Thursday, November 6, 2008

So True

I was playing with Peanut Two yesterday and seeing how many of her senses she knew.

I asked her what she saw with and she pointed to her eyes.

I asked her what she heard with and she pointed to her ears.

I asked her what she smelled with and she pointed to her nose.

I asked her what she felt with and she look at me with her question mark face.

She thought about it for a while.

Then she pointed to her heart.

So true. . .

Magical Obama

Every time I read about Obama's victory I am brought to tears.

Happy tears, that is (learned courtesy of Bea, a champion happy crier).

Others in my family (some of my favorite relatives are Republicans) may be crying sad tears.

Regardless, this is a monumental and historic moment.

J loves to listen to sports radio.

(Stick with me here, there is a connection)

Now the problem, well at least one of the problems, with sports radio is that when they are not talking sports they are typically ranting on and on . . .

. . . and on . . .

. . . and on . . .

. . . about some extremely conservative point of view.

Today I borrowed J's car and as the radio came on I heard an announcer talking about a young, African American girl and how moving it was for him to see her elation, pride and overall joy at seeing the first black man elected President. While Obama didn't receive his vote, he saw a silver lining in the results.

Today I read the paper and there was a quote from Clark Howard who said he, too, was brought to tears when hearing of the election results. He attributed it to growing up at the tail end of the most bitter time of the Civil Right Movement. While he disagrees with Obama on many fiscal matters, he is proud right now.

Today I dropped my son off at school and saw children still proudly wearing Obama t-shirts and pins. They won't ever vote in a Presidential election without this moment as a back-drop.

I can't put into words how incredible this is for the healing and shifting of racial issues in America.

While not the end, it is a tremendous step forward.

It feels like magic.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

State of Mind

I've been a bit distracted and out of it lately.

I'm not sure what is going on, but it's seeping through my life.

Yesterday I went to Target with a list I made throughout the week prior.

I hustled, sped , slowly weaved my way through the store with Peanut Two in tow, glancing every few minutes at the next item on my list.

About half-way down, between toothpaste and diapers, I got to 'eggplant'.

I don't know what cryptic message I was trying to send myself.

Hopefully not, "yo, mama, you're losing your mind".

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marketing Genius

Peanut One struggled to understand the concept of Daylight Savings Time.

He pondered the oddness of this special day that made no sense at all to him )except that he got tons of praise from his weary parents for not waking up an hour early).

Finally, last night he asked me why we didn't have Daylight Savings Time decorations.

He decided we should make them: suns, clocks, moons and stars.

I think I need to give Hallmark a call . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lost Children, Lost Parents

I'm sure you've heard that Nebraska has recently run into some challenges with a law it passed in July. Short story is they agreed their state would be a safe haven, allowing parents to drop children off at hospitals if they were overwhelmed and couldn't care for their child (for more info, go here). The last of the fifty states to pass such a law, Nebraska lawmakers interpreted it quite leniently - defining 'child' as anyone under 18.

Since July, 19 children (22 months to 18 years, I believe), have been dropped off at hospitals. Some parents and grandparents even drove in from out of state to leave their children.

Nebraska's answer was to quickly amend the definition of child to mean anyone 3 days old or younger. This moved their state's definition from the most lenient to the most restrictive.

To do the math for you, none of the abandoned children and their overwhelmed parents would have been allowed refuge under the revised law.

19 children would still be living in a situation that was apparently so overwhelming for their caregivers that they chose to give them away.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but clearly status quo wasn't working for these parents and children.

As a parent myself with an abundance of resources at my fingertips, things feel crazy for me at times. I can't imagine what the parents of these 19 children were facing and how stuck they must have felt.

Something is wrong.

I'm sure we can do better.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my birthday.

I have to admit I've been feeling a little down lately. I kind of wished my birthday would wait until this blue cloud passed away so I could enjoy it more.

Yet, here it came.

Yet I'm feeling remarkably better at the close of the day then I was at the start.

My kids picked out gifts for me that couldn't be sweeter.
My husband got me a beautiful piece of jewelery.
Well wishes poured in from friends far and near.
A silence was broken that had been there for too long.

The day was filled with magic.

May this year be filled with magic as well.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Candy Goblin

Tonight Peanut One and I went outside to throw some stuff in the compost bin (perhaps a failed experiment, but we keep trying!).

I asked Peanut Two if she wanted to join us, as the trip to the bin is undoubtedly a favorite adventure.

She coyly snuggled under the blanket on the couch and said "no".

Peanut One and I did our duty and came back, no less than four minutes later, to find Peanut Two on the couch, under the blanket, with a handful of chocolate candies in her lap.

The little urchin must have sprinted to the kitchen, climbed the stool, grabbed the candy and sprinted back to the couch in record time.

A girl after my own heart!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fill 'Er Up

I sat on the floor last night as the Peanuts were doing everything possible to avoid getting ready for bed.

Suddenly Peanut One came charging at me with a huge hug.

I hugged him back and then he started blowing vigorously into my shoulder as he still held on with his hug.

"What are you doing Peanut One?"

"Filling you up with love Mom."

Does it get any better than that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Case of Mistaken Identity

I've cut back tremendously on my work over the past month or so. This was a conscious choice in an aim to step back from my professional life which was great or horrible depending on which day I looked at it.

I wanted more time with my kids, I wanted more time with myself, I wanted to enjoy what I spent my time on. . .

Yet here I sit wondering what I was thinking. I am spending more time with my kids, yet I also feel incredibly disconnected. I wonder what else work was giving me besides money and a resume pad.

Was it giving me a social outlet?

Was it giving me an escape?

Was it giving me a purpose?

Was it giving me an identity?

I am meeting a ton of new people right now and I thank God, Goddess, All That Is that I have something professional going on so I don't have to say I don't work.

I can't seem to accept it, embrace it or appreciate it.

I also find my life is filled with a new layer of anxiety. I think I used to hide from things I didn't enjoy or feel comfortable with by focusing on work. I've got nothing to pull me in that way anymore.

In short, I'm still unsure what the right path is. I think it might be good to give this a bit more time and see what doors open up as I close this one tighter.

On the other hand, I might go nuts!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Earth, Wind and Fire

Ten years ago, in addition to the relationship described here, I also started meeting with a group of women every week. Brought together through common and painful past experiences, we each sought out the group to heal, to find solace, to stop the madness. . .

Since that time I have bared my soul to these women who know me in a way that no one else in my life does. They joined me at the height of happiness and the depth of sadness, through the incessant rat-tat-tat of anxiety and the power of anger. These days we call ourselves the Journey Women as we somehow moved beyond the here and now and have begun to craft our future, our magical realities.

On our ten year anniversary, I wanted to thank the Journey Women for all they they do and have done. I want to thank them for who they are.

Earth is the rock of the group.
While oftentimes silent she stands firm and strong as bedrock.

Wind flows around the group,
connecting us together and remembering where we came from,
while giving us inspiration and a fresh perspective.

Fire burns both deep and strong.
She warms with her compassion and understanding
and inspires with her passion.

This one's for you. Happy Ten Year Anniversary!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

When we chose Peanut One's name (while not being super creative) we thought it was a bit different and surely wouldn't be the next Owen or Olivia or Madison.

He started at a new school this year. Whose cubby is next to his? A girl with the same name! As she was named after her grandfather, we had a little laugh with her parents and shrugged it off.

Today though, I opened the Pottery Barn catalogue. There, on the heavily monogrammed products, was Peanut One's name emblazoned for all to see.

Just as Owen was splattered all over the pages last year.

I must admit defeat.

We should have named him Bob.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Little Sneaker

On our good day days, Peanut Two is incredibly easy to parent as she is an independent, content little gal.

On all of those other days, she continues doing her own thing and if it isn't in sync with whatever else is going on drama ensues. On top of that, she doesn't seem to respond to sticker charts, praise or other types of good-behavior tactics that worked so well with Peanut One.

Because of this - and because quite frankly I just dread it - I've been dreading toilet training with her. It was relatively easy with Peanut One, but he loved sticker charts and once we figured out the exact right amount of celebration he needed for each accomplishment (not too much, not too little) he swiftly moved to underwear. For whatever reason, though, it inspired anxiety in me. I thought about it way too much and worried about it way too much.

Thus, I've been completely avoiding the idea of toilet training Peanut Two. Even though she has had all the signs of readiness, I've had in my mind that we'll just wait until the New Year.

Yesterday I picked her up at play-school and she had a substitute teacher who was much more communicative than her regular teacher. Apparently, the little stinker Peanut Two has been using the potty at school.

The substitute told me that she walked right in like she always did it and went to the bathroom. She tried to praise the little Peanut, but Peanut Two blew it off, shrugging her shoulders in a blase way.

I'm wondering now . . . what else has she got up her sleeve?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So That's How It Works

Peanut One has been increasingly interested in how babies are made. A year or so ago he questioned me and I said that Daddies and Mommies make babies.

He asked if we made them on the grill or in the oven.

About six months ago he asked how babies got out of their Mommy's bellies. I told him the Mom went to the hospital and the Doctor helped get the baby out.

That sufficed for a few months.

Now he is persistently asking how babies get into their Mommy's bellies. I try to tell him:

That is hard to explain to a 4 year old.
You just learn how to do it when you are old enough.
I can't really tell you.

Nothing works. . .

Finally tonight I whispered in his ear, because whispering seems to make any explanation better, and told him that Daddy met Mommy, he loved her, we got married and then made a baby.

He thought about it for a while and whispered back that he got it.

Then he told me he was going to get a baby, shove it in his friend's ear and push it down into her belly.

Works for me. . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Thrilla' From the South

Peanut One has gotten really into dancing lately except that only a mother could call it dancing. It is really flailing, combined with jumping and hopping, combined with the head shaking thing that white boys do when they boogie.

Tonight I put on 'Love Is A Battlefield' by Pat Benatar, in honor of the haircut I just got which is a little shorter than I wanted. Peanut One began 'dancing' as Peanut Two looked on in awe. Suddenly he grabbed his crotch a la Michael Jackson, threw up his other hand and then continued dancing. Huh? Has he been watching this on You Tube?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanks Mom

My mom and I have had many ups and downs over the years (perhaps, as any good roller coaster, more downs than ups). While things are pretty stable now, she often reminds me that there was a time that she thought we would never be able to speak again. I must admit I've spent a LOT of time trying to understand our relationship and imagining what it was like for her as a mother and wife when I was young.

The other day Peanut One was rifling through my things, as usual. He came upon an old journal of mine and quickly raced through the house with it shedding bits and pieces of paper I had stuffed in there at one time or another. I thought I caught it all and put everything back to rest.

I must have missed something, because the next day I found a card J had put on my dressing table. It wasn't dated, but was clearly written to me when I was in college - about 20 years ago. I opened it up and found it was from my mom. Apparently she and I had a big blow-out before I went back to school and she wrote me a letter lamenting our relationship and wondering what had gone wrong. That, in itself, was surprising enough - even my mom would admit she's not the most open person with her emotions.

What followed was a gift that I probably never appreciated when I read it as an angry girl-woman unable to yet see her mother as a human with a path of her own created and driven by people and events I hardly knew of.

What followed was the most open and emotional expression of her past and her path that I have ever received from my mom. I have read it over and over during the last few days and imagine responding to her letter now.

Dear Mom,

I know it took me a while to respond, but thank you so much for your letter. It means the world to me to hear you express yourself this way and I only wish that I had more letters like these to look back upon. Please write back.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

How Ya' Cookin'?

I've been thinking about friendship a lot lately. I think it's because Peanut One started a new school and we've been meeting so many new people. I also have seen many friendships over the years either falter or take-off for no rhyme or reason and have been wondering about the strong bonds I hold with my friends and the tenuous bonds that never gelled.

What I've decided is that we are all a type of friend maker. I've determined that I'm a slow-cooker (please don't call me a crock-pot!). It takes me a while to warm up and get going but once I do I'm steady, comfortable and reliable. Funny enough, without some sort of event or intervention it is difficult for me to make friends with other slow-cookers, but if I do the friendships last forever.

It seems last year I met a few woks and skillets. They are great - exciting, hot, energetic, engaging - but if you stick around too long you either get burnt or cooked into a mess. I love these people for who they are and the fun they bring, but they are not my go-to buddies.

Recently J and I met some people who seem to be grills. They are open, engaging, come-one-come-all type of folks. This weekend they pulled us into their world like we've been part of the bbq forever. It has been really great and reminds me how much I miss having some grills in my life.

I'm hoping this friendship will pan out - the summer grills and the winter slow-cookers joining together for year-round festivities.

Stop me before I pun too much . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"Sensitive people are by nature shy and anxious."

I read this somewhere and it struck a chord. Is it true?

I'd say I'm a sensitive person. I'd also say at points in my life I've been very shy and/or very anxious. I can see the connection.

Yet I also feel there is a way to be sensitive without being shy and anxious.

It's not my 'nature' to be shy and anxious. I think when I'm shy and/or anxious, it's a result of my sensitivity running rampant without any self-awareness, grounding or 'sensitivity-to-self' kicking in.

The quote kind of ticked me off once I thought about it.

What do you think?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jabber Jaw

When I pick Peanut One up at school it is difficult to get a sense of his day. The most he'll usually give (without massive prodding and interrogation) is whether he liked his lunch or not.

Peanut Two is another story. She started play-school a few weeks ago and we now have a running commentary the whole way home about what she did today, what she said, what he said, what he did, what she said, what her teacher said, what they ate, what they will do tomorrow . . . .

In fact, she is upstairs in her bed right now still talking about things to herself.

Before I had kids I never thought boys and girls were different at young ages.

I was wrong.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Serves Us Both Right

J was brought up under the long-standing Catholic tradition of being late for mass and staying until the final blessing.

I was brought up under the long-standing Catholic tradition of arriving to mass on-time and jetting out right after communion.

We were both brought up under the even longer-standing widespread Northern tradition of having mass be about 45 minutes.

This has made it very tense in the Magical Mansion each Sunday. You see, I like the beginning of mass. It's the only part of mass that is different each week. The latter half of mass is the same . . .

. . . every week . . .

. . . week after week. . .

Now I know there is value in this repetition, but I just can't stand the monotony of it all without a little sugar to start it all off.

Unfortunately it seems Catholic churches in the South don't feel they've held a true mass unless it is well over an hour long. Thus unless I am willing to herd cats all Sunday morning AND try to get two children to sit quietly forEVER, we are always late for church. Very late. In fact, I don't think anyone EVER gets there after us.

It seems we've gotten our comeuppance now. We enrolled Peanut One in Sunday School and today learned the schedule.

Kids need to be there at 9:30 - the start of class.

Kids need to be picked up at 10:45 - the end of class.

Seems like God won this time - or the South, depending on how you look at it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Strike Against Mom

Act One, Scene One (Contemplative silence in car as mom and son drive home.)

Peanut One: Mom, I'm beginning to like Dad better than you.

Me: Really . . . why?

Peanut One: Well . . . he carries me around more than you do.

Me: Hmmm.

Peanut One: And Mom . . . do you have any wood?

Me: No, I don't.

Peanut One (disappointed): Oh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Color Mafia

I am taking an art class on color and learned that there are a group of 1,500 people - sometimes referred to as the color mafia - who each year chose the color palette that will grace our clothing, sheets, curtains, floors, cars, etc.

They decided, for example, that after 9/11 we needed to be happier so hot pink would be the color of the year.

The go-go and political 90's were all about red, white and blue.

Now we're heading more towards environmentally conscious greens and browns.

I think Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada said something referring to this, but I thought she was just being obnoxious.

Things tend to shift minutely. There aren't usually dramatic shifts from year to year.

Could you imagine the power though?

How strange.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Don't Recall

Oh how much I loathe love the: cheap plastic toys, coloring book pages, pieces of paper, 'art' projects, junk creative expressions my kids bring home from school or parties.

I admit it.

I tend to sometimes toss it.

Well . . . a lot of times.

I keep the projects that actually demonstrate some learning, that the Peanuts really love, and that touch my heart or funny-bone in some way. That still leaves about ten million tossable items a week.

As the Peanuts get more aware, I am beginning to have empathy for Roger Clemens, Bill Clinton and OJ Simpson:

Peanut: Mom, where are my two big bags full of rolled-up paper telescopes I made?

Me: hmmm

Peanut: Mom, I put them right in the middle of the living room here in my special spot!

Me: Oh, did you?

Peanut (agitated): Mom, did you throw them away?

Me: I'm not sure.

Peanut: Mom, where are they?!

Me: I don't recall.

Peanut (clamoring through the recycle bin): Maaaaahm!

Me: I can't remember.

Anyone know a good lawyer?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Higher Self

I've been thinking about religion a lot over the past year. I was raised Catholic but from the time I was confirmed until I met J I was not really a church attender. I had some issues with Catholicism and a hard time finding peace and spirituality in the confines of weekly church going. None of my friends really went to church and it is actually pretty en vogue with many I know to not go to church, to find spirituality in nature, to decry organized religion, etc, etc, etc.

I also kind of gave up on God when I was a teenager, but more about that later.

Through it all though, I always wanted a religion. I always wanted church to feel special. I always wanted it to be a place of comfort and joy. It just wasn't.

J was raised Catholic and attends mass every week, says prayers at night, and finds comfort in the ritual and routine of it all. It was easy when we married to agree our kids would be raised Catholic - of course they would. It was harder for me to figure out how I was going to marry my version of religion and the church's version of religion. It seemed so difficult and monumental. I couldn't figure out how to connect with it all.

Yet I started going to church with J. I started saying prayers with the Peanuts before bed.

One day I was introduced to the concept of a Higher Self. You've heard me wax lyrical about my Future Self, well this is another layer. I picture my Higher Self as the best, most spiritual essence of me. She is unworldly - more angelic - and a conduit to God/Goddess/All That Is.

For some reason, it is much easier to connect with her than with God. I can kind of 'get it' - the awesomeness of it all - and feel a part of it in an intricate way.

A few months ago, I was saying The Lord's Prayer with Peanut One and the beauty of it suddenly hit me. Sure I would use different words than trespasses, temptation, daily bread; but after saying it eight million times the essence of the prayer finally hit me.

Higher Self;
Help me make our world the best it can be.
Nurture me every day.
Look kindly on me and I will do the same to myself and others.
Help me be my best self in word, act and deed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Halloween Huh?!

Peanut One wants to be a hyena for Halloween. How on earth am I going to find a hyena costume - because I am not making one.

When he told me this two months ago, I assumed it would pass.

It hasn't.

Today I started my subconscious campaign talking about how it would be so fun if the Peanuts could dress up as characters from Winnie the Pooh.

Peanut Two loved the idea and claimed she would be Piglet and Peanut One would be Tigger.

Peanut One thought it was a great idea also.

For next year.

This year he wants to be a hyena.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Growing Up

Peanut One started a new school a few weeks ago. J and I were very concerned about how he would fare in a new environment (worrying about the Peanuts seems to be one of our favorite pastimes). We were all nervously excited as the big day approached.

He has loved it, thank goodness.

Something I've realized during these transitional weeks is that he is gaining control over his emotions. It is a bitter-sweet evolution to watch.

On one hand, it is exciting and moving to see him growing up - able to take a worry/anxiety/uncomfortable situation, add a deep breath and bust his way through it without tears or whining.

On the other hand, Peanut One's sensitivity is one of his strongest assets. As we developed our special mother-son relationship over the past four years, I often imagine him as an grown man with the sensitivity of a little boy - the willingness to wear his feelings on his sleeve and unabashedly claim his emotions.

Is this slipping away?

Is he on the path to monosyllabic grunts instead of conversation?

Am I losing my little sweetheart?

If so, who will he become?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Art Show II

Here is my next painting, 'Future Self is a Higher Power'.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Must See

A friend passed this on to me and I found it incredibly interesting.

A brain scientist had a stroke and somehow was aware enough through the process to analyze her perception of the event. I love the thought that we all have the ability to connect directly to the 'life force power of the universe'.

Don't be put off by the length of the lecture - it goes by quickly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spandex Man

On a certain corner a man stands nearly every day. He is tall, carries a cane and always wears tight spandex pants. They're short in the summer and long in the winter, but Spandex Man stands there watching the cars go by and waiting for people sitting in traffic to look at him.

You see, Spandex Man has quite a large (ahem) member in his spandex pants. When I first moved to Atlanta and saw him (over a decade ago), I was taken by surprise and couldn't help staring for a moment. Spandex Man stood calmly - no leers or jeers - and proudly. Through conversations with new friends I realized that that's just what he does.

As fate would have it, the condo I used to own was right near Spandex Man's stomping grounds. I would pull up to the light in rush hour traffic and avert my eyes. "Don't look, don't look, don't feed whatever weird thing is going on in this guy's head. . . ". I saw him almost EVERY day for a few years.

One day I pulled up and, behold, Spandex Man was there. But this day he had shorts on over his spandex. I was again shocked and started to imagine what was going on in the therapy sessions I assume he had finally started.

Therapist: How does it make you feel to stand in front of traffic in your spandex?

Spandex Man: I feel great. I feel loved. I feel important. People really see me - and I've got something to show.

Therapist: Now remember your breakthrough from last week? Where you wondered if people would really love you if they couldn't see your large (ahem) member? This week I want you to try and wear shorts over your spandex. You can still go out there at the regular times and stand as you always have - just wear the shorts and see how it feels.

Spandex Man (shaking & whispering): OK. I'll try it.

I wanted to give Spandex Man confidence in his decision. I wanted to look him in the eye and give him a thumbs up. I wanted to roll down my window and say 'way to go' . . . but I didn't.

I couldn't.

It still felt weird to have him there.

Something changed around that time and I don't remember seeing much of him anymore. Maybe it is when I moved out of my condo or switched jobs and, thus, commuting patterns. Maybe Spandex Man progressed further in his therapy and stopped hanging out on the corner.

Yesterday I was rushing to meet some friends. It was raining and I was at the infamous corner. Of course there was tons of traffic. Of course I was stuck in it. I look up and something catches my eye.

It was Spandex Man.

No shorts. Just spandex.

He must have had a relapse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's That Mommy?

The other day I was holding Peanut Two and she began her latest endearing activity. If she is relaxing and her favorite bunny is not around, she'll leap into my arms, stick her thumb in her mouth and begin rubbing my shirt between her fingers. It's pretty sweet.

This particular day I had on a tank top and Peanut Two began rubbing my arm instead of my shirt. Her hand slid down as she relaxed and her thumb and forefinger started touching the oh, so glamorous skin under my upper arm.

Her big eyes opened and she looked at me inquisitively.

What's that Mommy?

Thanks for noticing my under-arm flab, girl. I'll remember this when you are older!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It started almost ten years ago - a passionate, intense affair. I threw myself into it with abandon and poured my heart and soul into making it a success. Early mornings led into late evenings of time together. We were inseparable.

About seven years ago I started feeling a little caged in and out-of-touch with myself. I wanted something new, so I had the difficult conversations we all know so well and flung myself away. It took all my energy to leave, but I had to because I had no more energy to sustain.

After that I had a three year affair with another that was never a perfect fit. It had its pluses, but it had its negatives as well. I still kept in touch with my previous affair but neither of us made any moves. I tried and tried to make it work with the new affair, but it just wasn't happening. When I finally came to grips with this, I left.

I swore I wouldn't attach myself so intently to another for a long time. I needed to play the field and take a break from the intensity that followed me when I found a match. For four years I've done just that. I've had many affairs, but all on my own terms. I kept my own home, I set my own schedule. I was independent.

But I kept going back to that first affair. Sometimes it would be a quick interlude. Sometimes it would be a few months or more. We even didn't speak at one point for almost a year and a half.

A few months ago, the grand discussions started again. "Things have changed, I need you, it's all different, here is how it can be for us". I fretted, I wondered, I worried. Should I go back? Finally, after much deliberation, I said I'd try it again. We'd tie ourselves together again and see if it could be what we hoped it would be. I had a trip planned, but said I'd be ready to commit when I returned.

I got back last week. I came forward with an open heart. Yet I was dumped - or duped. "It's all changed", I heard, "You are still wanted. You are still needed. You are still the one. But I can't give you what you need". The old patterns are so deeply embedded, why did I think they would change?

That, my friends, is the story of my professional life over the past ten years. Now I am back to my age-old question. Should I stay or should I go?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

1, 2, 3

While I never understood it, counting to three has always gotten the Peanuts to do whatever I wanted them to. The big whammy after three is that I pick them up and take them to the dreaded destination.

Trying to get them into their car seats . . . one. . .two. . .done

Trying to get them to lay down to change a diaper . . . one. . .tw-. . .done

Trying to get them to the bathroom to brush teeth. . . one. . .done

So I just went with it and it has become a way to get through the day sometimes. Even Peanut Two got in on the action, urging Peanut One to do whatever she had to do before I got to three.

All has changed at the Magic Mansion.

Last week, Peanut Two started getting brave. I'd be trying to get her in the car seat and she'd wait until the very last bit of 'three' was out of my mouth, poised and tense, and then dive into her seat before I could get her.

Then one day when I was not pressed for time and didn't start counting but instead waited patiently, she told me - "you need to count, Mommy!".

Today, in a mad rush to get everyone out the door, I smelled a dirty diaper. I quickly got the changing gear and called her to me. She didn't come, but stood there looking at me expectantly. Finally, I started the counting.

One . . .

Two . . .

Three . . .

. . . and she was off! Peanut Two started tearing around the house as I tried to grab her, enjoying every minute.

I guess it's time to find a new tactic.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stereogram Summer

We're at the Jersey Shore for our vacation in a town that I spent every summer at growing up - at least until working at the pizza parlor was no longer considered a viable job. Being here is always a trip down memory lane for me, but this summer seems especially so.

I find myself staring at aging men on the beach. Their bellies are extended, muscles disappearing and hair slinking upward, but I'm compelled to keep looking yet unsure why. Suddenly my eyes shift focus and, just like those stereogram posters that were popular a while back, the man turns into an adorable 15 year-old boy with a grin and a tan and I realize it's an old friend.

It's a beautiful thing to see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Vibrations

We are still on vacation and enjoying our time at the beach. Last night J and I went to see Sheryl Crow, with James Blunt as the opening act. It was a great show and really fun to get out and hear some music.

It got me thinking of the other time I saw Sheryl Crow. I went with a guy I knew from college who I almost, kind-of-sort-of dated for a while. The thing about him though was that he was incredibly jealous. At the time we met I thought Marky Mark was pretty hot. This guy was jealous of this crush. I mean, can you picture it:

I'm walking down a rainy street one day and there, before me (with no shirt on, of course) is Marky Mark.

We both stop, unable to look away.

Stars and hearts fill the air above our heads and we are magnetically pulled together by a force neither can explain.

We embrace and stare into each other's eyes.

He begins to do some back flips, lifts some weights, does a little dance . . . it's good like Sunkist. . . makes me want to know who done this.

Can you feel it, baby?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Peanut One Asks

I'm at the beach with the Peanuts and having trouble with my internet access. While somewhat freeing to not have the option to go online all week, I'm glad to be back up.

I thought today I'd share some questions from Peanut One - in case you have any brilliant answers. As a solo parent this week, I'm sort of stymied!

What makes the wind?

Who is meaner, pirates or robbers?

Could a pirate beat Shere Khan (the tiger from Jungle Book)?

Who could crunch 139 people?

What if the kids had to throw their food and
knock the grownups off their seats?

What came first, fire trucks, police cars or ambulances?

As you can tell, I need some help!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Museum Melancholy

I thought long and hard about my decision and decided to go ahead with the plan. I took the Peanuts to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. We had a great time taking in the new exhibit on Polar Bears, Penguins and other icy things. We spent a long time in the children's play area. We named every animal in the display cases along the hallway.

Then, against my own trepidation, we went into the 'A Walk through Time in Georgia' exhibit. This area takes you through all the different regions of Georgia and shows the animals and plants that live there. Simultaneously it shows the history of our planet from creepy sea creatures that used to own the ocean to the magnificent dinosaurs that Peanut One loves so much. (I always get confused trying to converge the two tracks, but it works for the kids).

The dinosaur room is always a big hit for Peanut One and when we got there he sat right down to stare at the life-sized models of his buddies. After much coaxing, I finally got the Peanuts to leave the dinosaurs. As we wove our way through the final rooms of the exhibit - seeing the wetlands and barrier islands in full force - I tried to shift Peanut One's focus to anything but the dinosaurs.

Obviously I still haven't learned the skill of distraction because, as always and on cue, the minute we walked out of the exhibit and into the museum Peanut One burst into tears. I gently asked him what was wrong (as if I didn't know) and he sobbed, "Why did the dinosaurs all have to die? Why can't they still be here? I love them so much."

Knowing from past experience that rational conversation about extinction and evolution doesn't work for a 4 year old, I carefully picked him up, gave him a big hug and told him it made me sad too.

You've got to love my sensitive little guy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beach Magic

We just returned from the beach for a long weekend and are heading out again this weekend, so the whirlwind of transforming sandy, wet clothes into clean ones to be packed and become sandy wet ones again has begun.

Our time at the beach was amazing. It was so perfectly wonderful to watch our kids play in the sand and water and wear themselves out with their cousins. With a deep fondness for the beach - arguably my favorite place in the world - it was such a joy to see the cycle of awe, joy and fun encircle the Peanuts.


Sitting in the surf with Peanut One as the waves
knocked us down to peals of his laughter.

Snuggling Peanut Two up in a warm beach towel
after we physically dragged her from the pool.

Peanut One chasing crabs at night
with a flashlight, shovel and a gaggle of cousins (he caught one!).

Peanut Two taking 25 minutes to walk 25 feet of beach
because of all the interesting things she wanted to pick up.

Peanut One's instinctive urge to swim in the ocean,
get out, and promptly roll in the sand.

Our last night we were sitting on our deck looking at the ocean and Peanut One said to J, "It is going to be hard to say good-bye to my cousins, but even harder to say good-bye to the beach".

I couldn't agree more.

Friday, July 11, 2008

You Really Like Me

Whenever Peanut Two gets upset, which of course seems to never rarely always happen to our budding two year old, we'll find her standing somewhere quietly drowning in her hurt feelings.

So, for example, when Peanut One snatches something from her or raises his voice to her or if J or I tell her 'no', her chin will quiver, eyes fill up and she'll stand there silently crying until someone notices.

Lately, though, I've watched the little gal trying a different path. She'll still silently cry, but then when I come over to her she'll start telling me all the things that like her:

"Bugs like me"

"Bees like me"

"Bunny likes me"

It almost breaks my heart to hear her - as it seems her heart is so broken by whatever has happened. But, on the other hand, I admire the little Peanut. She seems to have an instinctive ability to take care of herself and remind herself of the abundance of love in her life.

So I scoop her up for a big hug, agree that all these things (and more) like her, and smile at the magic in her heart.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Show

While I've dabbled in various art projects over the years, I recently took a class called 'Building Large, Dynamic Paintings'. How could I not take a class with such an awesome name?!

I decided to work on a project that showed my battlefield - the place I go when I am overwhelmed with something and am not sure how to get out of it.

I had an image of physically going into the battlefield and digging in the muck of the desolate spot, searching for something to guide me out. Suddenly I grasped a spectacular, old sailing ship with vibrant red sails. My symbolic ticket out.

While no Picasso, I wanted to share my painting today.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Up in Smoke

For some reason, Peanut One is obsessed with smoking. We've told him how smoking is bad for our lungs and not good for our bodies and how back-in-the-day people didn't know that so they smoked.

This works, until he sees someone smoking in the here-and-now and then the questions begin . . .

Why are they smoking?

Don't they know it isn't good for them?

What does smoking do?

How do they smoke?

Why, why, why. . . ?

Fortunately, with smoking bans abounding and no one in our circle of family or friends that smokes, this doesn't happen often.

Even so, yesterday we were playing outside and he was holding a large stem to his mouth, putting it in and out and making puffing noises. I asked him what he was doing and he matter-of-factly said,

"I'm just smoking some grass, mom".

Is this how it starts?!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Symbols in the Sky

I have to admit that this blog has already veered a bit away from what I wanted it to be. Yes, I wanted a place to tell great stories about my kids, to make readers laugh, to bring to light the joy, silliness and sorrow of everyday reality.

I also wanted this blog to be a place to explore and share the magic I've been slowly feeling in my life. Synchronicity, kismet, internal evolution through a connection with a higher spirit. . .

The past week, while quite a nice week, has brought me away from my magical journey and I've been wondering what is next. This morning I was exercising on our treadmill, in our basement, and all of a sudden a dragonfly began fluttering around me. For the entire workout, it flew around and around me!

If you don't know, dragonflies are a symbol of going past self-created illusions that limit change or growth and are considered a divine prompting to use creative imagination as a force within your life. Read here or here for more where that came from.

Thanks for the message. The magic is back.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What Did She Say?

I had a meeting yesterday with a woman whom I had been in email communication with, but hadn't met. When I came into our meeting room, she stood up and shook my hand saying "Oh, you are an ???l? lady like me!"

Because of some rustling, or perhaps my personal blocking, I wasn't sure what she said.

What I hope she said was "Oh, you are little lady like me", since we are both on the shorter side of not-so-tall.

What I think she said was "Oh, you are an old lady like me", since many of our colleagues are on the younger side of not-so-old.

Did she just say that?!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Daisy Duke

I sometimes refuse to admit that I live in the South now. I also have a hard time remembering that my children are Georgians. With no rhyme nor reason, I think they live in New Jersey.

Don't get me wrong. I've grown to love my life in Atlanta. There is much to be valued, learned and embraced. But there are some traits I'd rather not bring into the Magic Mansion.

Because I managed to grow up in New Jersey without that 'Owe. Maiy. Gawd.' accent, I assumed I carried some genetic trait that blocked the development of talk-to-be-made-fun-of. One Southern stereotype off my list that I figured my kids wouldn't adopt.

Once again, a Peanut proves me wrong.

Peanut Two has taken to carrying around a tiny, plastic baby in her hand. She loves it to no end and must sleep with it, walk with it, play with it. This past weekend we were at church and she decided it was to be called Baby Jesus.

Peanut Two has also taken to speaking very, very loudly with the clearest enunciation possible when she really wants to get her point across.

Now Baby Jesus is so small that it is often misplaced. Last night the search was on to find the little baby girl (yes, Jesus is a girl in our house). Peanut Two was searching all around for it, getting more and more riled up. Finally she began yelling -

"Where! ais! Bay! Bay! Jeeee! Suuus?!"

The Wise Woman of the South cometh.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Best Game Ever

We are fully engrossed in the game of hide-and-seek these days at the Magical Mansion. Morning, noon and night we play this game with abandon.

It is the . . . perfect . . . game!

Last night J hid on top of our bed with some pillows over him. It took Peanut One a few minutes to find him, but then he promptly decided it was a great spot and hid under the covers.


For 10 more minutes Peanut Two searched and searched.

"Where's Daddy?" is all I heard from downstairs.

Finally I went up to help the poor girl. She tore past the bed for the umpteenth time looking anywhere but up. I think she even saw him a few times, but loved the search so much she wasn't ready to give it up.

In the meantime J got a 15 minute rest.

Gotta love the magic!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wishing for Bea

I miss my Grandma today.

It's odd. The past year I have missed her so much and so often that my heart aches. While she is still alive, she has not known who I am for over ten years. It's hard even to put a finger on when the dementia started, but at the time I didn't realize how painful it could become.

I miss knowing her as I am now. I want to ask her questions and learn about her life in ways I couldn't even comprehend as a teenager or young adult. I want to hear her stories and learn history from her perspective. I want to see her smile and know she really sees me.

I want her to hold my children and understand they are hers too.

I'm not sure where the magic is in all of this. It is quite hard to see.

All I know is that I miss Grandma Bea with a rich sadness today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm in Awe

A year ago, my brother embarked on an ambitous project. As an author, he challenged himself to write a short(ish) story every other week for a year. He publishes them on his website and blogs about the writing process.

Yesterday he published his final story.

I am incredibly proud of him and constantly impressed with what he can accomplish with his words.

Try this if you are thinking about a summer romance.

Try this if you recently had a baby.

Try this if you want something a little creepy.

And try this if you want to read an amazing book
that evolved in series over the course of this year.

While I know he worked too hard to call what he did magic, I think in some ways it is. He can't help but turn his musings into art. It feels like something bigger to me. Something magical.

Congratulations jd!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Social Skilz

Peanut One has always been a bit slow to warm up. Even at 6 months old, when I gathered with other mom friends, he just wanted to sit in my lap. No wriggling, no rolling, no crawling - he just wanted to watch from a safe space.

As I find myself doing, I often fell into the FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE mode, thinking, worrying, fretting that he would be this way FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

Now that he is older, I realize the grain of truth in it all. He won't be the most outgoing kid when he first meets people, but he'll make it work.

(Hello . . . apple not falling far from the tree here. . .)

Yet, whenever I see him making in-roads with his social skills I get a little proud and teary eyed.

After play school today, he saw a group of kids running around outside. Instead of sticking with me and heading to the car, Peanut One ran after them calling out and engaging in their play. I watched with joy as he made his own way in the group.

When I called him to go, he pushed my proud-oh-meter even further up by heading over to one of the boys to say good-bye.

Unfortunately the boy didn't respond.

Strangely he must not have heard Peanut One wave good-bye behind his back.

'What will my social butterfly do next?' I wondered.

Need I be suprised?

He promptly head-butted him and ran away.

Oh so proud.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hello Me

Call me nuts, but I've started writing about and to my future self. I do believe this is transforming my life. No joke.

I imagine who I will become and what my life will be like down the road. I imagine what I will be feeling, thinking, seeing, hoping. Then I write. I write as if it is real and I write with no censorship. Then I close my notebook and put it away.

Sometimes I ask her questions:

Should I take this new job?
Should I try to repair a fractured relationship?
What is really important to focus on?

She answers.

Not in a crazy, I hear voices kind of way. But if I still my soul I hear the answer:

Either path will lead you here.

You've done enough for now.

Love and joy, love and joy.

I've gotten to the point where I see her and can sense her reflecting back on this time in my life. It is absolutely incredible.

Try it.

It's magic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Magic in the Moment

Peanut Two has started packing a bag before we go out. She carefully puts her necklaces, cars, toys du jour and, of course, Bunny into her little pig back-pack. She tenaciously zips the bag, only allowing for help at the very end, and then she's "ready to go, Mommy".

With J away for four days last week, I found myself a little stressed about getting the Peanuts out the door the other morning. In a quest to keep the assembly-line efficiency barely controlled chaos moving, I didn't fully zip the bag and left Bunny's head sticking out. My ever evolved reasoning was that when we got to the car I could easily grab Bunny as I knew Peanut Two would want to hold it.

Bad idea.

Peanut Two threw a fit as Peanut One watched with glee.

I tried to reason with her through my gritted teeth gently that the car was 20 feet away, bunny would be getting out soon, bunny needed some fresh air. . .

I got sucked in.

It was one of those parenting moments where the magic of Peanut Two's reality was a good lesson for me.


Slow down.

It doesn't matter what is next.

Peanut Two lives in the moment.

It's magic.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice for us up here in the Northern Hemisphere.

I heard that the magic of nature is strongest on this day.

Did you feel it?

Moan Into Moon

I am absolutely, 100%, no fun when I am woken up in the middle of the night. Just ask J, who has been said to walk with the grace of an elephant, what the wrath of Magic Woman feels like at midnight!

Suffice it to say I am very unhappy that a few of our neighbors have gotten new dogs that seem to bark the loudest and longest at night . . .

. . . late at night . . .

. . . seemingly right outside our window.

It has been hard to tell which house the rowdy pups live in, so last night after being awoken with their shrill yapping I stumbled outside to get a sense of direction. My plan was to locate the offending dogs and (during the day) politely let their owners know that it would be oh so neighborly if they kept the dog rumpus inside when most of the neighborhood is sleeping.

I stepped onto the patio and looked around and was transfixed. It was beautiful outside. The moon was almost full, the air a cool relief from the heat of the day and the weight of full bloom summer foliage shimmering magically around me.

Suddenly I understood the barking. The dogs felt the magic too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh My, Oh My, Oh No!

At one point during his second year, Peanut One started throwing paint all around. Whenever he painted you had to duck and cover because you never knew where it was going to go.

After a few colorful episodes we somehow realized that he was copying the 'dinosaurs bad' in Sandra Boynton's Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs. (For those who don't know, the picture of 'dinosaurs bad' is of those little rascals throwing paint.) With much explanation about why we don't want to be bad dinosaurs - and much to the relief of the Magic Mom - the paint throwing ceased.

Fast forward two years.

Last night I was reading Peanut Two some bedtime stories. She desperately wanted to read a certain book, but I couldn't understand what she was saying. I tried my hardest to understand -

Drs owe it?
Die seer toe ate?
Delores sews pant?

Suddenly the light bulb went off -


I think we're in for a colorful summer!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Mole Full of Love

I met my husband, J, almost nine years ago at a bar in Atlanta. Now with a courtship, a wedding, two kids, a house and a few job transitions under our belt it is sometimes hard to remember what I felt like when we met.

To be honest, as someone who relishes and craves alone time and a space of my own, I have to admit I'm still adjusting to having a constant 'roommate'. Yet, as I reflect on our early times together and remember the excitement, the wonder and the elation, I do believe it was magic that we met.

Of course the coincidences float back sometimes:

* Neither of us frequented the place we met prior to the fateful night.

* As we got to know each other, it was apparent we had been at many of the same parties and events.

* Stranger was that his family (a solid Midwestern bunch) were avid Yankees fans - a plus for a girl from Jersey.

* It was even odd that my mother said he reminded her of her father - a man who died when I was very young.

Yet this morning as I was getting ready I caught my back in the mirror and saw the true reminder. I happen to have a big ol' mole on my back. It's not something I was especially fond of in my life - if it had been on my front side I probably would have removed it.

But J has an exact replica on his back.

I know you are thinking . . . yikes . . . she sees moles as a sign of fate . . . what's up with this gal?

But it is true - whenever I see one of our moles I am reminded of my connection to J and oddly wonder if our children will grow up with a similar, physical expression of their link to us and our love.

I do believe it is magic. . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So it begins . . .

I have been inspired by a magnificent woman who always asks me questions that stop my mind from racing and bring me back to reality.

She asks me to tell her about enchanted moments from my past.

She urges me to walk with the little girl still alive and eager inside.

She teaches me to speak with my future self, the woman I am becoming.

She absorbs my petulance, my stubbornness, my fears and my woes
without breaking a stride.

She shows me how angels have followed me around
my entire life:
protecting, guiding and watching.

She encourages me to turn my life into a magical reality.

So it begins . . .