Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lesson Number One

Miss M has been asking to take a singing class. For weeks I would offer "dance" and she'd say, "no, singing". I couldn't find a group kids singing class. The closest I could get was a theater class in the spring. So I found a one-on-one session to try. I of course loved the teacher, loved the situation. Miss m? not a peep. Literally not a peep. Some scrunched up head nods and glances (at me for 25 of the 30-minute meeting) in response to the teacher's questions. In all honesty, we were in an under decorated sound proof room the size of my cube at work. Needless to say she was too young for the experience. If she wants, we'll return down the road.

For the time being, I have chosen to focus on singing songs with her that expand out of my 50/60s pop and indie band favorites to identify newer, cooler pop and other more more up-to-date tunes (also more females). The other night we picked Lesson #1 from Mulan II (which if you're dying to know is not as good as Mulan - lesson #1 might be the best part). She knew a fair amount of the words already but still it was fun.

In any case, it's all about exposure. Sometimes she'll say phrases unknowingly and I'll need to show her the irony of, liking "dancing in the dark". This lead to a Saturday morning Bruce Springsteen concert.

Miss A has begun a phase of showing off all the cool things she can do. It involves moves like putting her coat on the ground and flipping it over her head to put it on. More recently, she regalled me with walking backwards into daycare. She was doing it tonight (right in to the kitchen table) when I realized she didn't know what moonwalking was; miss M either. How did they parent in the 70s without Google?!

As we were watching the video, all sorts of questions popped up. I found myself trying to explain that MJ doing the moonwalk during Billy Jean live at the Mowtown 25th Anniversary was history in 1983. It was then that I realized, move over Mulan, I have some lessons of my own.

Miss M asked, "Is that a boy or a girl?"
"A boy but his voice is high like a girl's, right?"
So what do you think?
Great. Can we watch something else like, "Shut up and dance with me"?

Monday, November 9, 2015

The time has come

I feel like this poem speaks to what I'm working on lately. Hopefully I won't be 60 before I feel it resonating with where I actually am. I'd welcome some form of my 40s though. Dear heart, I haven't forgotten you. Again and again I return in fits and more giggles these days.

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
∼Derek Walcott

Friday, October 30, 2015

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 10

Are you lucky? I'm lucky.
You are lucky. Do you eat Lucky Charms?

I like pictures. It's like I'm dancing in the dark in my underwear.

I look different in different clothes.

Our current resident toddler is retiring this month. She's moving on to the greener pastures of being a big girl (aka 5). Not to worry though, we have a replacement whose already been vetted out and groomed for the gig. More Deep Thoughts, Version 2.0, to come.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Old dog, new tricks

It's been a long time since I tried something new. Last weekend we went back to Lake Mac. It was a weekend of water, sun and sand. I took Monday off so we could stretch it out a bit more. The Harris' stayed too, so we had someone to hang with when everyone else left. The lake emptied out from the weekend campers.

A camp neighbor offered up water skis to borrow. Phil and D were encouraging me to give it a try, since I never have done it before in my life. I was worried about getting hurt and kept putting off D. Then in a moment of clarity, I said I would give it a try. What was I scared of after all? Sure I got my arse handed to me after a headstand attempt on a paddle board but I was feeling better now. If water skiing was what was going to paralyze me, then so be it. I'd rather be paralyzed by an act than by a decision.

So D borrowed the skis and we went for a ride. It was sunset: the lake was practically ours with only a few boats and a parasail to be seen. The water was clear and calm in the waning light. Phil gave me the mechanical pointers of the task. If I'm good for anything, it's following instructions about how to navigate my body into an activity. I'm a natural athlete that way (lol).

I sat in the water awkwardly holding my legs in position with the skis. The boat started forward: The first time I faltered. The second time I felt it. The third time I was up and running; not for long and certainly not pretty but I was doing it. I have to admit, it felt pretty great. I was proud of myself. And tired; I thought that was it for the day. I took a break out of sheer lack of strength.

Everyone swam and jumped off the boat. Miss M showed off with cannon balls and jack knifes. I like to think I inspired her bravery. Little A got in on the action too, just to keep up. It was fun and I was proud of both girls. D too for getting me going.

I decided to give the skiing one more try before we headed back to camp. This time, I was up and at it for a much longer stretch. I felt the sheer exhilaration that comes with finding out you CAN DO something you thought was scary. I felt a sense of pride I haven't realized in a long time. I felt young and capable and cool. I couldn't get the smile off my face. It felt kind of like this:

I guess it looked a lot less like that though. Still I made it outside the wake and into one long great turn. It looked more like this:

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Reading Mother

by Strickland Gillilan (1869–1954)

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.

Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays

Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales

Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things

That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

One of Miss A's teacher's pulled the last stanza out for me a while back. I completely forgot about it until I just found it now on a piece of paper in her cursive writing. I am feeling a moment of gratitude for her taking the time to pass this along. Reading to kids is one of my most favorite activities. It was after I came in and read to Miss A's class on her birthday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 9

Mommy I'm 4. 4 people don't get scared.

Do you want a freshly grown wish?
Oh yeah. Definitely. 
(That is the best offer I've ever had for blowing on a dandelion)

Mom look at that shark.
I think it's a whale.
I think it's a shark whale.

Feels like Chinese; it ain't easy

I came here to check my blog. I don't know why, it's been months. It is a barren landscape and I am alien to it any more. The same is true with writing, which is always my first nature. I am here to dump my brain, find my pace again and feel the release only writing for myself will energize in me (which is to say, if I was you, I'd just skip to the nearest Deep Thought entry).

Life has been rich these past few weeks; that is a kind way of saying I'm getting my arse handed to me. I don't even know what to bring to this page, except to say that I must make a post soon or I might completely forget who I am altogether.

The girls are always a delight. I say that from my heart, because my mind wants to edit that sentence completely. One of the most fun conversations I've had recently was with my sister's friend. Nancy mentioned we both have kids the exact same ages, so in essence we were living the same life. When I asked him how that was working out for him, he said everything was perfect. I laughed; I told him me too. I continued about how awesome the mornings were. He said dinner was pretty great at his house also. I said the kids were such blessings. He said we should become friends on Facebook so I could see how fantastic their life was. I laughed; he laughed - the whole conversation was completely obscene and made perfect sense.

That's what my world has become. Social media posts help me mark the passage of time. I'm up at 5:30 everyday to keep some form of the shape I've come to love so much. I'm meditating so I don't have a heart attack while I'm running to keep in shape - sometimes I try to squeeze the meditation in while I'm walking at the beginning of my run because by 5:45, I already feel behind. I'm dropping off kiddos all to quickly to the assuming eyes of daycare teachers. I'm neurotically thinking about what I have to get done for work while I'm sitting in meetings. I'm eating at my desk and running home late. I'm playing phone tag with all sorts of friends. I'm wishing my two kids would go to sleep on time so I could pay the bills. I'm in bed by 10. Forget about talking to my hubby.

This is it. I'm not trying to complain, this is just the flow of my days (I'm not going to even get into the issue of lice or pneumonia that asserted itself last Monday at the end of a 3-day weekend for D).

While I'm in the mix of it, I find myself thinking, someday I will forget how overwhelming all of this feels. Then I look around and think, does everyone else feel the same way or am I completely incapable of running my life?

It's not all bad and I don't want to bemoan my whole experience. I just don't want to forget this moment in my life for some sick sadistic reason. I guess I want to remember the bad with the good.

So what makes me smile right now? Puppies. We stop a lot of dog owners these days mid-walk to get some canine love. Miss A has started to call out for me as "Amy". It cracks me up and I love her attempts to garner my attention any way she can. She's a mastermind and she could give a crap about anyone's agenda. She'll let you know it too. If she's not yelling, she has some scheming smile that might indicate she's taking over the world in 2016. She also has a lion's share of empathy so if anyone in the room starts crying, she's in.

Miss M is a good big sis - that's what they all ask. There was an incident with a fork to a skull tonight, but those two hug it out more than an Entourage episode. M weathers the trials a 2 year old can deliver (much better than her mom at times). She's curious about everything and wants to talk/cuddle/hold my hand. She pointed out the planets to me today on a poster and comes up with all sorts of new questions about the world at large. When she's not doing that, she sings - either really solid versions of songs she hears repeated or she makes up some pretty random stuff as well (something today about a cat dolphin). Both ways, I love every bit of it.

Golf with D the other night was pretty great. I felt like an undercover agent in a balanced lifestyle. I drank too many beers and woke up to an unforgiving Monday morning. Nothing to report about the game itself. Such is my plight. Maybe one of these days I can get back to my own deep thoughts about it all.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 8

Mom, someone took a bite out of the apple.
Yes you're right, someone did. 
Actually it's just designed that way.
Yep. It's designed to make the apple seem more interesting. 

Mom, what is this?
It's my blue tooth. 
No. It should be your black tooth.

I love you to the moon and back. 
Mom, that's too far. I don't want to go that far.

Do you want to get married when you grow up?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A big girl. A big, big girl.
What will you do when you're a big girl?
Carry Amelia.
And what else?
That's it: carry Amelia.

I think vultures are eating my breakfast.
Mom, real vultures don't come inside.

Monday, February 16, 2015

For the Birds

In this house, we have birds around all the time. We have feeders outside our windows and across the street there is a regular duck show that happens two times daily. It's actually pretty cool. Just this afternoon, I watched one fat duck sitting in the middle of a snowy road while his entourage watched another little duck swimming through the snow of someone's front yard. They add their own level of entertainment. 

We have a huge evergreen in our front yard that houses about a million birds that fly back and forth to the feeder hanging 5 feet away from the tree. From our kitchen, we watch them sitting on the edge of the branches waiting for their turn. There's a good 10-15 at a time. 

I never really cared about birds too much. Not that I hated them, just that I didn't notice them. Now I catch myself gazing up at the groups huddled closely on telephone wires or noticing ducks looping around in the air looking for a place to land. 

Our neighbors had a love bird visiting for a week. I know, one?! Apparently if they don't have partner they connect with their people. In any case, we stopped by one night and got to meet Luna. The neighbors were going out of town for the weekend and let us check in on the bird. I have to say, she's the coolest bird I've ever meet. I found myself so lightened after hanging out with her.

She landed on my phone when I was trying to take a picture

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I Will Wait

Mumford & Sons

I've started to practice meditation. It's not much of a practice but it has provided some space and I think that space has helped my heart to breathe again. It also calms me when I'm in a frantic race to deliver my own style of perfection.


I made it to a hot music yoga class at Kindness Yoga this morning. It was the first time I had a chance to take a class from owner Patrick Harrington, and his dharma for the class spoke novels to me. Walking in I thought about how I cried at the last yoga class I went to a few weeks ago. I was in such a different mood this morning, with the mounds of snow and crisp blue sky directing the tone of my drive. Getting there on time and setting up to get lost in the snow-drenched branches just outside the windows seemed like a win already.

When class started Patrick began describing how his heart lead him in to a situation his mind was not ready to accept. His whole class followed suite with the concept of listening to your heart, letting it serve to provide the answers while realizing the mind provides logic. While the mind justifies, the heart knows. He invited students to commit to changing: to stretching ourselves and growing stronger; to listening to our hearts; to start today.

I've forgotten my heart. It's sad but true and that's all I kept hearing during practice. I've shoved its voice somewhere deep and shackled it down so that my head could direct my way. That's what adults do, right?

It was a tough pill to swallow this morning. It makes complete sense with how I've been living my life lately. It resonates with how crazed I feel to connect with others and at the same time, how seemingly overwhelmed I am most days at the thought of opening up to new friends.

My poor heart rarely drives my quest for answers. Sometimes it has served me well but for the most part, I'm too practical to let my heart lead. It hurt to realize this morning. I cried a lot in class again today. And I  apologized to my heart over and over.

This was taken yesterday with miss M. It's a sculpture called "Stretch".
It was so soft to touch and she kissed the lips multiple times.
I've been craving an entry about my new year, the last of my 30s. I missed it for my birthday and couldn't commit to more than posting for my dad. Still it's been there, as writing always is, in the back of my mind.

What do I need this year: more kindness, more ease, more flexibility? Should I focusing on listening and really being present for others? Should I pursue the ability to speak my mind, even if it's with a shaky voice or a tone that is unpleasant? I need all of these things and more.

Now I know what I really needed this whole time was to reconnect to my heart; to commit to listening softly and with ease to what it has to tell me; to recognize it is so very important to "me" and that it does not exist outside of me in my kids (as so many times it feels like it does). I need to move my focus 12 inches down. I need to be gentle with myself so my heart can tell me the answers - no matter how much it may scare me. It has waited so long for me to be willing to listen. Let our partnership begin again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I love you too

Last week was a tough one. At the end of a long week, I found myself watching a 103 temp unnervingly as I tried to cool miss m down. We lay in my bed together. I was trying to think of stories or things I could tell her to take her mind off of being sick.  I too was getting sick. At one point I said, "I love you" and she looked at me and said, " I love you too" with a soft easy tone that struck me right between the eyes. I started to cry and couldn't stop/didn't want to. It reminded me of my dad. I think it was a culmination of the tone, the speed, the utter belief in the statement, like "yeah, I love you know that." M thought I was going to throw up. I assured her it was not the case. When I caught my tears again, I told her she reminded me of Grandpa Cornish. I told her even though I was crying it made me happy.

I felt like a little piece of him came for a brief visit, to remind me how acceptance and love truly feel.


A co-worker lost her dad two weeks ago. She is rambling though that dark landscape of new death. We caught up today briefly and she's the only person I mentioned my dad's birthday to. She asked me how that made me feel and I said happy; it's one of the "anniversary" days I prefer to celebrate. She asked me what I loved about my dad and for some reason I didn't get to answer (I think we gravitated back to her dad). Still, for a moment, I want to remember just a few things I love and miss:
- he was the smartest man I knew
- his big broad nose, how mushy it could be
- his in-toned "OK" pause he would take while explaining something he found intellectually stimulating, when he wanted to check and see if someone was following his train of thought in the conversation (sometimes this was annoying too)
- the way he would look over his glasses at things
- watching him do a puzzle
- looking through pictures now I realize he always had an open chest (rather than rolling his shoulders forward and hiding his heart)
- a wonderful smile and a laugh
- how it felt to hug him
- the comfort I felt in his presence
- his humor
- his kind heart
- his blue eyes
- his Thunderbirds ( I think of them quite often and love to see them on the road)
- the way he would look at me and make me feel like he was really looking at me and taking in where I was in my day or my life and no matter where that was, he would tell me he loved me

I miss my dad often, I always will. I do love moments that inspire memories of him. There are many moments and a few people who inspire my joy and hopefulness in this life. My dad is certainly high on the list.