Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

2008 was a good year.


Mina in full learning mode at the Greenhouse Nursery Preschool in NJ.  She wanted to go there so badly when she saw her big brother being dropped off every day.  She started with a few days a week, for a few hours at a time.  She took to it right away - loving being surrounded by kids her own age, helping the teachers in the classroom, and doing all kinds of art projects every day.  Getting the kids into preschool early was definitely the right choice for us. 

April 2008

I think this is Mina at the Brooklyn Children's museum.  She was there with Jordan and her Grandma H, who took this picture. 

October 2008

Halloween, 2008.  My little busy bees.  Our old town always holds a huge Halloween open house at the recreation center.  The place is decked out in creepy finery, there's candy and pictures.  So much fun.  2008 might have been the last year I got to pick what the kids would wear.  This was the year the kids were into the "Bee Movie."  We must have watched it a thousand times.  Mina was my little Queen Bee, and Jordan (construction hat is missing here) was a worker bee.  I even dressed up Oscar in a bee costume for dogs, so he could join us on the Halloween town parade.  Yes, it's my favorite holiday of the year.

November 2008

November 2008.  After we got home from school, the kids decided they wanted to play outside in the leaves.  Jordan tackled the piles with gusto, while Mina was still figuring out what to do with it.  We had such a cute little block.  Lots of leaves, but I loved the fall.  In the background, I can see the yellow mums I would put out on the front steps.  So cute.  While we live here in BDA, we rent out our old house.  We've driven by it, on the rare occasion when we are back in town, and I never see the front steps done up like I used to.  It makes me sad.  We had a lot of good memories in that house.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bermuda yard sales.

This Saturday, I hosted a yard sale, along with several other neighbors, here at our condo complex.  I am a huge yard sale junkie, from years back, and I credit that to Jeff's mom - Grandma H.  I think she turned me on to them and I haven't looked back since.

I've hosted a few of them over the years, most notably the epic moving sale we had before we came to Bermuda.  The best "sale" of the day, actually involved a neighbor returning $300 he had found stuffed in one of Jeff's old opera textbooks.  Nice one.

Yard sales in Bermuda are another species from the jam packed ones I'm used to back home.  I think part of it is that the culture in the US is definitely more disposable.  We buy things, they break, we toss them.  We replace them with cheap goods fromTarget and Walmart, and toss out clothes, books, shoes, broken furniture, etc.  If we are ally feeling charitable, we call one of the Veteran donation centers and have someone pick up our crap off our front steps.

It's different here on Bermuda.

I don't claim to be an expert, having lived here for only a handful of years.  However, the attitude here is notably different.  Yard sales aren't full of things to be had for cheap.  Sometimes you get lucky and find some stuff.  But most locals hold on to things.  They repair them, they repurpose them, they pass them down to friends and family.  Stuff here is EXPENSIVE.  This is not a throw away culture.  You make do with what you have because the stores aren't always reliable for finding what you want, and importing things here is costly.   If you travel you can pick up things, but then you have to pay 25%  duties on it.

Your best bet here is to stalk the "moving sales" or "leaving the island" sales that crop up when ex-pats go home.  To save costs on the containers, many people will unload lots of things.  Its not cheap, but it is cheaper than buying brand new.

One of the neighbors joining the sale on Saturday is moving, and she has listed lots of stuff.  Because I placed the ad, I have been getting lots of emails about it.  The rest of us are getting rid of odds and ends, kids clothing, women's clothing, stuff that is occupying precious space... I'm trying to clear out the closet in the guest room so I can make it a proper nursery.

Bye bye Karl Lagerfeld tuxedo that Jeff wore to our wedding.  He hesitated when he saw it hanging there this morning .., I could see him picturing  whether there would be an occasion to wear it again... Or fit into it again.

My rule of thumb, "if you haven't worn it in 2 years, let it go."


We had a lot to let go of.  This is just a fraction of what fit on the front steps.  The rest is tucked into corners and spilling out into the driveway.

Doing the sale with neighbors definitely is a good idea.  We had quite a bit of traffic.  The kids helped out by selling baked goods.


Nutella bites

and a new recipe, courtesy of Bakerella - Lemonies!

The baked goods went faster than most of the yard sale stuff, which I was practically giving away.

The kids also helped out by buying things off of the neighbors' tables. Three Christmas wine glasses, anyone?

Having a yard sale takes a lot of work.  I've been setting things aside for months now, and organizing them.  There's also the cleaning, and lugging tables and heavy items up and down stairs.  There's putting the word out, which is a little harder here for some reason.  I used the local version of Craig's List, which is called "EMOO," as well as posting it on facebook and notifying friends. 

All in all, I am glad I cleared out some space and made a little money.  The remainder of stuff I am giving away via Bermuda Freecycle, donating to friends, and local charities.  I think some of the BDA mentality has rubbed off on me - I hate just throwing stuff into the garbage. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - January 2006


My FB wall is always flooded with #TBT pictures, but the ones I like best are those that put the picture into context.

This was Jordan's first birthday party - January 2006.  All parents remember their child's first birthday, especially when they are brand new parents.  For us, Jordan's first birthday held special meaning because he had survived his first year as a heart transplant kid.  It was such a big deal.  We were so weepy with gratitude and happiness. 

Those anguished weeks of being in a hospital sitting by his side, watching his still body on an ECMO machine were slowly becoming a memory.  There were months of uncertainty while we figured out how to give him medications, marking off the times on checklists, measuring how much he ate, how much he slept, around the clock, nursing him every two hours, driving him to clinic twice a week, crying along with him when he could no longer sit still through EKG's, Echos and stickers being pulled off his torso. 

Between struggling with balancing his medical needs, we tried so hard to treat him like a normal kid.

That first birthday felt like such a weight had been lifted. 

He made it.  And we were so happy to share that moment with our family and friends.   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Be careful what you say on Facebook. You might offend someone.

The other day, I came across an article written by a woman who, although wistful at realizing she would never have another baby was happy enough with her life to pen an article entitled, "Twenty-five reasons I am glad I will never be pregnant again."

This is the article.  I think it's funny. 

Trigger alert - don't read it if you have struggled with getting pregnant. It's only funny if you've been through pregnancy successfully and have a healthy child.

The author has kids, and recalls some very funny, albeit embarrassing facts about her own pregnancy, which I thought were hysterical.  Third boob, anyone?

I posted the article on my facebook wall and tagged  one friend in particular who, like me, is also pregnant with her third child.  She and I have routinely complained about how much harder it is being pregnant when you are older and we joke about it in a gallows humor sort of way.  It's how we get through nine months of being overweight, swollen, and exhausted from the demands of two other kids.

I posted it publicly because many of my friends here are done having children.  They have been vocal about it.  Many have come right out and said, "I don't know how you can go through this again!"  "Oh man, stay away from me!  I can't even imagine being pregnant!"  "Uhh!!  This summer is going to suck for you!"  And so on.  I laugh it off because they're right!  They aren't trying to offend me.  They're just expressing an opinion.

I can't believe I'm pregnant again either, this summer will suck because this humidity is a soul sucking phenomena.  But, I can find the humor in it, and I am excited about having another baby.  I will survive and I'm grateful my body is still thinking it is young enough to have another baby.

All of the comments on my post were positive and people thought the article was funny.  The woman I had tagged, even wrote back and said she had started contractions that morning (not because of the article!) and she could think of even more reasons why she was looking forward to never being pregnant again.

However, one person posted something on the wall that totally blew me away.  She deleted the comment, so I don't have it verbatim, but in essence, she said:

"I know the article was supposed to be funny, but you should really think about people who can't have kids and how they feel."

Well, I was gobsmacked, as they say here. 

My first reaction was defensive, in that I never meant to offend anyone.  I certainly hadn't written the article or thought there was anything offensive about it.  I never post anything on facebook about religion or politics, which are known triggers.  I posted this article because it was something I, and many of my friends could directly relate to.  When you've been pregnant, even if it's a pregnancy you've long planned for - it's a tough experience.  Your body is no longer your own, and for ten months, (yes, I said ten) you struggle with physical and mental demands that tax even the best of us.  If you can't find humor in the situation, it will be a long, tiring ordeal.

I  didn't understand why she had to call me out publicly on the post like that.  Why not just message me privately?  Rather than seethe about it, I messaged her privately and the conversation went as follows.  I'll refer to her as FF (facebook friend, to protect her privacy.)
Me:   I don't appreciate your comment on my post because it was sharing a light hearted link with one friend in particular who also happens to be pregnant and we've joked about it a lot. I kept it open because a lot of moms I know joke about this including several who I've hung out with this month that have rolled their eyes and told me they would never want to "do this all over again." Am I supposed to be offended by this? I let it go. And quite frankly if you were offended by my shared link, you could have messaged me privately. I'm kind of pissed you wrote that. I hold back plenty of times when people post dumb shit on FB, whether it's about religion or politics or links to other stupid shit. I can't believe you felt the need to embarrass me like that
FF:  I hadn't realized it would've been embarrassing for you. I will remove it
Me:  Thanks. I'm sorry if I offended you or someone you know
FF:  You didn't offend me. I just thought I would bring light to a situation that a lot of women are dealing with, including me. Clearly it was a wrong choice
Me:  I get it. I've never dealt with infertility. I can only handle what's on my plate and try to make light of the situation I currently find myself in. It's gallows humor but that's always been my style. Did I expect to wake up at 42 at find myself pregnant? No. But if I didn't laugh about it, how would I get through the nine months. I get it. I'm lucky and I am grateful. But it doesn't mean I'm going to curtail my dark humor and cynicism out of fear of offending someone.
FF:  Got it.
Me:  Ok. We good?
FF:  This has actually been really eye opening for me. It makes me realize that people are completely clueless as to what women with infertility go through. A little empathy would've been great but now I know not to expect it.
Me:  That's a little harsh. I'm sorry you are dealing with infertility. I don't know exactly what you are going through. I hope that you are able to have children. I love mine and can't imagine what life would be like without them. I'm sorry if what I posted came across as an insensitive attack on infertile women or a lack of empathy. Sometimes we joke about the situation WE find ourselves in (ie being unexpectedly pregnant) because it how we (I) cope. It's personal, and directed at myself. Not you. Not any other woman who is not pregnant, who wishes she were pregnant or happens to be someone who just loved being pregnant and can't imagine any horror stories associated with it.
I hope you understand and I will keep in mind this conversation for future reference if I feel like complaining about being pregnant.

I never heard back from her.  I didn't pursue it further.  I've come to the conclusion that the above highlights one of the biggest problems with Facebook.  Apart from everyone knowing your business, people will only know the business you want them to know.  People who want to be offended will also be offended when you aren't sensitive to their personal business you were blissfully unaware of.  As in this case, I had no idea my friend was having trouble conceiving.  I knew she had recently gotten married, perhaps slightly later than many of us, for a number of reasons.  But I didn't know anything else.

I also don't know that I would have held off posting a funny article, and tagging a pregnant friend. 

Just because it's on Facebook, doesn't mean it's directed at you or you have to comment about it.

There's a private messaging feature for a reason.

I also think if someone does post something you think is personally offensive, how about giving them the benefit of the doubt - especially, when the only things they normally post is pictures of their kids and food.  Are those offensive too?  To people without kids?  To people on diets?  Where do you draw the line?

Anyway, I've chosen to "unfollow" her, so that nothing else I say during my pregnancy will upset her.  I'm also sick of looking at her pit bull dog rescue pictures which she posts at least five time a week. 

Not to offend pit bull owners.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Christmas 2012 203

I had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday.  The kids helped make me breakfast, gave me the most adorable cards (got me weepy at the sentiments), Jeff bought me a beautiful pair of earrings, and we all went out to lunch in St. Georges, followed by a walk down the cobblestone streets for some gelato.


Just a perfect day.

I called my mother, of course, and discussed upcoming plans for my visit to them in upstate NY.


I also got to thinking how my life has come to mirror hers in so many inadvertent ways.  Not the least of which is that I'll also have three kids - two boys and a girl.  We've both put our professional careers on hold to raise our kids, we've left family and friends behind in order to travel to foreign lands and raise them away from our native homes.


Sometimes women groan and say, "I'm becoming my mother!!"  The older I get, the more at peace I am with that.  The older I get, the more I realize, my mom did the best she could.  I turned out ok.  I think she had something to do with that.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Bermuda snippets

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Saw this guy on the water this morning.  It's some type of heron, which Jordan would know.  Have to show this to him.  They catch the tiny fish that swim in the bay.

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I've been walking along this path with Oscar for over a year and a half now.  I noticed this hanging among the mangrove trees last summer.  It's still here.  Did someone find it and put it here for the owner?  It's not immediately visible from the road, so I can't imagine how someone could find it unless they were actively looking for it.  That got my mind thinking all kinds of strange scenarios - a hidden key.

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Among all the flora of Bermuda, this happens to be one of my favorites.  These tiny white flowers grow amidst these bright green bushes. They smell so good.  I'm always tempted to cut some branches and bring them home, but then I remind myself they are technically on someone's property, even if they abut the main road, and I'd rather see them alive every day on my walk then watch them die on a vase on my dining table.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bermuda snippets


Crossing the Point Shares bridge, I always look at this house and try to make out the murals painted on the side wall.  My first thought is how lovely the house is, right on the water.  And then, because I've lived here long enough, I start contemplating the moisture issue and wonder how many closet heaters they have to keep the mold off their clothes. 


At the Agricultural Exhibition, a/k/a "the Ag Show."


Jordan performed with his gymnastics team this year on the equestrian field.


Yay, he's looking at the camera!