Author, ready for close-up

Last spring, precisely during the height of the season when I was writing exams and collecting exams and grading exams and generally sitting on my booty for hours on end and practicing peanut M&M therapy on my exam stress, I asked one of my students to take some author photos for me.

Net net, it didn’t happen. Too stressy of a season. Also, I would have all summer to get back to my fighting weight, to achieve that sun-kissed glow on the apples of my cheeks, to rest and recharge and to generally appear like I fell out of a Hanna Andersson catalogue, wearing brightly colored Dutch clogs to boot.

Net net, it didn’t happen during the summer either.

So here I was, back in exam-dispensing land and not at my goal weight and generally feeling haggard about my appearance and searching in vain for that elusive twinkle that fell out of my eye sometime when I wasn’t paying attention, when I was probably pinning Dutch clogs onto a Pinterest board named “Footwear Fantasy.”

Then my friend Foxy wrote something on the social media about stepping onto a scale and realizing she was 20 lbs. lighter than her heaviest ever and it was not due to a crash diet or a wicked case of mono. She had just practiced eating healthier over a period of time. She had, in so many words, learned to love the body she’d been given and was seeking to live a life more abundant through this body mind soul gift.

I decided right then and there to book my portrait session with my wonderful student Jordan of JCorr Photography. That mystical moment where all the smoke would clear to reveal my size 4 self was never going to arrive. The best I could do was spare a little love for this lady and take a moment to capture the blessings of this season, because there are so many.

I’m pleased with the results, not because of my own vanity, but because these represent one woman whose time is rarely spent by herself, whose goals are often riding on the shirttails of others’, who woke up one misty morning and felt fully alive and blessed and a little bit sassy with her lucky ladybug helmet.

P.S. Book a session with Jordan. He’s amazing.

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6.75 years

Dear Baby Girl,

Last week you were bucked off a horse, and seven days since does not allow me any further eloquence…

I can tell you this, though: there is/was a space between the time I realized what was happening and the time I was picking you up from the ground as you were gasping for air when I was changed.

In between the time I was trying to figure out if the horse was going to trample you and the time I was trying to figure out if you would be paralyzed–I leaped over a few lifetimes.

My love deepened in a way that is different from the eyelash winking increments that it grows for you each day. It plummeted to the depths of someone being thrown from a building. Of a six year-old being thrown off the horse.

In that space, in those seconds that felt like the worst nightmare looping in slow motion, my heart reaffirmed something. I’m not sure if the heart spoke any words but if it did, they would have sounded something like, “Mine. Beloved. Will fight.”

Within moments of my picking you up, you proclaimed, “That is the last time I ride a wild horse! I am only riding Western from now on!” That was sort of snobby of you, but we all decided to forgive you, since you had been thrown off a large animal and all which probably addled your brain a bit.


In the days since, I have been trying to memorize your face, your sweet face just as it is. I now know more acutely how quickly you could be snatched from the safety of this moment, a false safety if ever there were one.

And the truth is that you are being snatched each and every moment from me. The moments are taken, seized without warrant. I should be used to it by now. In parenting we are forever straddling our own little heaven and hell at the same time; the heaven of the moments we want to preserve, the hell of having to will these moments away to cruel time; the hell of wanting the hard times to pass more quickly, the heaven of looking back on things when they felt so much simpler than the complicated present.

I will return to the horse and to you on the ground and I will pick you up thousands of times in my mind and my heart will reaffirm millions of beats more resoundingly that you are, indeed, my beloved and I will never stop fighting–time, distance, darkness, pain–to make sure you know that wild horses couldn’t keep me away.




Brochure Copy – Walt Disney World Resort’s First Assisted Living Facility

“I came with my grandchildren and didn’t want to leave. No, I mean, literally. I couldn’t get back on the plane to Fort Wayne, so I figured, I’ll just put on some mouse ears and hang out here for awhile.” – Margaret, 68, patron to Walt Disney World (Summer 2013) and Golden Mousekevilla pioneer

Maybe retiring to Mickey’s Clubhouse has been on your short list for years, or perhaps, like Margaret, you experienced the magic of Disney and just decided to stay…Whatever brings you here to the Golden Mousekevilla (GM), we hope you find this a supercallafragalistic setting in which to spend your golden years.

Disney - Partners at Dusk (Explored)

Why Disney?
Our state-of-the art facilities combine first class service with Walt Disney theme park attractions. Within the sunny suburban setting of Orlando, GM offers enticing amenities for our most seasoned mouseketeers. Residents occupy their own private units, bedknobs and broomsticks, but enjoy the benefits of our public space designed by our Imagineers.

Disney Tattoo Guy....George Reiger

Our residential communities center around classic Disney film titles from the 1960s:
Mary Poppins – for residents often tending to younger generations
That Darn Cat! – our pet-loving community
Babes in Toyland – a cheeky take on this winsome community of singles
Absent-Minded Professor – for our residents demonstrating early signs of dementia
Polyanna – for our cadre of idealists (coming 2018)

Each Neighborland community is tended to lovingly by our Landsculptors who coordinate shrubbery to each theme.

Partners & Wishes - "National Post A Disney Photo Day"

An Active Community
Our neighborlands foster active lifestyles. Take a walk along the paths that lead to Main Street, U.S.A. Visit our main workout facility and try your senior strength on the Sword in the Stone, linger at our Pooh Corner resting areas, or train for the bobsled race in the Senior Olympics.*

The Dawn of a New Disney Era

We cater to a cultured palette in our two main dining rooms, and our staff will accommodate your dietary needs. Just as our residents may have experienced on Disney Cruise Lines and in our WDW resorts, they are encouraged to wear their character apparel for chance sightings with Mickey, Goofy and Chip and Dale at all mealtimes.**


Medical Assistance
The Doc McStuffins medical team are here to provide comprehensive care to our residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On-call practitioners offer pharmaceutical support and our emergency response services are available to transport residents in our Aladdin ambulance to Florida Hospital. Alternatively, our team recognizes the importance of a spoonful of sugar to help that medicine go down.***

To schedule a tour of of Golden Mousekevilla for yourself or your favorite mousekesenior, cottage or townhouse, please call 1-800-RETIRE-DISNEY. Who says vacation has to end?

*as inspired by “Cool Runnings” (1993) – if Jamaica can have a bobsled team, so can Orlando!
**Anna and Elsa are not anticipated at mealtimes, a fair warning to our youngest guests
***Imagineers plan to break ground on the Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea cemetery when GM reaches full residential occupancy. The graveyard outside of the Haunted Mansion at WDW will be used as our primary burial place in the meantime. However, plots at the Ten Thousand Leagues cemetery may be purchased to reserve your spot in advance.

The above is fiction. But fun to imagine, no?

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