On Top of the World

On Top of the World

On top of the world in Bergen, high upon the city’s highest peak of Mt. Ulriken, the boys and I hiked with their aunts and uncles as the Mayor, the grandparents and my hubby waited at the overlook.  The Mayor, who had injured himself on Mt. Floyen, reluctantly sat out the challenging and rigorous hike to the peak.

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The hike was challenging, but rewarding.  As we neared the peak, a Norwegian Air flight soared closely over our heads as it approached Bergen’s main airport.   On top of the world in Bergen, there were running trails, multiple hikes and even a farm with sheep.  It would be wrong to be atop a mountain in Norway and not see sheep or goats.  Truly, it would be unnatural.

From our vantage point, we could see all of the beautiful city of Bergen. Far in the distance, you can see where the Norwegian land meets the north sea.   The city of Bergen is nestled between seven mountains on the Byfjorden (also known as the city fjord.)  Between the beautiful city and the North sea, there are several islands that protect Bergen from the harsh North Sea.  Undeniably, I cannot wait to explore those when we return to Hordaland.

There’s something soul cleansing about being on top of a mountain.  2017 has been a devastating year of unfathomable loss, but here atop the mountain we found peace  Moreover, in the peace and solitude of the moment, the beauty of our surroundings became a profound reminder of the beauty of life.  Unfortunately life, as much as we would like it to be pain free, is not without its rocky patches.   However, it is these rocky patches that made our time in Norway together so richly rewarding.

Albert Einstein, thanks to the internet and memes, has been credited with some great quotes.  In this instance, one of his quotes (and it is actually his) comes to mind.  “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  From atop the world in Western Norway, I sat amazed at the symbiotic relationship between the Norwegians and their land.

It is experiences like this that I love sharing with my kids.  These are the types of experience that broaden their world by exposing them to new worlds.  While they enjoyed the hike and the time with their family, they unknowingly broadened their circle.  Moreover as a mom, there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the beauty of our world with my boys.  I cannot wait to explore new places with them.

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Freaking Friyay!

It’s Freaking Friyay!

It’s freaking Friyay!  I swear I could hear the hallelujah chorus emanating from every car as I made my way home on Florida’s turnpike this evening.  Oh yes, the sweet release to the weekend.  The short, but sweet break from the reality of adulting.  Fortunately, our hockey games are local this weekend, which makes our lives significantly easier.

By this time of the week, I’m exhausted and ready for bed by 6:30 pm and today is no exception.  I took full advantage of national coffee day today enjoying more than my usual serving of glorious Dunkin’ coffee.  Yet, here I am ready to sleep by 7:30 pm..  Oh how things have changed….

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I’d though I share with you some of my witty observations from the week in the form of memes and gifs.

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We had a real code red situation this evening after picking up the kids from the bus stop.  The Mayor is at a sleepover tonight and had packed a bag this morning for said sleep over.  Unquestionably, you can imagine his horror when he returned home this evening to find said bag missing.  Clearly, while at work and the eye doctor, I had misplaced his bag.   Obviously, as a working, hockey mom I have nothing better to do than hide his sleep over bag.  Makes total sense, right ?

Certainly between shenanigans at home and work, I may eye roll myself through a portal into another dimension.  Emphatically, as I think about this further, this may be the cause of my eye issues…  See, writing is good for you and aids in self-discovery and self-diagnosis.  Nonetheless,  I’m slightly worried about eye rolling myself into another dimension with no portal back home.

Right up there with my eye rolls, is the WTF’s coming fast and furious these days.  I’m amazed by how adult women treat public bathrooms. (PSA -this is a little gross.)  As if  a pad will actually flush down the toilet, since the high efficiency toilet cannot handle other feminine products?  Seriously, ladies whiskey tango foxtrot?  Apparently, common sense does not exist in the ladies’ rooms across America.  Aside from the ladies’ room and raising three boys,  my work week ensured that the WTFs continued to come at light speed.  As Buzz Lightyear would say, to infinity and beyond…

If you want to see people move fast in an office building, myself included, just let them know there’s free food.  This week at work, our engagement team held a health fair for our employees.  Our engagement team did a phenomenal job putting the event together. One of the vendors, a local cafe, was providing a plate of their food.  If I had to guess, 99% of those that attended went through that line twice.  Nevertheless, while that may run counter to the point of a health fair,  the food was that good.  I don’t think anyone felt guilty about their multiple plates.

Happy Friday to the blogosphere!

Struggle Is Real

The Struggle is Real

The struggle is real.  By the time we get to Thursday.  I’m fresh out energy, both mentally and physically.  Life as a hockey parent can be freaking exhausting.  Through the week, we run from the morning drop off at the bus stop, to work (pit stop at Dunkin), get the kids, head to the rink, teach Zumba, conquer homework, try to get in a workout and coerce the kids to shower before bed.  Rinse repeat day in and day out.

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By the time we get to Friday, sleep deprivation is hitting its peak and our energy is hitting its low.  The exhaustion is all encompassing, yet we press on.  We derive our inspiration from our kids, while our energy comes courtesy of perpetual coffee.  We should likely have stock in Dunkin’ and Starbucks.  Any hockey mom that’s been around for more than a season knows exactly where to find her favorite coffee near every rink.

Notice how I say we because I’m fairly certain that I’m not alone in my craziness.  It’s not just me… Seriously….  Ask any hockey mom or day and they’ll tell you. As I left work today, I let out a smile as I realized this weekend’s games were home!  Winner, winner chicken dinner!  The realization that  I don’t have to drive to Tampa this weekend was almost transcendent.  Of course at this time of day on a  Thursday, I’m looking for any win.

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I headed home feeling a bit uneasy about life and my path.  Its easy to feel that way when exhaustion fits in.  Thank god for my beautiful, energetic and incredible Zumba girls.  These ladies rock my world (not that way you pervert) and always bring a smile to my face.  There’s nothing like a great workout to clear your head and remind you how great life truly is.  Thank you endorphins!

 

Closing out my Thursday with a rocking Zumba class is the best way to launch myself into productive and happy Friday.  Not every moment in our life is picture perfect.   Moreover, there will be times in our lives where our progress doesn’t align with where we envisioned ourselves.  That’s okay.  So maybe you’re not where you want to be professionally or personally, who cares.  Ultimately the control over where you land is with you and only you.

Dr. Pangloss

No Dr. Pangloss here

I’m an optimist, most of the times, who see the glass as being half full, but this girl is no Dr. Pangloss.   You may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s glorious work of satire Candide.  In this novel, Dr. Pangloss clings to a view of unreasonable optimism even when his life experiences constantly contradict his philosophy.

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Sadly, Dr. Pangloss  never makes the mental leap that their outlook on life is dead wrong.  Rather he continues to adhere to a ridiculous philosophy that has caused much pain.  Keep in mind this is a man riddled with syphilis, nearly hung and almost dissected, but he never abandoned his dead headed philosophy.

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In many ways, Dr. Pangloss was the anti-Voltaire espousing and championing ideals that Voltaire shunned.   As Voltaire so eloquently said, “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”  Pangloss was not willing to drop the chains of his broken ideals.

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Admittedly, there is no coincidence in my writing about Voltaire’s Candide.  In many ways, we face similar difficulties as Pangloss.  Sometimes we don’t want to accept reality as reality.  Instead we tend to explain circumstances away, make excuses for people that mistreat us all while hanging on to our beliefs.  As a consequence, we stay in relationships, we stay in jobs, or we stay in friendships that are no longer healthy.

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Sometimes, as hard as it may be, we have to accept reality, reset our mindset and move on.  In the immortal words of Ace of Base, “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes.  I saw the sign.  Life is demanding without understanding. ”  If you are unwilling to pivot when life calls for it, you may find yourself in a Candide like misadventure.  Let me be clear here that what I’m advocating is being realistic and not blindly optimistic.

 

Squirrel!

Squirrel!

Who doesn’t love the Dug’s famous line “squirrel” in the movie Up?  I love the movie Up and all of its bittersweet beauty.  Maybe its just me, but some days I feel that my ability to focus is on par with the Dug’s.   For may of us, we where a lot of different hats and have a boatload of differing responsibilities.  Some days it feels like eight arms and 72 extra hours wouldn’t be enough to get everything done.  The overwhelming nature of our 21st century lives certainly leads to many “squirrel” moments.

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The trick is to teach ourselves to stay grounded and focused.  By focused, I do not mean laser focused only on our to do lists or the tasks at hand.  Rather, I believe staying focused means remaining true to your priorities.  If family and career are your priorities, you need to ensure that your actions support those priorities.

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To stay grounded, as I wrote about Sunday, it is important to pamper yourself and keep yourself mentally and emotionally ready for life.  When you fail to take care of yourself, there is no way you can effectively manage your priorities and responsibilities.

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It’s easy to write all of this, but it’s not nearly as easy to live it.   In our society today, we are surrounded by judgement, opinions and other noise.  Everyone and their uncle has an opinion on how one should manage their lives and their priorities.  Ignore them- nobody knows better than you what your priorities are.  Moreover, those same people may try to distract you from your priorities.  You have to learn to ignore the noise.

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Each of us make choices for ourselves or are families on the daily.   For us, we made a commitment to our kids’ and their love of hockey.  Many people cannot understand our willingness and devotion to a kids’ sport that eats all of our time and our paychecks.   Nevertheless, these same people do not see the immeasurable benefits that our kids and ourselves gain from the experience.

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I’m pretty sure each of us hockey parents question ourselves as we leave at the crack of dawn to drive across the state for hockey games.  This lasts, of course, until we get to the rink.  There’s nothing better than watching your kid play the sport he loves with kids that have become family.   The cherry on top is being able to enjoy the game with your fellow hockey parents, who have also become family.  Thankfully, most hockey parents/families have similar priorities i.e. their families and their careers.  Thus providing an incredible support system that I could not be more thankful for.

It's a Beautiful life

It’s a Beautiful Life

“It’s a beautiful life, oh, oh oh, oh.”  Yeah, that’s right.  I just started my blog quoting Ace of Base.  Who does’t like a little 90s pop reference every now and again to get the creative juices flowing.   People probably don’t think of the famous Swedish pop group as a harbinger of deep lyrics.  Nonetheless, they hit the nail on the head with this one.

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Life is perfectly imperfect, but it is beautiful.  Even when life gives us lemon, and I think we all know I’ve been drinking a lot of lemonade this year, life is beautiful.  This year has been a roller coaster of loss, joy, pride, sadness and change.   There were times this year I didn’t think that there was beauty to be found, but there it was a cardinal at my window.   Life’s beauty can surprise you in the most amazing ways and the most difficult times.

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As the Sagan quote points out, while we are on this planet each of us is given the chance to take several trips around our local star.  What we make out of that trip is up to us as individuals.  When you start to think of life as a finite opportunity, your perspective shifts dramatically.  Oftentimes, we see ourselves as indestructible until we are faced with our own mortality.

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Our beautiful life took a big turn last spring.  With Jake graduating high school and plunging into adulthood, our world shifted dramatically.  It’s kind of odd transitioning from managing three kids to only managing two.  Moreover, I have to remind myself of our new reality.  After all, we need to treat him as an adult  now.  In addition, to the new adult in the household, we graduated elementary after having started it in 2004.  150529155417-facebook-gif-4-custom-1

There are definitely perks to this new arrangement in our world.  When he texted me tonight to ask me to close that garage door since his dad’s thing didn’t work.  I could respond with “that’s what she said” without feeling like a bad parent.  His response?  It was epic.  Please see the Michael Scott gif he sent me below.  I freaking love this kid!

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Sometimes what holds us back, is our fear of the unknown.  It prevents us from pursuing our dreams , doing the things we love and sometimes accepting reality.  Its time to stop being afraid of the unknown, grab the bull by the horn and live your life.  For you it may mean pursuing a new opportunity, for others it may mean accepting life’s new realities.  And yet for others, (right CS) it may mean selling all their things and becoming a goat farmer in Norway.  I’m mean did you see the Aurora Borealis gifs?  How could you not want to live there?  At the end of the day, you will either define your trip around the sun or it will define you.

Pamper Yourself

Do as  I say and not as I do.  When it comes time to pamper yourself, don’t skip out.  I’m not saying you need to go get an uber expensive spa package every weekend.  What I am suggesting is carving out time to take care of you.  It could be as simple a a nice soak in a bubble or Epsom bath while you read quietly away from the craziness of everyday life.

Pampering yourself isn’t about being over indulgent, but taking time to keep yourself centered, relaxed and healthy.  I love getting massage and so does my body.  After teaching several Zumba classes and running tons of miles, my body is beat.  Fortunately, I have a membership to Massage Envy where I can treat myself to a nice massage.  The massage helps keeps my muscles healthy in addition to helping me relax.

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There’s only one problem with the Massage Envy setup.  You need to be able to carve out time for the monthly appointment.  Thanks to a hectic travel hockey schedule, I can go weekly for the next year due to all the massages I’ve accumulated.  The point is I need to make myself a  priority and make sure I’m taking care of myself.

Treating yourself can take a number of different iterations.  It could be as simple as taking the time for 1 5-20 minute walk during your work day to clear your head.  Or you could sign up for a yoga class at a local studio to help you get your zen on.  If you’re like me, and you like clothes, a nice trip to the malls with friends and sans kids can do a mind and body good.

Perhaps this weekend I’ll take some of my own advice.  Thankfully, the Mayor’s games are local, which will afford me some extra time.   I may even be able to squeeze in a hair cut, a massage, and a pedicure.   I’m long overdue for all three and they sound so heavenly.    In the meantime, take time this week to pamper yourself.   Take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, which does in fact include pampering yourself from time to time.

Saturday night

Saturday Night in Tampa

After a long week at work, is there anywhere better to be on a Saturday night than suburban Tampa?  Thankfully, the drive is not too long and does not entail driving on a scary two lane road.  Can you sense the sarcasm?  Nonetheless, us crazy hockey parents journeyed westward early this morning for two games in Tampa.

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The drive from the Palm Beaches to Wesley Chapel took a little over four hours this morning.   We were fortunate to hit pretty good traffic and minimal weather.  As luck would have it, the monsoon came during my shift.  I was driving John’s (my brother from another mother) Volvo when he got some much deserved and needed sleep.  I only had to wake him up once to see if the windshield wipers could wipe a little faster.  They could not, but alas we survived.

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Neither game nearly as well as we had hoped, but that’s okay.   Winning feels awesome and lord knows I hate to lose.  However, we learn more from losing and our failures than we can ever learn from winning.  The tenacity, the team work, the grit, the perseverance we learn from our losses it is what equips us to ultimately win big. The choice is clear.  Either we choose to self-destruct due in the failure, or we choose to  lick our wounds and get back on the proverbial ice and kick ass.  Which one will you choose?

Undoubtedly, the major benefit of travel hockey (for me) is the time I get to spend with my family and extended family.  The outcome, while not completely irrelevant, does not outweigh the enjoyment I get from the quality time I get with my kids.  As the Mastercard commercial says, this time with my family is priceless.

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Thankfully, we opted to stay overnight.  If we had headed home post-game, we would not have gotten home til after 1:00 am in the morning.  As horrible as the drive is during the day, the drive at night is a million times worse.  Goalielocks and I enjoyed a fantastic steak with some of our hockey family after the game.  I even got some birthday ice cream and a saddle ride for our dear friend Dam Hart, which was hilarious.

I took some photos from the penalty box this evening of the team and Goalielocks during warm ups.   They’re quite the crew.  Most of these boys are now in high school and we started this journey in early elementary.   I cannot even fathom where time has go.  In addition to the photos of  team, I thought you’d enjoy these video reenactments of me while Goalielocks between the pipes.

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My favorite picture from today is the one I took of Goalielocks doing a full split at center ice.  As a yogi, I’ve been working on my flexibility for years.  Since I teach Zumba and am a runner, my legs and hips are super tight.  There’s just not a lot of flexibility there at all.  In contrast,  Goalielocks is nimble like Gumby.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous.  I’ll leave it to you.  Who do it better?  Goalielocks or this hockey awesome mom?

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First day of fall

First Day of Fall

Today ushered in the first day of fall, which in Florida was marked by a continuation of horrible heat and humidity.  Admittedly, one of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest is the change of season from summer to fall.  As a child, my parents took us to see the beautiful fall colors along Lake Superior’s North Shore or down the Mississippi and Lake Pepin.  Each drive is a bit different, but equally beautiful.

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First day of fall at Split Rock Lighthouse

When we’d drive down the Mississippi, we would stop to see Maiden Rock.   This is a famous location along Lake Pepin.  It was on this bluff, where according to Dakotah Sioux legend an Indian maiden Wenonah jumped to her death.  She chose to jump rather than marry a man she didn’t love.

 

A short jaunt from Maiden Rock, is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s girlhood home.  As a young girl,  Wilder’s books about growing up on the Prairie were some of my favorites.  For me, it was a real joy to see where she was born.  It is also where one my favorite books take place.  Little House in the Big Woods, her first in the Little House on Prairie series, took place in Pepin, Wisconsin.

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Sadly, in Florida there’s no fall color aside from the brown leaves on the trees felled by Irma.  The heat and humidity continue to blast like a furnace and my hair hates it.  Oddly, the leaves on our maple tree still change colors randomly throughout the year.  The tree will then randomly drop a leaf or two.  It’s odd, to say the least, to see a leaf change colors in April and not October, but I think I can adjust.

We here in Florida, not so patiently, await the end to the oppressive heat and rainy season.  In the meantime, here’s a wonderful poem by John Keats on Autumn.

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mighty musings

Mighty Musings

Who’s mightier than mighty mouse?  This hockey mom with many mighty musings tonight.     Oh where or where should I begin?  I guess I’ll just tear off the band-aid and get right to my confession.  I have to admit it’s a bit embarrassing and well don’t judge me.

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My twitter bot is addicted to porn. Sorry Mom!  Oh the horror!  There’s definitely a flaw in the bot.  My coding skills are not in any way shape or form mighty.  How did this happen?  I setup my bot to look for tweets and re-tweet them based on several key words.  Apparently, twitter porn spammers are wise to the twitter bot game.   Moreover, hockey mom  is quite popular in the random words these spammers include in their tweets.  Fortunately or should I say unfortunately, I discovered this when a follower of mine re-tweeted some spam porn.  Consequently, I have to check my feed a couple times a day to make sure there’s no porn re-tweets sitting out there.  I have to admit that I never through I’d have to sort through my twitter feed to block any porn I accidentally retweeted.

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On to bigger and better things, no pun intended, the grocery situation in our household is reaching a Defcon 5 situation.  We’ve been to the Publix and Target several times since Irmageddon left.  Unfortunately, the shelves of perishables, the refrigerator cases, and the freezer cases have remained barren.  At this point, I’m getting a bit desperate.  Hopefully, BJ’s is fully stocked tomorrow.  I need to get some groceries for the house before Goalielocks and I head to Tampa.  Otherwise, the hubby, the mayor and Jake will be up a creek and hungry.

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Tonight before I left for my run, we added a new pet to the family.  Goalielocks caught a baby brown basilisk (a.k.a. the Jesus lizard.)  When I first started running in late 2015, I never saw a basilisk.  I would see our regular South Florida convocation of anoles, rock lizards and Geicos, I mean geckos.   As it stands, now when I run I see several basilisks each run of varying sizes.  Irresponsible pet owners who let their pets go in the wild are responsible for yet another invasive species let loose in the S. Florida.  How fortunate am I that I am the benefactor of this irresponsibility with yet another pet in the house?  I am so super fortunate.   Once the boys name said lizard, I’ll share the name with the blogosphere.

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In other news,  tolls have resumed on the Florida Turnpike.  I can’t believe I’m typing this, but thank God they’re back. Traffic on the turnpike has been unbearable since the suspension of tolls.   All the people who cannot drive, don’t take care of their cars, and are blissfully unaware of the minimum speed limit had found their way from I-95  and onto the turnpike.  My commute had been protracted by 15-20 minutes each way as a consequence of the increased traffic.  Alas, the state has turned the tolls back on.   In some small way,  it seems like my world has returned to normalcy.   Traffic still sucks, but at least it sucks less.

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I’m in my first full week of detoxing from my Irmageddon see food eat food diet.  It is patently unpleasant going from eating everything to eating nothing with carbs.  I’m exaggerating of course, but not eating processed food is tough.  The problem with hurricane food is that none of it is healthy.  Nevertheless, I could have rationed my food better.   Clearly, I should have anticipated the supply chain issues with the grocers and stockpiled some of the food I ate.   Instead I ate like a bear preparing for the longest hibernation of its life.  Thank God I live in Florida, there’s no hibernation and it’s always swimsuit season here.    Sweet baby Jesus!

Oh I did some serious damage during Irma.  On a positive note, I’m back to running on the regular.  My girls and I ran another 3.7 miles tonight.  Its still pretty hot here at night.   I wanted to puke like 3 times courtesy of the heat and the fact I’m out of shape.   Last week,  I wanted to puke during the entirety of every run, so I’d say this is an improvement.  Unlike the mad pooper of Colorado, neither my dogs nor I left any surprise packages in any yards, paths or swales.  Your welcome.

Thankfully with laser focus on a healthy diet and back to normal exercise habits, results are following.  Importantly, I need to make sure I stay on task with my diet and my exercise habits lest I  have another Irmageddon type diet emergency on my hands.

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We’re fortunate to have come through Irma unscathed, but others have not been as lucky.  Both Irma and Maria  battered the Caribbean islands severely.  There are several organizations that are providing hurricane relief.   I am including two links where you can provide assistance directly to Puerto Rico and another that will provide relief to all of the islands.  To assist in Puerto Rico’s recovery: United for Puerto Rico  The Miami Foundation is accepting donations to assist in the recovery in the islands including Antigua, Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Miami Foundation  There are a number of other charities involved in providing hurricane relief.  Before you donate to any charity, please check them out on Charity Navigator.

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