Tag Archives: joy

Swimmin’ In the Rain

A Man In Love

A Man In Love

Let’s see…for the month of July, we’ve spent $1000 on pool repairs and maintenance.  What with bad weather, assorted sicknesses, and a brief green period, the pool has sat idle for most of July.  If we divide that $1000 by 3 people going swimming 3 times each and that comes out to….carry the one…borrow 10…old math vs. new math….too much damn money and not enough fun!  So I left work today with one goal in mind:  GET IN THE POOL.

(Oh, and by the way, the bikini still hasn’t been worn.  It was too BIG!  I’ll try again with one size down.)

Anyhewwwww.  We got in the pool.  Vivi started some elaborate game that required her to corral a bunch of stray pool noodles (that she referred to as “dawn horses” or Eohippus) and some rubber balls (baby sabre tooth tigers) while Carlos and I worked on him kicking and blowing bubbles.

And not 10 minutes into our swim, it started to rain.  Big plunking drops that hit the surface of the water so hard, each drop made a bubble pop up.

“OK, let’s get out of the pool!” I hollered in my best upbeat yet not-to-be-contradicted Mom voice.  I shuffled towards the steps with Carlos in tow.  Vivi set the Eohippuseseses free in the deep end and headed over.  She pointed to our cups, sitting beside the steps and said, “Aw, man!  The rain is getting in our water!”

Wait, what?


The rain is getting in our water?  And we’re getting out of the pool because…we might get wet?  Wetter?

I stood still and listened for a moment.  No thunder.  No lightning.  No high winds.  Just plinky plunky rain on our heads that were already wet from being in the pool.  Hell, it was warmer in the pool.

So we got back in.  And we LAUGHED about it.  I turned my face up to the sky and let the rain plunk and plink on my skin.  Carlos practiced holding on to the wall and kicking.  Vivi went back to the life of a nomadic prehistoric herdsgirl.

We went swimming in the rain.  Because sometimes you follow an old habit just out of habit, but when you look around, there’s no real REASON for that habit.


I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I’ve a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin’,
Singin’ in the rain

Dancin’ in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I’m happy again!
I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain!

I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain…

Why am I smiling
And why do I sing?
Why does September 
Seem sunny as spring?
Why do I get up
Each morning and start?
Happy and head up 
With joy in my heart
Why is each new task
A trifle to do?
Because I am living
A life full of you.

(Hit it, Gene Kelly! If you’ve never watched this segment from the movie, PLEASE do yourself a jaunty little Tuesday kind of favor and take four minutes.  It’s totally worth it.)


Morning Magic

Wednesday morning, I drove over to Watkinsville for a meeting…that had been canceled.  No one thought to tell me. Oh well.  I was in such a good mood that there was no frustrating me with inconveniences.  When you find yourself in Watkinsville early in the morning and you haven’t eaten breakfast yet and you have a little time on your hands, what do you do?  This girl pops in to Waffle House for a Cheese and Eggs platter with grits, wheat toast, and sausage.  Aw, yeah!

I sat at the low counter because all the spinny seats at the high counter were taken.  On one perched a retired man in a cowboy hat with a peacock feather bobbing from the band.  The seat by the register held a prosperous looking fellow in an emerald green golf shirt who held up a full-page newspaper ad and told the waitress, “THAT is NOT Kim Kardashian.”  Obvious Photoshopping on the waistline.  In the center, a couple deep in their phones.

Ms V. took my order–she’s my favorite because one time Vivi and I went in there and they talked about sharing V names.  While the cooks did their thing, one of the younger girls started singing a pop song.  She wasn’t as entertaining as she thought she was.  Ms. V must not have approved because after she dropped off my plate, she walked over to the jukebox, pressed some magic button and started up something far better:  Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch singing “I’ll Fly Away” from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack.


I couldn’t help it. Quietly, under my breath.  Just loud enough to hear myself…I started singing.

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

The Cheese and Eggs platter reminds me of my Grandmama Eunice.  In the summers when I was young, I spent the days with her while my parents and siblings worked.  Some days, she would fix me a big breakfast–eggs, sausage, grits and toast.  I liked to use the toast as a base, pile on a little dab of grits for mortar, then a little bit of egg, then a bite of sausage and eat it all together.  I still eat it that way at the Waffle House.  I was thinking of Grandmama Eunice and those breakfasts, singing “When the shadows of this life have gone, I’ll fly away,” when I realized that the woman beside me was singing too.  And the man with the newspaper was whistling along.  The peacock feather kept the beat.  Ms. V joined in on the chorus.


I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away


A few hours earlier, my friend, Hannah, had shared this quote from J. B. Priestley:  “I have always been delighted at the prospect of  a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”  Amen.  I found my bit of magic at the Waffle House in Watkinsville, singing an old song with strangers.  My bill was $8 and I left a $20 for Ms. V.

Here’s to a new day, a fresh try, one more start!

morning magic

Sunday Sweetness–Summer Is Coming

Today, Vivi asked me, “How many weeks before we clean out the pool so we can go swimming?”  I told her about two more weeks.  We’ll see.  But the question made me remember last summer, and this piece I wrote about joy and gratitude and a swimming pool.

Click into this swimming pool if you want to read the story!


Something Old, Something New

Jamie paintingToday I spent eight hours on my feet volunteering at a consignment sale.  The significance of the date didn’t hit me until 7:30 p.m., when I went to write a check for the two tubs of summer clothes and sandals I had bought for my kids.  March 5, 2014.  The ninth anniversary of the day when Richard and I said our marriage vows.  I wrote about it last year in “The Artist At Our Wedding.”

Part of me is glad that I was too busy today to dwell on the date, to mark every hour by remembering what I was doing at that exact time on that day in 2005.  I spent this day in the YMCA gym sorting clothes, checking for stains, running back and forth, tossing shoes into the right box, making conversation, making new friends.  

 Last night, I tagged my own items to sell.  It makes me sad, every time, to pin and price the clothes that my darlings wore.  The yellow dress Vivi kept clean through the Easter egg hunt last year, when her hair was still long and trailed behind her as she ran around Nana and Papa’s garden.  The orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt that Carlos wore at Cocoa Beach on the day we went to see the Mars Curiosity Rover launched into space.  A pink sequined top and ruffled skirt that Vivi picked out for her first day of kindergarten.  Tiny shoes that never touched the ground.  Pajamas that had swaddled my nephews, passed down to us for our season, then passed along again.  That blue sun hat that Carlos hated, the one with the Velcro strap that was too strong for him to undo.  carlos hawaiian

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

I had that talk with several other mothers today–how sad it makes us feel to say goodbye to the clothes from our kids’ yesterdays. But it just isn’t possible to hang on to every precious thing.  I try to remind myself that they outgrow their clothes because they are healthy and strong.  Changing is a part of being OK.

A wedding anniversary.  One life ended.  Another life begun.  I wouldn’t have these children if that March 5th wedding had ended in a happily ever after.  Would I notice the bluebirds as much?   I often wonder what it would have been like to have children with Richard.  But I don’t have much time to chase that wonder because I am so busy living THIS life.  That something old.  This something new.  This always borrowed.  This beautiful, sometimes blue.

Every Baby Changes the World

baby snow angel

I’ve been thinking about babies for the last few days, specifically two growing boys named Carlos and Justice.

December 26th is “Carlosmas” because my son was born on a snowy, quiet morning the day after Christmas, three quick years ago.

When G and I went to the hospital at 7 p.m. on Christmas night, the snow had just begun to fall.  Vivi was beside herself with excitement–a visit from Santa, Grandma in charge, snow, AND a baby brother!  My whole body quivered with nervous energy, too.  When we got to the maternity unit, my friend, Paulette, was going off shift but decided to stay to get me settled.  That one act of kindness set my mind at ease.  It was all going to be OK.

For Vivi’s arrival, there had been a host of people in and out all day–I got giving birth somewhat confused with a tea party.  In the end, it was perfect and just the right entrance for Vivi, who has always been vivacious and loves the fuss and bother of a party.  For Carlos’ arrival, it was just G and me, whiling away the quiet hours of the night.  We walked the empty halls.  We watched a black and white movie.  We watched the snow gather on the big dogwood tree outside my window.  We slept until 6 a.m. and I woke knowing that it was going to be SOON.

But there was no chaos.  My friend, Alecia, four months pregnant herself and married to my cousin’s cousin, ended up being our delivery nurse.  She called my doctor, who lives just a block away so he walked in through the snow.  G and I had done this before, so we were more excited than nervous.  The room filled with joyful people as the snow fell outside.  

Carlos arrived at 6:27 a.m., along with a lavender glow of sunrise on the snow.  I remember looking out the window and feeling such peace.  My son is a quiet, joyful child–the chillest little person you’d ever want to meet.  Looking back now that I know him better, his birth morning suited him perfectly.  

While I watched the purple snow take on the light of morning, with my son now in the world with me, I thought about Christmas and the miracle that Christians believe happened with the birth of one child.  My heart told me in that moment that EVERY baby is a miracle.  Every baby is another chance to get it right, to be our best selves, to live love.  Thoreau put it best:  “Every child begins the world again.”  

Last year, in the snowy winter, a little boy was born many weeks early.  He began his life too small and all alone and struggling.  He embodied a chance to live love to anyone who could take him.  And that’s exactly what he got.  A man I knew a long time ago, David, and his husband, Mark, adopted this tiny baby and gave him a name and a family.  They loved him until he was strong enough to leave the hospital.  They did the work to make him part of their family.  They met his every need and then some.  Justice has flourished in his family.  I saw a picture of him and his big sister the other day and that baby has the kind of cheeks that make you believe that everything is going to be OK.  In a year, his expression has blossomed into smiles.  He lives in love and it shows.  

I guess what I was thinking about on the morning of Carlos’ birth was something like this:  we spend so much effort and energy thinking about another world when there are miracles born every day in this one.  Every baby is a gift with the potential to save us from our worst selves.  Every baby is a chance to get it right.  Every baby brings peace and a chance to live love.  

Oda a la Alegría

Oh, this.  This makes my heart thankful.  

It’s a good thing I was the only one in the office Wednesday afternoon, because I clicked this link and within two minutes I was sobbing into a wad of tissues.

Yes, I know it’s an ad for a bank.  Yes, I know it’s a year old.  Yes, I know it’s all staged.  But that doesn’t make it not beautiful.

Take five minutes away from the bustle of today and let yourself travel to this bright town square in Spain.  Let the Ode to Joy start small and let it grow in your chest, let it leak out of your eyes and make your shoulders shake.  It’s joy.  That’s the path joy takes.  Joy doesn’t start with the crescendo.  It begins with a single note.  That’s why it’s hard to spot sometimes in its early stages.

Ode to Joy, from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, is my favorite piece of music, #1, hands down, not even close.  That’s why I chose it for the recessional music when Fartbuster and I got married.  And why I chose it as the recessional music when Richard and I got married.

Then a short while later, his parents and I were planning his memorial service with the priest and there in the list of suggested music for the recessional was “Ode to Joy.” Joy?  At a funeral?

I chose it.  (wait…gotta do some more crying…)

I don’t remember everything from that service, but I do remember the way that music swelled from the organ after all the words had been said.  I remember the soaring sound made by hundreds of our friends and family as they sang the modern English lyrics:  “Ever singing march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife; Joyful music lifts us sunward in the triumph song of life!” I felt a great sense of relief that the service had been perfectly fitting for Richard.  I felt…joy.  Joy at having had that one thing go right.  The music carried me out of the sanctuary and on to the next part of life.

I wish you joy today.  Among all the leftovers and hangovers and overdrafts and overpasses–STOP.  Like those people in the square in Spain, all they had to do was stop and listen to joy.

Now cut me some white meat and pass the cranberry sauce!  

Sunday Reflection – Green Beads

green beadIt’s been a great and growing week for me.  I’d string a green bead for just about every day this week.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, flash back to this story from Baddest Mother Ever, “A Blue Bead for Boston.”