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?