Sunday, January 17, 2010

Words, Books, Thoughts

It's been a busy weekend, in a way.

Had a fabulous Thursday night out with one of my dearest girlfriends. We went and saw Greg Mortenson speak. It was an amazing night on a few levels, and terrible traffic on the way in to the presentation and monsoon rains didn't deter from our experience, more enriched it as only it could here on the west coast. What a humble man with an amazing vision. It is hard not be moved by what he has to say, and to agree that everything begins with building relationships (in terms of bringing change, you could say to the areas he is directing his energies towards but I think that limits his vision to a degree, or in the specific case of building schools in remote regions in Central Asia). It is also hard not to agree with how important education is, for both sexes. I am humbled at times by how grateful I am for my own education, how it has been a struggle at times, how I am still paying for it, and also the opportunities I have had, and perhaps will have in the future. How important it is to hold on to them, and to try to pay lessons and opportunities forward (that is the true power).

Part of our ticket price included a copy of his new book, and we faithfully stood in line and were the very last souls to get our books signed by him. My gal was amazed that he was a climber because his build didn't fit that of a typical climber, and that he had a different kind of physical presences. I had to laugh, because he came off in person as I would have expected him to - not necessarily comfortable in his skin, but it doesn't really matter in what is important to him. He didn't seem that comfortable in his suit, but he did seem comfortable talking to people, children especially. He spoke much of educating women, and the role that education women plays in improving overall quality of life. I think his unwavering approach and his being true to himself is his key to success and we can all take a few lessons from this graceful man. I was choked up a few times, hearing about his experiences, and the tales of wonder and woe from some of the world's most remote places.

So what do you say when you get to meet someone you greatly respect and admire and know through their writing?? Hi. Thanks. I stumbled for words, and I wonder how awkward I may have come off. I still stick by standard saying - when you are yourself, and authentic, even if you are stumbling, your sincerity does come across. I shock his hand, thanked him for being himself, and for doing what he does. Then we left for home (and a chai), a little inspired, maybe a little verklempt, and just glad.

Then out with a great big group of friends for dinner on Saturday night. I think there was at least 12 kids with us at this kid friendly restaurant. My eldest kid was doing laps of our section. Running. They were all yelling, and having a great time. I spent how many years waiting for him to run, and then he starts to run and get all flushed in the face in a restaurant (yes, he has already been running, but it is funny, he does lap after lap after lap of our big tables chasing the other 3 year old with an endless supply of energy and no time to stop and take drinks until his pizza arrived at which time it was okay to sit still for a minute or two). Timing, right? It was noisy. Nothing like having a dining experience with 32 of your closest friends.. It was fun, and I got to talk to mostly everyone. I must say, I enjoy smaller gatherings better. I want to look you in the eye and have a conversation that isn't rushed. I want a little bit of more controlled chaos, I want to bask in news, rather than feel I get to hear it, sort of talk about it, and then chase a kid down while worrying about whether or not the other one is getting over-tired and cranky. Could be the age our kids are, but I think I have shifted within myself from wanting the big noisy gatherings to enjoying a little less chaos. Who knew? There is a time and a place for everything...

And of course I have finished another book. This time it is Dunant's Sacred Hearts.I think I will recommend this one for my book club because it was excellent. It takes place during the Italian Renaissance in a fictional convent. It is about so many different elements - love, religion, politics, medicine, art, relationships, women... It was a novel read - I had never really thought about the freedom a woman could actually enjoy in a convent, but this book gave me pause and illuminated a few thoughts I have not considered before. It is beautifully written, and I was almost sad to reach the last page.

I think we have hit teething full on. Connor's lower gum is swollen, he has a red cheek, his nose his running, lots of drool, and frankly, he was a little miserable, starting from about 10 o'clock last night. Hopefully we will fare better tonight and will sleep better. So, here we are, just over six months old... Connor has not cut any teeth yet (could change) and he has an amazing amount of hair... we love to call it the party in the back. Connor can roll when he wants to, but he doesn't do it very often yet. He can sit on his own for a while, and from an incline, and pull himself up to a sit position. He is babbling, and when he is really upset, it almost sounds like he is calling for mama... he smiles a lot, and doesn't wake up crying. He watches Brandon a lot, and he loves to be up and likes the excersaucer we have for him. His eyes are still blue, and who knows what hair colour he will end up with. He loves to hold my fingers, and he is a different kind of cuddler, he wants to be up, and as close to you as he can be, but looking out. He loves to grab things, and shake things, and he has a pretty good range of motion. He has done awesome with food - no allergies have cropped up, and it seems a little hit and miss with some dinner combinations I have tried out. Apparently in our house, stew is on it's way out. Not big around here. My stew is the only food Connor gags on. Yeah. I am making all of his food from scratch, like I did for Brandon (except cereals, obviously). Connor loves to eat - he will grab food if you aren't watching carefully, it is funny! Makes Brandon seem not that adventurous when it comes to food. What else??? He is big, about 21 pounds, about 28 and a bit inches tall, and pretty healthy.

While I think about it, I should stretch this marathon post even further - at 3 and 1/2 Brandon is doing awesome. He is really TALL. And big, and strong. It is very assuring because I would be surprised to have smaller kids. Neither Ken nor I are built that way. Brandon has an amazing vocabulary, and we are working with him on the building blocks of reading, and yes, I love phonics. He still loves story time, and he is just getting in to dinosaurs. He still loves the movie Cars, but he will watch other movies, if he has too. He is still very much a poppa's boy and walks at the lake to feed the ducks is still a big hit. He is in swimming lessons, and I am going to see about going to the gym or picking up another sport in the next while. His walking, running, and jumping are coming along at a good pace, and he is pretty good about playing with other kids. Being off with me we are in our little world and play dates are huge to help keep up the social skills (not that he will ever be shy, but just in terms of interacting with other kids and playing nice.. ) He is learning preferences, and he is coming up with some great sayings... like I startled him the other day and he said to me "mom, now was that necessary?" I laughed. He is a cool kid when he isn't trying my patience. He is three, he has a lot of energy, and he is starting to push boundaries and not always act out, but just trying himself out, and expanding his own world. It is cool to see as he emerges from the toddler stage to the preschool stage and his world and his thoughts are just expanding.

Phew. I think that is enough for tonight. Once again, a book calls as the house is silent, although this one is not profound, it is escapist literature, a Nora Roberts book which are always good in a pinch for some light reading but a decent story.

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