Saturday, July 7, 2012

Itty Bitty Scavenger Hunt

Our first foray this summer is not really a "first"-- for us.  Is is our second year to participate in an activity created  specifically to draw people to the historic district of downtown Fredericksburg, VA and is called the Itty Bitty City.  Pictures of objects are taken within a specified grid of the downtown area and posted in the paper.  The general public head to the streets from May to July in search of these familiar and slightly hidden items.
The city only yields these sought after treasures to the keen eyes of the diligent.  But, lest you think this is a drudgery, let me tell you that every person we met on this quest had a child-like nature that carried them along.  You could spot them easily by the crumpled and well worn newspaper clutched in their hands and a look of expectation on their faces.

My husband and I decided to include some of the oldest grandchildren in our city's game of hide and seek.  Their shorter legs helped us keep the journey to a slower pace and their delight in spying and finding what we were looking for was motivating.  I do have a confession though....the shorter legs on a large grid did lead to some frustration and  no amount of ice cream could bolster their initial eagerness.  So, my husband and I would go out a day or two before and find the sought after treasures and then gently.....and indiscreetly.... direct our young helpers in the right direction.

Each time we ventured out to the city, we found something besides the items we were looking for.  Down a side street I found a brick building that bore the inscription of our local hospital.  Compared to the existing facility, that is sprawled over several acres of land, this scaled down version was reflective of a time when our area was much smaller in population and size.  I wonder if the tenants in this former hospital, now converted into apartments, knows that their dwelling is a part of local history?

Our tribe of seekers took three consecutive Monday evenings to find all 20 of the objects and when the last one was discovered....we celebrated as if we had won a Superbowl.    The creator of this city's hide and seek did a great job this year!  She kept us hunting and learning.  But we enjoyed the journey as much as the discovery.  We met new people who left their air-conditioned home and their every day routine and became a part of an  adventure.  We came together as a family unity and worked together as a team.

And our reward was just what we had hoped for....we got to know our city a little bit more as tourists and not just as residents..........and we held the hands of our grandchildren....our legacy...a little longer.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


A place of refuge
I am always so excited when summer makes its way back around.  It's the school girl rush of feelings that hark back to the days when summer meant a release from the drudgery of forced early morning rising and the repetition of multiplication problems.
It must be muscle memory that causes me to drag out my stored bike and polish it up, oil the moving parts and ready the basket for treasures to be found.
I yearn to be outside on sunny days.  Lounging by a pool or, better yet, sitting at the beach watching the sun light up the water with diamonds and the sounds of children's laughter as the musical score.
But I am long past my childhood summers and the days that knit the seasons together do not look much different from each other.  Usually our summers hold the promise of a week long respite from our daily life.  The King and I (not to be confused with the movie) are not ones for doing the usual, so we have decided to become tourists of our own land.  To trounce around our own city and state and become better acquainted with the unique features that have been waiting for us since our arrival here 27 years ago.  Weekend vacations that help us carve out the time to just us and open our eyes to the state made for Lovers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Pink Party

A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.  Grace Pulpit

I have a sweet friend who gave me a book, a couple of years ago, that has propelled me to write whenever I can.  It inspires and encourages me....much like the giver of said book.  From the pages of like is a verb by Patti Digh, a chapter called "Choose your seatmates wisely" reminded me to look around and be thankful that I have chosen well.
By profession I am a hair stylist.  But one of my favorite places to be is behind a camera ~ looking through a tiny viewfinder. 
A friend recently asked me to consider coming to a Pink Party and taking pictures. She explained that this party was for her friend who had melanoma that had returned in another area of the body and that radiation and chemotherapy would begin soon.  Girlfriends decided to surprise her with a Pink Party and the gifts would be ones of comfort and help during her time in treatment.
I was honored to be asked and I could hardly say no! 

These women that our guest has developed friendships with over the years brought delicious food, awesome adult beverages and an abundance of hugs.  The guest of honor came with her 11 year old daughter, who understands that her mother has cancer, but not the severity of it.  She is the echo of her mothers looks.  As she stood in the midst of these women, she was surrounded by love. The friends wanted to blanket this young and innocent child with the same kind of comfort they were extending to her mom.  She received a huge basket of goodies that brought a giggle and a smile to her sweet face.
The courageous woman was seated within the bubble of genuine love her friends created.  Her own mother was there, near her daughter and a presence of the most unconditional love in the room.  Our battle friend opened gift after gift.  Pink nail polish, pink pajamas, soft luxourious pink towels to rise off with and a scrumptious pink blanket that looked like a cloud and smelled like heaven.  There were slippers and scarves, puzzle books and a Nook for more books.  Redeemable coupons that had meals and massages, funny quotes to make you smile, and the promise of a pajama party.

But in the end, the Pink Party of friends bearing gifts of comfort was not about the party at all. 
Or the gifts.
Or the food.
It was about the fact that our brave fighter has spent years choosing her seat mates wisely.  These were women who showed up for the beginning of the battle.  Who voluntarily linked their arms with hers to show her she is not alone ~
Not now.
Not at 3 am when the drugs running through her body wake her with nightmares or sweating. 
These seatmates are here for the duration.
I finished taking pictures that day.
With my last look through the viewfinder I
captured a hugging, crying knot of women.
Surrounding one woman.
Their focus on her.
If love and friends can change something,
then this woman is being transformed.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Twenty seven years ago I moved to Virginia with my husband and 3.5 children.  One would be born soon after our arrival...she traveled in comfort on our trip.  We had an opportunity to leave Mobile, Alabama to make a better life for ourselves.  At the time it meant more opportunity to be closer to my family (although it meant leaving my husband's family)....but it also meant moving to a climate with more than two seasons.  The summers in Mobile could be unbearable.  The winters were mild, but calling the season winter was a challenge. 

This winter, here in Virginia, feels the same.  I haven't had to put any short sleeve shirts away.  In fact, I just pulled a pair of capri's out of the dryer that I wore this past weekend.  Yes, it's been that warm.  I'm not saying I want so much snow I can't get out of my house, but I am missing the bite of winter.  The frost around the edges of things and the knowledge that alot of mosquito eggs have died a cold death.

I don't know how much I believe about global warming, but I know that our Virginia warm up is a bit of a let down this year.  Anyone know who I might talk to about a snowy landscape showing up before March?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It has been 42 days since my last post. 
That's a long time.
It has felt like a long time.
The two weeks after the last post I couldn't gather enough coherent words together to make a post.  I couldn't even speak an entire stream of words without losing my breath.
Then I had the procedure.
That was difficult enough.  Apparently I didn't hear all the fine details that encompassed the ablation.  Nor did I get the full picture of what life was going to be like afterward.  I
That really does make a difference.
The first few days after coming home from the hospital, I took it easy.  It was Christmas and I was surrounded by family who encouraged naps....who cooked food....who loved me through touch.  I had friends and clients who dropped by with unsolicited food.....delicious soups, breads, and treats. 
I was loved.
But all the high expectations I was led to believe would happen, did not.
In fact, I was unprepared for a racing heart rate of 175 when I took the sheets off the bed.
I was not prepared to expect the inability to participate in the mundane activities of life with a side order of falling to the floor dizzy I couldn't make heads or tails of which way was up.
Stairs became my enemy and the biggest challenge of my days.  Before I went to work in the morning I made sure I had everything I needed from the top floor before I went downstairs.
I had really given up hope of returning to any type of exercise. 
Normally, I wouldn't be that upset.
Except that my body told my no.
And I don't like being told no.
By anyone.
Even myself.
So I have struggled.  I have cried.  I have talked to my heart and encouraged it to be strong.  To respond to the changes that they made during the procedure.  To build scar tissue along the lines where they cauterized.
And today....I felt it.
The difference.
The green light.
I had noticed a few instances this week where I did something physical without thinking and didn't pay a heart thumping price for it.
The stairs had gradually not become the dreaded challenge they have been.
So today, I donned my tennis shoes.  Threw on my sweats.  Leashed the dog.  And took off down the street.
And I walked it....and the two cul de sacs....twice. 
At a clip.
Out of breath.
And when I took my heart rate at the top of the hill the second time....
Inspired I came back and did dips on the front stairs.  Modified push ups on the front stairs.
Then I ran up the inside stairs and made breakfast.
I wasn't dizzy.
I wasn't out breath.