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it has been five years (September 20) since we said we did and we still do.  Craig is an amazing, wonderful man; i am continually steadied by his strength and deep roots, and comforted by his gentleness.  we have added to our number since that day and seeing Craig in his new role as a father has deepened my love and respect for him.  at our wedding the priest and our friend, Tim Clayton, quoted a song by the Cowboy Junkies called Anniversary Song.  the song says what i want to say so well.  i love you, my dearest of friends.  i am yours always. 

 

Anniversary Song
Michael Timmins

Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
as that of the rain-soaked purple
of the white birch in spring?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
than on a warm fall night
under a Mackerel sky,
the smell of grapes on the wind?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And I’ll share them all for a cup of coffee
and to wear your ring

Have you ever had the pleasure of watching
a quiet winter’s snow slowly gathering
like simple moments adding up?

Have you ever satisfied a gut feeling
to follow a dry dirt road that’s beckoning you
to the heart of a shimmering summer’s day?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And I’ll share them all for a cup of coffee
and to wear your ring

And I don’t know how I survived those days
before I held your hand
Well I never thought that I would be the one
to admit that the moon and the sun
shine so much more brighter when
seen through two pairs of eyes than
when seen through just one

Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
as a face in a crowd of people
that lights up just for you?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
as when you wake
by the side of that boy or girl
who has pledged their love to you?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And now every morning there’s a cup of coffee
and I wear your ring.

I am drawn this morning, as many of us are, back to that strange Tuesday in 2001 when the world as our nation perceived it changed.  My dear friend and former roommate Laura has also posted thoughts this morning.  I had just moved to Arlington, VA from Baltimore in early summer 2001 after securing my first “real” job as a conference coordinator for an economic development non-profit.  In June of that year, the organization moved its office from the lobbying hub of K Street to the backyard of the White House at 15th and Pennsylvania NW.  Fortunately, our annual conference was scheduled that week in Philadelphia and our office in DC had very few people in it.  However, those that did remain faced extremely long walks home to MD and VA; each one made it home safely.

Our morning keynote speaker was just finishing up and I was diligently going from room to room for our morning breakout sessions, looking for speakers and assisting those that were setting up materials and presentations.  A woman, already sitting in one of the rooms took me by the arm and said, “Do you know what has happened?”  “No,” I said, “what is it?”  “A plane has flown into the World Trade Center.”  “Weird,” I said.  And, in total work mode, went on about my tasks.  Within minutes though, the seriousness and darkness of what was happening started sinking in.

My CEO quickly found me, “Have you called your parents?”  “No, I mean, I can’t get through.”  “Well, keep trying.  But, I want you to know that it’s your job to get speakers in these sessions.  We have speakers that were on their way via plane and have been grounded.  Pull board members, pull anyone.  But, get speakers in the breakouts.”  As he walked away, I thought – that man is crazy.  At the end of the day though, I believe he meant well and knew better than I did.  Roughly half of our attendees were, for the remainder of the day and conference, glued to the televisions the hotel had now posted on every floor of the building.  The other 500 or so wanted to continue the day as usual and attended the scheduled sessions.  Everyone responds differently and it was, I now believe, the right thing to do our best to provide the attendees with either option.

Finally, the sessions started and I tried calling my Mom one more time.  It was ringing.  “Hello?”  I could hear some panic in her voice and as I said “Mom,” she sounded like she was relieved and started to cry.  “I’m in Philadelphia, Mom.  I’m okay.”  My parents, thinking I was in DC, were uncertain about the varying reports – the National Mall was burning, there was smoke coming from the White House – that they were really wanting to hear from me, just to be sure I was okay.  If I remember right, my Mom got my Dad on the line and we had a moment to talk.  I remember feeling scared and uncertain.

I had to pull it together though, and managed to finish that strangest of days.  During a previously planned reception that evening, two of our French Canadian board members came up to me and said, “Janelle, you must let us take you to dinner.”  I was relieved to get out of the hotel and so one of our organization’s researchers and I went with the board members to dinner.  It was, oddly, a wonderful dinner.  We had seafood and wine.  We listened to President Bush speak to the nation and joined the other patrons in a collective holding of breath as sirens sped past the open-air restaurant.

In the days that followed, going to work became a new experience.  Our building was part of the “extended perimeter” around the White House.  The streets were closed and instead of cars there were tanks and hummers holding military men and women with large guns, looking constantly around them.  We had to show an ID to get to our building and answer the skeptical questions of a tall, serious, and somewhat intimidating soldier, “Where are you going?  How long will you be there?”  It felt like I was in another country and even though the “extended perimeter” eventually ended and all went basically back to normal, it was really those days following 9/11 that convinced me our country had changed significantly and that it would, in some ways, be different thereafter.

Seven years later, so much has changed both in the world and for me personally.  But this day will always be a day of remembering for me and no doubt for the many individuals who lost loved ones seven years ago and in the years since.  Thanks for letting me remember here.

We have been in our new home for two weeks now.  It seems longer for some reason.  So much has happened since we’ve been here: the conclusion of the olympics, one convention down, our requisite post-move trip to Ikea, our first overnight visitor (Nonny!).  It’s been a busy couple weeks.  

I have also had my first “suburban mom” experience (perhaps this has happened to other mothers/women outside of suburbia, but for some reason, it felt suburban to me).  So, I’m in Trader Joe’s and I drop a glass jar of Mango slices that breaks into many pieces on the floor, spilling the contents into a bona fide mess.  I’ve got E strapped on with the Ergo (neither of us were hurt).  Some nearby shoppers come to ask if we’re alright.  Then, over the store’s loudspeaker I hear, “we have a man down in the grocery aisle.”  Nice.  After making sure no one walks into our mess and waiting briefly for the nice Trader Joe’s staff to come clean up our mess, we grabbed a new jar of sliced Mango and headed to the checkout line.  This is where it gets good.  I alert the cashier to the case of wine underneath the cart so it doesn’t get missed as he scans the items in my cart.  He (a young high school/college-aged surfer looking guy) gives me a cheesy smile and says, “Are you sure you’re 21?”  At first, I sort of chuckled and said, “oh yeah” and was reaching for my ID when it suddenly hit me… he wasn’t asking for my ID.  He was joking.  I was pretty much in shock all the way to the car.  Didn’t only “older women” get this kind of stuff.  I mean, it wasn’t too long ago that I was carded every time I purchased alcohol and all of a sudden I’m getting teased about being older??  <SIGH>  I’m over it now, but in that moment it seemed like a big deal, like I had arrived in a new season of life.

Enough about me.  Our new place is great.  It’s very comfortable, lots of tall leafy trees.  There are great paths and trails that connect everything and we have a community garden in walking distance.  I’m going to look into that because we don’t get enough sunlight in our yard to grow much of anything.  I miss the Oakie House garden!  We have several community pools and parks too that E and I will have fun exploring.  One of the most exciting things is that we’re a little closer to the mountains, which I’m hoping will lead to our first family camping trip and more hiking.

Couldn’t post without some pics of E…

Fast hands.

What what what what what what.