Art Appreciation Time!!!

It was just over 7 years ago when I moved to New York City. A single girl, full of ambition, ready to change the world - but not sure how.  This city's is a beautiful, enigmatic and intoxicating place, but it's not always easy to live here. Sometimes I'd get swallowed up in the "busy" pace of life - just trying to keep my head above water and losing focus of who I was and what I felt my life was suppose to be. I had two places I would ecape to in order to regroup.

One was St. Patrick's Cathedral.
 I'd savor the somberness while sitting alone in a creaky pew. Sometimes I'd listen to the organist practice for an upcoming mass, sometimes I'd over hear whispered conversations of tourists taking pictures in the back. I'd sit and think, read and sometimes doze off.

But there was something about the vastness of those ornate ceilings, the artistry in those stain glass windows and the hushed murmers of fervent prayers all around that helped me remember who I was.

The other place was the Met (the Metropolitan Museum of Art).  I still haven't exhausted that place and I've visited over a dozen times. My problem is during one of my first visits, I met her.  And every subsequent visit, I make it a point to see her again.  

No matter how determined I am to check out a different exhibit, I always find myself wandering - like there's a homing device in my brain - towards European Paintings and then towards gallery #800.  And there she is - larger than life, in breathtaking scale:
This is Jules Bastien-Lepage's famous "Joan of Arc" and man oh man, the internet does not do her justice.  She's magnificent. From her smooth forehead to her dirty toes.

Even without direct eye contact, just looking at her reminds me to shake off petty things that can consume my life, to take chances, to dare to dream. Something about her crystal clear figure in the midst of impressionistic images whispers to me "Remember who you are. Don't get lost in the noise."

If you're ever in the City, she is absolutely worth a visit. Just let me know, I'd be happy to introduce you.

Silly (read: Crazy) Thoughts on Traveling

Adam and I are in Chicago for the next few days, and this is the first time we’ve flown without children since our honeymoon. I know, shocking, right? It surprised me too. The past years have been full of traveling in its various forms: me without Adam and kids, Adam without me and kids, me with kids without Adam (definitely NOT my favorite) and lots of whole family traveling. But never just the two of us on a plane…holding hands with the arm rest up, lazily reading and small talking – even ::gasp:: flirting.

There was a thrill to it that I wasn’t expecting (hey….keep your mind PG….:-)) Topics in our conversation were funnier, more interesting, more concerning, more world changing… So, I understand I don’t need to go on and on about the benefits of parents having some time alone together – yadda yadda – but something else happened that I wasn’t expecting: Crazy Thoughts.

As our seatbelts were fastened and we were ready for take-off all these thoughts ran through my mind. “What if something…happens?” “Will my kids be okay?” “Who would I want to take care of them?” “Should I keep my phone out to text them a final moment ‘I love you’?” “Why am I thinking these things?!” “But what about their futures…?” “Which friend, family member, person would I really trust to raise my children?!”

Crazy thoughts. I been through 2 passports and have flown domestically quite a bit and yes I’ve had fleeting “Whoa – I could die…” thoughts (especially that one time In turbulence over the Pacific Ocean) every once in a while. But I’m SERIOUSLY not a paranoid person. People that know me might even say I err on the side of not having enough caution. Yet for the first time in my LIFE I was consumed with thoughts of what would happen to my children if we both were to die in that plane. I realize it’s more dangerous to drive a car and that the chances are more likely to get struck by lightning then to be in a plane that crashes. But I do call New York City my home. It was this very city that was so deeply wounded on September 11, 2001. And it was this city's portion of the Hudson River that became the impromptu landing strip for Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009.  Maybe I’ve become more tentative in my “old” age. (hahahahahhaa….)

There we were – BOTH of us on the same flight. Isn’t it a rule the President and Vice President can’t travel together? (is it? Seriously. I don’t know if it’s a rule or not…) One freak accident and both our girls would be orphans. Crazy thoughts. Thankfully and absolutely Providentially, I’ve been immersed in a world view that comforts me in times of “crazy thoughts”. There is One who cares for my children more than I ever could. The same One who gives me peace when faced with my mortality.

But it doesn’t stop the crazy thoughts from coming. And….thinking about it now – it makes me chuckle. Am I the only one who ever thinks of these kinds of things?

::smiling::  I love being a mother. It brings out the best, worst and craziest parts of me.

Chicago bound and Kid-less?!?!

Tomorrow my husband and I are flying to Chicago to attend a conference. (I'll probably blog from there - stay tuned!!!) My gracious (and fabulous) mother in law has flown in from Maine to watch our kiddos for the week.  Grown up talk, sleep and ::gasp:: make-up/high heeled shoes!!

Truth: I'm looking forward to it so. much.
Truth: I miss my kids already.

Cheese Appreciation

I'm typically ambivalent towards "feel good" quotes, but lately - I blame it on the sleep deprivation and shallow content of children's TV - I've been soaking up anything even mildly encouraging in regards to parenting. So please forgive the cheese as I share some of the lastest quotes on parenting that have either made me think, smile or love my "job" again.

Most of these came from a website called "Quote Garden". See, I told you - not for the lactose intolerant. ;-)

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back". ~William D. Tammeus

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone

"When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts." ~Robert Brault
"Parenthood: That state of being better chaperoned than you were before marriage." ~Marcelene Cox

"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories." ~John Wilmot

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~Phyllis Diller

"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." ~Josh Billings

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. ~Joyce Maynard

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum

"It behooves a father to be blameless if he expects his child to be." ~Homer

"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

"Children are a great comfort in your old age - and they help you reach it faster, too." ~Lionel Kauffman

"If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders." ~Abigail Van Buren

"The quickest way for a parent to get a child's attention is to sit down and look comfortable." ~Lane Olinghouse

"Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." ~Roger Lewin

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings." ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

"Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children." ~Marilyn Penland

"My mom used to say it doesn't matter how many kids you have... because one kid'll take up 100% of your time so more kids can't possibly take up more than 100% of your time." ~Karen Brown

How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted. ~Walter Scott

"What a child doesn't receive he can seldom later give." ~P.D. James, Time to Be in Earnest

"If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others." ~Haim Ginott

"Give me the life of the boy whose mother is nurse, seamstress, washerwoman, cook, teacher, angel, and saint, all in one, and whose father is guide, exemplar, and friend. No servants to come between. These are the boys who are born to the best fortune." ~Andrew Carnegie

"Now the thing about having a baby - and I can't be the first person to have noticed this - is that thereafter you have it." ~Jean Kerr

"Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected." ~Red Buttons

"Mother Nature is wonderful. Children get too old for piggy-back rides just about the same time they get too heavy for them." ~Author Unknown

"The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent." ~Frank Pittman, Man Enough

Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has instilled within each of us a powerful biological instinct to reproduce; this is her way of assuring that the human race, come what may, will never have any disposable income. ~Dave Barry

"When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out." ~Erma Bombeck

"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard." ~Sloan Wilson

Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father. ~Gloria Steinem, New York Times, 26 August 1971

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it, or leave it. ~Buddy Hackett

Insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids. ~Sam Levenson
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs. ~P.J. O'Rourke
Raising children is like making biscuits: it is as easy to raise a big batch as one, while you have your hands in the dough. ~E.W. Howe

A young lady is a female child who has just done something dreadful. ~Judith Martin

Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners. ~Author Unknown
Conscience is less an inner voice than the memory of a mother's glance. ~Robert Brault,
Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry. ~Bill Cosby

Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine. You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or major motion-picture star. If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word "collectible" as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success. ~Fran Lebowitz, "Parental Guidance," Social Studies, 1981

A child, like your stomach, doesn't need all you can afford to give it. ~Frank A. Clark

Getting down on all fours and imitating a rhinoceros stops babies from crying. (Put an empty cigarette pack on your nose for a horn and make loud "snort" noises.) I don't know why parents don't do this more often. Usually it makes the kid laugh. Sometimes it sends him into shock. Either way it quiets him down. If you're a parent, acting like a rhino has another advantage. Keep it up until the kid is a teenager and he definitely won't have his friends hanging around your house all the time. ~P.J. O'Rourke

In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage. ~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986

Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying. ~Fran Lebowitz, Social Studies

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed. ~Author Unknown

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. ~Polish Proverb