Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not Standing Still

The baby is due any time now, and we are all rearranging ourselves to welcome the newcomer. Katie feels good, but she gets tired pretty easily. And having a toddler under foot provides extra challenges. You clean. The toddler messes. You clean again. Keeping the house in order is kind of like a Rubix cube puzzle, with supreme cuteness on the side.

I spent the morning with them yesterday. Helped set up a web camera to connect with the Ohio grandparents, sampled some green beans fresh off the plant, watched Honey enjoy a chocolate ice cream cone - and cleaned the results off of face, hands, shirt, couch, floor, etc. Katie made us a wonderful lunch of roast chicken and green beans. Yum. The food is always wonderful at Katie's house.

Mick stayed in Little Rock yesterday because he is spending every extra moment in his studio working on a new children's book proposal. Here is an unauthorized peek at one of the early sketches. I think this work will be really beautiful when its finished, and so does his NY book agent.

Books are a significant change of pace for Mick, who usually works quick, on the tight deadlines that magazine clients typically give him. A book will take months to create and many more months to see daylight. Mick has to learn about working at a completely different speed, and about doing over the same images many times until they're book-ready. He's adjusting.

It feels good to be growing at our age, not standing still. Take my new accounting job, for example. I have been a volunteer bean counter all my life - splitting up the phone bill with my college roommates, keeping accounts for the Buddhist center, doing our family bookkeeping. How fortunate that I've found an employer willing to shape my native experience into a professional livelihood! Its a big transition for me, but also a natural one - and way less stressful than I imagined a mid-life career change would be.

My friend Thea recently forwarded an article about new research on stress. Here's a link to the article if you want to read the details. The gist of it is that people have a bigger repertoire than just Flight or Fight when responding to stress, including newly documented "Tending and Befriending" reactions. These additional reactions were initially overlooked because they're more common in women than men, but both sexes can overcome stress by bonding with friends and nurturing people. I am glad that these basic human qualities get recognized. Both strategies work pretty well for me.

Here are this week's pictures of Honey. What will I do when the new baby comes? Post more picture, I guess.

I like this first picture because it shows Honey in motion, which is her natural state these days. Just a few weeks ago, if I had asked her to stand next to the flowers so I could take a picture, she would have stood there and posed for me. But these days, she rarely stands still. Instead, she needed to walk along the planter box chattering to me and Katie and pointing to each flower one-by-one. I had to stick her in a swing that she can't move by herself to capture the still picture. She's moving on.

I hope life is moving well for all of my friends. Apparently, you can fix your life by calling up someone or taking lunch to your ailing neighbor. Either way, I hope you find what works and keep moving on with it.

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