The art of doing nothing . . . for the next five days

$21,840,293 requested in proposals since this past September, I can finally do absolutely nothing for the next five days! How apropos that this time of doing nothing falls at the end of the year when I instinctively reflect on the past year's goings on as I anticipate possibilities in the new year.  Possibilities as grand as a child's waiting for Santa, the strike of midnight (or perhaps a family).     

My plans for the next five days? Finish reading my friend, Paul Griffin's book, Stay With Me.  Plan New Year's Eve feasting festivities as we have a few friends coming over for a night of karaoke. Maybe a hike along the shore.  Definitely the gym.  And most importantly - sweet scented, soothing candles and mental musings.  

Happy birthday, Mom! Today's is my Mom's 69th birthday.  She's just returned from a month-and-a-half-long visit to the homeland. Having planned her trip to the Philippines in advance, also timely was that she was able to attend my Dad's older sister's funeral services.  Only one sibling out of seven remains, half of whom died of cancer - cancer that is always present in my life, there to remind me to take time to do nothing.  Spoke with my older cousin who accompanied Mom on her travels through the islands, and he shared how wonderful it was to spend time with her - doing nothing, of course.  So thankful that Mom, healthy, continues to enjoy herself.  I understand she's planned an upcoming pilgrimage to Europe in the spring too. 

Missing My Dad
Meeting deadlines at work this past quarter left me no room to remember how much I miss my Dad.  Funny how "deadlines" have the power to leave us "dead" in our spirits. On the drive up to family Christmas festivities in Connecticut, I phoned my parents' best friends in Chicago to wish them holiday love.  It always makes me feel good to hear their voices.  I recall how heartened my Dad would be to call them during the holidays to catch up and talk about how they and their kids were doing.  And it contents me to continue his gesture. 

Back to nothing
A. & I. loved staying at a B&B in Granby (CT) for two nights - a charming home, fireplace in our room, and gourmet morning treats.  Falling asleep to the night's incense of burning logs and waking up to the distinct savor of breakfast were a most welcome nothing.  My wish for friends and family?  After wild merrymaking, do take a moment or two to do nothing.  We all need a little nothing in our lives.  



year's end 
downtime fireside
a breath of intention
as distinct as my first quaff
and another pause
a glass of wine becomes one more
we faithfully wait for someone 
fireside this holiday season
and somewhere --
someone, too, waits for us . . .
and perhaps by next year's end
we will be forever plus one


Eve eve

I have never looked more forward to the holidays than this year.  This month, work has more than crept into my personal life what with meeting deadlines, bringing work home, and being strapped to the computer weekdays and weekends -- writing . . . and more writing.  (Ain't I a writer?!)  To have my husband admonish me and express that work is affecting our quality of life is not something I particularly enjoy, especially when I'm absolutely exhausted and pressured to bring funding into our agency.  Not sure how I survived the last couple of weeks . . . did I mention that I have three more proposals to submit before the new year?  Two super significant grant applications out of the way, and I do feel a little relieved . . . though not quite out of the woods yet.  To remain grounded, I ask myself, when I'm dead and gone, will it really have mattered how much I worked . . . or how much money I brought in?

What's kept me somewhat sane are a couple of holiday parties I attended with our kids in foster care and in our early childhood education centers.  To see young children's eyes mesmerized by Santa's presence and gifts that seem to appear out of nowhere in holiday bags taller than they are makes the work I do well worth it.   As I witness toddlers' absolute surprise at meeting Santa at a childcare center in East Flatbush (Brooklyn), I can't help but be overwhelmed as they crowd around Santa and burrow their faces into his cheap, red velvet suit. 
Knowing that these might be the only presents they receive all season as their parents struggle to overcome their mental, emotional and financial challenges, what I do is just a tiny piece of puzzle.

While I've had work to distract me this month, the holidays can't stop me from thinking about my Dad.  This morning, I woke up from a terrible dream.  My dad had collapsed, and I asked the folks around us to call an ambulance.  No one seemed to understand me.  No one knew what to do.  I reacted immediately and dialed 911.  Thank goodness I woke up . . . frightfully feeling sad and abandoned.  More than three years later since my Dad's death, I certainly hope it's no indication of my Dad's spirit being stuck in a bad place.  Maybe it's just my coming off the intense stress of work that's colliding with my missing my Dad.   

A more welcome vision . . . A. shared that he experienced a quick peek into the future - this time next year.  A young boy with a bowl cut in a white t-shirt sitting at the dinner table with us on the eve of Christmas eve.  I hope so . . .

Wishing friends and family near and far, a sparkle-filled holiday season of peace, hope, & magic . . . Be charmed . . . love & light.


Falling for fall

autumn's heather sky
her crisp breath chills my insides
i ache 
for a steaming apple cider cocktail


Heart gratitude

Five years ago, A.'s most unnerving fears of all fears came true. It was the night before he would become a CABG man (or coronary artery bypass graft heart survivor). When A. and I first started dating, I'd been wary of marrying the man as I watched him take his cocktail of multiple meds, his having been with a cardiologist since his early twenties given his family history. But that didn't stop me from loving him. I will never forget the terror that gripped my entire being the morning we learned that A., having had no previous episodes or cause for alarm, would undergo open heart quadruple bypass surgery. While I momentarily cried frantically, A. remained calm (and relieved).  He was thankful that it was happening this way.  What he most feared and anticipated sometime in his 50s (and would happen as a crippling heart attack or stroke) had finally become a reality - at 38 . . . without all the hoopla.  

Five years later, A. is at his best health ever.  He is most conscious of his nutrition and what we put into our bodies.  And he has even learned to love vegetarian meals.  A long way from the boy who loved to feast on KFC and fried rice.  

Thank you, Spirit, for the power of the human body to heal itself, for the courage of the soul to welcome new habits, and for the depth of the heart to embrace a most cherished Life.  To healthy and heedful hearts.         


Holiday reverie

holiday away sunside
conscious breath is my reflecting pool
a family of four 
mother, father, daughter & her husband
a burning memory
a family of three
mother, father, & son or daughter
a burning intention 
i greet Grace
with abundant thanksgiving


Acoustic heart

his guitar strums
and inspires meditation
music soothing
like autumn's rainfall 
and a poetic exchange with Rumi
Adoption update
We're hopeful that 2012 will be our year.  Yet another staff change at PSB (our agency), our new contact person, B., definitely seems more accessible and willing to keep us posted even when there may be no new updates.  We recently learned that two families are ahead of us in the child match process.  Given that we are open to accepting a three- to six-year old and that A. & I are both Filipino American, there is a chance that we might jump ahead of the two families ahead of us.  But of course, no guarantees.  No adoption agency would offer such a guarantee.  In the meantime, for self preservation I tell myself that just maybe, we'll get our match . . . last quarter . . . 2012.  Until then, the wait continues . . . and I pray discerningly with an acoustic heart.


Three wishes at the fountain

i sit in front of the prayer fountain
i have three wishes
to experience peace in my Life's calling
to express thankfulness for harmony at home
to unite in pure delight with our waiting child
[meditation garden, 31st st., nyc]
a robust NYC pigeon waddles and interrupts my meditation
(perhaps a visit from my dad)
i sit with Gratitude
and bathe in devoted wishfulness
(when i open my eyes he is gone)


The universe at work

It's been a while since I've had a massage.  I indulge in spa treatments two times a year.  Lucky for me, I've racked up enough points on my credit card to earn myself a spa gift certificate.  So today was a day just for me.  I began my morning with a run at the gym, then was off to my 11am deep tissue massage at Orange Skye Day and Wellness Spa.  I'd mentioned to Olga, my massage therapist, that I wanted her to especially focus on my neck and shoulders.  While her pressure was sometimes painful, it's achingly well-worth-it-kinda pain as I imagined all of the toxins leaving my body's nooks and crannies.  As she released knots deeply embedded within my upper shoulders and neck, Olga in her Russian accent commented, You sure do carry everything on your shoulders.

An hour later, I sat with my steaming cup of green tea in the parlor, a homey relaxation area in the 100-year-old vintage home complete with its original features.  The owner and mother of three (ages 25, 18, & 8), Maggie, happened to be there.  As we engaged in Saturday spa conversation, I soon learned that she, too, was a Jersey City native who made a career change from interior design for high-end clients to holistic wellness, as well as a quality of life change from a life of long work and commuting hours to a more balanced one with a 5-minute walk to work (work that she loves).  

For me, a truly inspiring encounter.  

Did I mention that Maggie grew up in the exact same JC neighborhoods as I did? 

I think my Dad must be looking out for me.     

Working towards a simple life
I haven't officially launched the project quite yet.  It's been two years in the making -- Simple Vita.  Official launch coming soon. Guided by some of my Dad's last words of life advice, I have embarked on a journey to bring together my career experiences and personal interests to create Simple Vita, a community where we learn that the most challenging work we do in our lives is within ourselves.  My hope is that together, people will find ways to keep life simple, appreciate the present, and support each other to be illuminated in spirit.  

In addition to owning the spa, Maggie is also the creator of YourWellnessNJ.com, a network of wellness resources focused on the whole person, the whole life

Maggie and I then chatted enthusiastically about my offering wellness workshops to the resource network.  I felt an instant connection to Maggie, who also happens to be an older mom to her youngest son. I'd shared with her how we were in the adoption process and currently in waiting mode for our child.  (I am fully aware that I will be an older mom.)

Looking forward to meeting Maggie for tea or coffee in the near future.  I know the universe is at work, and wonderful moments are about to happen.    


Moment by moment

each moment
pixel by pixel
colors shaded by hues
sounds, smells & sights
detail daily events
each one original from the other
our extraordinary Life in technicolor
moment by moment


Sacred autumn

to behold the iridescence
of living souls
to remember the luminance
of those dead
when once they were
on life's sacred stage
where sometimes we might teeter . . .
and sit in the audience
. . .  i throw myself 
upon life's sacred stage
Every day is an opportunity for Thanksgiving. Thank you, Spirit, for a most wonderful reunion with cousin A., who is visiting from China for a few months.  Thank you for family, who take the time to share their generous love in feast and purposeful conversation.  With gratitude especially to Tita C. and Tito R. who hosted this evening's Thanksgiving.  To blessings and being active on the sacred stage of Life.     



To soundful merrymaking!  A. & I have spent the past five weekends preparing to put our downtown JC apartment on the market.  From the antique white paint to a new bathroom vanity to a custom cut saddle, we are finally done!  Here's to selling the one-bedroom before the end of the year.  While most expectant couples "nest" in preparation for the arrival of their little one, we are hoping to increase our Bring Home Baby (BHB) funds as we continue to await our child match and anticipate the pick-up time of our three-to-six-year-old.  Understanding that the adoption processing fees never seem to come to an end -- immigration application extensions, clearance renewals, homestudy updates, passport renewals and no doubt, more -- the financial preparations  and ongoing paperwork outweigh any emotional incubation.

In the meantime, the Indian Summer jamboree includes Saturday fishing with a college mate, C., and N., visiting from Down Under, at Belmar topped off with a late lunch at Klein's Fishery.  C. lives in Philly, so we make it a point to connect every few months.  C. & I casually strolled the boardwalk from Avon to Spring Lake and back while our men fished.  Sadly, the uncharacteristic more than 80-plus-degree sun made for a No Catch day.  Nonetheless, we welcomed being outdoors and basked in the art of doing nothing.  

Never seems to be any time to do absolutely nothing.  It is those moments . . . digging my feet into the warm, wet sand like a mud soak . . . the cool waves of the low tide washing refreshingly over my peds as I wade along the shoreline . . . balmy spots alternating with chilled ones . . .  and in the company of an old friend.  

Indian Summer's Jamboree
autumn star
in unexpected revelry
out of the wild blue
summery sunshine
bursts into song


Bobbing patience

Two years, one month, and four days that we're (not) expecting.  Most usually focus on the mom who's expecting.  Few give any attention to the father.  This past weekend, I was reminded how much A. is looking forward to becoming a dad just as much as I look forward to becoming a mama.  A. is much more disenchanted with all the waiting we've been doing, and I am more forgiving and accepting that the long wait is a part of the journey.  Every time the wait seems endless, A. says, "Can we just cancel?"  I know he doesn't mean it, that frustration is just getting the best of him.  He's convinced that he'll be 50 by the time we receive our child referral.  While we can't control how quickly the Philippine Inter-Country Adoption Board matches us with our future daughter or son, I know that some little one is wondering when she or he will finally get parents.  I gently point out to A., Let's enjoy our time BC (before child).  Not so easy when every waking moment is committed to something that has to be done whether it's work, home repairs, or plain exhaustion from the day-to-day.  For A., who is happening upon a 40-something birthday this month, along with his five-year healthy heart anniversary this upcoming December, the anticipation of our child is admittedly related to his mortality.  When A. unexpectedly underwent his quadruple bypass in 2006, he'd shared with me that his absolute only regret was not having a child as he didn't want to leave me alone in the world if he were to die.  And every day, I am thankful for the time A. & I have together.  

Prayer for the Dad-To-Be
girl or boy, it doesn't matter
your child 
of you
with you
patience bobs up and down
on ocean's ends 
as daughter or son and dad
wait to free memories of past's decisions


Instagram (Sandy Hook bayside)

enveloped in a blueberry haze
twenty minutes in 80-degree autumn
the bay shimmers pearlescent mulberry wine
like a steady ocean fever
the sun is a rouging grapefruit 
that fades into the horizon 


What does gratitude sound like?

Thanksgivings befall as autumn descends like another birth anniversary.  Grace sits next to me, and I harken . . . 

gratitude sounds like 
the bedsheets that ruffle 
as i turn over to snuggle with my partner
gratitude echoes in our conversations
right before dreamtime 
as we wait longingly 
to parent the faceless child in our hearts
gratitude croons a golden standard 
every moment i gaze in adoration 
of my most loved love


Not quite the end of summer

i salute the weekend's sun
as the bay breeze waves through my window
nothing in between Spirit and me
i radiate beyond
and cradle my heart in my hands
i gaze into hushed light
i stand in summer's lull 
and welcome autumn's equinox

We finally received our second approval (renewal) of our immigration application to adopt a child from the Philippines. It expires November next year. We hope (and hope and hope and hope . . . ) heartfully that we will not have to endure another renewal next year as that would mean updating our paperwork once again. The waiting continues . . .

In the meantime, I never tire of The Starfish Story, a tale common across adoption communities:


"One day, while walking along the shore,
the wise old man looked down the beach,
and saw a gracefully dancing human figure.
The wise old man wondered out loud,
“Who would be dancing all alone on the beach?”
He began to walk faster to catch up.
Getting closer, the wise man saw that the dancer
was a child, who was not dancing at all.
The child was reaching down to the sand to pick up
something, and was very gently throwing it into the sea.
The man called out to the child,
“Good Morning! What are you doing?”
The child paused, looked up and replied,
“Throwing Starfish into the sea.”
Surprised, the man said,
“Yes, I see that, but WHY are you throwing Starfish into the sea?”
The child smiled brightly, pointed upward and
with perfect simplicity replied,
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out.
If I don’t throw them in, they will die.”
“But, don’t you realize, “asked the man,
“that there are miles and miles of beach and Starfish all along it?
You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The child listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another Starfish,
threw it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves,
and joyfully declared,
“It made a difference for that one." 


Sheer exhaustion

For the past year and a half, the organization I work for (ESS) has been preparing for the EarlyLearn rfp.  As the grant writer on this application, I have had to read, live and breathe everything that is early childhood education and subsidized childcare along with being able to convey the stories of low income families in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.  EarlyLearn was my best friend all summer long -- weekdays while I was at work, weeknights after my commute home, AND weekends as EarlyLearn and I stared at each other in ten-hour contests as I had my coffee with Bailey's not too far to keep me grounded.  

As of this past Friday, I was finally done as I too-exhausted-to-be-delirious(ly) submitted the 143-page, 323,578 character application.  This grant was, by far, my most challenging project in my career as I felt the tremendous weight of being responsible for winning funding for potentially a dozen early child education centers, seven of which are currently under our operation and five more ESS hopes to acquire.  (Yes, I am thankful to have a job.)  And 143 pages later, I can guarantee that I will know all of the learning outcomes that my maybe preschooler will be working towards.  

For the love of JC
One glass of pinot grigio later, A. & I loaded up the car in preparation for our painting party at our old apartment in JC, which we've rented out the past seven years. Originally, we'd hung onto the place as an investment.  In the past, I referred to it as our adoption endowment.  As we anticipate the arrival of our child, we feel strongly that the less stress, the better.  While it might not be the best time to sell, life is more complicated when one has to be a landlord in a city where we no longer live.  To think, I'd made the decision to buy the one-bedroom after paying rent in the same second-floor brownstone just eight blocks away for nine years and knowing that I would never marry. Two weeks after I moved into my own home, I met A. Go figure.  (Yes, I am thankful to have met A. so unexpectedly. . . . and that it wasn't just my English bulldog and me forever in my cozy 1BR.

A couple more weekends of cleaning up and touching up, we should be ready to put our old abode on the market.  A new coat of paint in antique white does wonders for brightening up a space.  Hopefully, some lucky gal or guy will be as charmed as I was when I bought the place.  A warm thank you to our dear friends, E. & E., for their painting enthusiasm as we were able to accomplish much in a weekend.  (Indeed we are truly blessed to have such wonderful confidantes in our lives.

It's Sunday night, and I am numb from sheer mental and physical exhaustion. I'd like to rest now and appreciate the art of doing absolutely nothing.

On 9.11
Before I got on the PATH train in downtown JC, I looked up and saw a gaping hole in the World Trade Center.  Stunned, I wondered, why is there a hole in the WTC?  The PATH trains were still operating, so I decided to still head into the city.  I worked at NYU then and figured, I'd support with any crisis management that needed to be done with NYU students and if it was bad, I'd head home by noon.  I ended up getting stranded in the city and stayed with friends in Innwood until the next morning.  The stench of smoke in the air lingered for days as dead pigeons lined the streets in downtown Manhattan along NYU's campus.

I can't help but tear up as I glimpse at a magazine cover of the children of 9/11, most of whom were born and never met their fathers or were too young to understand what had happened on what began as a beautiful, bluest sky, sun shining morning.  And for the women abroad who were suddenly left widowed or children orphaned, as well as entire villages of families dead after the United States retaliated for the terrorist act, I pray for peace . . .   

may peace abide in others
may blessings surround them
may Spirit illuminate their hearts
now and always
thank you, Spirit, for Life


To fuss or not

August 30th is my Dad's death anniversary.  I woke up this morning and thought, It's been three years that he's been dead.  The first year, we made a big deal.  Since then, we've made less fuss over Dad's death day. And I often wonder, is that okay?  Am working on welcoming the shift . . . 

Top five happy memories of my Dad?  

  • (Though a foggy recollection, the image in my mind is a worn vintage photo.) Sledding down Lincoln Park's Hill from as high as the gazebo on my orange toboggan 
  • Albeit torturous at the time, learning how to play tennis at 6am -- an hour against the wall, then an hour on the courts (My unathletic self wasn't too interested, but I wanted to spend time with my Dad)
  • Barbecuing in the backyard old school, JC style with Dad at the grill 
  • Philosophizing with A. (Before A. entered the picture, Dad would constantly say to me, 'A rose with no bees buzzing around it, smells bad.')
  • (This is a tie!) Dad's feigning shock at what I thought was Dad's surprise 65th birthday party, but was a TV episode of "Perfect Proposal" (and I was the one who'd been whammiedAND dancing to Edelweiss at our wedding

Whether or not I make a big fuss, I remember the happy. 


Calm before the storm

Jersey Shore before Irene's arrival
I've been caught in a storm surge at work, trying to keep from drowning in RFP writing frenzy, and my long weekends have been thwarted some by draft upon revised draft, rationale for this, statistics for that . . . and running around to get local police clearances for our updated adoption paperwork.  As hard deadlines approach and pressures swell, I instinctively turn to listen to my most comforting sage, Silence.  

Silence reminds me to go beyond fear and takes me into the place where love grows, where I can refuse to follow the impulses of anger and dread.  Beyond accompanies Silence and roots me . . . to feel myself.  Along with Silence and Beyond, Prayer is not too far behind.  Prayer is my medicine woman who chants lullingly, clears my head, and brings peace back to my soul.

As Irene hugs the shore, I salute the Sun, and connecting hearts sing to me.  I breathe . . . and embrace the moment.


Blessed be the light

How to destress?
In the midst of RFP writing madness at work and having to renew my unscannable fingerprints for updated adoption paperwork, I have had to make tremendous efforts not to stress out during my supposedly long summer weekends about a major grant deadline (worth over $7M ) dangling in the back of my mind or the fact that in an era of high technology, why isn't U.S. Immigration/Department of Homeland Security able to figure out a less complicated way to scan fingerprints for those like myself?

As for the major deadline which creeps into my not-so-dreamy dreams, I keep telling myself, I am thankful to have a job.  And the fingerprints?  It's just failed fingerprints.  It's not years and years of failed hormone/IVF treatments.  I can get over it, just part of the adoption process.  

Deep inhale.  Slow exhale.  

I popped in my Body & Soul yoga dvd mid-morning for long-awaited rejuvenation.  Sadly, I'm not as disciplined as I'd like to be when it comes to yoga and meditation.  It's in times of extreme high stress that I attempt to become more disciplined, which usually means I need soothing energy . . . badly.

August is always a bit of a rough month.  While birthday glow surrounds me, so does the anticipation of my Dad's death anniversary.  At the end of the month, he will have been dead for three years.  

Deep inhale.  Slow exhale.  

And when I'm dead, will any major work deadline or the fact that I have no fingerprints really matter?  Certainly not.  What will have mattered is Friday afternoon coffee, triple layer chocolate cake and oreo mousse on my day off with my childhood friend E. and goddaughter D.; weekend pool time and overnight with my nephews, J. & S.; family smokeout and August birthday celebrations; Monday lunch date and stroll in the park with my old highschool friend, I.; unexpected romantic gestures like song lyrics posted on fb with which A. glitzes me. 

Deep inhale.  Slow exhale. 

Bendita Tu Luz by Manรก
Blessed be the light 
Blessed be the place, and the reason to be there 
Blessed be the coincidence
Blessed be the clock, 
which took us there at the nick of time
Blessed be your presence
Blessed be God for putting us in each other’s way 
And for removing this loneliness from my fate . . . 

Inspired by Bendita Tu Luz
blessed be your light
like crystal's sun catcher
that sways in my heart's window
home is where your star meets mine
and we trip the light fantastic
(. . . waiting for the stars to align)


A. & S. Unplugged

Harvey's Beach
Even in the midst of maddening RFP writing at work, it was a most welcome short getaway weekend to unplug along the Connecticut shoreline in Old Saybrook.  We stayed at the Deacon Timothy Pratt B&B, a converted historical home in actress Katharine Hepburn's hometown.  I lounged in the garden listening to the fountain as I tried out the hammock and . . . just took a slow, deep breath. This was after treating myself to a refreshing lavender-vanilla ice cream soda at the soda shop next door.  A. & I. took a stroll along Harvey's Beach which reminded me of childhood summers when my parents, auntie & uncle dug for bushels of oysters along the Long Island Sound.  As we waded through, the tiniest hermit crabs and killies along with their snail buddies greeted us along the shore.  We dined at Dock & Dine, a local riverfront restaurant, where we stumbled upon an evening of live music with a guitarist in concert as we savored our fresh oysters.  The guitarist's original works made for a romantic evening, and A. enjoyed his music so much that he bought his CD.  

A. & I had agreed that we would unplug -- that is, no cell phone, no laptop, no TV.  Only the comforts of The Gambrel with its original charming exposed beams and pinewood floors, the room included an intimate reading area with a view of the garden and a most inviting tub in the middle of the room, where I enjoyed a soothing candle-lit bath in honeysuckle aromatherapy (my favorite relaxir provided by the inn).

The highlight of our trip was a visit to The Book Barn in neighboring Niantic -- literally, an immense red barn filled with books upon used books, meandering paths outdoors, nooks and crannies to sit a spell among blooms and fountains, coffee mugs provided, and page through as you like.  It was a scene out of Alice in Wonderland meets The Secret Garden.  Cats clearly well-fed napped in every corner, on top of coffee tables and book carts as locals wheeled in their used books for sale on wagons.  True to the barn spirit, there is no indoor plumbing, and the only available restrooms are the outhouses provided by "John" tucked behind one of the many gardens on the barnyard property.  

I indulged in book treats and made sure to pick up some fiction since A. asked me what was the last fiction book I'd read (and I didn't know) as I tend to read more non-fiction/memoir.  Upon thumbing through a bunch of CDs, A. spotted a Gilmore girls soundtrack which he knew I'd be excited to play for the rest of our ride up to Windsor.  Must've been fate.  For a total of a little over $9, I bought two fiction books, including a hardcover, and the CD was only $1.  Not too shabby! 

We spent one night at the Pratt House and stopped by Mystic and Old Mystic Village, then headed up to Windsor to visit cousin J. for his birthday, where I was delighted to learn that one-and-a-half-year-old C. was staying with Lola O. and Lolo C. for the week.  Did I mention the half pound of chocolate-peanut butter fudge I nursed as I took the drive from Old Mystic to West Windsor?  I made sure to get my dose of happy baby in as I played peekaboo with C. and took him in my arms to swing him around like an airplane.  Wonderfully tempered and sweet, C. was a cheery little one to visit with.  As we headed back south, we enjoyed Sunday supper with Auntie and Uncle in Stamford. They prepared their usual delicious homemade feast -- fresh sashimi tuna and broiled swordfish, bok choy from the garden and flavorful ribs.  For dessert, the softest chocolate brownie-like cookies with pecans.

Despite driving home through the downpour last night, A. & S. Unplugged made for a most welcome getaway.  No texts, no phone calls, no emails, no facebook. Only the company of my love and summer's rapture.


In honor of a fellow Lioness

here in the middle world
i sit with grace poolside
surrounded by uproarious midget laughter
like the Pink Gorilla's comedic courage
life's frenzies wash away


Shooting star and summer wishes

This past weekend, I had to bring home work.  In the process of completing a huge RFP application for funding seven child care centers operated by ESS.  Early childhood education is only one of ESS' nine family welfare programs.  Been drowning in RFP writing madness.  On top of writing and hanging onto our existing sites, we're also exploring other possible sites, so that means doing site tours of other child care centers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.  While I'm no child care expert, I certainly have become more well informed about child care not just in preparation for this RFP, but also in preparation for our child yet to be matched with our family.  

Strange how early childhood education was not a huge emphasis when I was a toddler, and now it's all the rage especially in relation to providing opportunities for children from low income families to get a head start in the educational pipeline while supporting the entire family with wraparound services -- medical and mental health, job training and employment, literacy and financial management.  Then there's subsidized child care vs. private pay child care. 

As I've toured a couple of child care centers, I can't help but (very secretly) get excited about our waiting preschooler.  Puppets, ocean creatures and all!

A summer wish
A. said being in the adoption process is like being unemployed.  I have to agree just a little having been unemployed myself some time ago.  We know it'll eventually happen.  We will get a child at some point in the (what seems very distant) future.  Will s/he be the child we've hoped for . . . for so long?  I think . . . job hunting when one is unemployed seems just a bit more daunting than waiting for our child referral.

I was pleasantly surprised by a shooting star as I gazed into last night's shore sky.  A passing summer blessing no doubt.  Maybe, just maybe, our little one made a wish too?