Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nothing Something Important Happened Today

Dorthea Balabus
May 5, 1933 - January 27, 2013

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, my Yaya took her last breaths. She died in her sleep, snug in her butterfly sweatshirt, surrounded by the photos of those who knew and loved her. It was the conclusion of her journey here, the journey we all take. It is the best we can hope for, to love and be loved and grow old before that journey's end. Yaya succeeded in all three.

So today is not a day to be too terribly sad. (Disclaimer: I can't actually tell anyone else how or what to feel. I'm speaking from my own perspective.) Today is a day to mark as the end of a story without which I wouldn't even be here.

It is important that she was here. It is important that she loved her family and her friends. It is important that they loved her back.

Happy trails, Yaya. You will not be forgotten.

Week Four


The library. In my head it sounds more posh, like, "the lahhhbry."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life does go on

Soren came downstairs this morning wearing the shiny silver pants I bought him for his preschool Christmas program angel costume. He'd been wearing sweats earlier, so I asked why he'd changed. He said he was playing dress up.

Me: So what are those pants for? What do you do when you're wearing them?
Soren: These are abseiling pants!

Once again, the frequent watching of Fireman Sam around here has resulted in the accumulation of some excellent British vocabulary.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

It has been an emotional couple of weeks.

I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have made it 31 years in life with 3 out of my 4 biological grandparents still alive. It is not as rare a thing as it used to be, but still, I don't have many peers who can say the same. I had one great-grandparent (by marriage) in the picture when I was a youngster. My children have had three on my side, plus another two on Tom's. That is quite a thing.

And yet.

Nothing lasts forever. No one lasts forever.

And for the past couple of weeks, my mom has been losing her mom.


My Yaya (Greek for 'grandmother') has always been a big part of my life. Co-matriarch of the Stepford clan (along with my great-aunt Julie), lover of books and movies and animals and the ocean, world traveler, adoring of her grandkids and great-grandkids, always ready to hug you or feed you or both. She used to clutch my hand and gasp when my sister whirled her way onstage in the Nutcracker every year. She and Aunt Julie would regale us with stories every time we visited, cackling delightedly all the while. She almost always had a camera within easy reach, to the chagrin of her sometimes reluctant photographic subjects, but the resulting shelves of photo albums are rather magnificent to behold. Her hugs have a warmth and intensity in a class of their own.


The aggressive cancer that was only so recently discovered in her has given time for some goodbyes without too much time for dwelling. She hasn't had months or years of suffering. These are small but not insignificant comforts. She would have been 80 this year, in May. Objectively speaking, that is a pretty damned good run. Of course, humans tend to have a tough time being objective when dealing with matters of mortality, and I think losing a parent is a difficult thing at any age. I won't even pretend to know what my mom is going through right now, simultaneously ready for everything to be over and also dreading that final phone call.


Yaya, you taught me to not just enjoy but really embrace the things about which we are passionate in life. To hell with anyone who thinks it's silly; let them laugh, let them roll their eyes. Follow your heart and don't let anything stand in your way. Get the hammer, get the nails.

I love you. I'll miss you a lot. But I will never forget you. Vade in pace.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week Three


Two of our three bathrooms have these cool faucets.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week Two

We hung these lights on our dining room window at Christmastime. But I like them, and they're plain white, so I think they're going to stay up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Birthday Girl

Eleri turned three yesterday! Holy cow. She had a good day, I think. First thing in the morning she got to open a couple of gifts from Soren. (He'd picked out a pony and a pair of race cars for her.) The first thing she said upon opening the bag was, "*gasp* Wow! You got me my own vehicles!" It was pretty adorable. After we dropped Soren off at school, I asked what she wanted to do for the morning, and she just wanted to go back home and hang out. She requested snuggles on the couch and iPod time, which she mostly spent watching videos of her soccer class from the fall.

We picked up Soren from school, returned home for a lunch of mac & cheese, and then met up with A and his mom & brother at Huntley Meadows Park to go for a walk in the woods. Poor El would have been happy as a clam to skip the walk and spend the whole time digging in the dirt of the path, but we did eventually make it all the way around the loop. It was a pretty warm afternoon, for January.

Back home, the kids got a bit of TV time, and then when Tom got home from work, we all went out to dinner at the Silver Diner. The kids both got free (tiny) milkshakes for El's birthday, and the lass beamed while everyone sang to her. Back home once more for the opening of the rest of her gifts, and then it was off to bed. A fine day, all around.

Happy birthday, Ellsabells. Love you tons, my little snugglebug. :)





Thursday, January 03, 2013

Week One

Our downstairs light fixtures are super fancy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

52 Weeks Around the House

Much as I enjoy the photo-a-day challenges, they are really hard to keep up with. And since I've fallen way, way out of the habit of taking pictures every day, I'd like to ease back into the swing of things with a photo-a-week project. And what might be the theme of this project? Why, our new house seems like an excellent photography subject. I'll try to capture details and overviews, the interesting and the mundane, hopefully at least a couple of months of considered composition before it devolves into the inevitable "gah, it's Sunday night and I haven't taken a picture for the week, here's a light switch." Hehe.

Anyway! Here's a photo I took on New Year's Eve. Call it Week 0 or a preview or what have you. This is part of the wall I painted in the kids' room.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Back to the real world

Tomorrow we return to our regularly-scheduled programming. Even though we didn't travel at Christmastime this year, it's still felt like we've been a bit removed from reality. Turns out that moving while stumbling through the fog of a massive head-cold can make you feel more than a little out of place. ;) But here we are in 2013, and tomorrow we get back to business.

Bright and early, the kids and I will have our first commute to preschool from this house. I really, really hope I don't sleep through my alarm. I know Soren's excited about getting back to school. He's been going a little bit stir crazy these past several days. Eleri too, though less so, I think. Not that I can blame the poor kiddos. It has, however, been extraordinarily helpful to be able to send them into the backyard to play. They will happily ride their trike and scooter out there on the deck in the cold until their noses and fingers are frozen. (They also get into plenty of trouble, digging in the planters and playing with the hose. Ahem.) But since we've basically quarantined ourselves this past week, the kids have been somewhat wanting for social interaction, so I'm sure that school for Soren and mall walk for Eleri (and me) will be most welcome diversions.

For my part, I'm looking forward to hopefully getting back to Zumba tomorrow night. It's been over two weeks! I'm probably going to be woefully out of shape, but it will be good to get back out there. I'm glad I finally feel well enough to go. Stupid cold.

Tomorrow I also hope to unveil a new photo project for the year. Nothing crazy ambitious, but something to get me back into the swing of taking pictures more regularly again. So stay tuned for that.

G'night. :)