Tuesday, April 15, 2014

about that viral video

World's Toughest Job?

Did you see that viral video going around?  The one where the middle manager interviews job seekers for the 24/7, 365 day a year, unpaid job? It irritated me.  I'd put it in the treacle category.  And were viewers really to believe that the "job candidates" were actually going along with job description?

I know the whole thing was staged, but what viewer actually was "surprised" at the end?  Wow!  That was really the job description of a mother!  I never saw that coming!

Being a Mom is hard.  Being a Dad is hard.  Heck, being alive in this crazy world is hard.  And anything worth doing is never easy.  I don't think, however, we do anyone a favor when we mythologize motherhood.  I know plenty of wonderful mothers who are knocking it out of the park.  I count my friends in that group--many of whom personally inspire me in different ways.  I know some lame ones too.  We all do.  Let's not idolize some abstract concept of a selfless mother with no life of her own.


Monday, April 14, 2014

this week's favorite things

This Caldecott Winner, Swirl by Swirl:  Spirals In Nature

I bought it for a gift but read it to Jack last night.  Written by a poet, it has the brevity perfect for a preschooler but a glossary for a grade schooler.  Jack was impressed the glossary touched on the Fibonacci sequence in math and how it applied to spirals.  Would be nice to combine with a little quest to find examples in nature or by the sea.  (note to self:  plan this for nieces)

These shoes from French Sole/NY:
that's a stink bug on my new shoe!  

They make me feel like I am walking on pillows.  Bringing them on our trip to NYC for sure.  Worth every penny.

These blooms from my garden:
I am not much of a gardener, but I planted bulbs!

This attitude from my instagram feed:

Going to strive to be more of the encourager than the critic.

Friday, April 11, 2014

More Spring Happenings

What a gorgeous evening we had last night, and I treated myself to a little relaxation after my "to-do" list was checked off and last carpool duty of the day was over.  It has been a very long week full of lots of annoyances and unexpected stress across the board.  I don't know how it is in your house, but in mine when appliances go on the fritz, they like to do it in multiples--as if in evil collusion.  We had a dryer repair, an electrical repair to our front light posts, and are currently in the long and arduous process of replacing our front door.  Super!  I can think of better ways to spend 2K.

But it's over and I have a great weekend to look forward to with a 10K trail run, yoga, dog hike with a girlfriend, party, reading, lacrosse, and time with my husband who has been traveling  for work like a maniac.  All things good for the soul.

I bought a collection of Wendell Berry's poetry about a month ago, and was obsessing over his elegies to spring.  Like most of the country, we had a rough winter.

These three poems have captured my imagination.

March Snow 
The morning lights
whiteness that has touched the world
perfectly as air.
In the whitened country
under the still fall of the snow
only the river, like a brown earth,
taking all falling darkly
into itself, moves.

April Woods:  Morning
Birth of color
out of night and the ground.

Luminous the gatherings
of bloodroot

newly risen, green leaf,
white flower

in the sun, the dark
grown absent.

The Finches
The ears stung with cold
sun and frost of dawn
in early April, comes

the song of winter finches,
their crimson bright, then
dark as they move into

and then against the light.
may the year warm them
soon.  may they soon go

north with their singing
and the season follow.
May the bare sticks soon

live, and our minds go free
of the ground
into the shining of trees.

Also on my reading list right now is my book club pick for next week, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  My friend who chose it dropped off her copy this morning and told me it was a quick and fun read.  I've not read anything by her before, so I am looking forward to it.  Hope to knock it out by Sunday.

How about you? How are you welcoming spring in your parts?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring happenings

“Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those brown garden beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” 
                                                ― Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

It's here!  My beautiful tulip poplar tree was in full bloom last week.

Now it is dropping petals, carpeting my front yard with pink slippers.  I love this tree for it reminds me so many things in life are fleeting.

I have been busy helping coach these little girls in lacrosse.  We had to sub in 33 girls into 3 7x7 games on Saturday.  Organized chaos!

Spring means sitting on the porch and I inaugurated it last night with some girlfriends and several bottles of Prosecco.  Fun times!

Super excited to be going to hear Anna Quindlen give a reading at Hollins U this week with some of my book club pals.  She is a prolific writer--certainly not someone to miss!  She will be promoting her new book, for certain, but will also share details from her writing life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Hey Spring Breakers!  Don't forget your SPF!  Curious what kind to buy?  Click on over to the NYT's Shouts and Murmurs for a refresher course.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

born to read virginia

I have started working with a group of women to create a non-profit organization that will distribute books to mothers after delivery at our local hospital.  We are so excited about this idea to promote childhood literacy from day 1.

The goal stated in our initial brochure is simple: – to put books in the hands of new parents at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  Our aspiration is broader.  We want to cut the gap in educational and career achievement in the Roanoke Valley. 

Some of the stats we are working with in terms at-risk children who don't receive a quality early childhood education (including reading from infancy to 2) are:

               25% more likely to drop out of school
               40% more likely to become a teen parent
               50% more likely to be placed in special education
               60% more likely to never attend college
               70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

What has been so exciting is that there are many pieces of the puzzle that are fitting together through sheer luck and serendipity (funding, grants, key players, support from the hospital).  It is very energizing to be around 4 amazingly smart and talented women who are all working for a common cause.  I volunteered to take notes at our meeting and disseminate them.  While I don't have the legal or medical expertise that the other members have, I do know how to take some notes!  I will certainly be writing about Born To Read Virginia more in the future.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Passing the time

Love listening to this This American Life while I am doing chores.   Ira Glass is brilliant and the radio pieces on This American Life are always fascinating.  Today I listened to a January broadcast featuring David Sedaris and his story about his sister committing suicide: "Now We Are Five".  It was part of a "life at the beach" radio broadcase.  Some were cheery and others obviously were not.  It made folding laundry really pass the time.