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Manic Monday: On the edge of summer

Summer vacation STILL hasn’t started for us. A few more days of school before the kids are free and we sit down to make our annual Beach Bucket List. Noah is taking a Regents exam as we speak and still has his big final oral presentation and a Latin final to go. Olivia is hoping thunderstorms don’t wash out the eighth-grade trip to the Great Escape tomorrow. Chiara is waiting for her last (half) day on Wednesday and her big end-of-year gymnastics performance that night, which will include a triple back-handspring and an aerial cartwheel, I’m told. From what I’ve seen in the backyard, I know she’s serious. And we’ll cap off the school activities with Olivia’s eighth-grade graduation on Thursday morning. Good week behind us, good week ahead of us, lots of good all around us. Here’s our Manic Monday menu: Read more

Manic Monday: And now, a break in the insanity

After back-to-back, wall-to-wall dance dress rehearsals and recitals this past week, we have reached a place of calm. At least for the time being. I keep checking the calendar, sure I must be missing something because it’s eerily quiet, too much white space in what is otherwise a totally full schedule. But I think it’s for real, even if it’s only a temporary reprieve. Read more

Manic Monday: A pope, a robin’s nest and Pearl Jam

I thought today’s headline should appropriately reflect just how manic this Monday will be, or how manic this past week has been. A little a bit of everything — and then some. Which is exactly the point of Manic Monday. Lots going on lately, and this week will be no different. We wrapped up our week with a first-of-season visit to Jim’s Tastee Freez here in Delmar, which you can see the girls enjoying in that photo on the left. Here’s what the rest of our Manic Monday looks like: Read more

Manic Monday: Everybody under one roof

After eight crazy days, which included Dennis’ trip to Rome book-ended by out-of-town dance competitions for the girls, everyone landed back home late Sunday. Phew! How nice to gather the family around the dinner table and eat together and do nothing at all that night. Life is good at the Poust House. So, without further ado, here’s the Manic Monday recap.  Read more

Manic Monday: Here, there, and everywhere

Manic Monday has returned! It was always one of my favorite weekly posts back in the day, so I thought I’d resurrect it. At least for now. Here’s a little bit of everything, probably more than you need to know.

Viewfinder: So much to see this week, much of it not my own. My other half is visiting Rome for the first time, and so, of course, his photos have captured my heart. Here’s one, the view from his hotel window. Funny thing is, as soon as I saw this photo, I realized that the yellow building with the tan awning is the very same restaurant where I sought shelter from a ridiculous storm when I was in Rome almost five years ago. And now Dennis’ hotel window looks out on it. Kismet, even more than 20 years later. Read more

Manic Monday: Jumping one hurdle, ready for more

This has been a crazy busy week, but a good week. After months of preparation, weeks of handwringing and many sleepless nights of worry, Noah’s Eagle Scout project is complete. I have to send out a special thank you to all those people who gave their time, their talent, their treasure, and their used books — 1,006 of them, to be exact. We took a dreary room in a residence for children slipping through the foster care system and turned it into a beautiful refuge filled with books and comfort and calm and a quote to inspire. I hope they see it not only as a place to relax but as a reminder of their worthiness in this world. They should have a beautiful place to sit and read. Every child should have that.  Read more

Manic Monday: Here, there, and everywhere

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity, and there’s no end in sight. But it’s all good. Busy, but good busy. By next week at this time, we will have passed a giant hurdle: Noah’s Eagle Scout project, leaving him with one last requirement to complete before he can officially sit for his Board of Review and achieve the rank of Eagle. This has been a long time coming, so it’s pretty exciting. Here’s what else is happening on this Manic Monday… Read more

Manic Monday returns, along with ‘Muddy Jesus’

I’ve decided to bring back my Manic Monday post, if only to inspire myself to get back to regular blogging. In the past, this post has been a run down of books I’m reading, music I’m loving, recipes I’m trying, quotes that are inspiring me, and cool things that are going on in my life. So I hope you’ll find something of interest here. Read more

Manic Monday: Returning to ‘normal’ life

Our Christmas tree came down last night, along with the rest of the decorations. The magi hardly had time to settle down in front of the creche when I shipped them off to the basement. Such is the end of the season, at least around here. By this time of year, I’m ready to return to ordinary time and Ordinary Time.

So here’s what’s on tap on this Manic Monday…

The above YouTube clip is a follow-up to last week’s ‘Twinkle’ post. Someone captured the kids playing at Mary Jane’s funeral. (Thanks, Pam, for sending that to me.) When the clip is rolling, Olivia happens to be visible on and off over on the left in the cream-colored top.

Bookshelf: I’m reading about a dozen different books all at once as research for the two books I’m writing, but there’s one that stands out right now, a recommendation from a Facebook friend. It’s called Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence by Anne D. LeClaire. Loving it so far. Here’s one piece that resonated with me because I have experienced it so powerfully myself:

“Over the years I had prepared meals in quiet rooms, in accidental silence, as I would later come to call it, but I was discovering that intentional silence brought a focus to everything. Ordinary acts — measuring oats and water, chopping walnuts, scooping out a handful of raisins, stirring oatmeal — were transformed into meditations simply by the attention stillness brought to the tasks. Later, scrubbing out the gummy saucepan, I found unexpected pleasure in this simple job. I was experiencing what Buddhists have always taught: Silence, along with the attention it fosters, is our anchor to the present, to the here and now.”

Perfect. Today when I make my silent oatmeal, as I do each weekday, I will do so with those words ringing (silently, of course) in my head, reminding me that this practice of still, slow eating truly does allow me to bring a depth and calmness to my day that is absent when I skip this favorite ritual. My meditative breakfast has become, without question, one of my best prayer moments of any day.

Soundtrack: Dreamland by Madeleine Peyroux, something Dennis discovered on The Coffee House on Sirius. A bunch of it’s in French. Very cool. Check it out.

Viewfinder: Below is a shot of my Christmas gifts, or most of them, collected on the dining room table. Makes you wonder if perhaps I’m planning to open a monastery or a retreat center. We’ve got prayer flags up front; the official Abbey Psalter from the Abbey of the Genesee; Yoga Prayer DVD by Father Thomas Ryan, CSP; Landscapes of Prayer: Finding God in Your World and Your Life by Margaret Silf; a cross candle holder; a Himalayan singing bowl; incense, lots of it; a tea set with Zen tea. I did get some other goodies that had nothing to do with prayer or spirituality, like the Midnight in Paris DVD and a flameless candle, although that last one borders on spiritual, too, doesn’t it?

My Christmas bounty.
The lovely Abbey Psalter.
Visiting my grandmother, who turned 99 on New Year’s Day.
Birthday boy.