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10 recent moments of kindness

1. Hazel and I found a wallet on the sidewalk.  Inside was a license, $5, a high school badge, a couple of credit cards…and um, a fake ID (Fake ID for a high schooler? Really?)   We did our recon and got the wallet back to its rightful owner.  I took the opportunity to teach Hazel about what it means to be a good samaritan….and then to deliver a preemptive lecture on underage shadiness ;)

2. During my morning commute:  I was having very little luck getting a taxi, and then a nice man on the opposite corner flagged one down and called across to me - You take this one.  It was really nice of him.

3. The ladies at MORE cupcake handed Felix a just-her-size cupcake.  She felt so special.

4. While brainstorming with a coworker, she created a persona to try and tell the story from a user’s pov.  She named her hypothetical internet searcher “Hazel.”  It was such a small but thoughtful thing - and it made me smile for the remainder of our working session.  I will remember to do this for others in the future.

5. I’ve been brutally sick this week…like couldn’t get out of bed, sick.  I called my mom and the next thing I knew, she swooped me up, took me to the doctor, picked up my favorite fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and tucked me back into bed, with the blinds drawn.  I may be all grown up…but I will always need my mama.

6. I gave two peer bonuses last week.  Peer bonus are one of my more favorite work perks - every quarter my company gives each employee a budget to recognize our peers for doing good work.  I love celebrating good work and I love that my company empowers me to do so.

7. While waiting for the elevator the other morning, I saw Hazel come charging down the apartment building hallway (unaccompanied and unexpected).  In a full toddler-gallop, with her arms outstretched she yelled “One more kiss! One more hug!"  That tender moment was short lived because I had to follow-up the embrace with a “you can’t actually just leave the apartment by yourself” talk!

8. Felix spent last Wednesday with Grandma A , while Hazel got some solo time with Grandma H.  Both girls came home with their toes painted pink.  Their grandmas embody all that is good and kind.

9. Piglet chocolates from Mimi.  TK chocolates from Jamie.

10. During a particularly stressful moment this past weekend, my husband grabbed my hand under the table and gave it a squeeze. A little gesture that said so much….it said:  I’ve got you, babe.

[From the Archives] A Pretty Perfect Game

I was browsing through my archives last night and came across this post I wrote a few years ago….and wanted to reshare for no other reason than because it seemed like a nice story to tell again on this lovely spring day.  xo

Last night, I was up late doing some work
and Simon had ESPN on while packing boxes.

They interrupted Sports Center to show the last inning of what was shaping up to be a no-hitter for Angel’s pitcher, Jared Weaver.
3 outs was all he needed to be only the 10th pitcher in the history of the franchise to throw a no-hitter.

The cool part, and the reason I am writing about this, I suppose…
is that his parents just so happened to be in the crowd watching.

You could read his mom like an open book.
She covered her mouth, clenched her eyes, fidgeted about with a nervousness you could almost feel through the television screen.
The people she was with (perhaps they were new friends she made at the game), kept rubbing her shoulders for support…
there was no mistaking that this was the pitcher’s mother.

His dad, however, was completely stoic.  
He sat motionless (save for the gulp of beer he slammed after the second out) with his body pressed against the back of his ballpark chair wearing a blank expression usually reserved for watching paint-dry or something equally banal, 
but there was a rigidity…a tension in his body told an entirely different story.
I can’t be sure
but I’d be willing to bet we was living every second on that mound with his son.
That was his little boy up there.

God, can you imagine?

the wind-up.  the release.  the moment of quiet as the ball travels to the plate (outcome yet to be determined)
All things witnessed thousands of times in their backyard over a lifetime
…now set against a very different backdrop - a major league ballpark.

Don’t Blink.

I have no vested interest in the Angels, but in that moment I put down my laptop and rooted for that no-hitter with all my heart
Not for the pitcher (who’s name I had to Google this morning)
but for his mom and dad…
the only people in the world who wanted it more than even their son himself.

Jared Weaver pitched a no-hitter last night.
As his teammates rushed the mound, the camera cut to his parents - now cheering and hugging
It was an image of pure joy.

I bet they were really proud of their son.

an update, of sorts

One month ago today we came home from vacation to a flooded house.

Since then we have taken up temporary residence in one terrible hotel, one fancy hotel and, most recently, a highrise apartment that will be home base for the next 3-6 months.

Our sublet is located directly across the street from the apartment where we used to live, back before we bought our house.  From our old living room, we watched as this building was built…then watched as families inhabited the modern, floor-to-ceiling windowed spaces.  I remember spending many warm nights sitting on our balcony hoping that someday we might get to live in this very space.  From the outside it seemed so chic.  The reality, of course, is much less grand.  (life lesson #1)

That’s not to say our apartment isn’t nice.  It is lovely.
3 bedrooms.  Self-closing drawers.  There is a pool, which will be delightful if this eternal winter ever lets up.  (you are all invited for a swim!)

But still, it isn’t home.

We brought over our art
a milkcrate of records
and more books.
That helped

Progress on our actual house has been SO MUCH SLOWER than I could have ever imagined.  Any by progress, I mean - no progress.  We are still finalizing estimates from the different sets of adjusters.  Once we have that, we can begin the actual fix-it process. Dealing with the admin piece of a house tragedy is in and of itself, a full time job (which has to be done on top of the full+ time jobs we already have.)

To be candid,
I think we have done an alright job navigating this whole situation. Alright….Not great.  

It’s not that the house ordeal in and of itself was enough to break us down - because really, at the end of the day, it’s just stuff.  The bigger thing at play, I think, is that before this all happened, I felt like I was already stretched as thin as could be…like I was running on empty…like I was just barely keeping my shit together.  And then, we got this news and without warning we had to conjure up incremental energy/time/money/patience to shoulder this massive burden.  All while being totally out of balance.

That knocked the wind out of me.

But that thing they say is true…
That thing about how you are never given more than you can handle. (life lesson #2)
And, unsurprisingly, we found the strength needed to navigate our first 30 days in limbo.

It hasn’t been all gloom, of course - we’ve had some wonderful times over the past month.  We’ve made great memories, explored new corners and had some truths reinforced:

  • Teamwork makes the dream work.
  • The generosity of our loved ones is humbling.
  • The strength of our support system is staggering.
  • A home cooked meal is love on a plate
  • Movie night and a shared bowl of popcorn is an effective antidote for extreme stress
  • A nighttime swim is our most valuable parental bargaining chip
  • Pain manifests itself in many different ways.  Just because someone’s version of “hurt” doesn’t look like yours doesn’t mean it is any less valid. (life lesson #3)

My goal from the beginning was to make this whole thing an adventure. That was naive, I think.  
We needed time to feel displaced and frustrated and overwhelmed… needed time to process.

But now, as we move into month 2, the worst part is behind us.  It is time to REBUILD and we will focus on doing so with an attitude of gratitude and that spirit of adventure that makes us, US!

xo, em

joyofthedayphoto:

today…..
I was on the beach and watched a little boy build a beautiful sand castle   embellished with seashells, coral and seaweed.   I watched in awe at what happened next.  The little boy bent down, scooped up the castle and carried it carefully to his mother who was unable to walk to waters edge.   He gently put the jostled castle down at her feet and announced proudly, "MOM!  I made you a castle!" a perfect moment.

joyofthedayphoto:

today…..

I was on the beach and watched a little boy build a beautiful sand castle   embellished with seashells, coral and seaweed.   I watched in awe at what happened next.  The little boy bent down, scooped up the castle and carried it carefully to his mother who was unable to walk to waters edge.   He gently put the jostled castle down at her feet and announced proudly, 
"MOM!  I made you a castle!"

 a perfect moment.

Malaprop of the day:
Last night, Hazel and I were talking about Captain Von Trapp (a very regular topic of conversation around our home, if you couldn’t tell) and she asked me what the Captain’s first name was.
Georg (pronounced like Gayorg), I told her.She thought for a minute and asked:  There’s two? (Apparently, also a common question these days)Two?  I asked her back.
And then she said:  ”Georg, the captain and Georg,the winnie-the-pooh guy.”
Georg & Eeyore, I corrected. But as I was answering her, the names sort of got jumbled in my mouth/head (try it). Totally Fair mistake, Hazel.
[tangentially related]
Another set of words that Hazel can’t keep straight:  Carousel/Parasol/Parachute.
And in a random but funny position to take: Hazel is not amused by parasols.
Her stand:  A parasol is an umbrella.  And you don’t need umbrellas in the sun.  She finds the word elusive and the concept absurd.

Malaprop of the day:

Last night, Hazel and I were talking about Captain Von Trapp (a very regular topic of conversation around our home, if you couldn’t tell) and she asked me what the Captain’s first name was.

Georg (pronounced like Gayorg), I told her.
She thought for a minute and asked:  There’s two? (Apparently, also a common question these days)
Two?  I asked her back.

And then she said:  ”Georg, the captain and Georg,the winnie-the-pooh guy.”

Georg & Eeyore, I corrected. But as I was answering her, the names sort of got jumbled in my mouth/head (try it). Totally Fair mistake, Hazel.

[tangentially related]

Another set of words that Hazel can’t keep straight:  Carousel/Parasol/Parachute.

And in a random but funny position to take: Hazel is not amused by parasols.

Her stand:  A parasol is an umbrella.  And you don’t need umbrellas in the sun.  She finds the word elusive and the concept absurd.

We’ve been at this displaced-from-our-flooded-home thing for 10 days now.
Last week was not a good week.  This week has been better.
Denial gave way to Sadness Sadness turned into Anger.
The good news:  I get stuff done when I’m mad.And the first thing I needed to do was figure out where we were going to live while our home is being fixed.
We made a hotel change.  A much-needed upgrade.We landed in a far more comfortable space -  a place with a playroom and pool and Egyptian cotton sheets (never underestimate the restorative power of nice bedding).   This hotel has helped us preserve our sanity while we figure out the longer term part of our living equation.
On Friday, I looked at apartments (places to live for the next 3-6 months).  I found one I liked… rather, one I liked enough (It has 3 bedrooms, a balcony and is located in our neightborhood!). We found out last night that we got the sublet!  We get to move into our home-away-from home next week.
Simon has been taking the lead on all-things related to Insurance (which is so many things).  We are navigating 2 claims processes - as our coverage is provided by both our association & homeowners policy.  It is all very complicated.  Thankfully my husband is an attorney and is good at things like reading contracts.  If I were doing this on my own, we would be screwed.
The girls had a tough adjustment period.  Hazel, especially.I’ve noticed that they have been leaning on each other.  Sisters taking care of sisters.  (That has been one of the silver linings of this whole ordeal.)
They are adjusting to our new normal.  We all are.
My bro, Andrew, said something that I found particularly helpful.He said:  ”In life, most pain doesn’t have an expiration date….but there is an end-date to this situation.  At some point you will be back (in a restored to your taste) home, and all of this will be OVER.”  
I liked that.  And it is on that (and perhaps the mosaic backsplash I am dreaming about for my kitchen) that I am focusing my energy.

We’ve been at this displaced-from-our-flooded-home thing for 10 days now.

Last week was not a good week. This week has been better.

Denial gave way to Sadness 
Sadness turned into Anger.

The good news:  I get stuff done when I’m mad.
And the first thing I needed to do was figure out where we were going to live while our home is being fixed.

We made a hotel change.  A much-needed upgrade.
We landed in a far more comfortable space -  a place with a playroom and pool and Egyptian cotton sheets (never underestimate the restorative power of nice bedding).   This hotel has helped us preserve our sanity while we figure out the longer term part of our living equation.

On Friday, I looked at apartments (places to live for the next 3-6 months).  I found one I liked… rather, one I liked enough (It has 3 bedrooms, a balcony and is located in our neightborhood!). We found out last night that we got the sublet!  We get to move into our home-away-from home next week.

Simon has been taking the lead on all-things related to Insurance (which is so many things).  We are navigating 2 claims processes - as our coverage is provided by both our association & homeowners policy.  It is all very complicated.  Thankfully my husband is an attorney and is good at things like reading contracts.  If I were doing this on my own, we would be screwed.

The girls had a tough adjustment period.  Hazel, especially.
I’ve noticed that they have been leaning on each other.  Sisters taking care of sisters.  (That has been one of the silver linings of this whole ordeal.)

They are adjusting to our new normal.  
We all are.

My bro, Andrew, said something that I found particularly helpful.
He said:  ”In life, most pain doesn’t have an expiration date….but there is an end-date to this situation.  At some point you will be back (in a restored to your taste) home, and all of this will be OVER.”  

I liked that.  And it is on that (and perhaps the mosaic backsplash I am dreaming about for my kitchen) that I am focusing my energy.

a conversation with Hazel

Yesterday morning, Hazel called out “Hi There!”  to the doormen as she emerged from the revolving door  (It should be no surprise that Hazel has become the best of buddies with our hotel staff over the past week or so.)

While waiting for our car,  the following conversation ensued.  
(captured exactly as I remember…)

Hazel: That’s silly.  He’s got two!

Me:
two what?

Hazel:
 Two whistles!  
She points to the taxi whistle hanging on a lanyard around the doorman’s neck.
(To the doorman) Do you have two whistles? 

Doorman: I do!  Do you have a whistle?

Hazel
: I have one whistle.  But I don’t know where it is. Actually, it is in my house.  My house got flooded.  Did you know that?  

My whistle doesn’t go on my neck.  It is different. I have a Captain Von Trapp Whistle.  It is hard to blow. You have to blow like this  (she mimics the whistle pattern the Captain makes as his children march in.)

I have goggles that hang on my neck.  

Me:  Goggles?  Do you mean binoculars?

Hazel:  Oh, yeah.  Binoculars.  That’s silly.  My sister has….um….a binocular necklace too.  I have a butterfly one. Felix has um…a different one.  A different green one.

Doorman:  Should I get binoculars to hang on my neck?

Hazel:  No.  That’s alright.  
Hey, what the heck is going on there?  
(She points to the statue of the man holding an umbrella standing)
Ha.  He’s Frozen! 

Ah. Hazel’s car is here. Ok, Bye!  
Have a GREAT day everyone.

And with that, she gave the staff a wave and redirected her attention to climbing into the car, all by herself (of course).  

The doormen smiled big and waved goodbye warmly.

Kids are funny (er, especially when they are your own… :)
But Hazel really is a character.
She makes people laugh.  Me included.

I share this story to capture a conversation my girl had her last day as a two year old.

I can only imagine what THREE will hold for her….for us.  She is so silly.

We brought Hazel to visit the house again this morning. At a loss for what to do, she held piglet close and rocked him. I wanted to put her in my arms and do much the same.

We brought Hazel to visit the house again this morning.
At a loss for what to do, she held piglet close and rocked him.
I wanted to put her in my arms and do much the same.