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



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


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.


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.

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!)

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

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

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

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...

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

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.

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

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

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?"


"Oh, and what's this?"


Impressive. Me, I only have Something to Say.

Saturday, November 22

19 Years Married (22 Years Together)


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, 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.


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


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

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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

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



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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