Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rock On little elves

My children are helping me get in the holiday mood by doing this:

Merry Christmas to you and all your elves:)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Starlings in Winter

Each year, I send out a Winter Solstice package to some neighborhood friends, reminding me that on the shortest day of the year, we have to hold onto the hope of light returning.  This year, light and hope seem particularly relevant as we all struggle to come to terms with recent events.  As usual, the poets say it best:
Starlings in Winter

By Mary Oliver


Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbably beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings. 

as though I had wings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving
WH Auden
When pre-pubescent I felt
that moorlands and woodlands were sacred:
people  seemed rather profane.
Thus when I started to verse,
I presently sat at the feet of
Hardy and Thomas and Frost.
Falling in love altered that,
now Someone, at least, was important:
Yeats was a help, so was Graves.
Then, without warning, the whole
Economy suddenly crumbled:
there, to instruct me, was Brecht.
Finally, hair-raising things
that Hitler and Stalin were doing
forced me to think about God.
Why was I sure they were wrong?
Wild Kierkegaard, Williams and Lewis
guided me back to belief.
Now, as I mellow in years
and home in a bountiful landscape,
Nature allures me again.
Who are the tutors I need?
Well, Horace, adroitest of makers,
beeking in Tivoli, and
Goethe, devoted to stones,
who guessed that-he never could prove it-
Newton led Science astray.
Fondly I ponder You all:
without You I couldn't have managed
even my weakest of lines.                                        May 1973

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Notes from the Pew

There are some things folks in my generation don't do enough off and I would put singing right at the top of the list.  I would also add partner dancing; the odd polka here and there probably does much to lift one's spirits.

I learned to polka in the 3rd grade and I was always partnered with Cody Love, who was the only boy in the grade who was taller than I was.  Third grade teachers have a thing for symmetry.  The thing is, I had a small crush on Cody which manifested itself in my swinging him so hard that he hit the back of the gym wall and couldn't participate in gym for two weeks.  Thus ended that budding relationship but not my love of polkas.  Oh no, not my love of polkas. 

Our Christmas pageant this year is a musical!  Complete with a rocking tune about the stable that lends itself to a samba number, which I tried to demonstrate to my daughter's class.  My daughter put her head down on the desk and refused to resurface for 10 minutes.  I have tried to tell her, repeatedly, that I will not stop dancing because it horrifies her.  We are at an impasse.  She is playing Mary this year and Luke is stepping up from being a shrub to a shepard.  The congregation will join our merrymaking and we will all sing to the heavens....Did you know, according to Margaret (our very own wisewoman) that a song becomes a prayer when you sing it three times?

At coffee hour, we started our holiday celebration by singing carols.  Choir members drifted over and did some beautiful harmonies with "Silent Night" and "Winter Wonderland.".

So, today the holy was found by singing.  We rocked it:)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I come in peace

Sometimes, I feel like an alien who has crash landed in a place that seems vaguely familiar but is not home.  I try to figure out if it is parenthood that has catapulted me to this frontier, with all the noise and pressure of trying to raise good enough kids.  Trying to support their passions and keep them from cheating in front of all their relatives in an endless game of Trivial Pursuit (all hypothetical, of course).  Or is it marriage?  The seesaw effort of keeping things in balance when God Damn It things hurt now when I climb and why did you rip the wallpaper off the walls when all I wanted to do was change out the toilet. 

I don't want to host Thanksgiving at my house and nobody would have asked me to until I landed in this place, and started making these things: 

My husband is travelling in this land, as well: (using drywall screws to make a turkey centerpiece that was mistaken for a peacock)

Julia Child started cooking in her mid thirties out of boredom and out of a desire to keep her renaissance husband happy.  Until that point, she had viewed food as fuel.  She was an all-in kind of gal and threw herself into the literal foreign land of France and French cooking.  It is possible she was an alcoholic, serving shots of vermouth to her crew before cooking for 14 hours to "steady the hands" but maybe she was just trying to get back to her own place.

Spiritual masters talk about the 1000 deaths we experience as we let go of our old selves and embrace our new paths.  Middle age seems to be about nostalgia for what was and a bit of confusion about what is coming.  I'm going to keep reading about feisty women who said "the hell with it" and reinvented themselves over and over again.  And I may try a French recipe or two....Tant pis!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

For my folks

West Texas Blues

To lie under a night sky bleeding darkness.
To hold onto the hope of rain.
To sit in the shade of a beat-up Chevy.


Sing a gospel tune
hearing the voice of
the old preacher,
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Shell peas,
shattering the silence
of the enamel bowl
‘til the day cries “Uncle”.


To make an angel in country dirt.
To dance with a cowboy poet.
To call back God.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Beautiful Game

Tim Howard, American World Cup Team Goalkeeper and Everton Goalkeeper.  I feel it is my duty to share this with you....for the love of the game.

For more beautiful shots,
ESPN: ZOOM Gallery


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Good Problems to have

Just pondering what defines a "problem" and I would say the little moments in life that cause aggravation:

1.  Standing in line to vote
2.  Cartwheeling daughter who knocks off your glasses
3.  Tree house without walls...tree platform, really
4.  Thousands of leaves to rake up
5.  Student conference that did not go as expected
6.  Asked to speak your piece about a sport team that imploded.
7.  Murder mystery with no murderer
8.  Slow leaking tire on my Pilot
9.  Stiff knees
10.  Soggy banana bread.

At the end of  every day, my prayer to the universe is to keep my "problems" in perspective and to see them as the gifts they really are.  We are all healthy and happy and let's face it, my FM (faux menopause) has momentarily settled down. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Notes from the Pew

I have a love/hate relationship with daylight savings time:  "falling back" in the moment feels glorious and mischievous, you have stolen an hour from the time gods; but then you remember the darkness that descends by 4:00 and one feels like Persephone, minus the dead daughter.

I have been cranky, as of late, with a hair trigger.  I was happily blaming it on perimenopausal hormonal shifts until my latest physical showed no hormonal changes.  Why oh why am I so persnickety?  Could it be the upcoming dearth of Vitamin D?

This morning, to prepare for a religious education lesson I had to round up the following items:  foil, small rock, stick, chalice, book, stuffed animal, dinner plate, hiking boot, first-aid kit, and a wooden bowl.  Did you know that Dr. Albert Schweitzer was a Unitarian?  He also had a very impressive moustache.  Those items had something to do with his story.  Additionally, I had to find and tear up material for bandages so we could re-create a hospital environment....we also needed pillows and sleeping bags.  Not to bore you too much, but in the frenzy of gathering up 40 props, I forgot the actual curriculum and had to tear home to retrieve that during "joys and sorrows.'  Flow like a river.

I made it to coffee hour, where I learned that my son was off doing community service somewhere in town with his class, no idea where and no idea when he might return.  Viola...return and magnification of faux perimenopausal symptoms.  And then, I noticed the light in Parish Hall:

I had the time and space to notice the light.

My friend/brother Mike who is a gifted photographer talks about the "magic hour" when the light is just starting to fade but everything is paradoxically as clear as it ever gets:

On a run around Dean Park, I had the time and space to notice the light.

So, as we begin our descent into the darkness of  New England winter months, remember the light.  We have to take the time to find it.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Let me start this potpourri post by saying that I work in a town with a business by this name.  My 8th grade students, in hushed tones, told me that this factory specialized in sex toys and naughty items.  I believed them and conveyed this to several friends.  One looked it up and told me that in fact, Potpourri specializes in decorative household items.  This is why I truly love 8th graders. 

We had a whirlwind week-end before the hurricane when we had the distinct pleasure of working with this group:

These folks will come out to where you are and help your organization dismantle bikes which they will then ship to countries where they can be used for primary transportation.  Check them out at

A couple of week-ends ago,  we reconnected with our dear friends and snuck in some leaf jumping and apple picking (fall in New England is as good as it gets):

Then, we had to ride out a storm.  We did it in style:

And that just left the annual halloween party:

When AC Moore tells you they absolutely do not have tissue paper not believe them and do not abandon your halloweenie quest, for it is a noble, holy grail type endeavor.....Scary, no?

Dr. Who and a Carthwheeling Genie
Friends and family on the East Coast are grateful for all our blessings....we all made it through with minimal damage.  Emma did spend the bulk of the day under our new dining room table after we did a "tree falling drill".  Marry an engineer, do drills but stay safe and feel loved:)
Finally, a big shout out to Heather for sending this my way.  It is a powerful message right before elections:
Peace to you all

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bless your heart

Well, some hell has broken loose as can only happen when parents get overly invested in their children's lives.  I try not to comment specifically on what other people do, as they should be writing about it themselves in their own blogs, so this is more philosophical musing:)

What is wrong with us?  We fire off emails when a teacher or a coach or a play date goes awry and forget that the way to slog through conflict is face to face, with a cold beer as the pay-off after the blustering and threats have subsided.  We seem to forget that our kids have to lose and struggle and then make up with each other without our interference.  Helicopter parenting?  How about I'm-in-the-bunker-with-you-and-I-know-you-are-constantly-under-fire-so-I-stand-ready-to-take-a-bullet-for-you-at-any-second parenting.  Not healthy for you, your child, your marriage, or your community. 

I don't like bullies or injustice because it reminds me of all the times I have been both.  I am currently reminding myself to hold onto compassion because the folks I am aggravated with, I'm going to be standing in line with at the grocery store tomorrow.  We will be on the soccer field together and at dance recitals.  Your kid will date my kid and I will trust you to call me when someone I love has had too much to drink and needs a ride home.  We have got to pace ourselves here.  Truly.

So in the end, I'm writing this to remind myself to hang onto the rules of civility.  If I can't say something nice, I need to text my buds and have them delete it within 48 hours.  I need to ask myself what HH the Dalai Lama would have to say about all this and then picture him forgiving the Chinese the occupation of  his country for the last 50 years.  I need to hear my grandmother's voice who used to shake her head and say "Bless her heart" when folks crossed a line. 

Bless your heart.  Those are words to live by.

**special shout out to Tracie who fights the good fight for those who are struggling day in/day out.  Your compassion for those who need it is inspirational.  May you find peace this week. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Cadre

I have been working myself into a froth about the following in no particular order:  youth soccer and over zealous parents, wooden Swiss Qtips (the potential for ear splinters is always there) the relationship between Simon de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sarte, and the peeling paint on my house.  I am skipping frothdom for the Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren Senate race and the presidential race.  I'm also not too fired up about the Red Sox, the Texas Rangers or the Patriots.

I can make myself cry by thinking about the debt we are leaving our children and the realization that their lives are going to be harder than ours because of choices we have made.  The epitome of selfishness.  I just finished reading a great book called "Bringing up Bebe, One American Woman Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting."  It talks about the entire French culture supporting a few things, which they call the Cadre, or framework.  This led to an interesting discussion at one of my book clubs...which in all fairness was myself and Roving Reporter, who is actually not roving but getting her doctorate......and we picked the next two books...and I betcha people will come next time if they want to read anything but public policy or philosophy.......................about whether Americans have a framework as a culture.  The only things we could come up with, really, are the ideas of rugged individualism and bold exploration.  The French in this parenting book feel pretty strongly about babies sleeping on their own at a very early age, eating a variety of food at set times, and respecting others.

Since I have been frothing a bit, I decided to ponder my own personal Cadre, the one I am most likely passing on to my children.  It starts with the importance of family and honoring the elders in our tribe.  The second part of my Cadre has to be the idea that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.  When things get tough as hell, laugh long and hard as a first step, the absurdity of life is quite curative.  Put learning first and get back to school, classes, retreats, seminars as often as possible.  Find your spiritual center and feed it...with church or poetry or running or yoga.  So much of what we think matters, I have the sneaking suspicion does not.  I want to carry that awareness with me to the next contentious meeting I am in or pull it out when I am tempted to yell at my children about being late.  So what?  So what?  That might be a great cadre....I'm going to kick that one to the top and see what happens.

In the end, I try to remember that on the 28th day of the month, I froth transcendentally.

So what?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Surging Ahead

It started with the Ipad training at the beginning of the school year for all incoming 6th graders and their parents.  Parents needed to go to the training because.......our kids needed a ride.  It was a complicated scenario, with stations set up and a myriad of checklists.  It took me about 3 seconds to realize that I was just travelling through my son's brave new world and I was slowing him down:

ME: (warily eyeballing the first checklist)  OK, you need to clear.....
SON: (warily eyeballing me)  I've already done the first 5 things, you don't need to read those out loud
ME: OK, you want to make sure...
SON:  I've got it mom, can you put the list down so I can do this faster?
ME: (incredulously) You don't need me here to do this, do you?
SON (not wanting to hear birth story, again) No, but I want you here

Cut to Station # 2, and this really drills down to the essence of the computer generation vs my people:

SON:  OK, now we have a problem, it looks like my original email address is not going to work and I'm going to have to reconfigure the settings
ME: (waving my hand furiously)  We need tech support here, we have a problem!!!!!
SON:  (pushing my hand down)  Mom, let me try a few things on my own before you call in tech support.

Cut to last Wednesday when my husband surprised me with a Keurig coffee maker for our anniversary.  We had a dinner date, and left the coffee machine on the counter and the kids with our babysitter.

ME: (upon our return) Did you have a fun night?
DAUGHTER:  I love the new coffee maker, it makes great hot chocolate
ME:  Did Amy figure out how to use the machine?
DAUGHTER:  No, I goggled the directions on how to use it and figured it out myself.  It is pretty easy after the first time.

I know my kids are going to surge ahead of me, I just thought I had a bit more time.  I think we need to make a deal:  I will learn from their new, fired up neurons if they let me lend them some frontal lobe wisdom until they are 25.

It is a brave, new world.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sit for a bit

It is the return of the fall schedule with soccer and dance and violin and Chinese and badminton and yoga and climbing.  All good things but all a distraction from contemplation.

I am reading an amazing book of essays by Thomas Merton.  He was a catholic monk who espoused the spiritual importance of contemplation.  It has been illuminating to read a Catholic whose spiritual leanings walk so closely with Zen practice.  He had a long standing dialogue with D.T. Suzuki, an eminent Zen scholar and traveled to to India to meet with the Dalai Lama.  On that trip, he was accidentally killed when he was electrocuted by a defective fan, the cooling device, not a stalker. 

All of the essays are worth reading but "The Inner Experience"is something amazing.  I have finished the first reading with the understanding of my poverty of understanding.

The important thing in contemplation is not gratification and rest but awareness, life, creativity and freedom.  In fact, contemplation is man's highest  and most essential spiritual activity.

Merton had a prescient sense of the world and what is coming our way:

Now all our existence in this life is subject to change and recurrence....but life becomes secularized when it commits itself completely to the "cycles" of what appears to be new but is in fact the same thing over and over again.  Secular life is a life frantically dedicated to escape...from the fear of death.....Secular society is by its nature committed to what Pascal calls 'diversion' movement which has, before everything else, the anaesthetic function of quieting our anguish....hence the growth of economically useless businesses that exist for profit and not for real production, that create artificial needs which they then fill with cheap and quickly exhausted products. 

Christmas Tree Store, you have been called out by a spiritual master.  I find it ironic that I barely have time to read and ponder contemplation, much less actually contemplate.  Each year, I come up with a grand meditation plan.  This year's brilliant plan is to meditate at work during my lunch break.  Note to self, you can't meditate with a walkie-talkie.  Turn the walkie off, the phone rings.  Don't answer the phone, and you will be overhead paged right out of  the mantra "I have arrived, I am home."  I have been left alone exactly once.

Merton lived in a monastery and then a hermitage.  I don't think I can go down that road but I believe he was right in talking about how often and how much we allow ourselves to be distracted from what is real.  You have to go inward and be bored and "look at the things not seen."  One could postulate that setting up  mediation time at work allows you the illusion that you really want to go inward, knowing you have set it up to stay out.  Ah, my monkey mind, I am on to you.  I'm off to sit for just a  bit.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Dylan is coming, and I'm a going.  Here is one of his latest: 
Bob dylan duquesne whistle (tempest) - YouTube.  I left out the video which is fairly violent but worth seeing just to ponder Dylan and his posse strolling the streets....

I grew up listening to Dylan and my mom had these lyrics from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" posted on the inside of her English honors classroom:

Ah get born, keep warm
short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don't steal, don't lift
Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift....

The thing about Dylan is, you can pick one of his songs for each decade of your life or each tragic occurrence in your life or each marriage or birth of a child or death of a parent.  He is my poet.

Although I think his best album is "Blood on the Tracks", here is one of my all time favorites:

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The Times they are a changing.....and we still need our bards

Saturday, September 15, 2012

March of Time

We had a rousing good time at all the soccer games today.  Luke scored a goal and Emma kept a few out.  To celebrate, the kids wanted to go to Spirit of Halloween.  In the spirit of the season, this business springs up in old, abandoned stores and stays for a couple of months.  Our local SOH took up shop in the old Borders, which I'm sure had forced a local mom/pop bookstore out of operation.  Karma, complete with Zombies and plenty of sexy policelady costumes.  Can they really throw down criminals with garters on?

Luke wants to be Dr. Who.  You can't really do a quick overview of the series....a time travelling immortal doctor who regenerates and tackles metaphysical madness across the universe but it has been on the BBC since 1963.  Take a look
BBC - Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor - Character Guide

 Emma wants to be a Zombie Bride but has nixed the short tutu and wants to wear soccer shorts. 

This is how they look on Halloween in my mind:

 When I pointed out a costume that was a wee bit frilly at SOH, Emma said "Mom, if you know me at all you know I would never wear that".  I know the princess in you my love and I know the transformer in my son...and the dragon and the pumpkin... and the devil...and Gandolf. 

I think our job as parents is to remember all those disparate identities, and to love and honor each one equally.  My hard hitting little soccer player may need a reminder that a good tiara is nothing to sneeze at.

As an aside, my husband picked up a Zombie garden gnome.  I'm not sure he has fully recovered from the infamous gnome heist.  Go ahead, take this is possible he has rigged something up:)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Long years of service

There are some things you shouldn't blog about.  Your lack of blogging, the crazy world of politics, body parts, and how messy your house is....  Don't do it.

There are times you shouldn't blog.  After fighting, drinking, fasting, or running (more than 8 miles and yeah it's been awhile but you never know).  I lay these out on the altar as a reminder cause it has been awhile (shoot, there goes one) and it's possible I'm a bit rusty. 

I do need to tell you about "senile ovaries" so we can go ahead and cross another off the list.  Every two years, my license is up for renewal in October.  That means in September, when I am usually 10 hours short, I start the big push to find topics that are meaningful and also in any way available.....usually online.  This year's big winner was "Meanings of Menopause:  Cultural Considerations".  Now, if you are asking yourself why a middle school adjustment counselor needs to delve into the cultural considerations of menopause....well, my time is approaching and I want to know what might be coming.  The course was actually pretty good but the author felt compelled to quote from a medical textbook written in 1887 to show, ostensibly, how far we have come.

Senile Ovaries

The ovaries, after long years of service, have not the ability of retiring in graceful old age, but become irritated, transmit these irritations to the brain....exhibiting themselves in extreme nervousness or in an outburst of actual insanity.

I don't know if my ovaries are going to become senile or burst into insanity but I can tell you they are already irritated.  I can sense it.  I'm also OK if they choose to not retire in graceful old age and as far as their transmitting those irritations to the brain?  Go ahead, the brain does not benefit from keeping irritations bottled up...the brain can handle a few outbursts, it has been evolving for millions of years.

So go ahead ovaries.  Do your thing, whatever that looks like.  We are not here to judge openly, like in 1887.  This is how much progress we have made:

American University professor breast-feeds sick baby in class, sparking debate - The Washington Post

Thanks to Roving Reporter for the source and let's keep talking about our ovaries and what continues to happen to them. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Gift of the Magi

We are, ostensibly, headed out today for one last hurrah this summer.  As I type this, it is almost 6:00 and my husband is not home from work.  This is his subtle way of telling me that he does not want to go camping.  I get it, because I also do not want to go camping.  This is a Gift of the Magi moment for the two of us.  I have been worried about my love this summer and the hits he has taken.  When a climbing buddy suggested we join several other families for a group excursion up to the White Mountains, I pounced on the opportunity for his sake.  As for me, camping for just a week-end is a bit long on the packing end and short on the playing end.  Still, anything to help my grieving spouse.

Imagine my surprise when said spouse said this:  "Why are we doing this?"  And I responded with "because you love to do this and you have had a rugged summer." 

Of course, anyone who has met WCE knows that car camping with a group of 20, with a set agenda and group meals could possibly be considered one of his nine circles of hell.  I heard camping and didn't quite pay attention to all the details.  That is my gift that sometimes goes horribly astray.

As we were putting together the gear of this event, we learned that our active and committed shed mice ruined our stove, our mess kits, and my beloved cooking spice kit.  Consequently, the money we have spent on new gear would easily finance a very nice hotel for the week-end.  Just saying.

Here is the thing.  We are going with great people to a beautiful place.  Our kids have never camped out and they are about to experience the exhilaration of setting up camp in the pitch dark.  After labor day, we are soccer bound on the week-ends until November.  This will be a healing time....if we can just survive tonight.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer by the Numbers

I just finished an interesting book about a young Mormon philosopher questioning her faith and really, really wanting to have sex.  Those two concepts walked hand in hand.  The book, "A Lost Argument" is a 3 star deal, for you Goodreads aficionados.  In the book, the protagonist goes to Germany, has a great year which the author conveys in the form of a checklist.  One of my issues with the book is that a great year gets a check-list and the longest angst-filled summer gets a third of the book.  A reversal might have popped it up to 4 stars.

Here are mine for the summer:

1.  Number of deaths: 2
2.  Number of states visited: 3
3.  Number of books read:  16
4.  Number of good books read:  6
4b.Number of pamplets on how to handle grief given to me by my son: 3
5.  Number of relatives seen:  22 (not counting aunts/cousins nobody knew at the wake)
6.  Number of yoga classes:  About 15 thanks to a little coffee shop in Austin that provides a free
     yoga class in the mornings as long as you order something.
7.  Number of times I fantasied about moving to Austin:  4, after yoga while drinking my decaf latte, listening to a rocking pedal steel player, drinking a Shiner Bock on a 100 degree day, and running on South Congress during dawn.
8.  Number of times I cooked for 16 people in a week:  3, truly a record that can stand
9.  Number of runs I went on over 5 miles: of the things I enjoy most about summer
10.  Number of bike rides I went on:  3
11.  Number of times I got lost on bike rides:  2
12.  Number of times I tried "skimboarding" in Maine:  2
13.  Number of times I skimmed:  0
14.  Number of times I went kayaking:  3
15.  Number of things I made:  0
16.  Number of camps my children attended:  5
17.  Number of amusement parks/museums/"Worlds"/mini-golf places attended:  5
18.  Number of times I miss Gert:  daily
19.  Number of rooms decluttered with some help:  4
19.  Number of weeks until this is all just a memory: 1

I'm not sure if the numbers tell the whole story but I see that we all continued on, despite feeling overwhelmed and sad.  I would like to add the number of friends/family who gave us love and support:  too numerous to count.  I know that is the main number.  Love to you all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hazy with Smoke

There are some things you need to know if you are a woman in your 40's/50's.  You are going to need a good, expensive bra before your friends will have the courage to tell you that things are swinging too low.  You need to know that favorite outfits you have carefully treasured since you were twenty now need to be donated to goodwill because no self-respecting 20 year old will take them but they will buy them and "repurpose" them.  When you decide to do a dance routine for a work-out, take advil before and after.

You will learn about heartburn and "gastric distress."  They will be painful lessons but you will begin to care less about burping and farting in Target.  Your gray hair springs out of your head at right angles that defy the rules of geometry you took in high school.  Your hairdresser will give you free sample products every time you see her in a futile attempt to round up those free spirited roamers.

You have to get a yearly mammogram.  Sometimes, you will get called back so the docs can take more pictures and maybe even an ultrasound.  When you are sitting in the communal waiting room, with other women in their 40's and 50's, you will feel such a swell of compassion and connection to the plight of all women, that you will work hard to ease the stress of the most stressed out woman there.  You will quote NPR statistics that may or may not be true and forget your own fear.

When the doctor tells you that your "dense area" is a benign cyst, you will burst into tears.  Later, you will realize that not everyone you were waiting with will get such good news.

This is what I was reading while I was waiting:

Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick, I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I'm already under
and living within the ocean.

Does sunset sometimes look like the sun's coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?

You're crying.  You say you've burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who's not
hazy with smoke?                                               Rumi

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Soaking up the Awesome

There is something about Maine that makes you do this:
Here are a few more shots of a week spent away from some of the losses this summer:

You have to be tough to swim up in the ocean in Maine but after your legs numb out, it gets easier.  The kids became addicted to skim boarding and may turn into surfers.  I tried a couple of times and did not break an ankle, which is no small thing.  I also did not skim so much as kerplunk.  We ate lobster rolls galore and visited a great down home "wildlife kingdom" in York.  The kids rode a camel and I went on a rogue Ferris Wheel....very fast and loose, she was:)

In the end, in the words of my sage son, we spent a week "soaking up the awesome."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Uncle Roy

My heart and energy and love are all directed to my husband and his family this week.  One week after his mother's funeral, Scott's brother Roy died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  Roy lived a quiet life in South Carolina with his partner, Kim and their dogs.  I knew him as a kind, quiet, and gentle presence in the Reitsma clan.  We will celebrate his life at a family memorial later in the summer.

Please hold Scott in your thoughts.  He is tough, grounded, and balanced but the hits keep coming.

I'm reduced to offering him juice, which he kindly accepts.  I'm also fielding a lot of questions from the kids about my health and the health of all family members.  We are all fine, by the way.

As my dear friend Suz told me "take small bites when you are eating a shit sandwich".  That is why you talk to friends when it all comes down....they will tell it like it is.

This too shall pass.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Scott's mom died last week in hospice, peacefully and surrounded by her family.  She had opted to stop chemo treatment for cancer and so I believe she also died on her own terms, having just spent a month out of the hospital with her husband of 63 years.  May we all be so lucky as to have the funeral that she had.  It was a celebration of her spirit and her legacy.  That dimple you see above is found in the exact same spot on my husband and on my daughter.  I think her intelligence is also amply represented in the clan.

I spent the week taking care of the food aspect of things (all of you who know me don't have to suppress your laughter) and so I'm just coming into the silence of missing her now.  She welcomed me into the family and represented New England stoicism at it's best.  I don't believe I ever heard her complain about anything.  She loved her family in a way that left no room for doubt.  She never judged our parenting and supported us quietly and without fail.  I can't write much more at the moment except to say that I hope I recognize her in her next life.  I would like to hear that laugh and see that twinkle in her eye again. 

Have a safe journey, nana

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Texas

This is a song I listen to when I go to Texas, and when I come home again.  We always feel a longing for the place we are not.

Just Dance

Yipee!  At the risk of sounding like a dance mom, the girls took 1st place in their division.  I will not be hearing this song until next year....I think I might miss it a bit:

I'm headed to Austin, Tx for a Shiner Bock beer and some two steppin' at the Broken Spoke.  Now that is dancing:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Week One of Summer Vacation

Beach Day in New England....covered in fleece, I still managed to get a sunburn.   By the way, which parent do you look like when you are on your way to hypothermia?

I used to go to Art Museums but now.........

Robotic glove designed by WPI students to assist stroke survivors, of which I am one....way cool engineering dudes, way cool

Monday, June 18, 2012

Let's go Hydra!

This is our local semi-semi pro team--the Worcester Hydra.  We are proud season ticket holders.  The season tickets were dropped off at our house by one of the players which gave me quite a start and then oddly touched my heart.  Which is what a semi-semi team does. 

Notable Season Events, to date:

1.  One of our friends being named "fan of the week" after chanting "Let's go Hydra" for a solid hour, non-stop.  He received an autographed picture of the team and immediately told his parents they needed to alert the relatives in Ireland about his honorific.

2.  Watching a player get injured and realizing it was taking awhile to get a medic.  Watching the player's mom and girlfriend clutch at the fence as a lawn maintenance vehicle lurched him off the field. (he was OK).  Then, before we had time to recover from that event, watching a young fan projectile vomit in front of us.  All boys assured us it was OK because the vomit was bright orange, hydra colors.

3.  Seeing the passion of young players striving to do their best in front of a crowd of only 150.

4.  Striking up a conversation with the British gent in our "season ticket" section, wondering if he spent his youth watching English Premier League games.  God Bless Him for hanging with the Hydra.

5.  Spending more on scarves than on our season tickets.

6.  Having a family of four behave so obnoxiously that we had a beautiful example for our children of how to not be fans.  Coaching U12 soccer does not give you such soccer wisdom that you can yell at the ref, goalie, and the defenders with BAD ADVICE throughout the game.  Also, we did not need the history of every horror movie your family has seen since 1990.  Brutal, just brutal.

So, we are hooked.  Down home fun and close by.  Some games are exciting, some are not so much but it is still the beautiful game, played by folks who are trying to make a go of it.  If you are close to Worcester, the next home game is next week-end.  We will see you there!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


My kids are out of school, I am not.  I can't drink caffeine anymore which I now realize got me through these little transitional moments.  Moments where I am corralling 200 8th grade students in their 4th run through of a graduation ceremony saying things like "Keep the faith" and "Rock on".  I live in fear of becoming the South Park Guidance Counselor.  I came a step closer today.

When do we become a parody of ourselves?  I think parenthood puts us on that path via warp speed.  Here is what I see when I look in the mirror today:  graying hair in bun; glow in the dark earrings which, although hip, were a gift; vein sticking out of neck like a rain gauge on a fence; no make-up; etc, etc.  It is the look of someone who says "rock on" when they haven't been up past 9:30 since last summer.

I am no longer the hip counselor so I have to segue into something deeper.  Maybe the wise counselor?  I brought breakfast treats into the behavioral program to say goodbye and then made them all recite a Buddhist blessing before eating. 

May you be filled with lovingkindness
May you be happy
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be well.

It is my wish for all my students and all of you.  Be who you are and if you can't rock on, rock down deep.

One more day and then the real fun begins:)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hanging with my Gnomies, no more

Dear Gnome Thief:

Our family is wondering about you.....are you part of a gnome-stealing gang that wanders the suburbs, waiting in the hedges until the lights dim?  Are you cash poor and spiriting our gnome family off to the Swiss Alps for some quick cash?  Or, as I suspect, were you walking down the streets at midnight, and became enchanted by the moonlight as it glistened off the perky red hats of our guardians.

Imagine our surprise as we walked down the drive to get the paper and realized that our entire gnome legacy had been lifted.  Four gnomes travelling on without us.  We do appreciate that you left the mushroom and the gnome riding the turtle but make no mistake, that will not cancel out your bad karma. 

Collecting gnomes is an endeavor for the pure of heart and to start your collection off with stolen property will not end well.  Gnomes know what gnomes know. 

So I say this to you my fellow gnome Covet-er:  tread carefully down the road with a stolen gnome as your companion, it is a tricky business you have started.

And to our stolen gnomes, we imagine you will find your way home.

Peace to all who walk righteously:)

Gnomeless In The 'Burbs

Monday, May 28, 2012


 The back right panel of my car is duct taped together.  I'm at the point where I don't think it looks that bad, to be honest with you.  My maternal grandfather would not have been able to sleep at night if his car, house, shed or any tool in his possession had been duct taped together.  I have transcended that genetic marker.  We are hanging on with the help of duct tape, and proud of it.  By the way, I knocked that panel off when I hit a fire hydrant...those things move quickly:)
 Today is Memorial day.  The banner across my living room table reads "Happy New Year" where it has peacefully fluttered since December 31st.  I noticed that it was still up this week-end.  I quickly checked to make sure the Christmas tree wasn't in the corner, as well.  I decided I could take it down, or blog about it.
This is my son, buried under meditation pillows.  We are in the upstairs chapel at church, waiting to ring the church bells after the memorial day service ends.  It is a painful ritual, waiting for about 40 minutes to ring the bells but they found a way to stay calm:)

A friend said to me this week-end "this is the good stuff" as we were watching our children ride their bikes around a cul-de-sac.  I have felt the weight of this year drop off a bit this week-end as I spent time with my dear ones.  I truly hope you experienced the same. 

Love to all!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A late mother's day post

I'm not really cut out to be a dance mom.  Sure, I can put on the false eyelashes ( a proud moment when your 9 year old sports her first pair of false eyelashes) accompanied by my obligatory spiel about beauty on the inside far outweighing beauty on the outside while cussing up a blue streak when the damn lashes get stuck to my thumb and her nose simultaneously.  And I can pin up this hairpiece and watch in awe as it goes flying off her head in the middle of the competition.  The only one out of her troupe who lost her head piece.  She bravely danced on and assured me that her team got extra points for "overcoming adversity."

Then it struck me.  I am the adversity my daughter has to overcome.  She has already learned the art of rolling her eyes when I dance, sing, or tell jokes.  I have not been able to overcome my irritation or really my arrogance around this sport even though Tracie has been trying to get me to fly right about this for years.  I can't help but notice when the MC asked the girls on stage what they wanted to be when they grow up, they responded with "dancer" or "hairdresser."  Every single one of them.  The thing is, what I really don't want my daughter to grow up as is as judgmental as her mom.  Still, I'm going to be happier if she is a marine biologist (her answer had she been asked) because I think there is more longevity in a field that focuses on the intellect rather than on the physical.

I am what I am, as was my mother and my grandmother.  They let me wear white go-go boots and a red satin tuxedo short set, along with a white cowboy hat and red feather plume as captain of my high school flag squad.  Now that my friends, is a sport.  May we all overcome the adversity that is our parents and become that adversity for our children.  May it surely include some inappropriate garb and a few late nights.  Happy mother's day to you all.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staying Put

Holy Cow, it has been awhile.  During my brief hiatus from my blog, I have been contemplating the following:

1.  Leaving my job
2.  Leaving my field
3.  Working 1/2 time
4.  Hiring a Cook
5.  Learning to weave
6.  Learning Dutch
7.  Moving to Amsterdam

We all have a default position when things start to unravel.  Mine has always been to flee the scene.  The chaos that accompanies a move, a new relationship, or a new job is a wonderful distraction from the discord that often drives change.  Of course, staying put is sometimes a move of cowardice.  So the question I am grappling with at this moment is simply...Should I stay or should I go now?

I have earned a bit of wisdom around this issue by having kids.  Early in the parenting game, I got really steamed at WCE.  He had a little habit back in the day of having lunch with an old flame whenever she blew into town without feeling the need to share that information with me.  One week-end, I took my 9 month old son and took off to New Hampshire to bust out my anger.  I'm pretty sure I did not tell a soul where I was going.  Not only that, but I took my son hiking and we got a little lost in the white mountains.  This was before I had SIRI to help me out of these kind of jams.  I had a bit of an epiphany while I was wondering around the woods with a baby strapped to my back:  the days of the grand gesture are over.  I don't get to drop out any more.  My kids connect me to my husband, even when he is being a world class ass.  Divorce is out.  Moving away is out.  Even hiking under the radar in New Hampshire is out.  His gift to me is that he feels exactly the same way:)  We take the wisdom we gained by having kids and apply it to the rest of our lives...... 

And so as I contemplate running, I realize it is my relationships that keep me moored.  I may change jobs, hell I may even change fields but I'm not going away to do it.  I like to think that my arthritic knees have nothing to do with my staying put.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Notes from the field

Nana is having a good week!  Hallelujah.  The kids are pondering mortality and of course, our beloved Beta dies this week.  That is the way.  And then, not to talk too much about the most painful professional week I have ever experienced let me just share this newly minted pearl:  It is a bad work week when Fox25 news shows up at your place of employment.  Not enough time has passed for me to write coherently about the experience except to say when the media gets involved, the world becomes less a contemplative place and much more a reactive place.  We have lost the ability to sit with hard truths and painful, ambivalent situations and instead reach for a part of something:  a part of a story, a part of a solution, and just a part of our best selves.

Sometimes the universe throws up on you and you have to make sense of it all or reframe it or just hunker down and get through it.  The Dying Warrior pose is apropos, as is any kind of long run in severe conditions.  Now is a good time to read the German existentialists, along with listening to Italian opera.  Sink into it because the only way through it is through it.

Years ago I worked at a residential school for emotionally disturbed (that was the term then, I think things have gotten more PC now) adolescents.  I remember these things:

1.  (posted on my director's wall)  Life breaks us all.  Some people become strong in the broken places.
2.  Trust the people you work with.  If you don't, change jobs.
3.  Children carry the symptoms of their families.
4.  Structure and boundaries save us all.
5.  Fake it 'til you make it.
6.  Finally, sometimes people you care about deeply will wound you out of a place of pain and despair.  Hold onto compassion for them.

I'm trying to remember these lessons this week

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coral Glynn: A novel by Peter Cameron

This is one in an occasional series of rants...can one rant occasionally?.......about the demise of the printed book, bookstores, and our slide into being plugged in to the matrix.  I am a hypocrite in this arena as I am contemplating buying a Kindle Fire even as I type.  For the record, my first Kindle lasted about a month before it unceremoniously refused to take a charge.  I feel like that sometimes.  WCE promptly decided to fix it himself and bought many tiny little screwdrivers to assist.  Cut to voided warranty.

So I'm driving home from work listening to this:  It sounded good, courageous repression and Jane Eyre plainness and British miniaturists.  I need to know what those are.  So the interview lodged in my book psyche.  Cut to Barnes and Noble, one week later.

To wander in a bookstore is an endangered past time.  One walks in, not knowing in advance what is going to make the cut or what genre will issue forth a siren's call.  As I am pondering the new paperbacks, the interview comes floating into my consciousness, sans the title or last name of the author.  I walk over to information on a mission:

Me:  I hate to do this to you guys but I want to track down a book and I can't remember some key components....the author's first name is Peter.
Lovely book-loving clerk:  This happens all the time...what is the book about?
Me:  Kinda of aVictorian novel set in the 1950's, repressed may have Glenn in the title.
LBLC:  Ok, let's put in a partial title search...hmmmm, nothing is popping out
Me:  See, I heard this great book review on Fresh Air
LBLC:  I love Terry Gross...hey, let me get the manager, she has some program that she can use to track down books that have been reviewed and I really want to learn how she uses it.
Manager:  Ok, when was the interview?
Me:  Sometime last week
Manager: (after some work)  Could it be Coral Glynn?
Me:  (loud scream).....That's it!!!!!!

I don't know how good this book is going to be but I had to have it.  I will remember how I got it probably long after the plot fades.  Books should mean something and getting them should sometimes be hard or at least multi-layered.  I want to read this and pass it on to Tracie who will pass it on to Lorette who might recommend it for a book club or two.  It should move forward in an organic and human way. 

We are on the verge of losing something.  I feel it coming.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Patina of Experience

It has been a tough couple of weeks; a dear family member has cancer, work continues to consume more than it's psychic share of time, and we seemed to have skipped spring and jumped right into summer.  Although it feels nice in the moment, the snow will return or the tornadoes or the hail and will pound the daffodils back  into the earth.  And so it goes. (apologies to Vonnegut for plagiarism)

This time of year brings the annual I-have-been-skiing-therefore-I-must-be-in-running-shape runs.  Those runs hurt.  There was no snow this year in New England so the skiing was sparse and yet again did not keep me in running shape.  Maybe the skiing as training philosophy is a false path.

As I was coming up on a hill that can only be described as gruesome, I spotted this by the side of the road.  The next time I ran that course, it was still there..... where it remains.  I look for it now, and smile when I think of my new talisman, a rusty chain.  I'm tempted to pick it up but am hopeful that it is providing fortitude for other runners or walkers.   

WCE said at dinner tonight, "I think I just like working with older people."   I think we are becoming the older people, actually.  Our parents are aging, our bodies are complaining, and our kids are beginning to think we are decidedly uncool.  My daughter actually has a specific look, only used for the special occasion for when I dance.  I want to say to her "Have you won 50 dollars at a dance contest with your gay boyfriend?  No? Then shelve the look sister" but instead I smile wisely and say nothing.  Her day will come.

So is it rust?  I think not.  I prefer the patina of experience. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let it Roll

We own, in our little family, 12 helmets.  They are for skiing, climbing, biking, sledding, and sometimes trying to cut a tree off your car after an ice storm so you can get to work.

Sometimes having a helmet does not help the situation.

I spent an hour in abject terror watching my two kids and their best pal careening down a hill yesterday, dodging planters, the swing set, and each other.  I had some time to ponder the metaphysics of it all, and came up with a few things:

1.  Our kids are usually not going to get hurt when they are helmeted up.  Buy as many helmets as you can think of, and make them wear them whenever you can....the danger is in what we can't prepare for.......the tumors, for example.

2.  The higher pitched the scream, the faster you should issue forth edicts about stopping what just brought forth that scream....or let it roll and place your faith in the helmet.

3.  Be careful what you create in your offspring; fiery, fit, fearless children are going to raise a ruckus and scare the hell out of you.  Make sure you have insurance.

4.  Pull yourself and your kids out of your schedules and sled whenever there is snow.  It all melts so fast.

5.  Be in the moment with them.  They get it.  Follow their giggles and energy and let it roll.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I was talking with my mom a couple of days ago and it went like this:

Is everything OK?  My sister and I have been eerily surprised for 30 years at our mom's uncanny ability to suss out anything amiss in our lives and with me, it is at a distance of 2000 miles.

I'm fine, just busy.

You haven't been blogging in a month.

Has it been that long?

Yes, you wrote about the Science Museum.

I go on to reassure my mom that everything is alright, and for the most part, it is.  The thing is about moms....they notice when you stop blogging and they wonder why.  My mom has always been my biggest fan.  I can remember early attempts at poetry, piano playing, bassoon playing (my teacher breastfeed her little one and still played an uncanny Bach) running for student council, marching in the band, running on the track, and the biggest adventure of all.....leaving Texas.  Each step of the way, my mom not only told me that I could do it but that I was the best one to have ever done it.  Heady stuff which inoculated me against more than I ever realized.  I picked up and moved across the country, not knowing a soul, because my parents believed that I could do that and did not try to stop me.  I was 23 years old.  I landed where I was supposed to be because my mother had the courage to let me go.  I'm not sure I will be strong enough to do the same when it is Emma and Luke's turn but I will try.

So, mom, thanks for noticing when I take a break.  It does mean that I'm out of balance but with a little help from my friends, I return to true.

I love you!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week-end Review

We survived the Museum of Science with five 11 year olds and in fact, I think we even flourished.  The Pompeii exhibit was heartbreaking:

And this beautiful statue did not prepare me for my daughter slipping into the exhibit to see a video which included the tail end of a live birth.  "Gross." said my daughter.  "It is what it is." said me.

Hard to say, except this was my husband's favorite exhibit.


Church today featured a lay lead sermon on the growing gap between the wealthiest and the poorest people in this country.  The statistics are staggering and I"m grateful to the Occupiers that we are now having this discussion in our churches and schools and hopefully in our boardrooms.  I'm also enjoying Arguably, Essays by Christopher Hitchens a transplanted British columnist who wrote about the parts of this country, that I for one, need reminding the fact that we execute prisoners under the age of 18.  Did you know that?  The United States stands alone as the country with the most juveniles awaiting execution.  Where is all the outrage?  I wrote a little entry about the things I miss as a younger person and I want to add "outrage" to the list.  I know it takes a lot of energy and we are busy raising kids and trying to batten down the hatches during this economic hurricane but we can't let go of being outraged.  Our kids need to see that outrage is justified when compassion has fled the scene. 

What does it mean, indeed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

the good ole days

I was driving home in the rain tonight after sitting for 2 hours at a dance lesson.  Tomorrow, I will be accompanying five 11 year olds and one 9 year old to the science museum.  Sunday, I will be fitting in church, skiing, and oh yeah, the kids climb with their peps that day.  I'm no martyr and I fit in quite a bit for myself but I was musing about the things I miss (that is the danger of a 2 hour dance lesson when you are not the dancer)....not as a mom but as a middle-aged person with responsibilities on all fronts.

I miss reading the Sunday paper for hours.  Was the news more riveting 20 years ago and so took a more concerted effort?  Thinking of the Sunday paper leads into all those leisurely Sunday brunches; banana pancakes in Austin, beignets in New Orleans, green chili breakfast burritos in Albuquerque, and of course, Jazz brunch in Cambridge. 

I miss week-ends devoted to just one thing.  Like riding my bicycle from Austin to Shiner, Texas.....82 miles in one day.  If memory serves me, I was so exhausted once I got there, I tried to get arrested so I could rest.  As a footnote, you have to do more than pee in a bush to get arrested in Shiner, Texas.  How about all those climbing week-ends?  Glorious because that is all we did....we climbed in the week so we would have the stamina to do multi-pitch climbs in the Gunks and in the White Mountains.  We slept by the side of the road and ate power bars on the cliff all day.  As a footnote, power bars plug you right up.

I miss staying up all night dancing with Jen in our vintage garb and eating breakfast before heading to bed.

I miss travelling.  Driving through the night to go skiing in Colorado or to see the sunrise over the canyons in West Texas.  Driving out west on a stretch of road between Lubbock and Clovis where there is nothing but road.  Feeling the peace of that.

I think we can be in the moment, and love our lives and community and family and all the things we are doing and still take a moment every now and then to remember those hell raising days.  I can stand up to an angry adolescent who is threatening to take out the principal because I waited tables at Abel's.  I can stand in the rain at my son's soccer game because I rode and climbed in the rain back in the day.  And I can damn sure appreciate a Shiner Bock beer, good enchiladas, and now...New England Clam Chowda.  It's all part of the mix.

What do you miss?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I miss you!

Work today was a bit of a whirlwind. It involved good karma boxes, distraught parents, some contraband, and a non-existent lunch. This combination led me to misplace my Iphone.

I noticed this exactly as I pulled into my driveway, after work, to make a call. This is one of my odd little habits. I consider the driveway my home office, and often place a call or two before I go in and get distracted by pure chaos. No phone. Ok, no big deal, I clearly left it at work and will pick it up tomorrow.

To cut to the chase, I have needed to check appointments, text, look at the specifics of a pattern I had photographed, and email. I have been forced to move to the big machine and it is woefully inadequate. If I do not find my phone tomorrow, I will stop on my way home and have a new one by the evening. I am wired in....

How did this happen? Is all this texting and talking and organizing doing something to our neural pathways? I just googled that question and the answer is apparently "yes." There are such things as internet and texting disorders. We are, indeed, redirecting our brain circuitry.

How long can we go without our smart phones? Do we need to take a break on occasion?

This kinda reminds of the time when I forgot to go food shopping and then decided that an all day fast would be "cleansing." It was not. I know I don't want to get rid of my smart phone, maybe just turning it off on occasion is a good idea. Just realized I can't listen to tunes on the treadmill. Bigger issue is that I can't seem to see the treadmill under a pile of books, art supplies, and maybe a stuffed snake?  I would take a quick pic to post, but you know the story by now.....

I am going off the grid.  At least until tomorrow:)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012


WCE accepted a job today....about 15 minutes from the house.  I know he is saddened by the dissolution of the dream team but I have faith that they may come together again someday.  The process was a harrowing one which included my heart getting all fired up, literally; the kids asking if we could afford Christmas this year; and picking through our values with a nit comb.

I'm also grateful for the partner that I ended up with....even though I didn't include him in the favorite pics of the year, he has such integrity and compassion and all good things that I sometimes can't believe our luck in finding each other.  It is when things go off the rail that he becomes most steadfast.  I just get kinda loud:)

Congratulations Sweetie!  They, and us. are lucky to have you!

And by the way, thanks to all my friends and family for lending an ear, giving us such generous Christmas gifts, and talking this thing through.  I must have rocked in my past lives:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Favorite Pics of 2011

Before church

After the race

A Day at the Beach


 More Contemplation
 Getting There
Warrior Dash


There you have it:)

Monday, January 2, 2012

One last day

Today is the last day of a week long vacation.  What did I not get to?  Oh yeah, getting my oil changed, renewing my expired driver's license, and putting away the holiday decorations.  Of course, I can't really do those things on the very last day of vacation, that would be unvacation-like. 

What I need to do today, what we all need to do on our last day of vacation is figure out the last lego piece to the holiday sculpture.  What magical winter experience eluded me?  Besides anything having to do with snow in the becalmed Northeast.  Although we did ski, hike, climb, and run.  We also partied, laughed, read, ate, played games, and enjoyed each other.  I got it.  Today should just be more of the same.

Enjoy each other and the gifts of vacation for one more day.  The oil and the laundry can wait.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

We rang in the New Year with good friends, good food, and some fierce dancing!  Do you think you can dance?  Hang out with a hip-hopping 9 year old, a friend with a Jazz background, and a dude with a Dean Martin hat.  You will be disabused of your notion:)

This is the post where I get to wax poetic about the gifts of the year.  I love this part of the holiday, although another friend pointed out, rightly so, that this time of year is really about the death of the old year.  Reverend Judith with her Buddhist perspective, wished us all "Happy Continuation Day" and I like the flow of that. 

I'm thankful this year, in no particular order for the following:

1.  My bodhisattvas, the people on my path who are teaching me....that is all of you so a big shout out for that.  My daughter teaching me love, my son teaching me compassion, my husband teaching me trust, my friends teaching me faith and joy. 
2.  My job-- a difficult one but a raft in turbulent economic waters.
3.  Adventures--Bermuda, skiing, Harvard Square, Brimfield, the Warrior Dash,  and the Cape.  Most within 50 miles of here.  Go figure.
4.  My docs--they continue to work to contain my fear and my occasional irregular heartbeats.  Go team.
5.  My elders--they are "wicked pissah". 
6.  My Community-- I complain a bit about the suburban life but I've got neighbors who are getting my son on the bus, carpooling with me to dance, and preparing for ski season together.  I found a village and I'm grateful as hell.
7.  Yoga-my friend Rolf told me years and years ago that I was going to need yoga more than I was going to need any other physical activity.  His words have proven to be prophetic.  With my racing heart, arthritic knee, and herniated disc (I don't look that great on paper anymore), yoga keeps me going.
8. Church--  I need to sing, pray, meditate, teach, laugh, and cry.  That all happens every Sunday.  Amen
9.  The Things I made this year--not enough of them, and some even had upside down snowmen in the end but every minute I spent making something by hand was a gift I gave myself.  More next year, I promise myself.
10.  My Clients--I don't blog about 'em but I am immensely grateful for the amazing stories I am privileged to bear witness to and is an honor.

So seize this year and embrace it.  I love you all!