Monday, May 3, 2010

The "Haves" and the "Have-Nots"

Almost a year has passed since my last blog post. A thought occurred to me just now that motivated me to resurrect this blog, if only to keep this thought from fading from my mind forever.

Today, my husband told me that he overheard "the hens", as he calls them, bragging about their social status during our daughter's gymnastics class. Apparently, several of the parents that bring their children to gymnastics during our daughter's Monday morning classes are stay-at-home moms who have nothing better to do than gossip with the other snotty moms who also have nothing better to do.

My husband is the only father who brings a child to the classes and he often comes home telling me stories about what "the hens" were gabbing about that morning. One time, he came home to tell me that one of the mothers was complaining about having too many baby strollers. She had five - a full-size stroller, an umbrella stroller, a double stroller, a running stroller, and a double running stroller. Her dilemma was not where to store them, or whether to donate to Goodwill or sell a few on Craigslist, but simply that she had so many. In other words, she was concealing her boasting through complaining.

This time, my husband came home to tell me that two "hens" in particular were going back and forth about their choice of lifestyles. One woman was a surgeon's wife and was bragging about their luxurious home in Falmouth. The other was an R.N. at the same hospital but told the first that her and her husband had decided to live in Westrbook because they felt their children would benefit from being exposed to both the "Haves" and the "Have-Nots". This way their children could see how the "Have-Nots" lived and appreciate how they lived more. This disturbed my husband, but I just rolled my eyes.

I grew up in an extremely diverse city in Massachusetts. It was diverse in several ways. Race was the obvious one; I grew up with racial diversity and just assumed that was how the entire country lived as well. My neighbors were Hmong, I sat in church next to Brazilians, and my first date to a semi-formal happened to be Puerto Rican. I didn't know when I moved to Maine and met my husband that his adopted brother would turn heads everywhere we went because it was so rare to see a "colored" person. I sat aghast at my husband when he explained to me why his brother kept getting turned down job after job; because no one around here wanted to hire a black boy.

I grew up surrounded by other diversities, though. I had several friends that were homosexual when I was growing up - way before "coming out of the closet" was anywhere near as accepted as it is now. One of my best friends was gay - I had a terrible crush on him in high school but since I had no chance with him in that way, we became good friends. We were religiously and culturally diverse. And yes, income was another area of diversity. However, I don't remember ever once having income play a factor in how I thought of someone else, nor did I ever feel that I was ever thought of differently because of my parents' income.

However, now that I look back on it, I can see that there were several people in my circle of friends that could have been classified as the "Haves" and several, including myself, that could have been described as the "Have-Nots". But you know what? It didn't matter. At all. Having money didn't make any one of us get good grades or poor grades. It didn't play a factor in whether we drank or tried drugs or not. It didn't determine which college we went to, or if we went to college at all. And it certainly didn't determine our happiness for us. But you know what did? The relationships we developed between each other and with our family, teachers, and other adults affected each and every one of those outcomes.

My point: It doesn't matter if you drive a Jag, a mini-van, a 1985 Ford Escort, or ride a bike. It doesn't matter if you live in a trailer, a house, a condo, or a mansion. It doesn't matter if you end up being the surgeon, the nurse, the patient, or the guy who mops the floor after the surgery is over. There are only two things that really matter in this life. What matters in life is what you do with what it gives you and how you treat the people in it. Nothing else matters.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The rainy week(s)...

This past week was a week of spending time with family and friends. I enjoy going back to the 'Burg, only because of the people I get to see while I'm there. The city itself makes me feel a bit dispirited. I suppose living away for so long has done that. So many parts of the city appear to be in shambles and it makes me wonder if it was really like that all the while that I lived there and I was unable to realize its state until I was away for some time. However, reliving some memories in my mind help me to regain some nostalgia for my home town.

I was able to visit with some of my closest friends from high school and as one of them told me after our visit - the time spent this past week only made me crave more time with them. If only we all lived closer to each other. But for the time being, the good ol' 'Burg serves as a good central meeting place for us all, so I am grateful for that.

Likewise, the time spent with my family made me covet more time to spend with them; my grandparents in particular. I found myself realizing that I will never feel satisfied by the amount of time I am able to visit with them now; how I wish I lived closer to them as well. I admire my grandparents so and hope that when I am their age, I can look upon my marriage as the success theirs has been. They are both amazing people with captivating stories of their past.

I was also able to make a visit to New Hampshire to visit with two dear friends. It was not long enough and we all felt a little ill after eating so much cheese, ha! Our attempt at fondue didn't come out as well as we'd hoped, but I look forward to another attempt soon. Although perhaps we'll venture a different activity next time. I always enjoy our time together, no matter what we happen to be doing.

I was able to cross number fifty off my list this week; I went to the library down the street from my house and obtained a membership - I suppose I could call it that. I was disappointed to learn that they don't give out library cards anymore! Haha, for some reason I was looking forward to having one to keep in my wallet. All that was required was for the librarian to enter me into the computer. At any rate, I can check books out now, and I exercised that liberty immediately. I looked for Jane Austen, so I could get a start on another line on my list, but they only owned one copy each of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and they were both checked out.

I found a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and checked that out instead. I've hardly been able to put it down; she is an amazing writer and I feel in awe as I read about the times in which she lived. Although the novel is fiction, researching information about Charlotte Bronte and her sisters finds that many of the events I've read in this novel thus far correlate to things that she experienced or witnessed herself as a child. I also learned that she had to tag the novel with a male pen name in order for it to get published and accepted by the public. This has propelled me to think of how far our society has come, but also about how far we've yet to go in other areas.

I also checked out a book for Kylie called The Rainy Day - I felt it well suited because of our recent weather. She had me read it to her a dozen times in one day and she also "read" it to me several times. She "reads" now by telling the story she sees through the pictures and she also recalls much of the story from my readings to her. I took her to the library the very next day to pick out two books of her own choosing. She ended up choosing a book about airplanes and a book about Santa Claus. I didn't do anything to discourage the choice of a book about Santa Claus in June; I love to see her excitement over books and hope to foster it as much as I can.

Since the library doesn't own copies of Jane Austen's Emma or Mansfield Park, I've decided to use the Barnes and Noble gift card I've been holding onto to donate a copy of each. It's a small library, but very well maintained by the volunteers and I feel lucky to live within walking distance from it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mmmmm, strawberries.

I truly believe there is no better taste on this earth than a strawberry picked right from the vine and placed straight into my mouth!

Kylie and I happily braved the overcast sky and soggy earth to go on our first strawberry picking trip of the summer. It was well worth the trip; the berries were huge! Plenty to pick from, but the owner told me they'll probably be picked out by tomorrow afternoon until the next bunch ripens. And they put plenty of straw on the ground between the rows, so it wasn't muddy at all.

Kylie absolutely loves looking for the reddest berries...and of course she thinks being able to eat them right off the vine is just the coolest thing in the world. She must have told me at least fifteen times on the ride home, "Mama, I love strawberry picking." So needless to say, we'll be returning plenty of times this summer.

We go to Doles Orchard in Limington. They have a lot of different varieties of strawberries, so they'll have them into the fall. But they'll also have raspberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, and apples when they're ready. It's a family-run orchard and they are so nice and laid back; very family friendly. If you're interested in going, just give them a quick call before you head over to make sure they're not picked out. I've never had it happen, but apparently it does from time to time and it would stink to drive out there for nothing!

Now to make that fresh strawberry pie...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lights, camera, action!

Movies, movies, and more movies. I decided to load a new list onto my blog at the left to easily keep track of the AFI list movies I watch. Of course, I've seen several of them already, but I've decided to re-watch any I've previously seen. I loaded all of them into my Netflix queue so they're all ready to go - I didn't realize how many of these movies have been remade...some of them multiple times! I had to be careful to find the originals.

I know I'm not going to like some of these movies. I'm curious to see how many of them I actually will like. I might be surprised. I'm excited to see the old Charlie Chaplin films...sad to say, I've never seen any of them! But this is why I put this on my list - whether I like them or not, I want to be able to know what people are talking about when they reference a classic.

I love Netflix, by the way. So worth the inexpensive monthly fee. So many of the movies I put in my queue today are available to stream online, so I can get a start on my list tonight!

Another note - the AFI list has been updated a couple of times since the original list. I decided to stick to the original for now and save the more recent additions for the next 101 list.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A bit ambitious?

If this list looks a bit too ambitious to you, please keep these things in mind. The purpose of this project is not to achieve 100% success. Growth and learning can be achieved through failure. The purpose of this project is to get my focus on what is important in my life and to help me learn how to work with long term goals. It's my hope that through this project, I may start living my life more fully. :-)

I'll be blogging about my progress throughout the next 2.75 years!

By the way, I started this project because a friend referred me to this website: -- check it out!

The list.

For easy reference, this list will always show to the left of my blog.

101 things to do in 1001 days - beginning 6/12/09

*Completed tasks will look like this.*
1. Watch the sun set on a quiet beach.
2. Watch the sun rise on a quiet beach.
3. Send a message in a bottle.
4. Get fries on the OOB pier.
5. Read all of the LOTR books (finally). (0/4)
6. Read four Jane Austen novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. (0/4)
7. Watch all movies on the AFI 100 list. (0/100)
8. Learn to knit and knit ten scarves. (0/10)
9. Knit one afghan/blanket.
10. Mail a secret to PostSecret.
11. Listen to 101 new (to me) albums. (0/101)
12. Get the Daigle family crest tattooed on my back.
13. Settle on a design and get my foot tattoo.
14. Go to 101 live music performancese, any genre. (0/101)
15. Learn ten line/party dances, any genre.
16. Have two songs and two monologues prepared.
17. Go to the drive-in four times. (0/4)
18. Organize a water balloon fight.
19. Go to a comedy show.
20. Ride in a hot air balloon.
21. Host a themed potluck dinner.
22. Ten fruit-picking trips. (0/10)
23. Take a ride on the train in North Conway.
24. At least 15 visits to NH to see J. (0/15)
25. At least 15 visits to MA to see my grandparents. (0/15)
26. See a Blue Man Group performance.
27. See a Broadway show...on Broadway.
28. Find ten letterboxes. (0/10)
29. Go on 35 official dates with my husband! (0/35)
30. Go on eight different camping trips. (0/8)
31. Visit and explore Acadia National Park.
32. Visit my family in Canada.
33. Set a date for a trip to Guatemala.
34. Build a team to go to Guatemala.
35. Organize eight group fundraisers for the Guatemala trip.
36. Attend Alex's birthday parties. (0/2)
37. Go on vacation with J to the west coast.
38. Attend two Sea Dogs games. (0/2)
39. Attend two Pirates games. (0/2)
40. Visit and explore Gisland Farms.
41. Go to the Yarmouth Clam Festival.
42. Hike Douglas Mountain.
43. Visit the Victoria Mansion at Christmas time.
44. Explore Fort Williams more.
45. Visit the Portland Museum of Art.
46. Go to the Fryeburg Fair both years. (0/2)
47. Complete the Rosetta Stone in Spanish.
48. Complete the Rosetta Stone in Italian.
49. Learn 50 songs on guitar. (0/50)
50. Get a local library card.
51. Acquire a copy of Oxford's New Concise World Atlas.
52. Watch "An Inconvenient Truth".
53. Watch "The Commanding Heights of the Economy".
54. Read "Fast Food Nation".
55. Graduate from college and find a teaching job!
56. Make and send a care package to a soldier.
57. Mail 50 hand written notes to family members or friends, excluding Christmas cards. (0/50)
58. Sing in a nursing home 10 times. (0/10)
59. Complete 101 anonymous acts of kindness. (0/101)
60. Give blood six times. (0/6)
61. Write at least 25 songs. (1/25)
62. Record 1 song and upload it on myspace or youtube.
63. Bake 35 pies, decorated cakes, or fancy cookies. (0/35)
64. Make 10 handmade gifts for people I care about. (0/10)
65. Go to a "paint your own pottery" place and make something cool.
66. Write a children's book.
67. Make sock puppets.
68. Host a tea party for my daughter and her friends.
69. Take my daughter to a kid-friendly musical.
70. Take my daughter to The Butterfly Place.
71. Take my daughter to FunTown.
72. Visit the Children's Museum in Portland.
73. Take my daughter to see The Nutcracker.
74. Enroll my daughter in a dance class.
75. Enroll my daughter in a gymnastics class.
76. Help my daughter fully potty train (with the exception of night time pull-ups) by September 1, 2009.
77. Write 10 letters for my daughter to read when she gets older and place them in the safe deposit box.
78. Put all of my digital pictures on the passport and place it in the safe deposit box.
79. Put serial numbers, makes, and models of all my instruments and electronic equipment on the passport and place it in the safe deposit box.
80. Write down my "after death wishes" and place them in the safe deposit box.
81. Decorate our daughter's bedroom.
82. Decorate our bedroom.
83. Have nice pictures taken of mommy, daddy, and our little girl together.
84. Plant a tulip garden.
85. Plant blueberries and strawberries in the back yard.
86. Plant lilacs in the yard.
87. Read my Bible every day.
88. Boycott fast food for one month.
89. Create a healthier habit of going to bed by 10pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends.
90. Lose 10 pounds.
91. Lose another 10 pounds.
92. Lose another 10 pounds.
93. Lose another 10 pounds.
94. Lose another 10 pounds.
95. Lose another 10 pounds.
96. Lose another 10 pounds.
97. Lose another 10 pounds.
98. Lose another 10 pounds.
99. Lose another 10 pounds.
100. Go lacto-ovo vegetarian.
101. Obtain my lifeguard certification again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Or not...

Many things have kept me from writing more about Guatemala, but mainly, I've been too busy. The terrible thing about this is that I've been unnecessarily busy with things that I will likely find insignificant later on in life. BUT...I have a plan. ;-)

The problem - I keep myself busy with things that I am not necessarily passionate about and that bring me little long-term fulfillment.

The plan - I am currently formulating a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, an idea given to me by a friend. She referred me to this site:

I've been fervently working on my list all night. I can't stop thinking about it. I've only got 33 things on the list so far, but they are good ones! One thousand one days is about 2.75 years, so this will be a lot of long-term goal setting...which I love and need to do more of.

Ever feel like you're just not living your life as much as you should be? That's one thing that I really took from the Guatemala trip. How much time have I wasted getting trapped in the mundane routine of day-to-day things, months and months on end, only to suffocate the potential of both personal growth and growth of things that really matter in life - like relationships with other people.

As I compile my list, I think of how alive I felt out in that Guatemalan heat; helping those villagers who had so little but so much at the same time. I think of how alive I felt standing on the top of one of those ancient Mayan ruins; looking out above the jungle tree canopy and breathing the clear, clean air.

I think of how I don't want to waste any more time in my life. I don't want to keep putting off the ambiguous goals I've had in my head for years but somehow haven't found the time to work on them. So now I'll get specific - I'll name those goals and I'll put them on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Think of all the possibilities!