Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Keep making merry

The holidays aren't over, even if the big day has passed; we keep eating cookies and playing games and are enjoying being home with no agenda other than to celebrate. Hope it's cozy and calm by you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Could be the best gift idea ever

 Like so many of my journeys, this one started by accident and veered off in a direction that I never expected but that totally delighted me.

I went online to order a new return-address rubber stamp for us.  See, I can't grasp (nor apparently spend time prepping for) Thanksgiving next week, but I was thinking that I was going to need that updated return address stamp for my Christmas cards. Yes, I am crazy. It's ok.


I often find myself kind of sucked in by those offers where if you *just* spend a little more money, shipping is free. So I got the address stamp all settled and realized that I could upload ANY image to have a rubberstamp made -- didn't just have to be text -- and that since the money I'd spend on shipping for the ONE stamp would practically cover the cost of the second stamp (and really, there went the afternoon)....

I have always loved this photo of my dad (yes! there is a connection!), taken in about 1934:
He's clearly just so happy, and just so loved -- his homemade little cowboy outfit melts my heart. He was the kind of boy who loved stories, who loved to hear them read to him, who loved listening to radio programs, who fell in love with all those cowboy heroes of his childhood. 

I opened the picture in PhotoShop, and slowly and carefully removed the background:

 You just need to work slowly, work with the image really really large so it's easy to cut out the background -- and of course you'd want to start with something that's really sharp and that can in fact be removed from the rest of the photo cleanly.  (If you want to try this, and I hope you will, feel free to ask me for some more tips on how to do it in less time than it took me initially.)

I uploaded it to this company's website:

Again, if you're going to do this, I can give you a couple of hints that would have saved me a lot of aggravation, but you're probably better at this sort of thing than I am and maybe what wasn't obvious to me will be clear-as-day to you.

And for less than $11 and in only about two days (with free shipping!) I got this:

A deeply etched rubber stamp, with a wooden handle, and my image is actually engraved into the wood on the top!  This is 3" x 1.5".  You could use a photo, or artwork -- you see, don't you, how the possibilities are endless and the cost is pretty darned low?

Now I just need to keep myself from making a lot of gifts for ME.  Go ahead.  Make a custom rubber stamp for someone you love, and for you, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012



Almost time to go get dinner into the oven, but a moment here first. The days, weeks, months fill more quickly than I can grasp; I know it is the result of my own choices, of our choices that we make, and that for now I don't seem to have a better idea of what to do with my time.

We continue to settle in to our place. I'm struck by how, as we have our first each of the holidays, we figure out how to make this our home. There weren't as many ways to use our Halloween luminaria (one), so I bundled them onto our windowsill and we luxuriated in their glow.  Snow has fallen already (two), but with warm sunny days since that hardly seems true. The soccer season has ended, and now with the way high school sports work there won't be a competitive spring season (he'll play recreational soccer at school); I loved the aerial look to the game that day (three)....

And four. Four. No more leaves (the hurricane took care of that), heavy, substantial clouds hang low, warm sunny afternoons get cold quickly -- as soon as the shadows fall.

Still surrounded by boxes, at least in the private spaces -- here I am at this moment (forgot how much fun PhotoBooth is!). Someday this will really be study? studio? When, I suppose, I decide it's important enough to spend time and a little money on getting it together. Not sure what I'm waiting for.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Live the life you have imagined.

 Reading "On Walden Pond," by Henry David Thoreau, used to be an American high school rite of passage, and if somehow you managed to miss it in high school, you probably met up with it in college. It has never gone completely out of style (first published in 1854), and it is enjoying a resurgence as a new generation grapples with the need, the desire to reconnect with the natural world and a more simple way of living.
 We live, well, a stone's throw (or so) from Concord, and Walden Pond, but last weekend was only the second time I've been. We had weekend guests -- dear friends from Ireland -- and it turned out to be one of those in-your-back-pocket-gems that we all seem to only appreciate when we see them through the eyes of out-of-town (and better yet, out-of-country) visitors.
 It's a place that brings out people's desire to leave a mark, although it's refreshing to see these kinds of impermanent, natural marks rather than the graffiti that's been a problem in the past. The lake is quite small -- quite a few people were swimming the length and back again despite the cool temperatures (I guess it's one of those, "we're here, so we have to swim it!" kinds of things.)
The original house is long-gone, but the park service built this reproduction close to the park entry (not the original location, but convenient for those who can't or won't stray far from their vehicles). Cozy as it is, I cannot imagine lasting through New England winters in it.

The book can be a slog, because in between the clear and compelling charge to 'live the life you have imagined,' there's a LOT about the cost of nails and boards and how much he had to spend on beans.  Building the cottage cost him $28, which they translate to being less than $900 in today's dollars -- so, really cheap even for the times.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
Henry David Thoreau

He did find it sublime, of course.

The previous owners of our house left a poster up in the room that's slowly becoming my craft room/office, where I am sitting now.  But it bothers me that the quote is incorrect -- "live the life you dreamed," it says.  I'll live.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


For all of the angst and drama, hard work and worry, mood swings and paperwork and more paperwork, the thing is done. We are moved. We have moved. We have packed up, or given away, or thrown out the entire contents of our home of 22 years and moved the boxes and furniture and ourselves to our new home.

There were a couple of things about the whole process that really hit me hard. I was totally unprepared for the emotional side of the process. Only part of that is the journey of letting go of the place where Ken and I really got our life together underway, the place to which we brought our baby boy home from the hospital, the first home we bought. The gardens we worked on and created from nothing, filled with plants placed in memory of loved ones lost, or plants that forever reminded us of the day or the place we first got them. The scratches and chips here and there that had stories that went with them. That was the stuff I expected to have to face, and all in I would have to say that piece of it was easier than I thought it would be.

But there were these other lessons in store for me that took me totally by surprise.

I was unprepared for the huge, huge portions of uncertainty and ambiguity that get served in this process and how hard it would be for me to live with that. To find ourselves with a buyer for our house but no house found yet for us to move in to. To have to really define what we did and did not want, and what we could and could not afford, to have to face who would be compromising and who would be getting more of his or her wishlist boxes checked. To imagine a place already inhabited by a family somehow becoming OUR place. (We bought our first house pre-construction, so no one lived in it before us!)

The big one was the uncertainty. I kept being hit with that lesson like a wave crashing over me; as much as I think I manage change well, I discovered that I do NOT manage the complete unknown well at all any more. I believe that piece is about not having my life be just about me anymore, but the weight of the responsibility of knowing that my family is counting on me to make a home for them and to know where that home is – that it will be safe and feel like home. Just taking deep breaths and having faith that it would come together was important, but it was very, very hard.

The worst part kind of all got boiled down on that night when we had moved everything out of our old house but wouldn’t be doing the legal pieces and moving into the new house until the next day. To have leapt but not landed. To feel myself suspended in that space and having to reassure Ken and Dean without truly knowing myself what was ahead. There were a number of late challenges with the literal process and timing of the two sales, and we didn’t know right up until about noon on the big day whether or not we would actually get into the new house. It got to the point where I truly had to accept that big pieces were out of my hands, and as desperately as I might have wanted to hold them tight. I did finally reach a point, for my own sanity, where I let go and believed the lawyers who said that things would somehow work themselves out, sort of.

And somehow, they did.

There are still challenges and adjustments. I remind myself how lucky we are – we have a lovely home in a place that’s safe (I think about how for so many in the world that is an unimaginable luxury). Being our first “used” home, and one that’s core is 35 years old, we are getting used to discovering things – some good, plenty enough not so good (the list of what needs to be replaced or fixed is growing a tad more quickly than we’d hoped. ) The house has been added on to twice, and at one of those points the entire original house was gutted and re-done; the result is one house that flows nicely from space to space and has a unique floorplan. But, it also means that some windows are very old, some floors are noticeably less-than-level, and stuff like that.

I did know that I dreaded the Mountain of Boxes. And so I do.

But this place also has a yard like no other and a lovely small pool. Sitting out there feels truly like being on vacation (except for the part where when you are on vacation you usually don’t start making mental lists of the plants that should be torn out or moved or added, or where the firefly lights should go, and whether it makes sense to add a vegetable garden…).

The neighborhood is more populated than our old one (hard to beat a cul-de-sac with 6 other homes where everyone is on at least two acres), but it is SO much closer to stores and movie theaters and we were EVEN able to have a pizza delivered – right to our door! – which is a luxury I haven’t known since my Chicago childhood. A neighbor already stopped by with a gooey plate of brownies and a warm welcome (although perhaps a little diabolically – she runs a women’s fitness center and I certainly feel the need to check it out after having wolfed down so many of those brownies!).


Where I am rambling to with all of this, for now, is that I do still believe change is good. I think it’s important to shake things up sometimes and start fresh. I now believe that houses themselves need it – they need someone new every now and again to care about the things that, once we live in a place for a while, we tend to overlook. We’re working in different ways, thinking different thoughts, waking up to a slightly different mix of birdsongs and neighborhood sounds, and finding out what it means to be home.

[Please excuse the oddly random photos; I hadn't been taking many pictures because I didn't know where my cable was, etc. These are from the day we moved in and reflect my inability to think much about what I was doing -- so no pictures of the front of the house yet and all...]

Friday, July 27, 2012


In 3 days, the movers come and load up our stuff (a formidable amount) on their trucks. We then clean the empty house like mad, so that the buyer can take his last look around and make sure all is well.

We sleep at a nearby hotel, and the next morning we do our own walk around the new house to make sure all is well before we finalize our purchase. Sometime later that afternoon, we meet the movers over at the new house and they bring our stuff in.

Even with the complexities of a 2-day process, it sounds simple enough. Only about a million in-between details, and at least as many pieces of paper to process before it all actually happens.

I'm nervous, excited, anxious, remorseful, hopeful. I know I haven't really had time to focus on what it is going to feel like to walk out of our empty house and leave it for good. Maybe it's a sign that I'm growing up, that I'm learning to look ahead rather than panicking to hold on to the past. And hey, I'm the one who thought moving was a good idea. I still think that, but it's hard. It's an emotionally, physically draining process, no matter what.

A couple of days ago, this groundhog took up residence in one of the rock walls in our garden. We got to watch him make friends with one of the wild rabbits who already live here -- seriously, they sized each other up as they nibbled at two different patches of clover on the front lawn and somehow they decided that neither needed to flee and they've been meeting up in the early evenings ever since. He's out and about quite a bit, although as soon as he hears me open a door or a window (to try to get a better picture) he scurries back to his den. So my pictures are all taken through a window with a screen on it, which is why this one isn't too sharp.

I was lamenting to Dean that this cool creature decides to move in just as we're moving out -- how unfair is that? He wisely said that it's a sign that the place will be watched over, and loved, and that it happened now as a last gift from our yard -- something for us to remember it by.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ever forward

A quick note to say hello, blog, and to tell you that I miss you.

All is well. We found a house that we all love, and we are well on our way to owning it. The process of selling our current home rolls right along. On August 1st, one lawyer will sell our current house and another lawyer will buy our new house for us -- while we busily manage the movers. There are nearly countless details left to tie down to make it all happen, but merrily (more or less!) we roll along.

I continue the utter slog of putting. things. in. boxes. The task still seems endless but there is a deadline and it will be met. I'm trying not to think too much about the unpacking process on the other end, other than that as hard as I'm finding it to be ruthless about getting rid of stuff now I am committed to getting rid of lots more once we land. We are drowning in stuff, and we just don't need it all. Oh, the dust and the cobwebs and the utter endless piles of stuff; I am committed to a new way of life.

Now I need to go back to putting things in boxes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Creating space

I've had a bit of a revelation, and I'm feeling the need to put the words down here, to remind myself.

I've been finding the process of packing difficult.  This, after two whole afternoons after work spent on packing up the glassware and china in the dining room.  That is, making a mere dent in packing up the glassware and china in the dining room.  I've been discouraged because I thought it would only take me two afternoons to do the whole room.  I've been discouraged because it has been very difficult to sort out what to pack and what to give away.

First, it's a process of letting go of guilt.  I may indeed love the person who gave the wedding gift, but if it's not something we do use or can use then I can get rid of it without having it mean that I'm evil or heartless or unloving.  Maybe that's easy for some people, but it is difficult for me to let go of things that I think I should keep.  Also, our little family has suffered a great deal of loss of loved ones, and I have to really separate that love and caring for those people from the need to keep everything physical thing that they left behind in my care.

Next, it's a process of being real about the life we lead, rather than stocking up for a life I somehow wished we led.  Seriously, I blame Martha Stewart.  Well, you know what I mean.  I have all these things that could look so adorable in a display or at a party or or or -- or in some kind of time and space where we just don't live.  My life is not a magazine photo shoot waiting to happen, so I really don't need the kind of archives of housewares that I currently own.

Anyway -- the revelation.

It just occurred to me what making space will do.

Making space in our new home will mean that I can see, appreciate, and use the things I do have.  It will mean that there will be less to clean, and store.  It will mean some visual space, and peace, and quiet.  (THIS is a huge departure for me, to embrace that idea.)  Creating space will spark creative space -- in time, in energy.

So tonight I should be able to start putting things into the "giveaway" box with more frequency and less angst.  Hurray!

Monday, June 18, 2012


And so he moves on.

Dean's graduation was the ideal ending to a wonderful 10-year experience. The event was outdoors, on a mild, bright spring evening. Rather than endless speeches from self-important adults, each graduate took a few minutes to share some aspect of his or her experience -- Dean spoke from his heart about how much not only learning how to read, but learning how to love reading, has meant to him. One girl sang, several read poems. Then, the teachers took turns reading short poems written for each student.

Just the kind of celebration, and culmination, one would wish for.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I miss him when he's away, and I miss this little self of his that's grown up so much, so quickly.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nothing waits

Our peonies bloom and then, in only a day or two, they are done and their petals scatter. We adore them, and understand that we must be vigilant and quick if we're going to see them on their glorious day. I love that I can spy a bud just coming out in the morning and then by the end of the day see the full-blown result.

Summer's coming just as quickly.

Dean will be graduated from 8th grade in 15 days.  He has school on only 5 of those days!  There's a hiking trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire next week, and parent-teacher conferences and, oh, field day (a day of fun and games) so really that's 4 days of school.  And then, if I'm counting correctly, 80 days of summer to relish.

Ready or not, here we come.

I want to be sure that in the insanity of moving we don't lose sight of making sure we make the summer count, that we carve out time for mini golf and ice cream and, because I'm free to dream, a trip to the beach.  I wonder if it will make sense to put the badminton net up on the lawn.  Probably not.  Maybe at the new house?  Sleeping in -- we can definitely try to do some of that.  And this really should be the year we go to the drive-in theater that's not too far from here, before we're too far from here.

What I realize is that while time is always whooshing by, there are certain points (big impending life changes and milestones being major ones) that make me so much more acutely aware of how there really is no slowing it down and that it's going too fast.  No turning back, just holding on tight and trying to enjoy the ride. Or, better, throwing your hands in the air and laughing all the way.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Trying to focus on what I'm learning about myself in this process, and breathing deeply to try to bring a state of calm to it as well. I know I can do this, moving forward into the unknown with trust and hope.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where the heart is

I realize, suddenly, that I do expect things to go a certain way.

It's not that I'm not flexible (I think); I can often imagine veering off a particular path and am generally willing to do so.  When Dean and I get into the car at the end of the school day and I offer to take him out for ice cream, or mini golfing, or down to Cape Cod to go to the beach (quite a trek from where we are), I really mean it -- at that moment, I'm willing take a sudden detour (he's yet to take me up on anything, but someday....)

I'm grappling with an intense feeling of seller's remorse, now that it appears we're really on track to sell our home, and I think the reason is because it just all happened a lot faster than I thought it would.  I thought we'd have the house on the market all summer.  I thought we might still be in our house when school starts in September.  I never for a moment thought that 12 days after listing it we would be signing off on an accepted offer (and, as it turns out, to the first person who looked at it).

I do realize that the world of real estate sales is no cake walk, and that there's plenty that could derail this freight train.  But somehow I feel that it really is going to happen (or at least that there will be a back-up for this deal if we end up re-listing).  And that's not at all what I expected.

It's made me review the list of reasons we decided to move in the first place.  All solid, still valid.  It's made me consider my emotional attachments, which run deeper than I realized.

I've lived in many places, but really have only had 2 homes -- the one I grew up in and this one.  And though it totally blows my mind to say it, the truth is that I have lived in our current home for LONGER than I lived in that house in Chicago where I grew up; there's some kind of twist of time and memory at work to make that true in a way I have a hard time accepting.

And the thing, really, that's throwing me for a loop here is that we are NOT finding our next home.  Remind me, people, how ridiculous it is that I'm saying that given that we've only looked at 3 houses so far with our realtor and gone to 4 open houses on our own so far.  On the other hand, I've looked at EVERY house listed in our target towns online so many times that I can look over the list the realtor gave me of all listings in those towns and I know just from the address which house is which.

Why is it that the only people listing their homes are the ones who live in ancient houses, or on corner lots of two busy streets, or next to power lines or within spitting distance of a hospital?  I mean, I GET why those people don't want to live in those houses any more (while respecting that some people are quite happy there, thank you very much), but aren't there people like us with nice houses on nice lots in quiet neighborhoods who want to move?  In the Boston area, you can easily buy a home built in the 1800s, if that's your desire.  It is not my desire. You can also easily buy a home built between 1900 and 1935, and then between 1946 and 1969.  It's not that I don't respect and appreciate history, and it's not that I'm clueless about the benefits of going with what's there; but I'm realistic about our lack of handyman skills and our inability to manage a home that turns out to need drastic electrical or plumbing or mold mitigation work (or the many other pitfalls in owning older homes).

There's very little from the 1970s (which could be a blessing, of course), and then stuff built from 1980 until now is few and far between.  Although often enough, some speculating builder bought one of those older homes on a tiny lot, knocked it down, and replaced it with a McMansion that's STILL on a tiny lot on a busy street (and of course ridiculously expensive).

I did see one of the most beautiful and unusual homes I'd ever seen.  In our price range.  Nice town, nice lot.  We would have needed to add on to it, but there were some possibilities there. However, the owners smoke (cigars and cigarettes), and my research shows me that, particularly given the way this house is built, those chemicals and odors can never be fully removed.  Ken's allergies, not to mention moving Dean into the House of Second Hand Smoke, take this one right off the list.


I guess one reason our house sold so quickly is that we've taken care of it, maintained everything, renovated what needed updating (the house was built in 1990), made lovely gardens, and listened to our realtor's advice about price (most people seem to be living in their own private Idaho when it comes to setting a listing price).  Oh well.

We'll keep looking, of course.  I'll be all on top of those new listings as they appear, and from our research we will certainly know it when we see it.  And buy it, hopefully.  And be able to move in on or before August 1, because otherwise we're hitting the road.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I have found my home
in the garden of a friend
you will find yours, too

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fun breaks out

I begin by giving up any hope or plan to be linear here. Two huge, momentous, life-changing months have passed -- all good! -- and while I truly haven't had a moment until now to try to post, I began by feeling too overwhelmed about where to even begin.  That is, until I decided to just roll and not worry about laying it all out in any particular order.

It does start with Dean, as I think about it -- here, contemplating and experiencing the ocean on the entire opposite side of the country than the ocean he was exploring in my last post. Kind of neat and perfect, if I do say so.  He was accepted at all 3 high schools to which he applied, and he enthusiastically (after about a month of great reviewings and backings and forthings) chose the school we thought was pretty much made for him.  He'll be a day student there of course; I couldn't even begin to contemplate sending him to boarding school. Although I will say that the fact that it does include boarding students really appealed to all of us -- he'll get to meet and make friends with kids from throughout the US and the world. We have visions of inviting his boarding friends over for weekends and holidays when they may not be able to travel home. But that's a side story for now. The big one was just getting through the process, having him get his acceptances, and making The Decision.

And here it is, kind of all falling in time order after all, but seriously -- a day after that, the boy turned 14. Just like that. While mothers anxiously await and watch for and track and celebrate each tiny milestone of an infant, there's this astonishing, magical thing that happens at the twilight of childhood that deserves just as much attention. There's even more happening, and happening even more quickly -- growing up, literally and figuratively. All of a sudden, here's this entirely new, yet entirely familiar person emerging. Capable of so much, so wonderful to be around, so ready to bloom.

 Now is where my story is going to be gaining a kind of crazy and out-of-control speed, just so you know. And Natalie, of course, has already said so much and said it so profoundly; right after Dean's birthday we hightailed it out of town to celebrate -- both his birthday and my own -- by flying clear 'cross the country to California, and our dearest friends whom we'd never met but feel we've always known. Natalie and I met through our blogs (she figures it was 5 years ago, and I believe her), and when Ken started asking me last year about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday it didn't take me long to figure out that I really, really wanted to meet Natalie and her family in person.
We met them one day at the San Diego Zoo -- just like we were old time, all-along friends who just planned a trip together to the zoo -- and then Dean, Ken and I just kept showing up at their house and having more fun than we knew what to do with.
(In addition to meeting Natalie, we also achieved a big wish-list item of seeing real, live pandas.)

I hope that everyone who blogs, and who makes good friends through blogging, makes a point of getting out into the world to meet at least one of those friends. I can tell you that it's better than you can even imagine. For me, Natalie's friendship and the connections between our families is a gift of such magnitude that it goes beyond anything I would have dreamed of.  Usually, you know, when you make friends in your usual walk of life -- people you meet through work or your child's school or sports or your neighbors -- you certainly appreciate those friendships, and when you're lucky they last for years and years, and the friendship itself reveals itself over time and takes the kind of journey that every day life is made of (in the best possible way). It's normal stuff, is what I'm saying. And maybe we should try to stop and feel more fortunate about those connections, and honor the magic that IS in there, too. But this was something, well, special-er. 


To come face-to-face for the first time with people that you've been cheering on and learning about and getting to know online was, for me, kind of like meeting some movie star or something (but better than that, truly).  What I mean is that I felt I KNEW them all already, even though we'd never met -- it's that piece that has the kind of celebrity sighting feel to it. But these are real people who are truly our friends, and we had to figure out together how to BE friends together in person and it all just fell easily into place.

 We hiked at Torrey Pines, just as Natalie envisioned that we would. What delighted me about getting to know her in person was the opportunity to experience the things that just don't come across a computer screen, such as her wonderfully lilting, musical way of speaking. Her sparkling sense of humor is even more effervescent in person, although her humor certainly comes across in her writing.
 See? Dean just blends right in -- one of the gang. He adored all of Natalie's children, and had a particularly nice connection with Max, who is just his age.

Natalie's children adore her, they adore her wonderful husband Geoff, and they adore simply being at home. Who wouldn't, when it IS the place where fun breaks out? We hope they can come visit us someday, and/or that we get to get out there again some time.

 And then, from there, we drove north. Up to Disneyland. I will start THIS by saying that for as long as we have dreamed of visiting Walt's park, we were heartbroken to leave our friends and ultimately did have the BEST part of the trip with them.

 I would like to try to do a separate post about this part -- or maybe I'll just end up dropping in photos along the way --

 Plenty of people don't get the whole Disney thing -- the same ones who can't fathom why, if we've already been to Disney World in Florida we would want to go to Disneyland in California -- and I guess those are people who don't see the value (or haven't experienced the magic) of riding a carousel with your 14-year-old son and your altogether grown-up husband and laughing pretty much the whole time.

Sigh. I do need to go now, and make dinner, and then clean up in a spectacular way because our house is for sale. Right after we got home from our trip we called the realtor, because that new school of Dean's is fairly close to Boston, and Boston is where Ken works, and we live far enough away from Boston now that we need to move closer. We've lived in our house for 22 years, and perhaps when I tell you that there were only 3 weeks between our having that initial meeting with the realtor and today, and you imagine all that it might take to get a house ready to be on the market that has been being filled up with stuff for 22 years (and frankly not cleaned as often nor as thoroughly as it should have been) then you'll further get why I've been away from this space for so long.

I do hope to tell more of our stories, and show more of our pictures, and be back here a little more often now. Even though we've got a mountain to climb ahead of us, I feel such a weight has been lifted that's been on me for a long time. I understand where we're headed, and that was such the great unknown for so long -- and the way ahead seems so inviting and warm and wonderful. Fun will just keep breaking out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I finally worked up the courage to come over here and see how long it had been since my last post. I'm just waiting on some *next steps* kind of news and plan to do a good long catch-up post soon. Meanwhile, we skip rocks into the Atlantic when we can, and dream of what lies just ahead.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giving it away

I'm honestly not sure how it is possible that, despite knowing all day long that today was January 31st, and in fact anticipating and planning for today (the birthday of my first and best friend since childhood), it only JUST struck me that it's the last day of the month. That January has in fact already come. and. gone. Tomorrow, a new month. Effortless, and in fact fairly frightening in how smoothly and effortlessly it has just slid by.

Is it the weather? Is it this weird non-winter winter where it was, today, 51 f.? Is January usually a month that seems to take a lot longer to pass because it's usually so cold and snowy and miserable? Seriously, I can't figure this out. Where did the month go?

Maybe it's a good thing I didn't go the whole *resolutions* route this year, given that I've somehow let 4 weeks just evaporate on my watch.

Oh well.

I'm trying to give something away every day; not exactly a resolution, although it can on some days connect to the whole clear-out-the-house-of-unnecessary-stuff project. And it doesn't have to be a "thing" -- I can give a kindness, give way to another driver, make eye contact with the security guard (or grocery clerk or other person in a job that tends to render him or her invisible to most) and wish him a nice afternoon. I gave away several full-to-the-brim shopping bags of art and craft supplies to a friend at work with young granddaughters; I had all kinds of beautiful beads and feathers and paints and paper and really, just loads of beautiful things that Dean has outgrown or passed over. It felt so good to send everything off, knowing it would be used and loved. The funny thing, the wonderfully funny thing, is that my friend went out and got me some special tea and the perfect tea mug and some fuzzy socks (to know me is to know how much I love fun socks) -- funny what comes back when you give things away.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I've been slow on the whole new year's resolutions thing this year; older and wiser, maybe, about how real change happens? Less concerned with deadlines, and embracing the ability and right to start fresh at any time? Avoidance of acknowledgment of the passing of time? All parts of whatever the truth is.

One thing that will be true of this 2012 I've got in front of me is change. Lots will change, whether I want it to or not. Dean will graduate from 8th grade and go on to a new high school (not that I don't want that to happen, but there's a lot of emotion around it). I've done all the hard work (checking out schools, getting the applications in, going on the visits and interviews) and so now we're all just waiting for the decisions from the schools, and our own decision.

Lots will change that will require real effort from me to make it happen. We'll be moving to a new house this year, one way or another. And within that, I can also see the need for making little, daily changes that will add up to my feeling pretty delighted at the end of this year (getting organized, completing some craft projects, reconnecting with old friends). I need to keep pushing myself along, and I need to be careful not to hide from the small changes behind the big ones.

Do you sometimes find yourself dragging your heels in the face of change? I'm trying not to get stuck in resistance, but to be renewed by pushing through and embracing. That's what I think this year is going to be all about.

Monday, January 16, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

Because I really cannot resist Valentine's Day, and need a next holiday to prepare for!

Picture In Landscape 5x7 folded card
Tell them you love them with Shutterfly Valentines cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Dean does not have strep throat. This is a big relief to me, even as I acknowledge to him that "not having strep," and "feeling 100% better" are two entirely different things. He definitely has a cold, and with it some variety of virus that's particularly awful on the throat.

He felt too sick to go to school yesterday, and I know that I can totally trust him in this regard -- that if he's says he's too sick to go to school, it is true. I looked at my own work schedule for the day and, given that I was already dressed and prepared, thought that I perhaps should leave him with clear instructions and go on to work. Again, I know I can trust him, and I know that he's comfortable and capable managing a day on his own.

But then I reflected -- in an instant -- on how wonderful it is to be taken care of when you're sick, and how incredibly short the window of time in your life is when someone DOES actually stay with you and take care of you. Has there ever been a time in your adult life when you've been miserably sick and you haven't wished that your mom or dad were there to take care of you? Isn't it always what you wish for?

And so I stayed home with him and made him scrambled eggs, and hot tea with honey; I played board games and watched some tv with him, and sat reading next to him while he read. I wrapped him in blankets and got his pillows for him and made him put down his book and close his eyes for a while (*just in case* some sleep might follow!). And he, even he who is growing up and becoming independent and wanting to do things himself, was grateful.

Raising a teen is an interesting journey. I think it's challenging to balance giving and expecting independence with giving support. No, not babies any more, but still not adults. It's OK to want both things, I tell him -- to want to do it yourself and to want help. And so that's the journey we keep taking together.