Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pasadena pics

Saturday evening reception--perfect weather!

[above] shrimp shooters... a neat take on shrimp cocktail...
[below] an alternative to mixed fruit...build-your-own fruit kabobs

Me [left] and Cindy (pal/conference assistant) at our Saturday evening reception

Our new friend Tinashe [actor who we hired through the temp service to help out at registration] Be on the lookout for her. She is extremely funny and very talented... possibly slated for a new NBC show. We LOVED working with her!

View from the room...overlooking Pasadena at sunrise

The view of the Pasadena wildfire from my room...
I fell asleep with my window open and awoke to find my ironed
shirt covered in ash from the fire. A little scary!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Does One Do...

...when one has TOO MANY things to post on their blog? You'd think that the gap in entries smacks of writer's block. Nope, that's not the case. Much to the contrary, my experiences over the past week have provided plenty o' fodder to be shared but I've been tied up putting on a conference and now I don't know where to start.

So, in my ever-precastinatory fashion, I shall do a "meme" instead. The lovely Anna tagged me on this...she must have known I needed a jumpstart (I promise to post some actual writing tomorrow!) But for now, here goes:

In a Word
1. Where is your cell phone?

2. Your significant other?

3. Your hair?

4. Your mother?

5. Your father?

6. Your favorite thing?

7. Your dream last night?

8. Your favorite drink?

9. Your dream/goal?

10. The room you’re in?

11. Your hobby?

12. Your fear?

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?

14. Where were you last night?

15. What you’re not?

16. Muffins?

17. The last thing you did?

18. What are you wearing?

19. Something you’re not wearing?

20. Your mood?

21. Your summer?

22. Person(s) you tag?
Meldrop and Jennifer

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here I am...in a dimly lit meeting room, working on a few details for the second day of our conference tomorrow.

Everything is going eerily well--at least it has today. The first day was solemn at best. My pal Cindy who comes to help me out at our meetings (thank goodness she has been put on the payroll!) was in an accident on the way from the airport. Her shuttle was the last of 5 cars that collided...and her van hit a Fed Ex truck from behind. She's OK except for a wicked case of whiplash but we spent our first evening here at the Pasadena Urgent Care and CVS Pharmacy. The same day, we found out that the sister of our good friend committed suicide night before last. Even more tragic is that this woman's daughter is supposed to get married on May 17. Can you imagine? My heart goes out to the entire family. I can't fathom what they are feeling right about now.

But, today everything has clicked. All the "pieces parts" of this conference have fallen in place and we are thrilled to be underway. The weather is simply GLORIOUS and we have had no shortage of yummy eats (an important traveling ingredient for sure). Spring is definitely showing off its finest colors here.

More later from Californ-I-A. I'd love to hear what you are most looking forward to (or are enjoying) about Spring in your world...

Until next time,

Monday, April 21, 2008


As we stepped out of the car, I squinted through the bright sunshine to peruse the goings-on around me. The wind danced through my hair as I watched children chasing each other through the grassy fields and colorful kites whipping through the crystalline blue sky. The mood was joyous, playful and made for a perfect backdrop for a springtime Sunday afternoon.

Only yards away, however, there was a group of people whose mood and emotions were decidedly different. Against a picture-perfect canvas of mountains, lake and white puffy clouds was a somber reminder of a tragic day in the life of this town...and our country.

I arrived yesterday in Littleton, Colorado for a hastily-scheduled meeting with an association that I plan events for. You see, the father of one of my "right hands" for the conferences we put on passed away Friday; thus, funeral arrangements and family obligations are preventing her from going to California with us tomorrow. My impromptu trip to Denver yesterday was planned so that we could sit down and plan how to cover in her absence.

As we were driving down the clean, open roads of Littleton, we passed Columbine High School-- the site of the tragic rampage of 2 weapon-wielding students nine years ago. It just so happened to be the anniversary of the event and my boss asked if I would like to visit the memorial located on a hillside in a park just behind the school.

As we approached the brick retaining wall bearing the names of the victims and tributes by their families, I couldn't get over how strong the wind was blowing. At times it was hard to walk straight due to the wind pushing against our bodies.

"It's never like this, " my friend said. "I can't believe it's so windy."

I explained that I had checked the weather before traveling and it made mention of "strong wind" just for that day.

As we were moving from one epitaph to the next, my heart broke for the visitors holding each other weeping. Were they family? Former students/survivors perhaps?

I approached the marker for a victim named Lauren Townsend. I was reading an excerpt from her diary and a phrase engraved on the stone hit me like a ton of bricks:

The wind is God.

The full entry read as follows:

A woman in the middle of a field of flowers kissing Jesus' wounds; I didn't think I could draw such a beautiful picture. I did tonight. It took me only two hours. I think something was guiding me other than just my hand.

That is my dream. When I die, I want to wake up in a field of flowers and see Jesus sitting there smiling, happy to see me, holding my hand.Then I want to kiss his wounds. Maybe it sounds corny, but I can't even describe how happy I would be if I could do that.

Then I would hug him, he'd kiss me on the forehead, and we would just sit there hugging in the sun with the wind blowing in our hair. The wind is God because God is everywhere. Just that moment is worth living many lives for. I feel so peaceful, calm, and joyful; like I am on the verge of enlightenment. There is so much more going on here than we realize.

I do think humanity is losing touch with itself and their relationship with their surroundings. Unfortunately it usually takes a huge trauma to get people to realize what is important and I feel that is what is going to happen to wake up everyone to get in touch with their spiritual sides. I am not afraid of death for it is only a transition. For, in the end all there is, is love.


To read the portion about the wind while having an uncharacteristic wind blowing on the anniversary of such a horrific tragedy--it gave me chills up and down my arms.

I used to believe in coincidence but, as I grow older, I see more clearly the handiwork of God and how His plan is intricately woven and guaranteed to give us chills every now and then.

Along with them, I will remember...

Columbine High School ~ Littleton, CO

To read the full tributes engraved for each of the students, click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Bassinet Bids Us Farewell

This post is based on my earlier post titled "The Bassinet" which I wrote prior to our adoption of Baby J. I have since updated it and am entering it into Scribbit's Write-Away contest this month. So, as Paul Harvey would say, here is...the REST of the story...

The Bassinet Bids Us Farewell

The room was cozy and was decorated with a couple couches and wing chairs--all anchored by a simple oriental-style rug. A ficus tree or two dotted the room making the feeling of this space surprisingly homey. Then I spotted it. Tucked over in the corner next to the window was a white bassinet complete with a snow white skirt—looking regal—as if dressing for its first cotillion.

I guess the purpose of the bassinet was lost on me at first. I just assumed…"OK, so we're at an adoption agency…maybe there are times when clients need the use of a bassinet." It wasn't until the midst of our discussion when our case worker pointed out that we were sitting in the room where placement occurs that it dawned on me. THAT was the very bassinet where we would meet our child for the first time. The weight of the revelation was breathtaking.

Wow. Suddenly, the bassinet took on an entirely different persona for me. It wasn't just a white contraption that families kept their child in during a meeting. No, this particular bassinet was more angel than furniture. It was a comforter of children about to discover the joy of a new family. It was a place of transfer…the transferring of hopes and dreams from one human to another. But, most important, it was a temporary place for my soon-to-be child to feel safe until I take him or her into my heart and home forever.

As we exited the room, I glanced over my shoulder at the white bassinet in the corner. "Goodbye, for now..." I whispered… and then reluctantly turned to walk away.

Nearly a year later, we got THE CALL. A baby boy was soon to make his journey into our family and our home. Plans were made, last-minute rushing about was done and a few short weeks later it was time. It was time to go and bring our son home.

After the paperwork was signed, my husband, six-year old son and I were standing outside a small room knowing full well what was inside...a white bassinet. My heart skipped several beats as the caseworker slowly turned the knob and the door opened into what we like to refer to as our “delivery room.”

There, inside that sunny little room, was the fragile wicker bed that held within its grasp a piece of our heart. As we took a step toward the bassinet, a small arm clad in a hand-knit blue sweater slowly reached upwards in the air as if to say, “here I am. I’m ready to go.”

And go we did.

After an emotional time spent bonding with the newest member of our family, it was finally time to go home. Home to a nursery painted with a bright red bird, a cheerful zebra and a little brown puppy. Home to freshly washed baby bottles and never-been-used pacifiers in a rainbow of colors. And, home to a driveway-full of grandparents ready to swarm the car the moment it appeared in the distance.

The little white bassinet certainly fulfilled its role that day. It lovingly embraced our child until we could finally drive away—faces full of both smiles and tears—a family of four at last.

One of LIfe's Little Tragedies

D.'s backpack broke this morning. The zipper became ensnared with the fabric and, while trying to loosen it, it broke with 8 minutes to spare until the bus came.

"What am I going to do?!," exclaimed my 6-year old.

Kick into Mommy high-gear.

Now, may I remind you that many of our back-up items are still boxed up. And, because of this, the only solution was to plunk his folders and snack into a black backpack that was too small but at least zipped up halfway.

You'da thought I'd dressed the child in a pair of pink overalls.

"But, Mommmmeeeeeee....it's too smalllllllll...nobody else wears a backpack this smalllllllllllllll."

"Well, this is our only option or you'll miss the bus," I replied.

Nevermind that we had drawn farm animals, made a cool farm book for his homework and just finished his favorite breakfast. Nope-- my Mommy Points dropped significantly with what I'm sure he'll remember as The Tragic Backpack Incident.

So, with drooped head and slumped shoulders, my poor, underprivileged child slowly trodded his way to the bus stop.

The sad thing is that, as his parent, I know there will be bigger tragedies he'll encounter in his life. But, I also know that I would have given anything to "save the day" and produce some cool solution to his dilemma.

Oh well, life will go on. Even with a too-small backpack...life must go on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Whoa, Look at the Time...

I got nothin'.

Well, except some linkage for you. Yeah, I'm riding on the coattails of my bloggy buddies because I have more on my To-Do list than I have hours in the day. Baby J. had a rough day yesterday and I really got behind. I have an event in Pasadena next week that I only have a few little details to wrap up on...but just getting ready to go has made my pre-trip list a little longer than usual.

So, without further adieu, a few of my favorite posts of late:

The Fried Okra Family Finds a New Fave

A Good Reminder as I Race Through My Days

Oh My Goodness, I Can Hardly Stand it This Pie is So Good

enjoy. I will be back tomorrow... promise.

Friday, April 11, 2008


To my boys,

It's been over five years now since your Grammy passed away so I wanted to tell you a little bit about her while my recollection is still strong.

It is true that you tend to “idealize” a person after they’re gone—recalling only your favorite memories for comfort and strength. Sure we had our squabbles like all mothers/daughters do—but they pale in comparison to the warm remembrances of family vacations, time spent with friends and some meaningful—yet difficult—conversations we had prior to her death in 2003.

The purpose of these words is to paint a picture--a picture of your grandmother who loved you in her heart even though she never got the pleasure of discovering your existence. To me, it seems as if she brought us together…her pain and suffering serving as stepping stones to my own voyage to parenthood. Had it not been for her illness and eventual passing, I might not have yearned so deeply to feel that bond between mother and child. Not only has your joining our family enriched the lives and relationship of your father and me, but it has brought me closer to my mother in a somewhat unusual sense. To touch you is to channel the love she gave us all those years and pass it along to you. And, as the years go by and you grow from babies, into boys and eventually into men, I hope to tap into that creativity and sense of humor she used so often in raising us.

Sense of humor. Boy, did she have a clever wit about her. She had a dry, but always inclusive, sense of humor…possessing the ability to make everyone laugh—regardless if they really “got” her jokes or not. The woman had the knack for making others feel comfortable and at ease…if anything, I pray that I may have gotten a little bit of that quality from her.

Your Grammy had a beautiful voice and we loved to sing together while driving, or cleaning the house…any chance that we had to harmonize and enjoy music together. We would often sing “Amazing Grace” – that was one of her favorites. She taught your Aunt Jenny and I an appreciation for music, for the lyrics of songs and the emotions that they could allow you to feel. To this day, one of my favorite things is to sit and play my favorite songs and sing at the top of my lungs…I feel very close to her when I spend quiet time just enjoying singing and listening to music.

Since you boys came into our lives, I have often felt sad—wishing she were here to see that cute smile of yours or hear your sweet laughter. She would really have enjoyed both of you. D., she would have reveled in your curiosity and your incessant questions about life and the zeal with which you live it. J., your smile lights up a room and I'm sure she would have loved sitting at the sewing machine whipping out little outfits for you to wear.

Even the name "Grammy" was picked out by her as we discussed my desire to have children. We tossed about "Grandma" and "Nana" and we would chuckle at the thought of funny names like "Kackoo." And I made the mistake one time of suggesting "Granny"--nope, that wouldn't be an option! So, we settled on Grammy and she embraced her moniker with pride.

There is so much I want to share with you two about this remarkable woman...so many details about who she was and what she loved and the way in which people were drawn to her and her warm, inviting personality. Maybe as certain memories come back to me, I'll jot them down here so you can get a sense of what a neat person she was.

And, although she never got to meet you, I know in my heart of hearts that she loved you both very much.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

46 pacifiers

46 pacifiers
live in our home
I'm trying to find one
all over I roam

a green or a blue one
or orange indeed
the old or the new one
a pacifier I need!

i've looked and I've looked
as the whining ensues
just one pacifier
and my baby might snooze!

A Blog About a Whole Lotta' Nothin'

I'm in a funky mood tonight.

Perhaps it's because I'm up past my beddy-bye time listening out for my boy on the new monitors we bought. You see, he's YET to sleep all night in his crib--in his room--and this night has been a challenge. Even now, I hear his mutterings...his whimpering sputters and wails. And now, just as quickly as it began, there is silence.

For at least 45 - 50 seconds, that is.

It could be a long night, peoples.

Other than that, I'm feelin' kinda ick. And I realize I just need to get over myself. Let me explain.

We just had a house full of company--my dad and his wife and my sister and her daughter--for 6 days total. I don't know what it is about having folks here, but it's like my brain short circuits and I become a bumbling mess.

On a normal, company-free day, I wake up, kiss my hubby goodbye and manage to get both kids underway for the day. My oldest is bathed, clothed, fed and at the busstop with plenty of time to spare. And when I go places? I have all the necessary STUFF to take care of a 4 month old.

But, with visitors present, all that goes out the window. I get to a restaurant and there's no diaper bag. And this morning? D. is rushing out the door as the bus is about to pull away. And Mount Laundry Pile appears again. And...and... why do I appear to be so disorganized when, in fact, I (mostly) have it all together on any other given day?

I dunno.

I also want to bake like this person. And sew like this person. There are so many things I want to be good at.

....see! I told you this post was about a whole lotta nothin'. Well, except griping. And who needs that?

OK, enough of the pity party. It's late and I'm tired. I'm sure that's all it is.

This post will be filed under one of the Greatest Pick-me-up Posts of All-Time by the people that track that sort of thing. You know, cause I'm inspirational and all.

Guess what, though. It has been 15 minutes and not a peep from yon nursery! Perhaps I should run go get some shut-eye.


Spoke too soon.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Picture Time

D. and his cousin Alden in the back yard...

Cutie pa-too-tie.

My sister Jenny (right) and I outside the Loveless Cafe (yummm) in Nashville.

Two of the reasons my heart beats every day. (Keith and Baby J. napping)

You gotta know this made my heart MELT. Sweet, sweet boy.

My sister Jenny and I with the kids outside the Loveless Cafe.
(Jen's pigtails are crackin' me up and D. looks so realistic!)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mouse in a Wheel

airport arrivals
find the right lane
going too fast
slowwwwww it down

searching, searching faces
for one that looks like me
travelers crossing
wait, wait, wait

military man waves his hand
high in the air
flagging down a truck
thank you for your service, sir

cute little policeman
compact and friendly
"keep it movin', folks..."
searching, searching

no sign of sis

off we go, back on the road
making the circle
airport arrivals
find the right lane

speed B..U..M..P
jostle, jostle
searching more faces
friends reunited
a tearful embrace

no sign of sis
gotta keep moving
here I go again
back on the road

another lap

mouse in wheel

going in circles

searching, searching...

ooh! there she is
waving me down
a tearful embrace

back on the road
breaking the cycle
away we go.............

Friday, April 04, 2008

Is the Sun Shining a Little Brighter This Fine Morn?

Ok, so it's been raining here since YESTERDAY morning, so to answer my own blog title question..."no, it is not." BUT, if we were not in the middle of The Great Flood and the sun was actually shining which I am afraid it may never do again if it doesn't stop raining [ deep breath ]... well, I believe it would be shining a little brighter than usual.

Wanna know why?

MY CHILD SLEPT FOR EIGHT HOURS LAST NIGHT. Oh yeah. Happy dance. Happy dance, people. The birds are singing, the sun (should be) shinin' and the heavens are pouring forth with rays of sleep-induced relief over our household. (side note: I never thought that just getting a full night's sleep would affect my ability to refrain from the overuse of descriptive phrases. But that sleep stuff? Y'all, it's good. It's so very good for the mama soul.)

Baby J. just turned four months old and the pediatrician suggested adding a couple tablespoons of rice cereal to his nighttime bottle to both tide him over as well as help him with reflux issues. So, I tried it. And lo and behold, it worked. At least last night it did. We shall see if the magic wears off and we revert back to sleeplessness. But for one magical night, in a dimly lit bedroom somewhere south of Nashville, Tennessee, a baby slept. And a mama slept.

Let the people say..."Amen."

Thursday, April 03, 2008


humanity is a fine art
a palette of desires
uncovered truths

our souls
an intricate tapestry
each thread
serving a different purpose...
that stolen kiss...
a hard fought victory...
the loss of someone dear...

yet often we realize
we're missing that one
special color...
a rich indigo
or a fiery red
colors whose absence
leave our fabric

the air was cool and breezy
the day I discovered my indigo
the brilliance of its hue
like no blue
I had ever seen

I gently wove that thread
into my tapestry...
the pattern
at last
was complete.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Oh My Good Gracious

My hubby is on the Weight Watchers Core Plan and has really impressed me with his "stick-to-it" attitude. Of course, men usually can drop weight easier than women, and my wonderful, sweet, loving husband is no exception. ::sigh::

To try and sway me over to the "dark-side-where-my-beloved-sugary-snacks-are-but-a-thing-of-the-past..." (i.e. the Core Plan), he made this meal for us a couple nights ago. Trust me when I say it was delicious. Oh my good gracious was it delicious:

Cajun Crab Cakes and Orange-Cilantro Black Bean Salad

Crab Cakes:

olive oil cooking spray
1 lb. lump crabmeat (we used canned)
2 T. uncooked quick oats
1/4 c. roasted red peppers, diced (from a water-packed jar)
2 T. fat-free mayonnaise
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1 t. Dijon mustard
3/4 c. uncooked quick oats
1 t. Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine crabmeat, 2 T. of oats, peppers, mayo, 1 t. of Cajun seasoning and mustard; mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up crabmeat lumps.

In a shallow dish, combine remaining 3/4 c. of oats and remaining tsp. of Cajun seasoning.

Shape crab mixture into 4 equal patties, about 1-inch thick each. Transfer crab cakes to oat mixture and turn to coat both sides. Transfer crab cakes to prepared baking sheet and coat surfaces with cooking spray.

Bake until crab cakes are firm to the touch and golden brown--about 15 minutes.



1/2 t. olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 med. garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 t. ground cumin
1 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. cilantro, fresh chopped
2 t. red wine vinegar
2 med. oranges, seeded, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1/8 t. table salt (or to taste)
1/8 t. black pepper (or to taste)

In a large skillet, warm oil over med-high heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in black beans and cook until just heated through. Transfer bean mixture to a medium-size bowl and stir in cilantro, vinegar and orange pieces. Season to taste and serve.

Yields about 3/4 c. per serving.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gate C3

an hour til flight time
hustle and bustle
people watchin' ensues

what are their stories?
who does he love?
why does she look so sad?

a woman sits in sunshine
the rays casting a glow
upon her brown curls
and her smooth, tanned skin

the businessman beside me
crisp suit and tie
still perfectly knotted
plays endless games of solitaire
bordeom washing over his face

a friendly woman in green
plops down to my right
"bright sun today!," she chirps
I smile and nod in agreement

the man whose profile is across the aisle
studies his Sudoku puzzle
almost as intently
as he studies the tall brunette
across from him

he watches as she cuts a calzone
sawing back and forth
with plastic utensils
a surgeon's skill, no doubt

Sudoku, brunette
Sudoku, brunette

the brunette's husband appears
the gazing stops

the woman in green gets chatty
"where do you live?"
"do you have kids?"
"how old are they?"
"where do you have their hair cut?"
"have you heard of this photographer?"

her boarding zone is called


my zone is called
hurry up and wait
tap the plane three times
for luck

16A by the window
a non-chatty seatmate
drinks his Sprite
and his moustache hairs
frolic in the liquid
as if on their own little vacation

only 30 more minutes
to Nashville
almost home...

almost home