CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

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The other night we were watching a hockey game and at one point the network was showing re-runs of fighting in the NHL.  I enjoy hockey but I can’t stand to see grown men fight. I hate it with a passion and I said to my husband “turn it off, I can’t stand to watch it.”  My husband turned to me and said ” I bet you could hold your own in a fight.”  He is not all wrong, I’m not a fighter but there have been a few times in my life where I have found myself defending myself with my fists!  Thankfully, I’ve not used my fists as an adult.   One incident came to mind which I repeated to my husband and we had a good laugh.  However, the situation wasn’t really that funny, it was a frustrating time for two children suffering from the trials of their parents’ divorce.

My parents divorced when I was eight years old and eventually both parents remarried. Unfortunately, the divorce was perpetuated by my father’s affair with a woman who eventually became his second wife. When my parents first divorced my father was entitled to visit with his children once a week.  Once a week I was supposed to fit into my father’s new family, find quality time with him and act like everything was normal and we were all one big happy family.   After a few years my mother and her new husband decided to move across the country away from my father.  The deal was that my brother and I visited my father once per year for two weeks.  It was during one of those annual visits that the big fight happened.

Since my father only saw  my brother and I once a year,  he tended to treat me like a bit of a princess.  I don’t think he wanted to be the big disciplinarian when he only saw us once a year, he wanted to enjoy our visits.  One morning he took me aside and told me that to keep peace in the house that I had better start doing chores.  “What chores” I asked.  “Make your bed, help with the dishes, the general run of the mill stuff” he said.  I guess in a way I was being a bit rebellious as the house that my father was now in with his new wife and new family,  was the house where both my parents lived with their children in better times.   Turns out my “stepsister” was complaining because she had to do all this stuff and I just walked away from all responsibilities.  Looking back I get why she was mad but seriously, she was sleeping in my old bedroom, with my father at the helm, the life I wanted.

I just smiled at my father and said “sure I’ll do more stuff around the house.”  At some point just my stepsister and I ended up downstairs watching tv and she started complaining to me about what I got away with and I can remember just hearing, blah, blah, blah.  All I could think of was how she was living the life I was supposed to be living and I had to listen to all this bitching and complaining.  She was tearing me a new one and she stopped  for a brief second to hear what I had to say for myself.   I said the first thing that came to my 15 year old mind;  “That’s what you get because your mother stole my father.”  Did not go over well, next thing I knew my stepsister was flying through the air like a lioness on her prey.  I had no time to defend myself and it took me a few seconds to come to my senses.  She was a nasty fighter, hair puller, slapper, spit in your face kind of classless fighter.  I finally got my wits and threw a few good punches just as my father came down to break up the fight.   Thank God because my stepsister was winning by a mile.  My father wanted to know “what the hell is going on here,” and my stepsister told him what I said.  He just looked at me and I know he didn’t  realize I saw, but I caught the grin on his face as he walked away.

Thinking back, the situation was just as hard for my stepsister as it was for me.   This was her mother’s third marriage, she had been shoved back and forth for years and she probably felt the same way I did. I couldn’t see it at that age, too busy just trying to survive the trials of divorce.  Even though the situation was difficult back then, I learned so much about the kind of parent I wanted to be and the kind of household I wanted to provide for my children.   Hopefully my boys will never have to have a territorial fight just be be heard.

HEROES…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA good friend of mine went to “An Evening with Oprah,” I think I was one of the few women in this town who wasn’t there.  I like Oprah, I mean it’s hard to not like someone who does so much good with her fortune and tries to make something good out of everything she does.  She seems to have purpose and focus for humanity.  However, she’s not God and in fairness to Oprah, I don’t believe she thinks she’s God.  Society today is constantly looking for heroes and usually the heroes  are the one’s who are successful and have money.  Isn’t that a sad commentary on society?  Tickets for Oprah were between $100.00 and $395.00 per seat; my friend paid $150.00.  Why were those tickets so expensive to see a woman who wants to help all of humanity?  I’m guessing because Oprah can command the money; she’s treated like a rock star.  Having said that, I really have no idea if she is donating some of that money back to her charities or not  and  I would hope she is doing just that.  Really the average woman who is at home with a mortgage, children and working her butt off to make ends meet, can’t afford to go and spend “an evening with Oprah” at that price.    Now let’s just say Oprah is not the big rock star Oprah we know, let’s just say she is a minister in a little church somewhere in the United States and she wants to have a series of talks to share with the community her abuse experiences, baby out-of-wedlock experience , Jesus experiences and her love of her job experience .  Who would show and pay between $200.00 – $395.00 per seat – not one person.  Same woman, same stories and experiences, but as a Minister she’s not commanding a net income of $165 million per year, therefore, society doesn’t look at her in the same way – a hero!  Lance Armstrong – need I say more.  He was the big heavy hero winning 7 Tour de France,  beating cancer and we find out he lied and cheated through it all.  Obviously people in that world  knew he was cheating – just ask the guy who did not come in at the top of his game,  but he worked his ass off to complete the race in the time that he did – not one person or media outlet was looking at that guy, all eyes were on Lance.   In a way society created Lance, we only look at the winners and the winners will do whatever it takes to get there – including cheating and then we chastise them for the behaviour.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing the behaviour because at the end of the day you’ve got to look at yourself and say – I did all I could do and I was successful, without cheating, without lying and did this on my own terms.  Lance couldn’t say that at the end of the day, but the guy  who  could didn’t win –  maybe our eyes should be on that guy.

Back to Oprah – I think she’s come into her own and she has spent a tremendous amount of time trying to justify why she is where she is and finding ways to give back to society.  We’ve all watched her make the transformation from talk show host to a dynamic successful business woman, successful daytime show, network owner and  philanthropist.    Below is a video of Oprah talking about tough times and surrendering to God.  I like what she has to say and I find her to be sincere.  As much as I would have liked to have seen Oprah, I don’t think I would have spent the money.  I’m finding my own heroes in life, my children, my husband, my family and friends.  I invest in people with my time and I’m paid back with laughs, hugs and friendships that sustain me in good times and in bad times.   There is one person who can wear the hero hat and I know she would have never considered herself a hero;  that person’s name was Mother Teresa.   She could have commanded twice what Oprah was asking but never would she have asked for money for herself, she only asked us to spread the love of Jesus and she did so in the most humble, loving way – dedicating her life to the poorest of the poor and lived simply by giving back to people in society who society forgot  – a real hero!

 Each of us is merely a small instrument; all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear” – Mother Teresa

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POOR MAN’S CHAI TEA LATTE..

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I’ve given up coffee, not caffeine, coffee!  A cup of green tea or chai tea amounts to half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.  I drink mostly green tea but I’ve started drinking chai tea lattes.  I think I’ve given up one addiction up for another because I have grown to love chai tea lattes.  However, going through the drive-through at Starbucks or Tim Hortons starts to cost me some bucks.  So here is my version of a latte:

Chai tea teabag

Milk – enough for a cup

Use either a blender or the bullet and froth the milk for a few seconds.

Put the tea bags and the frothed milk in a saucepan and heat over medium heat.

Bring to a boil (watch that the milk doesn’t burn or froth over the sides).

Pour into cups and spoon the frothed milk on top.

Voila – much cheaper than Starbucks and really good….

Note: I make it with skim milk..

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A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK..

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I’ve always been somewhat skeptical and suspicious of strangers.  I don’t trust easy and whenever I deal with sales people, I figure everyone has a story to tell or they are trying to rip me off.  This drives my husband crazy because he says I have to learn to trust at some point.  I think my youngest son has my suspicious nature as this past weekend we met some friends and went to an Abbey Heat hockey game.  The Abbey Heat are in the American Hockey league and the game we went to see was Abbey and Milwaukee Admirals.  Ryan Walter is the GM there and he is really good at the PR game.  In his day Ryan Walter played for the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens.  Ryan rolled up his PR sleeve and walked around the arena shaking everyone’s hand, talking to all the kids and showing off his Stanley Cup ring.  Half way through the game, my youngest(Matthew) decides he wants something from the concession stand.  Off he went and when he came back to sit down, Ryan Walters was working his way through the crowd in front of us.  Matt leans over to my husband and says ” you see that guy down there, back at the concession stand he tried to tell me that he played for the NHL”, he then rolls his eyes and says “yeah right.”  My husband says “Matt, that’s Ryan Walter, the GM for Abbey Heat and he did play for the NHL.”    My son looked a little shocked and then he says “he asked me if I wanted to try on his Stanley Cup ring, I didn’t think he was real so I said no thank you, I’ve already tried on a Stanley Cup ring.”  At that moment I wish I was a fly on the wall to see Ryan’s face.  “What did Ryan say to you Matthew?”  “He asked me for what team did I try on a Stanley Cup ring and I told him the Chicago Blackhawks.”  I guess Ryan didn’t believe my son because he asked him who he knew from the Blackhawks.  My husband is a friend of one of the scouts for the Blackhawks and all the scouts got the same ring as the players.  A party was thrown and we were all invited to see and try on the ring.  Must admit, it was cool – more cool than I thought it would be.  So when Ryan Walter asked my son to try on his Stanley Cup ring, Matt had already been there done that and wasn’t all that interested.  Comical really because as soon as Ryan pulled out his Stanley Cup ring to any other child, all of sudden all kinds of cameras appeared, people crowded all around and everyone posed with Ryan and the almighty Stanley Cup ring.  Not my son – he has his own pictures..(two very happy boys pictured below!)

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