27 January, 2008

The woman behind the MAN

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity. My hubbie is in the process of finding a new job. This process has spurred the Relocation Conversation among other things.

Interestingly enough, I better understand what women did for their husbands in order to make their men look good. Behind every man is a strong woman, comes to mind. Anyone watch Gilmore Girls??? Well, Mrs. Gilmore, was the coordinator behind the scenes who made it all look effortless. It allowed her husband to stroll in and seal the deal, make the play, send it home.

I have been job searching online for my hubbie when he is at work. I must have sent his resume off to at least 20 or so positions. Additionally, I am the one that is coordinating his portfolio, creating management presentations for change and finding out the cost of living aspect for each location with respect to salary expectations. For all of my hard work behind the scenes, my hubbie made the following statement yesterday. He said, "I'm not so happy about you working right away. I would rather you stay home and make certain the boys get to where they need to be and manage the house". It made me feel strange and happy at the same time to hear these words.

Growing up, I never thought about having a man to support me, I figured I would take care of myself, as I always had. My work herstory may be marred with the awful bosses in my day, but I learned that I am good at figuring out solutions, creative resourcefulness and that I can do just about anything when it comes to business. Tell me what needs to be done and I will make it happen. There is a certain amount of fulfillment when I accomplish a task and set my sites on a new challenge.

I don't see myself as one of those stay at home mommies who belongs to the PTA, volunteering for the bake sale etc. I guess I never really thought about it all that much. But I do see myself having a career again and I want one again. I want to have a work that is me and helps others. I am trying to make this world a better place!!! HA HA, friend in Minnesota will get that one! You see in graduate school we were challenged for our semester project to work in groups and find a way to make the world a better place. I guess, our project left me lacking and I still need to find a way to finish the task.

Getting back to the matter of my hubbie, I am tickled that he wants to provide for us and he values my input behind the scenes and in the home. He knows that I help him acheive his goals and make it easy for him to do what he needs to do. It is a nice feeling to find this sort of comfort in being a non working woman in the the conventional sense. Trust me I work, but not behind a desk, or in an office or whatever. I am the CEO, CFO and Chair for this family and I have a grand task at hand. Once I get this job settled and sustainable... I will work on my own interests.

This is of course assuming, financially we are able to do this. Which of course factors into the decision making process of the job hunt. Exciting to be at this juncture in our lives, after suffering through an awful 2007. 2008 will be great, 2009, will be just fine, 2010 will be zen, 2011 will be like heaven. This is far as I have gotten with my boys.. after all 2012 is supposed to be the end of the earth as we know it!

20 January, 2008

Bis Nonna Birthday

Putting the "family feelings" to test, yesterday we all went to see Eric Carle's stage show of the Hungry Caterpillar, Mixed up Chameleon and Little Cloud. It was wonderfully done and the boys loved it! Afterwards, we went out for dinner at a local Asian restaurant to celebrate my grandma's 79th birthday. Now when I say we, I mean, my little family, parents, siblings, nieces, aunts, uncle, cousins and of course grandma.

Here we were all 18 of us, enjoying a night out to celebrate family. This evening made me so happy, knowing my boys were going to have this memory forever. Here they were surrounded by everyone they know on my side who loves them and is helping to shape their life. Again, as long as it is controlled to some degree, I love this aspect of family.

I recall my own memories of going out to celebrate the Dec. birthdays. We would make a reservation at a Chinese Restaurant and take up a whole room. There would be at least 30 of us. One time we ordered one of everything on the menu. I was about 6 or so and that was the first time I had duck. I was also a avid chopstick user by that time.

Yes these are the moments that I want recreated for my children, so they may hold onto them dearly. I just work extra hard to cut out all the incestuous, religious bashing and manipulating evil. I figure there will be a time and place when my children will learn of their mamma's past, but until then, they can enjoy what times we have with my mother's half way sane side of life. Again, I only want the good memories made. I have too many sad and scary times in my past that to this day haunt me when I least expect it.

13 January, 2008

Sorting it all Out... Family and Choices for the Future

This weekend, I have been thinking about my current place with family. Family used to mean so much to me, after all I am third generation Italian! I grew up with a huge family. My mom is the oldest of 5 children, her mother is the oldest of 6 children and my mom's dad was the oldest of 3 children. Add all of that up, with spouses, cousins and great grandparents and you have a LOT of people crammed into one house. Each and every holiday, baptism, wedding or baby shower, wedding, first communion, birthday, anniversary and family outing was with this gang of people; not too mention the terrific food!

Italo American Culture is a large part of who I am. There are certain things that I have no idea on the American equivalent. I was so blessed to be the first great granddaughter born in this country on the Birthday of my great grandpa! What an honor to share this man's birthday. (I never met him, but he knew I was coming. He died halfway through my mom's pregnancy with me.)

The Italian Culture oozes family bonds, blood thicker than water type thing. In many ways the movies do portray it right when it comes to the family loyalty. But my family went one better than the movies or the stereotypes... we really enjoyed each other. Each and every one of my cells are embedded with laughter, music, loud conversations - 10 at a time, wondrous smells, real tears, strength, beauty, hugs, kisses, the dialect, I could go on and on.

My father is the oldest of 6 children, his mother is the oldest of 9? children, and his father is the oldest of 3 children. So my large family was mirrored on my father's side too. Culturally, there is this distant Hungarian side from my grandfather and my grandmother is everything, Native, Irish, English and Pirate, or so we were told. Culturally, what was passed on was this "American Farmer" mindset. You see the Hungarian Culture was almost forbidden by my father's mother. She was convinced all Catholics were going to hell, and anyone foreigner who spoke their mother tongue was saying evil things about her. Why she married my grandfather I will never know, beyond the fact she was running away from her grossly incestuous family.

There are a couple of Hungarian things that I have, my great grandmother's recipe for Paprikas, Kifli, Potato Egg Casserole -(no idea on how to spell it, my last name that I didn't change when I married and my European sense, or so my father tells me. (That could also be due to my mother's family or that I was born in Germany while my dad was in the Service).

There is this other romantically depressing thing about my great grandparents... they met while in the Opera house. My great grandmother was an Opera Singe and my great grandfather was a playwright. Once they fled Hungary and arrived in Ohio, they spoke no English and were unable to earn a wage. My great grandfather took to the bottle and beating his wife. My great grandmother took to depression, divorce and then suicide. Tragic, I know.

Large families, on both sides; kissing and hugging each person while arriving and departing each gathering, making the rounds, we used to say. I enjoyed growing up
[Insert current track Signatune] with my great grandparents, all 6 of them. 2 died, suicide before I was born and then heart failure while I was "incubating". The last great grandparent died when I was 20! I loved my great grandparents, at least my great grandmas. When I was 1, another grandfather died, then at 5, the Hungarian boozer with no teeth, short and round head died - (he always gave me dollar bills when we visited), at 6 my last great grandfather died, due to heaving smoking and boozing as well.

My herstory is pretty detailed and I was able to interact with 3 sides of my family that lived in other countries. I knew my ancestry came from Europe, where things were just more beautiful to me and rich with culture, food and tradition. Add on the fact I was born in Germany and took my first breath in European Soil, well there is no more proof I need to know my blood is mostly European. Growing up, I have had to work this out for myself and defend my roots and traditions to many. But I gladly did it. I never wanted to be a person who didn't have this richness about them. I just couldn't imagine being the family that considered family to be a nuclear thing. Family to me is the entire lot! (Less my dad's side at age 20. Another blog to explain that family frustration, choices and inner spirit!)

Now to tie this back to relocation and why I am having such a hard time with moving away from family - one that has caused me much sadness throughout 2007, horrible childhood secrets that were worked out in my 20's and mini battles over finances and perspectives... how do I now become that nuclear family that I never wanted to be? My friends tell me that I am now able to choose my family members and include those people that enrich my life, instead of expect and take.

In theory, I get this. But practice the theory? It is hard to do, when my entire being does have found memories of the Italian part. I want to give that to my boys. I want them to always be part of my life. If they wanted to live with me forever, I would let them and their partners! I see nothing wrong with that family picture as long as it is built on love, honesty, respect and spirit.

I may have found the answer to my own predicament. My current Italian Family is disjointed now. The 3rd, 4th adn 5th cousins are just names and faces to me. They have no idea who I am and have really lost the culture and tradition that I hold sacred. They will never remember my great grandmother's cursing at her leg when it didn't work, or the way she smelled while making home made pasta every Sunday. They will never know the true laughter we shared because we had no real problems. They do not know the Italian words that I know, the dialect that I can hear crystal clear in my head. What makes me ache inside is that my boys will know that either. These precious memories are gold to me. They kept me sane throughout my father's family hell. I am okay today because I had my European Roots to ground me.

How will my boys grow up and what kind of men will they be without these roots? the job to give them a sense of cultural richness falls on my shoulders, I know. I am determined enough to do it, but it certainly would be terrific to have help, like my mother did. But that is not my story, that is hers.

My story has always been about inner strength and spirit. I am a trail blazer. I am a leader. I know what I am and how I got here. But there are times when making the tough decisions, such as relocation, I realize the greater potential impact. This is of course a key factor in being a leader, always seeing ahead to the potential outcomes. Knowing what is ahead will help prepare me for what I must do.

Hope this helps clarify some of my postings and bring a sense of connection to them.

11 January, 2008

To Relocate or Not to Relocate???

Relocation... what does that really mean when you have children to consider? My husband and I are in the midst of job searching and neighborhood shopping, school browsing etc. It is daunting to think about all the particulars that one needs to consider when you have children.

When I was single, moving around consisted of packing up my Somerset 2 door car and waiving goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Now, I am more concerned about the neighborhood, the cultural amenities, educational options, local growers, organic accessibly to foods, fair housing prices, cost of living, funky urban feel that is safe. There is so much to consider!

Additionally, I have to ask myself if I really could be a Texan, or a Bostonian or a Southern Girl, (albeit, again) etc. Then I ask myself the other question about how will the move affect my boys as they will not grow up around family? This is a biggie for me. Both my husband and I grew up around family and it shaped us better or worse. But one positive thing it provided was a sense of belonging to something larger than you. If we move out of this area, we are taking that away from our boys. This really has me struggling now.

But family, mine in particular, has let me down. They one day didn't do the expected and turned the tables on me to leave me standing alone with my memories in tears. It was gut wrenching and buckets of tears later, I said no more. I will create my own family and I will be the matriarch I want. So does this mean I relocate and create my own space in this world, on my terms? What do you think?

08 January, 2008

Something New and Hilariously Funny!

Long ago, when I was a wee girl, I used to crochet. This past holiday, I watched my friend, whip up a play egg and it inspired me to reconnect with a childhood "talent".

I went to my local hobby lobby and picked up some sale yarns and a learn how to crochet book/needle set. I set off learning once again how to make a chain, slip and single crochet stitch. All was well and then I challenged myself to do the round/tubular items. Just practicing here, nothing real important or something I will keep. I proceed to show my doubting husband, who thinks I have too much on my plate to fiddle with the needle, my practice pieces.

Here is the first one...

Not too bad, considering this is day two of possibly 1 hour practice.

Here is number 2....

This is what my husband says... "Look, mommy made a schmekle warmer"! For all of you who don't know Yiddish... it is the male member. Take another look.

05 January, 2008

Dreams, Visions, Goals and more...

Here is one of three vision boards our family did on New Year's Day. It was a really nice project to do with the family and watch our boys get into the spirit of creating the life they want to live.

Here is the second one. If you look closely, you will find many motorcycles. Evidence of my husband's input. He also added other things.

Last one. This one embraces the desire for a home. Something to call our own and make into a creative cottage, a homey hamlet, a magic hovel.