20 March 2015

Changing seasons

Yesterday, the last day of winter—
Minutes after my forlorn little blog post, I was sitting on my front porch with Moxie, pausing after our stroller walk, when completely out of the blue, she projectile-vomited, twice, with a force so powerful I later had to clean the INSIDE of a closed wooden chest which holds our shoes. As I sat there in astonishment, at the epicenter of the spew, I stripped mucky Moxie down and yelled for help from Rob, who just happened to be in the house at the time. Careful to keep his feet on dry land, he laughingly reached across the gorge and rescued our little puker from the great puddle that was once my lap. He kept on laughing as he took her into the bedroom to change her diaper and get her comfortably pajama-ed while I took care of the damage.

About the time I got the floor mopped up and the furniture clean I heard a loud exclamation. Still covered with barf, I ran in to find Rob hunched over a naked, startled baby Moxie on our bed, and pulling all four corners of her changing pad up around her. He was paralyzed. I knew exactly what had happened. "Geyser?" I asked. "She's in a pool of pee!" he cried desperately. "Grab something! Help!" I brought in a towel. We managed to make a less than devastating transfer; the bed only got wet on his side. Heh.

So this was a first—it was Moxie's first complex blowout. I know there's still room for another level of achievement, but hey, a 2-in-1 is impressive. And a funny way to conclude Mama's bout of personal melancholy.

Today, the first day of spring—
I got the last paper, a medical form, filled out and signed and turned in to the agency. There's nothing more to do now except drive to the courthouse Monday with my people, pay some legal fees, stand before the judge and smile and cry as he pronounces us a legal family. WHAT!

Moxie and I went a-thrifting, and found us each a good outfit to wear to court on Monday, and only spent $12. Hey!

Rob and Moxie and I attended the annual Book Collectors' Conference luncheon at BYU. Rob prints their keepsake every year, and this year he also taught a workshop on lino cuts. It was nice to see some friendly familiar faces, and to introduce them to our little party crasher.

We three spent the afternoon together. We visited the South Valley pound and pondered dog ownership AGAIN, considered adopting a hulking backyard bunny that looked like a dalmation, and watched with great interest as a prison inmate and one of the medical staff chased down a hellcat that flew out of its cage when someone opened the door to refresh its water. Have you ever watched an angry cat go insane escaping and run up walls?

We went on a ramble down Spanish Fork way. First, we got hooked by a promising sign that said HUGE ESTATE SALE and gave directions. We drove and drove, following more signs in this series, and after about a dozen arrows and maybe that many meandering miles, we found ourselves in Woodland Hills, up against the mountain. A nice place, forested, with a beautiful view and some good houses. But the estate sale? Cruddy leather couches, an old Pfaff, lampshades and worn out Mormon vinyl lps: Osmonds, MoTabs, Carpenters. Lots of beige and plaid. We were duped! But it was fun anticipating the treasures we didn't find. And it was interesting exploring that area.

We found an antique store we hadn't been in for some years, bought a small cheerful treasure. Discovered that Moxie seems to like creepy old dolls. Anything with a face, maybe, but the antique dollies appeared to capture her interest most. What does it mean? We'll have to pay a visit to Cat's Cradle Antiques soon to test her tolerance.

Finished off our time with BYU Creamery burgers and fries then headed for home. Rob and Moxie were both such great company today. Our little girl was bright and in great spirits all day and we all laughed together a lot. The world is beautiful right now with all its blooming and bursting. The only downside to this kind of fun day is that it has to end—Rob has to work late, and Moxie is peeved that she is called upon to sleep. Oh well, still worth it. A few rounds of reading, singing, fighting against the zzzs, succumbing, waking, crying and yelling, and I got her settled, for the night, finally, with kisses and promises that we'll have another day in a few hours.

I worked on a project while my people both worked on their own, and at the end of my day, I dipped into my "creative account" and ordered two instruments online. If you're still reading this travelogue, can you guess what they are?

It was a good first day of a new season. It feels like a party when the world begins coming to life. Makes me want to sing. Or make something sing.

19 March 2015

Mothers need mothers

I have gotten a later start than some on mothering, but my hope and plans are to keep myself clear-minded, able-bodied, and strong enough to love well for a long, long time to come. If Moxie has a child herself one day, there will be times when she cries for her own mother's comfort and wishes for familiar relief and support, and maybe perspective. I want to be able to give her that relationship, in the flesh. I want to remember what the good times and the hard times feel like, so she'll have an empathetic friend in me. Even if she doesn't have a child—of course! But right now I'm having specially keen grandmotherly visions because I miss my own mama so much. I wish she would come walking through my front door. Mothering is kicking my butt. Yes, I love it. It shreds me some days. 

17 March 2015

Around my heart in 181 days

This is fun:


I always liked playing with calculators. My folks bought me a fancy one for high school that did all sorts of great higher math tricks, plus it could spell—it was during the time when it was a popular game to make words out of numbers. Did anyone else do this, or am I the only one who geeked out making a Texas Instruments Scientific say HELLO?

Key in 0.7734 and turn your calculator upside down. See? Fun. Sadly, this probably won't work with your smartphone, but if you can find an old calculator in your parents' junk drawer, you can teach it to say words like hillbillies, legless, oozes, and—hey!—even my name, Geo.

Here's a list of possibilities to get you started:


So there's this beautiful baby in my life—my ladyfriend, my small woman, my seedling, my Mighty Mox, my daughter. I wake her up in the morning and she smiles hilariously. I spend the day feeding and caring for her, teaching her, playing with her, and trying to solve the great puzzle of mothering, and she accepts many of my efforts. I sing her to sleep at night, poor little thing! She practices talking (through a megaphone?) in the middle of the night. She is a funny, intelligent, delightful creature. And today she turned six months old! That's 181 days! I've been there for every one so far. She's circled my heart countless times since September and I am bound, captured. It's joy to love this child and to watch her become herself. I do not have words to express the depth of gratitude I feel for the opportunity to be a wife and mother. I'm glad my husband and I are making this journey together.

Next Monday morning, Rob and Moxie and I will go to court and be able to finalize this adoption. We thought we were going to have to wait till late April, but we just learned that we can shave a month off that expectation. Standing before the judge will be a small moment, but one that changes history for all of us, forever.

This is a great age, six months. There's so much discovery. I'm amazed at the rapid, solid way little humans grow and learn. Moxie's projects today were, with my help, practicing pulling herself up to sitting and balancing, and, without my help, finding new items to snatch while playing in her walker. Yesterday it was just a dish towel that hung on the fridge door. Today it was the dish towel, an outgoing box of thrift store donations, magazines, books, and her daddy's bathrobe. Luckily, I got to the bathroom garbage can before she did. I'm surprised to have to start babyproofing so early, but hey, it just means she's becoming capable and independent, right? Naps and spoons are becoming more familiar. Drinking (or something like it) from our water glasses, and tongue-scrubs are favorite fascinations. Nose-wiping results in thrashing wails, but the nose-sucker, now that's entertainment. I give her a chance at the piano most days, while she sits on my lap. Today she attacked the keys with enormous enthusiasm, giving them her best pounding yet and throwing her whole little force into making those sounds. She likes to dance with me and ride around on me, supervising and grabbing at whatever I lay my hands to. She gets excited about books as well and would like to devour them.

This is typical; all babies do these kinds of things. But HOW INCREDIBLE IS IT THAT I, OF ALL PEOPLE, GET TO BE HERE, EXPERIENCING THIS. My mind is forever blown and I want to savor all of it I can.

I can't count as high as my amazement. I'm going to need one powerful calculator to help me add up all the good words: belle, bibs, blesses, bliss.

I think I want to blog again.

Is it okay, to start again AGAIN? I've let seven months pass without a post. Is this finally a dead blog? Should I let it rest in peace? Do I need to move away from Bright Street and find myself some new digs? I mean, I am a mother now. I AM A MOTHER, PEOPLE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M TELLING YOU?

Neither do I.

This is a blog post. I am blogging. Maybe I'll blog here a while longer, or maybe soon I'll give you directions to a new home for some of my words.

Meanwhile, three things:
  1. Armed with a bulb syringe you CAN win battles against bubbling baby snots. 
  2. Something about dividing your meal with an unexpected guest feels a little sacred.
  3. How did it get to be 1:00 in the morning? No wonder I'm tired. 
Tomorrow my baby girl turns six months old. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M TELLING YOU? I AM A MOTHER, PEOPLE.

16 August 2014


Surprise #1: Happy balloons & a mysterious note.

Fess up, you mysterious note-writer.
We've been analyzing your handwriting and love your dry humor. 

Surprise #2: There's a porta-potty parked in front of my house. 

Surprise #3: Pretty flowers and a thoughtful note from friends.
Thank you, Bairds! 

Not pictured: The nicest surprise of all—going for a drive in the Uintas with Rob and enjoying three more hours with him than we'd planned together today. Gosh, I've been missing that guy lately. Work, work, work. 

A nice day. Thanks, everyone. Except for you, construction workers. I wish you'd move that porta-potty.

My angels

I quit my opiates cold turkey yesterday to get my head clear enough to prepare for the arrival of baby Moxie (her placeholder name till we find something permanent). Today I woke up hurting and sick and it was hard to come to life. As I lay in bed , trying to sort myself out, I got a call from my little nephew, F. He's getting into a real groove with FaceTime lately and it's fun. Last night he had his first awful migraine—they run in the family—and today he felt headachey but better. It was nice keeping each other company a while. I love my nephews and nieces.

Early this evening, two of my nieces, the littles, came over and climbed into bed with me. (I didn't spend the whole day there, just most of it.) We talked about Moxie. They had questions. They wanted to see a picture of Moxie's biological mama. D., the older of the two little girls, said to me, "For every loss there is a gain." Isn't that a great thing to remember? And very true in this case—here I am, recovering from a hysterectomy that I didn't want, and VOILA, here comes a baby that I do. I try always to pay attention to my nieces and nephews. They are all such good people, and often wise.

Moxie's bio mama wants her to grow up around blonde children so she'll blend in well. WE'VE GOT IT COVERED!

I invited the girls to toss out suggestions for a baby name. A. thought of several names, most of which already belong to other beloved cousins. But she also said Rose, which set us off brainstorming flowers. I pulled The Language of Flowers down from the bookshelf and D. and I perused the possibilities while A. played one of my ukes and wrote a song—

Living in the west.
Make a lamp.
Make a tent.
Sleep well.

She added two more verses later—
I like to hike.
I like living by myself.

A. serenaded us and then D. and I settled on naming the baby Bluebell Speedwell. So there you have it!

After dinner with family, D. wanted to braid my hair—always a great activity when you find yourself with a pokey convalescent who'll do nothing but sit still for you. D. made me a fishtail—

Am I not a mermaid? I'm a lucky auntie, at the very least.

I was also blessed today with a grownup visitor—my beautiful friend, Nancy. It's a rare treat to get to spend an hour with her. Her visit was a light to me and a lift, and I realized while she was talking that I've had a great ministering of angels—earthly angels—recently. Probably the other kind too. Other friends have come In person or have written loving words. A few family members have come too. These have checked in after my surgery. They showed up after I made the big announcement yesterday. They bring baby accoutrements, cheer, happy tears, sometimes laughably sober hospital faces, food, friendship and interest. I love their good energy. I love them. They don't think of themselves as angels, I imagine, but I do. And the same goes for Rob; he's an angel of mercy, the goodest of them all.

God bless my angels.

14 August 2014

Welcome to our world

Something wonderful has happened, is happening, will happen. Rob and I have made a new friend. She is bright and funny, good-hearted and brave, kind, communicative and beautiful. I loved her the first moment I saw her, and even a little before that. This young vibrant woman is pregnant, and has chosen Rob and me to be the adoptive parents of the baby girl she is carrying. And we have said yes. 

This child is due to arrive September 21st, but there's a good likelihood she won't wait past the end of August. We would appreciate any prayers and good thoughts you can send thisaway, to help our friend through the homestretch and beyond, and to help us prepare for and receive this unspeakably lovely gift. 

We just wanted you to know. 

And happy anniversary to us. August 14th—it's an auspicious day, as friends told us years ago. 

23 March 2014


Seen at church today: During the sacrament hymn, a young family, arriving late, entered the chapel and hunted for an open pew. The little son, trudging along in plaid flannel, wore gold star stickers that covered the entire left side of his face. 

I noticed another young family seated to my right. Their tiny girl charms and breaks my heart every Sunday with her moon face; she's like a mini version of a dear friend of mine. With all my heart I want this little woman to have a happier, safer childhood than my friend did. Today Moon Face was wearing glistening golden moccasins. They were magical. 

And it settled into my heart, this big thought, this marching order: Search for the gold. I had the impression that every person in the room, and not in the room, had gold inside. Many times it's a treasure that's buried deeply, seemingly beyond discovery, its value concealed, but it is there. My job is to find that gold, to see it and help others see it—this was the message that came to me.

Wouldn't you think that by now, in my middle years, I'd be done wondering what I'm to do with my life? But I do wonder. It changes, and I want to know and keep my knowing fresh and new. So maybe this is part of my answer: I'm a gold diviner, a dowser of worth. Plenty of satisfaction and job security in that kind of work.

12 January 2014

Make(r) me

I'm so glad to have had a day of rest. My first thoughts this morning were about being a maker. The word is taking me over—I love it! My mind hasn't fully wrapped itself around Divine Parentage, but I do believe that I am a child of God and somehow I was made to become a maker. 

My early prayers centered on this inborn power, this trust—making, creating. It's compelling stuff. I want to make—the bed (for a change)! Breakfast! Friends. Love—in all its meanings. Space and environments. Sanctuary. The list is long. What I don't want to make are purchases—I want no imaginary debts accrued and no strings attached when I make, when I give. Making has the potential to be its own reward. It's a power, but one which loses its strength if used to manipulate. Trying to buy favor or affection, and hoping to obligate someone, for instance, both fly in the face of honest making and cancel out the joy of it. 

What a wonderful mysterious thing to have been made in the image of the Divine. What an enlivening challenge to wake up and realize I have right now to carry on that lasting and heavenly purpose, to choose to remake myself moment by moment in that same eternal image. It was done for me in the beginning so I could become a maker myself, a chooser, a builder, under the kind guidance of a loving Creator.