Saturday, December 06, 2008

If you've been missinger her


Then consider this my gift to you . . .She loves you too, see the smile?

Friday, December 05, 2008

An Apple A Day


If it were only so simple. Sad sickness and musings on health at Segullah today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

1 + 1 = More than 2

You've been wanting to read some great poetry and personal essay, haven't you? Talkin' about synergy and the Summer 2008 issue of Segullah over at the blog. Click on over!

There's a shout out to Erin Beth in my post over there, but below find a Halloween slideshow with some of the people in my life right now, who make me more than I could be without them (and their kids, okay . . .and some pictures of me, and my kids too. It's not really all that related to the post, okay? It's just some picsfor those interested! You must be interested or you wouldn't be reading.. :-))

Friday, October 24, 2008

Buy this book!

Click the cover to buy the book!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.
Cover designed by Maralise Photo Design


This is my dear friend and former missionary comp Courtney Jane Kendrick. We (some sisters from Segullah) helped compile some greatest hits from her blog into a book!

If you're already a cjane enthusiast, you need no introduction. If not, then what can I say to pique your interest? This girl has got a keen and hilarious way of looking at the world and a way with words that shares in a unique an insightful way.

I LOVE HER!

Many of you know or have heard about the story of her sister Stephanie Nielson. If not, you can click here to read more.

This book is just one more effort to help. All proceeds will benefit Stephanie. So if you're looking for a great read that will make you laugh and cry, or a gift to pass along to a friend, sister, mom . . .this would be a good one. And you'll be helping too.

Please do Enjoy it! I know I did.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MARATHON-Legs, Mind, Heart!

Cheese! Triumph at the ING Hartford Marathon!


Disclaimer
Okay, okay you were dying to hear all the details of the marathon and now it's been over a week and you're not so interested anymore, but I still want to write it all down. So beware, long post ahead! Don't worry if you've lost interest. I won't feel bad if you don't comment! :-)

If I've talked to you, then you know the race was awesome, great, amazing. Those are three of the most common descriptive terms I've used when people ask me, "How did it go?" Here's why:

Pre-Race
We took Peter Pan bus lines from Penn Station to Hartford, Connecticut. Margaret and Cole were just a little bummed that the bus we ended up getting on was actually a Greyhound and there were no pictures of Captain Hook or Tinkerbell on the outside, but there were comfy seats, and a bathroom, so if you ask me, it was all good.
In it for the long haul.

The freeway had construction, accidents, and holiday weekend traffic, so it took us more than an hour longer than it was "supposed" to, but we saw glorious fall foliage and I held Stella most of the way and kissed her cheeks over and over.
Thought you'd want to see the cheeks I was kissing all day.
Cole likes to kiss them too.

The guy across the aisle from me also struck up some conversation about wanting to be a good family man, like my husband, even though "black people" have a hard time keeping their families together. (He whispered that part under his breath, so as not to offend . . .himself?).

We walked from the bus station to the Expo center to pick up our race packets. Mags and Cole for the Kids K and me for the marathon. The expo was not as exciting as expected, but they gave us cool orange drawstring bags to carry our stuff in and one table had free cheese cubes to sample. I kept noticing all the runners around me, with their sinewy legs and amazingly fit bodies. I started to worry a little, maybe I am not actually ready for this race; I don't have sinewy legs, they still have cottage cheese; I don't appear amazingly fit, my belly is postpartum squishy. But then I noticed a few more people like me and remembered that I had done all the necessary prep, there was no way I would not finish this race.

We hooked up with our friends, the Ortons. Emily and I trained almost every single step of 340 miles together. We have talked about pretty much everything you can imagine during all those miles and runs. And in fact, here is a shout out to her . . . You Rock! I love you! It would have been miserable without her. She drove down with her family (husband and five kids) a little earlier than us and they were swimming at their hotel pool waiting to meet up with us for dinner. We were also waiting for the Astles, Carol came on most of the long weekend runs with us, but is speedy, so did other training without us and had a different race goal (finish in under four hours). We were also planning to see Reagan and Jake and their friend Deanna, as well as Jordan and Erin Colby. Jordan and Erin were stuck in traffic, so they missed dinner. Randy, and Carol made it to join us and we chatted for a few minutes on the street with Reagan and Jake before they head back to their hotel to rest up for the big day.

Luckily we found City Steam Brewery for dinner. They put our three families (nine kids between us) in the back room with the pool table, where we could still hear the live Jazz, but everyone else didn't have to hear us. We ate pasta (of course), bread, and ordered more than we needed in the way of kids macaroni and cheese or chicken finger dinners.

Afterward we took a quick dip in the hot tub, let the hubbies keep the kids down at the pool while Emily, Carol, and I went to get to bed.

From top, clockwise: Eli, Margaret, Me, Sarah jane, Cole, Matt hot-tubbing it at the Hilton

Up in the "runner's only" room we finally heard from Erin and Jordan that they had made it to their hotel. Hooray, we set up a meeting place for the morning and went about our pre-run preparations. I was anxious and excited so we did a little bit of chatting before I could finally get to sleep. My alarm went off the next morning and I didn't even want to stay in bed. Four months of training, hours of running, a hundred little details prepared . . .I couldn't believe race day was actually here. During the night Matt had slipped a card and gift under the door. I took it into the bathroom to read since my roomies were still snoozing in a bit, and cried. In the box he had left a necklace with a little "M" charm, for marathon mom. More than the token, it was the realization that he had supported me through every single run and though often called me crazy, really did admire my dedication.

After dressing, putting on glide, packing up our gels, filling our water belts with sports beverages, and pinning on our numbers Emily, Carol, and I met up with Erin and walked to the start line. Our families were still cozily bundled at the hotels, but we made our way through the masses of runners while someone was giving gurgled announcements over a loud speaker and found the back of the pack. Emily acknnowledged that when they said, "Marathoners, this way," they meant us! The sky was clear and blue and the air was brisk. I knew I wouldn't want my long-sleeves forever, but I was glad I had them then.

Erin Colby, Carol Astle, Me, Emily Orton, pre-race

Race

I didn't hear the gun but everyone started moving toward the start, so we followed. Hundreds of people lined the streets cheering and music blasted. I knew it would be a challenge to keep pace at the beginning of the race, because we would be just so darn excited and I was right. We ran around the big park and some of the Hartford streets and I kept checking my watch and holding everyone back. The Orton family found one of the first cheering stations where they smiled, jumped up and down, took pictures and held up home made signs. After a couple of miles Carol left us so she could reach her goal, and just after four miles Erin had to leave us as the half-marathon course split off from us.

So Emily and I followed the runners, the volunteers, the orange arrows on the streets and ran. One section of the course is an out and back on a beautiful Connectict road. I'd describe it as somewhere between suburban and rural, not to mention breathtaking. These homes were surrounded by giant maple and oak trees in an array of colors from green, to yellow, to orange, to fiery red. Some of the leaves had begun to fall and litter the green manicured lawns with their splashes of color. They had pots of mums on the windowsills, cheery orange pumpkins on the porches, corn stalks leaning against their mail boxes, and happy supportive people cheering for us in their driveways. We ran past kids having Saturday morning soccer games and families drinking hot chocolate after having slept in their backyard in a tent. Idyllic, yes! We talked about it together and to some of the other runners we chatted with along the way, "What are we doing in Manhattan?"

Another thing I loved about the out and back is that we were able to see and cheer for the leaders coming back the other direction, running, no exaggeration, twice as fast as us. We also saw Reagan, Jake, and Carol all right on track to reach their race goals.

People playing live music plus a few DJ's were spread out along the course to help us stay motivated. A young band rocking out, a fifty-something acoustic guitarist keeping it mellow, a middle-aged band covering Neil Diamond all contributed to the party-like ambiance. By the time we were hitting our painful, we still have a long way to go part around mile 18, we had a lot of positive energy stored up from all that had gone before. I received a call from Nate who's in Finland around mile 10, Matt texted me about the Kids K, we met runners from Boston, Los Angeles, upstate and asked questions of people wearing team t-shirts.

Cole and Mags, pre-race.

Cole and Loretta running the Kids K dash.

Margaret posing at the start line. She came in about 15th out of 80.

Impressive focus, no? She ran the 1/2 mile.

We talked politics and came up with some ideas on how to solve the world's problems. All of that filled us, so after being lead back into downtown via service roads, past railroad tracks, and up steep on-ramps that sucked a bit of life out of us we were still able to keep running. Next highlight, we saw the Ortons cheering for us again at mile 22. Emily made a quick stop to peek at her baby Lily and then had a spring in her step. Following that was a table of still cheerful volunteers holding signs and directing us to an aid station with gummy bears, sport beans, and fresh fruit. An orange wedge never tasted so refreshing.

Although my hips were stiff, knees hurting, right glut knotting up, quads burning and I could feel a couple of blisters forming on my big toes there was just NO WAY I WASN'T GOING TO FINISH! In fact none of that even mattered because my spirit felt totally unconquerable. Emily and I recalled a sign from the beginning of the race, my favorite. It read, "Legs, Mind, Heart." I called Matt as planned at mile 25. He told me they were waiting less than a mile away. Emily got choked up, which in turn choked me up and we told each other to stop crying so we could still breathe. I thought I might cry at the end, but because I'd be so spent or in so much pain, but really I was crying because I felt- triumphant!

Around the next bend as we approached our last stretch of road Matt, Margaret, Cole, Stella (sleeping in the stroller) Carol, Reagan, and Jake were there cheering, jumping up and down, holding signs, taking video. I veered over to kiss Matt and hug Mags and we soared up the road and around the corner to the finish line. We heard the announcers were applauding the runners coming in at this point, saying, "We saw the leaders come in two and a half hours ago. These people have been out there running for FIVE Hours! It takes a lot of dedication to do something for five hours." Amen! :-) They called out Emily's name and I looked up at them, wanting to hear my own and one of them put his hand over the mic and said, "What's your name?" Emily and I both called it out together and they repeated, "Heather Herrick. Way to finish it together ladies."

Emily Orton and I, finishing it together!

Post-race
We took our medals, hugged, and Emily said, "We just did that!" As we walked over to get water she said, "So, that took us four months!" Emily and I were both drenched in sweat, some of it already dry and forming salt lines around our foreheads, but the smile on her face and the tears in her eyes were BEAUTIFUL! Our families came running around the corner past the water station where more hugs were shared, photos taken. Matt asked me how I felt, "Amazing!"
"Are you proud of yourself?"
No hesitation, "YES!"
Then he kissed me, even though I was sweaty and gross.

We hobbled to the food tents and took one of everything: yogurt, cranberry walnut cookie, cup of mac and cheese, cup of apple crisp, potato chips, apple, banana, bagel and cream cheese, and fruit cup. We had to eat as we walked back to the hotel so we'd have time to shower before check out. I did have an adrenaline drop, and got really nauseated during that walk, but after showering, stretching, and eating every last bit of food off that plate I felt good again.

I'll spare all the details of a very long bus ride home, but even that couldn't dampen my mood too much.

More cheek kissing of Stella and Cole would sit by me, now that I wasnn't "fweaty".

Natalie and Victor invited all of the runners and their families to come to their place where she'd prepared a delicioso pasta dinner, with homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We swapped stories from the day and compared battle wounds, talked politics and took turns holding each others' babies.

Left to right: Jake, Deanna, Reagan, Me, Emily, Erin, Carol
Enjoying dinner at the Monreals, gracious hosts extraordinaire!

So all in all, it was AWESOME, GREAT, AMAZING! Thanks to everyone who made it possible. Let's do it again soon . . .errr okay, not too soon!
video

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Lessons from Running


Margaret (in the red hoodie) and Loretta Astle (in the pink coat) running in the Kids K, last year while Matt and Carol ran the marathon.

Read all about it at Segullah.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chili Cook-Off

The ward had its 2nd Annual Chili Cook-off and hoedown. I didn't win the $50 gift certificate for Dinosaur BBQ, booo! But many people enjoyed the Chicken Chili with Jalapeno Cheddar Hushpuppy Crust, so my cooking vanity was still well served. Plus Iris won, and she was about to have her new baby and is a fabulous person, so she deserved it! I love this activity. Professional square dance callers, cornbread, and chili . . .it's the perfect trio.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Margaret's Big News



From this . . .




to this!

Read all about it at Segullah

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Mom Had a Birthday


Still great at Fifty-___ (oh, maybe she doesn't want that info out in the world)

I guess I talk about my mom more than I realize, because even new friends I have will say things like, "Your mom sounds funny," or, "She must babysit a lot," or, "She's always helping out, huh?"

She is funny.



She does babysit a lot.

She is always helping out.

So whatever stories I am sharing must be accurate descriptions of her. Sometimes I hear people say things like, "I don't really keep in touch with my mom," or, "My mom and I just don't get along," and these are real people, not just angsty teenager characters on TV.

And even though I'm an adult and know that everyone is different, every time I hear that I still think, "That's CRAZY talk!" How could you not get along with your mom? And then I remember that not everyone has MY mom. If they did, they would get along with her, and these are the reasons why:

Kind.
Works hard.
Always considers the needs of those around her.
Loves to have fun.
Shares her fun with the people she loves.
Shares everything.
Doesn't mince words (this is a good thing, you know what she's thinking).
Good cook (who doesn't like getting along with someone who's a good cook?).
Loyal friend.
Devoted wife.
Caring sister.
Doting grandma.
Strives to learn and improve.

This list could go on. That's how great my mom truly is.

This awesome momof mine just had a birthday and I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Since I moved away more than four years ago I have only been home at her birthday once. We went to Sundance and rode the chair lift to see the gorgeous fall leaves. If I were there this year, I hope we could've done the same thing. I'd also love to just hang out and let the kids play in the backyard or nap while we kick it on the couch in the family room during the afternoon and chat, then we could go out to dinner with Grandma Lorna and Dad (he'd even be home on time, since it's your birthday and all ;-)). That would be great! I'm not there, but . . .
Maybe next year. In the meantime, know this:

I Love you MOM!

She always come to visit and help when I have a baby, as much as I love her though, I think I'll have to try and get her here some other way this next time.Grandma Gayle checking out new baby Stella last Feb.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Cannot Believe It

Miss Margaret started kindergarten last week. WHAT? How did I have a baby that turned five? She picked out the outfit she wanted to wear two weeks in advance and called me back into her bedroom many nights to say, "I'm so excited for school!" One night she also admitted, "And I'm a little bit nervous." I told her that's okay and I always felt a little nervous for the first day of school too. I didn't tell her I was A LOT nervous and a little sad to let her go to kindergarten all day. I take solace in knowing if I miss her too much I can just bring her right back home.

The night before we had family home evening about being prepared. We printed out a chart of things she needs to do every morning, we let her ask questions and gave advice. We've also been talking about being good examples and being missionaries in some of our FHE lessons lately so I reminded them of our lesson when we learned the primary song, "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ". Sitting there with my kids safely gathered around me, I realized that this transition is a big deal because it's the first day of putting my preparation as a mother to the test. Have I prepared her? Helped her be confident and secure? Given her enough knowledge about who she is and helped instill the importance of that in her? I guess we'll see.


Matt assured me I was making a bigger deal of it than necessary, and so we *calmly* accompanied her down the stairs, out the door, down the block and across the street. We huddled in the corners of her kindergarten classroom that smelled like recently painted walls and industrial strength cleaner with other nervous parents as her teacher took her to a cubby with her name on it and gave her a nametag. She left her Disney princess backpack there, found a table with paper and crayons and started coloring. She glanced up, scanned the room and found me. She confidently crossed the room to ask me if I was going to leave now. It wasn't a, "I'm ready for you to leave," nor a, "Leave so I can get on with this," she just wanted to make sure she gave me a goodbye hug. I walked into the hall and unwanted tears spilled onto my cheeks while the lump in my throat burned. Matt grasped my hand and smirked a little when he noticed the tears. I had Stella strapped onto me in the Baby Bjorn and my heart almost broke thinking of leaving her in just a few short years. I know now how fast it really goes.

You go girl! Whether it has anything to do with me or not, she sure seemed ready.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Enjoying the Moments


A moment I enjoyed this summer.
And a bonus for you to see how the kids are getting cuter by the day.

So I missed my blogging day at Segullah in August. But I was able to be the first one for the month of September. Head on over and join the discussion about how you are able to enjoy parenthood more and worry less about getting things done.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Accountability


This word, accountability, has been crashing its way into my life, repeatedly, this past while. As I grow older, I am continually becoming more aware of how weak and fallible I am.

I understand discipline
, and I understand consistency, but I haven't figured out how to marry the two in my daily/weekly/monthly/yearly behavior. I continually disappoint myself as my well-intended and hopeful life-changes come crashing down.



If you don't know me, I have an obsessive personality. I become very passionate about things for a short while and then that passion fizzles away to minor intrigue or residual interest (hello, blogging). When I was younger, this applied to many social connections as well. I wasn't proud of that. Now, I feel like my current obsessive tendencies apply to things, ideas, and activities....not people. At least I'm just hurting myself and not others. That's a start, right?

I want to try and emulate my perfect wife. She actually gets the idea of moderation and consistency. It's crazy. How do I glean from her that which will make me skinny, rich, and successful? How? How about starting the journey in a slow, moderate way. This is very hard for me. When I want to accomplish something, it must be done, now, or soon, with a deadline.

How does one moderately start being more moderate?



This is how I will start. When I know that I have to answer to someone other than myself, it's easier for me to make good choices...moderate choices...and to be honest with the progress and the outcome.

I can never rely on myself.

Having recently had a very serious talk with a friend in need of support, I became their "person" to which they will be accountable. It's easier to be on this side, but also motivating. I want a "person" to report to.

Not me....and not close

I want to lose weight, so I can fulfill my type in my current industry, be successful, earn more money, feel secure, and ultimately feel like I'm making strides forward in my life. It all comes down to making a thousand small, and good choices. In the past, I would do a crash diet, master cleanse, navy-seal workout, or anything that would give me results....FAST! Now, in my pursuit of moderation, I'm simply keeping a journal. I know what I should be doing. So I'm writing down everything I AM doing, and letting my wife read it. I journal my frustrations, temptations, successes, and remedies for improved and new choices. It's slow, thoughtful, and moderate. YIKES! I'm on day 3. I'll report back


Not me, either...but close

I want to stop biting my nails. I have done this since I was a child. As did my father. I have finger nubs, not nails. And guess what....my daughter bites her nails too...at 5 yrs. old. Genetics, anyone? She's been doing it since she was 2. So I gave her a manicure on Sunday night and had an accountability talk with her...since it's been on my mind. We will now be reporting to each other everyday on how we are doing. And guess what, I found it's really hard to disappoint an inquisitive 5 yrs. old girl. So I've been 3 days without biting. I'll report back.

I'm learning that the most important thing about being moderate and accountable, is that if you fall backward, you now have an opportunity to move forward again. When I used to fall from my obsessive and extreme plans, I would beat myself up, feel like a poop-bag, and not feel motivated to move forward again for quite a while.



I moderately say, "Thank you" for being my listening therapist. I will be accountable to you for my extreme plan of non-extremeness.

Check in on me. I need it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Roots


The glorious and majestic Mt. Timpanogas!

Come on over to Segullah for some good reading and hopefully enlightening discussion.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Really Ugly

In my lonely state, with the wife and kids gone, what am I to do with my free time in this big city? Really, anything I want. NY offers an unlimited amount of entertainments, social experiences, and cultural events. The sky's the limit. And now that I have the time to soak it all in, what do I do with my free time? ............ go the movies.

Yes, I've been watching way too many movies over the last week or so. I've been able to do this, because I've had entire evenings or days free, and I love seeing movies in theaters. It's just not the same on the small screen. Also, the great thing about NY movie theaters, many of them are HUGE 25 screen, multi-storied theaters, perfect for doubling or tripling your experience. That's all I will say about that. Yes, I'm bad. But when you pay $12.75 for a ticket, I like to get my money's worth. And I don't mind sitting in a dark theater for 6-9 hours at a time. Before you judge me, remember, there are a lot worse things I could be doing here in the city while my wife's away. Right?

Here is a spackling of movies I've seen very recently - with grades. For the most part, the following are all typical Summer popcorn flicks with little substance, but there are a couple great ones as well. (note: some of them I only saw as time fillers until the next good movie)

  • Wall-E - A
    Genius!
  • Iron Man - A-
    Quality movie all-around
  • Kung Fu Panda - B+
    Amazing animation
  • Hancock - B
    Unique and fun, but hoping for a little more. Bateman is perfect.
  • Indiana Jones - B
    Fun, with great visuals
  • The Incredible Hulk - B
    Better than expected
  • Wanted - B
    Too gory, but good
  • Sex and the City - B-
    Too long
  • Get Smart - B-
    Not terrible
  • The Love Guru - C-
    Expected bafoonery
  • The Happening - D-
    The Worst Movie in History!

Monday, June 23, 2008

RECAP


The past few weeks/months have a been a whirlwind, to say the least. Since baby Stella was born, the regular routine of life has really been thrown out of wack....in a good way.

Stella is now almost 5 months old, and getting cuter and cuter.

Margaret finished pre-school and the nasty sty is finally going away.

Cole is allowing his personality to really "blossom". (that's a nice way of saying he's testing his limits with us everyday)

At the beginning of June, we went to the Herrick family reunion in SoCal (or Southern California if you're uncool). My family (Mother, 7 siblings, 7 spouses and 35 children) stayed for 5 days in a cheap, but fun, motel about 5 blocks from Disneyland. We Disneyed two days, and beached two days, and generally hung out. It was very fun, but not very relaxing. When you have children in three separate categories for 'ride going' at Disneyland, it can get very tiresome and frustrating. Especially trying to coordinate with the other little cousins, etc... But Margaret and Cole had a blast.

Straight from California, Heather and the kids drove back to Utah with my family, as I returned to NYC with my Mother and 4 nieces. They had their "Grandma trip". So upon returning from California, I was thrust into touring them around the city for five days. Again, crazy, not restful, but fun. We tried the Wicked ticket lottery four times, and won three times. Very lucky. Everyone saw Wicked and 2 other shows, in addition to seeing the entire city and eating great food. I think they were a little culture shocked, but had a good time.

Back in Utah, Heather's brother, Jeff, got married last week. So she wasn't able to relax much either. The kids have had fun spending time with their other cousins.

Pictures of these events are forthcoming. Heather has the camera in Utah.

So here I am, in NY, all by myself until July 12. I really miss Heather and the kids. Mornings are the hardest. Waking up to an empty apartment, without little voices. Since I'm so used to being smothered with hugs and kisses everyday, being alone is really hard......but.......I can sleep in on weekends... and that's nice.

I will persevere. And for your enjoyment....


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Consistent Dedication

Well, it's official.....I'm an obsessive, inconsistent idiot. Why you may ask? Because I REALLY fell of the blogging wagon. I wanted to make writing/blogging/journaling/declaring/punditing/sharing a routine in my life. And what happens, I disappear for three months.

I am disappointed in myself once again. You can ask my wife, I often go through phases or obsessions. I go gung-ho, then fizzle away onto the next phase or obsession. I didn't want my blogging to be that.....at least the fizzle part. And it did. If I had a picture of me feeling like a schlumpy loser, in blogging fashion, I would put it




HERE
(schlumpy loser)





In order to remedy my loseriness (good word, huh), I'm going back on the wagon, and not in an obsessive way, but a naturally consistent and moderately habitual way......kind of like brushing your teeth. Looking back at my few short months of good blogging, I came to appreciate the power of recording. And what better way than blogging, in our digital age, is there to record who you are, junk and all, for your future self and posterity. The info will forever float in the blogosphere and won't be lost forever, say...... in a freak house fire or tornado.

I think this is important. I wish I knew what my father believed and felt about the world when he was a young father. Maybe I would discover that he also had an inconsistent, obsessive nature. Then I wouldn't feel so bad about myself......because I could blame him. And doesn't displacing the blame make everyone feel better about themselves? Then 20 yrs. from now, my son, Cole, will feel better about his crazy neurosis, because he can blame me......or choose to be better than me, and take responsibility for his own issues.

Hopefully, this public(albeit small) declaration will keep me motivated and accountable for consistent entries.


"Let it be written, Let it be done!"
- Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments


Monday, May 12, 2008

A Sweet Mess


So, we've been tired, busy, running races, having birthdays and stuff. We have left you in the blog reader lurch, and we're sorry. We'll try to do better.

I blogged at Segullah today. Read it, enjoy!

Pictures to come back and look for soon: Margaret's birthday; Stella's blessing; Heather, Natalie, Carol, Nicole, and Jake's half marathon;and maybe more.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Momentous

Please watch this speech.

With all politics and partisanship aside, I, as an American that believes in truth and equality, urge you to listen to his words. It will move and inspire both tears and action.

It's 38 minutes long. But definitely a good substitute to your regular viewing of "Flava of Love"...... right?

For full text and video, go to http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hisownwords/



Philadelphia, PA | March 18, 2008
"A More Perfect Union"


What do you think of his message?

Do you believe in the actual power of words? And, can/will they instigate action/change?

Will this a speech, as many pundits have said, "... be published in textbooks....alongside the Gettysburg Address and Dr. King's 'I Have A Dream' speech..."?


Monday, March 17, 2008

Health

A couple nights ago, Heather and I had a funny prayer moment.

During our prayer, Heather gave thanks for "the health we all enjoy", then immediately proceeded to ask,

"...bless Cole, that his cough will go away, so he can sleep..."

"...bless Matt, that his cold can get better..."

"...bless Margaret, that her eye(a nasty stye) will heal..."

I irreverently laughed, inside, for the rest of her prayer. It was a very telling moment of the gratitude Heather carries in her heart.

Yes, although we have things that ail us, and we are all very slowly falling apart, we are very, very healthy in so many ways.

And that is truly something to enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aiutami


Risk is everything
Without risk there is no drama
Without drama there is no "aiutami"
Without asking for help
No love, no love
- the Light in the Piazza -
Adam Guettel
2005


Aiutami!!!

That is the cry....."Help me!" in Italian. The passage is from one of the greatest musicals ever produced. These words have been in my head all day.

I'm sitting here at my job in the law firm, providing support for my family......gratefully. I'm sitting here at my day job in the law firm......longing to not be here. I'm sitting here at my job in the law firm......aching to feel creative.

Aiutami!!!

One of my fellow legal secretaries is out for the day. They placed a 'floater' in her stead. She 's knew. She's nice. She's a middle-aged, beautiful Greek woman named Evangelia. I didn't talk to her much of the morning as I stared blankly at my computer screen hoping to find a mental escape somewhere on the net.

Then she asked me, "So....are you an actor?"

"Yep", I responded flatly.
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pause
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"What makes you ask?", said my ego-driven, prodding self.

"It's because you have such great teeth.......nice smile......an actor's smile", she said.

"Thanks", I said perking up a bit.

Now she had my attention. I know it's terrible. But I needed something, today, to drag me out of my self-loathing doldrum.

After conversing for a while, I learned that she is an opera singer turned actress. Not only that, she has been on Broadway in three productions. Three of the greatest in the last 10 yrs. Baz Lurhmann's La Boheme, Coram Boy, and The Light in the Piazza.

In adoration, I showered her with questions about her experience in 'Piazza', how she got where she did, and what her future plans were. She said she has been very blessed, but has to pay the bills like everyone else. So, she took a 'floater' job at my law firm.

Aiutami!!!

The entire scenario made me very sad. Here is a beautiful, close-to-retirement, talented artist, that really 'made it' to the major leagues of our profession. And that profession dumped her out into the gutters of unemployment.

Yes, she now has a good job, completely unrelated to the theatre. And I'm sure she is grateful for it. But aren't there guarantees? Aren't there entitlements? Isn't she deserving of a life doing what she loves and is best at?

Aiutami!!!

I know I'm really just starting out on my journey, even 15 yrs. into it. But I pray that I will eventually be able to solely do what I am passionate about.

For now, in my pursuit, I am a slave to survival. And thank goodness....I am not content.


This is wanting something,
this is reaching for it,
This is wishing that a moment would arrive.

This is taking chances,
this is almost touching,
what the beauty is.
- the Light in the Piazza -
Adam Guettel
2005


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anomaly


As Spring approaches and the weather turns brighter, many people get the jogging 'bug' or 'fever'. They lace up the running shoes and hit the trails. They set goals of weight loss, distance, or time. They dream of finally running that 10K, triathlon, or marathon come summer/fall.

Last summer/fall, when I was training for my marathon, I was told that once I complete my first marathon, I would have the 'bug' to run more. I followed the rigorous training program, which should have established healthy, desirable habits. I completed the race faster than I anticipated and enjoyed the race experience. But guess what, it's been 5 months since I ran my marathon, and I am still 'bug' free. I have absolutely no desire to run another race, or even jog for enjoyment.

Mile 25

I don't like running. I abhor the training. I hate the way you have to schedule your life around your mileage. And, to top it off, I GAINED about 25 lbs. You're supposed to get skinny when you run 20-30 miles a week.

The "run a marathon" box on my life-list has been checked, and I'm moving on. I will probably run a few miles here and there for health reasons, but never again will I train for a big race.

Am I alone in my apathy? Am I a bad person for feeling this way? Am I the marathon running anomaly? Please let me know that it's ok to hate something that you shouldn't.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

HIGHLIGHT

My daughter, Margaret, loves to talk. She loves to pontificate on the details of every event in her life. She pretty much does the same things every day - morning shows, pre-school, play ground, meals, and bedtime.

Since I don't see my kids all day long, when I get home, I try my best to take time and ask them how their day went.

From Cole, I usually get a very LOUD and fast couple sentences that have something to do with dinosaurs, horsies, or trucks. He delivers it with such breathless urgency that it sounds like he just finished a world-record 100 meter dash.













From Margaret, I get a minute by minute, friend by friend, activity by activity account of the entire day. With her commentary added in, it can take quite a while to get it out.

Recently, I tried to put a healthy 'boundary' on her description of the day. I asked her to share the HIGHLIGHT of her day. She didn't quite get what I meant. I defined, and she delivered.....after much thought. She likes boundaries, and I like brevity(although I don't use it). It's a win-win.

Since then, her favorite word is HIGHLIGHT. "Daddy, you're home.....what was the HIGHTLIGHT of your day?", or "well....I played at Petra's house for a while, and the HIGHLIGHT was when....". It's quite amusing to watch her little head realize she is using a grown-up word, and see her filled with pride as she emphasizes her new found vocabulary.

Last night, I came home around 10 pm, and had not seen the kids all day. Mom and the kids were asleep. I peeked my head in the kids' room, and to my surprise, Margaret was awake, quietly singing along with Maria on "I Have Confidence". She was thrilled that I discovered her. After a very busy week, I felt she needed some 'daddy' time. I asked her if she wanted to get out of bed and talk for a minute. So even though it was way past her bed time(she's is a night owl, just like dad), we went out to the front room and had a little catch-up.

I asked her how her day went(with healthy boundaries). Her HIGHLIGHT was movie-night with Mom and Cole. Specifically, watching the family Robinson throw coconut bombs at those pesky pirates. And what would you guess, the first question for me out of her mouth was, "what was the HIGHLIGHT of your day, Daddy"?

I sat there for a moment, with Margaret on my lap, deeply thinking about what I could share. I then had a sudden rush of sadness and disappointment knowing that I did not have a HIGHLIGHT that day. Not knowing what to say, I told her that my HIGHLIGHT was talking to her right then. Because it was.

She gave me a big hug/little hug and big kiss/little kiss(the routine she created when she was two). That moment ended up being the HIGHLIGHT of my week.

I guess we all have days, every now and then, void of a HIGHLIGHT. But Margaret always has a HIGHLIGHT. She can always find a moment of wonder or excitement, even in her own monotonous schedule of morning shows, pre-school, play grounds, meals and bedtime.

I am always learning so much from her goodness and wisdom. I am going to try to have HIGHLIGHT- filled days, every day. Even if the one HIGHLIGHT is a simple conversation with someone I love.

Share a recent HIGHLIGHT you've had.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Shifting Gears


Stella is three and a half weeks old now. More than one person has asked me if it has gone by fast. The answer to that is, no. When days and nights blend together with only brief periods of sporadic sleep to separate them, time does not fly. That is not to say I haven't enjoyed her very much. There's nothing much sweeter than holding a warm cuddly newborn up against your shoulder and breathing in the pheromones, or love hormones as I like to call them. I think these love hormones spread over to Matt as well when I'm nursing in bed in the middle of the night. He seems like the perfect husband and father during that time.

My question is, how come they don't seem to extend to my other two kids? I love them dearly, now don't get me wrong. But these hormones afford me oodles of patience as I am bouncing a fussy baby alone in the middle of the night. So why is that patience instantly tried the moment Cole climbs onto my lap to kiss the baby while I'm nursing? Is it the split personality phenomenon? The way that my relatively agreeable, obedient two-and-a-half year old has suddenly turned into the most contrary child on the planet. His automatic response to every request or directive is, "No!" or "I don't want to!" I've had to come up with things he wants to do even less than what I've asked him to do, so he'll choose my original request just to spite me (pretty ingenius, no?). I knew a change was coming, but I forgot how taxing it can be on a sleep-deprived mama. Margaret, who was referred to as PMG (Perfect Margaret Gayle) by our brothers and sisters when she was a baby and toddler became a different person when we brought Cole home from the hospital. We named her alter ego, Margarita, the evil twin. It passed, as I'm sure Cole's mood swings will. So I just have to keep reminding myself of that.


At least, or I could say at most Cole and Margaret LOOOOVE baby Stella and want to kiss her, hold her, entertain her every chance they get. All disobedience and moodiness has been turned to me, and thankfully I am mature enough to handle it . . .if the love hormones are lingering.We will find our new groove. Right?


Speaking of love, Matt and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary last Saturday. I'm surprised he hasn't posted about it. Too wrapped up with his reality TV I suppose ;-). However, he did not disappoint. He made reservations at a beautiful little restaurant called New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park near our house. Grandma Margaret was still here, so we had a built in babysitter and enjoyed a night out. I did my hair and put on make-up for the first time in a couple of weeks and even squeezed into a pair of nylons (gag, but they do hold in the extra baby squish that's hanging around my middle, so that's a good thing). We ordered appetizers (calamari with mint coolie, lump crab cake), dinner (sirlion tip/short ribs in a rich stout sauce, duck in a blood orange sauce), and dessert (chocolate tart with homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream and apple upside down tart with homemade caramel ice cream. Everything was presented beautifully and oh so tasty.)

Here we are presenting skinny faces, although admittedly at this point in our marriage we're both feeling just a tad bit "fat".



And here we are in front of the lovely New Leaf Cafe.


And in honor of our 7th anniversary may I present:

Seven Reasons I don't have the "Itch"
(Be cautioned, you may feel jealous after reading this!)

1. Matt makes occasions special (a random sampling: homemade spa night for Valentine's Day, redecorating while we're away in Utah so that the place is beautiful when we come home, daddy/daughter or son dates on Saturday)

2. He makes a mean chocolate mousse.

3. He calls on his way home from the train to see if I need him to stop and get anything at the store (he's willing to get anything I need, like a bag of peanut m & m's if it's been one of those days or simply a gallon of milk).

4. He puts me to bed and then keeps Stella in the other room and cuddles her so I can get at least a couple of good hours of sleep every night.

5. He works hard to make time for our family, making sure to fit in FHE, even if it can't be Monday, and planning another night home every week to be here so we can do the laundry (and lately it has really been so HE can do the laundry, not WE).

6. Throughout the year he keeps a list of ideas for Christmas gifts and gives me the best surprises. Something I may have mentioned wanting or needing in September shows up under the Christmas tree. It's not that I need gifts, but this is an example of how incredibly thoughtful he is.

7. I'm making Matt sound perfect, but he's not. And that's the seventh reason I don't have the itch. He just tries hard, and we work hard together to make our family life one that brings us joy and peace. We enjoy life together and help each other learn from what's happening. Life is good, it's fun and I have a partner who is patient when challenges come up, but also who celebrates with me when things are going great.

I love you Matt! Happy Anniversary!