Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fall in Florida Part 1

It's the most wonderful time of the year if you, like me, love the fall. For those of you who don't know me, I grew up in New England where we do fall better than anyone. We have the foliage, the apple picking, the hay rides, the pumpkin treats; everything that defines fall, we have in here. Imagining the perfect fall day with cozy sweaters and boots, hot cider, pumpkin patches, haunted hay rides and cozening up by a nighttime firepit? I've done it and I've got to tell you. I miss it. I now live in Florida and have spent the last nine years attempting to "do" fall in Florida. We do have PSL, corn mazes, and haunted houses, just in 90 degree heat. So I am learning to mix my favorite things about a New England fall with the reality of life in the Florida sun.

So here is my idea. I am going to chronicle my Florida fall life for those of you who either a) live in the beautiful fall weather and want to laugh at my futile attempts b) live in the heat and want to laugh at my attempt to fight it. I will try and do the things I loved doing while living up north, share what we classify as a fall activity in the south and create a hybrid of the these things when I can. Feel free to share some ideas below and here's to having a fall to remember with a heat index in the 100s. 

Proof of the fall I know and loved.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dear Boston,

Dear Boston,
  As a native Western Massachusettsian, I have spent my entire life explaining how I'm not from Boston. Boston is the city you go to see Red Sox games, you go visit the New England Aquarium or Faneuil Hall on school trips, or go to Logan airport to pick up your relatives from an overseas trip. My relatives live there and I spent many holidays out there celebrating. When I moved to Florida, it was really hard to explain that I didn't live near Boston. Living an hour and half away in MA gets you to a completely different part of the state. Down here, it won't get you out of the same city in some cases. Boston has always been that part of me that I tried to separate myself from because I was proud to be from Western Mass.
 But Boston is the heart of Massachusetts. It always has been. Bostonians are my people. Today even more so Boston is my city. The Patriots, the Soxs, the Bruins are my teams. The Mass Pike is my road, hell the Big Dig is my project, falling concrete and all. So to all of you who don't know Boston, let me tell you about my town. My town is a town that is strong. There has never been a point in history where Boston quaked in fear. Boston stood up to the British,  dumped the tea in the ocean and organized farmers and everyday people into warriors fighting for freedom and creating a new nation in their wake. My town is a town that is loyal. Anywhere you go in the country, people proudly tell you they're from Boston and wear their Sox's and Patriots's hats even in New York where it can get you beat. More than anything my town is a town that is tough. This will not break Boston. Boston will not meekly and quietly melt into this tragedy. As I saw online today, "Boston is probably the only city that if you f*ck with them, they will shut down the whole city...stop everything...and find you." Don't think for a moment Boston won't be back up and running and fighting and drinking and living and laughing before you know it. Don't think that the Boston Marathon will not be back next year and bigger and louder and more in your face than before. Don't think that Boston won't get stronger from this, it always has and it always will. I am from Boston, I say that proudly; not because I don't love Western Mass, but because I love my state and all my state has and is. Boston keep fighting, stay strong and more than anything, get those bastards who tried to mess with you.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Kicked Out of Soccer

So after dance, the idea of sports must have come up. Again, I'm sure either my friends were doing it or I saw it on TV, but somehow the bright idea of me playing soccer came to the table. Now you would not describe me as a "sports" person in any regard. I love my Patriots, love to watch them and cheer them on, but it ends there.

ANYWAYS, five and six year old soccer is hilarious. You can tell the kids to stay in one spot, but really it's usually a clump of kids from both teams pushing the ball around in circle. There is not much action all in all, they don't keep score and it's fun to watch. Now as a five and six year old player, I didn't like to run or be in the clump. I was usually the good one standing where coach told me to and not moving. I would stand there, maybe twirl around a bit, but mostly just stand there. The best part of soccer was I could drink Gatorade each time I came to the bench, so that's all I cared about. Eventually, the coach realized since I was so good at standing there, maybe I should be a goalie. Our goalie was always coming out of the goal, almost completely down field to try and get the ball and just wasn't understanding the idea guarding. So coach pulled me aside and explained that this time I could use my hands, that no one would yell at me to get the ball and I could just stand there. He did try really hard to emphasize not to the let the ball past me. "If it goes behind you, we can lose and everyone will be sad they lost the game." He was trying to motivate me, but he had no idea how much anxiety that could cause a five year old because he had never met a five year old like me. So the big time comes for me to be the goalie in an actual game. They stick me in the goal and I'm so excited. No running! Well on the other team was a star player, he turned out to be my neighbor years later named Dan. Dan was so good he could get the ball out of the tangle of kids and actually kick it to where he actually wanted it to go. SO here comes Dan, (as good as a ten year old!), up the field and kicks the ball at me. According to my parents, I moved out the way but in my mind I tried to stop the ball but it got behind me.

So let me give you a bit of back story before I explain what happened. I have always been a sensitive child. In a way it was great because I cared about others and always did what I told. In other ways I was an emotional basket case and cried hysterically over little things. For years teachers wrote on my report card, "Katie is an extremely kind student but tends to get emotional" in various forms. To say I got upset easily was to say that Disney on New Years is crowded. It's an extreme understatement.

SO Dan scores probably the easiest goal of his career and I now know I've lost the game for my team. My entire team will not only be sad, but probably mad at me and no one will ever be my friend again. I begin to lose my mind and cry hysterically. Not little, cute, upset tears. Big weepy loud wails are coming from five year old me. So now they have to stop the game. My coach comes over to try and get my to stop. My parents come over and try and get me to stop. Even the opposing side's coach comes over to talk to me. They may have made Dan apologize to me, the story gets a little hazy there.

I spent the rest of the game on the bench with two Gatorades. I finished the season but never played more than five minutes again. Coach may have told my parents about a dance class that his daughter loved and maybe I would love it too. Joke's on coach though, I was already kicked out of there too. When the next year came, my parents told me why didn't I try something new since soccer was not that much fun. That was there nice way to say no coach wanted me on their team since by the time you were on the seven and eight year old team they actually kept score. I never played soccer again but I'm happy to say I never got kicked out of a team for crying again. I got kicked out for being really bad.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kicked Out of Dance Class the First Time

In my very beautiful and small home town there are at least three or four dance studios. Apparently we like to dance in Western Massachusetts. So when I was about four or five because either my friends at school were doing it or maybe because I was always dancing around the house, my mom signed me up for ballet and tap. I was psyched. In my mind I was already the graceful lead in The Nutcracker with my beautiful tutu flowing as I leaped up and down like a swan. In reality I was crashing glasses to the floor and stomping around like heavy machinery. I looked real cute though with my Shirley Temple curls and my new baby pink leotard. I was real excited about my tap shoes too. I loved to make them tap and I do remember being told I could only practice in the basement since I'm sure my love for the dance would ruin my Mom's freshly waxed wood floors.

So I remember loving the huge mirrors at the dance studio. They were floor to ceiling and wrapped all around the room. I could see myself at all times from any angle I wanted. I don't think it was vanity, I think I just was enthralled with watching myself. I was a short five year old (I'm a short 29 year old) and actually seeing my entire self was very new and exciting apparently. When it came to class time, all the little five year old would be lined up against the balance bar and the teacher would walk down the line giving instructions and helping the little ones like a gardener watering her perfect pastel bunch of flowers. I'd imagine each one with a plie like a perfect tiny dancer with grace and beauty. Then there was me, watching myself in the mirror over and over again. A little clumsy, a little lopsided and I'm know I fell down a time or two. I'm sure I wasn't the worst one in class and I'm sure, as all my teachers have told my Mom, I was kind and a good listener. But I loved to watch myself. I was told again and again to pay attention, listen, stop looking at yourself! I remember one time we were suppose to do four or five steps in a row with arm movements. Although I am really good at listening and playing with my phone at the same time, physically I'm not a good multitasker.  I could not get these steps for the life of me. I was pulled aside and worked with an older student who tried over and over again to teach it to me. I would either forget one, not do the right order, forget my hands, wrong foot first. The same problems over and over but I was oblivious. I didn't get frustrated I just knew eventually class would be over and maybe if I was lucky we'd stop for ice cream at home. Or I'd just get to ride in the car because I really, really love riding in the car (still do).

I knew something was up when there was a day when I was allowed to just play in the mirror THE WHOLE TIME. Everyone else was trying on costumes for this recital everyone else kept talking about and I was told I didn't have a costume right now I could play with whatever I wanted in the studio. I think I hung on the bar for a while and I know I made faces in the mirror for a really extended period of time. A few days later my Mom told me I wasn't going to be in the recital. Being that my parents are fantastic she ended the sentence with, "the reason you are not going to be in the recital is we are going to Disney World. Wouldn't you rather go to Florida on vacation instead of dancing in a silly dance show?" I'm pretty sure they told my Mom that I didn't have that special dance gene, or even the basic ability for dance and my amazing family decided that I deserved a vacation for that.

So I never went back to that dance class. I think we turned my tap shoes into ruby slippers for my Dorothy costume for Halloween. I tried dance twice more and spectacularly failed at both those times as well. SO all in all, I was kicked out of dance for being a bad dancer and paying too much attention to myself in the mirror.

Kicked Out

SO I like to think I'm pretty good at some things, maybe even great at a few select things. I'm a kind friend, I'm a strong teacher, I'm a loving daughter and a stupendous kitty mommy. I moved a thousand miles away for a job and so far I've done very well on my own. I've recently restarted my entire life and two months out things are looking good. I really like to write and hope someday I can be be amazing at it, so much so that people will pay to read it instead of just blackmailing all of you to read this with excessive social media posts.

I say all this for a reason. Although I have been successful at somethings in my life, I have been horribly, earth shattering, WHAT-WAS-SHE-THINKING bad at other things. The problem was and continues to be that I don't see how bad I really am at these things. SO instead of quitting, learning the life lesson and growing as a person, I blindly and unapologetically continue my piss poor performance. SO I get kicked out and let me tell you,  I have been kicked out of a lot of things. Some kindly and gently and some with soul crushing devastation. Recently I was telling Erin and Katie all the stories of being kicked out of things. It seems like every time we get together and someone mentions an old dance class, a favorite childhood sport, or anything like that I can proudly shout, "I was kicked out of that!" SO thank you Erin for this idea, but I will take a winter holiday from Henshaw Redux and tell my kicked out stories here.

I have learned to laugh at all these misadventures and I hope you will too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Dear Everyone Else,
                 There is no happily ever after for everyone. For every princess swept off her feet, there is another woman who just kept on waiting for something that was never coming. It doesn't mean that you don't live a fulfilling, happy life. It doesn't mean you are never loved, that you don't feel what it's like to be someone's whole world. It just mean there isn't someone who will always be there for you, who loves you for you and just wants you to be there since they are better because of you. It just means that chapter isn't in your book of life. You will have adventures and moments better than anything you can imagine. You will survive and in the end you will save yourself. You can't just keep apologizing for being the person you are and hope that if you apologize enough, you can make it go away. Sometimes "And they Lived Happily Ever After" is what you were not going to have anyways. Of course you're a good person and of course you have a good heart filled with love and loyalty  You just don't have anyone to give it to.  So you give up that dream and look for your dream. And no one is to blame and there's really nothing you can do about it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chapter 2

So I find myself on this blog tonight and rereading what I've said in the past. Back in June I wrote a not all the way sober post about losing my mojo and feeling old at 28. Well I have now reached that magical number 29 and find myself in a new place. So this post is to myself to remind me of what is happening so I will not lose my way again.

So there comes a time when you realize that what you thought was your story, your happily ever after is just a chapter in the saga and the not the final act. Sometimes when you think your life has stalled and your passion has collapsed, there is actually something really wrong that you're not seeing. My love story has ended and I am moving. Not just moving on, moving out. What I thought was what was going to be the rest of my life and the path I was going to take has ended. There is no more plans to make or promises to keep. And now I feel like myself again. It is hard to take a good long look at yourself and see that sometimes what you think you are doing right and what you think is the way things are suppose to be are not how they should be at all. So I am sad to let go of the person I was going to be, I realize that was and  is not me. You can't pound square pegs in round holes regardless of how much you think they should fit. You have to see that We can shield Me for a very long time, but Me is how you are going to be.

So I am thrilled to begin my next chapter and fill it with the words of my books old and new. I am thrilled to see if the next chapter is what I've been looking for but I know the story is mine. The ending is mine to make.  The most important thing is that the truth I am always talking about, the things I think are real and gospel need to stay that way.

So I could use someone else's words to tell what I'm feeling, I have bookcases full of books which characters and authors who talk about starting over. Who have come to this new point and stare out on an unknown future but come with a sense that this is the road she is suppose to take. But this is my voice tonight because this is my story so tonight I am a fan of that. My own story with with own words and wherever this road may take me.