Thursday, July 24, 2008

my little sandman

Photos from our Myrtle Beach vacation last month...

firefly magic

According to the news, the fireflies are out in force as it's mating season. The girls, they say, sit quietly in the grass, while the boys display their flashy tails trying to get their attention. I've always been fascinated by the fireflies, and love the fact that they're flourishing - and mating - in my backyard. We used to call them lightning bugs. And as savage as this sounds, after catching them in a jar, we liked to pull off the little lights and make sparkling jewelry from thier lights. Okay...not such a nice thing to do. I'd never do it now. But I gotta say it was fun at the time. I didn't think much about the insect lives I was taking.

There is some sort of magic in it all...the way they cast their spell on an ordinary night. I makes me think that somewhere in the universe, the source of all creation is winking and wearing a big smile. Come to think of it, there are lots of bits of magic right in front of our faces. The simple fact that flowers bloom, the wings of hummingbirds move at alarming speeds, and the moon and gravity determine the rise and fall of the tides. And then there's love...the way one heart seeks out another and finds its home. And from this love, babies are made. Minute cells multiply and become another little human with sparkling eyes. These little humans see the magic. Every day is an adventure. All is new and nothing is overlooked.

Each day I am grateful for Scout, and the opportunites he shares with me. He lets me see the magic that for awhile went unnoticed. Through his eyes, the world is a great amusement park, one in which he takes me by the hand and says, "Isn't this amazing, Mommy?"

Friday, May 30, 2008

the last friday in may

Summer...I sort of forget just what it feels like. It's been a rainy, cool spring. And this girl is over it. The sun is just peeking through the clouds, at least for a while. And the weatherman says it will be 80 degrees today. Because of the rain, it's humid and sticky.

The baby is crying. I've been working on getting him down for a nap each morning and each afternoon. Today I was blessed. I put him in the bed at 10:30 as planned. It was going well...for five minutes, until Buddy started barking. And so now he's awake and unhappy. And I want to kill the dog. Not sure just what to do about it. I'm so tired of dogs and cats. If I just had the baby here, it would be much easier. But such is not the case and right now I'm over that too. So I listen to Scout wail. He wants to get out of the bed. He stands, holds onto the rail and cries. And I feel helpless. Knowing that he needs to nap, and knowing that I'm doing the right thing doesn't help when I sit and listen to him cry. I can feel the tension building in my neck and it's early in the day. Not a great way to begin.

There is work to be done, which isn't happening when I can't think.

Okay...I went in to reassure him, patted his back for a few minutes, and he's asleep for now. Perhaps we can start over. The dog may find a new home in the kennel if he doesn't learn to be quiet at nap time.

The family Myrtle Beach trip is around the corner and I can't wait. Just the thought of being with "my people" thrills me. They will love the baby, and will want to love on him, and me. And I so need it. I am so very tired of missing them so. I feel like the entire childbirth and first eight months may have been easier if they had been closer, if they might of been able to stop by and hold him and have picnics in the yard. I wish so that they were here. I tell myself that if I hadn't moved to South Dakota there would be no Scout. And so I know that things are as they should be. But there are times I so want to pack up our lives here and move closer to my family. I want my dad to know his grandson, and I want my son to know his aunties. I want my mom to be close enough to come over when I need some reassurance, and I want someone to back me when I don't want to give Scout sugar. Perhaps down the road this will be possible. But for now I am here and they are there and I have to wait for Myrtle Beach - just two weeks now.

Sometimes I get up and wonder how all this happened. And then I know. Love happens. Babies are the beautiful manifestation of that love. I am happy. I love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

memorial day misery

I know that the last holiday is all about remembering, but this one I'd like to forget. Let's just say camping with 4 adults, 3 dogs and 1 8-month old in a fifth wheel isn't all it's cracked up to be...especially when it rains and the wind is ruthless.

I should have trusted my gut, which was relentlessly telling me to stay home. As I packed, it tugged at me. All through the day, it tugged at me, as we got into the truck, it tugged at me. But optimistic me wasn't listening. It will be fine, I told myself. It wasn't fine.

Friday night was bad enough, with no room for all the gear we had brought along. The pull out camper sized sofa wasn't nearly big enough for Steve, me, three dogs and one sleepy baby who refused to sleep in the Pack 'n Play. Needless to say, while I listened to the wind blow and Steve and Dory (our cocker spaniel) snore, I lay awake most of the night, wrestling with Scout who couldn't get comfortable.

Day one, I'm tired and it's raining and windy. I was alone with Scout and the dogs in the camper most all day while the others on the trip went about their regular camping business. By the time Steve returned, I was cranky, not having fun and wanted nothing more than to go home. Elaborating on the rest of this trip will only make me mad all over again, and so I will just say that camping and me while the baby is so young is probably unlikely.

I was never so glad to get home to my own house and sleep in my own bed with a little space and a lot of relief.

And so today I am home, and grateful, and doing my own thing all day long. I will forget this Memorial Day with time. Scout rests and I post and life is good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Today I was touched. Perhaps it's the approach of Mother's Day, people all over cyberspace sending me these heart wrenching messages about being a mom. Perhaps it's the fact that Steve surprised me by dropping me off this morning to be pampered with a massage. Or perhaps it's the Brian Andreas prints that I was looking at - each one touches my soul. Perhaps it's because Scout is sleeping and Steve is out and I'm alone feeling blessed but missing "my people."

Whatever the reason, tears have been my company this early afternoon. They're not the heavy ones that accompany sobs, nor are they terribly sad. I think instead they're a mix of all things beautiful and bright and bittersweet. They are for memories and friends left behind, they are for the beauty of morning and for the peace of softly falling rain. They are for new beginnings and for a heart heavy with love of a child. They are for finally finding true love and gentleness. They are for stillness and friendship. They are for the scattered pieces of my life that I have left behind, only to find new pieces of myself. And for all of this I am grateful.

I feel ever so connected with life and that which is unseen. The energy that ebbs and flows between all living things - the twisted way that all things intertwine to make a life. My life.

When I am ready to pass from this place to the next, I will smile and know that I truly lived an adventure, and that every falling feather, every touch, every chance meeting led me to joy. And for this, today I am grateful.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

wednesday morning

Today I am feeling hopeful. Hopeful that the day will be sunny and that I can play catch up. I have become much less tied to the little "shoulds" and have become much more interested in the joy. There are always things that must be done, but not too many. Once one realizes this, life is better.

I choose to get outside today - to enjoy the coming of spring. It's late in South Dakota this year, with snow in the forecast and cold breezes. But the bulbs are planted and a tiny yellow crocus has erupted in the flower bed behind the sunroom. This gives me hope for a beautiful summer. I went shopping with Pam last night and found some fabulous summer clothes including some adorable plaid bermuda shorts that are a size or two smaller than my pre-baby clothes. I must say they look great on me, even though they may not be "age appropriate."

Deb visited yesterday. We worked on a brochure for her and took a few headshots for the bio. We laughed a lot. I needed that. Perhaps life is returning to normal. Though I do realize that my new normal is quite a bit different from the old.

Scout and I are still cutting teeth, but we aren't nearly as crabby as we've been. With a little luck on our side, we may nap peacefully this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

cutting teeth

I expected it. The baby has begun cutting teeth, and I can't help but to make the connection that I, too, am cutting teeth. The last year has been immensely interesting and full of change. Most of all, I have learned to expect the unexpected. I find myself at 46 the mother of a seven month old baby who needs me for everything. This unexpected change of plans has me relearning how to spend my days. In my pre-baby life, I woke up, had some coffee, did some writing, worked a little, played a little, and thought that it would be nice to get out a bit. It was spontaneously free of THINGS I MUST DO. And now, it seems it is mostly made up of these THINGS. While the baby's smile makes most everything worthwhile, there are moments when I miss the old stuff. These moments are fleeting, but I can't deny their existence. So I won't. I have no regrets, but this cutting teeth thing is a bit painful. My mommy voice is getting old to me. I find myself talking about important things like finding the monkey that gives kisses and whether or not Scout should eat peas or carrots. Adult conversation is a rare commodity, and I continually fear the approach of the Soccer Mom in me. I never was very sporty, turning instead to books and paints. So perhaps I'll be the mom who takes her kid to art class on Tuesday after school. This I could handle. This I can wrap my head around.
My writing is in the toilet, as I'm finding it hard to put to coherent sentences together and make tiny editing mistakes on a regular basis - my pet peeve. Journaling...a think of the past. This little blog is my only outlet for creativity and it's lacking perspective and continuity. I just don't ever know which direction to choose.
What I know is that I love my new life, but it's different than my old life - the life I fully expected. It is precarious, with potential pitfalls around every baby food? fluoride? chlorine free diapers? sleepless nights? working from home? making time to water the plants and clean the kitchen? the importance of spirit? There are so many choices to make and so much to do in addition to being a mom. What's a girl to do? Eat ice cream with lots of hot fudge and a touch of caramel I think. Laugh while the baby inspects his hands. Enjoy the awakening earth as spring manifests itself. Take hot baths when time permits and use my lifelines. Today I will "phone a friend." I don't want to be a millionaire, I just want to be comfortable with my new teeth.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

thursday morning

Girls just want to have fun...that includes me. Seems like lately the world has not been fun. Cyndi Lauper would be disappointed and so am I. I'm not sure of the problem. I've always been one to find laughter in the face of a crisis. There is no crisis, only days on end filled with lots of non-fun. Perhaps the weather has something to do with it, or the fact that I have only one friend...well, maybe two. I keep waiting for the snow to stop falling. The sky teases me one day with warm sunshine then pulls it back, dropping half a foot of snow the next. This seems unfair, though I'm starting to remember the long winters of my childhood in Ohio. And while I love the snow, April is a bit late to be waiting on a winter storm to appear from the west.

With global warming and all, I can't help but wonder just where we'll be 10 years from now. But it seems to reason that we will not be having snow in April - for this I will be thankful.

I'm so absolutely tired of the politics on television. At this point, the outcome seems predictable, so why don't we forgo spending all the money and time and just let Obama take over the presidency. If he could do it now that would be good. I remain a supporter of Hillary, but no longer believe in her ability to be nominated. So can't we just cut to the chase. The Obama fever will soon break, and Americans will complain again, always looking for the new guy to save them. And I do mean new guy, since it has become apparent that America is still not ready for a woman to run the country. In general that is. I am ready...been ready...will remain ready. Many people are not. I've heard so many men say, "She scares me." What's that? Is it that they don't know how to deal with strong women standing up for themselves and what's right? She is anything but I don't get it.

What is so not scary is my morning. The baby is happy. I'm happy. The coffee is good...and there is peace. I did clear my chakras last night and go to sleep with gratitude. Maybe it helped.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


The past few weeks I have been fighting the flu and ambivalence. My feelings have been so mixed. I love Scout. I love our time together. I love to watch him smile and grow and discover the world. I try to be totally present with him. To not get distracted by the things that I think I need to do. I'm finding it quite difficult to be a stay at home mom with a job - actually multiple jobs - that need to be finished. I feel as if my days are full with taking care of the baby and meeting his needs. In the quiet times, I try to do my work. There is no relief. And when Steve comes home, he tries to help, but the baby is pretty much of a mommy's boy. Not his fault. He is with me all day and all night every day. There is no family close by, no one to pick him up when I'm feeling overwhelmed. His world has become me. And mine him. And Steve is the relief pitcher when I can no longer do it. I miss my mom and my sisters, and wish I could make a phone call to say...come over and hold him for awhile and we'll drink coffee and laugh.

And I want so much to appreciate him and to not be mad at Steve, who sleeps through the night most nights, when all I want is to go to bed and sleep all night long. Just one or two nights would help.

I suppose I know that this time will soon be gone, when Scout simply wants his mother, to curl up next to me or lay his head on my shoulder. I want so much to enjoy it, but have trouble sometimes when exhaustion is all I feel.

An old friend passed last night after months of being ill. He was "old". He was ready to leave the world. He is finally at rest. I know one day that will be me. I hope to be able to look back and know I appreciated all that the universe offered to me over the course of my life. Scout, Steve, Meg, Jonathan, my family, my home and the love that was always present.

But on days when I am too tired, I'm ambivalent.

Friday, February 29, 2008

taking it easy

Seems like responsibility is my middle name these days. There is seldom a moment where I feel I can simply "be." Thoughts constantly race through my head and every free moment seems spoken for. There is always something to do. And yet today I am compelled to forget all of that. I thnk I will simply enjoy this day. The sun is shining and the temperature is not so low that I want to stay indoors. I think I will shirk all things that I should do in favor of what I want to do. Which begs the question...what do I want to do?

Read and shop and write and laugh. These are the things I want to do. I will not think of the big things like...why does Scout wake up so often in the middle of the night and want to eat? Is he getting enough food? What's up with my skin? Why is it so dry? The gray hairs are coming in again, and I feel unpretty...what should I do about it? What will I ever wear to the wedding? How can I get more work? Should I get more work? or focus on motherhood? What will I do next week when Steve is in Chicago? Unfortunately, there are seldom good answers to these questions, and so they just constantly float around in my head - relentlessly tugging at my brain. I don't want to think about all of this today. I don't want to be responsible. I want to wonder at the beauty of the snow, and wander about the world.

I think Scout and I will start at Starbucks and work our way south, into town. The work and my responsible world will wait another day. Tomorrow will come and the questions will continue to plague me, unanswerable. I remind myself that it is okay to have piles of dirty laundry and cat hair on the carpet. The plants will stay green one more day.

Today we will simply live.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

thursday morning

So I joined Oprah's worldwide book event, reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and then participating in the online class. Some of the information is repetitive, things I know or believe, but the rest is new and thought provoking. I wonder more than anything if this EVENT will change the awareness of Earth on a global level. There are hundreds of thousands of people participating, and if all of us actually work at raising our awareness and our consciousness, it could very well change the course of history. Then there's mega-powerful Oprah - does she even get that she is actually changing the world? And how amazing is all of that? It reminds me of the old Merrill Lynch commercial..."When Merrill Lynch talks, people listen." It's a little frightening. And I wonder if she wasn't in a good place - in the light - could she spread darkness around the globe just as easily? In any case, we'll see how this class develops and what insights we learn.

Over the last year, my spiritual practices have disintegrated. I think that the Oprah class is a beginning. I have also reestablished meditation - in a group - at my house on Wednesday nights. This should also help me get back in the saddle. It just seems like there is barely enough time each day to do all the little things that need done, do my work - i need a paycheck - and take care of Scout, which is my total preference. He's such a light for me, and allows me to be peaceful with just a look at his smile. What joy children bring, no? I guess for me, raising my other children, didn't offer the "newborn" opportunity. I didn't really figure I missed anything, but was soooooo wrong. Can I keep my perspective? I doubt it. But it's okay really, as long as I remember that Scout is his own person, and that I am responsible for his care and for loving him, but that he has his own choices to make and life to live. I can only provide a loving foundation for his life...the rest is his.

No matter how much I try to write about other things...his little presence shows up in the words...just like he showed up in my life, unexpectedly. Oh well, this is me now. I suppose I should get used to it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My head is too full today and I feel like I'm running in a hundred directions. Instead I am sitting here, trying to clear the fog. When the baby sleeps I am compelled to write, work on my paying projects, do laundry, eat, drink more coffee, organize my life, make the bed, take a shower, talk on the phone, read writing magazines, and buy gifts online. Nothing screams out that it's a priority. Seems like I've spent too much time over the past five months trying to get the baby to nap, then waiting for him to wake up. And so I'm not sure what or how exactly this is going to work. Today I am tired. Was up twice with Scout last night...he doesn't want to sleep through the night. I'm afraid, like me, he's a night owl, and will continue to be. Or perhaps not.

I want to write about the plight of the world, the awakening of awareness and the beauty in a rock...but the words don't come. Where do I start to feel the The books say take a walk...go outside...but with a baby at home I feel stuck, and nothing but Scout inspires me. Perhaps I need to go back to basics, find a good pen.

Buddy the dog keeps me company from the rug in front of the door. It's the only soft place on the sunroom floor. And he sleeps, but keeps watch, and I love it. I look at him over the arch of the baby's exersaucer. His stuff is everywhere. It's okay though...just takes a bit of getting used to.

I think I'll meditate for awhile...quiet the voices in my head, and wait for the baby to wake up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

how cold is cold?

The thermometer reads fifteen below...I think I will stay inside today. Looking out the window one would never think that it was that cold. The sky is clear and the sun, just coming up, gives my world a warm glow. Very deceiving. Even the pups are reluctant to walk out the door into the yard they love to play in.

I can't help to think of the first settlers that came here looking for their new home. Were they shocked by the intensity of the winters? South Dakota, I think, is the land of extremes. From heat and cold to thier politics. Quite conservative - hard for a liberal like me to feel at home. But like-minded people exist. It just takes a little mining. Soon one shows up...then another. And if they don't, good conversation and debate with a conservative soul is good for the psyche. Keeps me on my game.

I've yet to be stricken with cabin fever, though there are days when I think I will go mad without a coffee date. It's the converation and not the weather that I miss here. While I have made a few friends, engaged instead on making a new life, I wish for more. I am thankful for Deb, who is a confidante and gift.

I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" and considering Oprah's online book discussion. Missing my old book group I think. I often wonder what they're reading and if new faces have appeared to discuss the latest hot literature. We were quite the international bunch which directed the talk and made things interesting.

Things have settled down a bit. Last year marked two weddings and two new little babies in the family. There are no huge events to look forward to, just the simplicity of enjoying life and raising my child. I do miss my sisters and wish they were close enough to drop by and listen to Scout giggle when I say, "Fancy meeting you here."

I will stay inside today and listen to the wind, talk to Scout, the dogs and the cat. I will read if time allows, and try to get a bit of writing finished. The chaos has been replaced by life as ususal. Not bad, all things considered.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

notes from rapid city

I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Rapid City, South Dakota, while my husband does his business here. The last time I was here was the first time I visited Steve and we did the whirlwind version of "See South Dakota in 4 Days." I certainly didn't think at that time that we'd have come so far as we have today. I certainly didn't think we'd have a new baby.

Scout is napping while I write. It's been nice to spend time with him in a hotel room where there are no chores calling for my attention. There is only time. So we laughed and played, took a walk around the pool and went to breakfast together. Steve will be back soon, and I suppose we will do a little exploring about town. People keep telling me to treasure the time I have now with the baby while he's little...and I know this to be true. Yet is seems as if no matter how hard I try to savor each smile, and hold onto each new little giggle, time is fleeting. The days aren't long enough, and I just can't hold on. I want time to stand still for just a bit so I can drink it all in. Today is one day for that...and I am grateful.

It's been quite a long time since I had a really good idea for a poem...but today it came to me, and I think that the writing bug is biting again. It feels like home...that nagging need to write. I welcome it, and feel that perhaps things are settling down after a year of change. I will begin to write again. I will begin to feel myself again. I will again care about politics and global warming and meditation. Perhaps I will even sit it lotus soon.

I guess it will be myself with a bit of a twist...but in a good and interesting direction.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

sunday morning

A few moments of solitude. I'd almost forgotten what that feels like. In fact, I really didn't know what to do with it at first. The baby ate then fell asleep in bed with Steve while I was in the kitchen pouring a cup of coffee. So I left them there, not sure what to do with myself. They look peaceful, the dogs lying at their feet. I think I may shower, without listening for the baby crying.

The sun is just coming up and the world seems still. There is no wind, but snow covers the grass and sparkles just a bit as its light from falls soundlessly against it. These days I seldom enjoy the sunrise, as it is hectic with so much to do.

I've decided that today is mine. Steve has agreed to keep the baby for a few hours while I venture out into the world alone. Alone...for the second time since the baby was born. Though I do have a few hours here and there where I'm not "on," it is rare for me to leave the house without baby in tow. How I love his sweet smile and his new giggle. He lights up my world, but just as easily sends me into a tailspin when I can't comfort him or when he keeps my exhausted mind from much needed sleep. This new baby thing is such a mixed bag. And for me, time is fleeting. I want so much to give him all that he needs, and in that spirit, I tend to neglect my own.

And now it is Sunday morning, and I am alone.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

birth day

My entire family and even some people that are not family have been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for this day. My sister Mora is scheduled to have her little girl today. She already has a name, Ellie, and she is rumored to be more than a handful. Unfortunately, she presented herself breech, which makes me wonder if that's a sign that she will swim against the tide in future months, and so the doctor's are right now trying to move her a bit so that Mora can attempt a natural birth. If these doctors are unsuccessful, a Cesarean will be performed later today. Right now I'm waiting to hear just what the day will bring.
I was watching The View yesterday and they were discussing the fact that many women today are choosing a home birth without the help of medical personnel as they feel doctors are too quick to do Cesarean births without giving nature the chance to take its course. In my case, the c-section was an "emergency", but I continue to believe that the drug they administered to start my labor didn't cause this emergency. Water over the bridge, but now I'm thinking about Mora's scheduled c-section. They say she's healthy, and the baby is chubby and healthy, but that she has an overabundance of fluid making her "high risk". It is for that reason they want her to deliver today. What if - I ask myself - they allowed Mora to go into labor? Perhaps Ellie would right herself, and there would be no need for surgery. I'm just not sure why there's such a rush to bring this little one into the world. We could debate the pros and cons, but since I'm sure I don't know all the details, I will just leave that question unanswered, and continue to wait to hear just how Ellie will make her way into the world.
I've been talking to her this morning...I know, she far away, but distance I think is only important when one is traveling on foot or over land. Thoughts can travel at a speed we can only imagine.
And so dear Ellie, I welcome you to the world and wish you safe travel. I'm sure the shock at feeling the open air will be quite uncomfortable at first, but you'll get used to it. And soon, the hand that has reached for you through a layer of tummy flesh and water will be touching your soft skin and rubbing your back. Some may tell you the world is a cruel place, but I think differently. Each day is an adventure with lots of lovely things to discover. Some of my favorites are snow flakes and hummingbirds. I'm sure you'll find your own favorites soon enough.
I can't wait for you to meet your cousin, Scout, who is just a bit older than you. I'm sure you'll be fast friends. And all of your aunties will spoil you more than you can imagine. Just ask your big sister, Emma.
Well...the verdict is in. A call from my mom confirmed that Ellie, who may be a bit stubborn, preferred the breech position and would not turn. And so the doctors have just taken Mora to the operating room for surgery. Ellie should be breathing air any time now. I suppose all is as it should be.
Welcome, little one.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

so it's a new year

Scout rang in the New Year with a bang. Beginning at about three minutes 'til midnight, he began crying in an inconsolable way. It lasted until 12:12, when he decided he had been duly heard and abruptly stopped sobbing with a few long sighs and fell fast asleep. He was certainly the center of our small and casual gathering, reminding us that this new year will be "all about him." As if I needed reminding.

Like last year, I have made no resolutions, but will continue to try to challenge myself in new ways. As I look back on 2007, I realize that no one in his right mind would have made as many big decisions and life changes as I did. But no one has ever accused me of being fully sane. Between buying a new house, getting married and having a baby, I think I covered all of the bases. And I wouldn't change a thing. Some people may say there will be nothing to look forward to. I don't think I could take much more, so I am simply looking forward to getting into a groove and writing more. Ultimately, that is a big part of why I am here...I've just had a little hiatus.

Good news today from an old colleague. She needs me to do a bit of writing for her...looks like a new door...and L wants me to do some editing...a window perhaps. I so think that I am too tied to the old Houston stuff by my contract work there and financial issues. I so need to clear this stuff so I can move forward. There are so many opportunities just around the corner, that I should just close my eyes and let them present themselves.

I have by no means made it a New Year's resolution to quit smoking, but I am making headway. Right now, though, I really want to smoke. Because we don't smoke in the house, it would mean going into the garage, not so bad in the summer...awful when the temps are in the teens or below. And so it's a good thing I don't have cigarettes because I would probably freeze in the garage, right?

Oh, and you anonymous, whoever you are that knows me from the past...why don't you just pull off the veil of secrecy and let me know who you are... I would love to chat.