Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Resetting My Biological Clock

Ok, no...I'm not talking about THAT biological clock. That one is about ten ticks from midnight and I'm ok with that. I am nearing a half century and have 1 grown and 2 almost grown sons, so no sense of urgency there--I can handle being Cinderella on that front.

Rather, I am speaking of my day-to-day functioning timeline. I am a night owl. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I have always been a night owl, even as a child. I can function in the morning with after a big cup of coffee. But for years, I would roll out of bed, roll over the side of the tub and fill it up so I could doze in a nice suds. A sit-down shower gave me an alternative, but I do whatever I can to grab the morning zzz's.

This all changed a couple of weeks ago--or at least I have been trying to change it for a couple of weeks. I just cannot make it to the Y to work out after work. Not going to happen with all the activities the kids and I have. But middle age has caught up with me, and my days of being able to shed 10 pounds overnight have gone the way of "the" biological clock. Exercise is needed. I have some friends who hit the Y at 5:30 most mornings, and they invited me to join them. I had a Friday off, meaning I could go home after and go back to bed, so I accepted the challenge. Since then, I have been getting up at 5:15 and heading over there every Monday through Friday...2 weeks now. Problem is, my inner tickings have not kept up. My body continues to insist night time is the right time, but my brain keeps saying that I am now a morning person. I am surviving so far, and I am generally functional most of the day. I will eventually transform myself..I just hope it's figuratively (begone ye unwanted poundage).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To everything, there is a season...

I can't believe we're halfway through August already. It's been an eventful summer. Perfect weather. The mighty Kekambas took the Bedford Knothole title, but more importantly, baseball was fun again. Now we're on to football season, and I can't wait.

This season will be bittersweet for me. It is Craig's senior year, and while it will be exciting to watch this year's Kickin' Mules, it will be sad knowing that this is the last time we'll be watching this magnificent group of boys play together. I've watched them play for nearly half of their lives. They epitomize the word "team" and we have lofty expectations for them. JV will be fun as well...the "little ones" have all of a sudden gotten very big.

We have senior pictures taken care of, and are starting down the path of selecting a college. DePaul has been heavily pursuing Craig but there are a few others high on the consideration list as well. I know that the next year will fly by...maybe someone knows a magic spell to slow it down just a little so I can enjoy it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step

It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since the astronauts of Apollo 11 first stepped on the moon. At the time, I was 9 years old and living in Detroit. We had experienced --- a little too closely --- the Detroit Riots in 1967, and memories of the assassinations and conventions of '68 were still fresh. Neighbors and siblings of some friends were over in Vietnam. The space program brought something positive to the front...truly the Wonder Years.

I have some clear memories of that night. I recall watching the events unfold on tv--our black and white console--even though it was very late at night, at least for a 9 year old. For some reason, I have always pictured a full moon in my mind, but a visit to a perpetual calendar site today shows that it was a waxing moon, two days shy of being half-way to full. At some point, my dad and I (maybe it was my mom--that's a little sketchy) were out looking at the distant orb, and I was adamant that I could see the flag that had been planted using our telescope. (We used to do quite a bit of star-gazing with our telescope. Do kids today still do that?)

My sister ended up with a special bit of memorabilia from that night. My grandmother had woven each of us a blanket. My brother's had an eagle on it. Mine had an oriental-based bird and flower on it. My sister's was just a patchwork, with a few special squares. One of these was the square that my Granny was working on 40 years ago tonight. It has a silhouette of a moon and the date, July 20, 1969. A keepsake for sure, and ironic for many reasons that I won't divulge. Me, well I have a series of pictures that were in some Scholastic publication--I think they are in my cedar chest. Maybe I should dig them out.

It saddens me to think that there is a small part of society who do not believe that the lunar expeditions occurred. I have read several articles over the past few days debunking these conspiracy theories, and the photos of the lunar probe show physical proof for the believers. If nothing, this event served to bring together a fractured nation, at least for one evening. What will be the next giant leap for humankind?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mid Year Review

It is hard to believe we're now several days into July! It's been a busy year thus far, and activity will be heating up soon as Craig starts his senior year and Matt continues his quest for a driver's license.

Earlier this year, I set forth some tasks I'd like to accomplish. It's a good time now to reflect on progress made. So here goes...
  • Pray. Daily. So far so good.
  • Set aside "me" time to recharge my batteries. This will include things like getting lost in a good book while soaking in a bubble bath, and doing girls' night out (or weekend retreats) on a regular basis. I am excelling at this one. lol. Off to spend 4 days relaxing and taking in a concert this week, as a matter of fact.
  • Visit my parents more often. I could still probably do better with this one, but I AM doing better than last year.
  • Do things with my sister more often. Hm. Still don't see her often, but more than last year.
  • Catch up with my friends. I have done very well with this one, but not in the manner expected. Facebook has reinvigorated old friendships from high school, college, and former workplaces, and has cultivated a few new ones. This dovetails very nicely with my "me" time.
  • Help those who need it--continue to volunteer for whatever beckons. This is just critical, and while I regularly volunteer, there is always room to do more.
  • Help those who may not need it--random acts of kindness--doing the unexpected. This I have done.
  • Organize my garage and basement store room, and maybe my closet and sock drawer. Well, I organized my closet, my sock drawer, and part of my attic. I also arranged to have junky parts of my yard cleaned up. The basement is beckoning....

I am thinking of new things that need to be accomplished...creating memories for my kids and their friends, giving back to the community, having fun, serving God...any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Toga! Toga! Toga! (or Follies of My Youth)

It is graduation season, which means loads of graduation parties on our calendar. One this past weekend was billed as a toga party. Now, I actually happen to own a toga that is not made up of a bedsheet. One of the kids wore it for Hallowe'en a few years back, and I can still get into it. That said, while I took it with me to the party, I did not don it for the event. There were a few of the kids who did show up all toga'd out. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me but it was a sight to behold.

It made me think back to my college days and the toga parties of old. I started college the same year the classic movie Animal House came out, and toga parties were hot at fraternity parties. One of my old roommates, who I'll call Kay because I promised her anonymity if I wrote about this, thought it would be fun to head to a toga party at the Phi Sig house. Never one to miss a good time, I was all for it, with one exception--I was NOT going to walk all the way across campus dressed in a bedsheet. We lived on the far north end of campus, and the party was about as far south as you can get. So we compromised and went to her friend's room on the south side of campus to change--where it would also be convenient to get back into street clothes before we made our second stop at a floor party in Merrill Hall (which at the time was all guys).

Somewhere at the toga party (which was an absolute hoot!), we lost track of the friend. We decided to head over to the dorm party in our togas. I am not a big beer drinker (that being about the only beverage available at this party), so I was far from inebriated when I made that decision (although I often claim otherwise). I had a bit of trepidation because there were about 6 guys I went to high school with who lived in the dorm. I figured, however, that most of them would be gone since they were all football players and it was homecoming back at Bedford. As luck would have it, the first couple of people I ran into were some of my former classmates. I also met a few guys from a nearby town. They stood out because they all had beautiful eyes, beautiful smiles, and were cut in a way that all 18 year old girls can appreciate. One later became my best male friend in college, although our friendship really didn't start until a year later. We still talk occasionally so something good came out of my pseudo-embarrassment. Oh--my desire to not walk across campus in a bedsheet was for naught. We never did catch up with the friend we misplaced, and ended up heading back the the Barnyard in our togas. Luckily, autumn evenings in Mt. Pleasant were often mild.

With one son a year away from his own college adventures, I'm curious to see what this year's party trends will be. In the mean time, if you hear of a good toga party, give me a holler.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Ties that Bind

I come from a very loose-knit family. We aren't what I'd call dysfunctional--we just have our own things to do. My parents and my sister live within a mile of me, and while I see them periodically, we aren't compelled to speak daily. It's not that I don't love them, because I do--it's just because we're all really busy. My brother lives the furthest--all the way over in the Start school district, and I see him even less. But we all get along and act like family when we do get together.

I also do not have an extensive extended family. My dad was an only child, and he only had a couple of cousins himself. We are fairly close with his one cousin and her family since they lived by us when I was a kid. On my mom's side, I have 7 first cousins. Two of them were adopted, and my uncle (mom's eldest brother) died when they were very young, so we've kind of lost track of them. The rest of us were spread out all over the country--we've been in Michigan since the mid-60's, my Uncle Bill's family was in the Chicago area, and Uncle Robert and crew were in Connecticut. We just didn't grow up around family, although we did see the Chicago contingent a couple of times a year.

Just to add to some perspective, my mom likes to tell the story of a time an acquaintance drove her home from high school. When she pointed out her house, the acquaintance remarked that she couldn't live there because that was Bob Rogers' house and he was an only child. Apparently, he'd been telling people that although he had 4 siblings (one deceased already), 2 of whom had overlapping time with him in high school. I'm also thinking that the relationship should have been a bit less of a mystery to the acquaintance since my mom was still Joan Rogers at the time.

Despite this, there are still ties that bind. We didn't venture very far when kids were named for my generation. The first 3 grandkids for Porter and Emma Rogers were Robert, Robert, and Robin. It isn't so much that my mom and her siblings lacked in originality--it's more that my dad and uncle are both Roberts and wanted juniors. Robin's name was more likely due to when she was born. Made the few times we were all together interesting--we had Bob, Robert, Bobby Reese, Bobby Rogers---pretty bad when the kids had to start going by their last names when they weren't in trouble. I also have 2 cousins named Kim, but they are on opposite branches of my family tree. I am named for my mom's sister, who died when they were children. Once it got beyond 1961, names began to differ (Beth, Nancy, Debbie, Laura, Mark).

Birthdays were also interesting. Four of the 10 Rogers' grandkids were born in April (and one in the last couple of days of March). My brother Robert was born on my Uncle Robert's birthday (which is a week before my mom's). My cousin Laura's birthday is the day before my sister's, and there were 2 in January. Everything all compacted.

Ages of said grandkids are spread out though, starting in 1957 and ending in 1969. Well, except for a nine month period in 1960 & 61. My cousin Robin and I were both born in April (she's older by 27 days). My cousin Kim came along 8 months later--so there were three of us in the class of '78. Robin and I were best friends until I moved to Detroit at 5. We were together frequently as toddlers. We also spent the summer of 1970 together after my grandparents died. It was back in the age of stationery and stamps, so we exchanged letters frequently. I think the only 2 times the three of us were together was one Christmas when the CT gang came to Chicago (we were all too young to remember that one!), and when my grandmother died. My family drove out to CT at the end of the summer of '70, and Kim and I became pen pals after that as well. I vividly recall one missive that contained a glowing review of her trip with her mom to see Engelbert Humperdinck. We've seen each other on a few of my other trips east--I'm still waiting for her to journey to the midwest.

At any rate, none of us grew up together and yet, if we were ever in a room together, I'm thinking people would think differently. We've all hooked up on Facebook. I have learned via this medium that Kim has the same warped sense of humor that I have. Aside from my brother (and apparently my mom), she and I probably have more of a family resemblance than I have with the rest of my relations, including my sister. It's not that we look alike--we don't particularly--Kim is gorgeous. It's just that you can tell we're family. My sister looks quite a bit like my other cousin Kim (dad's side). Robin doesn't look like either of us, but if you listen to conversation, it is again apparent that we're related. I'm sure having parents who grew up in the same house is the root cause. I'm grateful to Facebook for allowing us to become friends as adults.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paying It Forward

Last weekend was the Relay for Life. I was unable to participate this year because of an out-of-town family wedding. However, the boys stayed back to help out. We became involved in this the first year because it was a community service project for Craig for National Junior Honor Society. It also has a personal connection as I lost an uncle to lung cancer (he was 42 at the time), and we lost my mother-in-law to pancreatic cancer in 2001. While the boys were small at the time, and the disease progressed quickly after her diagnosis (about 6 weeks), it still had a profound impact on the kids. So we continue to participate and contribute as a key household cause.

When my grandmother died 2 years ago, each of the boys inherited just over $5000. I'm not sure what the oldest one did with his--he's an adult. But the younger two came to me and said that they'd like to take some to help others. Craig donated $500 to American Cancer Society, while Matt donated $500 to Hospice in honor of the care they provided for his beloved great grandmother. Not too many 13 and 15 year-olds who would do that unprompted, and it made me sooooo proud.

Imagine my surprise this morning during my Saturday morning long-bath/read-the-paper ritual. I was reading an article about this year's relay in the Bedford Press. The football coach (such a life coach actually!) wants the boys to participate in community service events, and many chose to be part of Troy's team in the Relay. Troy is a junior high football player who was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma last fall at the beginning of the football season. The kids have rallied behind him, and the football team (including parents) have tried to assist the family when possible as they go through this very difficult period. By the time I got to the end of the article (and even now as I write this), I was bawling. Lois (Troy's mom) singled out Craig and his efforts. To say that I am proud and humbled would be an understatement. I have taught my kids to pay it forward, often to what seems like deaf ears. To know that the lesson has sunk in, and that they unconditionally move to do the right thing is truly a blessing.

And it's not just my kids. Shortly after my grandmother passed, one of the kids' friends was killed in a very tragic accident. I started a scholarship in memory of our Philly, and one of the key requirements in the scholarship is an essay on what it means to make a positive impact on others. Because I am acquainted with this year's winners, I can honestly say that they live the idea of paying it forward on a daily basis. It comes as naturally to them as breathing. They do so without the expectation of kudos--they do it simply because they care. So I'd like to congratulate Joe Martin and Courtney Loe--not just on receiving the scholarship award, but for being the type of role models for peers and adults as well.

It is reassuring to know that there are so many in the next generation who understand the significance of giving, of making a positive impact, of potentially changing a life with a simple gesture.