Thursday, June 30, 2011

#16 He Will Lead Better Than a Duck

I am not exactly an animal enthusiast. I think I've made that clear already. (See previous post #3: However, I do occasionally like to marvel at creation--animals being included.

We have ducks. Not by choice, mind you. But, ducks we have nonetheless. And while the word now is plural, it did not start out that way. This occurred as the time came to open my grandmother's pool for the summer. After the cover had been removed,
two ducks soon began helping themselves to the enjoyment of the pool and shade of the trees that surround it. They obviously enjoyed a little more than just that, because soon enough there was a nest filled with eggs beneath one of the trees.

However, the strange thing is that soon after these two "love birds" made themselves this love nest there remained not two ducks, but one. Papa Duck decided to pack his bags and go. Leaving the egg nursing Mamma Duck all alone.

Less than a month after Papa Duck's departure two duckies were lost. One egg was found cracked into and stranded alongside the pool. A few days later, a duckling was found at the bottom of the pool. However, a week after the loss of two babies, Mamma Duck was soon being followed by her very own septuplets.

So what is the point? Ducks are born on a pretty consistent basis, right? (We aren't exactly experiencing a duck shortage in New Jersey, or...any part of the world to my knowledge). And while having a duck in your pool isn't a daily occurrence, it is neat for a second, but gets old pretty fast because Mamma Duck is quite frankly a little boring on her own.

But with seven ducklings following her every single movement? Nothing short of amazing. As I came upon Mamma Duck and her babies swimming around in the pool I couldn't believe the precision that these newborn duckies had in following their leader. When I approached the ducks to snap a picture, Mamma instantly moved right. As I went towards a different angle, Mamma instantly moved away. Each time, her entourage followed without a moments hesitation.

If only human parents would lead in such a way. While there are many who have got it right, the unfortunate truth is that there is a rising number of parents with less leadership qualities than this Mamma Duck. There are parents who are afraid to lead their ducklings, afraid to direct their paths and nip at them when they talk back or behave in a way opposite of how they have been lead. Then, the parents shake their heads and wonder "where they went wrong" when Mamma Duck here is screaming the most important lesson: TRAIN THEM WHILE THEY ARE STILL YOUNG!

Mamma Duck and Papa Duck it is your responsibility to nurse your eggs, to keep them from cracking or falling to the bottom of the sea. It is your responsibility to train your duckies to follow your every move and direction.

And when they ask "But why?" Just tell them, "I'm leading you so that one day your can lead yourself."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#15 He Likes My Hair

Alternate title: My Life Through My Hair

I've never been someone to give constant worry over my hair. I figure that unless I am going to live with a staff of stylists on hand, my hair will never be perfection. So, why bother? Perhaps that's why I can pretty much create a timeline of my life through the changes of my hair.

I was born with a nice coating of dark brown hair. (Is "coating" not politically correct to describe a baby's hair? If not, I'm sorry to all the babies out there). For a baby girl's mother, this is an extremely good thing. It makes for a quicker start to growing longer hair so people don't have to go through that awkward moment of thinking the baby is a boy when in actuality it is a girl.

Minus the occasional trimming, by second grade I had not had a major haircut. This was then forced upon me by a friend's gum being spat into my hair while at church one Sunday night. Perhaps this incident is what caused me to have such a carefree feel for my hair. Or perhaps I have mentally blocked the trauma of this incident completely. Luckily, the gum was on the back of my head and towards the bottom of my long locks. But there was no escaping it being cut out. My mother had no time for rubbing my hair with peanut butter or soaking it with oil. She proceeded to give me a bob. Thankfully, it ended up actually being cute.

The make up of my genetics fortunately or
unfortunately gave me ruler straight hair. And while some girls kill for it and spend hours a day making their hair look naturally straight; I always had the fascination and desire for curls. (Yet I did, oddly enough, still own a hair straightener). In sixth grade, in either an act of desperation or sheer insanity I decided to roll my hair in a comb. Why I thought that would do anything, to this day, I still do not know. Of course, I rolled it all the way to my scalp which made for an even more interesting situation. The cavalry had to be called in and I had a team of mother, father, and brother all around me. Between joking and laughing, my father used as much delicacy possible to cut the comb out of my hair as my brother took continuous Polaroid shots of my pain and embarrassment.

In eighth grade, I was really into things relating to the army. God only knows why. My interest sparked to a point that I actually made my dad take me to an army/navy store to buy a real pair of camouflage pants. So naturally, I also wanted to have my hair cut boy short. I definitely thought I was hot stuff and loved it then. Now when I look back on pictures I think, "Dear Lord! Why did my parents let me do that?!" Even the Jesika of today, I do not think, could pull off a style like that.

I didn't have my hair cut again until my senior year of high school. By then, I was dating my future husband who loved my long, flowing, brown hair. But I had told him that it was set in stone that I would be cutting my hair right after senior portraits to donate it to Locks of Love. Despite his begging and pleading the day came. We tied my hair back, my mom snipped it off and I was back in second grade again.

My hair had grown a little during my first semester in college and my grandmother and I were going to Paris right after Christmas. She wanted to spruce up for our trip with new haircuts and manicures. By now I was itching for curly hair. The hairdresser was practically blown away by my request for a perm stating that she hardly does perms anymore. She insisted that I color my hair instead and I insisted that my father would kill me if I did.

The perm was nice and actually the most manageable hairstyle I had, however, I was always afraid to do more with it because of fear of looking like a poodle gone crazy.

After my perm was completely gone, I grew my hair long again, but not Locks of Love long. In May of that year, my grandfather died, which was a shock for all of my family. I was finishing my last year of college and about a month after graduation I went for an even shorter bob (but stayed clear of the boy short hair!) A few weeks after my haircut, my uncle died, which was an even greater shock and upset for my family.

Again I grew my hair out, this time with a wedding in mind. By the wedding, my hair was about shoulder length, long enough for the cutesy up do I requested. About 100 bobby pins and six months of marriage later, I got another bob.

This hair cut led me through about three more years and three completely different careers, the final career being in education.

After my first year of teaching, I died my hair blond. It was one of those I've-always-wanted-to-do-this choices which had everyone I ever knew asking me (after they realized who I was) "So why did you go with blond??" And my answer was always, "Well, it was blond, black, or another perm. So I let Lance choose and he chose blond." Most people kind of just nodded, not sure what that means really, but usually the conversation ended with a comment that it looked good. Of course I did live through some teasing at home. My little brother's first reaction was, "Oh, Hannah Montana!" and my father alternated between calling me a surfer for the first month or so and saying that I'd given up my Sicilian roots (pun not intended) for my hair.

About nine months later, for my older brother's wedding, I set my long blond hair free and went with another bob. I know it might seem like I have a crush on the Bob....but honestly I just love to mix it up. And having such a relationship with the Bob has caused a lot of scrutiny over time, especially from the women in my life who think ladies should only have long hair. My grandmother (who mind you, in her twenties had a different hair style every week) once said to me after I cut my hair, "You cut your hair again??? Oh well, it will grow back."

While she certainly meant her comment as more of an insult to my short hair, this is basically my whole outlook on hair in general. Chop it off, grow it short, shave it off--eventually it grows back, so what's the fuss?

(By the way, I have never shaved it off. This is a hair style I still would be willing to try, however, I would need to work in a profession where it really didn't matter if I had a buzz cut. I'm thinking teaching is just not it...)

Friday, June 24, 2011

#14 He Thinks Vegetarians Are Murderers

**The following views of my husband are my husbands views only, I am merely commenting on, playing devil's advocate with, and perhaps....agreeing with them.

My herbs have sprouted. Actually, they sprouted within just a few days of my planting the seeds-- I suppose that's how this gardening thing usually goes! But the good news is that they are actually still alive. This is a serious accomplishment for me. I mean, serious.

I have yet to use them for any purposeful event, but they are there growing and enjoying their sunny spot by my kitchen window for now. As I was watering them just a few days into their developing growth I noticed something that I know I was taught in school, but I suppose I had never actually witnessed in living color in front of me. (Then again, how could I when every plant I have ever been given was doomed to a trash bucket grave before even entering my house?).

Rather than standing straight up as plants growing outdoors typically do, my indoor plants were leaning towards the sunlight that was bursting through my window.


This is clearly the best image of a plant's need for the sun in order to survive. Which leads me to the question: Although a plant clearly is not human or animal, is it not still life? Most would agree. Therefore, to those who adhere to the thought that eating meat is murder, wouldn't eating a plant also be murder?

I had to look up the definition of vegetarian, because I know there are those who simply don't prefer meat and/or prefer to live the vegetarian lifestyle for health reasons. So here, taken straight from is the definition of a vegetarian:


[vej-i-tair-ee-uhn] Show IPA

a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.

If most vegetarians are simply avoiding eating meat because they "don't believe in eating it" they are missing out on some amazing things that are on this earth for us to enjoy! So as I was still questioning this idea that most vegetarians are vegetarians because they consider eating meat to be murder....I strolled through google to see what hits came up first.

(Did you know that PETA offers a "vegetarian/vegan starter kit"?)

Most of what I found involved questions about what vegetarians and vegans can eat. But, peta,com, and were full of explanations and reasons for why they choose to suffer themselves from meat, milk, cheese, and eggs. There were three main reasons that PETA lists on an article titled "Vegetarian 101": for animals, for your health, for the environment. Only one of those makes sense to me....and only partially.

Some people have gone so specific that there are special vegan chocolates, wines and beers; because, believe it or not, it takes an animal in some way to make most chocolates and alchohols.

Now, here's my husband's argument. While looking at my little herbs stretching out their teensy necks towards the sunlight, he says to me that vegetarians feel okay eating things like plants because they don't hear that tiny, little plant shriek out in pain as it is yanked from its soft bed of soil, washed vigorously, and then chopped up and made into salad. He says that vegetarians don't feel a guilty conscience because of that, but if they thought about it they'd realize that they have to kill to eat too. It would make their life a lot different though if plants could voice their feelings.
This made me think back to my poor spruce trees that I tried to grow in the Santa Claus boots. One of the seeds had actually tried to sprout and left in the boot was a little seedling carcass. Without water and sunlight, that little seedling could not grow and transform into something else. So, death became him.

But then I think to my front porch. Apparently, years ago the entire neighborhood must have thought that ivy looks great everywhere because practically every other house has ivy somewhere on it. I got fed up with it. It was beautiful in the summer and then in the fall it would die and I'd have these horrible dead plants all over my porch. Talk about depressing. So I pulled out every root I could reach and ripped off every piece who dared show its face to the light of day. Last summer, the ivy played safe and I didn't see a sign of it. This summer they have sprouted again.

To live you need to persevere, no?

So really, if you choose to live the vegetarian lifestyle because you don't want to "murder" then you need to stop eating all together. Because there is nothing on this earth that you can eat that once did not have life pumping through it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#13 He Lets Me Have the Summer "Off"

It is with the ever so smallest guilt that I tell you that for the next two months I will be home. One cannot vacation at home you say? Oh yes, one certainly can. My brain is abounding with hopes of possible accomplishments for the next two months, so much that I am sure I will end up creating a foolproof list and schedule in order to ensure that I reach my desired outcomes. But as you sit there reading this, envying my freedom, do so modestly as I express to you what my "vacation" will actually consist of.

See, growing up a "vacation" for the Lunetta family consisted of a three day, two night stay in Lancaster, PA. The highlight of going away for my brothers and me was the indoor pool at our luxurious hotel, "Willow Valley" and a day spent at Lancaster's only theme park: Dutch Wonderland. That was the extent of our summer vacation. We may have had a total of two other "day trips" thrown into the mix (and those were usually to somewhere like Storybook Land and/or the Philadelphia Zoo). Stop staring in awe at your computer screen and snap out of it because I'm not kidding. At twenty-five-years-old, I've still never been to Disney World (or Land for that matter) and my honeymoon was my first week long vacation. Once we got lucky and my parents took us to Virginia and D.C. and even then the stay was days short of a week (not to mention the historical themes constantly surrounding every single activity we did--mind you I was about ten).

That said, you must understand that this word "vacation" to me literally means time off from work. It doesn't mean getting to travel or go somewhere that signifies relaxation and/or fun. It means that I get to have a change in my normal routine or activities, yet I am not necessarily free of all cares.

While some might see this as a horrid and ugly thing, I realize its potential and the work ethic it has managed to instill in me. In fact, I've learned a few things through living life practically vacation-less.

1. Being on vacation at home gives me time to get other things accomplished.

As I said before this requires some list making and scheduling. A way I tend to make myself feel horrible is when I build up a lot of wonderful accomplishments in my head and never even set out to begin them. For example, in addition to being a teacher, I like to write, I play piano and violin, I sell jewelry, occasionally make jewelry, I need to exercise, and I wish that I could try out different recipes for dinners and desserts. Realistically, it is impossible for me to do all those things every day while working full-time. Yet, during my "vacation" I certainly can accomplish all those things IF I properly schedule my life. But, if I choose to sleep in each day and waste my potential by lounging about poolside I'll have missed opportunities to build on aspects I want shining through in my life.

2. I don't have to feel guilty being off as my loved ones work if as I am completing my aspirations I also dedicate some time to working diligently at something that will benefit those at work.

There is nothing worse than staring blank minded at my husband when he comes home from work and asks the dreaded question, "So, what did you do today?". Unacceptable. If I can rattle off at least 3-5 major tasks I accomplished during the day, I feel good. It is even better if I have something to show for it (a cleaned out closet, baked goodies, a shining kitchen floor). This isn't to say that everyday needs to consist of working nonstop around the house, but if my husband is busting his butt at work and I am off for two months straight I certainly have no excuse to neglect anything around the house.

3. I can "vacation" in areas surrounding me without spending even a fraction of what I would spend for a week long vacation away from home (and I don't have to pack and unpack for it!)

I understand that people have this want to get away from home for a little and relax. However, the feeling that many have that they "deserve" a week (or longer) vacation to __________ (fill in the blank) is pitiful. We deserve nothing. Especially those of us going into debt over such vacations. In the long run, it really is not worth it.

Don't get me wrong, if I could afford it, I might do it yearly. Even then, I'm not quite sure that a yearly vacation is deserved. But since I can't afford it, I don't. No matter how hard I worked all year long. But, there are so many different things that I can do here or there for fun that will make me still feel as though I "vacationed" during my summer.

Here is my list, some of these I have done, some I have not. Some are specific to areas surrounding NJ, others could be done anywhere!

* Grounds for Sculpture (Hamilton, NJ)
* A Day at the Beach (*Okay, I know everyone is going to think I am crazy, but, I prefer Atlantic City merely because it is a free beach.)
* Visit a Local Lighthouse
*Picnic at the Park, River, Anywhere Scenic!
* Yard Sale Search
* Go Antiquing (If you like antiques...)
* A Night at the Beach (*Stay a night, or just go during the night!)
* Drive-in Movie Theater (*$8 per person for a double feature. See
* NYC day trip (Shop, go to Central Park, go visit all the beautiful churches, go to the TKTS booth and see if you can score cheap theater tickets, try a different restaurant with great ratings.)
* Museums--all and any! (There are so many tiny museums out there filled with historical insight. The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton is tiny but entertaining and informative. Right around the corner is the NJ State Museum which is FREE. Also, FYI, The Philadelphia Art Museum is donation only on Sundays.)
* Go to the Local Farmer's Market (*Look for a good deal, or just enjoy walking around looking at what people are trying to sell.)
* A Day at the Pool (*This works especially well if you, well, know someone who has a pool.)
* Shopping (*Obviously, anywhere is great for this, but since it is summer perhaps somewhere outside like an outlet mall would be proper.)
* The Zoo
* The Circus
* Farm Fairs
* Carnivals
* Festivals
* Trip to a Lake
* Horse Races (Freehold Raceway and Meadowlands Racetrack for harness racing, Monmouth Park pictured to the right.)
* Visit a Winery
* Camping (At a real campground or in the backyard!)
* Go to see Fireworks (Many beaches do fireworks on a weekly basis.)

Many will stare at me in shock and disbelief when I answer the "Where will you be going this summer" question with, "No where, just staying at home". But truly I am going everywhere. I'm going into the world of cooking as I explore recipes that I didn't have time to get to during the school year. I'm standing in front of a crowded concert hall as I play through an assortment of music that has been screaming out to me from my orange music stand each time I entered my music room. I'm giving my writing legs to run on as I tweak my novel, form new pieces, and blog my thoughts and feelings on a variety of subjects. I'm exploring my surroundings by not allowing Disney World and exotic islands to define what a day or more of vacationing really means.

Hopefully I will manage to not get carried away and have too much fun this summer...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#12 He Remembers Our Anniversary,

I was raised on "I Love Lucy". We had these really strict TV rules in my home and basically never watched anything airing on any station other than PBS. So while other kids my age were watching Power Rangers, I watched Lucy. And while they outgrew Power Rangers and looked back on it as a embarrassingly funny memory, I to this day still watch Lucy. It never gets old.

One thing that always seemed to get Lucy's husband Ricky into a pickle was forgetting to remember birthdays and anniversaries. Half the time, Ricky had actually remembered the event but had a surprise attached to it therefore he purposely pretended to forget the date. The other half, he actually did forget. Then the whole episode was either spent on Lucy sulking and Ricky having to make it up to her, or Lucy trying to somehow remind Ricky without actually reminding him.

It makes for good humor, but I just don't see how any truly in love couple could get into a hang up over such a thing.

Truth be told, the more anniversaries you have the less you are going to remember, right? And while I know I've only just reached my fourth wedding anniversary, I'm pretty sure I'll never fault my husband for forgetting, if he chooses to do so. For every time he forgets, I can honestly say that I'm sure I'll forget as well.

But for now, he does remember. And along with the amazing ability to simply remember the date, this time, he also surprised me.

Come on now, what do you think he did?

He sent me chocolate! Yes, he actually read through my previous blog's not-so-hidden hidden meaning and had chocolate covered strawberries sent to little ole me at my work yesterday!

And flowers.

I passed the school office on my way to lunch and the first thing that caught my eye was the 1-800-flowers box and all I could do was laugh. Then I realize that not one, but two boxes awaited me.

As I found myself filled with the quick excitement and the "he thought of me" feelings running all over, I also had a tiny feeling of, "I really don't want flowers! (Free flowers--okay. When they die I won't feel so bad. But flowers that my husband spent money on and therefore, in turn, I also spent money on--no.)

And here is where he is simply wonderful:

It was flowers, but not. After a struggle to pull the not so easy to take out of the box flowered gift, on first actual glance at the arrangement, on overwhelming, "How practical!" came over me. It wasn't flowers that go in a vase of water (which would certainly die within the first day in my possession). It was...a hot pink azalea topiary.

The only thing I can hope is that since I have been tending so carefully and cautiously to my herb garden I will also be able to put in the same efforts to keep my awesome azaleas alive. I at least have hope that I won't mess this up because it hasn't been doomed from the start by having its roots cut off.

In the end, if he forgets one or even a dozen anniversaries, I'll still know that he remembered some, and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#11 He Doesn't Buy Me Flowers

Sometimes I really just want to be sent flowers. But I'm sure, dear reader, that you can see right through me because even I know that there is an underlying motive in that statement alone. Let's look a little closer and really analyze what I am saying.

Did I say that I want flowers? Did I say that flowers complete me? Did I say that flowers are the next best thing to chocolate? Did I even say that I like flowers?


I said I want to be sent flowers. See, the truth is, who really cares about flowers? The surprise and delight of an arrangement being sent to me, little ole me, at my place of work where other people will see, of course, is the point. Knowing that in the moment of flowers being delivered to me all women within 20 yards will gravitate towards me ringing out a well-rehearsed chorus of "awwwwww!!" and then my face will produce the look of surprise and overwhelm of warmth that, "He actually does think about me!". (In actuality, Lord only knows how he couldn't be thinking of you with the three missed calls blinking on his phone and the five dozen text message questions and reminders).

Yet even though my flesh sometimes aches for a flower delivery (at my work, about noonish?), I know that I really don't want that. How uneconomical are flowers anyway? It is like buying a painting with paint that will disappear within a number of weeks, or in my case, days, depending on how often you water it.

As I've said before, I am horrible with plants. Deep down I don't want to be, it just is very difficult for me to cater to something so proud that it refuses to give me little gratitude. But I'm trying. I'd like to be a little more practical minded. To grow something that isn't so vain as flowers. (And with a less offensive scent. Why is it that every flower arrangement I receive ends up smelling like week old garbage rather than a pleasant sent

After Christmas I bought these teensy Santa Claus boots that are supposed to be used to start the growing of a spruce tree. So cute right? I fluffed the soil pellets and planted the seeds, then hung the boots in my kitchen window, in front of the curtains so they'd get plenty of sun.

Oh, you mean you have to water them more than one time a whenever-I-remember?

I was a little upset over that one, because I felt like I was letting Christmas down.

But now I am trying again. Target has these awesome Smith and Hawken plant products. The first one that caught my eye was this pot that grows strawberries. Then I saw they also had a three piece pot set to grow herbs. The strawberries were too close in color to flowers and I thought it best that I not set myself up for failure. Common sense said that I probably should just start with some greenery. My hope is that because I can benefit from this plant in an edible sense that it will help me to keep it alive.

Either way, I will be in no mood to receive any stinky flower arrangements that I have to cater to in addition to the herbs. Although, I would never oppose to being sent chocolate via delivery man....