Monday, December 29

One Up

"Hey, mom, can you help me zip this up?"

"Sure, buddy, come here. Hey, can I tell you something?"

"Okay, what?"

"I love you."

"Oh. Well, I love you more!"

"That's impossible, because I love you more plus one!"

"Um... well, I love you more PLUS FOUR!"

Wednesday, December 24

Happy, Happier, Happiest...




May your celebrations be full of memory making moments! From all of us to all of you we wish you the happiest of holidays.

A new year awaits.

Monday, December 15

Beginning to Look

I am not sure it is Christmas for me until the tunes are on. I have my favorites of course, and then there are the songs that annoy and irritate more than get one in the mood. But, Christmas and music are the must do coupling before THE SPIRIT arrives for me.

I remember putting the LP's onto the turntable and carefully placing the needle into the first groove. And then came the scratches and the pops and underneath all of that the magical sounds of Christmas tunes. Ah, me, the memories. I could, and did, sing along for hours.

So, lights, candles, music, it's all happening here. What is helping you set the stage for the Christmas groove?

Sing it out to me, baby.

Music Monday hosted at Soccer Mom in Denial

Saturday, December 13

Where in the world is Jenn?

Vienna.


my own game
click here for the rules.

Catch you on the flip side with photos. Happy weekend!!




1. Jill
2. Goofball
3. Anneke
4. Flower Child

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Wednesday, December 10

First Wave

Photobucket


Photobucket


And this post will publish at 00:46.
Which is the very moment he was born.
15 years ago today.

Happy Birthday son.
Mama loves you to the moon...
and back.

Monday, December 8

Ode to Friendship

This morning as I was cycling into school with Andrew on the seat behind me, we stopped at the light next to another parent from school (his kids were loaded into the large wooden box in front of his bike--we call it a bakfiets around here and the design originally was for deliveries from the bakeries etc. Nowadays, it delivers kids). He mentioned that he wanted to swing by the office to talk to me sometime because he had been surfing the internet and had stumbled across this blog. He said some very nice made-me-feel-all-warm-and-fuzzy things about it and then mentioned that he was very interested in blogging himself. So, of course that's all the lead in I needed to wax poetic about how much I love blogging and what an incredible avenue it is for meeting people all over the world and for forming deep connections and building great friendships and making communities happen and supporting causes and, and, and....

And I ran on at the mouth, effusively bubbling over with the great things that blogging brings.

For instance?

A bestest friend I met through this avenue and bonded with by word, and then by hobby, long before I met her in person.

And that person?

She's having a birthday today. (It's kind of a big one... but I won't give away which number--she might though, just check out her post!)
So, in celebration of blogging, of community, of friendship and bonding, join me please in wishing Allison of Soccer Mom in Denial the happiest of Happy Birthdays!

(If you sing it out loud at your computer, it totally counts for Music Monday celebration too!)

Happy Birthday, my friend. Ik hou van jou.


Saturday, December 6

Pakjesavond (Sint Eve)

Success.

video



my own game
click here for the rules.



Jumping for joy too? Leave a comment if you love me, and your link if you're playing!

1. Anneke
2. soccer mom in denial
3. Flower Child
4. Goofball

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Thursday, December 4

Rhyme Time

This is it folks. The time has arrived! One more sleep before the Sint delivers his sack! To say that a certain someone among us can hardly, hardly wait is actually to say nothing at all.

The boy is jazzed.

The mama still has a lot of work to do.

Among the tasks remaining is the wrapping of all gifts in proper Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet paper specific to the season. Then stuffing the burlap bag to burgeoning capacity. Also, there are the poems...

Ah, the poems.

Traditionally, the Sint writes a poem attached to each gift. They are clever, witty, and generally (as the brits say) are meant to take the piss out out of the recipient. For instance, last years poem to Don mentioned the fact that he comes to bed with his socks on, this year's poem will mention something about the way he, *ahem*, keeps his wife up too late every night.

I am The Sint is tinkering with altering lyrics to songs for each member of the family.
Don's holds echoes of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and Andrew's poem will be set to the tune of the theme song from FIREMAN SAM, just in case you were wondering.

But I am running out of time and inspiration for Ian and Emma.
If you've got some bright ideas (I know you do) about easily alterable lyrics or brilliant poetic stanzas for my teens, please, please, please email me or leave thoughts in the comments.

C'mon, help a poor poet out here!

After all, that last sleep is upon us.

Wednesday, December 3

De Lieve Goede Sint

(and only 2 sleeps until the Sint drops by!)

Monday, December 1

Covering

SMID's Music Monday

Music Monday hosted by Soccer Mom in Denial

**********************

Without a doubt the winner of the generation gap music quiz is my friend Karen, who is probably the single biggest influence on Emma's music vocabulary in the first place, and the fact that she is local and I save the shipping costs to send the winner's chocolate in the second place is nothing but my big bonus.

For reference purposes here, I recap the game and give you the answers. It was fun wasn't it? We should do it again sometime, only with songs that I can recognize...

ONE: Rhianna: Disturbia
No more gas in the rig
Can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said
Can't even speak about it
I'm a light on my head
Don't want to think about it
Feels like I'm going insane


TWO: Coldplay: Yellow
I swam across I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
Cause you were all yellow
I drew a line I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow

THREE: Lazlo Bane: Superman (the theme from Scrubs)
You've got your love online
You think you're doing fine
But you're just plugged into the wall
And that deck of tarot cards
Won't get you very far
There ain't no hand to break your fall


FOUR: Rembrandts: I'll Be There For You (the theme from FRIENDS)
You're still in bed at ten and work began at eight
You've burned your breakfast so far... things are goin' great
Your mother warned you there'd be days like these
Oh but she didn't tell you when the world has brought You down to your knees that...


FIVE: Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah (yes, from Shrek)
Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


SIX: Enrique Iglesias: Hero
Would you swear, That you'll always be mine?
Or would you lie? Would you run and hide?
Am I in too deep? Have I lost my mind?
I don't care... You're here, tonight.


SEVEN: Katy Perry: I Kissed a Girl
No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter, You're my experimental game
Just human nature, It's not what, Good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused Hard to obey


EIGHT: One Republic: Mercy
Angel of mercy How did you find me?
Where did you read my story? Pulled from the papers
Desperate and hardened
Seeking a momentary fix

NINE: Pink: So What
I guess I just lost my husband
I don't know where he went
So I'm gonna drink my money
I'm not gonna pay his rent (nope)
I've got a brand new attitude,
And I'm gonna wear it tonight
I'm gonna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight



BONUS QUESTION: (MY song)

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you: JAMES TAYLOR!!

Oh, yeah... roll on over.

Sunday, November 30

Last Dance

Early this morning there was snow falling in The Hague. A rare occurrence for certain, and one which tends to be a fleeting moment in the wet, wet, wet of Holland. It takes a delicate combination of timing and temperature for a snowfall to last more than a very few minutes here.

Andrew announced the arrival of the flakes as he barged into our bedroom and pulled open the long black curtains. "It's snowing guys, look. It's snowing. Now it's winter!"
It took me just a few seconds to adjust my gaze and take in the pattern of flakes drifting delicately from the low clouds but as I rolled onto my side under the heavy down comforter the view I saw was spectacular. Just outside my bedroom window long tracks of snowflakes were streaming downward, catching a breeze, fluttering, turning, drifting, falling to the surfaces below; dancing past the branches of our garden trees, kissing the edges of leaves still clinging tightly. Perhaps because it is so rare in this land of rain (to say nothing of having lived in the Arizona desert for 12 years where that kind of weather pattern simply doesn't exist) I found the morning snow altogether mesmerizing and felt immediately sucked in to track patterns with my eyes, catch single flakes falling and contemplate the journey they were on and where it may next take them.

As I am wont to do in any situation, I started looking for the metaphors. What was happening outside my balcony doors seemed poetic and were I an artist I could paint the picture by word or by brush stroke of the moment's beauty.

Ultimately, here is what I was thinking as I watched the snow bob and weave through the last of the autumn leaves clinging to their perches.I am journeying too. We are a journeying people. There are moments in life where that statement is more literal than figurative, but I get it that we are always on the move. The theme of moving is my life's song. From house to house, state to state, and continent to continent there have been multiple moments for me to catch the breeze and dance my way to new homes, new cities, new friends, new life. And in between the house moves there is the constant motion of life on the move. Not to overextend the introspection here I must repeat it simply. I get it. We are always on the move. Just like the snowflakes falling outside, touching down lightly and lingering only momentarily, we move. We move, we love, we dance, we say goodbye, we say hello, we say I love you. And we keep moving.

Andrew was absolutely right. A new season is here.

And I am swept away.

Saturday, November 29

Celebration

Thanksgiving.



my own game
click here for the rules.

There will be a houseful of feasters around here!

Care to join the fun?

Leave your link if you're eating playing.

(and a comment if you're feeling thankful)



1. soccer mom in denial
2. Anneke
3. Flower Child
4. Goofball

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Friday, November 28

Bonne, Bonne, Bonne!

The countdown is on.
Seven more sleeps till the Sint
and his bag of gifts!

Shoes by the fireplace
have been filled nightly for days~
The best night still waits!

A knock on the door,
a mysterious brown sack
delivered to us.

Peer inside to find
gifts for everybody.
Dank u Sinterklaas!

On the 6th he'll leave
back to Spain on his steamboat
Oh, we'll miss you Sint!


Haiku Friday

Thursday, November 27

Chainchoo



Wishing you full bellies and lots of cream on the pumpkin pie!
Happy Thanksgiving.



(Thanks be to Flower Child for posting this vid first.)

Wednesday, November 26

Before They Were Teens

And now, a wordless wednesday on a Wednesday post.
Emma is 8 here and Ian, 10.

Tuesday, November 25

Let Him Eat Cake

Couldn't wait to share this,
so it's Wordless Wednesday featured here on a Tuesday.
Photo taken by a friend.

Monday, November 24

Spanning the Chasm

Read me much? Emma had a birthday last week. She's 13 years old now. This weekend she hosted a party to celebrate the milestone.

I have to say here that Emma, at her heart, is a party planner. She loves to make plans and plans within plans. And she loves to direct the fun of anything she's involved in. She's good at it too.

Part of her party plan was a quiz (like a pub quiz, but this ain't no pub) for all of her friends. There were two rounds, one being a name the movie from this quote game, and the other being name the title and artist of this song. She tested me on the latter.

I failed.

Miserably.

Nothing points out a generation gap like trying to name your kid's tunes.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am an old fuddy-duddy, which I may well be, I want to explain that I am often at a loss for the artist's name on any given song, even of my own "generations" music. Details like that don't stick in my head well.

But.
That's not the point.
This is.

I am setting you up to take this quiz too. It's a shortened version of her game and there will be a prize for you. You, who can name these tunes that is. And no fair googling lyrics and coming back to ace the quiz. I may have to disqualify you from the game. Or actually, I may just reward you anyway knowing that you've done all that in the name of getting a package of yummy chocolate from The Netherlands in the mail.

Yeah, that's right. Best score gets chocolate.

Let the games begin. (Name the song and the artist!)


ONE:
No more gas in the rig
Can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said
Can't even speak about it
I'm a light on my head
Don't want to think about it
Feels like I'm going insane

TWO:
I swam across I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
Cause you were all yellow
I drew a line I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow

THREE:
You've got your love online
You think you're doing fine
But you're just plugged into the wall
And that deck of tarot cards
Won't get you very far
There ain't no hand to break your fall

FOUR:
You're still in bed at ten and work began at eight
You've burned your breakfast so far... things are goin' great
Your mother warned you there'd be days like these
Oh but she didn't tell you when the world has brought
You down to your knees that...

FIVE:
Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

SIX:
Would you swear,
That you'll always be mine?
Or would you lie?
Would you run and hide?
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
I don't care... You're here, tonight.

SEVEN:
No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter, You're my experimental game
Just human nature,
It's not what, Good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

EIGHT:
Angel of mercy
How did you find me?
Where did you read my story?
Pulled from the papers
Desperate and hardened
Seeking a momentary fix

NINE:
I guess I just lost my husband
I don't know where he went
So I'm gonna drink my money
I'm not gonna pay his rent (nope)
I've got a brand new attitude,
And I'm gonna wear it tonight
I'm gonna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight

BONUS QUESTION: (this is MY song)

Now, I'm a napalm bomb, baby
Just guaranteed to blow your mind
Yeah, I'm a napalm bomb for you, baby
So guaranteed to blow your mind
And if I can't have your love for my own
Sweet child, won't be nothing left behind.


SMID's Music Monday

Music Monday hosted by Soccer Mom in Denial

Sunday, November 23

Passing the Torch

"Hey! I think I can blog."

"You're going to blog? D'you want to sit by me?"

"Uh...yeah. I think I do. "

Moves chair over to the desk. Sets up toy laptop next to mine.

"Okay, now I can blog too."

"You sure can. What are you going to say?"

"Um. I'm gonna do this."

Taps plastic keys in rapid rhythm.

"So, what does it say on your blog?"

"This."

"Oh, and what's this?"

"Everything."


Impressive. Me, I only have Something to Say.

Saturday, November 22

19 Years Married (22 Years Together)

Anniversary.


my own game
click here for the rules.

(actual date: November 21, 1989)

Mentioning it today just makes the day last longer....

1. Goofball
2. soccer mom in denial
3. Flower Child
4. Anneke

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Friday, November 21

Oh, The Joy!

A new niece arrives
(six weeks before her due date!)
precious, tiny girl.

Family growing
Mama, Daddy and sister
Open arms for her.

She'll be called Kaitlyn
the brave, the strong, the fighter
Indeed, she's well come!

Haiku Friday

Thursday, November 20

Butterfly Kisses

She's thirteen.

Today.

Today, she is thirteen.

I am writing this post as the time rapidly approaches the midnight mark which launches us into today. Her birthday. The day she turns thirteen.

There will be celebrations. There will be presents. There will be cake. And for this mama there will always be the memories:

1. Of the day she launched herself, bald and blue, into the world so quickly that the midwife hardly had time to gown, glove and catch her.

2. Of the way she stayed bald until well into her third year, when there was finally enough fine blond fluff on the top of her head which could be gathered together into a ponytail.

3. Of the time when as a preschooler she would gladly declare "I'm a little bit of trouble, but A LOT of fun!"

4. Of the moment she cracked her forehead against the cedar chest creating a deep, wide gash just above her eye. When I caught up with her and her daddy at the emergency room she told me "Just put a band-aid on it. I want to go home". She got 2 dozen stitches instead.

5. Of the kindergarten days, when at her ultimate insistence, she attended school dressed in a full body cheetah print unitard, and black go-go boots.

6. Of the in-home shows conceived, rehearsed and performed in our living room with friends.

7. Of the precious way she breathily sang Arial's soliloquy in praise of the human world: "But who cares? No big deal. I want mooooooore!"

8. Of the tanned-skin, bleach-blonde Arizona summer girl who may not have owned clothes other than a swimming suit.

9. Of the first discovery that there may indeed be faeries living in her garden and the notes exchanged with the inhabitants of that magical world for years to follow.

10. Of the way she looked in the spotlight on stage, skirt spinning, arms reaching, face full of the love of the dance.

11. Of the giant, generous heart she possesses and the way she feels things so deeply.

12. Of the sharp wit and wisdom that seeps through her words, even when the 'tude is totally teenager.

13. Of simply the way I love her. Deeply, fiercely, powerfully, and foreverly.

She's thirteen today. And I am so glad she's mine.

Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, November 19

Your Wish, My Command

Fabulous 'do Day for Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 18

Something to Tell You

I have a confession to make. But I feel safe saying it here because I know all y'all can keep a secret... so it's all good. So, here it is without fanfare or any pomp and circumstance. The truth:

I love Star Trek.

When I was a little girl I watched the original series in rerun on the television. And when I was a bigger girl I married a trekkie (Did I just "out" my husband?) who was also a big fan of the original show. For a time we dabbled in the Next Generation business, but in the end, both find ourselves classic fans. Tried and true.

I have a thing for George Takei, anyway.


So, this morning, over coffee, Don was flipping through some movie trailers of the upcoming attractions and we stumbled across this one. And I nearly peed my pants with excitement.

Honestly, who could say no to a young James Tiberius Kirk?


I can't wait for May.

Now, your turn to 'fess up here. Are you a fan? What is your closet obsession confession? (You know you have one!)

Tell all.

Monday, November 17

Long Story Short

SMID's Music Monday

Music Monday hosted by Soccer Mom in Denial

This one goes out to Brillig, because I know
she will appreciate this story.


Midway through our holiday in Italy (did I mention that I went to Italy?) I stood in the bathroom assessing my way-too-long-bangs which were hanging into my eyes. Knowing all the time that if I were home I would snatch the hair scissors from out of the locker and begin trimming my hair, I sighed aloud, then ruffled my hair thinking maybe I could just endure staring out underneath the locks for a few more days. That's when I spotted it. My VENUS!
Yes, the razor I use for my legs. Hey! It cuts hair of a sort. I thought. Surely I could use it to cut HAIR, right?

I pulled the razor out of its case and gathered the front shock of hair on my head and began shaving the end bits to make them shorter. Gratifyingly, strands of hair began to fall into the sink. I paused, ruffled again, and assessed the result.

Good.

Pretty damn good actually.

Then, I wondered, what if.... well...can a girl cut a full head of hair with her leg razor?

Answer: Absolutely.

I can, anyway.

For the next half hour or so I stood at the sink, letting the locks fall forward in great bunches of floaty protein strands, and cut my hair. With my venus.

End result?

Something between Pinky Tuscadero and Farah's feathered back hairstyle. But I love it.

Yeah, I love my hair.


Sunday, November 16

Sunday Indulgence



Currently, my favorite tune. (Seriously, it's Jason Mraz, how could it not be?) It's getting lots of radio/mtv play this side of the pond, please tell me you're hearing it on the other side too!

Saturday, November 15

Coming to Town

Sinterklaas.


my own game
click here for the rules.


It's that time of year! Put your shoes near the chimney...


1. Anneke

2. Soccer Mom in Denial

3. Flower Child

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Friday, November 14

Shadow of the Son


Photographing him
Is like grabbing a sun beam
elusive and bright

Haiku Friday

Thursday, November 13

The Gathering

I find myself involved in a project.

This happens to me a lot. Possibly because of my propensity to say "yes" to things people ask me to do, and my utter inability to say "no" I am involved this weekend with something kinda big and super cool. It's a youth conference for kids (age 14-18) from all over the continent who are coming to The Hague to spend some time bonding, exploring and getting their god-stuff on. What draws me to the project, other than the above mentioned reason, is the magnetic pull of hanging out with kids for a weekend. Good kids who are intending to do good things. That kind of energy I really can't pass up.

Among other things for this weekend conference, I have been asked to teach a drama workshop for the participants. I am, obviously, thrilled about the opportunity to get some teaching time in and I am looking forward to it with great enthusiasm. (I only hope theirs matches mine!)
Without divulging the game plan (it might bore you anyway) the ultimate message of my hour of dramatic play is the idea that we are all connected. Deeply, thoroughly, fully. Whether we know it or not, feel it or not, we each are part of something bigger than us (interpret this as you please) and we need each other.

That's the way I say it (and see it), this is what the bible says about the same:

"Instead... we will grow up completely and become one ...the whole body united and held together by every ligament with which it is supplied. As each individual part does its job, the body builds itself up in love."

And, follow me here, developing the idea further, His Holiness the Dalai Lama says:

"The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others.
It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others."

There it is, my philosophy in its simplest, purest form. We are connected, you and I. And we are here for each other. And the message is love.

Now, let's go get some drama on.

Wednesday, November 12

Tuesday, November 11

Word to the Wise

I have recently received comments at this blog noting that I *ahem* talk about five-year old Andrew a lot here (implying perhaps my bigger kids--14 and 12 years old--don't get as much radio play.) I suppose it's a fair comment and I am not in contention with that statement. I do write about him a lot. To be fair, I feel like I feature the big kids here as much as their embarrassment factor will allow. So I am not defending my position or rationalizing it in any way, but I do want to explain it. I also want to say that I am fully cognizant that this is my blog and my business what I write. I believe my readers and my friends will either hang around and enjoy the view or they will head to some other blog for their good times. (I'll miss you if you go!)

Digressing. I shall now wax poetic.

Andrew is my third child. His arrival into our lives was not only a surprise it was a total roller coaster turnaround. What we were doing, collectively and individually, before his arrival is no longer what we are doing. I credit his entrance into the family directly for that fact.

Andrew is younger than second-born Emma by nearly 8 years. That friends, is what one calls a parenthood gap; a chasm of space; a span of time; an expanse stretching into the horizon....
We (as parents) were trucking along in the child raising track having spotted the light at the end of the tunnel. At 9 and 7 years, Ian and Emma were fully functioning, independent, autonomous little people living in our house. And things were really good.

And then the window on the stick had two lines.

And we took a really deep breath.

And we got ready to welcome a new baby into our lives.

And things were really, really good.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you also know that Andrew has autism. The official diagnosis came to us last year after months (years?) of observation, testing, re-testing, and analysis of this little guy. While it didn't come as a surprise, I imagine a word like that always carries with it an element of shock. Maybe even dismay. Ultimately, the tilted floor settled back steady and life returned to its own solid rhythm, with this nugget of information filed in the reality box.

So, my youngest child has autism, yet to make that statement so boldly and definitively is in no way an indicator of who he is or what his life is like. Nor mine, for that matter. But it is a fact.

It is also a fact that Andrew is the light of our lives. When he is not making us want to tear our hair out in frustration he is making us laugh uproariously.

When he's not busy destroying something, he is contentedly discovering the way something works.

When he is not singing at the top of his lungs, he is quietly listening to the sounds in his environment.

When he is not pushing me away, he is offering me a tender hand at my cheek.

Andrew walks to the beat of his own drum. There is no hurry in him, and this is one of the daily lessons he teaches me. And I write about it all as a way to capture the beautiful human being that he is and how blessed I feel, we all feel, because he's here with us. Because he is who he is. And he's good with that.

Very, very, very good.

Monday, November 10

Fresh From the Fight

I hate moths. I really do.

I understand it is neither rational nor reasonable to be afraid of them, but I am.

Also, at this writing, I am cowering in a corner of the couch having built a veritable fortress from the cushions to hide behind. I have been here ever since I saw the first moth fly in through the open door and beeline (mothline?) to the table lamp at my side.

Now, there may be total of a gajillion of them weaving and bobbing at the light.

Ian is now on a rescue mission and has thus far has saved me from four-- no, five... wait, make that EIGHT of the nasty creatures by scooping them up gently in his hands and carrying them outside to fly free. Leaving it to me to be able to come out of my hidey-hole and continue reading my book.

Ian is my hero.



SMID's Music Monday

Sunday, November 9

No Longer Timely, Still Totally Funny

Just in case you were still unclear about how I voted in the election. :)

Friday, November 7

Ups and Downs

Trying to diet
No! "Adopt a lifestyle change"
I miss oreos.

Haiku Friday

Thursday, November 6

Sweet Memory

If you follow my blog with any frequency, you will remember that recently I lost a very dear friend, who days before she passed, lost her first child as well. To say that the situation is surreal is to understate it grandly. To say that one doesn't bounce quickly from that level of grief is to sum it up correctly.


There is not a day that passes that I don't think of Jessica.


In the immediate days following her death, I felt the need to do something to mark her passing. Something that would help keep her memory close.


Upon the inspiration from Allison of Soccer Mom in Denial, I thought perhaps a piece of jewelry might be fitting. From there I contacted Crystal who, along with her mother, runs the business TWO BELLES AND A BEAD, and whom I have turned to in the past to create lovely pieces for others in my life. This time it would be my turn. With Crystal's guidance and artistic eye, using my awkward descriptions via email, we created together a remembrance piece.
Then she created 2 necklaces, one for Jessica's mother and one for me.



So I can carry her close to my heart.



As I told her mom in the accompanying letter with the gift, the design of this piece was purposeful in design and intention. The pink crystal represents Jessica herself (for all the metophorical reasons you can imagine) and the star which hangs there with her represents her son Jason. The two are together, surrounded by love, and collectively is the poetic vision of where I believe she is now, dancing with her baby among the stars.


I love this piece. And I love my friend.


If you do nothing else today, do this:
Tell someone how much you love them.

Wednesday, November 5

My Country 'Tis of Thee

First message in my inbox this morning:

Subject: It's safe to come back now

Message:
Just say it out loud, "President Obama".

From my own phone, text to my boss:

"Running l8 this a.m. b-cuz of happy dancing ovr election!"

From Andrew's mouth:

"We got a new president? Oh! I like Bokobama!!"

Tuesday, November 4

Monday, November 3

See You at the Negotiation Table

My children do chores. They always have. Maybe since they were 2-years old or so, as soon as they could walk and carry something at the same time, I have offered them the opportunity to help around the house. (It used to be the case that Ian would DROP EVERYTHING and come running from wherever he was playing to do the vacuuming!)

The older they grew, the more responsibilities they have acquired. Now, I am not insinuating that there is slavery-of-the-offspring at our home, not in any way. But in my house, we do share the load. We are a team under one roof and every member needs to do his/her part.

Needs to.

Doesn't always.

Lately, as my children have edged closer and closer to the "typical teenager" attitude, the chore list is being dodged, forgotten, even defiantly ignored.

And it's bugging me.

So, Sunday morning, I went on strike. I posted a note on the kitchen door which reads:

"NOTICE: Let all who enter here be advised that the mother of this organization is now ON STRIKE and will no longer be entering this room (other than for her own purposes) for any reason, for any person. This includes cleaning, cooking, or distributing of food items for the organization..."

The note went on to explain the problems and to point out that demands must be met with consistency and longevity before I will return to the regularly scheduled duties of mothering my clan.

Or maybe I won't.

After all,
I do have that stack of books to read...
Blogging to do...
Autumn walks to take...


Sunday, November 2

Decided (and Determined)



For the record, my vote is in!
Please, get yours in too.

Saturday, November 1

Undecided

Nablopomo.

my own game
click here for the rules.

If I say something every day will you say something too?



1. soccer mom in denial
2. Flower Child
3. Anneke
4. Goofball
5. Goofball

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Friday, October 31

Frigid--or--My Life in Winter

If that witch's tit
inside the icy brass bra
means cold, I'm colder.

The outside temps dropped
plummeting down to zero
The air feels frozen.

Car tops and windows
bridges, canals, streets, bike spokes
Ev'rything frosted.

So, madly I search
through cupboards and storage spots-
I MUST FIND THERMALS!

Haiku Friday

Tuesday, October 28

Memories Are Made of This

In the first place, it is autumn in Italy. The trees are alight with color; vibrant yellows, golden orange and brilliant reds dot the ends of wily, dark branches. These, the last vestige of the prior season dangle precariously, seemingly reluctant to make departure from their perch, and make way for the season to come. This serves to provide the perfect backdrop to the homes of this area. Multi-tiered villas painted in sunshine yellow, mustard yellow, pale yellow, burnt orange, terracotta, red!, sage, blue, ecru, tan, and muted khaki.. The foliage is a perfect echo of the neighborhood palette.


We are in farmland and the vast fields which just weeks ago must have held startlingly tall corn stalks have been mowed clear, leaving only a trail of broken, dried stems marking the sharp, straight rows planted last spring. Weaving among the rows are scattered the empty cobs of bird consumed corn which remained after harvest. Breathtakingly hopeful, side by side with the decay stand new shoots of green pushing upward from the earth in brave innocence.


In other fields, now empty, the grain sits rolled and ready for transport and the earth is turned and tilled, resting until planting time after the winter.

In the second place, this land is so quiet. Rural Italy has a personality and a timing all its own. Away from the tourist bustle, this seems to be the place to witness Italy the way its lived daily. Having spotted (more than one) 'Nonno' with black fisherman cap tipped forward on his head, cycling down the roadway, trench coat billowing in the breeze, a gathering of villagers engaged in passionate-hand-waving-in-your-face-conversation and dark haired lovers in endless embrace as they wait for the local bus to arrive, I feel like I have been treated to a backstage pass to the quintessential Italian life.


Our "vacation house" is an amazing structure which sits on the estate of Tenuta Castel Venezze in Rovigo, Italy. It is house enough for the five of us and then some. The truth is, I think we all feel this place could work for us in the long term, it would merely require the small sacrifice of chucking out most of our "things" (we have too many anyway!). Imagining a long term life in vacation mode is certainly appealing and I for one, have not excused a single thought along these lines as frivolous or idealistic in the least.


The villa is fully equipped with a lovely sitting room, bedrooms, bathrooms (with bidet!) and a kitchen at least ten times larger than ours at home. We shop in a local supermarket (also ten times larger than what we have at home) and pour over the various pastas, cheeses, meats and breads--making instant menu decisions based on the beautiful things we find on the shelves.

Italian life doesn't seem altogether much different to our own and the kids seem confident that they could adapt to life here without a hiccup, which certainly points to the compelling, romantic, magnetic draw Italy has.


I am snapping hundreds of photographs in the attempt to record the nuance of feeling here. The peaceful residence we share this week, complete with the intoxicating smell of fall flowers on the garden hedge (I desperately wish I knew what it is called. But me and the bees? We adore it!)

Recording by pixel if not by memory I am cataloguing the days in neighboring towns and cities including the epic journey by boat to the city of Venice to walk the streets of that most romantic of destinations.

I understand that I cannot capture all of it on camera nor can I record the thoughts and impressions fast enough to keep them all but I am giving it my best and for what my heart and mind (and my memory card) can't hold I will carry home souvenirs.

Because in the third place? Nothing says Bella Italia like a pair of leather boots.

Monday, October 27

Sunday, October 26

Shooting Italy










Saturday, October 18

Long Awaited; Much Anticipated

Herfstvakantie.


my own game
click here for the rules.

Catch you at the end of half-term break.

Internet willing, there may be photos betweeen now and then...

Ciao!


1. Anneke

2. Goofball

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Friday, October 17

On the Road Again

Gelato, pasta,
Copious amounts of wine
Italy awaits.



Haiku Friday