Monday, March 30, 2009

Being Here

On a sunny summer weekend last year Q and I walked down main street and discovered an art fair going on right in the little lot that you can see here at the bottom left of the photo above. We walked through small booths of handmade crafts.

Back deep into the lot a booth caught our eyes and we met artist Audrey Chibbaro the lovely woman in the photo below.

Audrey had moved to our town a couple of years ago. Q was fascinated by a small ceramic and fabric pincushion that Audrey had made. He wanted it so badly that he spent his own money to purchase it. Audrey spoke with him at length about ceramics and he explained how much he loved clay and making a pinch pot in school the year before. As we stood talking to her another piece of hers caught our eye. A small angel with feather wings that reminded us of our Auntie G, my wonderful, magical sister-in-law, and we bought it for her for Christmas.

Here is another angel of Audrey's very similar in feel to the small one we purchased.
Audrey was so sweet with Q and took his comments so seriously I asked about art classes and she said she had students and loved teaching and would love to have Q come to her house. I told her we would get in touch in the winter after he had adjusted to kindergarten well.

Last Friday, I finally pulled out her business card hoping to call her over the weekend and talk about art classes for the summer when school was out. Then on Sunday, I stopped for a moment in a cafe and saw the angel shown above on a post card for an exhibit of Audrey's work and there on post card I read that the show was in memory of her. Audrey died of bone cancer in December. I don't know if I can express the depth of my sadness at her passing. Audrey was 45 years old. The world needs Audrey. She made the place better.

It's quick. This life. And you just don't know. Not ever. I am glad I met her for that very brief moment. I am very happy that we have a small remembrance so lovingly made. Whenever I see that funny little pincushion I will remember to stop for a moment and pay attention. Stop and look, listen, taste, feel the day. It's a gift to have such a reminder.

Be present.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Day in Photos: For Evelyn

March 17, 2009

Alarm is not set.  Q has off of school (Superintendent's Day: Hmmm.  Superintendent is perhaps Irish?) and I've taken the day off too.  Big plans, but Q has been ill since Friday so probably a visit to the doctor is in order.

6:30 AM Q awakes and asks if we can skip cuddle time and go directly downstairs to see if the leprechaun has come and left him anything.

Q discovers 6 dollars and the note below.  He tells me he thinks the writing looks like mine.  What?!  Are you saying my handwriting resembles that of a leprechaun?  Why I never....

Homage to Julie:  Broken Coffee Pot Photo: 

About 7:30 unable to really eat toast as Q cannot yet read and I am his reader.

Homage to Rachel: Hair drying photo (I will do a post of all the out takes - they are hysterical. at least to me.)

9:30ish Sit down to look at taxes.

10:00 AM Avoid looking at taxes by taking Q to a cafe.

11:15 AM Doctor's Visit - Find out Q has strep throat!!!

12:15 Decide to drop Q off at home instead of taking him with me to the grocery store.  Figuring infecting half the town at the local cafe is accomplishment enough.  Stop for moment to appreciate our first flowers of spring.

1:15 PM  Stopped at gas station that didn't have auto charge thingy on gas pump.  Decide I cannot go into gas station to pay.  Try in town grocery that is a little gross but may have cubed beef for stew.  It does not.  Drive to second gas station that happens to be next door favorite restaurant/ gourmet take out to see if by chance Jesse has made Irish Stew.  She has not.  Get turkey sandwich to eat in car on way to grocery store that is 7 miles away.  Luckily they have cubed beef.

Back home to start stew.

Earlier in the morning Q had looked through his cookbooks (he has about 4 kid cookbooks) and chosen a cupcake recipe that has shamrocks on the top.  We start to make the recipe and I realize that the recipe, which appears to be English, makes about enough batter for 6 mini cupcakes.  Leprechaun's we are not and so half way through the recipe I grab another book and start adding more ingredients (Barefoot Contessa's cupcake recipe: highly recommended!)  Q has decided instead of green and white cupcakes he will use all of the colors saying that they will be rainbow cupcakes in honor of the leprechaun.  He practices separating the eggs (we only lost one!) and separates the batter into four bowls and then has four colors to work with. This took more than an hour and was part art project, part science and of course part cooking. 

Please note:  Strep infected cupcakes were kept for our own consumption.

6:00ish - Dinner with the guys (something I do not get to do on work days.  Y is trying to be funny by doing the leprechaun dance to get Q to smile but Q is too annoyed having to wait longer to start digging into his stew.)

7:00ish Q comes running downstairs to show me his 6 year molars are coming in.  We are both really excited.  We jump up and down and I give him a big hug!  My baby is growing up!  For some reason it feels as important as the day I saw his very first tooth come in.

7:30  Last hurrah playing in bedroom before story time while Q does nebulizer for his asthma.

7:45 Start of story time - favorite time of day.  This photo is what I imagined reading stories would be like before I had Q.

These next photos are more what it is like; constant movement and commentary.

Don't you love the title of this book.  Q would not have cared if this were a book about advanced calculus - he was taking this out of the library and bringing it home.

Here wiggling front tooth that is very ,very loose!

8:30 PM - American Idol time.

10ish put away food brew last cup of tea.

Drink tea and check blogs.

I will spare you the shower and bed photos.

Thanks Evelyn for suggesting this.  I had wanted to do a day in photos with Q and got to it much more quickly than I might have if you had not asked us to do this.

Thanks to everyone that has already shared their day in photos it's a true joy to be able to see lives so well lived.  For those of you that do not post your family photos I would encourage you to do this for yourself (without posting of course.) As another blogger has said the exercise really does make you look at your day in a new light.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Notes from Working-Mom-Land - A.M.

Notes from Working-Mom-Land

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2008
5:45 AM Alarm goes off 

5:55 AM Y hears the alarm and wakes me up

5:56 AM Shower

6:05 AM Still in the shower.  Having great difficulty leaving the peace and quiet and the warmth.  Temperature outside about 10 degrees.  Q wakes up and comes into the bathroom to talk to me about his day yesterday.  I've been in the shower so long I can't see him from the steam but I can hear him sit down on the little table while I try to drag myself away from the caress of the water - Q tells me the BIG NEWS - He read his first book all by himself - Green Eggs and Ham!!!!!!

6:10 AM I drag myself out of the shower - Q tells me he went snowboarding (Monday was a snow day!) but the snowboard wasn't good so he went sledding which WAS good because he and his dad went down the hill together and they both flipped off and fell face first into the snow!!!!!!! 

6:15 AM I'm dry - kind of - and I put on my outfit that I picked out on Sunday (all clothes hung in order from Monday through Friday - no way can I listen to Q AND choose clothes that make me look like an adult.)  Q yells from his room can he wear a short sleeve shirt under a long sleeve shirt and then he won't be so hot!!!!!! during gym?!!!!!  I scoot over to his room while pulling on my tights and see he is already wearing his t-shirt and it's tucked up under his chin in an effort to see the belt that he is trying very hard to belt on his own.  His jeans are too big in the waist and he's cinching the belt really tight.  I stop for a moment and watch him.  His room is a mess of all the magic of 6 years old stuff.  He is so earnest and happy and curious and loving and I feel - really feel -  the fullness of this life and say my quick prayer - thank - you - God - thank you thank you thank you thank you God.

6:25 AM Blow dry my hair while Q shows me how he can read Green Eggs and Ham - he is sitting on the floor of the hallway and I'm yelling over the blowdryer - "that's AMAZING!!!  Look at how all your hard work has paid off!!!  Wow!  Reading!"  He is ignoring me.  He is looking at the words and he's literally in a wonder of it all daze.  He cannot believe he can read.  The world has just exploded and it is no longer censored.  

6:30 AM Y brings up a cup of coffee and toast with cinnamon sugar.  Loveliness!  No time to sit down.  I eat while I am putting on my makeup.  I am about to put on my shoes but remember the snow storm yesterday and the 6 inches of slush on the city streets and decide to wear my boots.

6:40 AM Start asking Q to put on his boots - this will take several minutes - ok honey let's get your boots on - sweatheart - yes I saw the book - now let's get your boots on - yes, I saw you do a slide back flip off the couch several times but if you remember we're not supposed to do any kind of back flip off of the couch - now how about sliding those feet into those boots - yes I see your boots could be gloves but you couldn't easily eat anything if you had to - come to think of it - why don't you try them on your feet!  As this exchange goes on - I put my wallet in my purse, check for my subway pass, grab soup out of the fridge - toast two pot tarts - wrap pop tarts in paper towel - put soup and bread and poptarts in cool polka dot lunch thingy Y bought me - put my mega huge snow hiking boots (my nice shiny city girl boots are at work for some reason that I cannot recall) on - and put my shoes on top of my purse - put on my coat - put on my hat - try to resist helping Q zip his coat - fail resisting helping Q with his coat zipper - get scolded at by Q that he is NOT  a BABY and he will zip his own coat - remind my self that I am happy he has his boots on as he walks outside into the 10 degree temperature holding his coat closed because there wasn't time to zip it.

6:50 AM Car ride to the train station.  Listen to Q talk about how he hopes the lego station is open today.

6:55 AM sit in a car for a few minutes as we watch the ferry pull away from the dock and the people who have gotten off trudging toward the stairs to the platform - watch the people on the platform visibly shiver from the cold.

7:01 AM Get out of the car as I see the train lights in the distance - kisses to the boys and waves and I try to dash down the stairs in the tunnel but quickly realize each boot weights ten pounds and so I kind of shuffle the toward the stairs the way a guy with cement 'shoes' who has just escaped the mafia might - with an earnest need to move forward quickly without the ability to actually do so.  I look and feel foolish - but decide my warm feet make up for my feelings of awkwardness.  

7:05 AM Train starts towards Grand Central.  I put in my ear phones and listen to my i-phone.  Try to watch adoption videos on you tube but AT&T is not having it - no connection.  I open my bag and eat my pop tarts - brown sugar type.  I cannot sleep so I look at the river and think in a couple of weeks there will be no more ice on it and all of the snow will be gone.

8:17 AM the train pulls into Grand Central.  I will never ever get bored of walking through Grand Central Station.  Early morning sunlight is pouring through the tall windows and making those long diagonal stripes down to the floor.  The clock stands sentry while people are walking or sprinting or running in every direction.  Thousands of people are getting off the trains from the towns West, North and East and heading into the subway or out into the street while a seemingly equal number of people are coming from the subway or street and walking through Grand Central in order to get into the office building above it.  There is no way to get through the center of the main hall at this time of day without being jostled.  It is CITY.  THE city.  Big, loud, wonderful, fast, purposeful, with a diversity that is without parallel.  It is literally one of my all time favorite places in the world, and as crazy as my day is I have 60 seconds of real childlike happiness each day I get to travel through it.

8:20 AM Escalator down into subway.  Stand watch over 10 turnstyles with hundreds of people coming at me through them - see a free moment and I dash through one in the opposite direction - get bumped several times as I make my way to my line - one of 6 or so.  The subway is crazier than Grand Central.  Walk down the steps very very carefully as my boots seem to be about 6 inches longer than each stair.  Get the the platform as a train is pulling up but it's an express.  I let it go because I know I will be trampled on the escalator when I get off the express as people literally run up the escalator at this time of day.  

8:22 AM Local train comes - I take it - it's more  crowded than express but when I get out I'm one level about the express platform  - so no escalator.  I now have just one flight of stairs.  

8:24 AM - Out on the street again - it's freezing!!!!!!  But my feet are nice and warm and dry.  I debate whether to walk a block for expensive coffee or just go into work and drink the coffee there.  

8:26 AM Standing in line so that I can pay $6.00 for coffee and 500 calories worth of bread!  I think about how sick that is.  I wonder if one day years from now we will watch a table full of woeful looking men testify in front of congress that indeed they never knew their product was addictive.

8:28 AM I am run/sliding/thumping my way across the street and then down the block to my work.  I hear a heavily accented "Maam!  Maaaaammmmm!!!!!!!!"  behind me and I turn around.  He is one building away and waving frantically in the direction of the intersection I have just crossed.  "IS THAT YOUR SHOE!"  He screams.  I look where he is pointing and sure enough in the direct middle of the cross walk is my black suede pump.  It's amazing what one lone shoe looks like in the middle of a busy street.  I scream (yes, I screamed.  I have seen accidents that caused blood to spurt in all directions and remained calm but the sight of my shoe made me burst out.)  The kind man waves his arms frantically to the cars that were about to run over my shoe and dashes out into the intersection.  He grabs my shoe and comes running toward me as I try as much as I can in my boots to run toward him.  "Your shoe!!!"  He says smiling as he hands it to me and then goes dashing back down the street in the opposite direction.  I look at him and am reminded how much I love New Yorkers.  I am about to put my shoe in my back but realize it is soaking wet and carry it in my hand as I go in the building.  

8:30 AM I try to manuver my shoe, lunch bag and coffee cup and purse so that I can get my security pass to go into the elevator bank of our building.  Finally get it and swipe it so that the turnstyle opens.  I get on the elevator with four other people and press the 33 floor button.  The elevator closes and the guy standing next to me looks at the shoe I'm holding in my hand which is dripping slush onto the floor of the elevator.  He looks up at me.  I smile at him.  He looks confused and gets off of the elevator.

8:31 AM I get out of the elevator, say hi to Pearl at the reception desk, take a left and walk past all of the cubicles.  I pass the kitchen and take another left and arrive at my cubicle which looks directly into a small conference room that is all glass and looks out over Park Avenue and Central Park.  I take off my coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots.  I take out my dry shoe and put it on and try to dry off my wet one somewhat with a paper towel.  I put on the wet shoe and pull out the space heater and point it to my feet.  Not as bad as I thought. 

I sit look out of the window and take a sip of coffee.  I look at the clock.  Q is just getting to school and my day begins.