28 July, 2014  |   5 Comments

Nora Lea’s Lego Birthday Party

Our shining enigma turned six this summer.
To celebrate, we threw a Lego themed birthday party.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Two days before the party, Nora complained of a tummy ache.
No problem! We agreed she would be fine by her party!

When she was still sleeping 30 minutes after the first guests arrived, we realized she was definitely not fine yet.

But the party is strong with that one, so she pulled it together and sat quietly while her friends bopped around and played hard.

We played “Guess how many Legos are in the jar!”
(There were 88. We realized Nora had the right answer because of an eavesdropping sister.)

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We made a Lego bean bag toss board — I’ll show you how we made it later this week. It was super easy and it occupied the children for at least 15 minutes.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

More than one child was disappointed in the contents of our goodie bags. (Lego eraser, a small notebook and a pack of Lego man shaped crayons.)

I crossed my arms and said smugly, “When I was a child we did not have goodie bags.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Our friend Melissa made this amazing cake. Before serving, we covered the cake in industrious Lego people that we then removed before serving and are humans weird or what?

Nora Lea's Lego Party

James crafted the utensil holder from Legos. He is my favorite.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Little girls picnicked on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. They spent most of the party sitting on a blanket and talking about presents.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We had lots of Legos laying about for grownups and kids to build together.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Let’s all build together.

Happy birthday my Nora Lea.

24 July, 2014  |   6 Comments

The Cherry Cordial Revolution

Probably thinking about Grandma Yeager's candy drawer.At 96, my Grandma Clara Yeager (far right) was pissed. A tough Irish broad who raised all 5 of her children during the Depression, she had broken her third hip and could no longer stay at home alone.

Dad and his siblings sent her to live at Woodbridge Nursing Home.

We visited her once a week. My sister and I sat on the end of Grandma’s twin bed watching Star Search while Grandma groused at Dad for putting her there in the first place.

She had a legendary sweet tooth. Fifty years of grandchildren still talk about that candy drawer in her house.

So, when Grandma established a Woodbridge candy drawer, we assumed she had come to terms with staying at the nursing home and the grousing would stop.

One day, a nurse took Dad out of the room for a private chat. My sister wasn’t there that day, and Grandma took the occasion to make a request.

“Listen,” she said, grabbing my hand tightly. “Next time you come, bring me a box of Brach’s Cherry Cordials. Here’s 3 dollars. For some goddamned reason, they won’t let me have them. Put the cherries in my sweater drawer at the bottom, the drawer above my candy drawer.”

Grandma rarely talked to me, much less made a direct request so I didn’t ask why. Soon my dad returned to the room and it was clear this was secret.

A few days later, I bought the cherry cordials at the drugstore across from my middle school.

That night, from the computer, I overheard a conversation between my parents

“…leaving the cherries all over the nursing home.”

“What?”

“She’s sucking the chocolate off the cordial and spitting the cherry out. She leaves them all over the nursing home. The nurse said Mother refuses to comply. The home has offered napkins, containers, special times of day but still, she leaves the sucked on cherries on windowsills, in drawers, in the art room, on the piano, on the table in the cafeteria.”

“So no more chocolate cherries,” said my mom.

Cherry Cordial RevolutionNow I knew Grandma was unhappy with the nursing home, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be complicit in this… sabotage.

NOW it made sense, why she wanted me to put the chocolate covered cherries in her sweater drawer.

Revolt.

Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the (eavesdropped) rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?

At the time of Woodbridge, I was twelve, I wore thick glasses and headgear. HEADGEAR.

I preferred writing computer programs to interacting with humans and I was growing hair between my eyebrows.

My body was changing and I didn’t like it. I felt trapped. I had no control over the changes happening to me — and I had less control over my living situation.  I felt like I couldn’t make my own decisions. I wanted my own space, I couldn’t have my own space.

I totally got it.
I decided to help.

It wasn’t her fault her body was changing and everyone told her what to do all the time. That was the worst. I knew from experience.

The next Thursday, I snuck the box into the bottom of her sweater drawer. I did this every Thursday for the next 2 months until she died. They never knew where she got the cherries.

Last fall, I toured Woodbridge Nursing Home with my mom. She’s moving into a nursing home this year under far different conditions (willingly! cheerfully!).

I couldn’t help but look in all the corners, on all the windowsills and shelves to see if they missed one – that maybe, just maybe, I’d see one quivering red cherry, sucked free from its chocolate cover.

Cherry cordial, candy of the revolution.

22 July, 2014  |   Comment

Celebrating the Earnest at Y&YY

It was unscheduled, and positive and supportive. I’ve never been to an event like that.

Y&YY was 3 days in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel and you are already rolling your eyes at this because it sounds so earnest.

It was earnest.
We could use a dash of earnest.

A Palm Springs Sunset

Good people gathered about 300 humans from their community to share what they knew. The sharing was powerful, but not for the “alternative to SXSW” reasons I’d thought.

The sharing was powerful because I discovered my hunger, our hunger for human connection. These lighted boxes are no substitute for hugging, touching, eye-connecting late nights in person. The sharing was powerful because I met people passionate about this internet that has lately reflected the worst in people instead of the best.

Blogging conference evolve, tech conferences evolve and I really hope the spirit of this event affects other educational/networking events.
My roommate was the foxiest. Also the mom-my-est.

Yes, there was a decidedly hippy vibe, supported by their rules for engagement. Yes, I ate up the respect and positivity.

I also ate up a lot of this kale salad.
Earnest kale.
Apparently I’m one step away from shag carpets and encountering sessions.
(Don’t judge.)

I have been on the RVIP since their first year. Apparently, this is something of which I shall now boast.

But if I hadn’t attended that watercoloring mandalas session with Shelia Campbell I wouldn’t have learned about my new favorite way to unwind with my girls.

I am earnest AND I wear a wig. Oh to be 39 in the year 2014.

Put a variety of chill people in a chill place.
Encourage them to share their expertise,
magic will happen.

And even though I didn’t return with a list of action-items, I came back with perspective that people can be great, that events can be rewarding and fun and that there’s hope for this great internet of ours yet.

This internet needs some hope.

21 July, 2014  |   3 Comments

Hiatus Complete. Epiphany-free.

Hello! I’m back from my hiatus.

A lot of things and a lot of nothings happened over the last 5 months.
(Lately I’ve made more peace with paradoxes.)

For my job, I got back into the wine industry.
More will come on that change.
In the meantime, it’s all vineyards and hints of oak.

"You can't hurry seasons. You just make the most of each one."

We made a lot of fun pictures around here.

djh-bloodytongue

djh-mama-cherrytree

hj-kitchenmonster

nlh-hearthead

Joanie Loves Bocce has played like pros.

Cause this is bocce night!  (Oh what a night.)

I keep planning meals, just like I’ve done for the last ten years.

This week @esully is taking care of a few meals - yay for nuptials!

Our little family keeps loving each other in the only lumpy, misshapen way we know.
(“Lumpy is pretty!”)

I Beckon My Family of Fire.

By attending Y&YY, I had a chance to prioritize. And think logically.
(It’s funny how a break will do that.)

the Pool at an absolutely joy-filled unconference

Speaking of breaks, I gave myself a break from my midlife crisis.
I turned my privilege over and over and couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

But now I’ve had enough looking hard.
And I’m ready to put that privilege to service.

Rainy Messy Awesome Day

I missed you guys.
It’s nice to be back.

18 March, 2014  |   3 Comments

February, March, April, May, June, July

So February’s Nablopomo was a bust. Grin.
Things changed and those things required attention.
Those things are still requiring attention, and it brings to mind how much I appreciate yours. So I’m putting this site on hiatus for 5 months.

Dottie Thinks

One of my resolutions was to cut down my to do list.
And I’ve realized I can’t possibly look at and leave,
“Update hj.com”
on my list one more day.

It’s sucking up some important creative energy.

Everything is fine, great actually.
I just need to cut “Update my internet web blog site” from my to-dos.

So I’ll see you in five months!
There are lots of wonderful writers on the internet.
There are nearly so many, you’ll never get through them all, not even in 5 months.

I’ll be on Instagram.
But not on any of the others. If I can help it.

Planning to be back around my birthday, in July, with something to say.
I can’t wait to see you then.

Sisters

In the meantime, I wish you tons of creative building energy.

You’re going to knock it out of the park.

 

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