Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass


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Races, races and more races

2016 racing season is complete

Yay.
It was a good season. But I’m tired and I’m ready to spend time away from the pool, bike and running shoes.

ūüôā

Half marathons, cycle/run relay, a duathlon, sprint, Olympic and 70.3 distance triathlons, training camps, volunteering ,10ks, 5 milers, 5ks, and my favorite 14k to finish – from March through September. The photos tell the story. Accomplishment, goals met, heartbreak, pain, friendship, conversation, silliness, relief, joy and peace. Its all there. Thank you friends, for training and racing with me this year! Enjoy.

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Photo credits to Tim Kane, Pat Hendrick Photography, Jodie Kapes, Annemarie Ambrose, Beth Lancer, Kellie Nassif, and Nikki Garofalo.

 

My races :
America’s Greatest Heart Run, Utica, NY, March 2016

Fort To Fort, Rome NY, April 2016
Seneca 7, Geneva, NY, April 2016
Du the Lakes, Syracuse, NY
Migonis Team Training Camp, Lake Placid, June 2016
Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3, Tupper Lake , NY, June 2016
Saratoga Dprings Half Marathon, Saratoga, NY, July 2016
Delta Olympic Tri, Rome, NY, July 2016
Sherrill 5k, Sherrill, NY, July 2016
Bolder Inspiration, Trenton Falls, NY, August 2016
Old Forge Triathlon, Old Forge, NY, August 2016
Falling Leaves 14k, Utica, NY, September 2016

 

 

 

 

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Christmas joy in the form of an inflatable snowman

The Christmas magic is back at the neighbor’s house. It left us 3 years ago…but it’s back and I’m experiencing an renewed exuberance for the holiday season.

These good people made every human effort to decorate their front yard for the holidays in a fashion that would delight and amaze their grandchildren. ¬†Santa in a hot air balloon; assorted holiday themed inflatable snowmen; a lighted toy train; spinning, stuffed animal laden Ferris wheel, a carousel; and glittering, sparkly angels… the set up was extraordinary. It’s one of those houses you’d go out of your way to drive by. I’m pretty sure they won the city’s decorating contest every year. It was that good.

I was lucky enough to live on the same street. I’d see this glorious sight every night. It made me feel happy, Christmas-y. Another thing to love about the season, you know?

Until I didn’t see it any more.

The joy was unmercifully stolen from my neighbors on December 14, 2012. That was the day their 6 year old grandson was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

I remember having a news station on my computer that day while I was at work. I turned it off. I could not take any more bad news…no more violence and shootings.

I remember twitter blowing up with breaking news about Newtown…and I shut that down too. I was weary from the sadness. Why, why, why all this tragedy and pain? At that time I had no idea that this violence was directly affecting¬†my neighbors.

The day after the shooting I read the following on my Facebook feed, written by a friend; my children’s favorite baby sitter – the neighbor’s daughter.

Please pray for my family, especially my sister, brother-in-law, and niece, who suffered an unimaginable loss yesterday in the shooting. Life will never be the same without my nephew James, and words cannot begin to express our devastation. I love you Cindy, Mark, Anna, and James.

You know that feeling you get when your heart breaks in two? That sinking feeling? That feeling when all the blood rushes from your brain? When you know the most horrid, unimaginable, unthinkable thing ¬†has happened…to someone you love? That pit in your stomach. ¬†I still feel that ache just thinking about that day in Newtown.

That’s the same day the holiday magic left the neighbor’s yard…and the terrible sadness set in. ¬†Friends, neighbors, community felt the weight of that ¬†deep, dark, heavy sadness. The wonderful Christmas joy evaporated. For all of us. ¬†And we understood why the yard remained dark.

The following year our dear neighbors skipped the inflatable, glitzy decor and put up a much simpler set of decorations. Instead, they set up a beautiful tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook…a line of candy canes, one for each person killed, guarded by angels. So simple…but the difference between the previous year’s gala and the next year’s simplicity was poignant and striking. The family was grieving. Their loss occurred only 11 days before Christmas. The display marked the anniversary of that most horrible day with a clear message of love and hope.

For the last two year’s the holiday decorations have been the same angels and candy canes. I wondered how the family was getting along. The lovely Christmas candy canes reminded us that their lives were forever changed. They were due their privacy, so I wouldn’t ask. But I prayed for them…I still do. I prayed for the whole family, ¬†that the ache would lessen and some tiny bit of joy would return.

I wondered if we’d ever see the inflatable snowmen again.

A few weeks ago some of the old inflatables began appearing on the neighbor’s lawn. Then a few more. Each day I’d notice something new. Each day there’d be another cheery sign that some of the sadness had faded…or maybe they had an awareness that it was time to re establish the tradition of holiday decorating for the grand-kids. Or maybe a glimmer of memory about the way their young angel enjoyed Christmas with his family (and his family with him).

Whatever the reason, I can only wonder. ¬†But the Ferris wheel, toy train and snowmen are back, inflated, upright and standing strong. The candy canes and angels are there too. I think there are a few dozen more of them. This year’s holiday display is magnificent.¬†I’m so pleased to see it.

God bless you, dear neighbors. Merry Christmas…

 

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The Love

If I get murdered in the city
Go read the letter in my desk
Don’t bother with all my belongings
Pay attention to the list

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Make sure my sister knows I love her
Make sure my mother knows the same
Always remember there was nothing worth sharing
Like the love that let us share our name
Always remember there was nothing worth sharing
Like the love that let us share our name

Writer(s): Scott Yancey Avett, Timothy Seth Avett
Copyright: Ramseur Family Fold Music, Nemoivmusic, First Big Snow Publishing

Kane Family photo credits to Joy Kane, Tim Kane, Grace Mogadam

 


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Captain Obvious

Andrew needs glasses. No big deal, everyone else in the family has them. Glasses are the norm around here. We planned to take care of the details when he came home from college for fall break.

So as soon as Andrew got home, we hit the Warby Parker website and picked out five pair of frames for the at home try on. Super cool, super easy…now he just needs the exam prescription and in two weeks he’ll have his glasses.

So later that day we all head out to pick up Captain Obvious from the train station. Casey’s home on break too, which is awesome. Andrew is excited to share his big news about the glasses with his sister.

“Hey Case-face, I ordered 5 pair of frames to try on from Warby Parker. I’m getting glasses”

“So how does this work? They send you glasses to try on and then what?”

You send back the pairs you tried on and your prescription and tell them which frame you want. Then they send you your glasses.”

“So, did you have an eye exam?”

“No, not yet. This weekend.”

“Wait, you ordered 5 pair of glasses and you don’t even know if you need them? I went to the eye doctor one time when I thought I needed glasses and they told my my eyes were tired. I didn’t need glasses.”

There is a moment of silence…realization that she has pointed out the one, major gaff in this plan. We don’t even know for sure if Andrew needs glasses.

Laughter.

Thank God Captain Obvious has come home. I have no idea how we get through life without her.Casey 09042015


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On joy and mindfulness…

Joy is not an emotion. Joy is a deep sense of well being. Joy comes from within.

Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Happiness is short lived and is event or experience driven.

Mindfulness has something to do with the here and now and helps to expand joy. Mindfulness can be trans-formative.

Dealing with stuff, ….anything…broken dishwashers, sick kids, snowstorms, is how we get through life everyday. I was slow in coming to this realization. I worried instead of dealing.

How we deal with stuff enables us to experience joy. For example:

When my three year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, the nurse practitioner assigned to her case went over a loooong list of potential side effects from the chemotherapy and other procedures. Already shell shocked from hearing the diagnosis, I asked the NP how we would manage if something else “bad” happened. She replied, “We will deal with it.”

As it happened, those side effects occurred. All on the same day. Collapsed lung from improper port placement in her chest, deep vein thrombosis in her femoral artery from one of the meds…the kid was a mess! And I was clueless about what was going on and what needed to be done. Even so, there was no time to stress because the good people at the hospital knew how to deal. They saved her. They stayed in the present, moved quickly and decisively and dealt with the challenges at hand. And my child survived, and I survived and all crises were averted.

You would think this majorly serious life experience would have transformed me in some way and I would have learned that life is meant to be lived moment to moment – not in the past or the future. Things happen and problems arise and we can get through them if we deal….that life, in a good way, is about crisis management. And that alone makes a crisis not be a crisis. I didn’t get it. I’m a slow learner.

So, for decades, I ¬†stressed over the what-ifs. I worried about how things (everything) would turn out. I constantly compared myself to others to try and get a gauge on how I stacked up, to see if I was okay. I was stuck in the what-happened (past) or what’s-going-to-happen (future) and I worried about past and future outcomes.¬† I never learned to deal and stay in the present moment. My ability to experience joy was seriously limited by my over thinking.

And then, these past few weeks I invested some quiet time thinking about staying in the here and now in hopes of finding joy.

I learned to pay attention and stay focused on the moment. I learned to keep my mind on what I was doing or reading or who I was talking to instead of wandering from thought to thought, into the future or past.

I learned that I have great resources to help me deal with just about anything. I won’t give in to worry or stress about the things I cannot change and will find a way to take care of things I can.

I learned that excuses are easy to come by and keep me from moving forward. I’ll be mindful to hear them when they creep into my consciousness.

Joy comes when you stay, body and soul, in the moment. That if, right now, things are good….then they are good. That’s my reality…that is my joy.