Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chandy In The Shed

What does a girl do when she has an extra chandy ?

She tries to find a home for it...

So my shabby chandy now hangs in my garden shed.

I think the electrician thought I was a little looney...

but ..... I love it !!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Being Mom

by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an
endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind ? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you
get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.

There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the
getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because o f what I' d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were...

By Anna Quinlann, Newsweek colunist

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Once Upon a Time..

I believe in fairy tales . Once upon a time 20 some years ago...

Back then, Laverne and I were young teachers who loved to go dancing on Friday nights. We had it down to an art; always arriving early in order to get half priced drinks and chairs close to the dance floor . We had a rhythm .. one would dance and the other would hold court in our prized chairs .... and then we would switch. And so it went Friday after Friday after Friday until one August evening .

It was my turn to hold court in our prized chairs and I had allready turned down a certain cowboy several times...Finally in desparation the certain cowboy demanded "Why wont you dance with me ?"

Seriously frustrated, I raised my finger non chalantly into the air and pointed without looking where I was pointing... "Because I promised that guy I would dance with him."

Mission accomplished cowboy disappeared.

Minutes later ...as if I had waved a magic wand when I pointed my finger blindly into mid-air... a tap on my shoulder....

and I turned in my prized chair to see a tall blond handsome guy smiling down at me with a twinkle in his eye.

" I think you promised me this dance " he said.

...and so I danced...

.and the rest is truly a miracle. I met my tall blond handsome husband on that August night. Once upon a time...20 some years ago.

Do you believe in fairy tales ? I do !

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hydrangeas make me happy ....

Happiness keeps you sweet,

Sorrows keep you human,

Failures keep you humble,

Success keeps you glowing,

But only God keeps you going.

Hydrangeas from my 2005 summer garden... I can't wait for them to bloom again !

What makes you happy ?

Saturday, May 06, 2006


To find what you seek in the road of life,

the best proverb of all is that which says:

"Leave no stone unturned."

Edward Bulwer Lytton

I keep this container of beach stones on the table next to my bed
to remind me of this and to remind me of my love for the sea.

I will be there soon....very soon.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

I found this quote on Sophia's blog and it grabbed me right in my heart.

Thank you Sophia .

Thursday, May 04, 2006


ONCE UPON A TIME...on a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l hill country day in April 2006

DHubby : " For you my bride ".

HS Son: " Cool ".

College Princess: " Oh my god... oh my god... it's awesome... i LOVE it ! "

HS Princess : " Oh gawwwwd.... can you be any more OBVIOUS ? Do NOT pick me up from school in that !"

Bride : I kissed my hubby, put that top down , picked up my friend Pattie, and off we went ! I couldn't have been more OBVIOUS with my glee AND my joy, on that April day. It was both awesome... and cool !
Gracias mi hermano !

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Private School Interview

My children were 6,8 and 11 in the spring of 1997 when we decided to apply to a small private school for our eldest daughter. Part of the private school application process involved a family interview. So one Saturday morning I spiffed up my family in their nice,but casual attire, combed the sweet boy childs hair, put a bow in my darling 6 year olds hair, and oohed and aahed over the wonderful outfit my precious 11 yr. old had chosen. Off we went to the office of the headmaster where the five of sat in the 5 leather chairs lined up in front of the headmaster's large desk.

Most of the interview involved questions for my hubby and I and our 11 year old daughter. The 6 yr old and 8 yr old spent the time swinging their legs as they sat perched on those big leather chairs. Towards the end of the interview the headmaster asked each family member "What do you like about the school you are going to ?"

11 yr old : " I like the beautiful new library ."

8 yr son : " uh.... I like playing with my friends "

DH: " I think that is a well run school and the teachers work hard. "

Moi: "(suck-up) I like that our school has enriched the curriculum with a Spanish program . Our children have had Spanish since kindergarten with a teacher who really tries to make learning Spanish fun. "

6yr old : Yeah... and we just HATE her. Her name is Senora Smith ... do NOT hire HER "

Headmaster: " I cant wait to have that child in my class ! "

After the interview we had a family discussion about using the word HATE . It didnt work... not then and not now. I have consoled myself with the fact that maybe she just lives life large.... large and in charge !