grown ups are like that....

Monday, October 11, 2010

post cards

Dear Mom,

Last week we decided to take the kids to visit our friends back in Virginia where we went to graduate school. As you know, the school is located in a town which is a very popular tourist destination, so we have decided to go all out on this trip and see as many of the attractions in the area as possible.

But it is odd, surreal even, to be back in the place where, in many ways, I grew up. In 1995 I came here to graduate school as an incredibly naive young woman of only 21 with nothing but a couple of suitcases and a bicycle. I left many years later with a master's degree in one hand and a baby in the other. The baby is almost ten years old now. The diploma is buried under other papers somewhere in our study.

Lots of love,

Hi Nadine,

I had to ask for directions to the visitor's center today which was all at once frustrating and embarrassing. I should know this for Christ's sake. After all, I lived and worked here for years and years. But despite feeling that I have come home I also feel utterly lost. I blamed it on the development that has exploded around the edges of the town as more and more retirees are moving to the area in recent years. Road signs have been changed here and there, and new houses have sprouted everywhere. But in my heart I know that my feeling of being lost has little to do with the changes that have occurred in my absence and more to do with the fact that, despite missing my freinds here in Virginia, I utterly, and completely, closed the door on a life I will never go back to.

See you soon,
"Lost in the 'Burg"


Dear Michelle,

We went to see the R. Charlton's, a reconstruction of an 18th century coffee house, today. As we waited for our tour to begin, I told the kids about the day 14 years before when everyone in town stopped work to see the 19th century house that had stood for a century atop the ruins of the older coffee house moved out of the historic district. People lined the road and watched as the enormous yellow house paraded down the street to its new destination. It did not go quietly or easily, though. That old Victorian put up a fight as it tore down tree branches and threatened to to topple passers by on it's way out. Left behind was nothing but a rough scar of dirt and brick.

B. seemed only mildly interested in the story. She perked up a little, though, when I mentioned that our friends here in town were the very archaeologists who excavated and researched the coffee house. She laughed with me when I told her of the day that I, too, was pulled from the archaeology lab, grumbling and grouchy, to finish up some work at the site one cold fall day before winter set in halting out door work until spring.

E., though, was only interested in getting in out of the unusually hot October sun and tasting the hot chocolate that would be served. I expected the drink to be bitter and strong, and I worried that the 18th century treat would not be to the liking of this very picky six year old. But he loved it, probably because it is actually not at all like the colonial chocolate that would have been served over 200 years ago. Instead it was a spiced dark confection created by the Mars Candy Company to appeal to the many tourists who frequented the tour.

Maybe we'll just go to Elizabethtown next time. haha

love ya,

P. S. I bought you a little gift today.

Dear Anne,

So today we visited the Governor's Palace, which was pretty impressive. Can you believe that Paul lived here all these years and never saw it? Anyway, you should have seen the interpreter. She was very into her role as an 18th century woman of privilege and her over-the-top enthusiasm made me chuckle.

After the tour we explored the gardens, and I later discovered that I lost my admission ticket in the hedge maze behind the palace. As I ran, annoyed, back and forth trying to find it, I was suddenly overcome with the memory of the last time I was lost in this maze about 15 years before. Except instead of a warm October morning it was a dark, humid summer night. The memory of it stopped me in my tracks. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. It was quite a little adventure and a sweet, nostalgic memory, really.

Oh, in case you were wondering I did find my ticket, so we were able to see the rest of the attractions that weekend.

Miss you tons. Let's have lunch sometime when I get back.
love, love, love,


Hi Lisa!

Thanks so much for hosting us last weekend. We had such a wonderful time, and I miss you so much already. Yesterday E. was in the bath crying his little head off. When I asked him what was wrong he said, "I just want to go back to Virginia!"

I asked him what he missed most about the trip, and his simple and emphatic response was: "LISA!!"

That little boy just fell in love with you, my friend. But how could he not? You are just so dear to us. It was so hard saying good-bye to you, Kelly, and Mark, and I hope to see you all again very soon. I'm going to spend some time with the kids showing them the e-map you created, so that they can remember all that we saw.

But for now we are home where I won't get lost or feel out of place. Our feet are firmly planted here in Western New York, but you know a little bit (ok a big bit) of my heart is down south in Virginia.

Missing you,

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My, have you changed my angel boy.

We love you to pieces.

Happy sixth birthday.*

* photo courtesy of Canal Town Photo

Monday, August 16, 2010


1.Lawrence Welk conducts a waltz on the television as I sit next to my grandma, my hand in hers. Her skin feels like tissue, and she smells of Chantilly Lace. I lean my head on her shoulder and she squeezes my hand.

2. My Nana's long, red nails pick up the warm tortilla and flip it so it cooks on the other side. "This first one is for you, mi hijita," she says as her brown fingers reach for the butter knife to spread margarine on my warm treat.

3. The strong, young hands of my mother rub Ben-Gay into my weary legs. Growing pains plaque me, and I often wake late at night calling for her to ease my pain. She comes, no hesitation, to soothe me, rub my legs, stroke my hair. She is my savior, my hero. "Don't leave, don't leave, " I plead.

4. I stand in the jewelry store with my fiancé as they measure my ring size. I notice my nails are shaggy, short, and rough. My hands are calloused and dry. But once the ring that had belonged to my mother is on my finger my hands grow lovely. The diamond sparkles as I turn my hand back and forth under the fluorescent light.

5. They are the first things I look at as they give her to me after birth: her hands. They are so small, dimpled, perfect. I am struck by how delicate they are when suddenly she grips my finger with a strength that shocks me. I am breathless with the joy of it all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

not mine

please contact the blog author for permission to read this post .

for an angel.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday

Waiting for you. . .

Just after your birth. . .
One year old. . .

Two years old. . .

Three. . .
Four. . .

Five. . .
Six. . .

Seven . . .Eight. . .
Nine. . .

I love you, my girl. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

head over heels

I was a feather of a girl for a while there. I could stand on my head in the middle of the living room floor for what seemed like hours. My mother would peer at me from the kitchen nervous that I would fall, but she did not scold or ask me to be sensible. She simply let me be.

She knew, I think, that those days were fleeting. She knew that someday the weight of many responsibilities would sit on my shoulders and my easy lightness would be replaced by a heaviness that would keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

I've tried now, cautiously when no one was around, to spend some time upside down again. But I can barely lift my legs into the air, and my feet feel like lead weights. I've tried, too, in yoga class with plenty of prep and lots of help from the instructor, but I always freeze up. Fear washes over me and I convince myself that I will fall and break a leg or embarrass myself in front of the entire class. So I quietly move on to something else: a nice, firm warrior pose or a quiet, safe child's pose.

But I see the others do it and wonder at the ease with which they seem to turn their world topsy turvey even for a second or two. I see them and I remember those sunny childhood afternoons I spent with my feet in the air and my heart easy. There was no fear, just action, as I swung my legs upwards toward the clouds. Then there was a calm while I watched the world pass crazily by as I stood on my head, motionless and quiet.

My son seems to be taking after me these days and spends inordinate amounts of time with his feet above his head. I watch him as he hangs upended on the couch, his small, perfect feet drumming a rhythm on the wall as he watches Scooby -Doo, and I envy the carefree flexibility of both his body and spirit.

I should, like my mother before me, let him be. I should let him hang there upside down among the cushions where he is happy, free, light. But I feel compelled to turn him right side up, tell him to stop before he gets hurt. I earnestly warn him that he could fall at any second. Even as I stand there scolding him, hands on hips, I know I shouldn't. I should listen to the little voice telling me,

"Don't fret. He isn't about to fall. . . he is about to fly."


Last night I dreamed of Italy. I was sitting in a small movie house watching a Fellini film while a rickety fan buzzed in front of an open window. Later, after the movie, I walked back to the small room I was renting on the second floor of a crumbling stone building in Rome.

I've never actually been to Italy.

Last week, my dreams also brought me to Scotland.

It was nothing more than a small bit of land, really, surrounded by azure waters and covered in palm trees. It seemed more like a tropical paradise than the crisp, Celtic isle of lore. I drove around its perimeter several times in a sporty convertible with a girlfriend who has been absent from my life for years now.

I have never been to Scotland, either.

Once I dreamed of riding a train through a forest in Thailand. I ate spicy bowls of soup as I watched the lush greenery of the forest pass by in a blur. My sleeping car rocked back and forth as the train lumbered on towards an unknown destination.

I've never traveled to any part of Asia much less to Thailand.


I don't know why I dream of these far off places that I have never been to. Perhaps it is because the day to day dullness of the upstate winters wear me down and leave me hungry for something more, something different. Or maybe it is because I know that I will never actually visit these places in real life so my mind tries to comfort me somehow by creating these clear, colorful, almost lucid, night time dream trips.

I usually awake excited as I recall the details of one of my never-journeys. But the excitement always quickly fades and is replaced by a steely bitterness as I hear the scrape of the snow plow, and I realize where I really am.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm feeling all blushy today because I'm being featured over at Blog Nosh! Check it out. :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Beach

She wore a white dress but decided, as she took one last look in the mirror, that she needed more. Something bright. She saw the vase on the nightstand and grabbed a single orchid. Her fingers trembled as she pinned the purple blossom to her loose braid. Shoes seemed just silly, so she kicked off her sandals and stepped outside. The sand was warm beneath her toes as she walked gingerly toward the shoreline so as not to step on a shell or jagged rock.

When she reached where he stood waiting she uttered simply and with conviction,

“I do.”


This was a challenge by Velvet Verbosity to write a 100 word story based on the word "nervous." Go check out some of the other entries.