Sunday, May 4, 2014

Paris is Always a Good Idea


- Audrey Hepburn (happy birthday today) said, "Paris is always a good idea."

- For the day I was there, it was, but Naninne, Belgium? She stole my heart.

- How do I manage to move to Naninne?

- I've been traveling Europe and selling my house. At once.

- Life is chaotic. And wonderful.

- Making lists is the only way I can cope.

- Oh my god, then there was Bruges. I loved Bruges.

- Paris was just like in the movies, but being there was duller and it does smell like a toilet.

- The appraiser comes this week.

- I have to pack a house and transfer schools and doctors and everything…paperwork sucks.

- I've haven't felt this amount of possibility spread before me in years. A feast.  Moveable, even.

- I dream every night of painting large canvases of nude women.

- I dream of living in Nannine.

- I'll post in depth when I can. The photos I have to share!

- I am missing my house already; the baby rabbit living in my day lilies, the hummingbirds.

- We begin anew in Atlanta in a few weeks.

- I had sworn I would never return home.

- Never say never.

- Set aside your worn out fears.

- Go!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


One of my daily rituals (I like to call them rituals by the way, it elevates the sense of mystery and intrigue) is to raise the blinds and watch the birds visit the feeder at sunrise. See, how lovely the word ritual makes this (routine, habit, chore) sound? Shift the veil, and really, what I do each week day morning is routine because it is a dance, carefully choreographed, no room for improvisation, or the kids will miss the bus as the toddler tears the blinds to pieces trying to see the birds.

This week there have been slight changes and each has caused me to slow down a beat. The bird song, charms of pragmatic goldfinch, and delicate apricot blossoms; these little gifts give me such joy. February, despite being the shortest month, always seems never ending. Silly thought because we all know February is nothing compared to the interminable nature of March. Cabin fever mixes with one fleeting spring day like today and I start thinking about gardens, bare feet, and leisurely strolls. Yet, there awaits a gauntlet of cold wet muck peppered with tornado warnings to bear before spring shakes her skirts out and leaves her boots in the mudroom. Sigh.

Come with me into the woods where spring 
is advancing, as it does, no matter what,
 not being singular or particular, 
but one of the forever gifts, 
and certainly visible.

Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

Monday, January 6, 2014

Today is my youngest child's first birthday. I can't wait to watch her dive into her first cupcake. My husband requested butter cream frosting and he topped the little cakes with one of his childhood favorites, De Ruitjter's Chocoladehagel Melk. They are very tasty despite looking like mouse poops which freak me out when I find them on the counter.

The older kids taste-tested the birthday cupcakes for breakfast, just in case I would need to make a new batch. Luckily for me, these passed muster. Given I used 2 lbs of butter, 1lb of confectioner sugar, and twice as much vanilla extract as called for, they should taste good. Or at least cause a sudden sugar coma so you'd never notice if they are bland.

Here I could write about how the year flew by, how time has changed so many things, how we forget she hasn't been here all along, but I know you understand these things. Any attempt to express how I feel about my children growing up wouldn't quite be right, or succinct, or even linear. How do I even begin to qualify the way my children make me feel so expansive yet so protective simultaneously? Big and small, give and take, in and out, filling up and letting go… like a heartbeat.

Happy birthday, little one.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I have been very intrigued by the artists, designers, and bloggers who post everyday. Such dedication! I toyed with the idea of creating a series for the new year, maybe a painting a day, the popular portrait a week of your children, or even simply writing diary style posts each day. Then I woke up from la la land.

Even though I love the idea of painting or writing each day, I would quickly lose the joy those activities bring me if I felt obligated to do them. So, if I do happen to paint a bit or write a bit or snap some photos each day, I won't feel pressured to make more of them than they already are. There would be no need for perfection, or timeliness, or even a decent piece of work. I wouldn't care what people might think of them, because it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of my work. I create for myself and share it when I find time. The important practice is the practice. The doing, for those brief moments, restores me to myself. My authentic self; not the person others need or want or demand I be, but the person I truly am. This includes the self deprecating voice in my head I have housed far too long. One of the most important lessons 2013 offered me and will be the focus, the practice, for the coming year is Whitman's advice, "Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults your soul."

Thank you to a friend for sharing that quote with me and I'll return the gift to you, with a poem that suits this first day of a new year, by Mary Oliver (of course!).


Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though I'm really traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.