Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Project ADD

I have Project ADD.

Project ADD can be defined as "the inability to complete a home improvement project without beginning another which then prolongs the destruction of ones home thereby creating marital tension."

Wouldn't it be nice if, at some point, my home were just fine as is. No tile to lay down, no 1984 wallpaper in need of replacing, no hole in the wall where a toilet paper holder used to be?

Now, before you jump on me, I'm all about the theory of contentment. I do understand that I'm blessed far beyond belief with the home that I have. BUT...that doesn't stop the inner "Pottery Barn" in me from imagining what could be. Sigh......

During a recent tiling endeavor, my husband heard the familiar sound of wallpaper being ripped off a wall in a really cool, longggggggggg piece. OK, so I added the last part-- all he heard was the sound of another project commencing. Like the famous phrase "Gentlemen, start your engines..." the sound of wallpaper coming down signaled the beginning. The beginning of a new project while my poor hubby was up to his eyeballs in grout.

Oh yeah, Project ADD is in full swing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wishful Thinking

We returned from our brief trip hoping to walk in and find that the tile fairy had paid us a visit and finished our kitchen floor while we were away...

no such luck.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(click image to enlarge)


Every night, I try to whisper some sort of little something in my son's ear to reaffirm how proud I am of him. Tonight, while his little boy breaths were heading the way of deep sleep, I whispered, "I love you, Daniel. I am so proud of the boy that you are."

As I turned to tip-toe out of his room, a sleepy little voice echoed, "I love you, too. And I am so proud of the grown-up that you are."

Let me tell ya, that's all the validation I need.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Life on October 23

Good Things:

~~Fall color blanketing the north Georgia mountains

~~8-layer chocolate cake made by Michelle's grandma

~~Comfortable laughter among friends tonight

Not-So-Good Things:

~~47 degrees and windy at a pumpkin patch field trip

~~My kitchen table and stove in the middle of my living room
(kitchen floor tiling project)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Don't Want To Forget

My son,

I don't want to forget riding with the windows down today and the breeze coming in as reddish, orange-tinted leaves whipped up in swirly patterns as we drove along. I don't want to forget the perfectly blue sky and the sweet sound of your four-year old voice singing "Daniel my bruh-der, you are older than me...will you still feel the pain...of the scars that won't heal...Daniel my bruhder...Daniel my bruhder...." Your favorite song sung over and over in a small voice that will, all too soon, correctly pronounce the word "brother" and it will break my heart.

I don't want to forget the four year old you. You are stubborn, funny, excitable, clever, frustrating and sweet.

I never want to forget these things.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pretzel-Shaped Balloon Hat

I sooooo want to be laughing while I wear a pretzel-shaped balloon hat at this age. I absolutely love this photo.

(Photo was taken at the Annual Wichita Assisted Living Senior Olympics--Witchita, Kansas)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ready to Go

A friend of ours recently lost both of his parents in a tragic airplane crash last week here in Atlanta. The small aircraft was bound for St. Simon's Island and contained Ron's folks as well as another couple who the plane belonged to.

Attending the funeral Sunday was tough because, not only did it conjour up the memories of my own experience of losing a parent, but it once again confirmed to me just how fragile life really is. But, one remark made as a part of the eulogy by Ron's brother really stuck with me.

Ron's mother had really dreaded riding in such a small aircraft; in fact, she had initially resisted going on the trip because of this hesitation. Finally, she gave in and commented, "you know, when it's my time to go, then it's my time to go..."

She then added, "we're packed up, prayed up and ready to go..."

There can be no greater source of comfort than to know that a loved one is assured of what will happen to them after this much-too-short-and-unpredictable life. Hugs and prayers to the entire Byrne family during this tough time........

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Trip to the Dentist

Dentists offices just aren't what they used to be. I remember cold, sterile offices where the only sign that they had younger patients was the basket of stickers on the counter. Boy have times changed.

Daniel's first-ever dentist appointment took place in an office where every square inch of the inside was painted in murals with 3-D animals and trees. The waiting room had TVs in every corner with movies playing and a wall full of video games to occupy nervous patients. The X-Ray process almost did him in but Daniel relaxed and actually turned out to be an excellent patient. He was curious about all the instruments and enjoyed watching Cat in the Hat during his treatment. Geez...no dentist visit of mine has ever been quite so enjoyable.

After a thorough cleaning and exam, the wonderful news was delivered...NO CAVITIES! Great teeth! Whew!!!! I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Several friends of mine have shared the dental problems some of their children have had due to the lack of milk and over-abundance of tea that our kids had in their early years in Russia. I was fully expecting to meet the same fate. When the news of "no cavities" came back, I realized my lucky child did not inherit my teeth. Another reason to celebrate! :-)

Treatment and exam complete, Daniel used the tokens he got from the dentist in the toy machines on the way out. He also received a goody bag with a T-shirt, toothbrush, floss and a certificate for free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese. My next dentist appointment is Oct. 26...I'll have to suggest a nice Bath 'n Body goody bag for my visit. For some reason, I don't see that happening?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Trip to the Fair

He couldn't wait.

Each time we'd pass by our local fairgrounds, now laden with large mechanical beasts with flashing eyes and ponies going round in circles, Daniel's eyes would grow wide and he would inevitably ask, "can we go, Mom, huh, can we go there, huh, huh???"

I was finally able to say "yes" and what an evening it was. As we were headed back to the car afterwards, Keith exclaimed, "that was the most enjoyable evening we have had in a very long time." Indeed it was.

The air was crisp (there I go again with that word) and the predictable combination of smells confirmed we were at the fair. The warm, home baked aroma of funnel cakes, the smell in the air of wood burning and grills cooking up juicy sausages and sauteed onions, and the unmistakable scent of apples both candied and carameled.

The noises were familiar, too...the whirring of cotton candy machines whipping up fluffy bags to hang on a clothesline for the pickin', the gruffy voices of carnival workers enticing passerby to try to win a larger-than-life stuffed animal, and the screams of the frightened riders on a thriller called the Cyclone. Leave it to me to hear those screams and be drawn to that ride like a moth to flame.

Offering up my four tickets, I hopped aboard the Cyclone just as the fuschia-colored harnesses were being lowered in place. The metal floor then dropped out from below us and the most terror-filled 5 minutes of my life ensued. We began to spin around and rock back and forth and suddenly we are being tossed in the air like a used tissue. My heart began an odd palpatation as I watched the cars on the street below from an unnatural upside-down and twisted angle. The thought of death actually passed through my mind several times. I was actually PET-tri-fied. As I exited the ride to find my guys waiting for me, I felt my steps swagger as I tried in vain to flatten my wind-tossed coif. Whew. Don't think I could do that again.

The three of us strolled through the exhibits and Keith and I beamed as we watched Daniel, with a face bathed in pure delight, ride in circles on a sparkly green motorcycle. We shared a bag of cotton candy and paid a visit to the old-fashioned doctor and dentist as well as made a stop at the petting zoo.

Capping off the evening, Keith (aka. Mr. Not So Fond of Heights) watched as Daniel and I took a spin on a brightly colored ferris wheel. Initially scared, Daniel tucked his head into my side and sat as still as I've ever seen him. But, as the ride continued, his death grip on my arm gently subsided and he would wave at Daddy each time we came around. It was a wonderful way to end the evening and bid farewell to this year's fair.

If nothing else, it cemented the fact that fall is in full swing for me. What better way to spend a Thursday evening than with the two loves of my life, fingers sticky from cotton candy, ambling along taking in the sights and smells that reminded me so much of my own childhood?

It was more than just a trip to the fair. We made a memory last night.

Isn't that what life is all about?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I love fall.

Even the word "autumn" makes me feel good. And, when someone uses the word "autumnal" to describe something that is associated with this season it just rolls off the tongue smoothly...."au-toom-nuhl".... deep colors of burnt orange, rust and golds appearing in little spurts throughout my neighborhood... luscious purple and plum colored mums bursting open and the comforting smell of burning leaves and fireplaces getting their first trial run before the temperatures start to drop.

In a recent conversation with my friend Cindy, we discussed words we liked (or, really, I discussed words I liked or didn't like and she mostly laughed at the oddness of my obsession with words). For example, I always associate the word "crisp" with fall. Crisp air, crisp apples, apple crisp...why does it always come back to food? :-)

On beautiful autumn days, the sun slants through the trees at just the right angle to create a stunning pattern on our lawn. The air is perfect and the leaves are falling as I pick the spot on which I'll lay back and survey the branches rustling in the breeze. For this and other reasons, I am simply in a better mood in the fall. It's not too hot, it's not too cold and the holiday trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas is on its way. I can dream about the wonderful ideas that I will most likely never implement while not feeling any pressure to decorate or have the house in order for holiday company.

What else do I love about this season? Football games and the accompanying beat of a drumline... long sleeve shirts with a pair of shorts... trips to the pumpkin patch...

I love this time of year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My Faraway Friend

Our paths have crossed
A number of times
But never face to face
A friendship has blossomed
As we've shared ups and downs
After adopting from the same place

We've spent countless hours
Listening and counseling
And laughing away the tears
A bond that will no doubt
Continue to strengthen
As our friendship grows through the years

It's moved past adoption
Into parenthood and careers
And our daily routines and such
I cannot convey
How much it has meant
For the two of us to stay in touch

It's amazing to realize
That you know me so well
And you champion me on to great things
I hope that you know
I'll be there for you
No matter what craziness life brings...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ah, Escape to Adulthood

You know, when I was growing up, I vividly remember our family spending time with other families and how I always longed to be an adult...sitting around the table talking and laughing...telling stories and having a great time. As kids, we always played with the other children or, if there were no children, we'd find ways of entertaining ourselves. To me, it seemed as if I would never be a "grown up" but, as I think back to those days, I now realize that my Mom was the age I am now. I guess that's why our escape with two other couples this past weekend was so special. Three days of quality friendship time spent in the mountains just as the leaves are beginning to blaze with fall color...I can assure you it was time well spent.

Knowing that our child was in good hands with his grandparents, we jumped in a couple vehicles with our close friends Cindy and Ronnie and headed north. Part of the fun was the ride up there as we paired off by gender and Cindy and I had a blast riding up together. We chatted, sang harmony to our favorite songs and talked about a wide array of topics ranging from parenthood to careers and marriage. The guys were just ahead of us which made it that much more fun. Once we met up with our other friends Wendi and Chris, the three couples carefully balanced hanging out with alone time as we went shopping, played games at a "race car" theme park and waged a fierce battle of the sexes during the DVD trivia game Scene It. We hooted and carried on like teenagers and definitely felt a sense of renewed couplehood.

In fact, Cindy made a comment that confirmed the mood of the weekend: "it reminded me of why we fell in love in the first place."

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Headed to the Mountains

We're off later today for a couples getaway near Gatlinburg, Tennessee...no children! I am so excited to get away with friends and to be in the mountains this time of year. Pictures and highlights when we return!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Beyond Comprehension

I've always been an outer space junkie...not of the Star Trek or sci-fi bent... but more a general fascination with planets, stars and the like. I came across this and the enormity of just how small our planet is. This is a picture taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 as it sailed away from Earth, more than 4 billion miles in the distance. It captured the rays of the sun at very close range. In one of those sun rays, the camera caught an image of the Earth...as a tiny speck (shown with the arrow).

On October 13, 1994, the famous astronomer Carl Sagan commented on these photos during one of his lectures:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. "

There are times when all the "small stuff" of life seems to pile up and take on a life of its own. Relationships, careers and even which tile to pick for a kitchen floor can all seem like life-altering
decisions. But, when we take a moment to comprehend just how small our world is in the scope of the universe...and just how tiny we are in the scope of the Earth...then those everyday things don't seem so big after all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Night Sounds

At 3:45 this morning, I was awakened by my ever-present hacking cough. Because I could not go back to sleep, I wrapped a blanket around myself and padded down the hard wood stairs to the living room. The window in this room must have been open a bit because I could hear the familiar chirp of crickets beckoning me to come outside.

I opened the door to the deck and the dark stillness immediately enveloped me. I stood there for a moment before settling into one of the patio chairs to enjoy a free concert by my new nighttime friends.

I always though that those pre-recorded "night sounds" on alarm clocks were annoying because the continual loop was so repetitive that I could always anticipate the number of times a cricket would chirp before the frog would chime in...but last night was exactly the same. The frogs in the dark creek bed below would lead off and the then the chirp of the crickets would cry out in harmony three times....chirppppppp, chirrrppppppppp, chirrrrppppppppp and then a long unidentified buzzzzzzzzzzz before the frog would lend his throaty croak again.

With no lights to be found and knowing my guys were tucked snuggly into their beds, I thought it would feel lonely in this thick, black solitude. Instead, my companions and I carried on quite a conversation as I would contribute an occasional cough to their chorus.

Feeling drowsy and relaxed, I soon stepped inside, curled up on the couch and let the soothing serenade of the night creatures lull me to sleep......