Sunshine of My Life

A special song . . . for a special day . . . 


Happy Birthday, dear Tom.


A year ago, when we were celebrating your last birthday, we would have had a hard time imagining all that would transpire over the next twelve months.  (Really.  This has been a banner year, hasn't it?)  And all through this rather mess of a year, you have maintained those qualities that drive and root you (and that I love most):  balance, integrity, thoughtfulness, creativity, and - best of all - a winning sense of humor.


Last January, I found this quote by Zora Neale Hurston and I wrote it in my journal:

"There are years that ask questions, and years that answer."  

Looking back now, I'm thinking that, for you, this was one of those years that ASK questions.  And I'm thinking, then, that this coming year will be one of those with some answers.

I can give you a few answers right now, though . . . 

You are the sunshine of my life.


You are the apple of my eye.


I feel like this is the beginning, though I've loved you for a million years.


Happy birthday!




Sing With Me

Soundtrack . . . 


When Brian and Lauren first got engaged, I asked Brian if I could knit Lauren a special shawl.

He said . . . Nah.  She's not a shawl kind of girl.

I said . . . Okay.  No problem.  Glad I asked.

And I let it go.

Until. . .

I had lunch with Carole and Patty back in October.  And they were pretty incredulous.  (Because we all know that EVERY girl is a shawl kind of girl.)  And right there, in the Taco-Bell-Turned-Indian-Place, they whipped out their phones, called up Ravelry, and had me set up with the Sweet Dreams pattern and a good idea for yarn before you can say "Boys-don't-know-shit!"  


So sing with me, sing for the years,

Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears . . . 


Sing with me, just for today . . . 

(Brian was wrong, by the way.  She IS a shawl kind of girl!)

Dream on!

(Ravelry details here.)

So. . . We Had a Little Reception

As you already know, Brian and Lauren eloped in late October.  To celebrate with family and friends, they threw a grand reception on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


And - WOW!  What a party!

As the groom's mom, I didn't have anything to do with the planning or preparation.  Lauren and her mom, though?  Oh.My.God.  They went all out to create an absolutely perfect event! 


(I'm not kidding here.  Pinterest . . . come to life!)


Everything was PERFECT.  It was lovely and special and intimate.  And . . . most of all . . . it really reflected Brian and Lauren -- who they are and how they like to do things.


And we had an awfully lot of fun together, too.  (It's not often my whole family gets all dressed up at the same time!)






And even though he's all-grown-up and a Married Man (and all that), there's still plenty of THIS to go around . . . 


(Yeah.  Locked out.  Ha.Ha.)

 It was a wonderful celebration.  Filled with . . . 


and all about these two!


What a wonderful, perfect celebration!


The first four photos in this post are courtesy of Alyssa McElheny, photographer.  (The rest are mine.  I'm sure that's evident!)  When the rest of the official photos come out, maybe I'll share them with you.  (For now . . . this is all I've got!)




Sundays are for Poetry



So Much Happiness

for Michael

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness, there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records. . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch.  You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

                    --- Naomi Shihab Nye
                          included in {Risking Everything} 110 Poems of Love and Revelation

A Thanksgiving Throwback


Tom and I started dating during the summer of 1979 . . . when we were both home for summer break.  I was between my sophomore and junior years at the University of Wyoming; he was heading into his senior year at Boise State University.

We headed back to our respective colleges in the fall -- but our relationship held through the distance.  We managed to visit back and forth about once a month (usually traveling by Amtrak), and our phone bills were pretty high.  We also wrote letters.  (Lots and lots of letters!)

At Thanksgiving, I decided to drive up to Boise (a 17 hour trip) to be with Tom.  (I found a couple of other UW students who wanted to go to Idaho Falls, so they helped pay for gas and shared the driving.)  It was my first Thanksgiving away from my family -- and the first time Tom and I would celebrate the holiday together.  

We took these pictures of each other before our dinner that day.

Tom at TG 1979
Tom at TG 1979

And what do we remember most about that glorious meal now . . . 36 years later?

  • Tom recalls that we didn't thaw the turkey (about a 9-pounder) in time -- and ended up leaving it out on the counter all night.  (And we lived to tell the tale!)
  • I remember that our attempt at gravy failed miserably -- and, in fact, settled into a horrific 3-layer conglomeration that was not edible at all.
  • We both remember that we'd eaten big chunks of pie (probably for breakfast), but hid that fact in the photos with a clever placement of the wine bottle.  (Remember that Almaden wine???)
  • I also remember that my Mom wasn't terribly keen about my driving that far - or my not being home for the holiday.  In the end, though (because she really liked Tom), she gave me her blessing -- and sent us the centerpiece for our table.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving -- and such fun to remember that holiday way back then!

Doing it Their Way . . . Perfectly

Last May, I shared this happy news.

Then, one day in July, I got a text:

Mom, if you didn't see me get married, would it break your heart?

I remember swallowing hard, and then quickly typing:

Absolutely not!

Because . . . I firmly believe that weddings should be whatever the couple wants.  Some brides want a storybook wedding with all the bells and whistles.  And some don't.  Some girls have dreamed of being a bride all their lives.  And some haven't.  Some couples want to pull out all the stops.  And some want to save up for a house.  

I think that weddings should be perfect -- for the couple.

(Even when the couple includes my kid!)

Brian and Lauren (now living in Colorado) decided they wanted a "destination elopement" -- private, romantic, meaningful, and picturesque.


They were married yesterday.


On Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.


Just what they wanted! Absolutely perfect.

(I am thrilled.)


Wedding photographs by Alyssa Mc Elheny Photography.


My Garden Hero

You know that old saying . . . your eyes are too big for your stomach????

Well.  That holds true for me in my garden.  Because . . .  my ideas are too big for my ability to dig.

FullSizeRender 12

For reasons I may (or may not) choose to ever explain, I don't have the upper body strength for much digging.  Oh, I can dig little holes . . . for planting herbs and small flats of flowers and tiny succulents.  But when it comes to . . . planting trees.  Or setting stepping stones.  Or spreading 4 cubic feet of mulch.  Or transplanting hostas.  Or digging out root balls.  Or putting in a whole new patio.  Well . . . then I have to call in My Garden Hero.


He says he is Not a Gardener.

But I know he's just kidding himself.

Because anyone who puts that much effort into helping me create a beautiful garden space?

My Garden Hero . . . 

FullSizeRender 13

 and a (Secret) Gardener!

(Thanks, Tom!)


Blink of an Eye

When you welcome children into your life, you get a lot of well-meaning advice . . .

enjoy every moment

it goes by so fast

they'll be grown in the blink of an eye

That blink-of-an-eye part?

Totally true.

Because one day, there was this . . . 

Bath baby

and in the blink of an eye, there was this . . . 




 Please join me in congratulating Brian . . . and his lovely fiancé, Lauren!


I'm so proud of you, Brian . . . and so excited to have Lauren in your life - and, now, our family!

(But, wow.  That growing up stuff really DID go fast. . . )

We're a Little Bit . . .

When it comes to vacations, Tom and I have very different ideas.  

In fact, when the two of us think about "the perfect vacation," it instantly reminds me of this old schtick from Donny and Marie . . .



When it comes to vacations . . . 


I'm a little bit

  • sit on my butt in the sun while I read for hours
  • (and have the pool boy bring me another Piña Colada, will you?)

OR, I'm a little bit

  • let's visit major world cities, damn the crowds, and see as many sights as possible with very little down time
  • (but with plenty of wine, thankyouverymuch)


 While Tom is a little bit

  • fly-fishing
  • (and keep me away from the crowds!)
  • (and I see plenty of the world for my work, thankyouverymuch)

There you have it!

This is why I go on major-cities-of-the-world vacations with my sister, and why Tom goes on exotic expeditions with his fishing buddies.  And why neither of us minds at all.

(It's also why our cottage up north is perfect for both of us.)  (Without the pool boy, of course.)

But once in a while, we stumble onto the perfect vacation destination for both of us --- like Belize: great beach-y resorts AND world-class fishing mecca!

In Belize, we get up early - together - every day.

Me? I watch the sunrise . . . thinking quiet serenity, photography, art-inspiration.


Tom?  Appreciates the sunrise . . . as the starting gun to a morning full of bone fish and barracuda!


For me, a morning at the pool or the beach, with my book or my knitting (or even my sketch pad) . . . 


 For Tom, a morning in the flats.


Then, we meet up in the afternoon for drinks . . .


and dinner . . .


 and romantic sunsets.


 Really.  Belize is a perfect vacation spot for for us!  A little bit country beach . . . and a little bit rock-and-roll fishing!



PS:  Sometimes I even convince him to hang out at the pool . . .