Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Road construction and the GBH

There is so much road construction in our tiny neighborhood that 3 out of 4 main routes have detours. This is the end of our street. It takes 20 minutes to drive 2 miles. Tonight we watched a Great Blue Heron land at the top of the tallest pine tree centered in this photo. The girls think there is a nest up there.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vacation Perspective

We've been home 4 days and I have yet to ride my bike. I want to, but I haven't really recovered from what I call vacation exhaustion.

It's an odd perspective. Where a vacation is so grueling that it takes time back home to feel rested. I thought we vacationed to rest and recoup from everyday?

Here is looking forward to tomorrow, or maybe after work for that bike ride.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Too close to home

Six AM Saturday we drove over the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, NY. This morning I read a boat struck one of the barges anchored within sight of this bridge just hours before we crossed. Killing two, injuring four others. A soon to be bride and her best man gone. The waters are dark in the shadow of the bridge. The barges, we saw them, black and low to the water.

Too close to home. We drive back and forth to Florida more than most people believe or imagine. We've seen some terrible accidents. Have been held up in traffic jams for hours, at times. Always praying those involved have a grace of God.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"I've loved her my whole life."

A quote from my niece, age 3. Speaking on her feelings for Minnie Mouse. I sure hope I'm there when they get to meet in person, for real. By the way, that's her behind her doll.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finally faced and conquered

I had never experienced the Tower of Terror, until yesterday. Got my nerve up. Got a fast pass. Went all by myself. Loved it. TOT went from a never would ride attraction to a must ride. Mission space orange is next.

If only all of life's challenges were so easy to face and conquer. Keep moving.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013


With time we realize all that glitters isn't gold. And life's treasures truly are the slightly dented everyday items found in an everyday life. .

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Do you ever walk with your ears?

Today, instead of the usual bike ride, I went for a walk. I had my music  and ear buds in hand but as I stepped out of the house, the birds were singing. And I wondered just how many different and interesting sounds will I hear on this in the cool of the day walk?

The answer, a multitude. Birds, insects, tires, people, air conditioners, fans, electric transformers, frogs, squirrels. It was amazing.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Perspective and Patience

I was just about to post a rant about my horrible children and how they do nothing unless specifically asked and not an inch more. And then I read the article about the child they fished out of the bottom of a neighborhood pool.

Don't go there. Don't rant. Breathe and pray for that poor poor family. For that mom who would give anything to see her child sit for endless summer hours watching TV.

Part II

Live Each Day

This is where I work. It's also a great example for the concept of not judging a book by its cover, a building by its facade. For it's a renovated factory reborn into a hive of artist studios laced with assorted businesses. There is a lot of outstanding talent here. Yesterday I learned some of the artists even live in their studios. For yesterday one of them died in their studio.

A neighbor to our office. A very talented musician who had cancer. A man who always said hello in passing in the hall.

Live Each Day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The day after a mistake. It happened. I discovered it, owned it. Took the blame, but then what? Me, I tell everyone. "Boy did I screw up." And i mean -- everyone. In the end the hardest part is self acceptance and forgiveness.

Any given day, half my time can be spent chasing down unpaid invoices. Most conversations reveal an error on some level. And I assure my new accounting friends across the virtual business aisle that it's okay. That I appreciate their help in sorting out this, that, or another debt.

But forgive myself? Yes.
Forgive. Learn. Grow.
A new day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bad day. Bad day. What ya goin' do...

I felt like death warmed over.
Checks and balances, fail safes, procedures and protocols, all put in place to stop mistakes from propagating. Friday, at work, I inadvertently made two beauties. Today while going through our internal check system, the procedure to control errors, I discovered them...

What do you do? What did I do? Painfully owned them. "Yeah, it was me." There was not happiness and joy in the office.

Was money or business lost? No. The system caught it. But the mistakes shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Lessons learned. Oh yes. Procedures bolstered. Oh yes.

Tomorrow is another day. Thank God.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On Those Days

On the days were it's a little tougher to get up and get moving (exercising), smile and think about all those mornings when it wasn't tough, then get moving anyway.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Playing the cards we are dealt.

Each day we have a choice to either play the cards we are dealt or take a mulligan.

What's your game plan for today?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Your daily gift?

Were you able to exercise? Blessed with breathing?
 This morning I rode my bike. Just heading out it started to  rain. So the Saturday ride got cut short.  The blessing:  At least I was able to get out.

Friday, July 12, 2013

For Dummies

Imagine if life's decisions and complications could be so easily worded so that we could all get it. Would we then be labeled a dummy?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Did you see the miracle yesterday?

Miracles are like rainbows; quietly there after life's rain. Or flowers quietly blooming in the distance. Did you see yours yesterday?

Mine was while driving to get the mail for work. A woman had broken down at the Edgell Central Streets intersection, read very very busy and dangerous. She must have been taking a left and stalled, for she was in the middle of the road. I came across the scene with one man pushing her car up an incline to the side of the road. In seconds, two other vehicles stopped, and out jumped two other men who jumped in to be part of the road side assist.

Nice. Really nice. Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


For some people it's a place, a location. But for the lucky it's a state of mind. No travel required.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Sand in your shoes

Ever get sand in your shoes? It can be uncomfortable, even abrasive resulting in a blister. But it can also be a memory. This sand is from Bermuda. I wore my TEVAs while snorkeling. I was in the water until I was pruney from my scalp to the bottom of my feet. I don't think I'll be in any hurry to wash it off my sandals.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Chapter 15

Sliding onto her favorite kitchen stool, Molly, her eye brows knitted together, looked first at Dad, then Mom, then me. “What? What's going on?”
This was one time I was glad not to be the parent. Closing my eyes. My chin dropped to rest on my chest, I waited for the brewing storm to make landfall. It was Dad who took the first foray. “Mom has to go back to Seattle”
“No,” wailed Molly.
Dad reached out to hug her, but she pushed him aside. Wrapping her skinny spaghetti arms around Mom.
“Sweetheart,” he continued, ignoring the rising commotion. “Carolyn is ummmm.... sick. She's in the hospital.”
“I don't care. Mom just got back,” cried Molly.
“Oh sweetheart,” sighed Mom, stroking her bobbing curls. “I don't want to go, but I have to. Carolyn will be, actually, she is a part of our family now, and she needs me.”
Still sobbing, Molly replied, “Well I need you too. I need you to be home with me.”
“I know,” calmly acknowledged Mom. “But somethings can't be helped.”
“Then let me come with you.”
The kitchen feel silent. Mom looked to Dad. Dad looked to Mom. Mom pursed her lips. She was truly thinking about this, before asking, “What do you think, Sam? Think I could take her?”
“For a month?” scoffed Dad. “No.”
“What about for a week?” Molly's eye's lit up with hope.
“She's in second grade... Are you going to fly back and forth to escort her? Do you think it is wise she flies alone?”
Then I chimed in, “What if I go with you?”
Now Dad was rolling his eyes. “You're in high school. Miss one day and you're swimming upstream to catch up. A week and you'll be buried for a month or more.”
Then it hit me. “What if we go to school this week, but then fly out for April break?”
“You and Molly fly out alone, together....” Now Dad was pursing his lips in thought.
It would be only my second time ever on a plane. And the first time, I barely remember as I was only six years old. And this would be Molly's first time ever. My heart skipped a beat.
Turning to Mom, he surmised, “That might work. What do you think Margie? You go out now and get Carolyn's situation stabilized. Then in about ten days the girls will fly out for break.”
“I don't know Sam.” Then turning towards me she asked, “Can you handle it? The flight, alone with Molly.”
I took a deep breath. “Is it non-stop?”
“We'll try for non-stop, but usually you change planes in Chicago. Could you manage a lay over?”
“I think I can. Then looking at my traveling charge, continued, “Molly won't be a problem, will you?”
She was vibrating in Mom's arms. Still I detected her shaking her head no.
A skinny smile spread across Mom's face.
“Horrah!” We were going back. Excitement abounded. You would have thought she won the lottery. And in a way we had; but at Carolyn's expense.
As expected Mom flew back that afternoon. We were in school, so it was back to returning home in the afternoon to an empty house, dinner not ready, Dad scrambling to keep the house from imploding, Jeff hunting down the last of Mom's chocolate chip cookies, and Carolyn texting she missed the bus on account of math and would be waiting at school for her mom to pick her up.
“STUDY!” I texted back..
:o was her only response.
Watching Jeff reaching for another handful of cookies, I commented, “You should ration yourself. She's probably gone for a month or more.”
He slowed the cookie half way to his mouth, “And when she comes back who knows what it's going to be like. I mean she might not have time to bake.” He went to put the rest back in the cookie tin.
“No, really eat those,” I urged. “And you didn't have to say that.” And he didn't. I knew change was inevitable. After all Carolyn was only suppose to finish the school year and then move to Stockbridge. But that gave me over two months to get used to having my now orphaned turncoat old best friend living under the same roof. Now it looked like I would have a month.
Innocently Jeff asked, “And what if she doesn't want to move here?”
If it weren't such a serious question, it would have been comical to watch Dad's face pop up from behind the cupboards where he had been hunting down a pan. Had he forgotten his own daughter, me, just three years ago, not wanting to abandon our home on Bainbridge Island?
“Dad, really?” I scoffed
Still sporting shock and surprise, he replied, “It's just I never thought of it. What if her....” I caught a quick Dad glance towards Jeff, “illness is not because of anything attributable to her current situation? What if it's because of the pending move?”
Jeff puzzled, interjected, “I thought you said she had a bad case of the flu.”
Not mincing words, I answered, “I lied.” and returning my conversation with Dad, “...If that's the case, Mom is going to have her hands full.”

That late night call, one sided; Dad's side:
How is she?
Have you spoken with the doctors?
A quiet nod.
Have you seen Mrs. O'Brien?
She's there... been there the whole time. Oh... Devastated, I'm sure. Poor dear...
Then the tough question: Any idea why she....
No. She's not talking. Well maybe... now she'll start to feel better and open up.
Yeah, love you too. Good night.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

That's a valid BINGO!

The games in life have many rules, many opportunities to win. But to win, we must be flexible and allow for variation. For those situations that seem strangely odd may bring the deepest riches.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Even a shipwreck has its opportunities

Was telling my daughter that even life's negative circumstances contain copious positive opportunities.

Though you might have to dive deep to find them.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


These fresh leaves caught my attention. Newly unfurled, they haven't had time to produce the green chlorophyll that gives them their usual green color. And then I thought, these leaves in their birth and in their death, have a very colorful and cool usher.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Chapter 14

Chapter 14
“WHAT?” It was in stereo, Dad and I. I was so confused I was seeing gray. My skin seethed pricks and tingles. 
“What,” I whispered again, still not able to fully grasp what Mom had said. It had to be a mistake. She had a headache. It could happen. I looked to Mom for the answers.

She was lost in Dad's embrace; a mass of sobs and hugs. 
Then in a flash I thought, where is Molly? I leaned back up the stairs to see if I could hear her up in her room. No noise. Either she was already sound asleep, or listening intently. The little bit of a song... should I stay or should I go... played in my head. I decided to stay and let Mom and Dad triage Molly later, if she was even awake.

The rumbling between Mom and Dad subsiding, Dad pushed Mom away to look at her face and asked, “What happened?”

I watched as Mom closed her eyes and licked her lips. Fortifying herself to say the words she must. And after a long sigh, in a low voice she started. “Mrs. O'Brien came home after shopping to find Carolyn not breathing on the floor of her bedroom. On the dresser was an Extra Strength Tyenol PM bottle. She called 911. They were able to revive her. ”

“Which hospital?”

“They med-flighted her to Seattle. To Children's.” Mom collapsed down onto one of the kitchen stools and leaning against the table buried her face in her hands.”I should have seen this coming.”

“Margie,” Dad quickly chimed in. “No, you couldn't. Don't beat yourself up.”

Looking directly at Dad she replied, “Yes I should have Sam. Carolyn is clinically depressed. She's on medication. That's why Bobbie's family didn't want her living with them. They said it would be too much for them to handle. I thought it was under control. Poor Mrs. O'Brien.”

“Poor Carolyn.” It was me who said poor Carolyn. All this time I assumed Carolyn was off having fun, neglecting her mom when Mrs. Marché needed her daughter most. I never imagine Carolyn was suffering too. 
“And having Bobbie's family, the Sutters?” asked Dad.

“Yes, that's their name...” interjected Mom.

“Refused to let Carolyn live with them to finish the year. What is it 8 weeks, maybe ten?”

Mom seemed to switch sides, “You can't blame the Sutters. They were just being honest. It was wonderful of them to let Carolyn spend as much time as she did over there. It's just too bad they were uncomfortable with the short term 24/7 responsibility. It was a lot to ask.”

“Mom,” I asked, “would she have done it, taken the pills, if she lived with the Sutters?”

Mom sighed and shook her head. “No one will ever know. Poor girl.”
Ushering us back to reality, Dad asked, “What now?”

“Call the hospital.”

At this point I dragged myself up to bed. Molly's room dark, her low rhythmic breathing was a pretty good indication she hadn't heard what was happening. Good thing; she wouldn't understand and would probably spend the night worrying instead of sleeping. Come to think of it, I didn't understand, and was resigned to my own night of sleeplessness when Charles glided through the attic door and into my room.

“Dear lamb, sleep eludes you?”

“Carolyn took a bunch of pills.” Tears chocked off my words. “They think she tried to kill herself.”

“Oh the poor child. To be so lost. Death is never the answer.”

“Can you see her? Can you help her?”

Charles shook his head the the light flecks that made up his image shifted, distorting his face so it looked like it was being smeared into the darkness. “No lamb. Then looking right at me he uttered, “Perhaps there is another?”

Did Charles mean me? What could I do? It must be Mom. She'll be going back, I know it. But then what?
The next morning, early before Molly came down for breakfast, a brief kitchen discussion on logistics ensued. It was settled. Mom would be leaving on the last afternoon flight to Seattle. She had a hotel room in the city to be close to Carolyn. The doctor thought it would be best for Carolyn to fore-go the rest of school, in order to complete a month of residential therapy before moving east. At home, here in Stockbridge, we would have one week of school, then April break, and then more school. With no breaks until Memorial Day.

“When is the installation?”

“Oh not until July or later,” Dad lied. I knew he was working on getting the piece finished for the park's summer open Memorial Day weekend. 
Mom looked puzzled. “I thought it was sooner...”

“Nope, a wishy washy July... with no hard and fast deadline.” Lying again.

“So my leaving is of little impact on your work?”

Dad nodded and sipped his coffee. Then looking in my direction fired off a quick wink. Mom didn't seem to notice the underlying current. Lips flexing and puckering, eyes fixed on the trees out by the barn, she was thinking. Then turning to me, “Sarah, I'll be gone another month in all likelihood.” Sigh... “I know it's been tough. Will you be able to manage?”

I don't think Mom was really looking for an answer. Carolyn was her ward. Technically she was a part of our family. Mom's absence wasn't a vacation, wasn't fun. She would have done the same for Molly or me. I nodded, yeah we'll be fine.

She gave me a weak smile before the apparent weight of it all knocked her head and shoulders forward about six inches. 

Then the hard part, telling Molly. Signaled by her half asleep steps coming down the stairs. When faced with adversity, whether at work, or at home, Dad picks himself up, puts his head down and keeps moving forward. Me, I was learning. Molly was still the baby. She still preferred Mom tucking her and Piggy in at night. Dad and I no matter how we tried, could not compete. Her steps hitting the landing, Dad looked to Mom. Mom looked to Dad and I looked to both of them. This would not be pretty.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Resting Everymore

I'm drawn to cemeteries and the idea of eternal rest, eternal peace. I know not one resting soul in this small family plot which dates back to the 1800's, if not before. Still I wonder about their lives and the heaven they attained. 

It is a peaceful plot.