Sunday, May 24, 2015

Adventures in Dental Surgery...Chicago style.

This is a pre-op photo that Mary and I took of ourselves outside of her oral surgeons early Thursday morning. Mary scheduled herself to have her wisdom teeth extracted and needed a nurse/driver and because I was worried about finding parking in this big busy city, we arrived 90 minutes early to park about 20 feet from her doctors door.
So plenty of time for selfies and Starbucks before her appointment. 
Mary's doctor was across the street from a tattoo/piercing parlor... so glad that it was closed on a Thursday morning or this mom might have gotten impulsive and ran across the street to get some ink and studs...or something- while Mary was under.
Later, when I told her this, she mentioned that both of her doctors were next door to tattoo/ piercing parlors.
Yep... same here.
Her surgery went smoothly there were no problems, Mary's wisdom teeth are now long gone and she will never again have to have those choppers extracted. 
Thats the happy news. 
The bummer news is that having four impacted wisdoms is tough, but if it has to be done, I can recommend a 23rd floor recovery room... plenty of ice, a Shake Shack around the corner for delicious milkshakes and  plenty of HGTV to watch in bed.
And since Mary's recovery required a lot of sleep, and the day was gorgeous... I went for a long walk to see the city and get my steps. And I can see why Mary is entirely in love with this place...the city is gorgeous, and has a wonderful and energetic hum to it, just like our Mary.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Happy Confirmation Day!

It has been a month of milestones met and new beginnings for this kid...and I love that she looks pleased as she marches to the front of the church to accept her confirmation and become an official member of our church.
Lily and her confirmation classmates have been meeting weekly with wonderful teachers for two years to prepare for this day...they were ready.
The five newest Presbyterians on the block and were both charged seriously and welcomed warmly by the leaders and members of Knox Church.
They were reminded that when they were very young, their parents made all decisions for them, such as their baptism, but as confirmands, they were old enough to make some very important decisions on their own.
They were old enough to help in the leadership of the church, and to help make thoughtful decisions for Knox. 
Here, Pastor Adam delivers the charge and reminds Lilly and her four friends of their new responsibilities.
(Adam also managed to sneak in a reminder about helping their parents out at  home, which was cool, kind of sneaky, and very much appreciated.)
And here is our girl after the service, looking all cute and churchy with her brand new bible. 
And no church celebration would be complete without brunch and a chocolate cake... and a Grandpa photobomb. 
Fourteen years ago Karl and I were very wise in asking Jessica Depp to be Lily's godmother. 
She and Lily are very similar in so many ways... she "gets" Lily and they have had many adventures together over the years. Here, Godmother and daughter strike a post brunch party pose to mark the special day. 

Thank you Jessica for being there for our girl and Happy Confirmation Day to both you and Lilly!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Happy Birthday Dear Mary!

Twenty years ago today I received the most wonderful Mothers Day gift ever when this kid was born.
And since it's her birthday and she is way far away in a big and windy city, (and I'm not)
I am going to brag about her just a little bit.
I'm very proud of this young woman for many reasons... she is kind and smart and funny, and very, very organized.
I find myself trying to channel my girl whenever I'm faced with a something big and pantry or something far more complicated.
My Mary voice advice says stuff like...
"break it down, do one thing at a time, and work on it until it's finished." 
Which is a very good way to accomplish most things.
And even though she is a super sensible girl, she is also kind of nutty in the very best way.
My kid, who just yesterday was a teenager, has grown into a lovely young woman who is both extremely capable and extremely goofy.
Which is a pretty awesome combination of humanity.

Happy Birthday Dear Mary,
Wishing you all of life's blessings as you leave your teenage years behind you and launch into your 2nd decade.
Shine on chica- love you lots!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MYCincinnati Ambassador Ensemble Project.

"The Ambassador Ensemble is a collective of diaereses and equal voices. When we are together, we feel appreciated, listened to, supported, challenged, smart, intense and powerful. We are musicians - each with unique talents and ideas- we have come together to make the community better." 
Kalla, Kerrie, Keyonte, Rashel, Sebastian and Ziyad. 
The Ambassador Ensemble

Last Sunday I had the good fortune to attend the very first performance of The MYCincinnati Ambassador Ensemble as a part of the Constella Festival.
I knew that these young musicians are talented and I was looking forward to seeing them perform, but I was emotionally unprepared for what this group delivered.
I was awestruck... and after a few minutes of unsuccessfully fighting back the tears, my friend Libby and I gave up and wept for the remainder of the show.
We cried because we are both moms to teenagers who are, or have been 14 years old, which is the average age of these musicians. And we wept because we remember, all too clearly,  feeling the confusion and intensity of being 14... feeling both powerful and powerless and hopeful and defeated, all at once.

The six young musicians are glorious.
They are each insightful, talented, hard working and extremely courageous to do what they could as young musicians to stand up against inequality and work towards social justice.
Eddy Kwon is an extremely talented musician and teacher. He has served as a trusted mentor and friend to these six, making them feel safe and heard...asking questions, listening to their responses and supporting them in all the best ways.
I am proud of my city for wisely naming Eddy Kwon as an Art Ambassador and then helping to support him while he does his good works. He is a true gift to Cincinnati.
Michael Wilson, and his son Henry Wilson, were there too... doing what they do best, documenting the moments then putting it all together in a beautifully edited documentary that should go to Sundance.
Nine incredibly talented people, 6 of them young teenagers, all worked together for a year and created something beautiful. And everyone who has ever been 14 or who loves someone who is a young teenager, should go see this musical performance and documentary film.
The show is about an will wish that it was longer, and you will leave inspired, impressed and hopeful.
But please remember to take your hankies, I can garantee that you will be personally moved by the talent and grace of this group of young musicians.

The MYCincinnati Ambassador Ensemble will be together on stage for only four more free shows.
Do yourself a favor and attend one of these performances.

April 17th 8:00    UC African American Cultural Resource Center
(UC President Santa Ono will be joining them on cello for his first performance in many years!)

April 19th 1:00 Cincinnati Art Museum

April 24th 6:00 LISH Art Gallery Price Hill

April 26th 4:00 Clifton Cultural Arts Center

Monday, April 13, 2015

Love You, Love You, Love You... more.

I am extraordinary fortunate for many reasons and one of them is that I got to be a lucky niece to one of the kindest and most generous women ever. 
My Aunt Donna may have died a week ago, but her love, grace and ferocious optimism remain.
She is ever present and will always be in our hearts and minds, and most definitely remain a huge part of my brilliant cousins... her three remarkable daughters who are so much like their mom. 
It was important to Donna that everyone who loved her understood that she never ever, ever, gave up. More than anything she wanted more time to be with her family... to live longer and to love more. 
She did whatever she could to stay, and kept on getting braver and braver until she made the most courageous choice of all. 
She chose her to change her course and to live her final weeks on her own terms. 
And she did just that. She died as she lived, in her home, where she felt most peaceful, surrounded by her family and the blessings of those she loved the most. 

While she was home, she received pages of notes and emails from those who she touched during her life. The letters were of gratitude and appreciation to Donna for sharing herself in so many ways. 
Many many people reached out to thank her for giving so much of herself and for making a positive difference in their own lives. 
She received messages from those who loved her deeply as well as those who knew her less well, but were touched and moved for the better by something that she said or did. 
True to her humility, Donna was surprised by the number and intensity of these messages, she didn't realize that she had made such a difference in the lives of so many. 
But she did and will continue to do so because she was a teacher in the most honest definition of the word. She taught by example, the power of kindness and encouragement, and all those who followed her example will continue to do so in her honor. 
She believed that everyone had tremendous capability to do wonderful things and with a little bit of encouragement, and a few kind words, everyone was completely capable of great success. 

My Aunt Donna did everything just right and the celebration of her life was indeed, exactly right. 
A beautiful celebration of life and love. 
Donna's fingerprints were on every part of her service. She chose the Celebrant, a warm and lovely woman who listened and understood. And she asked that her favorite James Taylor song be played...You Can Close Your Eyes. She requested that instead of flowers, donations be made to a charity that benefits she strongly believed in the hope and future of the very young. 

She also very kindly suggested that we please not wear black. 
We all listened, and the room was overflowing and more than full of happy spring colors. 
Easter colors of springtime hope and grace and renewal. 
Donna's colors.  
And it was more than fitting that the closing words of the service were her signature message of 
"Love You, Love You, Love You..." 
because for Donna, one "Love You" was good, but three were far better. 
 Donna in color at a family party with her adoring team of sisters. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Actually, Totally, True Fact Cousin Breakfast.

I was thrilled to start my Happy Friday with a fun breakfast with these two cousins this morning.
They were so happy to be together and had a lot to catch up on since they saw each other yesterday and this morning the discussion was based mostly on "gone teeth" and friends who didn't believe that they were "actually, totally cousins- true fact." 
Ella is very proud of her new smile and her "gone tooth" 
and reported that the going rate of a cute tooth is 200 cents!
Rosie did some fast and fancy math and realized that she got the exact same amount only in "dollar format." 
And they're off... post pancakes and ready for another exciting day of first grade. 
Happy Friday friends!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aunt Donna and the Little Sheep.

I made this photo of my Aunt Donna years ago, and while I can't remember exactly what I said at the time, it was probably something like "hey Aunt Donna, will you please hold this baby sheep and let me take your picture?"
 And then my fabulous Aunt opened up her arms without question and happily hugged that little sheep with love and tenderness... because thats exactly how she rolls. 
My Aunt Donna is in the habit of embracing everyone and everything, little lambs included, with a full heart and open arms. In fact, to know my Aunt Donna is to feel a bit like this dear little lamb... safe and happy in the arms of someone warm and loving. 
She always, always, always holds tightly onto all of the goodness that the world has to offer. With that same might, she joyfully nurtures all of that love and hope into something greater than any of us. 
Her heart is enormous and full and fierce...I love her like crazy and she knows it. 
Aunt Donna personifies all that is great kindness and generosity and love...I am honored be a part of her family and know that we are all better people with her in our world.