Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stormy Weather

As I write this, over 128 people have died in Alabama, 11 in Georgia and 1 in Tennessee.  We spent a nervous evening listening to the storm outside our windows, cracked open to prevent them from bursting under the pressure of a possible tornado.  We're still under a watch until noon today.  Currently I am in the dark about my fellow North Carolinians as the phone company cut our cable line while burying a new line.

For all of our survival skills learned while hiking in the backcountry, Richard and I realized that we are not really prepared in the event of a tornado.  We have no basement or proper storm shelter.  As we cleared a space in our pantry under the stairs, it became quite obvious that something needs to be done.  As a storage area for canned goods, this space also holds glass vases, crystal platters, an odd assortment of tools, cords, batteries, boxes of stuff I have no idea why I'm keeping, brooms, vacuums, boxes of nails....
Also, there really is no secure place to hang on in case a tornado were to suck us all up. 

We wearily fell into our beds last night not knowing if the massive storm to the west and the south would find us.  I was able to sleep trusting in the text alerts that would be coming to my phone from the local news station. 

This morning I have a lot of work to do... creating a safe space.
Is it possible to ever be truly safe anymore?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going Gray and living authentically

  I'm halfway through Going Gray: What I learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity and  everything else that really matters  by  Anne Kreamer.
Which is appropriate, since I'll be turning 40 in less than a week.
It should be easy.  My grandmother did it early in her life and was rewarded with beautiful, thick white waves.  I also attend a Quaker meeting where most of the women do not artificially cover their gray.  And my best friend and husband Richard has taken the lead. I think he looks fantastic.

I agree with Kreamer when she discusses the benefits of presenting ourselves as we really are.  American women have bought into a marketing trick by the beauty industry.  Hair color doesn't really make us look younger.  We aren't fooling anyone.  In our attempt to maintain artificial youth we are deceiving ourselves.  I have decided that I want to feel young inside more than I want to look young.  I have no desire to stop what is inevitable.  Actor Steve Martin did it early and as a result, no one notices that he's aged in the last 20 years.

I also have the advantage of being blessedly anonymous, with the good fortune to work from home.  Would I be brave enough to do this if I were still working in a public setting like the library or the college?   I'm not sure.

However, the blog is somewhat public.   I've begun to notice that my picture on the sidebar, taken one year ago, looks like a younger version of Jenny.   Blogging, like going gray, is supposed to be an act of authenticity.  I consider this space more important than other social media sites for this very reason.  We can be transparent here.  In fact, authenticity is a quality highly desired by most readers.  In that spirit, I've decided to share the pictures of my hair as it changes.  As I age. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hollywood actor Quinn Cummings interviews me

I just happened to glance through my emails and discovered that my set of interview questions had arrived.  Recently my friend Renee at the Doorkeeper shared a link to Quinn Cumming's blog the QC report.  I'm sorry to say this but I am so out of touch with Hollywood that I did not recognize the name.  In case you are like me, Quinn is an Oscar nominated actor for her role in Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, worked on the late 1970's drama series Family, appeared in Hail to the Chief and Blossom.  She is the author of Notes from the Underwire and the inventor of the Hip Hugger baby sling.  To say the least, I am quite simply blown away that she would want to talk to me.  Her current project is a book on homeschooling.  I am a novice homeschooling mom, and was at the right place at the right time.  I would love to share the interview with you, but since the book has not even been completely written yet, I am going to wait for the day it arrives.

Note to self...email her back and ask her some questions on how to successfully market an invention for children!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Egg Hunt Metaphor

   This year, Elliot dyed almost all of the Easter eggs.  It was a bittersweet moment for me, being acutely aware of the change that occurs when children develop into capable, independent beings.  There is less participation needed from me.  I become an observer.  Yet while watching his small hands work carefully with the delicate shells and hearing the excitement in his voice as white transformed into brilliant color, I couldn't help being happy.  Several things were going on during this moment.  As he dipped and dried each egg, he was developing a joy for artistic process while discovering the magic, feel-good energy of holiday preparations.


And in the morning, the joy of discovery on his face sent a thrill to my heart.  The moment reminded me that he's still a little guy who believes in magic.  And I am so thankful for that. Because sometime soon, he will grow into the realism stage, seeking scientific explanations to guide his journey.

Elliot believes in the unseen.
And when children are encouraged to believe in magical, unseen events and personalities, they construct the basic structure for the foundation of their religious faith. 

An egg hunt teaches that there are treasures to be found on our path, given to us by God who is unseen. Our walk of faith includes many gifts hidden along the way for our discovery.  Sometimes the gifts are in plain view, while others are discovered after years of seeking.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trading Up

I'm not really a celebrity fanatic, but I have always admired the work of Patch Adams. Today is a happy day because as I was learning to appreciate twitter, I discovered that Patch is now following me back! http://twitter.com/#!/kneesandpaws

There is something great happening inside me lately.  It's not just spring weather.  It's the influence of healthy, happy people. 

I used to be so serious about everything.  So determined.  So desperate for change.

And wow, have I changed.  I traded north for south.  Catholic for Quaker.  Cigarettes for coffee.  Now I'm trying to change Coffee for Tea.  Books for computer (is that good????)  Depression for Happy, Worry for Acceptance.  Shy for Outgoing.

Have you traded something that makes you feel better lately?   I'd love to know how this made a difference.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life is busy, life is good

  Everything here is busting with green leaves, colorful flowering bushes, bird song and butterflies.  At dusk you can hear the creeking chirps of frogs hidden in ponds and low marshes.  The air is warm and sunsets are vibrant oranges and pinks.
  Spring is in full force and one can't help but celebrate inside. 
 Yesterday, for Elliot's P.E.  we rode our bikes through the adjacent neighborhoods for the first time.  I have been waiting for the day that he became confident enough to ride in areas with occasional traffic.  Previously we were limited to the paved paths on in the city parks, so our experience yesterday was liberating.
And visually beautiful!  The neighborhoods that we rode through are older ranch homes, but so well kept and landscaped we felt like we had just discovered a secret garden.  Azaleas, dogwoods, tulips, pansies and lots of other pretty bushes were scattered all around.  The overhead canopy of trees made it even more inviting. 
Elliot said that he loved North Carolina, and I agreed.

Last night I had a vivid dream that I visited the boreal forests in the northwest.  A wild boar approached me from the edge of the forest, with every intent (I felt) to eat me.  Then, amazingly, I remembered that I was not afraid of wild boars...but black bears.  So a black bear appears, and saves my life by eating the wild boar.
Then some men wearing red flannel shirts carrying chainsaws and shot guns came out to see if I needed any help. 
I have dreamed of bears before, and after my experience in the Shennandoah National Forest I think my Native American ancestors might suggest that the bear is my totem.  So I don't know what to make of that dream.  Perhaps I should look up symbols in dreams online.


In other news I had an afterthought about my claim that Knees and Paws might help to soothe temper tantrums.  I think it might actually work...especially if the adult caregiver were to put on the animal ears in the midst of a child's meltdown.  I suddenly wish I had a preschooler or toddler around to try that out. 

And now I must hurry and begin the day...there's a million things I need to do to get ready for the holiday adventure we are planning, and also I'm meeting my new friend again.  I hope everyone in blogging land has a fantastic day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soothe a Meltdown with the Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear

Okay so here's my pitch and I'm sticking to it.
Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear Knees and Paws will help to soothe a meltdown or temper tantrum.





Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear

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Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear Keep Your Cool Earth Friendly Polar Bear
Introducing the first in a brand new line of Earth Friendly Knees and Paws. Made with 100% cotton, this set has the following great features:

Machine washable! These are the first Knees and Paws to be truly safe for the washing machine and for the dryer.

Ideal at bath time. Paws help little ones manage those slippery bars of soap. Great for making lots of suds and learning to bathe independently.

Cotton, as a renewable, sustainable natural fiber has the added benefit of keeping the skin cool during play. Paws and knee pads will absorb sweat while allowing the skin to breathe.

On hot days, these can be placed in the freezer and used as an instant refresher. Perfect for soothing temper tantrums and meltdowns! Keep your cool just like a Polar Bear.

As always, Knees and Paws are for Kids who love to crawl around playing animals. They protect tender skin from scrapes, rug burn and scratches while crawling on hard surfaces.

Knees and Paws have also been used for dramatic performances. If you are putting on a show, please convo and I will be happy to create a special order.

Each set of knee pads are custom fitted for every child. It is important to covo with a circumference measurement of the child's leg three inches above and below the knee for a perfect, non-slip fit.

Happy Pretending!

Product Development and Friendship Development

I am excited to share the following with my blogging friends.  After realizing that I needed to spend time working on product development, with a little tinkering I have discovered a way to make Knees and Paws using natural products.  Unfortunately I do not have a picture to share with you quite yet as I completed the first set late last night.
This great discovery is happening just in time for Earth Day on April 22!  I didn't plan it, but will simply say that things happen when they are supposed to happen on a time schedule that I really don't control.
 I was inspired to try working with natural materials after having a conversation with a new friend I've met locally.  This friend was helpful to me in many ways, and did not give direct advice but encouraging support.  I appreciate her enthusiasm for Knees and Paws and for sharing her knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices.  Yesterday I enjoyed the most delicious lunch at her home, which included an amazing bread with no yeast and goat cheese, which I loved! 
Elliot also enjoyed his visit in our new friend's home, and surprised me by saying a prayer of thanks for "letting that happen."  Meaning, thanks for an invitation to lunch in the home of a friend.  At that moment  I realized how amazing my son is all over again.  Because he's more thrilled with being invited to play at a family's home than he is if we go somewhere publicly like the park or the movies.  Being with a new family in their home is special.  It's intimate and loving.  It's interesting.  You have the chance to  learn a little about how other people live and work.  You feel connected.
So life is good and sweet and beautiful these days.  I'm looking forward to making changes in the shop.   I'm even thinking of building up enough stock to fill a booth for our indie craft market downtown.  Which means more time at my machine:)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Unplugged Weekend

So here I was, blogging away about how much I love to wake up every morning and write a little something here.  Then, I went into the back yard and dug a new area for our vegetables.  Apparently the line was not buried very deep, and apparently my upper body strength is great because I managed to cut our phone line.  Of course, the phone company said we'd have to wait until Monday to have it repaired. 

And without the internet, I enjoyed life to the fullest!   I helped my husband to celebrate his birthday with dancing and cooking.  Without being dependent on the computer for inspiration, I remembered that I have a catalog of family recipes in my brain.  So Richard enjoyed a century old family recipe for potato salad, and some wonderful German baked goods from our historic Frankenmuth Cook Book. We are still enjoying the stollen and the homemade donuts.
I might be blogging less frequently because life is very good when you're not trying so hard to reach out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Purpose

    One of my good friends on Blogger is taking a break and I will miss her.  But as she has been blogging steadily for four years, and I am just now writing my 199th post, I understand the need for respite.  Especially when the weather is warm and children keep growing so fast.

In her last post, Corinne confides that her inspiration for writing seems dormant.  So I started thinking about my own purpose in writing, and why I get up eagerly at 6:00 am every day to write my daily post. And why, if I've missed my 6:00 writing time, that I go through the day waiting for an hour of free time to make up for it.

If I get too critical about this blog and start  re-reading past entries, I might just dismantle the whole thing and pretend it never happened.  The initial purpose was to help me learn how to be less of a technophobe, to be more social, and to document my progress with the business.

   One troublesome, annoying issue is that I habitually avoid writing about the business. The truth is that I am afraid to share my insecurities, disappointments, confusion and frustration.  Ironically I am also afraid to share the triumphs, the progress and the truly great feelings that come with creating big custom orders or small requests.  I don't want to hit readers over the head with bragging, self promotion or whining.  I'm also afraid to tell you that I can't get over the fact that I sell a lot more animal ears than sets of Knees and Paws.  This creates a dilemma for the analytical me: have I invested in a private college education only to end up selling headbands?

Enter Steve Zousmer to save the day and possibly this blog.  Zousmer wrote a great book called You Don't Have to Be Famous:  How to Write Your Life Story.  An armchair course for the everyman who longs to write a book (more than 8 out of 10 people say they want to write a book before they die), Zousmer delivers excellent starting points, help with structure and many other useful writing tips.  Although I am not currently writing a book, I found some ideas that helped to define why I'm blogging.

First, I write because I have a past.  It is rich and deep with memory. In this past, I was "frustrated by the weight of thoughts (I) could not express" (Zousmer, 50).  Without daily writing, I fall back into that state of heaviness, of carrying, of storing images, complex feelings, of slogging around in the mud of unsolved and confusing issues that need light and air.

Second, as Zousmer says, "writing is more than a prose process, it's a thinking process.  Writing drives you to create and develop ideas in a way that would probably not happen if you just sat in a chair and thought." (38)
This is so on target.  I remember doing a lot of thinking when I was out on the back porch with my pack of cigarettes wondering when my real life was going to begin.  Sitting there, thinking great thoughts that went absolutely nowhere was depressing.   Perhaps these posts also go nowhere, but collectively they are little fragments of thought sewn together in a crazy quilt of me in mid life.
   I wish I could say that I am developing new ideas for the business here, but this is not happening.  I keep sticking to the same old concept outlined in the patent.  Perhaps there needs to be more product development, but that is the subject of another post.  So far, no lightning bolts of inspiration to make radical changes.


Third, as Z so brilliantly reminds me, "the most relevant reason might be about journey versus destination.  In our childhood and youth, we are all travelers in a new and exciting world."  And although I am no longer a child and am getting less youthful, delving in wholeheartedly to a completely new experience makes me feel like I'm back in "the Huckleberry Finn time of life when (I) encounter most of the defining events, memorable action...have adventures, face dangers and obstacles and turning points, pursue passions and dreams, have victories and setbacks, make good friends and maybe enemies, play (my) cards right or wrong, win or lose or change course."

I blog for fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dandelions and other Proustian Memories

    The roses are not in bloom just yet, so I've taken some time to smell the dandelions.  And as soon as the yellow fuzzy heads touch the tip of my nose, a rush of nostalgia floods my being.    I remembered being a small child, picking big handfuls for my mother, which she would proudly display in a tumbler on her sunny kitchen window above the sink.  While picking dandelions this time, I stand transfixed, caught in the memory of our big green yard in Goodrich, Michigan and what it smells like in the spring.  I can see the blue swingset that my father assembled when I was too small to swing myself without help.  I remember details of color and light, of time going slowly and a sense of stillness that I crave today.
    But a single dandelion is not enough to help me reconstruct the entire memory.  It wasn't until driving up north to drop Emily off that the rest of it rose to the surface.  Yesterday,  we stopped at a rest area in Ohio that was surrounded by farms.  The lawn was covered in dandelions and as I walked, stretching my legs after 8 hours on the highway, I remembered the sponginess of the ground after a late winter snow melt and spring rain showers.  It was so different from the hard red clay in the south and it filled me with a bittersweet feeling that I have left something good behind.   I have left my childhood home and the beauty of the north when the gray skies recede and spring transforms the soul through a drastic alteration of the land.  It is this sharp contrast, the dark into light, the gray into color, the dry air into wet, ionized moistness that I miss.  Farther south, there is a change too, but since winter is not unbearably cold and dark or full of snow, the arrival of spring is not as intense a transformation as it is in my hometown.
  It has me thinking of times when I wore a little yellow raincoat and carried a pink umbrella to splash in the puddles on our driveway, watching the worms and listening to twitters in the blue spruce tree.  It has me remembering the walk to our mailbox, past neighbors who loved me and influenced my life.  It has me thinking of Easter morning and crisp rustling dresses, nylon tights and patent leather shoes.  I can see my parents cooking a holiday feast in the kitchen, the steam rising up from a pot of boiling potatoes.
  And then I see my life in contrast to their life.  A home without the internet, cell phones, text messaging and even cable TV.   How wonderful it was...simple and good.  These Proustian memories make me happy and sad, full of nostalgia for a time and a place I can only reach in the return of spring.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Tree House Bedroom Pics

What I write and think about

I thought this was interesting...
Since I've made a habit of labeling my posts, (thank you Michelle) I've acquired a list of topics that I have been thinking and writing about in the last few months.  Seeing this list makes me happy.  Perhaps I'm not as boring as I think I am.  Here's a copy of the list.  I thought it was notable that I wrote about love twice as many times as I wrote about marriage, and that I wrote about photography twice as much as I wrote about love. Time changes a person I guess!


Friday, April 8, 2011

The vision of the tree house bedroom

  It's been a rather busy week having my daughter visit, so I haven't been writing much here.  To my regular visitors, thank you for your continued comments, even though I've been a little photo crazy, and even though my subject matter is still my kids. Luckily for my wonderful generous readers, I discovered that I can search online for free unlicensed pictures through flicker's commons.  This will help me expand the written content to include topics that I'm interested in but that I previously would not write about due to not having a photo.  I know that most bloggers already knew this, but when you start from scratch, every discovery is something worth celebrating.   
  I also learned how to change my button on the sidebar to a graphic that I created using MS paint.  Another victory! 

In other news, Elliot learned that he could buy fake birds at the dollar store.  He was really excited about this. So for tomorrow's project we are going to go back and buy a few more, then make little stick nests for them and mount them on his bedroom wall.  Lest you think that's odd, at the beginning of the school year we painted a forest mural on his wall, with three huge trees, some big rocks, ferns, mushrooms and lots of leaves at the top.  The plan was to build a loft so that it looked like he had a tree house for a bed.  After eight months, our dream became a reality.    It was amazing that it happened.  I am incredibly frugal...being an Etsian....

    Yet, I couldn't stand the perpetual state of chaos in his room.  It had become a place that I avoided.  And that's not the kind of mom I am.  I want to enjoy visiting my son in his room once and a while, before he's so big that there's a DO NOT ENTER sign on the door.  I know that day is coming.  So, with our hopes up high and a vision of the tree house bed crystallized in our minds, we drove to the Goodwill.  The place was empty of any decent furniture, which was surprising.  Usually our store is stocked to the gills with lots of great finds.  After leaving empty handed, on a whim we stopped in at a furniture consignment shop.  They had two bunk beds. As usual, I cringed at the price tags.   Next to the beds, we saw two handmade, matching book cases that were just within my budget.   We looked at them closely.  I spoke my silent musing aloud to Elliot.  I wondered what we could build with those solid looking, free standing shelves.  It seemed that they were just right height and width (although we did not know this at the time), to put the big wood door that we had laying around in the garage...on top, which would then support his mattress.  I told the owner that we'd take them home today.  While he loaded them in the back of our vehicle, Elliot blurted out "we're going to build a bunker bed with those!"  And the man said,  "you know what, I think that would work!"
We were so excited to see our vision manifest itself that we didn't wait for Richard to get home to help us with our plan.  We used a dollie to get the book cases upstairs and the rest of it went together in five minutes.
We slapped high fives and did a victory dance right there on the spot.

Disclaimer:  I do not recommend that this be done with the cheap plywood bookcases that you can find at Walmart.  This only worked out for us because the bookcases were wide, handmade, and sturdy.

  Next we leaned an old paint ladder against the wall on one end.  Elliot's bedroom is now my (and his) favorite room in the house.  Under the bed there is  a perfect little spot for reading, complete with a small lounge chair, lamp, and smaller bookcase.  BEST of all, every book, puzzle, lego creation, star wars figure, bakugon, pokemon, car, truck, airplane and creature has a proper place!  The organization of my son's room is a bright spot in our home, and a happiness trigger for all who enter.
It makes me want to be a kid all over again.
So if I'm not blogging...you'll know where I'll be!

~I'll take a picture when we have finished adding the bird nests ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Greensboro Natural Science Center Visit

Sweet Sixteen
The tigers are our favorite




Elliot in the tunnel at the Meercat Exhibit
Emily in the same tunnel a few minutes later. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Elliot's bird

  Several months ago, when the trees were bare and the cold weather kept the small creatures and birds huddling for warmth, Elliot attended a nature photography class.  Since that time, he has been anticipating the moment when he could capture a picture of a bird.
     His fascination with birds prompted a day's hike in the woods where we participated in the National Audobon Society's Big Back Yard Bird count.  On that day, near the end of February, we hiked around the lake.  It took us nine hours because we were pausing occasionally to identify birds.  By the end of the day, we saw over three hundred birds of various species, including a stately Great Blue Heron, who stood quietly on a stump like an old man while we walked by.  On that special day which stands out in our memory, we took lots of pictures.  But not one of them turned out the way we hoped.  Since then, I've purchased a better camera.
    So yesterday, after a math lesson, Elliot looked out of his bedroom window to see a small bird perched very close.  The bird seemed to be hanging on for dear life as high winds blew the branches.  Elliot whispered for me to get the camera.  I then watched while he shot picture after picture of this little bird. On the first shot, he was shaking with delight and excitement.  Richard said it must have been like having a version of "deer fever", a rush experienced by hunters.  Whatever it was, the moment was important because it reminded me how learning comes naturally and spontaneously.  I could not have planned a lesson that would have had the same effect.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happiness Triggers

   This morning there is an orange glow on the horizon between a dark stand of trees to the east.  Above the layer of orange there is a band of white light that fades into blue.  The world is silent except for an occasional car driving by and the sweet song of a lonely bird. 
    Solitude in the morning is my favorite way to live.   I'm writing about it here in the hopes that I will remember things that I like and moments that make me happy.  It's easy to forget personal joys in the midst of family activities.  
     One year while I was taking a literature course, the professor asked everyone in the class to name one book or cd that they couldn't live without on a deserted island.  At the time, Elliot was three months old and I hadn't experienced uninterrupted sleep for weeks.  I could not name a single thing that I liked enough to take with me if I were stranded and utterly alone. 
    Perhaps this just means that I am ready to let go of everything when I die, or that I am so distracted by my family that I forget who I am and what I like. 
   Near the end of a fourteen hour drive on Saturday to pick my daughter up, I discovered something I really liked.  It was sort of a re-discovery.  During the last weary hour of the trip, when the mountains were behind us and the sun was setting, I put in a cd by a band called America.  The songs were written in the early seventies, but my parents never had this kind of music in our house.  Perhaps it was too hippie for them. On this night, I realized that I knew all the words to all the songs and could sing along without difficulty to the entire cd.  All the while I was singing (not so loud to wake the kids), I forgot that I was uncomfortable and tired.  I was happy.  It wasn't just listening to the music that triggered my joy, it was my participation. Singing makes me happy.
    Especially singing with Richard, who knew all the words too.   

If you were able to take something with you on a deserted island, what would you take?   

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Retreat

   I live in the third largest city in North Carolina.  This beautiful city has a lot of great qualities. But if you were to drive a few hours west, you would see sights like this:
Which is why one of my new hobbies is hiking.  But friends, while I love hiking in the mountains with my husband, I am sick-in-the-heart terrified of black bears.  Even though everyone says they are benign.   Even though I walked past 17 of them last summer. 
Now that spring has arrived, Richard is ready to plan another backpacking trip.  We will take Elliot and Ozzie this time.
 I know it will be a great experience.  I always feel refreshed and full of energy for life after going into the mountains.   And who can resist the pristine beauty of it all?







Or the chance to spend time with Richard without the burden of our jobs and home? 
I mean, I need to get over this irrational fear.  Look at that guy with his hair all grown out!  I'll eat ramen noodles, sweat like crazy and carry an overloaded pack just to see the relaxed version of my husband return. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

A letter

   This year, I did my spring cleaning in stages.  For the first time, I decided to allow myself plenty of time and relax through the process.  I knew there were areas that needed serious attention, but believed that if I tackled those when inspired, I might actually enjoy it.  This process worked for me.  While I feel rather upset with myself for collecting so many things, I decided that I'm more of a little packrat than a hoarder.  And sometimes, being a little packrat pays off.

  Like yesterday, when I was searching for an electrical cord in my closet and discovered a box of letters and cards.  To my great surprise and delight, the gift of my dad's handwriting unexpectedly fell open as I sorted through the pile.  It reminds me to write handwritten letters to my children.  Because it's a rare gift to read the thoughts of your loved ones after death.

                                                 4-26-04
  Dear Jenny,

     It sure lifted my spirits when I was able to talk to you and hear your voice.  I am happy you are feeling well and that you will feel even better when you can put the money from your car sale to good use.  I'm also happy that you have a new place to live with plenty of room for all.  I wish I could see you and Emily more often.  I miss you both so much and I sure could use your green thumb at this time of the year.  Mostly, I just miss you and yearn for times gone by, but I also look to the future and picture you being happy there with a new baby and a good teaching job.  I also see you being happy with a whole family that is secure in it's love, happiness and comfort.  I always wish for your happiness most of all.  I hope that with Richard by your side, this will be.
     You are a beautiful person and deserve the best.
Well, I need to get to the bank and the post office so will close with lots of hugs for all of you till next time.
Love,
Dad

This letter was written four months before Elliot was born.  Seven years later, I can truthfully say that my dad's wish for me came true.  Aside from not having a teaching job, I am very happily in love and with my family life.

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