Sunday, June 24, 2007


We leave tomorrow for destinations of Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi, Lucca and Florence. We leave with some apprehension. I always feel some anxiety for my pets left at home. Even more so, with one dog and cat at home, and the pup with another family. I know they will all be fine but I can't help it. I worry about my Mom, left at home, neither my sister nor I will be home to check up on her. I worry about how crazy I was to accept a position as a camp counselor and leave for the beach barely 24 hours after we get home from Italy. I worry about being a camp counselor for high school kids. I worry about leaving camp early to come home for the surgery. I worry about the surgery and recovery. So, I sit here and drink a beer. I think about how I'm going to change my attitude towards some of my travel partners, and recognize their goodness underneath their demons that I do not understand. I think about wonder and hope I can teach my children to just stop and wonder, look, listen, smell. I want to lay on the floor and look up at the Sistine chapel, I want to see, again, the Trinity by Masaccio, I want to smell the Pharmacia de Santa Maria Novella, I want cappucinos, pasta, tartufo, and wine. I want to experience new and relive some of the old. It will not be the same trip I took years ago, but it will be wonderful because we will make it so.

I will not post for some time unless I have a rare opportunity. You can be sure I will keep a journal, I will take photos, and just like the Terminator - "I'll be back".

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What I've been doing:

sewing a new skirt, sewing a halter top, picking up a free ping pong table, challenging my family to a tournament, downloading new music, blogging this post, anything that keeps me from...

What I should be doing:
packing and cleaning

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Long, Hard Day

I watched a grown man cry today. He had just reached the end. I had seen him at various stops at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, obviously having some sort of surgery. At the last stop, express something or other, I heard him say something about "stressful day" then he lost control and wept, with people all around. At that time, My Handsome Prince walked out of express something or other, and we left. That's what people do at Hopkins. What I wanted to do was touch the mans hand.

Just moments before, a young girl called out to me "Are you following us?" She and her husband had been running the same circuit, with CT scans, surgeon consultation, anesthesiology meetings, blood work, EKG,...We chatted a bit about our husbands upcoming surgeries, both having lung resections. She stated, "Well, this will be it." I didn't tell her, that no, this is not it. Even if it does not come back, there will be appointments. There will be tests. There will be waiting, with baited breath. There will be results. Always.

I sat next to a woman who came from Indiana, never having been in Baltimore, trying to find a place to stay, with a list of posh hotels, provided by Hopkins, not finding one she could afford. I told her to go outside the city limits into the county. I hope she found something. I heard a woman whisper to her husband "I'm okay." She had on a lovely skirt and I told her. She almost seemed giddy.

We heard nothing new and yet the news was worse this time around. Because of a previous lung resection, the pain will be worse, the risks will be worse, the hospital stay will be longer, the recovery longer. While this is not good news, there is good news. We are never alone. He is healthy. We have family. We have each other. We have friends. We have an absolutely wonderful trip to Italy in a few days.

We also had hovering over us, the realization that his Grandmother may die while we are gone. We spoke of the life that his Grandparents, Mother and Aunt are leading now. Something needs to change and the decisions that need to be made. Another difficult situation.

Nothing is easy, yet we finished the long day with margaritas and Mexican food, hands held over the table, silent. We came home to a beautiful, happy daughter who spent a nice day with her Grandma, getting beautified. We came home to huge piles of laundry that had been washed, dried, and folded by the oldest. We spoke with my Mother, who is having her own health issues, which will be next. And we will take care of her. It is life's cycle.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

School's Out For Summer!

Italy, doll quilts for babies being born, working in a homeless shelter in NY City, embroider merit badges, counseling different camps for high school youth, middle school youth, and elementary school youth, box challenge, Cape Henlopen, tubing down the Gunpowder river, paper mache, summer reading on the swing or hammock, t-shirt quilts for campers, moving one into her first apartment, major surgery, lovely afternoon naps, games, free concerts, Artscape, finish a flagstone patio, have a picnic, go for a hike, ride (of course), walk on the beach, make a mobil, eat crabs, have friends over, paint a picnic table, find a chandelier for under the tree, learn to cook authentic mexican food, plant sunflowers, make the deck a late afternoon haven, work on an Interfaith build for Habitat for Humanity, plan a trip to New York, Philly, Annapolis, Baltimore or DC, American Visionary Arts museum, slide down a giant slide in western MD, go swimming, these are some ideas ...

What are you going to do?

Shhhh, be vewy, vewy quiet

The Sergeant Major is sleeping.

I'm so proud of My Handsome Prince. Happy Father's Day to you, my darling. I'm so happy you are home. I can never say it enough. What a good man you are!

I Know This Much Is True

That a ride is the perfect time to contemplate world peace, the next project and what's for dinner
That weeds can be beautiful

That what comes down must go up
That hills never get any easier despite the bike and years of experience
That red winged blackbirds and goldfinches abound
That I like solitude
That there is no such thing as silence
That it can be a spiritual experience

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It Got Worse

Yup, it did. One of our guests didn't make it, calling late, the girls encountered an accident on their way home, called me for an alternate route, waited, waited, waited, called again, we finally found one. Called at 1AM, they ran out of gas (driving my truck whose guage does not work and we go according to mileage). They should have had plenty.

The good news is: We all had a delicious dinner and we all made it home, safe and sound. I unplugged the phone this morning to sleep in, and my truck was still at the bottom of the hill. All is well, I just had to complain for a moment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Some Days Are Just Like That

Take Monday, for example. Monday was delightful. No other word could describe it. I went for a great ride on BB, smelling the sweet perfume of honeysuckle, startling some people with my cheery good morning, enjoying the sights and sounds of the back roads. My sister came over and I helped her with a skirt along with completing some much needed mending. Within an hour of her departure, Mom and her friend Sylvia came over with their crocheting. We sat on the patio below, had a delicious dinner, and spent the rest of the early evening up on the deck after the sun went down a bit. Delightful.

Now today has been anything but delightful, starting with a stinky, gross, odor coming from the refrigerator. Cleaning out the fridge makes me gag. It's typically the Prince's job but this smell was not going to wait 4 more days. Later, a conversation just rubbed me the wrong way, I blew off my ride, couldn't find an important email, nobody is returning my phone calls, do you want more? I finally decided that going for a ride was the only way to redeem my day and to take a camera would make it even better. Not! Not even a half mile from the house, I had to stop to figure out how to ride with the camera accessible, one foot out of the clip less pedal (one in - can you tell where this is going?). Like a slapstick comedy, one moment I was standing the next I just toppled over sideways attached to my bike. I dropped the F bomb so loudly a woman 3 houses away came out into the road to see what the commotion was all about. The rest of the ride was not quite that bad, but literally followed that path. I'm home with a sore wrist and dinged dignity. I'm afraid to touch needle and thread for what disaster might strike.

Later in the day....
I stopped at the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine to take with me to my sister's, closed between 1-4 today, What the f***?

Tornados in the area, we are in the basment for a birthday party.

5 or 6 phone cut off cell calls, I finally talk to my Prince.

I'm going to bed.

This is My Father

This is My Father, Dad, Papa to the girls. Sometimes a Daddy will slip out. My Father is a scholar, a minister, a philosopher, a caregiver. I don't see him as often as I should but we talk almost daily. When I was a young girl, he took me downtown to Chicago, probably more than once but they all meld together in my memory. We got locked in a stairwell at the Civic Center, saw Pete Seger, played amongst the stone chess tables along the lake and he took photos. A fine day or days. He would take off on Mondays and make soup, oxtail, greek lemon rice, bean. Mmmmm. Because he was a minister, sometimes we did things that our peers did not, such as attend daily Advent worship services before 7AM (before school), when is was bitter cold in the big church.

My Father loves music. He has season tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and always shares an evening with my sister and me. He used to listen to music on the stereo with those great big headphones and conduct the music with great emotion. He gets more enjoyment out of things than anyone I know. He has come to almost every production, band concert, choral concert that the girls have been part of. He laughs louder and more often, than anyone, with such joy. He really listens to the music, 4th grade concerts up to BSO, and can speak of the music, it's complexity or ease, what sections were good, the movement. He still remembers one of my concerts, at Halloween, I was dressed as a butterfly playing the flute and speaks of it once in a while. He inspired the monthly Lansdowne Concerts on the lawn and what a great community service they are.

Emma, first grandchild, was born during a difficult time for my parents and they separated shortly after her birth. My Dad would come out to our house weekly to spend time with Emma while I taught aerobic classes. He would take her for walks in her stroller, or they would walk hand in hand, looking at the moon, discussing important things, petting dogs, observing nature. He now has another grandchild who spends this kind of time with him. I only hope her family knows and treasures how lucky their child is to have this time with him.

Tonight we will go to my sister's house to celebrate Sammajamma's 2nd birthday and Dad will be there. I will wish him Happy Father's Day, give him a token cd, and tell him his true gift can be found here, for the world to see, from my heart.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bike litter

I hosted a bike ride and brunch on Saturday. It was a service I offered for the Youth's talent and service auction. Four of us rode the hills Maryland and the potholes of Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful day, lovely ride, and included the rescue of a turtle. Afterwards, those who did not ride joined us for lunch. I provided delicious paninis, salad with lettuce from my porch, brownies made by Audrey the brownie queen, blueberry coffee cake, fruit, gatorade, water, and iced tea. It was all scarfed down without a crumb left. The riders arrived around 9:30ish and all stayed until 3pm. These were people I was not well acquainted with and they were best friends with each other, yet I did not feel left out. I had a delightful time hearing the stories of their friendship, their history, and their future. I envy them a bit. By the time they left, I had the phone number of the one rider who is within a few miles of me with the promise that we will ride again. Black Betty, you have done your job.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good
A trip to Barnes and Noble with my girls, arms loaded with books, cds, asking opinions, making decisions, coming home with good reading, inspiration and music; falling asleep on the couch with my oldest in the middle of the day; the brief, fleeting, head on shoulder, I love you moment with my youngest, riding Black Betty and actually laughing aloud; puppy on my lap while sewing; Oldest is not hurt; remaking disaster skirt into sporty skirt; riding around Hanover, hand/camera out the window, documenting my commute for a future post.

The Bad

A fuss with a friend over a miscommunication, unknown to me; a change in my work schedule that shouldn't be there, not realizing it, and showing up for work; My Handsome Prince gone all week with another to go; making a skirt and having it too wide and too short;

The Ugly

I'll let this speak for itself

Bumper car with a guardrail, each panel bumped. bummer.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Meet Black Betty

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness," for buying a bike, that is. I have little money for foolishness. I have enough to pay for another year of college without a loan. I have enough, maybe, for our trip to Italy. I have enough for a bit of fun, a haircut, a massage, a lunch, a beer. But enough for a high performance road bike? I think not! Yet this opportunity presented itself and I could not overlook it.

It is time. It is time in my life to rekindle the flame. To go to the open road, look for an owl, smell the woods, stop and listen to the silence, pet the cats, fly from the dogs (and believe me, on Black Betty, I'll fly!). It is time for mileage, time to ride to work, ride to shop, ride for photos, ride for fun, ride, ride, ride. Tomorrow Black Betty and I have our first date. I'm nervous, I'm excited, I probably won't sleep. I'm skipping church for her. It will be my Sabbath. I think I'm in love already. I'm ready and so is she.