On the day of my dad’s funeral, she examined our aching hearts. With the keen acumen of a seasoned diagnostician, she prescribed a potent medicine for us. She generously loaned us her sweet old dog, Pinot.
Pinot has been hard at work. She has tirelessly padded around the house after us, keeping us under her watchful eye. She is half toothless and elderly, yet she has bravely protected us from menacing squirrels and mailmen with her fearsome growls. She has cuddled up next to us whenever we’ve fallen still, and has lulled us to sleep with her old lady snoring. To fill the void after months of a harrowing round the clock caregiving routine for my dad, she imposed on us a new, gentler daily routine of walks, snacks, and belly rubs.
Tomorrow I’m heading back home after being away for more than two months. I’ll bring this old girl back to her own home too. We have been grateful to have the company of this fellow traveler, who helped us navigate a difficult stretch of this terrible journey.
I began the year with a trip to Charlotte for the annual reunion of my college roommates…It just so happened that two of our daughters were there for different sports competitions. I was so grateful to my friend, who drove me to my daughter’s four games and even stood out in the freezing cold rain with me to watch a little. Now that‘s truly a good friend!
A few weeks later, our oldest headed back to school in NYC.
I went to New Jersey to visit my sister and her faithful dog Daisy.
Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Maybelline.
My apricot is blooming!
My friend Katherine and I woke up at an ungodly hour to board a 6 am flight to NYC to check in on our kids, who are both studying there…
We stayed in a hotel at Hudson Yards, right next to The Vessel.
Our hotel bathroom must have been three times as large as the one in my son’s apartment…
Teeny tiny sink in my son’s Lilliputian (shared) bathroom.
Brobdingnagian Friday afternoon tea at Alice’s Teacup
On Saturday we went to Chinatown for dim sum and found ourselves wading through huge crowds that had come out for the Chinese New Year parade:
This last Sunday my second son gave a sermon during the youth-led service at our church…
So proud of him. So not ready for him to leave for college next Fall.
Meanwhile, Gingersnap continues her ruthless and devastatingly efficient campaign to conquer the universe with expressions like these…
Why am I down here on the floor when I’m supposed to be enthroned upon your lap?
The other day I had my final phone session with my “Be Well” health coach. This is a well-intentioned employer-sponsored program, which encourages you to scamper on a hamster wheel for a tiny handful of (taxable) hamster pellets. You are supposed to set two goals for the year – a health goal such as: “I will exercise for 30 minutes three times a week,” and a more holistic “fun” goal such as: “I will read three books a month.” My coach and I had been in touch throughout the year. He always seemed to call when I was in the midst of a catastrophic crisis. I suppose this isn’t so surprising, considering the fact that there seemed to be a fresh disaster every other day this year…In any case, he was well aware that I was far from meeting any of the goals we had made together.
“So, obviously I didn’t meet any of the goals I set back when I thought ‘working on music’ was something I was going to have the luxury to do this year. But I helped my sister weather a serious health crisis; I lost my beloved dog; I got diagnosed with cancer; I had two major surgeries; my kids got in a scary car accident on their second day of school, which totaled the car; and my dad is now facing his own serious health issues.”
There was a triumphant quaver in my voice as I concluded my speech: “But I still managed to be productive at work, to take care of my family, and I didn’t fall apart. Given the circumstances, I think that’s far more impressive than expanding my musical repertoire.”
I still didn’t get my handful of hamster pellets.
After a month in the ICU, my sister was finally able to move to rehab. It happened to be on the same weekend I had been planning to be in NYC with my daughter, her quartet buddies, and their moms.
It was a happy reunion with my daughter, whom I hadn’t seen in a month. My son spent the weekend with us too, and helped us navigate the city and transportation.
Evening stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge
At Dear Evan Hansen
By March I was back home…
In like a lion, out like a lamb.
Our sweet dog Tallis had been sick for quite some time. We finally had to say goodbye.
Over spring break, we took a sleeper train to Chicago with our son.
Cloud Gate, “The Bean”
In my parents’ garden
Pre-Easter Hunt Warm-up
Easter Egg Hunt
In May I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Upping her game with Pre-Formal warm-up in high heels.
Middle School graduate
My dear old Dad
Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet, Virginia
The cat was rechristened Paloma, although she is still mostly called “The Cat.” She still rules the roost with a velvet fist.
In July I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
My parents came to visit after my first surgery.
We are embracing country life…Shooting a BB gun at…
LaCroix seltzer cans!
Three kids, three sets of braces…
1st day of school
2nd day of school. The car hydroplaned off the road on the way home from school.
We took a pic a day to document her recovery.
Thank goodness for young skin!
My #1 Goalie
Back to work after a couple months off to recuperate after surgery.
I made it to half a century!
Checking in on my New Yorker…
We take Halloween very seriously at work.
Apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard
Beautiful fall sunrise from my bedroom window
Working on the FAFSA…
After trying and failing to convince my husband to get me a puppy, I finally had to take matters into my own hands.
My husband’s annual Christmas concert with his early music ensemble.
The wolf shall lie down with the lamb…one day?! To date, Chloe continues to ignore Gingersnap’s bouncy puppy overtures with icy disdain.
They say people and their pups often resemble each other…
Christmas with all the cousins in Princeton, NJ
This may have been the best ten minutes of 2019 for me…
On our way home from NJ, we stopped in Philly to check out Drexel.