Thursday, November 13, 2014

"It's Over." Baseball College Letter of Intent Signing...Without Me

I missed my son's once in a lifetime signing of his letter of intent to play baseball in college.  True.  I didn't want my older daughters' to miss it, so I volunteered to pick them up downtown, then turn around and get them to the high school by 7am.  Up at 4:30.  Downtown at 6.  I gave myself plenty of time. Stuck on the expressway until we received that message from my son.  "It's over."  Damn.

Night before I went with him to select the perfect shirt to go with his new baseball cap.  We stopped for dinner to enjoy the moment.  His only request was, "Can we go to breakfast after the signing?" 

Dad took him to school. Kills me to think that cameras were there and I wasn't.  But the boys on his high school baseball team were there and they all took a picture with him.  The smile on his face lit my heart.  He was so proud.

I pulled up to the school expecting lots of drama, but my son just wanted me to see the pictures.  He looked at his sisters and said, "Let's go out to breakfast." 

I couldn't let the disappointment take away from the fact that we were together celebrating this moment.  We took our picture together with the letter. 

It's been a long summer going from baseball camp to baseball game to colleges.  This day was the end of that journey.  I'm the one who took him to the showcase where he met the coach who knew he had found his first baseman. 

Last night I thought about the sick, heavy feeling in my gut when the hour rolled around when pictures were being taken. Thought about the pain in my face when he sent that message.  "It's over."   Pictures that I was missing.  The event that we all looked forward to since t-ball days.  I'm grateful for being able to hug him afterwards.  For sharing the day.  But to miss these once in a lifetime moments is too painful to think about.  How many has Blagojevich missed over these years and how many more will he have to endure? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Long Road to the ACT Results

My son's ACT results were available on line.  I held my breath as I clicked.  You know the feeling.  This is the fork in the road.  He'll either go here or there depending on that number.  I paused and thought of all the work that went into this number.  Literal baby steps.  Reading to him at night as a baby, teaching him to recognize letters, walking with him to pre-school, the school that was chosen with such care.  Making sure he was up and ready each day for school from kindergarten through high school. 

I clicked and you could hear me scream from down the block.  He did great.  Better than he thought.  When he left to take the test that morning I made sure his pencils were sharpened.  I gave him a good breakfast.  We stopped at Starbucks on the way for a shot of double espresso. 

So grateful that I was able to have been on this road with him.  I can't imagine not being there to hug him later that night and to congratulate him. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Deep Freeze, Cherry Pie, and Privacy

We're in the middle of the craziest deep freeze.  How is it possible that when the temperature reaches 3 degrees, it feels balmy.  I'm loving it. 

If I'm locked in my house, and I'm really not able to leave because of the intense cold, why is it different from prison?  Privacy.  Love being alone for most of the day.  Even if I'm working from home, there's no one here.  I have an excuse for not leaving.  Too cold. 

I'm so grateful for being in isolation.  They're calling for record lows, so I stocked the fridge with Cherry Pie.  Free!!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Packing Up Christmas; Presents or GIfts

This was a tough holiday season.  It was hard for my family to enjoy the usual traditions because of the intense cold weather and unusually long work hours.  As I pack up the ornaments and put away the decorations, it seems like the holiday has gone on forever.

Our pastor hit on a topic at Christmas Mass.  "Maybe at Christmas we can remember the difference between a gift and a present.  Presents are things on lists with sizes.  Gifts are things that we don't think to ask for but come anyway.  Gifts differ from presents because no matter what form they take, they always represent something greater, more enduring.  May we find time to be grateful for all the gifts that surround us, each day of our lives." 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lovin' McDonalds New Dollar Menu

It's so cold out there.  I drove my son to baseball practice at the "dome" which is one hour away from my house.  When he woke me this morning, all I could say was, "Mother of god.  Tell me this isn't happening."  But he's safe. 

I drove to McDonald's.  What a fun atmosphere.  Great coffee.  Free Wi-Fi, and a new dollar menu that's terrific.  If you're going to kill a few hours, this is the place.  Bring your paper.  Enjoy a cup of coffee.  Try the Bacon Cheddar McChicken.  So grateful that I can find joy in this situation.

Patti, We ALL Miss Blagojevich.

A few weeks ago, after attending a court hearing on whether or not Blago's case can be appealed, his wife, Patti, lamented his absence during the upcoming holidays.  "He will be missed. We're going into our second Christmas without him."

I get it.  My father-in-law was missed during our Christmas dinner.  It will never be the same again.  My brother didn't come in for Christmas.  He decided to stay in California.  I missed him very much.  We always made time for a movie marathon.  Just not the same. 

When I heard Patti's comment, I laughed.  My dear, we ALL miss Blago.  No laughable quotes.  No vision of him jogging along.  Nothing.  Governor Quinn is a bore.  Sort of like Queen Elizabeth.  He shows up at every opening where a camera is present and he waves.  Oh, Patti.  It's just not the same. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snowed In

My brother lives in California.  He was thrilled one day when it started to rain.  "I can't tell you how depressing it gets around here.  Sunshine, day after day." 

I'm really sad for him.  I've been living in an igloo yesterday, today, and probably for the next few days.  -14 is the projected temperature.  We're being warned that if we don't finish shoveling, we'll be facing sheets of ice on the driveway.  Chicago never fails to impress.

It's beautiful here.  The trees are covered with snow.  But, "the weather outside is frightful..inside it's delightful."  I stayed in my jammies all New Year's Day.  No one to tell me that I need to put on my orange jumpsuit and go to the bathroom.  No excuse.  No guilt.  A son to shovel the driveway. Enjoying my freedom. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

"Where There Is Darkness...."

Happy NEW Year.  So glad I didn't stay home last night.  Our trip to the casino proved to be more fun than I imagined.  I came home with more money than I left with and the live band forced me to remember how to dance the hustle. 

As I met friends and family over Christmas, the same theme ran through the conversations.  "Wow.  It's already been a year.  Time goes by so fast.  I might as well keep the lights up all year."  The only family that loves this conversation is Blago's family.  Time really is just flying by.  If I don't make plans, if I don't commit to do something, I'll be greeting my cousin same time, same place with the same old retort;  "I'm fine.  Nothing new." 

This past year I actually pursued getting an advanced degree in my field.  I'm certified in an area of study and I would not have done this had I not had the overwhelming feeling that I must "accomplish" things by the time Blago gets out of prison.  Crazy, but this is working for me.  Tribune columnist, Mary Schmich, was moved by something her mother said as she was dying.  "Even the terrible things seem beautiful to me now."  No disrespect, but I felt the same way when I watched Blago go through those prison doors.  He probably felt the same way as he looked over his shoulder. 

I was catching up on Blago's legal woes.  In December a panel of three judges agreed to decide on Blagojevich's appeal.  Judge Ilana Rovner is on that panel.  Hold on. This is a rough transition.  St. Francis of Assisi is a great source of inspiration to me.  He wrote, "A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows."  Rovner could be Blago's sunbeam.  His ray of hope. 

Years and years ago, in my past life, I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Rovner.  I complimented her on her great looking legs.  I really did.  She smiled, thanked me, and said, "I'm just grateful to have legs."  That thought turned out to be my own sunbeam.  Shortly after that meeting, I broke my knee in several places while skiing in Colorado.   I have a scar on my leg that is a constant reminder of that day, but I never felt sorry for myself.  "I'm just grateful to have my leg."

Rovner asked the prosecutors, "Where is the line that differentiates legal horse trading from a federal offense that puts you in prison?"  That's going to be a tough question to answer.  Blago feels the warmth from the sunbeam.

In the meantime, I have to figure out if I can afford to live in Cook County.  I love my house, but the taxes are crippling us.  The casino didn't pay off that much. If Blago had been paying attention to running Illinois instead of jerking off, our state would not be in the deep hole it's in.  That's what I have to plan this year.  My escape from Illinois tax.