Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Girls In White Dresses...."

These two darling girls were baptized last Saturday by their dad's.  When asked what her favorite recollection was, Pretty Girl is quick to point out that her cousin was by her side.  I love the sweet friendship these two cousins share - the support and love they have for each other.  I hope it continues long into their adult life.

The day was poignant for me because after parenting two boys through baptism, I finally got to stand behind the baptismal font waiting for my daughter with a big hug and a towel.  I felt like I got to watch the whole event "behind the scenes".

This was significant because I remember with perfect clarity coming up from my own baptism and seeing my Grandma Hoopes at the top of the steps with a proud smile.  My mom had died the previous year, so it was a great relief to have someone I loved helping me through this new stage.  

So blessed to be alive and witnessing my daughter make good decisions!

The photo above is my favorite from the baptism.  My darling Aunt Claudia is representing several generations of strong, amazing women who are no longer here, but were as real to me during the ceremony as gentle hands resting on my shoulders and warm arms around me while I listened to my oldest play the rest hymn.  Pretty Girl is a precious link in a long, line of brilliant people.  

My other favorite photo (above).  The joy of these two together was a sight to behold!  I swear there are angels around them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Because It Was My Birthday...

In honor of my birthday...I'm posting Eliot!!!!

This poem is me.  This poem is my children.  This poem is Charlottesville.  And finally, this poem is my Grandma Hoopes.

I have bolded my favorite sections.  But truly, it is ALL my favorite.  It runs through my head frequently - more than scriptures, more than Llewellyn, and more than any piece of music.  I also have the whole thing memorized.  That's very pathetic, I know.  

I get giddy in anticipation of a quiet, uninterrupted read.  

This is my birthday treat.

The Long Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
     So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
     And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
     And should I then presume?
     And how should I begin?

          . . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

          . . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep… tired… or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
     Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
     That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
     “That is not it at all,
     That is not what I meant, at all.”

          . . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

T. S. Eliot

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sneak Peak

For the record, I didn't want to do a family portrait again this year because last year's was perfect.  So that's why Greg is absent.  But in the end, I wanted one of me in the middle of all the craziness - something to put in my office.  

It didn't turn out exactly what I'd imagined - but nothing rarely does.  The kids pictures were stunning.  

And that's all that mattered.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Little Things

At the end of September, Greg and I took another get-away-together-weekend sans children.  It was SO relaxing!!   Above all, I was reminded of all the little things I love about being married to this wonderful man.

Case in point...

Greg had arranged this cute little fruit bowl on the counter top when I woke up the first morning of our trip.   

He'd also eaten most of my single Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar with cookie sauce while at the same time neglecting the two cases of his own candy stacked underneath.  I'm still laughing.

Aside from my chocolate bar, this was my one major indulgence during the trip.

We honestly didn't do much - which was heaven in itself.  We ate when we got hungry, slept when we were tired and took naps just for the fun of it.  

Hooray for no schedules!!  

A couple splurge shopping trips to the outlets by the border.  And one non-crowded morning at Sea World (aka the amusement park that's tanking).

The rest of the trip looked like this...

Friday, October 2, 2015

"You are not your ashes, you are a flame.  Do not ask the shadows, the Light of the World knows your name." - Nichole Nordeman