Saturday, November 24, 2012

so good.

The friends we are with for Thanksgiving have moved since our last visit and are now living just blocks away from the house we lived in when we lived in Richmond.  That has been such a lovely perk of this trip.  We loved walking these streets and alleys and spent a lot of time at the nearby school playground when we lived here...

aren't these pretty?  what's Thanksgiving without a little crafting?
We have known this family since our kids were even littler - the littles were 18 months when we met and now they're big strapping seven year olds - so there is a lot of comfort and flow with them, but it was best when we were out enjoying the world together.  You can almost watch their primal brain kick in and take over as they leap from rock to rock and explore; their enjoyment is instant and goes deep.  After a morning taking in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (wow!!), they had a lot of energy to put into this romp.

The James River 

And then home to decorate and make food...

Chickpea cutlets and gravy, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, butternut squash and raspberry lemon pie...oof! Delicious.
well, hello, Jim! you are such a lovely host.
We got a surprise phone call from Dan, who is in Montreal at a conference. I think it made us miss him even more...(We're done with the travel for a bit after this.  Enough, already.)

"I can't express how much we miss you and love you and want you to be with us..."
Eliza and Papa
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

It's a short trip with people we don't see near often enough, so we packed it in with more time on Friday at the river, this time over the swaying suspension bridge to Belle Isle...

So many things to be thankful for.  Friends to travel to who welcome you like family.  Friends to come home to who welcome you like family.  Healthy bodies and minds. Comforts like clean floors and laundry and so much good food and a warm safe place to sleep.  Our trip home today - through a light snow in the mountains of West Virginia - was so easy, though long, and I just kept running a list through my mind of all that we have in this life.  It is so good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

the small things

We have spent this weekend trying to come into the center of things.  To be centered.  To find some grounding.  We so badly want to be out and playing with our friends - all of us! - and we are just about there.  Ani is currently in love with Garfield and lay all morning Saturday in this sunny spot, reading to herself and occasionally, when it was just soooo funny she had to share, aloud.  That might be my favorite way to experience Garfield - through her chuckling, would-you-believe-he-glued-John-to-the-chair?! voice.

I was having a much harder time finding peace, and as Dan left the house to go and write I decided the only way to save the day for myself was to get outside.  Ani isn't the only one who's been in quarantine this last month, and it was on the heels of 5 weeks of no Dan, so I was feeling, shall we say, tender this weekend, and I don't mean fond-tender, I mean raw.  So out it was. 

It was, as usual, life-saving.  Relationship-saving. Sanity-saving.

The girls were off and running, running, running, up and up and up, as I slowly meandered before the climb, taking in the small glories along the way.  The woodpecker's work...

The hidden wonders...

When we reached the top, where the magical rocks are, we all found our own solitary spots without any discussion.  Ani had made lunch for us all, and we ate it in our own spots on the backs of these stone creatures.

can you see them?

We found so much chickweed (stellaria) along the path in her fall growth.  I filled my empty tin to take some for our salad.  We returned home filled with fresh air and the sort of soothing only stones and moss and fungus and pine needles and woodpeckers can provide.

In the afternoon Ani declared it "art time" and asked me to show her how to make the lanterns! The smallest balloons are just the right size for her hands, especially when I helped her get to the easier parts a little more quickly.  She can tend towards being a perfectionist, and these are definitely what I think you would call "wabi-sabi", where the imperfections are part of what make them so beautiful, so this was a little challenging for her, but she persisted...

...and they are such beautiful little cups.

We ended the day with special treats for all of us - a beloved adult visitor for the girls and a date for me and Dan.  Should I say that again? A date. Do you know how much can be discussed, mended, laughed about and reminisced over in the span of a few hours alone?  Our last date was in August, and let me tell you that a date every 3 months is just not enough.  It took us so many years to get to a point where we wanted to leave the girls with anyone, but now it is a date for them too, they love this friend (and her sister) so much.  

Ah. Moving closer to center.  We are taking advantage of Ani's recovery and getting the heck out of town tomorrow to visit dear friends in Virginia.  Yahooooo!