My Birthday Gifts

For me, today is the beginning of the new year. My own private new year’s day. This year feels different. Special.

Here I am with my 3 treasured gifts . . .
Sorry, I’ve been out of touch for a little while. I had some things to do. Truth be told, I’m just really behind. I’m only now slowly unwinding my withered, nerve-wracked, quivering body from the fetal position and beginning the process of recovering from all the holiday preparations and implementations: cooking, eating, madness, eating, stress, craziness, eating, mass confusion, and oh yeah more eating. But I’m back now. Kinda. I think. And I have a few new ventures brewing. Nothing earth-shaking, just typical resolution stuff, diet, exercise, books to read, stuff to write, 500 pounds to lose, etc.

I’ll keep you posted.

Back to my day. It is still young, but it’s off to an incredible start. So far my parents called to sing to me first thing this morning, as they do every year. This never fails to send me directly to a beautiful crib memory (real or imagined) of gazing upward into the adoring faces of a hopeful young couple thrilled with their first baby. My husband voluntarily accompanied me to church (thank you, honey). I’ve received some wonderful, generous, thoughtful presents. And my in-laws had us all over for brunch this morning.

My birthday brunch:

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Today is Oprah’s birthday too, I think.

I’m much younger.

This just might be the best birthday yet! Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear . . .


A Tree Ballet

I took these photos with my iPhone camera this past Friday late morning in my neighborhood park.  I was supposed to be exercising, but I stopped for a closer look.

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As I look back at these pictures, the trees in their early winter state remind me of ballerinas arching, lifting, twirling, pointing, stretching. The dance is formal and majestic. The dancers’ movements, torsos and limbs, are powerful, controlled, yet graceful. You can’t see all that when they’re wearing their leaves.

Look, there are a couple of large birds mixed in with the mistletoe in that treetop.  I wasn’t sure . . . are those crows? I wish I could see the performance from up there.


Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even Our Little Mouse

Our little girl was in a school Christmas play called, “Silent Mice, Holy Mice.”

Guess what she played.
Parents of the cast members were responsible for coming up with their child’s costume.

I’ve never learned to sew, despite the classes my mother sent me to at the Singer sewing machine store when I was eleven.


But, I am getting pretty handy with the hot-glue gun. Wow. That’s something I never thought I’d say.

Hmmm . . . some day. What should I wear? You know, to the Academy Awards? That is, if I’m invited. Well, of course I’ll be invited; I am her mother for goodness sake. Academy-Award nominees’ parents are surely invited. Right? Hmmm . . . I look good in red. A red evening gown, I think. I’ll have to lose a few pounds, that’s for sure. But best to wait until after holidays to start any kind of serious diet, everyone knows that. Well, yes, “some day” may be a long ways off, so it is possible that I will be a little . . . well, a little old by the time she receives her nomination. But, I can still look good, right? I mean good in an elegant, regal, older-woman kind of way. Yes, red is definitely my color. Not a bright, fire engine, or orange-y shade of red, mind you. I’m thinking more of a cranberry, garnet, deep sexy-ish shade of red. But not a slutty red, heavens no! Hmmm . . . do they ever show close-ups of the mothers of the nominees on camera? I only mention that, you see, because if so, I’ll need some kind of special up-do/coiffure for the occasion. And, oh yeah, in preparation for the big evening, I’ll need a make-up artist, stylist, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc. But let’s be realistic, they probably only show close-ups of a nominee’s parent if he or she happens to be the date of the nominee and, therefore, sitting right next to her. My little sweetheart may have a husband or a significant other to escort her by the time she’s nominated, but you never know about these things. And even if she doesn’t, she might choose her daddy over me to accompany her. Not fair! I did most of the diaper-changing, middle-of-night feedings, all that stuff, you know.

As I was saying, my daughter played a mouse in her first on-stage performance, and I made most of her costume using a hot-glue gun. I think I’ll try to make something else, tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.


Bendy Straws and Scullery Maids

This morning, while cutting the crusts off the bread for the sandwiches my kids would carry to school in their lunch boxes, I flashed back to a moment in my life, a few years ago, before hubby and kids.  I was at my job and participating in a full-day business conference on some project or another.  The meeting, I recall, was boring, energy draining, and felt fairly meaningless.  I remember sitting in the crowded conference room and having a thought, something like this:  “I wish I were packing children’s lunch boxes.”  This thought/wish must have bubbled up from the depths of my longing for children and family life, and was helped along mightily by the ticking of my thirty-something biological clock.

In my former role as a corporate project manager, I was responsible for the initiation, planning, executing, and controlling of the schedule, costs, risks, communications, quality, human resources, etc., associated with information technology projects of varying levels of complexity.

In my current role as stay-home mommy, I am responsible for the initiation, planning, executing, and controlling of the schedule, costs, risks, communications, quality, and human resources associated with the day-to-day comings and goings of two lively six-year-olds.

A partial list of my current project duties includes tasks related to: packing of lunch boxes; presenting of bedtime stories; picking up (only after stubbing big toe upon) Legos; coordinating of birthday parties; scheduling play-dates, piano and karate lessons, and soccer practices; enforcing of playground manners; acquiring of school shoes and cleats, new size every season; rationing of chocolate milk; endless — oh the ever-so endless — washing, drying, folding of family’s clothing; cutting off of sandwich bread crusts (I wonder why kids don’t like the bread crusts . . . what weird little creatures they are); providing of lunch-box bendy straws;  and fulfilling the role of tooth fairy, Santa Claus, chief cook, and bottle washer.

Thank God the diaper stage is in the past.  Twins.  Think about it.

I do have a partner in all this, my hubby, and for that, for him, I am most grateful.  Although I haven’t asked him lately (iPhone Siri, make a note to ask hubby how he feels), I imagine he sometimes feels like the yard man, police chief, weekend headline entertainer, and a tired old leather wallet that is constantly opening, closing, opening, closing, opening, closing . . .

Believe me, there are times as I’m packing the kids’ lunches, when one of the bendy straws surreptitiously finds its way into the neck of a bottle of Pinot Noir, rather than the lunch box where it belongs.


Oops.  All gone.

Of course, this happens only if I’m making lunches the night before instead of the morning of, as I am not in the habit of guzzling wine before breakfast.

So, this morning, after gathering the dirty clothes, and while packing the lunch-box sandwiches and bendy straws, I was thinking that being a mommy is a little like being a scullery maid.  (Scullery:  A little room that was near the kitchen in wealthy old British homes of some bygone era.)  I believe the scullery maids of yester-year didn’t even work in the kitchen, but in even lowlier digs off to the side, around the corner, and down the steps from the actual kitchen.

Yes, scullery maid.  That is definitely how I feel sometimes.

But other times, I smile, remember my conference room wish, and give thanks.