Monday, February 24, 2014


What an absolute opposite this weekend was from last. So grateful for these three joy and rest-filled days.

Just a bit of follow up before I share some highlights of the weekend.

Sam's concussion and cheek bone fracture are slowly on the mend. The week was a rough one for him-- he missed a couple of days of school with the constant ache and pain in his head, the extra sensitivity to the noise and light and intellectual demands of high school, the need for rest, quiet, and deep sleep (the best remedy for an injured nervous system).

Grateful this weekend we didn't have a repeat of the creepy incident of last Saturday night. I just have to mention it, as it's kind of funny in a strange, disturbing way.

So, late that night at about eleven o'clock, Keith's laying on the couch (still in the trenches of his stomach flu), Eliza's working on the computer, and I had gone off to bed as the boys had. The sound of the doorbell rings, and Keith gets up to answer it; wondering who it would be at such a late hour. Perhaps it was a late-night, day after Valentine's Day door step surprise.

Surprise is an understatement as you'll soon see.

No one there, but laying on the porch was a large sheet of white paper with a big, black markered "X" in the center. Now the edges on fire. Now going up in flames.

What in the world is this supposed to mean? What if it had blown and caught the bushes (right next to the house) on fire? Well, we guess it was probably some kids doing a stupid and silly prank. Still, big-time creepy.

Okay, on a brighter note, I give you my weekend:

:: spent most of Friday getting ready to host our good friends to dinner. Entertaining  like this-- something that doesn't happen very often; maybe a handful of times throughout the year-- brings me a sense of joy and fulfillment in the creation of all of it. Something to look forward to. A bright spot. A time to use my culinary and decorating talents. The planning and work (it feels more like play) invigorating. The table beautifully set with little tea lights, Portuguese china, and fresh, fragrant lilies. The menu: baked salmon dolloped with a sour cream cucumber-herb sauce, maple glazed roasted vegetables, garlicky lemon angel hair pasta with white beans, freshly home baked crusty bread, mixed salad greens with berries, candied almonds, and topped with a strawberry poppy seed dressing. And for dessert, a decadent (and vegan) brownie bottomed-peanut butter cheesecake. I must say it all was glorious. The best part of all was the wonderful time to connect through heart-sharing conversation and the laughter and fun sitting around the table playing games.

:: Saturday morning I went to the school clinic and treated myself to a (much needed) two hour massage. I still have all these free massage gift certificates I need to use up. (Sometimes I wish I could give myself a massage.)

:: long, delicious stretches of time to read this week's novel Pope Joan (thanks, Renee!) and a trip to the library with Isaac. A stop at Krispy Kreme for Isaac to redeem a free donut he got from a school chum for Valentine's. An overdue haircut for him before going home.

:: an elegant, lovely, and special Saturday evening (postponed) Valentine date all planned by Keith. Candle light dinner overlooking the city as the sun set in a blaze. Then, he treated me to a night at the Utah Symphony performing with Celtic and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia fiddler Natalie Macmaster. One of the best concerts we've ever experienced. This woman sure knows how to get her groove on. Pregnant and mother of five herself, tirelessly dancing a jig after jig while flawlessly playing that fiddle in all her talented glory.

:: long Sunday naps are the absolute best.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

art together: how to spend a quiet, winter evening at home

I so enjoyed my participation in Heather's Hibernate workshop. So many beautiful ideas to inspire. A lift and a bright spot to look forward to every day. 

One of the projects Heather shared was this idea of finding peace and creativity through free-form drawing or doodling, if you will. (In my pursuit to get more ideas, I've recently found out about the phenomena of "Zentangle". So cool.) How this can become a meditation practice. That this form of expression can be very intuitive, calming, centering, "Zen", and without the protectionist pressure of "having- to- do- it- right" that often hinders many people from exploring and expressing their creative, artistic side.

So Tuesday night when Eliza asked if I could run to the craft store for her, (she was out of white acrylic paint), I took this chance to purchase some of my very own art supplies--a pad of sketch paper, a new pen, and a box of colored pencils. (So happy and amazed when I saw a nice set of German made Lyra pencils on clearance for less than half of what they would normally be. Whoo!!!)

When I got home, I excitedly showed my family what I had bought and told them of my plan " to get back into art". You see, in my youth, art was really my thing. (that, and basketball.) It was my special talent, almost as much as it is Eliza's. I even went on to study art at university. I remain an art lover to this day. Art appreciation is something I can't live without. But over these many years, motherhood's demands left me with a feeling like I had the no time and energy to continue on with my painting, drawing, and sculpting. 

But then, photography entered my life. Something I consider true art, but never, ever felt a pull or saw myself pursuing. But I've come to learn that you just never know how a person can change. I would never believe how much I would change in the last five years. 

Well, Isaac was immediately entranced by all my new supplies and excited about the idea of us cozily doing art together. He ran and got his new set of colored pencils he received for Christmas (that haven't been touched until now.) and we sat at the table for almost an hour drawing together.

I worked on a design of flowers and leaves-- inspired with Heather's wonderful tutorial. Isaac's botanical lean rendered a "meat eater plant". 

I was amazed at how easy and effortless this all came to him. How truly beautiful his drawing turned out to be. He and I both had so much fun. The whole process was such a pleasure to my senses. Something I forgot how much I've missed. I can't remember even the last time I've sat down to draw and color. The simple delight in feeling my ideas just flow. How my mind became still. Just being in the moment of line, form, color.. the sound and feel of the pencil rubbing against the texture and tooth of the paper. 

Tonight, we gathered again at the table. An empty hour before his bedtime. Isaac ran to get our supplies. I lit some candles. We proceeded in silence. (Except for the excited uproar when my sketchpad lit on fire! I guess I was totally absorbed in my work!)

He said more than once how drawing "makes me calm". And "It's the thing that always relaxes, Mom. Kind of the same feeling when I'm playing Legos." 

His drawing ended up becoming a sweet Valentine that he presented to me with a big smile and a hug.  I was happy with my mandala and happy, mostly, for seeing his own happiness.

Both of us left with such a sense of accomplishment, fun, and relaxation. Such a simple activity to share with my child on cold, quiet evenings. A perfect way to be physically near each other, inspire one another's hearts, emotionally connect with our thoughts and conversation. It's something that I hope we both want to continue.

A chance, especially, to give time and attention to my talents that I thought had shriveled and died over twenty years ago, but now only see that they were just lying dormant all this time. 

P.S. Eliza's here looking over my shoulder: "I want to draw with you, too!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

so this is love

it's love
real love

instead of the flowers she hoped to receive in her arms
it's his throw up bowl she now hold in her hands.

it's love 
real love

instead of that much anticipated and much needed
valentine dinner-date 
and night out on the town
she now sits by his side on these hard blue bleachers
cheering on this son of theirs
yet again
hoping beyond hope following
loss after loss
praying it will all end tonight on a happy note
for his sweet, hard earned 

it's love 
real love

instead of a night of romance and sweet nothings
the two of them now find themselves
waiting and worrying
in an out-of-town emergency room
consoling and comforting and calming
him through
confusion and concussion and cat scan
the silent drive home in the late night dark
relief and gratitude and hope
that this son
created from their love
will pull through it all
even though his 
cheekbone is broken
and his heart is

Thursday, February 13, 2014

well hello there

Well, we're halfway into February and I've been away from this space for almost a month. Not very typical of me, I know. I so appreciate those of you who have checked in  and wondered where I've been and why the long absence. (Thank you, Clair and Renee and Beverly for your concern and kindness! And no, Jan, I wasn't on a cruise! Oh, how I wish that was the case!) 

I guess I've been in a sort of hibernation mode. Feeling the need for quiet, introspection, solitude, and soul-searching. With all this, as well as my own tendency to feel the effects of the winter doldrums, I just haven't felt a motivation, pull, or any sort of inspiration to write, share, or even take out my camera. In a way, I'm kind of forcing myself to blog today, as I feel a sort of pressure to keep this journal of mine going (for your sake and mine)-- which has always brought me so much joy and fulfillment-- but over the years, I've discovered and accepted there are ups and downs that come along with any creative endeavor. I can compassionately and gently give myself the permission and the space I need; the time also-- however long it takes-- to let my own rhythms follow the natural cycles of nature.

It's felt good. 
It's what I needed.
And it also feels good to come back now.

The days have been full both in my home, family, and personal life. (We're all fine.) Full days, but with the right amount of quiet margin that I feel is necessary and crucial to my peace and well-being.

Weeks and days filled with children's activities.  Trying to attend and support Sam with transporting him to and from his basketball practices and attending his games twice a week. (The last game of the season, tomorrow night.) Heart break for a season of loss after loss. Finally, a few Fridays ago after the twelfth loss in a row, driving back home alone with Sam in the car after an especially crushing loss, him to the breaking point with bitter tears of disappointment and frustration, me quietly listening, trying to console. Formulating and presenting a plan to host the whole team at our home the next night. A time for fun and lots teenage boy food and a time to forget the pressures of basketball. 

Then there have been geography bees and spelling bees (and another disappointed boy). Art projects. Fundraisers. Dances. Doctor appointments. Late night homework marathons. Mother and son monkey cake making for the cub scout banquet. Our own family celebration of Chinese New Year, made especially fun with the wonderful  package of goodies --noodles, cookies, crackers, candies, crispy dried octopus snacks, fermented quail eggs (!!!), etc.-- Jane thoughtfully sent home to us from Taiwan. 

For myself, my days are just right. Seeing my clients. Afternoons curled up with my books. Delving into my friend Dennis's recently published volume of a poetry he so generously gifted and shared with me. (So nourishing to my soul.)  Kitchen creating. Taking myself on outings to the bookstore or lunch. Welcoming what feels like a thaw and wishing with all my heart I could run or even go on a walk to experience being out there. But it's been no running, no yoga, no bearing unnecessary weight these days on my foot with this lingering, dull ache that has been progressively and persistently gotten worse over the span of four years. A combination of bone spurs and plantar fasciitis is a pain in more ways than one.

So that's about what it is for me. Welcoming the fun of Valentine's Day tomorrow. This day set aside to share love with my loves. Celebrate (likely postponed to the weekend) with an evening out on the town with Keith and strawberry crepes for Sunday dinner with the kids. 

Hope your weekend is filled with love, hugs, surprises, and smiles. And as always, thank you so much for stopping by. For sharing my world.