Saturday, April 29, 2006

Something's Afoot

Kim and I just returned from walking at the Alpharetta Greenway this morning. We agreed to meet at 7:00am...SEVEN on a Saturday morning? Am I crazy? It was terrific. The air was crisp and slightly "Fall-ish" as we made our way through the twists and turns of the peaceful trail.

As we made one turn, a deer appeared in the middle of our path so we paused. As we suspected, two or three more deer followed and eyed us as curiously as we stood in reverence. We were, afterall, in their home in the middle of the woods so we decided to give them their space. Soon, they made their way back into the forest and off we went.

As we walked, the smell of the honeysuckle vines perfumed the air with a sweetness only Spring can bring. It was such a pleasant atmosphere and all the other walkers, joggers and cyclists we came across seemed to be in a really good mood. 5 miles later, Kim and I returned to our car invigorated and ready to face the day.

Look out Saturday, here I come...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Like a Stone

And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I'd done
For that I've blessed
And all that I've wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on

In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I'll wait for you there
Like a stone
I'll wait for you there
--Audioslave "Like a Stone"

The Mermaid Chair

Just finished the book The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (one of my favorite authors...also wrote The Secret Life of Bees). I plowed through it in every spare moment I had this past week. Fantastic. Kidd's imagery transported me to the tidal marshes of coastal South Carolina. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sunshine and Sprinklers

Summer made its debut to me today. Yes, we've had the pleasure of sunshine-filled days and warm temps for some time now; however, the true feeling of summertime revealed itself to me with a little help from an Elmo water sprinkler.

My friend Kim and I had completed one of our regular outings--a walk through the up and down hilly streets of our neighborhood. The hot sun caused beads of sweat to form on my brow and my legs felt stiff as I pushed a 40 pound stroller carrying a 33 pound child. A child who insists on continually bending over to survey the underside of the stroller causing a weight shift that makes it even harder to push.

As we passed along the crystal clear waters of an enticing neighborhood pool, Kim and I agreed to head home and dress the kids in their bathing suits for the ultimate summertime rite-of-passage: playing in the sprinkler.

A couple hills later, we're home and have thrown some sandwiches together for an impromptu tailgate lunch in Kim's driveway. The kids proceed cautiously to the edge of the sprinkler's grasp. Moments later, they are having a ball trying to simultaneousy avoid and delight in the icy cold stream of water spewing from Elmo's mouth.

I glance around and the feeling is unmistakeable. It's summertime. The trees are thick with lush green foilage and the butterflies are dancing about--much like our kids--in a seasonal welcome party of their own. The fresh grass clippings adhered to our feet are proof that summertime has indeed arrived.

I take note of how blessed we really are. There is good conversation between friends, toasty sunshine to warm us and the unabashed giggles of childs play as we watch our kids frolic under the rhythmic arms of a dancing water sprinkler.

Life is good.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Life on April 23

Good Things:

~~Sod finally greening up in our front yard

~~"Business" coming in from my adoption flyer

~~Daniel having fun with other kids at the park

Not-So-Good Things:

~~My ongoing customer service Hades-- North Pole Air this time

~~Stressing about raising money for adoption

~~Wanting chocolate REALLY bad but knowing I don't need it

Friday, April 21, 2006

Where I'd Like To Be....

Let's's one of those straw huts in a far off place like Tahiti or Fiji. It sits precariously over a pristine inlet of the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by no visible signs of civilization. The cool breeze is rising off the water and gently lifting the curtains causing them to perform their own waltz...or perhaps a tango. The water laps at the support posts below and it tantalizes me into a dreamlike state. Each afternoon, a cleansing rain falls causing little droplets to splash upon the glassy surface of blue-blue water. I listen closely and swear I hear tiny "kerplunks" calling out to me. I respond and walk out the back door and slip into the ocean--it's salty embrace welcomes me...

Deep Sigh..........I must stop now. If I keep going, I will become very, very depressed.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Life on April 20

Good Things:

~~The excitement of an impending thunderstorm

~~Fresh strawberries atop an angelfood cake

~~Changing out Daniel's seasonal clothes (just looking at sweaters was making me hot)

Not So Good Things:

~~Kiwi Carpet Service (Want the Run Around? Call Kiwi)

~~Kiwi Carpet Service (Want your sofa ruined? Call Kiwi)

~~Kiwi Carpet Service (Want to be pushed to the brink? Call Kiwi)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Life on April 19

Good Things:

~~Ace voted off American Idol (how shallow am I?)

~~Pistachio Ice Cream Pie (low fat nonetheless!)

~~Clean underwear (Ace's demise actually ranked above clean undies??)

Not-So-Good Things:

~~Coming down with a cold

~~Surprise thunder claps that rattle the house

~~Mounds of clean laundry to be put away

The More I Know...

the more I find out that I don't know...or so the saying goes.

There are so many things in life that I have yet to discover. I realize that each time I fall in love with a new singer...or song...or painter...anything that becomes my temporary passion. Just when I think I have a firm grasp on my favorites in life, along comes something else that sweeps me off my feet.

Take Eva Cassidy, for example. I had no idea this musical artist existed until I saw Michelle Kwan skate at the Olympics while a stunning version of "Fields of Gold" played in the background. "Who is this artist?" I wondered. It wasn't until my friend Debbie clipped a Wall Street Journal piece about Eva (who died at age 35 of melanoma) that I found out who my mystery artist was. I now own all her music and count her as one of my favorite artists.

I guess that's the good thing about life. Just when you think you are surrounded by all the things you could ever love, something comes along that inspires you just a little bit more. What would life be without the hope of good things to come?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Life on April 18

Good Things:

~~The colors on the shish-ka-bobs that we're grilling: deep red tomatoes, dark green zuchinni, bright yellow squash and pineapple and perfectly purple onions

~~the book "Do Knights Take Naps?"--really cute kid's book

~~my son's smile when talking to the doctor...what a charmer!

Not So Good Things:

~~being up all night with my son's earache

~~the words "your son has pneumonia"

~~only junk mail in the mailbox

Monday, April 17, 2006

Life on April 17

Good Things:

~~passing clouds creating a light show of overcast, bright sun, over cast, bright sun

~~the smile on the face of my niece in the new picture sitting on my desk

~~an unsolicited "I love you, Mommy" from my son

~~ 24 comes on tonight

Not So Good Things:

~~TAX DAY...bye, bye moolah

~~the way leftover cereal sticks to the side of the bowl and hardens into an unpenetrable crust

~~ gruffy cough of an under-the-weather little boy

~~the broken record tune sung by the easter bunny that was lovingly given to my son by his aunt Jenny and Uncle Sean

The MidYear Meeting--Jacksonville, Florida

planning, conference calls
putting out a fire or two
It all comes together
Just in time, as always

jump on a plane
exit row is paradise
on a packed metal tube

Jacksonville, Florida
on a bright sunny day
high rises mingle with bridges
as the river meanders along
each ripple sparkling diamond-like
from the sun's unending gaze

lunch at the Landing
cold chicken in a pita
pigeons swarming about
the fountain in the pavement
entertains the lunch crowd below

more preparations
unpacking the necessities
badges in order, easels scattered about
curious attendees milling around
the behind-the-scenes glamour of meetings

so-so mexican for supper
more pigeons
jazz turned to rap on the plaza
a dripping ice cream cone
in my 4-year old's hand

signage forgotten
on the dining room table
is recreated late night
no Kinko's open

shhh, Daniel...go to sleep
please lay down, Daniel
mommy has asked nicely
no more chocolate ice cream
before bedtime

5:30 alarm
shower, iron, out the door
waiting at Kinko's
7:00 come and gone
so much for posted hours

the upside as I wait...
a crisp cool morning
office buildings awaken
one light at a time

registration begins
smiles, familiar faces
"how've you been?"
"here's your badge"
"we're glad you're here"

meetings ensue
putting up signs
taking down signs
grey easel stands
becoming extra appendages

too cold in the ballroom
call engineering
too hot in room A
call engineering
last minute speaker request
call audiovisual
need fruit plate for speaker
find the banquet manager

little details swimming everywhere
"pick me! no, pick me!"
they fight for my attention

schedule is winding down
packing up begins
keep this, toss that
bye, bye signage

"it was good to see you"
over and over
familiar faces depart
"see you in San Antonio..."

slip key in room 731
normally greeted by post-meeting silence
this time, "Mommy's here!"
want to crawl into bed
but a patient little boy
is ready for adventure

change clothes
take a deep breath
no rest, but no worries
only a short time left here
so to the unknown we venture

monday will come soon enough
more planning, more calls
as the cycle begins again....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Room for Two

Well, I found out that I have an enlarged heart this week. No, not anything to do with the ticker sittin' in my chest. The heart I'm referring to allows us to give and receive love and, after we got Daniel, I thought I had used it all up. That was before I had the privledge of keeping my niece Alden for the past few days. It has truly been a joy to have her here and it has impacted our family dynamic in many ways.

First, it's been an adjustment having "two" children. Many of my friends have shared with me the challenges of caring for more than one child and I now understand what they mean. Two children at different stages of discovery and boundary-pushing darting off into different directions--I'm not quite sure how mothers with more than 2 kids do it. God must bless them with invisible third and fourth hands...

Another way that having her here has changed me is I feel like my mothering "pilot light" has been reignited. Daniel has become so independent that, even at age four, he seems to know everything (at least in his little mind). That, combined with a fierce determination to prove that he can do everything "all by himself" often leaves me longing for little arms that reach out in need of Mommy help. Having her here has made me feel maternal again. Not that I don't feel like a mother to Daniel--quite the opposite. It's just that I miss his being dependent on me for the little things. But, as I watch him pick out his own clothes, help with household chores and learn new things each day...well, I'm proud of the "little man" he's becoming.

Finally, back to the heart thing. As anyone who has ever been a parent knows, it's hard to imagine loving anything or anyone else as much as you love your first born, or in our case adopted, child. But these past couple of days have enlightened me. My heart has expanded to fill the needs of both of these children and something about Keith and I playing on the floor with both kids simply felt "right." It was also nice to see Daniel feel just a tad of jealousy. It is a good thing for him not to be the center of all things occasionally...a trait that will benefit him as he grows older.

But most of all I have once again experienced the joy of baby kisses and little hands rubbing sleepy eyes and giggles and yes, even carrying a diaper bag again has been comforting--knowing everything I could ever need is within reach. If these past two days have taught me anything, they've taught me that my lap, much like my heart, is big enough for two........

Monday, April 10, 2006

Won't You "Lettuce" Eat Lettuce?

Ever since we've had him, our child loves salad. Try to give him french fries and he turns up his nose but stick a bowl of lettuce, tomato and cucumber in front of him and he digs right in. Now, if I adopted his eating habits, I'd be a lot better off. But, try getting a salad substituted for fries on a child's meal in most restaurants and you have to tack on an average of $2.00 to the meal.

OK, so we have a national epidemic of overweight kids who don't eat properly. So, when a parent tries to do the right thing and order a healthy alternative to fat-laden fries, we have to pay MORE? I'm not wanting the super-duper deluxe salad with all the trimmings. I simply request some lettuce and tomato. You can even hold the dressing in our case--he'll eat it plain. How much can that cost?? Not $2.00 by golly. I wonder what they'd do if I pulled a $0.99 head of lettuce out of my purse and asked for a sharp knife. I realize I'm lucky that Daniel prefers veggies to fried things...but, it's expensive enough eating out much less having to pay more to do it the healthy way.

The other night at an Outback (in Florida) I ordered Daniel the ribs and asked if he could get a small salad instead of the fries. "No," replied the server. "Oh, OK. Um, so how much would it be to get him a small salad? Just some lettuce and tomato?" I asked. She told me it would be $2.49 on top of the price of the meal and they could not take the fries off. I talked to another server and she arranged to have a salad brought to him "on the house" which was great but I had to make a "stink" to get the child some lettuce. Pretty sad.

And, you guessed it, when his plate came out it was loaded down with greasy french fries which he did not eat. So, the fries went to waste and that expense could have been spared just by dropping a few lettuce leaves and a piece of tomato on a plate and saving the french fries for another customer.

I'll get off my soapbox now. But it is very frustrating.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

One of my Favorite Times...

... is a time like right now. It's 1:14am and everyone (except me) is sound asleep. It's pouring rain outside and all of the windows are opened a little and the attic fan is blowing gently through the house. The humming and whir of the fan is actually soothing and there is a slight breeze blowing.

I close my eyes and I'm sitting at the beach on a crisp April day with a cool breeze coming in off the water as it laps at the shore. I'm probably wearing a light jacket and shorts and I'm digging my toes into the sand as my hands huddle inside my pockets for warmth. The sound of a lone seagull is heard in the distance along with the hushed giggles of teenagers surely on a spring break vacation. I lie back on my blanket, look up at a perfect black sky dotted with millions of diamond-like clusters. I close my eyes and smell the salt on the wind and realize there is no place I'd rather be.

Then I open my eyes and I'm staring at a computer screen--realizing that my time at the beach is just a short-lived fantasy.

Guess I'll head off to bed now. Perhaps I'll find that blanket and a sky full of stars in my dreams...