weekly photo challenge: gathering

snow on football field

Conversation on the Football Field; Kyiv, Ukraine




6.26.2015 love wins

Love won on Friday, June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled that all people in the United States are guaranteed the right to marry. It was an exciting step forward and a celebratory day filled with happiness as everyone in the nation was granted a common right. My family ended the day at the home of our President, where a steady stream of hundreds were gathering, to mark the joyous occasion by taking photos and singing patriotic songs.

photo credit for this image: my cousin

a break


helping with the move

One of my favorite people has moved out of state. She left with my sister (another favorite person) and her dad who has a new job. I met her the day she was born and thought we would live close to each other for a longer time. The move is good for this little one’s family and for our parents, who will be much closer to their grandchild. I really miss her laugh and giving her squishy hugs.

This winter has been stressful and tiring. My ‘interview suit’ has been to many funerals but no interviews…I have no energy to search for new opportunities.
In addition to my day job I now teach an English class on Monday nights. It takes me a ridiculous amount of time to prepare for class each week. The work is so rewarding though as my student expresses gratitude I have never experienced from my public school students. We both appreciate the friendship developing from our connection.
My husband has been away for work 49% of the time for the last five months. We are independent people and I love my space but even for me, that is too much.

The long, cold winter (which I love) is fading away and signs of spring are surfacing. One of my favorite signs of spring is a vacation to help push us through the month-long testing before more exams start to wrap up the school year.

Today, I am thankful for a long time to sit in quiet with nothing else to do.


waiting in Frankfurt

men on father’s day

Today was one of the first days in a very long while that I spoke to my father and he sounded genuinely happy. It was a rare, clear, fully positive conversation and today,
there is great reason to celebrate.

My younger sister delivered her first child yesterday. (The most important point of all of this, just in case it is missed, is that I am now, officially, an auntie!) She worked through a long, difficult delivery with her husband by her side. As I worried about her and her daughter, I felt helpless. This was the first time since I have known her that I couldn’t show her what to do, tell her what happened when I did it, make jokes about how I messed it up or relate anything personal to her experience.

It was all new and I could not help her in any way.

As part of many proud moments that occurred yesterday, she did not need me at all.     Her husband was by her side, every step of the way from her water breaking to the delivery approximately 36 hours later. In her recovery room I watched a brand new dad sooth and swaddle and change diapers. I was proud to see him do so well. He praised my sister’s hard work, endurance and tenacity. I was again proud she chose her life partner so well. I felt so lucky to witness a new family on their first day together. I was proud to visit them with my husband who is such a good, patient person who does amazing work. I was pleased to see messages from friends who are fathers who were checking in to make sure my sister was ok and that I was ok. It was nice to know that these kind, attentive men—with or without children—will be celebrating today. Some will spend time with their children, some will make time for their fathers and some will be fortunate enough to do both.

weekly photo challenge: in the background

When I first visited here 15 years ago, I had driven all day with a folded map by my side and a new suit in the back seat of my car. I found a hotel not too far from the location of my interview so I would have an uncomplicated drive the next morning. I had a general idea where I was but being a disoriented stranger, new to town, I was unsure of which direction I was facing.

After dinner, which I ate alone in my hotel room, I took a walk to the river— trying to relax and wondering if I would like living in this area. Alone. Away from family and friends.

I walked to this pier, looked across the water and saw the U.S. Capitol. On that unusually warm spring evening, sitting alone at the end of a dock, I knew I had found my home.


reminder on a sunday

Sunday morning I received a reminder of just how much my pet, a true family member, means to me. I am part of a married couple. We met a bit later in life when things were already going quite well… so there are no kids, just us, and my cat. “Cat” (who does have a real name…but no one else’s has been used here so I will give him the same consideration) is a fixture at home, sleeping in the bay window, impressively reminding us when it is exactly time for 6am and 6pm feedings, going a little cat-crazy some evenings just as we have settled into bed, sometimes ignoring us and doing his own thing. He’s good at being a cat.

Sunday morning we awoke early and his head was tilted sideways, one eye was dilated and he was pacing in circles (sometimes figure eights) and unstable on his feet. Did he have a stroke, is there anything he could have possibly gotten into, will he be all right…?
I took longer than usual to get ready just in case I was about to say goodbye at the animal hospital. Logically, I have been preparing for this. When I adopted him, I was his third home and now he is 16 years old. Emotionally, I am absolutely not ready. I kept trying to see if he was in pain but he seemed happy, just confused. After a couple of hours he was still pacing, very tired and not eating— we left for the hospital.

In acknowledging I may have to say goodbye to my friend I first wanted to make sure he wasn’t suffering. That is my biggest fear. My family loves its animals but sometimes too much and more than once we have unknowingly prolonged suffering more than necessary because we could not bear to part ways. I am determined, no matter how difficult, to not do this to him.

Some see cats as aloof or cold or not as loving as dogs (which are great too) but I don’t agree. Cat has stuck by me longer than a few friendships, he outlasted a marriage, has been a fixture at grrl’s nights, he tested potential dates for me (sometimes showing better judgement than I did) and he has been with me longer than my husband. Cat is the one who waits on the bathroom rug for me to wake in the morning, he paces at my feet while I make coffee and sometimes sits on the toilet seat waiting for me to get ready. He greets me at the door at the end of the day and stays a little closer when I am sick and a lot closer if it’s just the two of us at home. I can’t imagine him not being around but I know at some point I will have to.

Many hours later… after all the talk of medical history, lab tests run, worst-case scenarios and  possible neurological appointments discussed, my anti-vet, very angry, wobbly cat was returned to me yesterday afternoon and we were able to go home. He is on an antibiotic just in case of a deep inner ear infection. He has been diagnosed with vestibular disease which in many cases goes away on it’s own and, lucky for us, it looks like that is what is happening.
I am very thankful to know we have some more time.