Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Memoriam.

On Friday morning, the twenty-ninth of August, 2008, in one of the serenely beautiful valleys around Robertson in South Africa, our beloved friend, Mercia Stowe, nee Nel, died at the hands of a drunk driver.

Her sudden passing has left Bob, her husband of forty-four years, devastated. Mercia’s daughter Leslie and sons Frederick and Thomas are bereft. As wife and mother she gave her all and her best. We, her friends and admirers around the world, are deeply heart-sore because she treated us all as if we were her family.

We loved her for her enthusiasm and her kindness, her energetic pursuit of good and right, her love of family and friends. A Viking at heart, she inspired all those who came into her ambit to do a little more, and a little better, for the good of mankind.

Mercia, may your voyage to Spirit be on smooth seas, and with the wind in your back.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Em, Dad or Brighid....Insert Post Here (anyone? anyone?)

Good Lord, people. I am so busy right now. Work is very stressful and taking a lot out of me. My kids start school next week and I'm feeling like a heel that their last week of summer has been so lame. Poor things. They'll be so ready to go back...thanks, Mommy.

Besides phone whoring...

It's 11:42pm and I just finished a couple of projects to compliment the girls' newly painted bedrooms (yes, that's right...3 rooms in a's time for some before and afters!). I'm talking canvas, many tubes of paint, polka dots and wooden letters, folks! I am such a Martha Stewart rookie...but I've had fun.

Except for the part where I ripped off my big toe nail moving Libby's bed. That wasn't fun. It hurt like hell and I used lots of inappropriate words...loudly. I should take pictures of my feet now. It's disgusting. No one would notice my freakishly short toes.

Anyway, just ran across my new mantra...truly (only moments ago). These will be the words I live by...

"Is this the mountain you want to die on?"

Without getting all profound and shit, I really do think this is the way to live. Don't sweat the small stuff, choose your battles...and pay attention to the important things.


Sunday, August 24, 2008


Another busy week under my belt. Here are the highlights:

* Found out very unceremoniously that I'd be put on a new project at work. One that sucks monkey balls. One that woke me in a cold sweat more than once. Sigh. I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up (besides independently wealthy).

* Jack fractured his second metacarpel bone in his left hand. He was playing with a group of kids from the neighborhood and took the full weight of a much bigger girl on his hand. We iced it over night, but decided the following day that the swelling looked a little too distinct and needed to be x-rayed. The fracture didn't require setting and he's to wear a brace on his wrist for a couple of weeks. He's got some interesting bruising to show off when he goes back to school.

* Hosted Maggie and Libby's birthday party at Build-A-Bear Workshop, with 12 little imps in attendance. For those who aren't familiar, kids can choose an animal, stuff it and dress it in clothes more expensive than the ones I was wearing. Well, that is if you go to a rich kid's party. Mine got to choose a $10 or $12 animal...and took it home naked. Maybe when I'm independently wealthy they can get some underwear.

* I watched the Olympics...a lot. Much of it was aired when I should have been sleeping (or having nightmares about work). I'm typing with one eye on the closing ceremonies right now.

* We had our bedroom painted. The sea foam green is a distant memory. Pics to follow.

I think that's it. Too tired to type...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Truer Video Never Filmed

Oh, I can't stand it. Funny, funny stuff. Stole it from another blog, but don't mind taking a little credit for the giggle!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

They're SIX!

Oh, I'm such a sloppy mess. Not because it's the eve of my babies' sixth birthday, but because in preparation for this post I've spent the better part of an hour looking at my photo albums. I have an overwhelming need to post EVERY SINGLE picture I have of each of the three of them, because...(OH. MY. GOD)...they are so cute.

And because I've already forgotten so much.

I am actually someone who really does try to live in the moment, to sear the memory of the "now" into my brain. I can't tell you how many times in the past 9 years I've deliberately slowed myself, looked around, soaked in the details to make sure I never forget.

But I do. I have.

Chubby babies. Sucked thumbs and pacifiers. Chunky diaper butts. Soft curls and wispy blond hair.

All the firsts. First steps, first words, first nights in the big boy/big girl beds. First days of school. Just too many to count, and certainly too many to articulate.

Where did it all go? What happened to my babies?

Thank God I take tons of pictures. Their little lives have been so carefully chronicled in meticulous photo albums, and while it's sometimes been a burden to maintain them, I'm so glad I did.

So, to celebrate the sixth birthday of my sweet baby girls, I thought I'd share a few from the past 6 years. And you should know that this, my friends, was an exercise in restraint. There are so many great pictures, so many stories to tell and so many memories that may have slipped from my brain, but are so easily recalled, nestled deep in my heart.

This was taken on the morning of Maggie and Libby's birth. I love this picture, not because I look like I'm smuggling beach balls, but because Jack looks he's already been let in on a big secret. I was heading out the door to the hospital. I had no idea how totally changed my life would be.

This was taken moments before we left the hospital to bring those little creatures home. Jack was so sweet, so patient. Not much has changed.

The girls were about 4 or 5 months old in the this picture. Not missing too many meals!

Skipping ahead now...just over two years old here. Hanging out with Jack and his night crawlers.

Early summer 2005. Road trip to Ohio to visit their aunts.

First day of preschool, September 2006. I think this was probably the last time they let me dress them in complimentary outfits!

Early 2007...enjoying the snow.

Margaret Grace, July 2008.

Elizabeth Mary, July 2008

Happy birthday, Maggie and Libby! You are my heart and soul.

PS...Y'all have an open invitation to come and sit on my bedroom floor with me and look at stacks of photo albums. Anytime.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

Aw...thanks all, for the birthday wishes, etc. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Or is that my Almaden Mountain Burgundy (cheap Merlot)?

Emily said I didn't have to measure tonight.

My day started out smashingly. Libby woke me up with breakfast in bed. A frosted, cherry pop tart, which we shared.

A short while later, Maggie and Jack appeared with this.Scrambled eggs with shredded cheddar cheese with salt and pepper for taste, two slices of white toast, a freshly picked hydrangea from my garden and a tall glass of skim milk with a straw.

Shame. They burst poor Libby's bubble. She was clearly so excited to be the first to wake me up, to share a pop tart in bed and show off her handmade card, carefully folded with shells from Sea Isle City tucked inside. Not to be outdone (Libby will NOT be outdone), she crept up the stairs a few minutes later with this. Two slices of white bread (heavy on the margarine), TWO hydrangeas from my garden and giant glass of my staple beverage, Red Stuff (Fruit Punch Crystal Light) with a straw.

Sibling rivalry is alive and well at my house!

Anyway, I decided not to work today (although I really should have) and spent most of the day with my old neighbors, working on a virus laden computer, drinking pina coladas (really!) and being spoiled. I love my birthday and I LOVE presents!

Mom and Dad sent me an American Express gift card with like a million dollars on it (I've always known I was the favorite) which I plan to use to order the growing collection of pics I have loaded on Nothing makes me happier than updated photo albums!

Brighid and Keith sent a collection of treasures for the whole family. A book Steve's been coveting, Tinkerbell digital cameras and homemade buttons for the girls and some underwater disposable cameras for Jack (the only one NOT to share a birthday in August). She assembled a collection of her favorite things for me (which was so thoughtful and so, so awesome), one of my favorites being this:"Lincoln Park After Dark" nail polish. Because it makes me way (way!) cooler than my 38 years!

And shut up.

Before you dare to comment, much has already been made of my freakishly stubby toes. I've never actually seen them photographed, so the documentation of my abnormality is a little upsetting.

Yes. Short and fat. I know.

Even Vinnie got presents (his birthday is 8/15...same as my boss...coincidence? I think not.). He got all kinds of crazy ass organic chews from Iceland and the Land Down Under (just,freeze dried, fishy things, etc). Here he is enjoying a dried fish skin under my desk, from his cousin, Wilson.

And Justin (and Tami...but I'll let her off the hook. Her previous comment indicates something MAY be in the mail.) got me nothing. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

I'm going to kick him in the teeth next time I see him.

(and if Mom and Dad post comments claiming my birthday gifts for them were 2+ weeks late, it's just crazy talk).

Trust me.

Happy Birthday Martine!!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful big sister!

With so much love,
Bird xoxo

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Introducing Em...

You have understand that this is my first time. I am a blogging virgin.

I thought I'd introduce myself and 'set the scene'. Even though most of you are family members, the last I saw 'the kids' (Birdshit, Farteen and...Justin, what's your nickname?) was a decade ago. A DECADE! Good Lord.

So, this is going to be short:

What is an intro without photos. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, which is fortunate considering my inexperience with blogging. Here we have my husband, Mark, and myself dancing on our veranda. We have a ball together. Bless his cotton socks (and thinning hair). Am totally smitten.

Okay, that's not exactly fair. Here's a better picture of him and as an added bonus we get the hunky Wright brothers too. Joe (left) has recently been employed by my brother-in-law, which could well turn into an entire entry on its own. Bruce (right) is living with his girlfriend in London.

Back to setting the scene: Welcome to my garden. The two of us live in little slice of paradise. We're on a wine farm in Stellenbosch, a town just outside of Cape Town. The farm is the highest farm on the Helderberg mountains, which faces Cape Town, so the view is fantastic. The mountain range you see in the distance is the side profile of Table Mountain. Lucky, lucky us.

View looking the other way. The big 'bulge' on the left of this range is the mountain that Mark, I-don't-run-for-the-phone, climbed to ask Dad for my hand. Aaaaaaaw.

For Heaven's sake, this takes a helluva lot longer to do than I thought. And I just got a message that said this might not save. What??!! It had better bloody save.

So that was a start. At least you have the setting. Right, it's time to head home. I'm supposed to be walking on the farm with a friend, but it's raining, so I think we'll exercise our right arms with a glass of (unmeasured) wine instead. So, cheers.

Ta da! I've finally managed to Preview this entry. I'm pressing 'Save'. My blog 'flower' has officially been plucked.

Looking forward to more entries now that I know the ropes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's in a name?

It's amazing what your kids think up when you're not around. On the drive down to Jersey, they revealed the nicknames they'd created for each other the day before.

Are you ready?

Jack is Big Cinnamon, Maggie in Son of a Bun and Libby is Big Butt.

Can you stand it? Steve and I just about wet ourselves when they told us. And to their credit, they couldn't have picked a better time to tell us. We were stuck in pre-Philadelphia traffic.

And Libby had just farted on my hand.


Well, we were bumper to bumper just north of Philly, with no relief in...what? Oh, Libby and the fart.

Well, we were bumper to bumper just north of Philly and Maggie had to pee...really, really, really bad. BUT...with no opportunity to find an exit (we wouldn't have anyway...if you blink and miss a sign, you're as good as dead...really). So, since we were crawling along anyway, I decided to let her pee in my empty, disposable coffee cup.

She dropped trou', squatted perfectly and relieved herself in the last drops of my cappuccino. Mind you, I was an integral part of her success. One hand held the cup, while the other hand steadied her itty bitty buns to ensure she didn't accidentally piddle all over me or the van. The tinkle was then transferred to a Gatorade bottle with a tight fitting lid.

Perfect. A little disgusting, but perfect.

Not to be outdone, Libby announces that she, too, had to go really, really, really bad. I knew she didn't. She had consumed less than half of what Maggie had in the previous 45 minutes, and until she saw the coffee cup routine, she mentioned nothing of needing to use the bathroom.

But, proving that someone does NOT have to pee is harder than it sounds, and she threw in a couple of tears for affect. So, we allowed her to unbuckle, get her shorts to her ankles and attempt to make good use of my coffee cup (with my help, of course).

And she strained. And shifted on her feet. And grunted a little.

After about a minute, she snapped her head up and barked, "I really do need to pee, Mommy!" and punctuated that with a juicy, noisy, vibrate-y fart. Right on my hand. That tickled.

Jack and Maggie lost it. It was almost too much for them. Steve and I were too stunned to speak.

I. Still. Have. No. Words.

No one, and I mean no one, cuts the cheese like Big Butt.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Tease

We're back! And it was awesome!

More in the next day or so...

(And thanks for the posts, Dad and Brighid (I'll add my comments today). Keep them coming!)

Edited to add picture of MY Jersey Shore tan...and because Brighid double-dog-dared me to post a picture of me with my giant moon face and too-tight shorts.

Edited to add a picture of the hunk (even though he and his boogie board will be heavily featured in the next post...whenever I get that together). For Winky's jollies...The Hunk.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank you!!

What an amazing experience ! My email was filled with messages of love and “I’m with you” from all over the world. It is humbling to know how much you all care. Each and everyone of you made a difference, and I hope that you feel the power of your gift to me; may your thoughts reframe your own lives on your journey to your highest expression.

Despite my certainty that nothing evil was lurking on my rib or spine, I do admit to a huge sigh of relief, which was luckily masked by the noisy emotions of my two supervising family members (Butterfly & Bird).

And now for something totally mundane. It is a sort of housekeeping.

I have had an avalanche of requests for a picture of my facial hair. There were at least two at last count, and so let me use Mart’s blog to satisfy, and stem, this flood.

This picture was taken by a most comely photographer whose hand is many projects, this for a little known glamour magazine for the cover of their winter 2023 edition. I was oh-so-lucky to escort this model (in a coral twin set top, provided by JCPenney) to a premier performance of modern and free dance, debuting Ms. Libby and Ms. Maggie. The performance was somewhat biased to free dance, and had tones of the art form modern non-rhyming poetry, and was performed with zest and feeling. The American Dance Theatre is in good hands. Please do not distribute this pic and so decrease its impact on publication. Thank you so much.

Lastly, I am in the process of setting up a personal blog entitled " ... my compass points ..." (so aptly named by this blog's owner). My focus will be ways to save the planet, humanity and civilization. It will be filled with insignificant trivia, and be a guide on how to have your collection of books on awakening your inner magnificence actually work for you.

Which of course brings to mind that all those who can, have reached the Adept level, are dirt poor and on a remote mountain top. Those who cannot, run seminars, write books, and count their money. By the way, don't try to find this erudite blog just yet. It will be up as soon a my self help book gets published.

Love & Light to y'all!