grow.
And in the case of sickly stems
that others would soon stamp out
those who sow shall blanket in cold,
and water in times of drought.
Ironically, the tallest, proudest plant in the field
was scheduled to be stomped out long ago
and quietly it would have been
were it not for those who sow.

My point in all of this is that you just never know the lasting effect your actions have...and you may not get to fix a mistake or a slight...and you don't really know who the tallest, proudest plant will this month, try to make sure you remember that...and treat every little plant as though it will become something beautiful...cause they do sometimes in spite of us..but just think of how much more good can be done if we try! (I do realize I somehow lucked out in life with John..he turned out great all by himself...but I hope that I can make up for the mean things I said or did to him...and all his friends know what I mean by that!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009

Although I really don't think John would like to be used as a role model because he never thought he was, in retrospect, all the little tiny things he did were so remarkable for someone so young. I don't think I gave him enough praise for them when they happened...and we all know how I can gush..Maybe this is my way of making up for it..If I can get enough people to just copy the things he did once a month it would make the world a little better for everyone.

so, here is my story...

As you know, our family loves any type of technology, so naturally, when iPods were first introduced Johnny got one for Christmas. Because it involved music he caught on right away (unlike some of the other gizos that were supposed to help him get organized) He spent a whole day putting his music on it..and in those days it was difficult because the PC to iPod connection was not very smooth. He was very organized and filled up the memory quickly, but he loved it. Used it in the car, etc.. He was into it.
Well, when my sister came with her kids, my niece Charlotte showed up with a new laptop. I was telling her about John's music and decided that I would let her borrow his music by uploading his iPod to her computer. We loaded iTunes and promptly wiped out his iPod when we tried to "sync" with Charlotte's empty computer! If I had taken the time to read the instructions I would have known that it isn't a sync at is a one way transfer and because Charlottes computer was empty it took all her emptyness and transferred it into John's iPod! Then I think we made matters worse by somehow getting the music off his computer any case it was not good..and I felt terrible for him.
What is noteworthy about this day was that he never said a thing except "that's ok". I asked if he was going to have to reload all his music and he said "yes, but it's ok" and he never brought it up again.
never mentioned it when we spoke of situations like it or reminded me when he could have said..."mom.. remember when you wrecked my computer?? " He never did, not once. And so today my message is to let things go, don't harp on things, and just move on. I have never forgotten that I did that so I didn't need to be reminded. Now I look back and think of what a wonderful gesture it was for him to just forgive me and forget it...and I am thankful for that. And I love him more for it.
So today, when someone makes a mistake...try to let it go...
everyone will be better for it.
Thank you and good is not as easy as it seems to let go.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 9,2009

Hello everyone. Hope all that signed on to the one smile every day resolution is finding it easy to do. I think that by sending everyone this link to the Comedy Night that Lauren’s group is having will bring a smile to them. They work very hard to get this going…God love them, I know that John is proud of them. (

Now for my message:
I know you all know how much I miss John every single day. I think of him all the time, no matter how hard I try to go back to my old self, I just can’t! Mary and I were talking about him last week and I mentioned how much I missed touching his hands, holding his face in my hands as I kissed him goodbye or hello, or his “way too hard” hugs. Mary misses the personal connection they had when she would snuggle into his neck. Even though I know I will be with him again, I ache for the human touch of him that I will never, ever feel again and I think that is the hardest for Mary too.

I wished that someone had told me to take a minute to think about those little things you would miss if you were not going to get to see the people you love again, and take the time to cherish them. I so want to hold those hands again, or kiss that cheek…so please take some time this month to do it…even if you are not very affectionate…it is almost Valentine’s Day so use that as the excuse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Januray 11, 2009

Happy New Year

It is difficult to let go of the holiday theme when you worked for 27 years at the elementary school level so naturally I have been thinking about resolutions this month. I don’t remember John doing much of it but I do think I certainly need to! I also don’t’ want to preach to others or suggest anything that I couldn’t do myself for a whole year and this is what I came up with; try to make someone smile every day.

It could be a thoughtful gesture or a funny remark or just a little surprise but all those things are not too hard to do and would make your world a better place. I think everyone could use a smile during these tough times and to be the person to give that little gift to others will make you feel better at the end of the day as well!

I hope John likes my plan…he is probably thinking I should be doing more than one to make up for all the times I make my family frown every day!!