Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sunday Creative - Ritual

It is a walk
on a warm day in welcoming woods
It is a sip while cradling a hot mug
beside a friend
It is a smile
that needs no words and demands no explanation
It is a tear
that streams down speedily, paying homage
It is a dog
racing wildly through the woods
yet somehow only a part of it all
It is a kindred soul
that could be found with closed eyes in a dark room
This is the ritual of friendship.


Thank you for visiting my piece of The Sunday Creative. This one goes out to my friend Shah, and to our Dads, who made sure through the ether that we found each other, somehow, some way. Saturday was four years since Dad crossed over, as he called it, but I can still find him in the trees, just like he said.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

...and goeth

I'm jumping in for a quick pictorial description of our weekend with Ken & Mary. because I am about to be off {on my own, almost} for the weekend, and this is a Big Deal. More on that later!

Having arrived for a visit from the frozen Ohioan northland, our weekend of mild Georgian days was a treat for them - so we tried to spend as much time as possible out in the sun.

We went to Stone Mountain (yes, yes, making the most of that yearly pass! Squeak, squeak goes the pennies as they rub...), but this time did not need to prove our youth and fitness by hiking the mountain. Instead we picnicked, played and walked a nature trail.

Why hello, who is that picking up the camera for an impromptu shot?! What am I doing in a picture?! I look sarcastic.

Here he is again, clicking that shutter! Cute little wild ones... watching the geese.

Little brothers and big brothers, each are the bookends of their siblings. And on the left is the rogue camera snatcher...

Aunt Mary, mistress of sunning, provider of trip snacks from the van, winner of hide n' seek.

Jadyn said, after they left: "I miss them. She showed us a lot of good hiding places, and she could have showed us more." Yes, along with the compliment was a tiny slam. She could indeed have showed them more, and instead she willingly left. Or, I think that's what she is saying. But, this was Jadyn speaking, so we will not know what may or may not lie beneath, right?

Mary and I shared some delicious vino, and you should run out and get yourself some, post haste. Apothic Red, it is a California blend, Apothic Red, it flows so smoothly, all our tales were told. Mary paid me the finest compliment of having always been old. I took it well, because she then added "soul" to that sentence. Hiccup. I recounted the things we have in common, and reviewed her Doula days in my home. We could have nothing in common, and still, still... the love. You do not show up at a house of newborn twins and expect 1. a solid night's sleep 2. a hostess able to do anything. But I have been over this already, n'est-ce pas?

Rick & Ken looked over from the den, and remarked on how chatty we were. We looked over from the kitchen and remarked on how not chatty they were. Family. I love it. Ken is a State Farm agent, so there was much reviewing of policies and life insurance plans. All was resolved and our future secured. Whew.

They left in an unexpected turn back north, to see to their daughter Marie. She is in the hospital unexpectedly, with a kidney issue, so think of her. She is precious! My kids think she is barely out of her elementary-school years. She is that much fun. They thought she and her little dog Angel would be visiting, because every *child* travels with their parents, right?

Marie and Me, July 2010. SIL Mary likes there to be a Family shirt each summer. I am a good sport. XO!
And now I am off to prepare for a weekend in Birmingham, with my friend Shah! Cole is friends with her daughters, so he and I will take off after lunch tomorrow. You know what I always say, one child? Pah! Nuttin' to it! Happy weekend, friends...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Doula Cometh

Oh stop it, you know I'm not pregnant! It's just a good title, and did it work? Did it pull you in?

Well, it is also true. My doula is coming to visit, and I can still call her that because once you have doula-ed, you are always a doula. Or something like that.

In this case, my doula is my sister-in-law Mary, from Cleveland. And in this case, she will not be here to doula (can I get an amen, sisters!). No, in a novel twist, she will be here to visit! What a treat! I am sure she agrees. Mary and Ken came to visit and help for a week just after the girls were born, and then again when Phoenix was born. For this, and many other reasons, I cherish her. I cannot tell you the relief it brought me to have Someone to Pick Up A Crying Baby when we were floundering around, adjusting to twins, and then to the Baby 4. And, equally as important: Someone Who Cooks!
Mary knew all the needs of a weepy, drippy, leaky new mother and kept me well-fed and well-hydrated during each doula visit. She would bring me water when I was "locked up in the stocks," as she called my giant twin nursing pillow. (This huge pillow strapped around me and supported the little piglets. It was quite a commitment, feeding two tons of fun every two hours. So that pillow truly felt like the stocks on many a day...)

I still chant a little tune from her visit during the girls' infancy. You have to picture me with a big show-biz smile, snapping my fingers and tapping my toes. It goes like this:

"Who's crying now??? Who's crying now???"

Repeat as needed, with as much pizazz as possible. (The pizazz helps with the annoyed feeling you may get from all the crying infants and children that you may or may not be surrounded with.) I still find far too many occasions to sing this tune, but I never fail to think of Mary and her song-writing abilities.

Most of all, when I think of those days, it is with a sense of having been rescued somehow. Of being safe for just a bit, from whatever worries and cares a new mother is subject to. Oh doula, my doula!

So this is my ode to Doula Mary and Dear Ken (equally tender and capable in the childcare area!), and my welcome to them for a regular old visit, infants not included. But toddlers? Oh yes. Our resident toddler will be welcoming them as well. Around 6am. Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!

Mary and Phoenix, summer 2008

A picnic at the park

Uncle Ken is like St. Francis of Assisi, only with children. They flock to him and settle in for a snuggle.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Day

Hello dear friends!

Here are your Love Day quick shots. First, you knew there would be a banner! I only wish I had the desire to improve my photography... because this banner is darn cute.

Add in a few cards for sweet friends...
A few sweets for the little sweeties...

And a peaceful shot of aforementioned sweeties... (just ignore Phoenix throwing a rock.)
Some flowers and custom chocolates for yours truly, and we can call it a Valentine's! (My flowers are still untouched...but the chocolate, oh the chocolate...those pretties from Schakolad do not last long. Get in my mouth! )

Happy Day to all, and thank you so much for your thoughtful, much-appreciated comments last week. XO...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Absence and presence

I don't know that I've ever written about the absence of a feeling. But I'm finding that absence in this case indicates presence. Talking in circles has a way of working out, I promise.
It has to do with February.
It has to do with what February has been for four years, and what it appears to be now.
February four years ago became tainted; a ruined month in which I faced the loss of my Dad. And though I'm not usually subject to moods in the winter months, I could feel February coming from a mile away. I embraced it in a way, allowing that it was a cold month anyway, so it would serve a dual purpose as The Month That Bodes All Ill. I settled in to be cold and broody in February for the remainder of my days.
Those first years, the feeling leached into the end of January. No sooner was I done celebrating the girls' birthday than I felt the looming doldrums.
It wasn't that I only missed him February, of course not.
It's just that anytime grief can find something material, something solid to transform into, it will grab hold. The potential is there, in anything they touched before moving on.

I will use this address book forever, because he gave it to me.
I will save this scrapbook set forever, because he chose it for me.

It becomes a living crypt, to treat objects this way. They cannot just be things, they must be Things. Things of Connection. Things that Link. Tethers to a being who is now tetherless.

This February there is an absence. An absence of doldrums, an absence of ye olde hole of grief. But the marvel is that not only is that absence, umm, present - but it has been replaced by new growth. A burst of creativity. A feeling of myself, in full, that has been limping along in the shadow for four years.
Welcome, traveler!
I have become the traveler, and have crossed that line from the crypt of grief to one who is able to welcome life in all its fullness.
And I am so very thankful.
This February when the tears come, they will bear drops of joy, for I am becoming what he wished.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Rare Sighting

Look closely, and you will see a rare creature through the (I've-seen-better-days) greenery...

It is phoenixus independentus, a new addition to GA fauna. This small mammal is most often found attached to its host mammal, mommius beensittingwithhimforthreeyearsius, and has been previously named phoenixus clingius (common name: Mama's Boy). To glimpse this phoenix in the wild, on its own, is a rare treat indeed.

Just take a look at its usual habitat. It clings to the smallest digit of mommius beensittingwithhimforthreeyearsius no matter what the situation. Fresh from the cleansing pools of the savannah? Like a limpet, phoenixus independentus never fails to find the appropriate metacarpal appendage.

This connection with the host stimulates an immediate reaction, in which phoenixus independentus then sucks on the large digit of his opposite metacarpal. It is an instinctive reaction, and cannot be thwarted.

Wherever the host mammal finds itself, you can be sure phoenixus independentus will be within inches of her supportive system.
However, the recent sightings of an independentus genus give us hope for GA's future, and the future of our wildlife.
(PS Did you spot Lucy Goosey in her luau outfit? Complete with coconut bra! The girls decided some festivity was in order, to warm the cold days.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Goldilocks Syndrome

My children have a condition.
It is most apparent at two times of the day: getting-shoes-on-for-school time, and dinner time. It is called Goldilocks Syndrome, or GS. Pay close attention to the symptoms; you too may have a child with this condition.
It seems that early morning hours exacerbate GS, as well as time constraints:

"Oooohhhh. Grrr! This sock is NOT right! Grrr... I. Can't. Fix. The. LUMPY PART! Give me other ones! Give me other ones QUICK!"
"Ahh. Better. Only.... this one is TOO tight and TOO short!"
"Now this one makes my pinkie toe hurt!"
"Mommmmm it's just not right!!"
"ARggHHGRRRRR!" (OK, that growl was me.)

The day goes along as expected, only to have them erupt with symptoms yet again, at dinner time. At this time of day, tiredness and hunger are the factors that seem to set off a GS riot. Having witnessed this for lo, these many years, some days I try to head it off. Last night was one of those days. I decided to circumvent the condition with a four-child-friendly supper - a feat on any night, I can assure you. But with my trusty blue box of mac and cheese, I was up to the task. I just a-whistled along, mixing up my good-to-go masterpiece, throwing a few fresh berries alongside, and calling it a meal.
And then we sat down.
And GS reared its head:

"Is this fresh? I can only eat fresh macaroni."
"Is this leftover? I only like leftover macaroni."
"I need the reindeer fork to be able to eat my macaroni."
"Can you heat this up? It's already cold."

And I? I will need a bigger glass.
And a few bears to sort out Goldi.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Sunday Creative - Perspective

The small becomes mighty
Breathe in and breathe out
I am the sun; make your revolutions daily
I am the satellite; I bask in your sun.
Paying homage to divinity from whence it begins
Being divinity as homage to eternity
We are each the part and the whole
The Maker and his Making woven throughout
Dignity cries in the bloodstream:
Worthy, worthy!
It is our birthright.
It is our perspective, in the quiet of night.


This is my perspective: when I first starting participating in this Sunday project, I would close my eyes and grimace with anxiety before clicking "post." Now? Thanks to the kindness of your commentary, I am not quite so anxious. Not quite... :)
Check out other perspectives at The Sunday Creative.
And if you have a moment, click over to this most excellent post. It's a keeper. What ho, this fear!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I dreamed once that I was surrounded by wolves. They were not threatening, but protecting me. Now, Rick takes pictures of me any time we see wolves. :) It's comforting to know that if we are ever in a pack of wolves, and everyone else is terrified, I can be randomly certain I will be safe. Right? Dreams do come true!

Random wolf, Wildlife Safari.

See how near it comes to me? It practically looks like it is trying to follow me home!