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musings from an old rocking chair, on my front porch.

Friday, January 30, 2004

life in the slow lane 

now that can really make you lose your mind. Not that our life is all that exciting to begin with, but when your one set of wheels is in the shop things really begin to slow down. Having only one car for the last three years has actually been more of a blessing, in my mind, than a hardship. Our family of five has to work together, particularly Jim and I, in order to manage work schedules and individual needs. One can't be selfish about where one wants/needs to go when there is only one car (I'm just loving that sentence).

The car won't be ready until sometime around the middle of next week so were stranded for a while yet. My mind always asks the question, "why?" Why has God decided that our one car should be denied us for so long? First there's the obvious, "maybe one of us was going to be in an accident." Then there could be the not so obvious and only learned once the experience is finished, "lesson." We've certainly had to depend on others in terms of getting around these last few days. People from church were very kind about giving us rides to church for Liturgy...and we'll have to ask again on Sunday as I'm filling in at coffee hour for Fr. and Kh.

And then there's my neighbor who offered to give us a ride to the library yesterday. After Wednesday's inside all day fun of building tents in the living room, picnic lunches on the living room floor, penny hunts, snickerdoodles, puppet shows, appendicitis scares and hanging out in our PJ's all day...yes I was ready to get out. The kids love the library and so away we went after the great car seat switcheroo which is always fun! You'd think modern technology would come up with an easy way install car seats...nope...

We ran into two ladies from church at the library for story time. It was nice to see other familiar faces. It was especially nice to look at something other than my own four walls. It seemed so short...even as tired as I was yesterday after being up most of the night, I would've gladly stayed longer. So yes, I've learned to ask others for help, accept it when offered and be grateful for small blessings.

I've learned to enjoy the extra time with my daughter who pretended to go the store yesterday to buy vitamins. She actually kissed me good bye and said, "sweet dreams" before going to the store. The store was the kitchen and the vitamins were imaginary...air vitamins...the best kind. I've learned to watch my son who is changing from "baby" to "boy" before my eyes...the baby fat disappearing from his face. He has a habit now of walking right to your feet...looking into your face from that position and saying, "Hewwoo!" It's his latest and most favorite word. I learned that my oldest son, still enjoys building tents and pancakes for dinner (he didn't eat them, his tummy hurt to badly, but I think it was the thought that counted) and puzzles on the floor. I think Mike just appreciates the time.

Then there is this from Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann in regards to the purpose of Great Lent:

...it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having in the words of Dostoevsky, touched "another world." and that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust. We understand then why the services had to be long and seemingly monotonous. We understand that it is simply impossible to pass from our normal state of mind made up almost entirely of fuss, rush, and care, into this new one without first "quieting down," without restoring in ourselves a measure of inner stability...to take us there slowly because our fallen nature has lost the ability to accede there naturally.

Ahh...perhaps this may be God's way of preparing us, new to the faith, for lent. Slowing us down at the outset so we are more prepared for the big slow down to come. It seems I'm supposed to be losing my mind. God's mercy passes all my understanding. May He have mercy on me, a sinner...

Blessings,
Laura

Thursday, January 29, 2004

30 Years ago... 

30 years ago today, the world stopped for a moment as an angel guarded the entrance into the world of my husband. I'm sure his mother could elaborate as to just how long that happy moment seemed and the many joys in that followed as she journeyed with him from baby to boy to man. Many lives has he touched in these 30 short years and prayerfully will he touch many more as he continues to live and grow, deepening his relationships with God and with those of us privileged to call him, "son," "brother," "Daddy," "husband," "friend."

Happy Birthday Honey...God grant you many years!

Not Appendicitis! 

After the testing was completed it was discovered that Mike does not have appendicitis. I feel badly that he had to go through some of the testing which was apparently fairly brutal. I also feel badly that I sort of put him through it needlessly; however, both doctors who examined Mike in the ER felt he had appendicitis. I suppose it's always better to be safe than sorry as the old adage goes.

Thank you for you thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated.

Please pray... 

for my oldest son Mike. This evening I noticed that he was having abdominal pain followed by 5 days of loss of appetite with occasional vomitting. For some odd reason, I thought "appendicitis." He is now in the ER and the doc thinks it is likely that Mike does have appendicitis. We are awaiting some tests...just keep him in your thoughts and prayers tonight if you happen to stop by and read this. Thank you...

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Winter Blues 

I have to say that I am thoroughly tired of winter at this point. We have just experienced three days of frigid temperatures and seen 6 inches of snow followed by ice and then another two inches of snow. Yes, our car is in the shop so we weren't going anywhere anyway. Cabin fever has most definitely set in.

I tried to take Ana and David out in the snow on Monday. Ana enjoyed it, even though it was very cold. David continually fell forward straight onto his face and spent most of the time crying, poor little guy. We were all able to walk together somewhat well in the street where brave motorists had packed down the snow a bit, but even that wasn't terribly exciting. Michael played outside for a bit on Monday as well, but soon tired of the less than 20 degree temperature. Ana just wanted to sit on the steps and eat the snow.

Yesterday, a fine freezing mist fell all day, so no one wanted to be out in that and momma wouldn't have let them out anyway. Then there was sleet and more snow. The sky is no longer falling here in Baltimore, but we are expecting gusting winds which will preclude us getting outside to play. All in all it's just been a glorious barrel of laughs. Jim had to go on a business trip today and was able to get out, so I will be here alone with all three kids until tomorrow evening.

Michael was throwing up again last night, so I don't know how he'll feel today. I felt badly for him. As I was putting him back in bed he told me his stomach had been "popping." I gave him some flat pepsi, told him to sip slowly and to take slow deep breaths until he falls asleep. Jim and I have been concerned about him due to a general malaise we thought might be depression...but perhaps he just has a touch of something. He's eaten very little since Friday, even things he likes such as fish sticks.

The one bright spot, besides the fact that my family is mostly healthy, is that I have begun reading a book called, Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, written by Alexander Schmemann. I think I'll end this entry with a quote from the book, which is much brighter and more hopeful than my words above!

Christian love is the "possible impossibility" to see Christ in another man, whoever he is, and whom God, in His eternal and mysterious plan, has decided to introduce into my life, be it only for a few moments, not as an occasion for a "good deed" or an exercise in philanthropy, but as the beginning of an eternal companionship in God Himself. For, indeed, what is love if not that mysterious power which transcends the accidental and the external in the "other"--his physical appearance, social rank, ethnic origin, intellectual capacity--and reaches the soul, the unique and uniquely personal "root" of a human being, truly the part of God in him? If God loves every man it is because He alone know the priceless and absolutely unique treasure, the "soul" or "person" He gave every man. Christian love then is the participation in that divine knowledge and the gift of that divine love. There is no "impersonal" love because love is the wonderful discovery of the "person" in "man," of the personal and unique in the common and general. It is the discovery in each man of that which is "lovable" in him, of that which is from God.


I just think that is absolutely incredible. May God give me, a humble sinner, the eyes, heart and soul, to love in that manner! I think I'm supposed to spend my lifetime learning how...hmm...something else to focus on other than being stuck in the house. Coincidence...I think not!

Blessings,
Laura

Monday, January 26, 2004

snoozing vespers 

Despite our lack of wheels, I managed to attend vespers on Saturday evening. Jim's parent's took us to church and Jim's sponsor offered to bring us home. It had been a very busy day, celebrating Jim's birthday with his family, and Ana was tired, but she still wished to attend church. I'm not sure she would've forgiven me had I said she couldn't come.

We arrived and after bringing in the food I had prepared for coffee hour the next day and detaching the car seat from Jim's car, we said our goodbyes to Grandmom and Pop Pop in the narthex. Ana grabbed her candle so we could say a prayer for Pop Pop and we entered the dimly lit church. I always feel as if the blood in my veins moves slower upon entering the nave for vespers. It's time to stop and remember the reason for the many blessings which have been bestowed on me.

Ana had her service book and her bulletin, which she is not able to read but always requests. For a while she was content to sit in the chairs which line the walls of the nave, but soon she wanted to be held. I picked her up and tried to follow along in the service book as best as possible. Soon; however, I had to sit down. I had been on my feet all day, first in cleaning the house before our company arrived and then after they had left, preparing the coffee hour refreshments. Holding Ana and standing in my tired state was too much. I sat and regarded the icon depicting the crucifixion of Jesus. It seeped into my soul.

Very soon, I noticed that Ana's little neck was no longer able to support her head. She had given way to the sandman and was sleeping in my arms. I spread my coat as best I could on the floor between two rows of chairs and then laid her down. Ana started for a moment and reached up for me, but her arms fell within seconds and she was fast asleep. I placed her little jacket over her and resumed standing for the rest of the service.

Ana snoozed for the entire service, surrounded by the warm glow of candles, the eyes of the beloved saints guarding her and the praying faithful in attendance. Ana had chosen the most safe and secure place she could to surrender to sleep. Here, the wings of angels sheltered her and carried her into dreamland...

As I participated in the service, my gaze shifted often to my sleeping daughter. A silent prayer of thanks emanated from heart..."thank you Lord for the blessing of my beautiful, healthy and at the moment, content little girl."

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Here and there.... 

When I opened the door to let our dog out this morning, I discovered three inches of snow on our pseudo deck. What's up with that...no one told me it was supposed to snow. It's also 18 degrees. I really hate winter!

Onward to other mildly amusing stuff...

When I was in grad school, one of my favorite bookstores had some sort of psychic fair. Myself and another friend went to see what it was all about being generally curious about such things. I paid $5 and let a lady read my palms. She didn't tell me much, except that she, "saw me in a courtroom fighting for the rights of children" and that I "was going to be very powerful."

HA!

If you know me, you know just how very funny that is. My heart rules me and I would never make it in a court room. Case in point. I was a real dumb bunny on another blog yesterday. I don't often comment on a multitude of blogs, largely because what I would say has already been said and redundancy is boring and I also don't want to sound like a dumb bunny. Parenting full time has most definitely stolen several of my brain cells after all. But...yesterday I was reading some comments and a woman mentioned that she was on a 1 1/2 year waiting list for public speech therapy. I replied and let her know that was against the law and elaborated with a few minor points.

It is against the law in the United States. Unfortunately, this woman lives in Canada. Of course this was stated right in her post which I likely skimmed over a little too quickly. I then let my heart take over, because I love children and all too often this crap does happen here in the US. I should've slowed down and let my head be a little more in control. I apologized and backed out. I think I'll go back to my "no commenting unless absolutely necessary and on blogs where people know I'm not a total dumb bunny rule."

Me in a courtroom defending children. That's a large stinking pile of baloney and cheese, isn't it?

(Speaking of dumb bunnies, there is a pretty funny series of children's books out there called, "The Dumb Bunnies." I used them with my kids all the time)

Having trouble with segue-ways this morning.

My daughter decided to spend most of Thursday night and Friday morning awake, as in Mommy and Daddy were not able to partake of much sleep. Ana wanted to come and lay on the couch as she sometimes does when she wakes up early while I'm writing. However, I didn't want this to become a habit at 3:30 in the morning.

Yesterday evening she was extremely tired and actually fell asleep while watching a video after her bath. I carried her up the stairs to her bedroom, but she in her half awake and also very determined to have the routine followed state said, "read the books!" I assured Ana I would read to her. I did, but she was asleep before I could even finish Silly Sally.

I watched her little face for a few moments. I am always amazed that I could play a part in creating something so beautiful...and terrified that I am responsible for shaping her into a productive adult. Those few precious moments without strife, where I can rejoice in being my daughter's mother are few and far between and never seem to last long enough.

My oldest son came over for his weekend visitation yesterday. Not without mishap...our van is now in the shop. Apparently it decided "nuetral" was it's favorite gear and refused to budge. We are without wheels at present...but it's snowing and I originally hail from the south so we weren't going anywhere anyway!

Back to Michael. I served homemade (well I cheat a little...you can make a decent cream sauce with cream of mushroom soup, milk and mayonnaise) macaroni and cheese. He's eaten it before, but yesterday it was yuckily gross and he refused to eat one bite of the stuff. He also had this elaborate explanation regarding the pizza he had consumed for lunch that was left over dinner from the night before so that technically he had eaten dinner. Michael should be the lawyer!

Our house rule is don't eat it if you don't want it, but no other food until breakfast. Obviously, Michael was hungry by about midnight and apparently came down to accost my husband for food as he was working at the computer. Michael was refused food. At 2:00 in the morning he came into our bedroom putting on a grand show...clutching his tummy and falling down at the foot of our bed, moaning and writhing. It was Oscar worthy I tell you...see...that kid could be a lawyer!

Jim got out of bed and picked him up and promptly took him back upstairs. Two minutes later, Jim came to me and said, "He's throwing up all over the place. What do I do?"

"He's throwing up all over the place?" I replied beginning to get out of bed.

"He threw up in the trash can and I sent him upstairs to finish in the toilet...what do I do?"

"Put him back in bed and make sure he's warm in case he's actually sick and not just worked up about this food thing."

I'm surprised we were so coherent at 2:00 in the morning. Michael was given a small snack and put into bed...haven't heard from him since. Look for him in the courtroom some day!

David is just David. He's a very dapper and polite almost 18 month old. He likes to help people in the house. When David hears Ana crying, he'll find her blankie and bring it to her. He brings me half-consumed cups of coffee and the like all day long. He also still likes to cuddle and quietly study the world. David is losing the "baby" look and starting to look more like a little boy. It's hard, but it's meet.

I'll be posting my journey into Orthodoxy here. It's really too long for a magazine article and too sort for a book. It's more like an oversized pamphlet. But, after working on it, like I have been I want it to be seen somewhere...so it'll go here. It's still very much in the rough draft stages.

Check out my blog rolling...there's a new link...by a not unfamiliar writer!

Had more I wanted to say...but this has grown long enough.

Blessings...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

the Eighties... 

There's a gaggle of people out in blog world writing about how they experienced the decade of the 80's for what appears to be a contest of sorts called, "Blogger Idol." I honestly have not been to the site which gives all the details of the contest, but I have enjoyed reading all the entries. They bring back many memories.

When the 80's began I was 8 going on 9 and when we all bid them farewell I was 17 going on 18. Needless, the majority of my adolescent angst, if I ever really had any, docile creature that I am, had that 80's subculture as it's backdrop. The 80's were just plain weird, from what I remember. I look back at those clothes, the izod shirts and pegged pants...the big earrings and shoulder pads in woman's clothing which would've suited most NFL linebackers quite well, and I shudder. There were also a lot of mowhawks in the 80's if I am recalling correctly....most notably that of Mr. T. There was just this odd dichotomy going on...the preps and the punkers somehow existing at the same time...it just doesn't make sense!

I discovered music in the 80's...and music videos. My first experience of music videos came when watching video shows on regular old TV. This was before MTV came to our house...it may have been in someone else's house...but it wasn't mine. This show, the name I don't recall, came on after school and showed 4 or 5 videos in half hour span. A plaited Boy George and Duran Duran jumping around all over a boat, and Michael Jackson when he still looked normal are the ones I remember with the most clarity.

I owned a copy of "Thriller." Who didn't...it was required for any warm blooded 12 year old. We all thought that picture of Michael on the inside in the white suit with the stuffed lion was so cute. Arghhh...if we only knew! I had it on cassette, but plenty of my friends still had RECORD PLAYERS...remember those?

I also attended Jr. High School...not Middle School...whatever!

Speaking of friends, we made friendship pins for each other and pinned them to our shoes. They were safety pins with beads on them. I also remember making these barettes with ribbons woven through them and giving them away as well...they were pretty.

I....became a woman in the 80's....guided with the help of "Margaret" in Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. Thank heavens for Judy Blume! I couldn't wait for the aforementioned "change" to take place...and honestly I could now do without it! Funny how experience colors our vision on certain...experiences.

I also read every single one of the Laura Ingall's books at least three times and also went through the entire Lucy Maud Montgomery collection (Anne of Green Gables). We lived in a salt march in Maine at the time I was really into these books and so I had the perfect place to act out the stories therein.

I had my first real experiences with death in the 80's. My grandmother died just before my 12th birthday from ovarian cancer. I still miss her. My grandaddy (her husband) came to live with us after we had moved back to Virginia. He lived with us for a couple of years, my mom hoping that being around us Grandkids would restore his will to live. It didn't. He gave up, stopped eating, and went on to heaven the day after my junior prom.

I had my first boyfriend in the 80's. How I longed for one! I was such a nerd. I dated the same guy for nearly 2 years. His name was John...he had moved to Danville, VA from Maine. Weird coincidence! People said he looked like Randy Travis. He was a nice boy. We broke up...by my hand...after I went to college. John had stayed behind to go the local community college. It was too weird. Our lives were growing in different directions. I wanted new experiences. I know I hurt him. I wish I hadn't. There's no getting around the fact that life just sucks wind sometimes!

Ms. Ruby Hovatter was my 11th grade history teacher. She was a tiny little woman who had shaved off her eyebrows to paint on new ones. I have no doubt that if Ms. Hovatter had been on the front lines in Germany, Hitler wouldn't have stood a chance. She was tough as nails, but she really loved American History and wanted us to love it as well. She showed us "Night and Fog" and for the first time I understood the horrors of WWII (come to Baltimore and we'll go to the holocaust museum in DC...for further understanding). Ms. Hovatter also liked to feed us juicy little tidbits like the fact that Benjamin Franklin died of VD (it was VD back then....not STD) in Paris...and that FDR had his mistress...not Eleanor at his side when he passed. She made us memorize all the presidents. the preamble to the constitution, all the capitols...on and on. I earned and "A" in her class. I know she didn't begrudge it...she was tough...but she cared. Thank you Ms. Hovatter!

I met my best friend, Emily, in the 80's. I still kind of consider her that even though we don't talk to each other any more. She lives in Danville and I here and we just lost touch. We still do the Christmas card thing. Well anyway...we became friends one day in a class...I think maybe it was Spanish. We realized neither of us had "best" friends...why shouldn't we be each others? Luckily we also had a lot in common...both readers...both expressive deep feelers. We clicked...I have a feeling we'd pick right up again over a cup of tea. Some friends are just like that...

I started my quest to understand who God was in my life in the 80's. There were short term mission trips to the Appalachian Mountains, youth group meetings and retreats, attempts at private devotions...I was trying hard, never quite feeling as if I lived up to who He wanted me to be. I finally understand that in the midst of the journey and the work...that happens...as long as I let Him work. Even when I abandoned Him, I turned around and there He was...right on my heel. Woo-hoo!

I became a freshman in college at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. The freshman class was huge and so I was one of the lucky ones picked to live in a hotel. Howard Johnson's housed, Shannon, Cara and myself. Cara was from NoVA (northern VA) and Shannon and I were both from small southern Virginia towns. Unfortunately, Cara was the odd girl out and Shan and I roomed with each other throughout our college career. Cara managed though, she made friends and moved on. We weren't cruel to her...it wasn't in either of our natures to be so. The three of us just didn't "click" as the two of us did. I just received a card from Shan...when I do my St. Patrick's day letter, I'll send her one. We've lost touch and it's a shame.

Well...this is growing long. I think I'll stop for now. I refer you to my ever favorite 80's movie (can't believe I didn't mention movies in there), "Sixteen Candles" for a good primer on the 80's. It's the best John Hughes 80's movies...says everything the overblown "Breakfast Club" did...only it was subtle and ridiculously funny. My poor husband has to watch it every time it comes on TV! Oh yeah...and "Dirty Dancing." I say it at least 20 times....and Jennifer Grey had my hair...anyway. That's all for now!

Will people talk about the 90's this way? How about the 00's? Hmm...

blessings,
Laura

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Retraction... 

I received a phone call from my father-in-law this morning. He said a retraction from my post regarding Michael was needed. He let me know that they had not fed Michael candy, rather he had eaten an apple and had some chocolate milk at their house. My dad then said that Michael had been given two small (snack size I would guess) candy bars before he left this house, which he apparently ate on the car ride home. So you see...they didn't feed him candy, they only gave him candy!

Marital Maalox Moments... 

...don't you just hate them! My father-in-law is fond of saying, "when you assume it makes an a** out of u and me." I'd be inclined to agree with him! Thank goodness those moments are few and far between for us. I think that's all I'll say on the subject.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Crash...boom...bam...and other stuff... 

The strength and resilience of my seven year old's body is an amazing sight to behold. We were blessed to have him with us for the day yesterday. He spent a little time at his Grandmom and Pop Pop Nee's house as well, not having seen them since Christmas. David and Ana stayed behind as Grandmom was sick and well, geeze...it's been almost 48 hours since anyone's been on an antibiotic around here and I'd like to see if we could make it an entire week!

At any rate, after dinner yesterday, which Michael didn't eat having partaken of much candy at Grandmom's (they can do that and we're not allowed to say anything). He and Ana began to play together. It's marvelous to see them playing as Michael used to complain about his little sister quite a bit. Mikey and Ana are like two peas in a pod...they are both more like their father than me. Pretty amazing that they are so much alike and have two entirely different maternal contributors to their genetic make up!

The play became very boisterous...Mikey is a boy after all! Soon, he was having Ana pretend to hit him and then falling down on the floor...or I should say throwing himself down on the floor. It's no wonder the child has had 3 broken bones since birth. The combination of not thinking before acting (a boy trait) and needing to exert heaps of physical energy (also a boy trait) led to a very loud ruckus at our house. I kept expecting more broken bones with every loud thud on the floor...but it didn't happen. God has created boys for this purpose...noise and ruckus...I'm convinced!

Did I stop them...no. They're kids and they're playing...that's what they do! Besides, if you'd heard Ana saying, "Kiggyback ride," over and over asking her brother for a ride, you'd have let it continue as well. It was precious! They weren't in the way of destroying any furniture. We don't have anything supremely nice in our house anyway. They know how to behave in public...let them be boisterous. They'll have enough time to be somber when adults...right?

My youngest just sort of stayed on the fringes and also hung out in my lap. He enjoyed watching them, but seemed a little hesitant to jump in the fray. I was like him as a child. I loved climbing trees and romping through the woods, but didn't understand why anyone would want to play tag. It could just be that he felt afraid with all the noise and banging and when he gets older he'll jump in the middle...or he may just be like his momma...we'll see...



In other news, I am working on several writing pieces which I may send out for publication. One of them is the account of my journey into the Holy Orthodox Faith. I originally thought it might make a nice article for some magazine somewhere...but it's growing a little long. I don't know what I'll do with it when it's finished...we'll see when it gets there!

I also have checked out several "Writer's Markets" books from the library and once I have fully perused them I will begin doing research to see where this stuff might fit. I'll have to leave the kids with Jim to do that! Research at the library and kids do not mix!

Oh yes...and it's frightfully cold here! The actual temperature is 22 degrees...but the wind chill makes it feel about 9 degrees. I keep hoping we'll win a month's vacation and be whisked away to some warmer climate for the month of February. I've never liked February...good thing it's a short month. I'm just so tired of winter by the time February comes. March is a changeling month...there will be those warm spring like days in March which will remind me that there is hope! But February is just dreary...

blessings...
Laura

Sunday, January 18, 2004

I'm Queen of the World! 

Yesterday, my daughter somehow decided she was "Queen of the World." Well, first she said, "I'm King of the World," which she often hears her older brother saying as he dangles from some high precipice where he's not supposed to be in the first place. I informed Ana that, "Queen of the World" would be more proper for a little lady such as she.

Today after church while coffee hour was in full swing, Ana decided she needed to go potty. I escorted her into the bathroom while David remained just outside the door. I asked our friend Rachel to make sure David didn't scoot up the stairs which are located adjacent to the bathrooms. I didn't expect this to be a long potty trip. However, I was mistaken as Ana had serious business to attend to.

I opened the bathroom door to check on David and Rachel. David happened to be standing just outside the door and cracked the biggest smile when he saw me. Rachel was just behind him, with a rather uncertain look on her face. Ana made eye contact with Rachel and extending her hand in invitation very regally intoned to her, "Come in..."

The Queen had found her throne!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

magic carpets... 

I have grown to love thrift shops. There is one just 5 minutes from my house. We have donated an inordinate amount of stuff to them over the last few months and during that time I have also become a customer. I never had a problem with the idea of owning second hand stuff. However, my husband always seemed a bit off put by this! He is a lover of fine things. When describing our personalities in a nut shell, I say, "He's Taj Mahal...I'm little cabin in the woods." Since reading At The Corner of East and Now by Kh. Frederica, his view has changed a bit. In it, she devotes an entire chapter to thrift shops.

One of the reasons I enjoy thrift shops is the joy in looking at other people's stuff and wondering, "Why?" Why do people buy/make such stuff and why do they then donate it. I understand the clothes that end up here. One is given or buys clothes that don't fit and then gives them away when they never manage to become wearable. That makes sense to me as I've been there. It's the mugs with the name, "Cassandra" on them I don't understand. Why would you donate a mug with your name on it? It's almost as if you're giving a piece of yourself away.

Then there are the well worn kitchen items...the cast iron ones being my favorite. One of my first thrift store purchases was a cast iron skillet so I had an appropriate vessel for baking corn bread. It just isn't the same any other way. I also own a larger cast iron skillet which was my grandmother's. When she died, I asked it to be passed to me so that I could bake cakes with it and tell her story to my children. Her memory will last as long as I continue to tell those stories.

So, I putter through the tea pots and table cloths and wonder about the hands which once held them. My imagination unbound, I make up stories about he lives that once utilize these objects. A young widow may have made tea in this pot after she learned of her husband's death in battle...hoping to soothe her nerves. Someone's grandmother prepared jello in this mold for Thanksgiving dinner. Someone's uncle drank coffee from this mustache mug, and then leaned down to tickle his niece with a mustache kiss. It's how my mind works...I'm seldom bored.

The other day, I stopped by this same thrift store to have a look around. I hadn't been in a while and was itching for an adventure, if only in my mind. I found a suede leather jacket for $20! Woo-Hoo...but I didn't think it would be mine. An older woman told me of a bathroom in the back of the store when Ana began to loudly declare her need to pee-pee. I despaired that we would have to go home as I thought there wasn't a rest room. But there was, and so my adventure would continue! I was thrilled!

The bathroom is located in the back of the store near the furniture department. There was a little alcove back there I had never before explored...I never knew it existed. When we finished our pit stop, I decided to see what treasures it held. Rugs! Oriental ones! And one that would look nice in my living room. It had quite a bit of navy in it and some rust and beige. I imagined it on my well worn wooden floors we haven't been able to afford to refinish. "Perfect," I thought, "and pre-worn!" It was only $25. If the kids were to spill something on it...it wouldn't matter so much. I quickly went home and told Jim all about it. I was granted leave to buy the carpet...and the leather jacket...Hee Hee.

I returned home with my treasure. As soon as it was on the floor, Ana removed her shoes and walked all over it. "It looks like a magic carpet, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," was her reply.

And so it is...once vacuumed it looks in even better shape than I originally thought. Only gently worn. It finishes off the room so to speak. The kids have a soft place to play and their wooden blocks don't sound like the house is falling down when they knock over their towers...or beanstalks as Ana calls them being lately obsessed with Jack tales.

For us...it is a bit of magic thrown into a life where not many fine physical things enter. A piece of beauty we share with it's original owners. I imagine telling stories while sitting on the carpet. And who knows...maybe some day I'll wear a track through it walking a grand child to sleep. It's possibilities are endless....

Blessings,
Laura

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Coffee pots and consciousness streams... 

I have so many jumbled thoughts running to and fro in my brain right now! I stared at the blank screen for a full five minutes...started a few entries, deleted them and then decided to simply start writing and let the stream of consciousness flow! I have within in me a deep need to improve upon my writing and it sometimes stumps me. I was also waiting for the coffee pot to finish brewing.

We recently purchased a new coffee maker. I think it's officially called a coffee urn. It's one of those huge industrial types of things and makes up to 64 cups of coffee. This was my husband's idea as he drinks coffee all day long and we had pretty much burned out the old "Mr. Coffee" with his habit! I make 24 cups of coffee every morning for us and most of it is consumed. However, there is usually enough left over in the urn in the morning for me to heat up my first cup in the microwave before the fresh coffee is percolated. Not this morning however, as I didn't make a complete urn yesterday since my husband had to go into Virginia for work. There was no first cup for me. I had to wait for the light to turn on telling me the coffee was ready.

So much of life is like that isn't it? Waiting for the light to come on...waiting until we are ready. For what? If God had waited to turn my heart towards Him until I had a complete understanding His truth, I'd still be waiting. What blessings would I have missed out on along the way...the correction resulting from my sins leading to personal growth. Who knows who I might be...Thank God he is the light and I don't have to want...or I shall not want. It is a test of wills every day isn't it?

Yet, so often we force ourselves to wait...wait until we are "ready" so to speak. Over the last few days I have felt something pushing me into something I'm sure I'm not "ready" for. Some unseen wind is attempting to push me into a frightening direction...one likely full of rejection. I wasn't going to write about this, but here it comes! I've decided to put the rubber on the road and send out some writing pieces I've been working on to magazines in the hopes of having them published in print.

Why? I don't know for sure honestly. I like to encourage people and I like to tell stories. Every now I get an email from someone telling me I have done just that. That's been more than enough encouragement to keep me working here without a serious thought of going "public" in any sort of "big" way. I don't even know what kind of impact I could have or if I'm supposed to.

From my earliest recollection, though, I've wanted to be a writer. I can remember scribbling stories down in class when I was supposed to be working on math problems. I was 10 or 11 and asked the fateful question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" My answer was, "an author or a nurse." So there you go. It's been there for a long time! It could very well be that once the rubber meets the road, I'll find that the tread isn't deep enough to safely support the vehicle. As heartbreaking as it may turn out to be, it's not an altogether "bad" thing. I'll have an answer one way or the other.

I'm certainly far from the picture of "professional" writer. My graduate degree is in Speech-Language Pathology. I hated writing those reports for work! I wanted to talk about how the student looked when he arrived and what he/she had said to me and my impressions of their person. I was certainly capable of looking at a series of objective facts and drawing a conclusion. It just wasn't so very "fun" in a sense. The evaluations were performed and the reports written so I could work with the student. But so often, I found my lessons interspersed with little nuggets of me attempting to draw the best out of my students...stories from my life sprinkled amongst the vocabulary and proper phonetic placements.

I remember one of my last "first sessions" with a certain teenaged girl with blue hair and an attitude. We didn't "do speech" that day, she told me about her life. I told her about mine. We learned from each other...which is what I like so much about the blog world and perhaps why I feel compelled to push it forward and to expand it's horizons. I've met so many wonderful people here...I want to meet more. Share my stories and life lessons and hear others.

My time is limited with my two young children. Even now, my daughter is on the couch during, "my writing time" asking me for cheerios. This process of polishing up writing pieces will take time. It's not to happen over night. But it's also time to quit drinking the dregs from the bottom of the pot. It's time to allow fresh brew to percolate and see how it tastes. The light has turned on...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

This seems the popular thing to do right now! 



What Famous Leader Are You?




How could I ever live up to that example!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Cool Stuff... 

I went to church on Sunday with my family, even though I didn't yet feel quite up to snuff and sat for most of the service, as opposed to standing. It felt a little strange to not stand as I had grown used to this practice. A few months ago it felt strange to stand! I have also discovered that the "original hand sewn clogs" by Land's End are the most comfortable shoes known to man. They were on sale before Christmas for $14.50 a pair. It's hard to believe that for this price they contain orthotics, which my tired feet greatly appreciate! If I could, I'd buy a pair in every color...they are most wonderful for long periods of standing!

Back to church...Ana sat next to me during church and Michael on the other side of her. Mikey decided that the middle of the liturgy was a good time to begin teaching Ana, "The Lord's Prayer." He opened the prayer book and started having Ana repeat the prayer after him.

"Mikey, I really appreciate that you want to help your sister learn, but this really isn't the time." He closed the book and turned back around in his seat. I had to wonder if I'd done the "right" thing...

The service continued through all of the prayers and the "Lord have Mercies." I realized at one point that Ana was attempting to sing "Lord have Mercy." I smiled and gave her a thumbs up...she returned her zealous grin. I'm really joyous that she feels so comfortable and even wants to try and participate in the service. I don't know if thats "normal" behavior for a two year old or not. All parents think their children are special....

Ana even stayed in the service for it's entirety, save one potty break and a trip to ring the bell with her new friend Rachel. Rachel is probably 9 or 10 and at the age where she enjoys playing, "Mother" with Ana. I can understand her attraction to my daughter as she looks quite a bit like a doll with her still chubby cheeks, dirty blonde curls and big blue eyes. Ana loves Rachel and didn't like it when I removed her from Rachel's arms in order to be prayed for as a catechumen at the front of the church. We do have to be a bit careful as Rachel seems to almost want to take our place with Ana and whisked her downstairs after the service to get her lunch. She is a sweet girl and I know her intentions are good...but boundaries are also very important!

During lunch, Ana looked up at me and said, "It's fun singing during church."

"I'm glad you like it honey," I replied.

We left lunch sooner than normal as an adult education series was starting and we knew we'd be pressing our luck if we expected the kids to remain quiet through a 20 minute presentation. Both of the younger children had behaved beautifully in church and even Michael seemed to have an easier time. So, homeward bound, I was sad to leave and not have as much time to fellowship but was also looking forward to collapsing on the couch.

I changed Ana's clothes...from church dress into play dress. The girl loves to wear dresses! We cuddled together on the couch and watched Monsters Inc.. I nuzzled into her hair and breathed deeply and said, "You know what Ana? You smell like Church!" The incense and sweet smell of the beeswax candles lingered in her hair.

"How incredibly cool," I thought. I only hope that as I grow more into the Orthodox Church, that the sweet aroma of Christ somehow permeates my life and even overpowers this lingering "church smell..." I don't want to keep Him a secret...

Blessings...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Pride and Prejudice 

Since I've been feeling so yucky I've been doing a lot of laying around and being as lazy as is possible with two young children! Earlier in the week I stopped by our local library to pick up some DVD's for the children to watch and a couple for myself as well. I usually stick to the "old movies" starring Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Bette Davis and the like. This time however, one of my selections included the A&E adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Being a voracious reader I have read the book and enjoyed it immensely, and I was curious to see how it came to life on film.

It was a really lovely movie. Of course, I had to rewind and replay several different speeches not being able to hear them due to the never ending and exuberant energy of my children. Nevertheless, I made it through all six hours! One of the aspects of the movie which really stood out for me was the habit in "those days" of bowing when greeting others. It was rarely a full genuflection, but a simple bow of the head for gentleman and a slight curtsy for the ladies.

I suppose I took more notice of this since our most recent path has had us strolling into the ancient world of Orthodoxy where bowing is a common occurrence. We bow to the icons to show respect to the saints who have lived well before us and who have given us an example of what it means to be infused with the Holy Spirit on the road to Theosis. There is also quite a bit of kissing in Orthodoxy...of icons and each other...again the love for Christ spilling over into physical action somehow seals the deal...

There is also a part of me that recognizes the social conventions of that time, although appearing somewhat affected and stand-offish, did lend a sense of structure and ritual to human interaction. One always knew what to do in most situations and how to greet others. There is a safety in such structure and ritual we have lost in present times along with a general respect for our fellow man. The language is beautiful. When one has been disesteemed in the terms prescribed in Pride and Prejudice without use of coarse language, one has been truly and artfully disesteemed! It's brilliant...

But back to the bowing as it relates to Orthodoxy. I can recall reading somewhere, I believe in one of Kh. Frederica's books that we, as human beings, are the original icons as being created in God's image we reflect His image. This idea has stayed with me since I first read of it. Phenomenal when you think of it...for if one were to truly practice this idea in thought, word and action, one would be truly artless...without pride or prejudice in one's dealings with fellow human beings. Bowing to another wouldn't seem affected, it would seem a sign of humility for what it could mean...a recognition of the image of God in a fellow human and bowing to show respect to that image.

I really like the idea of recognizing and acknowledging the image of God in others. It seems to me, that once this practice is in place, it would be ever so much easier to truly, "love our neighbor as ourself." It follows the rule of action, even when one doesn't feel a particular way towards someone, one acts as if they do and eventually the feeling will follow the action. Let's be truthful...I don't always feel so loving towards my family, but I don't kick them out in the cold when I feel that way. I continue to shelter them and care for them as if I do...the feelings do come back. I am learning, even as an immensely emotional person, that emotion should not be the beginning and end of my dealings with others. It's a hard lesson to learn.

And I wonder, I truly do, what the world would be like if we all paused for a moment in our busy lives to consider the image of God in others; to step back into the ritual of acknowledging our Creator's role in ourselves and each other. Being the eternal optimist, I would venture to think it would be a much different place, maybe not quite so cold and as it sometimes seems. Maybe the emphasis in our lives wouldn't be, as is so often the case now, to look out for number one. Perhaps there would be no need for a welfare system. Foster children might become a thing of the past...

That's just me going on and on to infinity with the possibilities...I know it's a little out of hand. But don't be surprised if upon meeting me, I pause for a second to bow my head in recognition of Christ's image in you...

Blessings,
Laura

Saturday, January 10, 2004

6 degrees... 

It's 6 degrees here. Someone from the southlands (preferably coastal) please adopt our little family and take us away from this ridiculousness!

Family Support... 

in time of sickness is so precious. Here I am trying to look on the bright side thinking I have this sexy, low raspy voice. My husband says, "you sound like you've been smoking for 30 years....it's like nails on a chalk board." My oldest son arrived for the weekend and informed me that "you sound like a guy." I mean really, what's next. Are they going to throw stuff at me as I recline on the couch?

I'm only kidding...they did say that stuff, but I know they love me. My husband helped me out by preparing dinner last night, although, the dishes are still in the sink...

More later when I'm feeling better.

Blessings,
Laura

Friday, January 09, 2004

On a somewhat brighter note... 

I've noticed since talking with my children this morning that I kind of sound like Kathleen Turner...see...there is a bright side to everything...

...call me Polyanna.

Laura

I don't know where this will end up... 

...or if any of it will make sense once I get there...

I am sick again. My daughter has tonsilitis and I have succumbed to some sort of throat something. My throat is fairly raw and I just have that all over sick feeling...you know brain spinning in your head, exhaustion plus achiness. Oh so much fun!

A million ideas have spun around in my head to write... but I can't seem to corral them. Perhaps I shouldn't even attempt to write, but I fear losing them. They are like children somehow...these ideas and I like to see them come to fruition. Ana is always a topic. My irrepressible daughter! She has learned to fear the unknown. I wrote earlier that she has developed a fear of monsters.

Since she has been sick I developed the bad habit of accompanying her to the bathroom upstairs, most often actually carrying her and placing her on the toilet...bad idea! Only in retrospect though. Yesterday, as I was feeling poorly, the thought of climbing the steps 1001 times so that Ana could pee was really just too much for me. I put my foot down. "No, mommy come upstairs," was her constant response. Somehow, I managed the intestinal fortitude to stick to my guns so to speak. Eventually, she would go upstairs, crying...I turned on the hall light in hopes of chasing away the monsters...and Ana learned she could defeat them. As the day wore on, the battle became less emotionally charged and Ana even stayed upstairs on her own for a while...playing with two little stuffed dogs that she put down for a nap.

It's difficult for me because I understand where she is coming from. From a young age I've always had some sort of weird awareness that a world exists beyond the material one which is ever present before us. I recall seeing shadowy figures in doorways and even once as a child of 6 or 7 seeing someone sitting in the easy chair which sat at the foot of the bed I slept in at my MeMa's house. I sensed the figure was male and he turned to look at me as I lay in the bed...as if "he" sensed that I was looking at him. I am told that my PePa, who died before I had a conscious recollection of him, was the only person patient enough to calm my incessant crying as an infant. He would walk and walk and walk with me. It does cause one to wonder and I've never been sure what to make of that experience.

On another spooky but also somewhat unrelated note, my MeMa prepared my PePa's favorite pie just before she had the stroke in her garden which ultimately led to her death. She had not baked such a pie since he died in the mid 1970's. After she passed, but before I knew it...I was out walking early in the morning through Boone, NC. It was a windless morning, yet I heard windchimes. MeMa always had multitudes of windchimes in her garden...my spirit was at piece upon hearing the quiet, gentle tones, so much like her quiet gentle spirit. I knew she was OK and where she needed to be.

All of this to say, I wonder if Ana has inherited this same sensitivity toward a world which exists beyond our own...if such a thing even exists. If when she speaks of seeing monsters if she really does indeed see something...And somehow I hope in my desire to teach her to realize that she does not have to fear this world...that indeed she has power over it through the Holy Spirit...that it begins by learning that she can go potty all by herself. I think that may only make sense in my brain! Every time Ana successfully did the potty thing by herself we did the "high five" thing. She's learning at a beginner level to conquer fears...that in itself can't be a bad thing!

I think I'm finished for now! Except to say thank you to someone named Irene who has me linked on her blog as a "storyteller." You don't know what that means to me! So if you drop by...thank you!

blessings,
Laura

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

China Tea Cups 

I am a lifelong tea drinker. I started out like most southerners do, drinking a glass of sweetened iced tea at dinner time...cold weather non-withstanding. Ice tea we always called it...somehow the past tense "-ed" morpheme was left out in the pronunciation. I remember traveling to Canada for a high school band competition and asking for "ice tea" with my meal. The waiter's response, "It's out of season." I was flabbergasted!

Somewhere in my pre-teen years I discovered "hot tea." I believe we called it "hot tea" to distinguish it from "ice tea." At any rate, I can remember an English co-worker of my father's wife offering us "hot tea" after dinner at her house one evening. It was some sort of apple cinnamon concoction and was made with lots of sugar and so was very sweet. I can remember that when I rounded my lips and sucked in my breath, I could still taste the tea on my tongue long after I had drunk it (drank--grammar queens help me out here).

I started at that time trying to mix my own hot tea concoctions starting with lipton iced tea bags and adding ginger, cinnamon and other spices to the tea...trying to create something exotic. I would bring the potions to my mother and ask her opinion. "Too much ginger," she might say and I'd be off to try again.

I continued my tea drinking habits through college. I discovered the wonders of "Earl Grey" (my all time favorite), "Constant Comment," "Lemon Lift," and any number of "Celestial Seasonings" brews. On my honeymoon to Williamsburg, VA, I discovered, "Lapsung Sachong" which smelled and tasted like a campfire to me. I have not found it's equal since my honeymoon. I drank chammomile and peppermint tea when I was pregnant and trying to calm a restless tummy. If I was out of fancy tea, plain old lipton would do for me with lots of sugar and milk. Tea tastes like a deep breath to me.

After I married, my brother in law, Jae, started gifting me with tea pots as he worked at "Gloria Jean's Coffee Company" and could get a discount on them. I have teapots shaped like roosters, cats. Several have met their demise including a duck shaped one...kids and teapots do not mix. He also has given me several tea sets. The first was a beautiful white, blue and yellow pattern which I loved...the cat knocked that one over. The second was a complete set with cups and tea plates with a pink and blue pattern...The teapot itself was knocked over by one of my kids and sits in pieces in our cabinet with me hoping it can be fixed...likely not. I had never even made tea in it. But the cups and saucers remain...

Normally, I drink tea from whatever coffee cup started out the morning. One morning I thought to myself, "It's a shame I never use those pretty tea cups and saucers." The thought went in and out and that was nearly the end of it...

The other evening we went to our church's Theophany service. Water is blessed for the purpose of blessing other stuff...That's kind of it in a nutshell although the theological meaning is much deeper than that. For some odd reason I thought of my aging parents and wondered what it was like to be in one's 50's...and thinking about how many years one has left...etc, etc. I don't know why this crossed my mind during that church service, but it did. And then I thought, how stupid...I could walk out of this church and be smashed by a car...just how many years do I think I have left...my life is not my own afer all. I managed to concentrate on the rest of the service...it was just a fleeting thought.

I installed our little jar of holy water next to my tea chest in a corner of my kitchen. I have a China Angel made in the Lenox factory my dad managed next to the chest. Yesterday evening, I washed out two of the china tea cups and saucers and the matching sugar bowl and placed them on top of the chest along with the "good sugar spoon" from our best flatware set. Life's too short not to enjoy good tea from a nice china cup after a long day. It had been a long day with a sick Ana...so chammomile was the order of the evening. I can't say the tea tasted any sweeter out of the china cup...but it did make the experience much more...I guess deeper is the word.

Life is short...go find your china tea cup!
Blessings,
Laura

I'm not a poet... 

...but I did write this while in the "Doc in the Box" waiting room the other day. I'll share it with you all...but remember...I'm not a poet...

The Stars Danced
On heavenly boards
Swirling, twirling
In an unknown rhythm

Undulating, motivating
All who chanced
To witness their glowing
Partakers of harmonies
guiding the steps
we all danced together

Stars collided
The heat too much
Glinting fragments left behind
to tell the tale

Old rhythms abandoned
New steps to learn
The union brief and dazzling
It's demise
bittersweet


Unbelievable...my spell check tells me I spelled "rhythm" correctly on the first try! Maybe I'm not getting stupider with age!

Have a day filled with blessings!
Laura

Monday, January 05, 2004

Delicious Ambiguity 

One of my New Year's Resolutions...you know what. I just thought I don't want to call them that anymore. How about, "things I'd like to work on in '04?" Resolution just sounds way to official and permanent to me!

Do Over...

One of the things I'd like to work on in '04 is to read more actual books. In order to do so, I've had to cut out some of my afternoon computer time. I'm not sure that's altogether bad! I started this particular "thing" last week as I really do enjoy reading quite a bit. I've been reading St. Seraphim of Sarov A Spiritual Biography which was a Christmas present from some new friends of ours. St. Seraphim was an amazing man! He fed wild bears from his hand...they did his bidding. The Theotokos actually said to St. Seraphim in several visions, "He's our kind." Meaning, a heavenly being, not one of this earth. He prayed for 1,000 days, and healed people with lamp oil. Lamp Oil? That's right, Lamp oil. He ruffled some feathers with that one...but St. Seraphim did what he could with what he had...kind of like life. There are many amazing stories in the book and I'm somewhere near halfway finished with reading it.

It's a bit humbling to read this particular biography as I am so faraway from being anywhere close to this man's level of spirituality. I stumble up the stairs every morning to say my morning prayers and almost as soon as I start...my mind begins to wander...to what needs to be accomplished...does Ana still have a fever...what will I make for dinner...why do my feet hurt so badly in the morning. I try to concentrate and not let it get me down when I can't. Something about "not giving the devil a foot hold." I'll keep trying, resolving to do better. But if I let guilt paralyze me and discourage me from moving forward...who will have won that battle? I actually wonder if I should even be saying all the prayers...maybe just a few so that I can concentrate on concentrating....

I also decided to pick up Gilda Radner's autobiography, It's Always Something, last week at the library. I've quoted the book several times in my journal but have never actually read the book. I kind of felt there was something " wrong" with that. So, I picked up the book at the library. It was hard to read, because we all know the ending. Gilda dies. I was sniveling reading parts of it because she was so positive and so focused and convinced she might beat the disease...and I know that in the end...she didn't.

But, in the end of the book, she reveals that she understands that she must fight in the midst of not knowing if she would triumph over cancer. Her nurse, Joanne, called this "delicious ambiguity." Doesn't that sound simply scrumptious? One of the last lines before she tells that dog story I've shared so many times:
Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Like my life, this book has ambiguity. Like my life, this book is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

I was really impressed with that whole concept of "delicious ambiguity." It's hard to live when you can't look at your life as neat little packages tied up with bows ready to opened when we say they should be. But, why would we need anyone else if life were simply a neat row of boxes...why would we need God? Why would I pray? Why would I call my girlfriends on the phone? Why would I need my mother, my father, brothers, sisters, children?

I'd have it all figured it out. It would be boring. Not knowing the answers is the answer. Not knowing leads to finding out...who I am and what my relationships with God and other people are supposed to be like. When I can walk in ambiguity, accepting it's discomforts and terrors, then I think I will be able to pray without my mind wandering. Because it won't matter why my feet hurt, if my kids are sick, what needs to be accomplished. I'll just take it as it comes...and pray as I go along...

Blessings!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

A little of this, a little of that 

Yesterday was a nutty day. It really, truly was! I took Ana to the "Doc in the Box" to see if we could figure out what might be causing her fever. She had no outward symptoms...other than her foot having a fever. I called the local "Immediate Care" center to ensure that the doc on call would be comfortable seeing and/or treating her if necessary. The answer I was given was "yes."

So, I pack her up with some books and off we go to sit and wait for the usual 2 hours. I was able to talk with some young kids in the waiting room. When I say "young" I must be getting old because they were in their early 20's! One young woman was pregnant...three months. When I figured this out by eavesdropping on the conversation, I congratulated her. She looked surprised, almost frightened at my reaction. I imagine it was because she obviously wasn't married. While I do not necessarily promote the idea of having children out of wedlock without good means of supporting them, I was glad that she was excited about the pregnancy and had chosen to continue it...and now she and her boyfriend are in my poor prayers.

They were all there for the pregnant woman's boyfriend who apparently had some sort of infection in his thumb. There were four of them, three girls and he. One of the girls was the younger sister of the pregnant woman. I shared some of my "early mommy" experiences and hoped they had an impact. It appears this baby will have a non-traditional family...but it does appear that these four were connected with each other and there to support each other. If there is a plus to the situation...that was it. The boy watched me with my daughter and started to get a somewhat stunned look on his face. Perhaps reality was sinking in. He did take a very tender approach with her as I was reading to her. Again, a cause for hope. I suppose that's why I was placed in that waiting room at that moment...in those seats...

Because when we finally were able to see the doctor after two hours in the waiting room and another 30 minutes in the exam room...her first words to me were, "I specialize in internal medicine and am not comfortable treating pediatric patients."

"But I called first for that very reason," I replied.

"I know, I know..." And after a long CYA speech about how she wasn't comfortable, etc, etc, etc, she finally checked Ana's ears, nose and throat, listened to her heart and lungs and could find nothing wrong with my little girl. I was mainly concerned with the possibility of an ear infection and that was ruled out. The doc said that it was probably a "sub-clinical" infection...which I gather means that she is fighting some sort of virus and no other symptoms are showing up as yet. The doctor said they could start to show up over the next couple of days. Perhaps that Vitamin C and echinacea I'm giving her every day is working. At any rate, if the fever continues we'll be calling our regular pediatrician on Monday. I still wonder about the possibility of a UTI. Until I know what it is, I have named it the "cranky flu" as when Ana's fever starts to rise when the motrin wears off she becomes incredibly whiny and fussy. Who can blame her though. 102 degree fevers are no fun!

I then went grocery shopping all by myself. When I arrived home I realized I was scatterbrained personified. I had checked off my list and even added in both lunch meat and cereal to the running total I keep in a calculator as I'm shopping, but neither made it home with me. I bought two packs of cheese instead of the lunch meat. The cereal thing somehow came to me around 4:00 AM as I was tending to Ana. Why can't my brain work when it's supposed to?! My realization didn't do me much good at 4:00 AM!

So, we had fish sticks for dinner...and then Jim went off to Vespers. I tried for 5 minutes to catch up on some blog reading on the computer and gave up as the kids really wanted my attention. So, it was on the floor for me with the wooden blocks and stacking cups. I had turned the music on the computer so we could have some nice background music. We were all laying on the couch when mine and David's song came up..."Close to You" by the Carpenters. I know, I know, gag. But if you'd ever seen my son, you'd understand. So, I warbled a heartfelt version along with Karen (I should have kept my mouth shut!). David was hysterical. I was laying on my back and he was sitting up near my head on my chest and he kept pretending to hit himself on the head and saying, "ow, ow, ow" because it elicited laughs from Ana and I. Earlier in the day he had been doing his version of pratt falls...only he fell forward onto the couch on his face causing eruptions of giggles from both Ana and I. My son...the future stand up comic.

Of course, I then had to seek out Ana's song..."Love is Here to Stay" by good old Frankie S. I sang this one with him too...and again I should've stayed silent. Luckily my kids don't know I can't sing yet! Bathtime, bedtime, assurances to Ana that there is no such thing as the Hulk...daily debriefing time with Jim and then I watched a movie, "Tootsie" with Dustin Hoffman. I checked it out from the library for sentimental reasons.

Tootsie was the first movie I saw at a Drive in theater with my parents. I believe we lived in Maine at the time. Knowing my mother, she likely hunted down the movie theater so we could have an experience like she had growing up. I don't remember much about that first showing of "Tootsie" but I really enjoyed last nights re-experience. I'm old enough now to get the jokes. It's actually a fairly masterful movie...

It also reminded me that I used to enjoy acting. I wasn't an uber actor in High School or anything, but I was in several plays, I played Miss Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace" and was an angel in "Anything Goes" (my singing voice isn't as bad as I let on. I probably sing better than Britney Spears before her voice has been squeezed through all the enhancing equipment). Unfortunately, failing chemistry grades and a scorching case of mono prevented me from seeing the angel role through to the end. I had some other smaller parts in summer time productions when I was younger. I don't honestly remember them all.

But I've always been a ham...I like performing. In college, I took a folk dance class and in our semester end presentation ended up getting the part of the moon or the sun or something in one of the dances. I don't remember...and I'm not a good dancer. The teacher picked me because of my expressiveness...go figure. So I watched the movie and thought, "Maybe some day I could get into community theater." I don't want to be famous, I have no desire to be. But it would be fun to try a play or two once the kids are older...who knows. I think I'd be a good character actress...well maybe. What do I know!?

So, it was a nutty day and this was supposed to a short entry. Jim and I become catechumens today in the Orthodox Church. I am excited, but not overly so. It feels like the natural thing to do...so off we go!

Blessings to you this day!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Welcome! 

Welcome to my new porch! My very handsome, endearing and capable webmaster has performed well in creating the new site. I hope you enjoy the new layout and the new home.

I had hoped to write a "longer" entry today, but alas, I slept in. My daughter is ill, her only symptom a fever that hovers around 102 degrees when the motrin wears off. It's been hanging on for about three days now so I will likely take her to the "doc in the box" today to ensure nothing else is going on such as an infection somewhere. Ana banana had me running up and down the stairs quite a bit last night from around 1:00 to 2:30 AM. Hence the reason I slept in and pretty much cut out my morning writing time.

But I had to share this one little tid-bit with you which she spoke yesterday. I've been taking her temperature off and on to see where her fever is and often saying to her, "Let mommy check and see if you have a fever." I use one of those ear thermometers, which I know aren't supposed to be 100% accurate, but, if you've ever met my daughter you'd understand why. Nothing is going up her little behind for the length of time it would take to get an accurate temperature and I also don't trust the under the arm method as yet...again the length of time and the wiggles would prevent an accurate temperature reading. The "3 seconds in the ear" method is likely the most accurate reading I'm going to get!

So, yesterday afternoon she was complaining about a boo boo on her foot and then declared, "My foot has a fever." I thought it was pretty funny....but maybe you just had to be there!

Blessings,
Laura

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