Monday, September 29, 2008

I know this guy...

...and he did something amazing.
Because I can't stop thinking about this, I have to post it.

Lloyd Abramson: He is a real man, not a robot.

You see, the term "long distance" is all relative, isn't it?

13 miles? That's nothin'!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The 2008 Sugarfest-Jumpingbonanza. AKA Skyler's Birthday Party

We had Skyler's 4th Birthday party a week early (so I'll save my musings over how it's EVEN possible she is 4 years old until her actual birthday).

This year's theme? Caterpillars. And Gymnastics.

I know. Not a perfect fit. I mean, I don't even think that caterpillars do gymnastics.
But it was Skyler's request. I am so glad we had the party at the Gymnastics School because it POURED all day today.

I swear I don't feed my kids a lot of sugar. But this party just sort of featured sugar and cake and candy. And jumping and hopping and spinning. And it ended at 5:30 pm.

Really, truly sorry folks. Hope everyone got to bed okay. (Christine? You all okay?)

The caterpillars! They were so much cuter in my imagination, but there you have it.

Check out Sam in the upper left corner. It must be Reedo on the loose.

Some funny moments caught on camera:

Best photo of the whole party: Reed and Kristian are already strung-out on sugar, and so distracted by the ice cream cups that they don't even know they were wearing Caterpillar party hats.

Ella! Skyler's BFF.

Skyler calls it quits and collapses on her brand new PRINCESS COMFORT LOUNGER!

Such good friends! Such a happy birthday girl! Such a tired Mommy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More friends in our town!

We couldn't be more excited that our friends the O'Reillys (Meredith, Jason, Killian, Beckett and Rosalyn) moved to a new house.

1.8 miles away from ours.

This is HUGE. It means we'll see each other a lot more (they moved from 20 minutes away) and in a few years, our kids will be going to school together. And it means neighborly things like stopping by for visits and helping each other watch kids and going for neighborhood runs and stuff. HOOray.

Last week while they were settling into their new house (you know, that boxes everywhere stage), we took Rozzy for a few hours on 2 afternoons.

She is such a good baby, that I started saying things like: "This isn't so hard, Sam! I think we can handle another baby!"

At which point Sam made an appointment for a vasectomy.

See that look in Reed's eye? This is right before he starting playing "take the pacifier away from the baby" which gave him much pleasure.

I said: "But look how cute they all are having dinner together."
Sam said: "If you got pregnant again you KNOW we'd have hyperactive quintuplets."
Which to me sounds kind of fun, which tells you I've lightened up from my never-having-another-baby-no-matter-what attitude.

But really, I think we're happy to babysit Rozzy once in a while, which is sort of like having to take care of a teddy bear in that all she does with us hangout and silently watch us in her adorable way, and we squeeze her a lot.

So, like I said, Hooray O'Reillys!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Next update on Chris

My brother's message was very short, but it came just as we were starting to worry.

He texted us from a pizzeria in Italy! He successfully crossed the Alps on his bike! He said it was "totally crazy and amazing." Yeah, I'll say. Imagine how good that pizza tasted?

His flight back to California is early next week. Hurry home, brother.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love, and then sell out Merrill Auditorium

Look at all these people! All of us were lucky to spend the evening in Portland with Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) , who packed this auditorium to the rafters, a place usually reserved for big concerts. It gave me such a thrill to see a down-to-earth, soul-searching writer attract such a loyal following.

She was, as you might imagine if you've read anything by her, totally funny, charming, inspiring, self-deprecating, witty, humble. She spoke for about 1 1/2 hours, totally improv, and then took questions from the audience.

I love her.

She talked a lot about writing, lots of good tidbits I could bring back to my students, but she mostly talked about what she believes about life and being true to yourself, about being reflective and honest enough to see yourself and take ownership over your decisions.

A lovely evening indeed, albeit a very late night for a Tuesday which sorts of throws my whole week into a game of catch up, but VERY well worth it.

Ever need some inspiration?

Follow this link to the video about a dad who completed an Ironman Triathlon with his disabled son. Two people have sent me this link recently and it's just too good to miss.
And grab your tissues.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm a happy running mama

Yesterday I ran the MDI (Mount Desert Island/ Acadia National Park) Half Marathon and OH MY GOODNESS... What a difference it was from the Boston Half Marathon in May. I guess I'm in better running shape, and I didn't have that nasty chest cold that I did in Boston, but yesterday was truly a world apart from my first try. Adrienne, I finally know how you felt in that race.

I won't go so far as to say it was EASY, but it was 2 hours and 29 minutes of joy with a slight tinge of pain (15 minutes faster this time!!). For REAL runners, that's sort of slow. For me? That time was my dream come true. That meant I stayed on pace of my regular running time for the whole damn thing. Except for some hip and knee pain that started around mile 7, I felt like a million bucks.

I had a hell of a week trying to get control of a stubborn bladder infection and I didn't think I was going to run it until Friday when I got the go-ahead from my doctor, though he looked at me like I was crazy when I asked. I actually felt great on Saturday morning, so I was so glad I had decided to go for it.

The weather was perfect (60 degrees and clear). The course is unbelievable. It starts through Bar Harbor toward the ocean, up a hill, and then onto the Carriage Trails (a groomed dirt/gravel path) for 9 miles that wrapped around the beautiful Eagle Lake; the trees are already tinged with reds and yellows here on the coast. Mile 6 was ALL up hill. Mile 7 was all down hill. Then it was up and down until the mean mile 11, up a steep hill for 1/2 mile. Then down hill, past a golf course, and onto the soccer field where you can see me below heading for the finish line.

During the Boston Half Marathon I had thoughts like this:
I'm going to die. Please let me die. Why can't I just die.

During yesterday's Half Marathon I had these thoughts:
WEEEEE!!! I'm so lucky to be ALIVE! What a beautiful WORLD!
Mile 12? ALREADY?

All my running friends: YOU MUST COME DO THIS RACE NEXT YEAR. Someone told me that Runners Magazine voted this the most beautiful half marathon course in America, and I know it's the only one in a National Park. I didn't take my camera with me, but look here for more pics.

My friend Susan ran with me... it was her first run of this distance and she did great.

What's next? One more triathlon in October (when I told my mom this she said: "Oh for crying out loud, my dear child"), and then I'll hang it up for the winter.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Go, Chris, Go!

Update from my brother:

"8am, Germany.
9am, Austria.
2pm, Switzerland:

That was the schedule today, very unintentional- my maps don't really outline the borders so much. I had quite the day, had to cross two rather high mountain passes, was not ideal weather again but beautiful just the same. Should be in Lucerne within two days at most. I am falling to sleep at night with bells in the surrounding hillsides, of both the cow and church variety. Italy is within my sights- chris."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

She's very flexible

I asked my freshmen to complete a reading interest survey so I can help them find an outside reading book to work on. One question was:
What topic would you be interested in reading about?

One girl wrote:

A story about someone being killed and then they try to find the killer and they get killed themselves. Or a romantic book.

Any suggestions people?

The eyes of their eyes are open

Here are the meek beginnings of our sunflowers last June:

“Bring me then the plant that points to those bright Lucidites swirling up from the earth, And life itself exhaling that central breath! Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light.”
Eugenio Montale

And now this:

All summer the stalks were growing taller, but no flowers came until last week. I felt like there was a line of headless sunflower people standing in our yard. Now, when I stand at the kitchen sink, I look out to see they have all opened their eyes and lifted their heads. They say: Well, Hello!

Taller than a daddy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bless this child (finally!)

Yesterday we FINALLY succeeded in having our blessing ceremony for Reed. It had been postponed for various reasons 4 times since last fall, and I am very happy that we did it and had such a beautiful day for it.

Our wishes for both of our children were to bless them with a ceremony where we welcome them to this big, wide world, confirm their relationship with their godparents, and promise to nurture them on whatever spiritual path they choose as they grow up. For both kids, we chose a simple outdoor ceremony on Jordan Pond where we read poems and blessings and then "baptized" them with the lake water.

Here is our sacred spot, one of my very favorites on this green earth.

Heading down to the water for the ceremony.

For Reed:
May you be blessed with the strength of your own spirit,
the light of the sun,
and the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of your parents' love,
the grace of your sister's friendship,
the confidence to take risks,
the desire to ask, to learn, to love,
the stability of earth,
and the firmness of rock.

If that's not holy water, I don't know what is.

Playing a very important part in this day, of course, are our dear friends and
Reed's godparents: Suzanne

and Sandi

And if that isn't enough for you to feel the love, here are short excerpts from their readings:

From Suzanne: "It is my privilege to be in your inner circle, to be one who is enchanted by you on a regular basis. Your charming giggle, periwinkle eyes, skin as soft as a pussy willow blossom, and smile that hints at a deep knowing as well as a slightly mischievous spirit-you are magical. You and Skyler and Ella and Maya, you are the glue that binds our families- because of you we are inextricably linked."

From Sandi: "The world is what we make it and there is far more beauty than not. We can consciously create and shape our lives in love. We can choose to breathe in the new and the fresh. I know, Reedo, that you come into the world knowing all these things on some level. Today, as I have accepted this role in your life, I sit humbly in a place of awe for all that is you. As with my own children, I can see and feel and know in my heart that the world is more beautiful because you are in it."

And off we go for some blueberry picking and brunch at the Jordan Pond house.

The documenters:


We got the kids to slow down for Popovers and hot chocolate. For a minute.
Many thanks to my mom and to the Carvers for making this such a special day.

p.s. all the REALLY GOOD pictures in this post are from Sandi.