Friday, February 28, 2014

Trying It Out, The Next Generation, The Boy, Dining Out

1. With just one more day to go, Chelsea wanted to sleep outside to check the temperature ratings on her gear. Each time I woke during the night, I saw the shadow of her tent reflected on my wall from a neighbor's backyard light. I will have that vision of her tent shadow in my mind for the next five months. (By the way, she said it was cold. That's with a bag rated for 9°F on a 25°F night. Apparently this damp, cold air of Raleigh feels different than the dry, cold air of Denver.)
2. We all went to the ice skating rink. Chelsea and Claire have fond memories of skating every Friday when they were kids in New York and Claire wants Mari to have that experience. Mari loved it! She  skated for an hour and a half and even attempted little turn-arounds and wiggles "like a ballerina".
3. I love the way Jack stares at me when I hold him. I can tell he's trying to figure something out when he looks deep into my eyes.
4. Claire, Chelsea and I enjoyed a dinner out. It's so rare for the three of us to be together like this, which made it especially memorable. (Thank you, Daniel for babysitting!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Springing South, Big City Shopping, Eating and Reading

1. The birds are singing in the morning, the grass is turning green and the magnolias have their first blossoms. I wasn't expecting spring time in NC. and it's a nice surprise.
2. Daughter #2 volunteered to be my fashion coach at the mall. Our goal was simple; find one pair of pants that fit right and we did. Our personalities are similar enough that we attack the task of shopping in the same manner so, it was fun. The malls are so nice in Raleigh.
3. Daughter #1 had dinner waiting for us. She served an abundant Chef's salad with warm garlic bread sticks and fresh apple pie for dessert.
4. Mari read to us this evening! She sounds the words out, puts them together, then smiles when she comprehends the sentence.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Journey

1. My journey begins by driving my grandchildren, ages one and three, to their home four hours away. My anxiety over this responsibility dissipates the farther along we drive. One-year-old J. blissfully sleeps away like an angel in my rear view mirror. Three year old M. entertains me with song and witty conversation. Sometimes she speaks in riddles:

M.: "At Aunt Colleen's house I let aaaaaaalllll the water out."
Me: "You let out all the water? From where?"
M.: "From my bladder. I went pee before we left."

Other questions posed to me, "Where do the stars go?", "Why are the trees green (nor not) on top?", "Where does the moon go?", "Why is it dark at night?", "Why are there clouds?"
How quickly I had forgotten the joys of parenting.
1a. What would a road trip be without an emergency potty break with two toddlers. We stopped at the nearest gas station along a stretch of country road in the middle of nowhere. It looked a bit sketchy if not for the kindly gentleman clerking the store. He spotted us entering and asked, "Restroom?" I nodded yes with a big, "Thank you!" It was clean!
2. Last night I dreamed I was hugging Daughter #2. I haven't seen her in a year and in my dream I felt overwhelming joy through my tears. Today my dream came true.
3. The children have been away from their mother for a week. That's a long time for little ones. Three-year-old M. laughs uncontrollably when we pull into her driveway and she realizes where we are. One-year-old J. stares at his mother, not comprehending. Then he quickly reaches his arms out to her. Their mother, my oldest daughter, is brimming happy tears herself. So, there in the driveway, reunited mothers and children hug and cry and laugh. All overjoyed to see one another.
4. Daughter #2 will begin her big journey this weekend. She is hiking the Appalachian Trail. It's two thousand, one hundred, eighty-four miles long, stretching from Maine to Georgia.
4a. I tried on her pack and got inside her sleeping bag. They engineer some amazing gear these days.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Simple Vision, Simply Cleaning, Purest Excercise, Best Bakery

1. It's refreshing to hear a pastor say that he has not gathered everyone together to ask for more programs. (Amen!) Rather, his vision is to focus what is truly important, worship, intimacy and community. He used the term, "pare down". I am all about paring down.
2. I dust mopped the wood floors today and got lost in the motions of the task. I much prefer using an old-fashioned dust mop and a broom and dustpan over anything new-fangled. Simplicity. That seems to be the theme today.
3. Steve, Henri and I took advantage of the spring-like weather and walked. The snow that sits in the gullies is receding fast.
4. I baked some sweet Italian sausage with peppers and onions for dinner. At the last minute, I made Fettuccine Alfredo to round it out. It was a great meal. I know people, like my mom, who can no longer cook much due to physical limitations. I remind myself that I shouldn't take even the smallest things for granted, like cooking a meal.
4a. On a family note, I just found the program, "Cake Boss" on Netflix. Oh my goodness! If that's not my family and the way we talk- too funny! I loved it when Carlo called somebody a Chooch.  I am so homesick for my childhood today.

Friday, February 21, 2014

High End/Low End, Can I Wear this?, All of Us Going Home

1. We were too early for the airport so we ducked into Marshall's to spend some time. Marshall's is like a big yard sale to me. Expensive for a yard sale, but still cheaper than retail.
2. A black and yellow scarf stood out on the rack from all the rest. I touched it and fell in love with its silky drape. I look horrible in yellow but Tess' exclamation on how it made my skin look tan (ha,ha!) and that I should get it prompted me to look for a mirror. I love shopping with this girl!
3. We sat in the Sam's Club parking lot overlooking the airport. His plane was late, it was dark and we were getting tired. Finally, we saw the jet's lights swoop down from our left and land.Our spirits picked up, he buzzed my cell phone to say he landed, and we jumped into action.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Building the Boxes, Inside, Planning Ahead

1. B. came over to talk bees. It's similar to preparing for the birth of a baby, times 80,000.
1a. We snacked on apple turnovers, which I've been craving for three weeks and finally made.
2. Retreating from a day seemingly filled with stumbling blocks. Home in friendly territory, behind locked doors and walls, where no one can come in unless they know the password.
3. Sitting on Tess' bed and talking over school stuff. We're both weary, but coming up with a plan and figuring it out together makes it more tolerable.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Up, Down and Around, Interesting, From Papa J.

1. The snow covered mountains are a stand-out feature wherever I drive today. Sometimes close up, other times far away, I cover a lot of miles in and around these frosted beauties.
2. I'm finishing up my gazillionth book on hiking the Appalachian Trail and another one is waiting on the table. A common theme has emerged among all them all, one of kindness and the need humans have for human contact and interaction. Sprinkled in between this theme are a lot of crazy stories.
3. We pick up a pizza on the way home. This is a rare treat for us, so kind of a big deal.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Need to Make More of These, Worth It, Landscape

1. Little banana nut muffins with a flowery dollop of cream cheese frosting are perfectly bite-sized to pop the whole thing into your mouth. No mess.
2. Tess and I volunteered for the necessary chore of having new tires put on her car. The waiting room was uncomfortable, the tires expensive, and Sunday afternoon was spent in a miserable part of town (the crowded shopping district). The reward came when I drove away. A very smooth, very silent ride...home!
3. An artist friend wrote to ask if she could use Tess' photo for a painting. It will make a beautiful painting and we can't wait to see it when it's done.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Away with You, Driving to Civilization: It's Nuts, We're Not Doing Anything

1. Brilliant sunshine marks the beginning of the great melt off. It runs off the roof in swift, trickling streams down the gutters.
2. By noon the snow was melted off our scraped road and we drove down with ease. I thought it was odd that stores were doing a hopping business but doctor's offices were closed. Even the urgent care was closed. Yet ladies were buying jewelry in droves at the boutique across the road and Walmart was a zoo. It's interesting to see how people's priorities are ordered.
2a. We bought gas for the generator because our power went out. By the time we returned home, it was back on. Yay!
3. These horses are like teenage boys. That's how much they eat and it's how they like to play- with gusto. They are fun and beautiful to watch, especially in the snow.

They run and chase each other.

They playfully bite and kick and buck.

They eat each others snowball tails.

Then they stop and innocently say, "What."
*Thanks to Tess for taking the photos : )

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Preparing, Preparing, Good News

1. Daughter #2 phoned last night just to say thank you for being supportive.
2. All the talk is of the snow storm forecast for tomorrow. I don't care whether it snows. Right now it's more fun to see the activity and excitement leading up to the storm. At this point, it will be a letdown if nothing happens.
3. I gave an elderly someone the good news that their bank account wasn't depleted, but in fact had plenty. I shared in their elation and relief.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sending Love, The Crow Conspiracy, Finding Fun

1. I was at the post office to mail a pound cake to my mom. The clerk asked the, "Anything liquid, fragile, perishable..." question and that led to a discussion about the best way to eat pound cake.
1a. A friend came in to mail a Valentine to her far away son. She put a Starbucks card in his.
2. The parking lot was silent except for the chattering, clucking sound of some crows. I drove two miles away to another parking lot and more crows were there, making the same crow talk. I suppose two miles as the crow flies isn't all that far, but I thought it was coincidental that all the crows were making the same unusual chatter.
3. I found amusing things while wasting time: most-perfectly-timed-photos-ever One of them made me laugh out loud. Can you guess which one?

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Eighth, Craving, Have Some!

1. While holding my mother's birth certificate I am overcome with emotion. On that Good Friday of nineteen twenty-two, a child was born...a mother cried with small teardrop of a child added to an ocean of history.
1a. The document is hand written in that beautiful, old script that is practically illegible.
2. When Steve is away, dinner is a fly-by-night affair. For tonight, I ask myself what would be a fun, indulgent meal if Tess and I could eat whatever we want? A fruit salad! Organic strawberries and blackberries, pineapple, kiwi, and grapes are topped with a sweet dressing and served with a loaf of bakery cinnamon bread. That was a good splurge.
3. Oops! He came home early. He liked the fruit salad too : )

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oldies But Goodies (I Hope), A Good Night's Sleep, For Morning

1. I picked up a stack of books that were on hold for me at the library. Miss Librarian and I both took note of their obvious old age. I said they must be good if the library has kept them around.
2. In a desperate attempt to soften my mattress, I folded a super thick feather comforter under me at bedtime. It was like sleeping on a cloud. My quest shall be to find a more permanent solution just like this...
3. I'm back to grinding coffee beans and they smell so good.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Smiling, Curiosity, A Lively Gathering

1. Ha! I love the "meatloaf" comments. You all make me smile : )
2.I learned tons of new things on our accounting software by simply poking around and exploring. Granted, it took me hours, but it was a great investment of time. I'm an explorer as in this opening passage from a White House pamphlet titled, Introduction to Outer Space published in 1958, "The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before."Maybe it's not exactly "where no man has gone before", but it is where I've ever gone before.
3. I dropped Tess off at Mill Mountain coffee shop this evening. The place was packed with at least a dozen people playing banjos and fiddles and who knows what else.When I returned two hours later, they were still playing away. There was an added bass being played right in the doorway, which I had to squeeze around. These people know how to have a good time on a cold and windy night.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dark and Damp made Cozy, Famished, From Separate Corners of the House

1. It's not possible for the morning to be darker or wetter. I feel like I'm on a brightly lit stage when I stand in front of the wall of office windows, looking out. My reflection in the glass hovers over the dark gray parking lot and the fields beyond.
1.a. M. brought a floor lamp to work and set it next to her desk. That little bit of lamp-shaded light made the entire space feel homey.
2. I wasn't particularly excited about our humdrum dinner when I prepared it this afternoon. (It auto-baked while we were out on late afternoon errands.) By the time we got home, we were hungry and tired and this dinner was very exciting.
3. How fun for all three of us to sit together in the living room, watching a movie like this! It's ironic to think that a TV has brought us together.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A New Song, Some Old Songs, Classier Entertianment Than Previous Years

1. We're singing a new song that I like. It stays in my head all day and I hum it or sing it as I go about the house.
2. Steve played all the Electric Light Orchestra albums we have. I never would have thought to put those on and it was a lot of fun. Familiar songs, the music and lyrics that never leave your brain but are merely buried deep down in there somewhere. You hear one or two notes and the song pops right back up to the surface and off the tongue. (I wish I could recall all knowledge like this.)
3. There was a football game on the TV tonight and a few guys came over to watch with Steve. N. came with her husband and we made our own little party in a different room. At halftime, the guys and girls switched places.
3a. N. is a professional baker and she brought amazing cupcakes, each one different. I looked and thought a long time before I could decide which one to choose.