Revised version since last night when I wrote this blog my eyes were sandy from fatigue and my brain only worked on autopilot.
How do you start the new year right? By pranking your kids! Yes! After all, is very important for us parents to teach our children how to act or react sharply and appropriately in all life’s circumstances.
Since Meleah was the only one working on New Year’s first day we decided, maturely of course, to play a prank on her once she got back home which was around 1 pm. So we came up with a ransom note.
From idea to completion we had 40 minutes. The culprits were: my husband, myself, our son Merrill and her boyfriend Jordan. There was a mad rush of hands and ideas flying. Chet was cutting the most brilliant words out of a Martha Steward cooking magazine, I had the privilege of gluing the whole message together while the boys came up with the message:) I haven’t felt so alive and giddy for a long time and I loved every second of the devious plan and from the looks of it so did the boys. The fact that our building had a power issue (can’t really call it outage) and the lights were very dim, some even flickering others not working at all, the TV console moved away from the wall (Chet unplugged the electronics) did help.
We left the note on the floor seconds before she stepped through and hid waiting. Heard the keys, her stepping inside then utter silence for few long seconds. (She was reading the ransom note and listening for any activity inside before committing to come all the way in.) As you can see, in our haste, we never left a contact info so she checked her Instagram messages for more clarification. Nothing. She walked ever so quietly around looking, for us I presume, and eventually found us tucked in a corner of our bedroom. The whole thing was over way too soon but we sure had a nice laugh.
Twisted sense of humor you say? I think not. I’ve come to the conclusion that my daughter handled the situation brilliantly and my job as a parent was done. She’ll do fine in life is the conclusion we drew, which is important:)
I would love to hear some of your fun teachable moments you received or gave away, but until then have a fantastic new year with great beginnings and fun adventures!
The ladies in this picture are sisters and they happen to be my grandmother (Maria) on the right and my great aunt, Ticuta, on the left. In the middle stands uncle Ionel, my aunt’s husband. My grandfather passed away few years back from Alzheimer’s.
Both sisters had strokes within days of each other, couple of months ago. Sunday, 11-10-2019 aunt Ticuta passed away.
I look at life as a wonderful novel and for some their story may have ended their flesh and blood walk on this earth. It’s impossible not to feel sad at its finality. But strong memories continue their story and recollecting them is my way of spending time with the beloved departed ones.
Here’s one of those memories.
Ibanesti village stands quietly in the Bucovina region of Romania situated north of the country.
Head wrapped in a bright scarf and one hand shielding her eyes from the sun above my aunt stands in the middle of a potatoes field searching for me. In addition to her children and her chores I’m her responsibility for the time being as I spend few summer days working the fields along side. We’ve been weeding and picking these nasty bugs off every leaf for the past four hours and although there’s so much left the work is coming to an end for today. Heat waves dance over the land and her small but mighty frame rests a moment and I can’t help but smile towards her. She does not smile much, too engulfed in her never-ending chores life offers to a peasant but when she does my world brightens and I nearly tear up with overwhelming joy. I can smell dust and dried grass lingering in the air for the ground under our feet is cracked from lack of rain. She looks up towards the sun and her lips move, most likely in prayer. We need rain for the crops to grow, so I too begin to pray. As a child I don’t like the rain much but I sense its importance.
“Carmen! Gicu! Geta! Time to go home!” She waives us over and like separated aunts we happily cluster joking and pushing each other in cheerful teasing. The walk home is shared between gulps of lukewarm water once freshly pulled out of the well and I look forward to dinner.
But dinner in the country does not come quickly. First we must feed and give water to the cows who have just returned from the pastures, brought back by the village boy delegated with such a task. So I help carry the buckets of water after Gicu, one of my cousins, pumps it from the well. I see in the far distance, Geta, another cousin, lifting hay with a fork and bringing it in the stable. Today I must milk the cow, that’s my task, and I take the small wooden stool, I grab the aluminum bucket and set myself underneath the enormous belly hoping she’ll not kick me. The smell of cow manure gags me for a second yet years later this will become my best memory trigger to such times as these. I wash her nipples and began to pull, but its not as easy as it seems and my cousins start to laugh, teasing my clumsiness. I’m a city girl, and I feel it now in every bone of my body. Every day they work hard yet still manage to laugh and tease while I struggle to keep up too proud to admit defeat. So I try again and pull harder with more success.
“Here. Let me show you how it’s done.” Geta offers. She sits down and starts milking with great ease and as the while liquid slushes out quickly the smell of fresh milk teases my nostrils, followed by stomach gurgles. I’m really hungry.
“Lean your head on her belly gently, this helps her relax, then grab hard like this and pull like this. Now you do it.” I nod, ready to prove my worth. I lean my head and start to pull. I’m rewarded with a great sound of liquid hitting the bucket, Geta smiles and the cow moos happy. As I milk her, head agains her belly, my eyes see past the open stable door and into the courtyard, where Mitica, my youngest cousin only about five or six years old helps his mother by bringing the fire wood so she can start supper out in the summer kitchen. It’s too hot to cook inside and during the summer all the meals are cooked outside in the summer kitchen which is a clay oven next to a wooden table situated underneath a lush grape vine. Aunt Ticuta is starting the fire with some matches and soon the soft polenta, the universal bread in these parts of the country, is well on its way. Then she fries pieces of pork meat and my mouth is watering as the fumes reach me, and Geta hurries to help with the salad by picking lettuce from the nearby garden. Fresh made plain yogurt completes the simple meal and I become impatient with my chore.
“Come on girl, help me out here!” But the cow turns and looks at me with her big eyes and I can tell she’s saying “What else do you want me to do?”
Once around the table we bow our heads and pray out loud over the meal then sit down under the shade of the grape vine busy eating. The fire was put out but the smell of aches lingers. We tease each other with mouth-fulls of goodness and settle down only when my aunt advertises us there’ll be whipping coming our way if we don’t. But like a bee hive we slowly start it up again. And life keeps going on in a beautiful continuance of love, hard work, and laughter.
Family members of the dying generation mean the world to me. Despite grave injustice against them some brought on by the socialist/communist party others by life circumstances they always worked hard and looked at life as God’s precious gift. The thankful attitude and their tendency to see the positive side of life taught me to be strong. I love that! I was taught that by them! I will treasure it forever. If only I can do as good of a job, now that’s my turn, and make the world around me better. I’m trying:) These are the people I’m mostly proud of, the older generations, that sit invisible behind this two ladies in this picture. My family back home and some here:)
Everyone of us needs a strong and healthy foundation to stand on and I hope you have such a great foundation. If some of these great people have passed away, remember them well, and be proud to have encountered such wonderful human beings:)
I hope you get a chance to relax and enjoy this little video I shot and put together for you. Meditate on the things that matter to you, as I also do.
You see last week I had a nasty seizure which threw me back on my progress chart a few degrees, both physically and emotionally. It’s not easy to climb over thoughts such as “not again”, “will I ever”, “I just want to be” etc but giving up its not an option for me since I have too much to lose and would hurt too many people that I love. So I must go on. But getting back up, and moving forward while hurting, having half of my body not functioning as it should and wondering how long will it take until I fully recover is not as easy as you may think. I wish I could be poetic about all this but pain and struggle bring more misery than poetry (unless its some sort of emotional heartbreak and then you should see my muse dance and come up with all sorts of rimes and wisdom:) But for now I try not to fall on my face as I experience dizziness, I try not to walk into walls as my balance seems to be taking a vacation, and I try to smile through the pain all my limbs seemed to join in. I am weak and strong, frail and tough, happy and sad.
What caused such a relapse? Accumulation of stress (I like to collect:) Nasty flue which left a frail immune system exposed, taking up nursing duties as my family laid ill in their beds, work, and the happy visit of my cuz. But the body can’t recognize happy stress from bad stress, just files all that info in the “STRESS” file of my life while smiling knowing what’s to come. But I drove downtown! Took my cuz and my daughter to the Seattle Space Needle and other places and I’m sure inside my head there was a small voice protesting to all the exitement…which I clearly ignored. Did I learn my lesson? Depends on which side of the lesson you are. I would say, yes, then explain. I’ve learned that I have the strength to drive downtown (even if for a day every few months:) I’ve learned that my body is getting strong and able to handle more fun, I learned that relapses do happen and not to focus on them, I learned I’m fun again! Even if in a small increment at the time:) Did I learn my lesson? You be the judge, but I no matter what you decide I smile the whole way because I DROVE DOWNTOWN SEATTLE AND HAD FUN WITH MY CUZ AND DAUGHTER ON TOP OF THE SPACE NEEDLE, and that to me is priceless and worth every muscle twitch and pain;) I would do it all over again the same way, no regrets. Now go have a good time living life in whichever increments of strength you can muster, and when herxing (for my Lyme warriors or all with any autoimmune troubles:) smile because you got to the herxing reaction by living life and in the end you had a say, a choice, not the stupid illness that’s trying to kill us:)
I asked myself today: why the urge, lately, to write about people that made a positive impact in my life?
It’s not a sudden urge. I’ve had these emotions accompanied by fond memories deep within myself for a very long time but I never acted on them. It seems the deeper I care about a person the harder it is for me to express it. Is it a flaw? A weakness? An oddity? Or am I simply a normal human being. Upon reflection, I’ve gathered that is far easier for us humans to express anger, displeasure, and critic of others to their face (even easier behind their backs) than give them an honest compliment. And if any measure of a compliment holds an element of insincerity it shatters something within us, it shatters our trust, and without trust, a real friendship can’t exist.
Only when I became ill, and I myself received encouragements did I realize how valuable spoken support really is to a human mind, soul and spirit and I thought to myself: I may die soon and they’ll never know how much they mean to me! Unless I tell them.
So what was once buried deep within my heart is slowly but surely making its way to the surface. This may be a cheese way to express such gratitude and at times love, but what can I say? Progress and change enter the world one step at the time. The important aspect is that arrives sooner rather than later, right? So, don’t lose heart if your name hasn’t popped up on my blog just yet, it’s coming:)
Cand ma gandesc la familia Macovei (unchi si matusa), automat ma gandesc la satul Ibanesti, la tanti Ticuta si la strabunica mea. Unele dintre cele mai fericite clipe ale vietii mele au fost petrecute la Ibanesti si la Botosani, in copilarie. In Romania, pe timp de vara copii de obicei sunt trimisi la tara, la bunici, si acolo petrec multe ore pe camp, la cules de mere, ajutand bunicii sau facandu-le necazuri. Si eu cad in ambele categorii, am si ajutat am facut si necazuri. Dar trebuie sa revin la povestea de azi. Pe tanti Marcela am intalnit-o ca domnisoara la Ibanesti (eu eram copila), si mai tarziu dupa ce sa casatorit cu unchiu Valer si sa mutat la Certej ne vizita des la Hunedoara unde am locuit in acea perioada. Chet a avut si el ocazia, in 1993 sa-i cunoasca si isi aduce aminte cu drag de acele momente.
Familia Macovei, pentru mine si pentru Chet vor ramane intotdeauna una dintre cele mai indragite familii si rude:) Energia positiva si simtul umorului traieste din plin in aceasta familie, dar si faptul ca sunt oameni muncitori si prietenosi:) Deabea astept, cand ajungem si noi pe viitor inapoi in Europa sa ne revedem:)
P.S. Am multe persoane care le indragesc foarte multe de care inca nu am scris un blog la adresa lor inca:) Va urma:)
My cuz, Dani, honored us with a nice visit last week. Coming all the way from Romania is not an easy task but he’s young and traveling is something he clearly loves to do. So this year I was twice blessed with family members coming over for a visit:) As I’m writing this blog Dani’s flying back to Romania and we miss him already:)
I first met him back in 1993, before leaving Romania, when he was only 8 months old. Second time while traveling in Europe with Meleah, my daughter, in 2009, and now was our third time:) We sure had a great time:)
Enjoy the small slideshow I’ve put together for you and if you’re far away from your family as well, focus on the good memories you have gathered in your heart over the course of your lifetime and look forward to future encounters.
I shot and put this little video together yesterday for everyone to enjoy. Take a few deep breaths, for life, lives in the depth of a good, long and deep inhale/exhale. Meditate on life and don’t fear death who’s always hovering nearby, waiting.
When we take the time to notice life all around us, it’s impossible not to smile. Some of you may disagree with such a statement usually because you may have a tendency to focus on the shadows and not the sparks of life, shadows manifested in fear of what may happen, or what others will do or say, etc. I’m intimately familiar with such shadows, I too experienced them far too frequently in the past, but recently they have diminished in intensity quite a bit. The sparks of life are found in the morning sunshine or a drop of rain, the love shared in a hug, the knowledge that we’re not alone (even if we all need moments of solitude), the fact that God is personal (some of you disagree with this one and that’s fine, no worries), etc.
Such life sparks I had recently experienced in a parent moment (those with teenagers or those of you who had teenagers will know what I’m talking about) a few weeks back, the type of moment when at 2 am you stand by the door, arms crossed, waiting for your child to step through while going in your mind through all the disciplinary methods applicable for the situation in hand. Then a broad smile (which quickly I had to make it vanish as soon as the child made its presence) washed over my face as I thought:
“Carmen, like many parents before you and long after you’re gone you’re in the midsts of a fantastic moment, a moment that one day will become a memory, make it a good one. Because you’re still alive you get to care, love and discipline (teach) your child even in these types of moments. Walking through that door in a few seconds will be the human being you’ll leave behind once you’re gone who’ll make a good impact in this world. This temporary and momentary failure on his/her behalf does not determine the man/woman this child of mine will become. I get to experience fatigue and frustration because I care because I love because I’m a mother and I will never regret that.”
Taking a deep breath in with the smile still plastered all over my face and in my heart, I lived the moment at its full potential. I didn’t use to feel the same way before I nearly died. I took such moments and made them about me. But I wonder how many times God, in His love, had his arm folded, waiting by the door for us, loving us more because we were a product of BOTH failures and successes, neither diminishing our value and potential. We were loved because we were His/Hers. (God to me has a very feminine presence, unlike the traditional Christian teachings).
When my child walked in I showed that I cared, not that I was disappointed in who they were, I reinforced the house rules and tolled the child why (school the next morning, dangerous souls lurking in the night, soals that already made their own choices to hurt others, but ultimately the discipline came because we (Chet and I) loved the child). The child apologized because it saw love and the rest of the night I slept well knowing my child was safe in bed but mostly the child knew he/she was loved. And ultimately that’s what matters most of all in this world- the sparks of life-love.