Saturday, September 30, 2006

Vancouver Island, Here We Come!


The week's vacation we've been waiting for since booking it last April is here! We leave the house in a few minutes for our flight from Atlanta to Vancouver, BC, Canada, via Salt Lak City (with a one-hour layover, pray that our suitcases make the next plane!). At the airport there we'll pick up a rental car and head straight for the BC Ferries for the 2-hour ride from Vancouver to Nanaimo. Then it's a 3-hour drive through the mountains to Ucluelet on the southwest side of the island.



Here's a close-up of Ucluelet, not far southeast from Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park on the Pacific Ocean.


Here's a link to where we're staying for the week. It's the wild nature we most anticipate. The crashing ocean. It'll be heaven for us! Weather now is in the high 50s or low 60s, which we'll love. If we can see whales, along with the sea lions and bears and whatever, we'll be in SECOND heaven (better than first :).

Don't think we'll have Internet access but I'll take my laptop to store the myriad photos you know I'll take. One day soon you'll see it all through my eyes, of course. Till then, take care of yourselves and have a good week while we remember you from afar.

BTW, since I probably won't be able to blog while we're gone, we'll see Expat Traveler and her husband on Friday in Vancouver. Donica then flies to Palm Springs for business on Saturday and I'll fly to LA to spend a couple days with Dennis' parents who have graciously invited me to stay with them while I'm on the West Coast. It'll be our first time to meet, after many e-mails and phone calls.

Lots to look forward to!

K-I-S-S-I-N-G


Today is a B-I-G day for the OHANA = Family Connection, with Nicholas at dead center (or maybe it's Dennis?). Today he and Dennis (Amy's beau) met each other for the first time. (Remember, Dennis is from California and flew in this weekend for Amy's birthday today.)



But first, this precious story: Amy had just framed some pics of her and Dennis from their recent Hawaii week and had placed them in the living room this past Monday evening. The above photo is one of them. In the rush of getting to school and work, Nicholas did not notice them the next morning. But that evening while Amy was in the kitchen and he was running around in the living room, she heard him suddenly stop dead in his tracks.

Nicholas then announced, "I see a picture of Dennis kissing Mommy!"

To which she said, "Yeah?"

Nicholas: "Yes, and I know why...because you love him."

Amy: "Yes, you're right, Buddy. I do love him."

Then he started chanting, "Mommy has a boyfriend! Mommy has a boyfriend!" and proceeded to then sing the entire song of "Mommy and Dennis sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G...."

After Amy told me this story she said, "I think it's safe to say he's well aware of what's going on! He gets it!"

So now Dennis and Nicholas both have a face to go with the name and are starting to get acquainted. Oh my. This is one of the best dreams of my life come true! And what a birthday gift for Amy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Snapping



Last week in our Hannover tiergarten, right at dusk, I watched these red deer (rothirsch) lay themselves down to sleep, one by one, as I stood there watching. Yesterday, after another 25+-hour trip, this time back home from Hannover, I finally laid myself down to sleep. No suitcase yet, but I'm back safe-n-sound. Lots of reading, Sudoku, photoshopping and "snapping" (short, quick naps).


See this blur of a tail? That's what these next 3 days will be like for me before we leave for Vancouver on Sunday morning:

** Mow the lawn
** Get my hair cut
** Clean out my car
** Sort through 9 days of mail
** Dust and vacuum
** Do the laundry and take Donica's clothes to the cleaners
** Pick Dennis up at the airport Friday morning and eat lunch with him (he's coming for Amy's 34th birthday--what a man!)
** Pick up Nicholas after school for an overnight
** Welcome Donica home from Amsterdam!!!
** Go to Nicholas' soccer game on Saturday morning
** Eat lunch with Dennis, Amy and Nicholas after soccer
** Run miscellaneous errands before Vancouver
** Celebrate my kids' birthdays Saturday night--Amy's 34th and Mark's 31st

Guess I need to snap to it (quick action).


BTW, this past Sunday was my first time in 2 years to snap (take a pic of) a buck at the tiergarten. I think it was an omen about us needing to be snappish (not irritable but bullish) these next days before our vacation!

So, whether taking quick naps or snapping to it, here's to all of us getting done what needs to get done before tomorrow. And not snapping (breaking) in the process! All we have is today and today is sufficient for the task at hand, as they say!

Sufficient to each day are the duties to be done and the trials to be endured. -- T.L. Gayler

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Say What?


Before I get on the plane to fly back to Atlanta....

The other day I had two about-faces, one going and one coming back from my walk here in Hannover. In both cases I had passed what I saw before stopping dead in my tracks and turning around to take these pics.


This is a brand-spanking-new PT Cruiser. So what! IN GERMANY! It's not that you don't see American cars here, especially ones like a Ford Focus. But this was the first PT Cruiser I've seen here. BTW, see the kiosk on the sidewalk behind it? Right after you pass it, you turn left into our apartment's alleyway.


Not very far from where the PT Cruiser was parked is this shoe-repair-shop window where I saw this boot. Now tell me that's not something to write home about!

Speaking of home, that's where I go today, via Paris and Washington-Dulles. Donica leaves this afternoon for Amsterdam and won't come home till Friday. Crossing ships in the night once again! Another long day but so totally worth it. Is it really time to leave already?? I'm afraid these next days will be a blur before we leave for Vancouver Island on Sunday. But that's getting ahead of myself.... Miles to go before then!

[It's 4:55a Hannover time right now so I'll have to manually change the time of this post so as to make it Wednesday instead of Tuesday. (My computer is set for Atlanta time.) Details, you know!]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yakkity-yak, Yakkity-yak


I declare! After 7-1/2 hours with Christina here on Friday and 9-1/2 hours with Dixie Peach/Kim in Magdeburg yesterday, you'd think I'd be plumb tuckered out! HA. I'm just wetting my whistle for our time with Expat Traveler in Vancouver a little over a week from now!


Dixie was waiting for me on the platform when I stepped off the train at 10a yesterday morning on a cloudless, breezy, blue-sky, autumn day. From that point on, we were here, there and everywhere within the city center vicinity. Her apartment is nearby, within walking distance, but she was so gracious and got all-day tram passes so that we could easily go back-n-forth.


Our first visit was the Magdeburg Cathedral which just happens to be having their thousand-year celebration with baptisms and christenings. There is a magnificent collection of baptismal fonts on display in the nave. And then behind, in one of the alcoves, there is a Soulful collection of angels holding baptismal basins, similar to the one hanging here. We were NOT allowed to take photos (this one is definitely contraband--slap my hand), so all I could do was take mental snapshots of the 30 or so angels hanging above us as we walked through. I kept telling Kim that my mom would have been in utter awe and would have wanted to name each one. As was I! (So now you know where I get it!)


From the cathedral we walked across the platz to the Hundertwasser Haus (the Green Citadel of Magdeburg, a hundred-water house) which reminded me so much of Antoni Gaudi's architecture (which we saw in Barcelona, Spain). Lots of curves and waves; no straight lines. It's actually an apartment complex to where Kim and B almost moved but realized there would be too many tourists (like me) gawking at it and taking pics. More pics are in my photo album.


From the Hundertwasser Haus we walked over to the 11th century Monastery of Our Beloved Lady, now a museum of modern art. Since it is closed on Mondays, we couldn't go inside. But that didn't keep me from walking all around and taking myriad pics. You know I'm a glutton for these old buildings and spires!

Then we ate lunch at a lovely pub-like restaurant that is a favorite of Kim's: a good German dish of curry wurst and kraut salad. Afterwards, we walked a few yards away to the town hall. Again, pics are in the photo album.

What I was most waiting for, however, was THIS! To not only meet B (Kim's husband), but to take a picture of them together (used with permission):

They have been together for 9 years now (he's German and she's from Mississippi!) and are two peas in a pod. In spite of the fact he's a quadriplegic (from a swimming accident), he is one of the most positive, cheerful persons you could ever meet. As Dixie says, EVERYONE loves him. And that's the truth. His perfect English and her perfect German make for a great combination. You can definitely say they were made for each other (it's written all over her natal chart!). I even met the MIL who takes care of B when Kim is taking a break. So lovely herself. I felt so at home there with all of them, which is a testament to their loving hospitality.


And so that you all will know that Kim really DOES knit those wonderful goodies on her site, here are her hands knitting a sock. You're not gonna hear what I say next but I actually think I could get inspired to learn how to knit socks. I can probably come up with 10 good reasons but suffice it to say that if I decide to do it, I'll do it for Donica and me for our times here in Germany. When it's cold here it's really C-O-L-D. It goes straight to your bones. That's when those wool-blend socks really come in handy. I can see it right now: Ginnie the knitter! HA. True to us Geminis, I'll try anything once :)

Which is a great note to stop on. "Try anything once," is my motto. As you know by now, I'm trying it more than once, over and over again...meeting up with these wonderful Bloggers who have become a significant part of my world.

Thank you, Kim and B, for taking such good care of me for a day!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Works



Our evening at Herrenhäuser Gärten yesterday was fabulous! So cool, breezy and full of ACTION! As the sun set over the gardens, I realized once again why I love going there, for that alone. To add something like Canada's fireworks was just frosting on the cake. Canada was the last of 5 competitors in this year's fireworks' competition that started in May. I'm eager to see who won: Austria, Spain, Russia, Czech Republic or Canada. I'm guessing they all won, as far as the crowds are concerned.


Since the actual fireworks didn't start till 9p and we were there at 5:30p (!), we had lots of time to fritter away. There wasn't a lot going on, since most people go and stake out their spot on the grass somewhere for "the works." But we went off one by one, after eating brats and a baked potato, with a mug of beer. There was line dancing from Nashville (do they do that in Canada :) and the Knut Richter jazz band, plus other acts that we didn't see or take pics of. But this face painting spot was a real hit. In fact, as I took several pics of this beauty, Anne-Sophie, the mother asked me if I could send them to her via e-mail. My delight, of course :)


I even had time to walk through the Niki de Saint Phalle grotto nearby, which I have done before but not at night, just before it closed. Don't get me started on her. I have written about her before for her exhibit in our Atlanta Botanical Gardens. So soulful! What an amazing artist!

We were there, of course, for the FIREWORKS from Canada. Nor were we disappointed! Well, for me, some day I'd like to just watch the works and not think one second about taking pics. But I played around with my new camera (new for "works," that is) and came up with a couple pics I found quite interesting (click image to enlarge):











I clearly have a lot yet to learn about taking fireworks' pics but I think I was most surprised after uploading these to see the galaxy, the ocean and the garden everywhere I looked. Hmm. Did Canada do that just for me? :)

Tomorrow I train east of Hannover 1-1/2 hours to Magdeburg to meet up with Dixie Peach for the day. This will be our second rendezvous (our first was with Christina here in Hannover) and one to which I'm looking forward. Never a dull moment in Ginnie's life, that's for sure :)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

ACTION!


Today at 10a in Atlanta is Nicholas' second soccer game of this season, which we'll miss (boohoo). I was there last Saturday and took scads of pics for Donica (who was already here in Hannover). The album has 90 photos (unprocessed) so she could see all the nuances of his expressions and actions. That's because this time, HE GETS IT! Finally, his 4th season of soccer, HE REALLY DOES GET IT.


It's a Baptist Church league so they get READY with a team prayer.


Then, GET SET!



GO = ACTION!



The reason why this ACTION stuff is so perfect for Donica and me here in Hannover is because we always try to find it on the weekends. We always ask Landlady Uschi if she knows of any ACTIVITY going on in the city that we shouldn't miss. When she comes back to us, she says, "Here's the ACTION!" In her very good English (I'd be a happy camper if my German were as good as her English!), ACTIVITIES are synonymous with ACTION!

So, our ACTION today is the last of the fireworks' competition, put on by Canada, at Herrenhäuser Gärten. We plan to leave the apartment at 4p, just as Nicholas' soccer game starts in Atlanta! Tomorrow afternoon we plan to meet up with Donica's American co-worker's family that has recently moved to Hannover from Atlanta for a 2-year expat stint. A nice ribs' dinner at the nearby biergarten is the order of the day!

So, here's to some good ACTION for us all this weekend. Oh yes, who does MICHIGAN play today! (Lots of good action last week against Notre Dame!!! :) Actually, I think it's Wisconsin, as I recall.... GO BLUE! I want to see ACTION once again!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Attractiv & Anständig


For the last 2 days I have kept Jozee in suspenders over this post. Here it is, Jozee, and all you Jo's everywhere.



This is your new mantra: Attractiv & Anständig.
Attractive & Respectable
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!



And now I'm on my way to Hannover's city-center to meet up with Christina, whose name might as well be Jo. Heck, let's all put our names in the slot and chant the mantra!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Priceless!


On my way home from the horse pastures the other day...


...this lady and child popped in out of nowhere. (Thank God for my zoom because I never would have caught them otherwise.)


This child knows me or maybe I know her. That's how wistfully I look back every time I leave!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Green Pastures


While Mr.Sun darted in and out of the clouds on a gloriously cool and breezy day yesterday, I visited the horse pastures near our apartment here in Hannover. It's where I found my Horse Whisperer last fall, remember?!



This time there were geese (?) everywhere, sharing the space with the horses as though nothing was a bit unusual about it. I assume they are geese because they would fly off at a whim. Are these the variation of Canadian geese in America that fly south every winter? Maybe Christina or KPK will know?





Here's another question: Why in Sam's scratch is this horse wearing a light-weight "blanket" at this time of the year? I haven't a clue. Do you? Is she healing from some trauma? She may be my new Whisperer. We sure had a lot to say to each other while we took each other in.



That was a nice hour's walk, btw. HA. Walk, take pics, walk, take pics, walk. Yup--an hour's worth. 93 pics in all! Enough for posts the rest of my time here, I kid you not. (But true to my form, don't worry, I'll stick to only one/day.)

My Soul lies down in these pastures. I'm taking it all in, again. I do not want!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cabbage Tree Oil


This is for you Trivia buffs!


The only time I have seen or eaten these Tomato Basil Crusty snacks is on Air France between Paris and Hannover. It is such a favorite of mine that, as you see, I ate it before even thinking about a pic of what it looks like. Just take my word for it: think fried cheese puffs with a orange-reddish-tomato-y hue.


Here's the trivia: the ingredients include "partially hydrogenated and no hydrogenated cabbage tree oil." DreamWalker already knows this, I'm sure, but it's a native of New Zealand and looks like this.

Just what you always wanted to know!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Gemini Angels


I MADE IT SAFE-N-SOUND! 25-1/2 hours from when I left our Atlanta house yesterday (10a) to when I walked into our Hannover apartment just minutes ago (5:30p, accounting for the 6-hour time difference): from Atlanta to Newark to Paris to Hannover (on frequent flyer miles)!

And since I've been thinking of angels lately, I'll add this thought for free: While I was on the train from the Hannover airport to the Hauptbahnhof (train station) in city center, I gazed out the window with a smile on my face and twinkling eyes, saying THANK YOU (as I always do when I go back-n-forth safely). Suddenly, I saw a host of swirling wings darting about with giddy joy. I kid you not (my mind's eye is pretty active!).

And suddenly, the thought hit me that my guardian angels are most surely Gemini Angels! They'd have to be in order to keep up with where my mind goes, from one thing to another.

HA! Well, I thought it was funny...even though I don't have a photo to document it!

Okay. I'll catch up on y'all tomorrow. Just wanted you to know I made it safely over the pond (and did lots of Sudoku)! Thanks for your travel "best wishes." Donica is on her way home from the office, so we'll catch up shortly ourselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Collecting FARM


In a couple hours, I'll be one my way to the airport for my first trip to Hannover since June! I can hardly stand it, I'm so excited. I've missed her. But before I leave, here's some Farm to leave with you.

This tractor has been chained to this telephone pole along the road on the way to Amy's house for who knows how long. So the other day I stopped by on a cloudy, about-to-rain day to get up close and personal.







I ask you: Would YOU buy this pile of sh junk? I wish now that I had taken close-ups of certain parts that were held together by screwdrivers and pop cans. I also want to find out how much they want for it and if in fact it runs! There is a battery, I see.

I'm guessing this has a LOT of history to it and is a piece of art to someone. Hmmm. Maybe some farm somewhere...some yard?...would want it for the ambiance. Hmmm. I wonder how we could transport it to our own back yard and if we could negotiate the price for that!

A bit of Farm Ambiance never hurt anyone, right?! Or yet another collection?

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." --Thomas Edison

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fruit of the Loom


I think you know by now that my extended family is very musical! We've come by it naturally through my mom who lived and breathed music her entire life as a pianist, composer and choir director.


Both sister Ruth and I have posted about her son, Peter, who is an accomplished guitarist. But this post is not about music or about Peter but about his 18-month-older sister, Lesley, Ruth's daughter, who is an accomplished fabrics maker and designer. Just take a look at this shawl that Lesley made for her mom, hanging on the living room chair at The Farm. When I found out Lesley had actually made it, I had two responses: "But of course!" and [no words, jaw dropped on the floor]. Now take a look at it up close and personal. I didn't have the foresight to take this close-up while we were at The Farm in Michigan last month so I asked Ruth to please take a pic for me. Here it is:


Ruth's photo, by request.


Now here's the artist, Lesley, herself, telling us about the 100% rayon shawl! It took her 20-25 hours to make, 10-15 of which were in threading the loom itself. Once the loom was strung (the warp), it took her another 10 hours to weave the woof/weft of the scarf. She says the pattern of the scarf is called "Color and Weave," which means that the warp and the weft are equally threaded. She told me she used 3 different patterns divided equally throughout the scarf and then alternated patterns to see what the different patterns would do in the different areas. Because each pattern is different, it required different pedal combinations. Ruth has a post with a pic of the loom as well as a post about Lesley herself, one talented woman!

Lesley now lives in NYC after graduating from Detroit's College for Creative Studies. After 3 months of interning, she became a salaried employee at a company that designs and builds tension-fabric structures. In fact, she's already one of their creative designers! Eventually, she'd like to have her own studio and make creative items like this shawl full-time.

The cousins were trying to quesstimate how much that shawl would cost in a NYC specialty store. They came up with $200. Hands down, she's worth every cent and more!

Lesley, we're proud of you!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Power Pays Plays




For you chess fans (or not), here's a good lesson in Power for us all!

Donica and I have a chess game going at all times in our game room near our office in the basement. As we come and go to our computers, we stop to make a play. It used to be that I would almost always win the games (if I may say so, ever so humbly). But then suddenly Donica started paying attention (she's not dumb!) and taking the game seriously!

Look at this game, which we just finished last night (I think it was her "victory lap" after the Phenol injection!). She creamed me with half the power I had! I'm the off-white-red (black) player; she's the white-blue (white) player. At this point of checkmate, I had 2 Queens (that back Rook is a Pawn I had Queened), one Bishop, a Knight and a Pawn. She had one Queen and one Bishop. While I was trying to always be on the offensive, checking her King with every move, trying to set up my checkmate, she was sleuthing her pieces around to mate ME. I never once noticed! So the first play I made that didn't check her (I'm talking about at the end), she made the offensive move and caught me off guard. (Well done, Donica!)

Now, I don't presume to understand Power when it comes to Nations and war and things like 9/11. But I DO know that power is not always might. I do know that the most money, the most weapons, the most anything does not always mean winning or taking the Prize.

I do know that when we least expect it, we can be cut down at the knees (like Rome, where we bought this chess set a couple years ago!). Pride often comes before a fall. And David CAN beat Goliath.

That's all, folks!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Calling All Angels


Submitted to Tuesdays Photos for ARROW

The parking lot arrow at the doctor's office.

This afternoon was Donica's consultation with the surgeon about her ornery ilioinguinal nerve: to inject it with Phenol and make it wither up and die or to take it out by the more invasive surgery option.

But that's ahead of the story.

Yesterday I "happened" upon an article about angels that I read with great interest. Bottom line: angels are all around us just dying to help us out but won't impose themselves on us without our asking .

Mind you, I have nothing against angels but usually I'm not conscious of them, let alone asking for their help. I typically just go straight to the top! But while we were in the examination room today, waiting for the surgeon, I closed my eyes and started inviting angels to be there with us. I even asked Michael the Archangel to come (why not, I thought!).

Then I asked Mom and Dad to come (told Bennett he could come if he wanted to). And Mary Magdalen (after reading a wonderful novel about her Celtic healing hands of fire!). And my blogger friends, naming you all one by one. I told all of you that we needed you to help us make the decision. We needed your wisdom.

And I told everyone to just follow the above arrow in the parking lot to come find us. (Not that I thought you'd get lost!)

When the surgeon walked into the room, going to his chair, he said: "This option (Phenol injection) is not risky for you and I would do it if I were in your shoes" (even though he'd make more money with the surgery!). Before we could get our questions out, he basically answered them all. For me it was a "slam-dunk." For Donica it was a definite YES. So right there on the spot the deed was done.

The prognosis is 48 hours of pain from the injection (the chemical reaction) and 7-10 days for the nerve to wither on the vine. When I told him she had a flight scheduled for Germany on Thursday, he said "I'd hold on to the ticket."

So her plans to travel to Germany, Paris and Amsterdam in the next 2 weeks are back on schedule. My cancelled trip to Germany is now rescheduled for departure on Sunday where, even if I can't be with her the entire time, we'll at least be in the same time zone! And once we get back at the end of September, we plan to then take our week's vacation on Vancouver Island, as scheduled.

I didn't call ALL the angels but the ones who came, including you, definitely made our day. It takes a village; it takes a Universe!
Thank you once again for your part.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Patchwork World


Okay, here's another collection! Finally, after 3 months, I stapled the cruise patches to the wall in Nicholas' bedroom at our house.


We have two big plastic-coated maps on his wall--one of the United States and one of the world. From time to time he'll stand on the bed as we show him where we're traveling at any given time. Time and space are abstract concepts that don't usually sink in till much later (12?) but, hey, we have fun with it regardless.


Those bottom patches in the above photo are of the 6 ports-of-call from our cruise, some cities with more than one (click to enlarge). I try to keep countries grouped together near their location on the map but it doesn't always work out that way. Oh well. Eventually there will be patches all around the maps that have nothing to do with where they're from!


I'm throwing in this Hawaii section of the USA map for Amy and Dennis. It was fun for us to envision where they were each day recently because we had been there a couple years earlier.


Besides the patches, we tap in colored straight pins for every city we've both visited, here and abroad (click to enlarge). It makes me think I'm leaving a mark on the world :)

When you see the states or countries on a map, it's almost imperative to have them separated by different colors to distinguish them from each other. Seeing them that way makes them a virtual patchwork quilt!

Just think: all of us together make up this Quilt! You in your small corner, and I in mine :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall



As so often happens for me, photos (or just about anything, if you ask Donica!) become a jump-off to some other (and hopefully related) thought.

In this case, I got a real kick outta the different beer bottles represented by my family at Farm Day in Michigan a few weeks ago. Talk about DIVERSITY! That Amstel Light would be Donica's and mine, our favorite for as long as I can remember.

Now switch gears a sec. In the gay community, "diversity" is a big word. You don't have to explain anything about different bottles of beer because, well, we know "different." We know about diversity. We live it; we expect it. But we are well aware that not everyone else does.

Segue now to something I saw in the news on Friday. Brad Pitt said, "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."

Whatever you think of Brad and/or Angelina (or the gay-marriage "issue"), that's a statement about diversity and "different" that resonnates with me. For one straight couple to say they won't get married until Donica and I can get married.... WOW! That makes "99 bottles of beer on the wall" have an entirely new meaning.

If one of those [diverse] bottles should happen to fall, would it matter to the rest?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

When OUCH Happens


Today Donica and I made the decision to cancel my trip to Germany on Sunday. For me, it's a big OUCH. Besides missing Hannover, I was gonna see Christina and Dixie Peach next week. But it's the right decision. Donica has an appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday to discuss another option besides surgery for her ilioinguinal nerve and I want to be there. I need to be there.

Let me tell you something:


You might not be able to see it but Nicholas is crying in this photo after just hurting himself while playing catch with Daddy last Spring. Notice how his body language is crying out for empathy!


Daddy gives him empathy and within minutes Nicholas is comforted.

Here's some background. Back in 1974/5 when Amy was a wee lass (2, almost 3), Bill and I took a PET (Parent Effectiveness Training) class. We were first-time parents and wanted to do it as right as possible.

One thing I learned that I will never forget (I've even used it with Nicholas) is what to do when your kid falls and, for instance, scrapes his knee. The typical response, especially with boys (sad to say), is: "Oh, c'mon! Quit being a cry-baby! That's nothing. It can't possibly hurt that bad! Boys aren't supposed to cry."

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

We were taught that what the child needs to hear is that YOU know how much it hurts. Once he knows, he'll usually stop crying. Bingo! Every time we tried that technique with Amy, then Mark, and now Nicholas, it works. I will make the appropriate grimace with moaning and groaning sounds and the "Ohhhhhh. I'm so sorry!" And without fail, the hurt is suddenly better, if not gone.

Segue now to those times when we are in emotional pain for whatever reason. Someone close to us has just died. Or we've just been with someone we love and have to say good-bye to them for awhile. Or all our plans seem to fall apart! When those times happen, what we need more than anything else is the moaning and groaning of those around us. It's their way of telling us, often without words, that they feel our pain.

Than Magic happens: the pain or sorrow of the one is dissipated by the empathy of the other. Whether it's "vicarious" or "substitutionary," it's magic. It becomes the greatest healing agent.

This has been a crazy, wacky, full-moon, lunar-eclipse week! A roller-coaster week of emotions! But today, when Donica felt my pain about not going to Germany and when she knew that my being with her was more important than anything, because I felt her pain, the week's tension rolled off our shoulders. We both felt it.

Isn't that how it's supposed to be when OUCH happens?!