Wisdom Comes Suddenly

Memory Book #7

April 8th, 2014 · 1 Comment


Dear New Neighbors,

Don’t worry ’bout our cinder block fire pit. We got fancy and bought a real one at Wal-Mart. Auntie Amanda even gave us real s’more sticks so we don’t have to use old hangers anymore. But we kept the blocks in case we need to prop up an old car, make a shelf with some plywood…I guess here’s my point: you’all are gonna LOVE us.


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Warning: Dork Alert

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments


I’m not an expert on these matters, so I make this statement with only a small amount of confidence, but let’s just say it’s possible…maybe even probable…I am the world’s worst photo-bomber. Look away. There’s nothing to see here.

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Old Ladies Love Lavender

April 6th, 2014 · 2 Comments


Many, many summers of my childhood were spent trudging through the sweltering streets of Williamsburg, Virginia. My Mother and Sister have a deep love of history, interior design, American Architecture, and Virginia. I, on the other hand, have a deep love of? Not those things.

Sara just finished studying Colonial America and was so jazzed at the possibility of visiting Jamestown and Williamsburg, I simply had to take her. Thank God we had the good sense to go in the Spring, as I found Williamsburg far more tolerable in April than in August. I have one, singular memory from these childhood forced marches through the Governor’s Palace: I wanted soap. Lavender Soap, to be specific, and I nagged my father until he bought me a singular bar of soap. It scented my stationery drawer for years, and became the beginning of my love of all old lady scents.

I’m all grown up now, so I took the girls in the soap store and splurged: THREE bars of lavender soap. As I paid for the soap, I was so happy, I told the cashier:

Me: I bought this exact same soap in this very store exactly 30 years ago!

Cashier (doing a horrible job feigning excitement): Oh really? How nice.

Me: I guess you could say it’s a tradition now. I buy lavender soap in Williamsburg every 30 years.

Sara: She’ll be back when she’s 72.

Me: Thanks Sara (insert Sara giggling at herself). I just had to get you that Math Tutor.

Sara: Your idea, not mine.

Kelly: What’s so funny and why are we buying so much SOAP?! Are we dirty? Can I leave this smelly store? It’s just SO…SMELLY!

Sara: We can go Kelly, but we’ll be back. When Momma is SEVENTY-TWO….

Me: That’s enough Einstein. Let’s go…



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Life Taking My Hand…

April 5th, 2014 · No Comments


Per my previous post, Hokusai Says, I mentioned I’d like to allow life to lead me by the hand. Life lead the girls and I to Virginia for Spring Break, where we had many adventures. When Goomommy and Auntie Amanda are the tour guides, fun is gare-UN-teed.

I didn’t do any more planning than throwing our clothes in a suitcase. I made no itineraries. I made no assumptions. I decided enough of life is out of my control these days, it was high-time I learned to just roll with it. There was rain and sun. There was health and illness. There were memories and meals and reminders that it feels amazing to be from somewhere. I’m never sorry when we pack up and head in an Easterly direction.

Thank the good Lord Goomommy returned with us, because life had not taken a Spring Break. Appraisals were in, inspections were done, and lo and behold, a temporary home had to be secured rather quickly. Boxes needed to be packed even more quickly. And in the whirlwind of the last 48 hours, our little team has disassembled our home, moved most of it into storage, and made our final plans to live in an apartment until late summer.

Life indeed took me by the hand, as I suspected it would. It’s time to go, my friends. Godspeed to us all.

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Memory Book #6

March 27th, 2014 · Comments Off


Sara: We cannot possibly leave this house. The memories are here.

Mommy: We take them with us.

Sara: If we don’t take the house, how can we be sure we have all the memories?

Mommy: I wrote it down.

Kelly: How many stories did you write down Mommy?

Mommy: ALL of them girls. I wrote down ALL of the stories. Every time I write, it is my forever gift to you. Mommy knows. Don’t worry about a thing…Mommy knows.

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Cyrus Johnson, The Dog of Cats

March 26th, 2014 · 2 Comments


Cy has 3 sleeping positions at night: (1) On the girls’ heads. They call him the “Cat Crown”. (2) On their feet. Cy-Slippers. (3) Stretched out next to them, so as much of his body as possible is cuddled against them. Cy-Blankie.

This therapist never moves until the session is over. He gives hugs during nightmares. He’s the first to receive greetings upon coming home, and he stands on guard as we leave. Cyrus can turn lights on and off, and announces all birds who enter our yard. It’s a formal and outdated custom, but it’s grown on us. Sara found and rescued him from a certain death many years ago, and this little guy has never stopped repaying the favor.

For the many well-meaning folks who keep telling us we need a dog, I have to ask: what am I missing? I didn’t grow up with pets, so other than having a creature who poops in my yard and requires walks in the snow, what does a dog bring to the table that my Cyrus Johnson does not? Or maybe Sara rescued the dog of the cat world? Thoughts?

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March 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment


One of the many ways you can tell if a child’s Mother was the President of the Thespians: They use the phrase “Jean Valjean” in a game of Hangman, long before they can spell it. I think for a 6 year old, “Sonne Vel Sohen” is pretty stinkin’ close.

I thought their addiction to “Cats” would never end, and when “Les Mis” has passed, what shall we do next? Phantom is the obvious choice, and I just can’t fail at “Little Shop of Horrors” one more time. Why can’t people look beyond the overt attempts at demonizing consumerism and just love the snappy tunes? I don’t know…I guess I’m looking for the dark horse here. Any suggestions?


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The In-Between

March 20th, 2014 · 5 Comments


I went for a walk in the park today. I needed to clear my head. I needed to breath fresh air. I couldn’t get over how brown the earth has become. It’s always brown when the snow melts, but this year we’ve been warned about the potential “die back”. The bugs survived the winter, but it’s possible many green things did not.

We’re going to have to wait and see.

It was warm enough to wear tennis shoes, but the grey skies and wind forced me to keep my full-length parka pulled tight. It felt great to breath in the breeze, even if it was a bit chilly. It wasn’t negative 40 chilly, so I’d say it was a wonderful day. Every split tree I passed and every pummeled bush, I wondered, “Will it come back, or has it died back?”

We’re going to have to wait and see.

I’ve always thought the hardest parts in life are not the actual changes, but the waiting for the change. The in-between times, when you know big change is coming, but you can do nothing about it but await its arrival. I find in-between particularly hard to tolerate, as it requires patience of mind and stillness of spirit. I have neither. Will I develop these skills?

We’re going to have to wait and see.

In the meantime, my in-between has started to resemble a tornado (if we use spring analogies, spring will come). Two families are dueling over our house. An event at school is requiring more than I have to give. The girls and I are scheduled to leave town, but it seems we need to pack up…for real-zees. My mailman greeted me with a package I would love to send back. New Meds direct from the Manufacturer, for old problems I wish would disappear. As my friends face such horrible illnesses, I hate to complain, but MAN, do I ever dread opening this box. What will the next 6 weeks bring? Is the season of in-between coming to an end?

We’re going to have to wait and see.

Do tell. What do you dread more: the change itself, or the in-between?

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Memory Book #5

March 19th, 2014 · Comments Off


My weeks have morphed into a predictable pattern of scrubbing, wiping, and vacuuming perfectly clean carpet. I’ve grown accustomed to living in a state of perma-sweat, hair in a ponytail, longing for the days I had time to shower and eat. I’m not at all sad or stressed about this turn of events, because the house has shown 11 times in 25 days. No matter what your area of the country, that’s good! The feedback is good! We have received only one, consistent complaint: the yard is too small.


That’s odd.

We found it to be just right.

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Hokusai Says

March 18th, 2014 · Comments Off


A picture that brings me immense joy, taken moments after the girls asked me to marry them, Summer 2011.

*Whenever I get stuck…you know the feeling…just kind of stuck in a mood, or a place, or a circumstance out of my control…I read this poem my Dad gave me many years ago. It’s thumb-tacked in my storage closet, and it seems to jump out at me the times I need it most. I sometimes take a day, and just ponder these words. To borrow the words of the author, Roger Keyes, I envision them living within me, and through me. And I wait patiently for life to take me by the hand…*

Hokusai Says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive –
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

- Roger Keyes

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