Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letting go, a little bit...

Today I decided I needed to do some cleaning. Not only is my house not yet on the market, it's no more ready than it was 6 months ago. I need to get moving if I ever want to move. Hah.

I have no place to put things anymore, especially in my kitchen where I spend most of my time. I recognize I need to get rid of the things I don't use anymore, before someone puts me on that show about hoarders.

A few months ago
I told you about all the snacks I bought my kids right before they died and how they were still in my pantry and how I was never gonna get rid of them. Well, I decided to it's time.

I guess I've realized that material things, for the most part, do not make me feel any closer to my kids. There are certainly some things - special clothes and toys of theirs - which evoke specific memories that I will hold onto as long as possible. And I will never get rid of any of their artwork. But snacks, well...

....they had to go.

I did take a picture first:

My mom gave me one of those Keurig coffee makers in early 2009 and sent some Hot Cocoa K-cups for Kate and Peter. The marshmallows in the picture were one of Peter's favorite things. He would ask for marshmallows in his cocoa, eat them all, then ask for more. He never drank his cocoa. It was merely a vehicle to bring the marshmallows closer to his mouth.

The aforementioned Pirate's Booty is not in the picture because earlier in the day today I thought maybe I'd eat some of it. It was in a sealed foil-ish bag so I thought it could still taste ok, right? Yeah, no. It tasted a little like styrofoam peanuts, or at least what I think styrofoam peanuts would taste like. So I threw it out.

I did hang onto one box of cereal:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Walk in The Woods...

This is super-late notice, but if you're not busy tonight and you want to learn more about Frick Park and the update to the parks Master Plan, come to the Parks Conservancy's Walk in the Woods. We will meet at 6:30 at the Frick Environmental Center.

The walk will be led by members of the team working on the Regional Parks Master Plan. They'll discuss the issues facing the park and gather feedback from those who attend. Hope to see some people there! Sorry again for the late, late notice!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Closer than ever...

Lately, I swear, my kids have felt closer than ever. Since I got back from Vermont I feel like they're with me, right next to me, so often - it's been great!

Have you ever been really close to someone physically - like hugging someone, for example - and even though you're touching them, you feel like you can't get close to them? It's like there's an invisible wall separating you from the other person. Maybe I'm just weird, but I have experienced that many times.

Anyway, this is the complete opposite! Physically, my kids aren't here, but they feel extremely close. As close as I've ever been to anyone. Almost like they're a part of me.

This isn't a constant phenomenon, but lately it's happening more often. And I think I may have figured out why.

When I was in Italy, one of my roommates, who's a good friend of mine, explained to me that sometimes she can see or hear spirits. It's not something she can do all the time, but it has happened. A few days into our trip she told me she needed to talk to me, but she was a little nervous I might think what she had to say was crazy. I told her not to worry about that, I've said my fair share of crazy things. This is what she told me, through tears as it was such an intense emotional experience:

She said, "Your kids are here - I know it. I can feel them, but they're afraid to get close to you because they don't want to set you back in your grieving process. They want to be close to you, but they don't want to hurt you."

At the time I did my best to try to understand what she was saying, but I didn't totally get it. Last week I think I finally figured it out: when my kids are close, I feel more sad and emotional than I do when they're further away. It's not that I miss them any less any other time, but when they're close I can feel them and the love between us and I get sad and emotional because I want them back, the way they used to be. So then they back off. Finally, what my friend said to me 9 months ago makes sense!

After figuring this out I "told" them that I want them to stay close to me and I can deal with the sadness. It went something like this, "I know I look really upset when you're near me and I'm crying, but I'm tough and I can handle the sadness. I'd love for you guys to be close to me and I don't want you to think you're making me cry. Really, I don't mind crying if it means I get to be near you guys!"

That "conversation" must have done something because now I feel them a lot more often, no lie.

Yesterday, I was trying to get a bunch of stuff done around my house and I felt Kate with me for most of the day. It's weird how sometimes I feel one or the other of them and sometimes they're both here. I think that's how I know I'm not making this up, because if I was I'd want them both here 24/7.

I was getting ready to go out last night while listening to Kate's Pandora station. I asked Kate if she could maybe "choose" an appropriate song (like she has magical Pandora powers - who knows?) and this is what I got:

I posted the version with the lyrics because, when you really pay attention to what the song is saying, it's is so obvious that this was something from my kids. Immediately when the song started I could feel both of them. I was completely blown away! And it didn't stop there - the music montage continued: the next song was "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" followed by "Best of Both Worlds" then "Hey, Soul Sister" and "Live Like We're Dying". I'm not making this up. Seriously.

They're here. I know it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The vacation is over...

...so it's back to the kitchen!

My break from school has ended so I started my new culinary class yesterday, American Regional Cooking. So far it seems pretty cool. We get to learn about the different regions of the United States and their native cuisines - like Cajun and Creole, Tex Mex and something called Floribbean Cuisine, which I just think is fun to say. We're starting with New England and the Mid-Atlantic states so for the next two weeks I get to make and eat seafood. Yum!

I really did enjoy my break and had some time to unplug, relax and sleep. I wasn't real productive on my home projects, but I guess productivity isn't one of my strong suits. Oh well.

Ken and I had a great road trip to Vermont. We stayed with my aunt and cousin who I haven't seen in ten years so it was awesome to reconnect with them. We hiked up giant mountains, we swam in waterfalls and ate and drank tons of great food and wine. It was truly wonderful!

And now for the new and exciting, secret information I promised...

Ken and I are engaged!

The day after we got to Vermont we hiked to the top of the Camel's Hump, which is the third highest mountain in the state. It was not an easy hike. It took about 3 hours to hike 3.4 miles up some pretty challenging terrain, and let me tell you, I'm not in good shape.

When we embarked on our hike the skies were overcast and there was some occasional drizzle. The temperature was somewhere in the low to mid-50s. As we hiked, it started to rain harder and harder and got colder and windier. By the time we reached the summit it had to have been in the low 4os and it was extremely windy. The view is supposed to be amazing, but unfortunately all we could see were clouds :(

Nevertheless, we sat down to eat some lunch and Ken handed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and said, "hey, what's that under your sandwich?" It was a ring :) He then asked me if I would marry him, to which I replied, "Yes...if you get me off this mountain!" Honestly, I was overjoyed by his proposal. I was just cold and wet and tired.

Here's a picture he took of us on the summit after he proposed:

After we got down from the mountain, which was actually much harder than going up, we cleaned up and went out for a nice dinner. On the way to the restaurant we saw a rainbow, which I have no doubt was a sign of Kate and Peter's approval and happiness.

And here's a Kate story that now I feel I can share:

The weekend before the accident, we were reading a bedtime story when, out of the blue, Kate said, "Mama, I know who you're gonna marry."

I said, "Who?" and she replied, "Ken".

At the time, Ken and I weren't dating. We had dated before but decided we would just be friends, and I was dating someone else. I knew Kate (and Peter) loved Ken so I thought she was just being sweet and putting in her vote for who she thought I should marry. I told her as much, really thinking that Ken and I probably wouldn't get back together. But, as usual, my kids are far wiser than I am and she was right! I know, for sure, she is smiling about the fact that we really are getting married. And so am I.