Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dedicated to Posterity

There are those stories that make you feel like life does have magic. It simply must, otherwise the story would never exist. I love those stories. They bring inspiration to our existence.


I can’t remember when Jeannette Harris first shared her story with me. I think it was one Christmas day after all the presents had been opened, after my fifth slice of pumpkin bread, after the Wassail, and the craziness of friends stopping by. I imagine it was in the dim light of her living room with the Christmas tree aglow and the stained glass window in the hall lit up. Ah holiday lighting: it’s cozy and creates the perfect setting for a story. She began:

“My mother, Ruth Carey, had moved from the Poconos to Key West. Her family was Pennsylvania Dutch and she was the pioneer of our southern Florida family. My brother, George, was five at the time when I was born. My Gramma, Emma Hohenshilt, ran a birth announcement about me in the Stroudsburgs newspaper up in the Poconos. She then watched for the printed version and clipped two copies to send to my mom as a keepsake.”


Ruth received the letter and read the birth announcement. She was beside herself upon reading an error in her baby girl’s name. She wondered how they could make such a mistake and how her mother did not catch the error before sending the clippings along in the mail. Disgruntled, she pasted the birth notice on the inside cover of Jeannette’s baby book, the Log of Life Dedicated to Posterity. It sat across from the baby photos and cards that accompany the joy of a new life.

Fast forward to the days leading up to Jeannette’s wedding. Her fiancĂ©, George, had been anticipating some sort of “sign” to validate their decision to spend their life together. Six months before the wedding George started talking about this sign. He had full faith that something would appear by their wedding day.


The sign became a fixture in the hustle and bustle of the wedding preparation. As the days before their wedding day dwindled, the curiosity of friends and family grew. Everyone began asking about it. Though George had full confidence in the matter, even his nervous mother wondered, “What does this mean?” Jeannette was apprehensive but sure something would appear. She would kid about it with the rest of the group as the jokes ensued: “Maybe you missed your sign in your sleep, George...”

Two days before the wedding, Jeannette began to wonder when this sign would come. Still she packed up her childhood and prepared to move into her married home. That afternoon as she was going through stuff with her father, they had a very sentimental and reflective time deciding what to save and what to toss. They found the old baby book and looked through the few photos in it. Ruth hollered, “Finish packing and get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Please make sure everything is in the box.”

When her father went to put the Log of Life in the box, the old birth announcement fell out. He picked up the little square piece of paper and slowly sat down on the floor upon reading it. Jeannette thought something was wrong as she watched her dad. He said to Jeannette, “Call George, here is his sign.” He also yelled out, “Ruth come up here immediately. We found George’s sign.” When Ruth came in the room, her husband handed her the announcement. She looked at it but didn’t read it. They had to tell her to re-read it again. When she did she said, “I remember that,” and started to cry.

Birth Announced
Word has been received here of the birth of a daughter to
Mr. and Mrs. George Carey, of Key West, Fla., on November 10. Mrs. Carey is the former Ruth Hohenshilt, of the Stroudsburgs and they have a son. The baby will be named Jeannette Harris.

Mrs. Carey’s mother, Mrs. Emma Hohenshilt,
who recently returned from California, expects to visit her new granddaughter at Christmastime.


Jeannette called George. She was so excited and giggly; jumping up and down. “You’re not going to believe this: we’ve got your sign!”

She went on to tell George about their discovery. George was blasĂ© and said, “Oh yeah? Cool.” Jeannette asked if that was his sign and he said, “Yes.” Jeannette’s dad got on the phone and said, ‘What do you think about this?” George said, “I knew it would come.” Jeannette’s dad commented, “He had more faith than all of us.” For his part, George was glowing at the rehearsal dinner.

On her wedding day, Jeannette placed the second copy of the announcement in George Harris’ bible, which she carried up the aisle.

Friday, December 24, 2010

24

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

~Author Unknown

Monday, December 20, 2010

20

Today is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year. The Postal Service plans to deliver 3 billion cards, letters and packages during the holiday season, which includes the 800 million parcels expected to be mailed today alone.


My heart hurts knowing I have not done my usual holiday card dance this year...I dream of a baby announcement or New Year card...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

19

Better late than never:
more gingerbread house daydreams...
GD Alicia Paulson makes living deliciously beautiful!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

18

You know I LOVE this idea because it's "green" and involves a library!

 
 The Gleeson Library in San Francisco put up their own
Christmas tree made from piles of their books. They even decorate it with ornaments. After the holidays, the bits and pieces go back on the shelves (the best kind of recycling).


photo from cratzine

Thursday, December 16, 2010

16

"Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space."
 - Dave Barry


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

15

Remember Winter?


Local Artist, John Harrell, is a Modern Impressionistic Painter
with some fine work that feels like Christmas round these parts
(especially since the weather has gone south for the season).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12

Hometta has free downloadable PDF plans for their
Gingerbread Wedge House.

I love LOVE this one too from the Red Envelope catalog
(though they don't sell it anymore).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

7

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because
reality is finally better than your dreams."
- Dr. Seuss

Monday, December 6, 2010

6

Advent This!

I was just getting ready to drag out the over-sized plastic tub of holiday decorations to decorate the house. I'm finally getting serious about the season. Funny though, I've been singing Christmas tunes in my head for a few weeks and day dreaming about holiday cards (ever since KOSI announced they were turning on the Christmas Channel early this year - before Thanksgiving - yuck! I don't like acknowledging Christmas before Thanksgiving, but I digress...). I like to slowly get in to the hot tub, if you know what I mean.

In any case, I have been wanting to purchase an Advent Calendar. I'm inspired by my bestie who has created one for both her kids. We never had one growing up, we just had the advent wreath setup - though my mom never liked to burn the candles (she has never been a candle burner). I was always jealous of the girl next door who had one and got to open it every day and discover a new piece of candy (I was a cheap date then...hell I still am). In any case, it got me thinking I should buy one to count down the days. Then I got to thinking that I could try and do an Advent Calendar right here on the blog. You know, post something delicious every day.

I know what you're thinking: "hey lazy, where have you been these past two months? You're already over a week late getting started AND you have an 8 lb. life force sucking the day right out of you!" I'm thinking it myself... but I really miss creating entries immeasurably! So what the heck, I'm gonna give it a try...

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Born Seeking Joy


There's no controlling it anymore: life that is (not that there ever was but for the most part I had a nice preconceived notion cooking for about 34 years...give or take). When I'm old and sitting in some rocker on a porch with my grand kids, I will tell them how October 2010 changed me; change my life. I will tell them how I lost my dad and birthed my baby girl - both events cracking my heart open wider each time. It's as if my moon landing finally occurred; my innocence was wholly unveiled and there was no turning back.


I don't even know how to begin. The entrance of miss m has left me wordless; I can't even do it justice welcoming her to this silly blog. I like to think she was "born seeking joy" as it says on the onesie her Aunt T gave her. She ties up my time so I can't fumble over a keyboard unraveling my thoughts. She demands my presence in the present and it has left me feeling like a newborn myself. She stole my heart and holds it some place secret. I know this because right as she drifts to bed she gets a pirate's grin across her face. It is unconscious and uncontrolled and it leads me to believe she has character... I like that about the old girl.


We have been through a lot already. I look at her and think to myself, one day I will remind her of it when she thinks she "can't" and I know she "can". We're old hat at the trenches and we found a way to survive, hell thrive. It's really nothing short of spectacular and it's really nothing special either. I'm reminded that this is life: it comes and goes in ways you never expected. It brings joy and sorrow and writes a new story every day (at this point sometimes every hour). It sends a curve ball when you anticipated a fast pitch - all you are left to do is take a swing.



Miss m is the force demanding I swing; the closing of my eyes with a wish; the crack of the bat; the cool sailing curve of an arch through the sky; the promise of a home run; and the elation of the moment. She has lit up the stadium (why I am using to a baseball metaphor, I have no idea). In any case, she's pretty fantastic and I look forward to holding her hand through this life for as long as I can.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11:11

We have a wish bone sitting on our windowsill. It's nice and dry and ripe for the cracking. I can't even remember what "bird" it came from - it was weeks ago. I keep forgetting to grab a leg and ask D to grab the other and pull - but I will do it soon enough.

I've been catching 11:11 a lot lately (perhaps because my life is now played out in three to four hour segments of time and so I watch the clock like a crack hor these days). Who knows why four ones on a clock is an open invite for wishing but somewhere along the line someone told me it was, so when I catch it I make a wish.

I LOVE making wishes. You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true (good right?! it's not me, it's Richard Bach). I remember as a kid, the one wish bone on Thanksgiving was a sought after treasure. I feel as if my parents always gave us turns at it (having to keep the peace with six girls wanting to make a wish) and we would watch as the two lucky candidates got to pull and see who's end was longer (what an effed up thing to symbolize luck; but once again, I digress). That was the great wish of the year (well that and the pennies in the Southglenn Mall fountain).

In any case, sometimes I see a wish as pure folly, but most of the time I see it as a moment to refocus on something positive I want from life.

So make a wish!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The End

Those last couple of days of my pregnancy were fraught with emotion. Thankfully, I had D to carry me through as well as being constantly checked up on by a doting nursemaid.

For a while it wasn't clear if there would ever be bright days again...


I was about as round as I could be and felt picked through like
the pumpkin patch I visited.

All my sisters were in St. Augustine for my dad's funeral service.
D was tasked with the heavy order of providing the face-to-face missing cynical humor with an UBER-dark slant. For his part, I must admit he did a great job: joking that all the crying I was doing would leave our kid with shaken-baby syndrome and offering to make me a bloody Vergina when the frustration of passing my due date started getting to me.


After we sifted through the rawness of the service, we were left at home in the silence on our couch ... waiting for the baby to arrive. It was such a hollow let down, and it felt best to refocus on the promise of the baby again. Our doula offered to come henna my belly and it was just the sort of thing that seemed strangely appropriate since I could get old-fashioned fuzzy. The baby moved around the entire time loving every bit of the attention and joy it created.


The Sunday before my water broke, D and I took Ginger up to Elk Meadow for a hike. The weather flirted with snow and we saw three elk nestled in for the afternoon. Ginger made it all the way without the angst or anxiety she has come to adopt on any given walk. It really was the brightest point.


This is our last family photo with the baby in utero
(can you dig Ginger clocking the belly?!).

Monday, October 25, 2010

What is, is.

I've been overusing the word bittersweet in my mind this past week. It's mostly because I'm not talking to too many people and because I also don't want to sound like a douche bag (spoiler alert: I have adopted a sailor's vocabulary so I apologize now). In any case, life is bittersweet in so many ways. On the "eve" of the bird's debut, I lost a piece of my heart. I was expecting an explosion of happiness and instead just got the explosion. I was waiting to meet true love and rather have been reminded what a bastard heartbreak can be.

Needless to say, it's been rough to face the reality of my dad's death and the timing of the bird's birth (which now seems to be put on hold indefinitely perhaps). I can't get past the feeling that, in some ways, I have to let go of one to welcome the other.

Rather, I want to just sit and post photos of him and find pieces of memories to tie down his spirit. I want to memorialize how it felt to hold his hand at different ages: as a young kid with just room in my palm for his pointer finger all the way to being a bride arm and arm with a friend who was so excited for me. I want it all back. I want to go on the ride again. I want to write about how beautiful it is to remember a man who gave me so much. I want to write about how comforting it is to have my sister's to share the "knowing" of what luck we had in this father and what pain we feel in the wake of his absence. In the same breath, I want to keep it all for myself like some treasure I am too stingy to share for fear it will be stolen away. Nothing will be enough: no tribute, no words, no photos will ever encompass the time we had together. It will all be fragmented from this point forward.

In any case, even a new entry feels too soon. And in many ways, I know this is what needs to be done. There is no sense to be made from this: it was just a beautiful thing that now feels so bittersweet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silver Thunderbird

Marc Cohn


Richard A. Cornish, 76, of St. Augustine inspired family and friends to enjoy life through his smile, his quick wit, and his creativity. He died at his home last week.


Born in the Bronx, NY to the lighthearted family of George and Rita Cornish, he was an older brother to his good friends George, Jerry, and Ginger.




He is survived by his siblings...


...as well as his first wife, Pat, and their daughters:
Debbie, Chris, Jenny, Tricia, Nancy, and Amy. 


He was an affectionate father who proudly raised six daughters with patience and unending support. He is also grandfather to seven beautiful children.


In life, he fondly remembered his second wife, Helen.


Dick was an artist, a veteran of the Korean War, an engineer and mathematician, and a lifelong learner.



He was a thoughtful, wise man with a calming ability to listen and a long view of events.


His warmth and intelligence drove his enjoyment for the simple things in life: healthy discussions, keen intellect, and good stories.


He found interest in the lives of others; smart and kind people were his kin.


He was also a funny man who had a silly side and liked to laugh…even at bad jokes.


He will be greatly missed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Enter October

This month brings a finish line of sorts. Friday morning I flipped the calendar in our mudroom. By the next flip, I will be a mom; and as a good friend said repeatedly the other day, not pregnant. It's like I'm in the town limits and can almost see the train station.

Funny how it goes: things somehow seem perfectly timed in line with silly dates. I know life is never that punctual but Friday was a conglomeration of happy events that made me feel like it's all coming together. I stayed home to receive the furniture we ordered back in August. By noon, our naked guest bedroom started to look like a nursery. I began the laundry that has been piled in a bin for a few weeks. As I awkwardly folded some things on the belly-shelf I've acquired, I thought about how I was folding a REAL person's clothes. I went and placed them in the dresser drawers and let the bird know every time we were in the room. Admittedly I also lounged in the new glider I debated so hard against D about buying (I must admit, it's a pretty smooth and lush little ride). 

Later I went for my (now) weekly visit to the doctor. I came home to find a box sitting pretty by our front door. In it was a kick arse CD of Lullaby Renditions of The Smashing Pumpkins. It was so suiting as I literally was driving home from the doctor listening to Today (randomly playing on the radio) and thinking how great the Pumpkins will always be in my memories. Underneath the CD, sat the most lovely little quilt my friend AF made me. It was wrapped in a lime green ribbon with a tag addressed, "To: A new friend. From: An old friend." I pulled apart the ribbon in one of those long, smooth strokes you imagine from any good moment in life. 


I explored the awesome retro patterns and colors up close...


...and unfolded it more...

 

...and stood up holding it out, flipping it back and forth,
wrapping it over my belly
(there might have been some giggly gasps involved).


Later I would come to find out it's the first quilt she has created and it's been in the works for some time now. She had the help of Cheryl at Barn Red Quiltworks to machine stitch the star pattern (which you know stole my heart). Can you believe this fantastic piece of art?

(I outlined the pattern so you can see it on film)

I promptly draped it over the newly structured crib and waited for Mr. Maillet to come home. When he finally did, we looked at the furniture in the room - how it all fit together - and I said, "and did you see what else came today?" He began to look under the crib when I just laughed and said, "No the quilt!" Admittedly, it's not a race BUT the quilt kicked the furniture's arse!


This is just one little nugget from the treasure friends have bestowed on us. I can't wait to get the nursery done and do a proper photo shoot with everything in it's perfectly folded, organized place (you know before it gets chaotic around these parts and never looks like that again).