Dec 9, 2005

When Life Gives You Snow...

It's 82 degrees and partly cloudy where I live.
It's 16 degrees and mostly cloudy where I work. What a testament to modern living and "grown up-ness" when you find your work commute includes a time zone change, a season change, and up to 2 airline flights.

On November 28th, I started my first new job in over 5 years. I work for a speech solutions company in Bannockburn, IL now - an affluent suburb northeast of Chicago. Today marks nearly 2 weeks since I got on a plane from West Palm Beach, a bundle of nerves and excitement, and flew into Chicago O'Hare. My new title...Speech Consultant. A fancy way to indicate that I help companies improve their business operations and their bottom line by recommending automation through speech recognition.

First impressions are lasting, and even with the distance from home, my first impression is that I was meant to be here, and I have never had a better first week on the job in all my 10 years of working (Only 10 short years?! Makes me sound young and fresh out of school, right? Right? Hmph....never mind). Anyway, I thought the -7 degree temperature and the completely unaffordable million dollar homes would be enough to make me reconsider, but I am undeterred. This city and it's suburbs are well planned out, and you can truly find anything you want here. My co-workers are a highly intelligent and pretty socially adept bunch, and there is a great energy here because this arm of the business is a new adventure for all of us. I'll reserve comments on any particular personalities here though until my next post. Our company Christmas party is this Saturday night at the Drake hotel downtown on Michigan Avenue. Free flowing drinks and uninhibited dancing are the perfect ingredients for really getting to know your co-workers, don't you think?

Coming of my parking lot snow angel, some party shots, and tales of my return home to my wonderfully amazing, supportive (and toasty warm) family.

Nov 21, 2005

Hello Photo

My friend Nancy has the greatest blog at She's got some cool shots out there to share, and so I was inspired to put some pictures up for viewing too:

Last month I took Adachi & Mizan to a great park after our first trip to the science museum . I love family fun days!

Here's a shot of a baby hat I made (crochet, yellow cotton yarn). It now belongs to the newest baby in our group of friends, Olivia Madison Hannaka, born Nov 19th at 1:43 am (missed my birthday by minutes!!)

Sweet potatoes from our garden (aka The Smith-Selas Conservatory)

The paper bag divas bid you Good Day!!

Catching up...

For those of you that have been checking this blog regularly and found it lacking ("From the Mouth of babes again??!! Dangit!!"), I thank you for your patience. And for all, here is a summary of what has happened since I last wrote a lengthy post:

Laid off.
Laid off.

To make it more interesting, that list includes companies in Florida, New Jersey, and Chicago. :-) So I accepted an offer from a Chicago company and I am thrilled!! I start working with them next week (and no I don't have to move...yet). They are located in Bannockburn, IL. Try saying that without putting on a southern drawl, I dare ya.

So the net-net? I am truly blessed. Darling Drew has been so supportive through all this upheaval, and our girls remain my pride and my joy...the real meaning of inspiration. And to use Adachi's new phrase "if I'm not mistaken", we're going to be just fine.

My Ode to Wilma

1...2...That's Category 2!

3...4...We shuttered the doors

5...6...Who's going to pick up those sticks??!

7...8...Is the roof still on straight?

9...10..We survived the season again!

Oct 20, 2005

From the Mouth of Babes...

Just a quick post tonight. My Muse has once again encouraged me to chronicle another precious nugget from my youngest toddler empress, Mizan (aka Meezy Bear). A little background on this "kids say the darndest things" moment....I've been really big on words and learning long before our first daughter was born. When I was younger, it was always very important in our house to "use your words" and "only say what you mean", etc. I grew up really respecting that. At the same time, I was a pretty self-conscious young'in and I always had a hard time looking people in the eye when talking to them. My 7th grade gym teacher actually pulled me aside once to chide me for it (delicately of course). He told me that it's not respectful or engaging to stare at the wall when you're telling someone something important. I listened and worked on correcting that habit ever since. Motherhood has given me the chance to combine these 2 tenets of communication into another habit. When I really want the girls to pay when I'm telling them how to pronounce a word, or teaching them something, I put my hand under their chin and say "Look at me...", and when they do, then I talk to them.

Mizan (2 1/2) came into my home office today and walked over to me. I bent down to snuggle her as usual, but she pulled back. She put her 5 tiny fingers under my chin, looked me in the eye and said "Mommy, look a' me, look a' me! Aren't you happy to hab yur fambly heeere?"

And that, my friends, is why we humans continue to be fruitful and multiply. Meezy - I am SO happy to have my fambly here that eye contact or not, I can barely express it in words.

Oct 14, 2005

Two Words...Bikram Yoga

I find it funny to even write this post, because it just occurred to me that I have added yet another "gotta have it" hobby to my growing list. "Hobby" might be the wrong name for this one though, since it's more of a practice that spills over into a lifestyle. A co-worker and new friend of mine turned me on to it just last week and today was my 2nd class. Now this guy is knocking on 50's door and he doesn't look it by about 20 years!! A compelling sell, I must say. For anyone who hasn't tried it before, Bikram Yoga is a Hatha yoga practice made up of 26 postures and done for 90 minutes in a room that is heated to about 106 degrees. Sweat, stretch, hold, breathe, repeat.

The studio we attended has really good energy and our teacher today was even better than yesterday (Did I mention that these people look AMAZING and have boundless energy for instruction at 6am???) If you've done yoga before, I highly recommend this particular style. Don't let the heat deter you, because my experience is that the constant sweating feels perfectly appropriate for what you're doing. If you've never done yoga before, try it anyway. There is something to be said for shutting out all the external influences of a typical day, starting from your center, and breathing through what might seem impossible. Definitely something we could all use, on and off the yoga mat dontchya think? Namaste!!

Oct 12, 2005

Just Put 1 Foot in Front of the Other....

Seems so simple, don't it?? I've mentioned that I have a pretty long list of hobbies, and this year I'm trying to make running one of them. I have to think of it as a hobby you see because otherwise it feels like work, and I already have one job (my West Indian counterparts would be shamed). I was "benched" with shin splints for 6 weeks in August/Sept, and yesterday was my first day back out on the pavement on my own. What is it about time off from exercise that can make 3 miles feel JUST like 300? I love hearing about long-time runners who go out for 6, 10, 70 miles and thrive on the "Runner's High". Personally, I think it's drug-induced...and I wouldn't blame them. In all seriousness, I've grown to love it, and I whined like an infant when I was told to stop to save my legs any more damage. I've read it takes 2 weeks to break a habit and 8 weeks to form one - pretty daunting, but I'm banking on my own theory that it will take 4 weeks to "re-form" one. My former goal was to complete the Marathon of the Palm Beaches, but December 4th is a little too close on the calendar. Maybe I'll shoot for the Disney? Or got get some sun and do the Half Shell 13-miler on Key West (have they wrung out that island yet since Rita?). We'll see. For now, I'm on the road again....

Oct 10, 2005

This I believe (a sample Musing)

My love of writing and new love of scrapbooking (aka memory albums) has spawned something I like to call Mommy Musings. My Musings are just random thoughts that I write out every now and then, mostly when I'm overcome with some great emotion or epiphany. I wrote this one several weeks ago, but I think this post is a good forum for it. It was my subconscious reaction to the devastation of Hurrican Katrina. Enjoy....let me know how recent world events have made you feel or react, or point me to a link if you have something similar you'd like to share.
Mommy Musing - September 12, 2005

I woke up this morning weeping for mothers.

I often have very vivid dreams - mostly nightmares - in which I'm suffering, or someone I love is suffering and I'm faced with heavy, intense emotions - fear, sadness, disappointment, anger. I sometimes think that my subconscious forces me to face the emotions that I don't think I could bare in my waking life. In this morning's dream, there was a terrible, airborne infectious disease spreading rapidly throughout the area, and I was making plans with a small group to escape to an isolated place. Like most dreams, this one came in flashes, disconnected chunks of "thought". At one point, I was packing up a station wagon to drive to safety and I stopped to see my mother. She tried hard to hide her fears and sadness, and kept up such a strong face until just before I left her. Before I got into the car, she held out a beautiful yellow knit sweater for me to take with me. When I was hugging her thanks and goodbye, I could feel exactly what it felt like to hug your mother knowing that it might be the last time you ever saw her, and I was overcome with sadness. I woke myself up weeping.

I tried to go back to sleep, but as I started to slip back into unconsciousness I saw another flash, this one even more vivid, and more like a memory or premonition than a dream. I was putting Adachi and Mizan onto the ledge of an open back van or truck and trying desperately to think of a way to "mark" them, because I knew they were going somewhere without us and I might have trouble identifying them, or worse, might not be able to find them at all. In the 1/2 sleepiness I thought, "What if I cut one of Adachi's locks to take with me, and cut one of mine to give to her, tie it around her wrist maybe...or what if...", but this was just too much. I woke myself up weeping. At that moment, I knew exactly what it would feel like to watch your child leaving, knowing you might never see them again. I felt it for myself, and I felt what they would feel. The fear, the sadness, the confusion about being separated.

And now, I'm overcome by the thought that just a few hundred miles away, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and in other parts of the Gulf Coast this has really happened to someone, many people. Because of the damage and destruction of the most powerful storm in my lifetime, Hurricane Katrina, families have been broken forever. Mothers have had to force themselves away from their children, to ensure their children’s' safety. Parents are looking for their children. Children are walking the streets alone. To think that those feelings I experienced lying in my bed this morning, in the safety of our house, with our 2 precious girls just a few feet away in dry, warm beds are real for someone. Not a dream. A nightmare while they are awake. I can only cry for them.

I believe that we are all connected in this universe and that our actions do not go unanswered, good and bad. I've heard the term epiphany used to describe the feeling of having a very powerful realization. This morning I had several of them back-to-back. I can only write down those that are coming to me now as I'm really waking up. There is a strong, lasting, deep bond between families, and especially between mothers and their children. A bond that is formed the day you find out you're having them, and one that will last until even after the last time you see them. There is a long line of girl children in my family, and since women are prone to form bonds through emotional experiences, I can only guess that that is why I dreamed in the sequence I did this morning - my mother, me, my girls. I also know now that nothing in this life, nothing, is worth hurting or disappointing my daughters. I can be selfish at times, and I can get caught up in distractions - but they are here for good, and deserve only the best of me. Living for them is not a sacrifice, it is why I'm here at all, and I am so thankful to have found that out now instead of never.

For the mothers of Katrina, this is more than a Musing. This is my way of saying, I believe we are connected. The happiness and blessings that I have, I'm sending them your way through the universe. Pain and suffering are only bearable when they can be shared, and I'm willing to take my part to lessen some of yours. Tragedy makes us remember and appreciate and realize and feel, really feel. I'm grateful for this day and for the chance to find out that I really can love completely, and that, in the balance of living every second I'm given to be with my girls and love them properly, and be my best me for them, is a second that someone else may have just lost. I won't waste them.

Oct 9, 2005

Growing Up Sisters

This site is not complete without shots of my pride and my joy...

Mizan Adila Selas (the cocoa colored princess) is 2 1/2 years old and all muscle

Adachi Azana Selas (the caramel colored princess) just turned 4 and she'll charm the shirt of you.

We decided that 2 brilliant women should carry powerful names of African origin, so we gave them first, middle and last names worthy of living up to

Adachi Azana Selas means Daughter of God, Ultimate, Trinity
Mizan Adila Selas means Balanced, Just/Fair, Trinity

When I figure out how to create a separate spot for photos of them, I'll share some more.

Green Acres is the place for me...

Another good wholesome family Sunday. Spent the afternoon with my best girl and took advantage of the fact that she and her new beau were "cooking for the week" ::burp:: so stuffed. You know, I'm thankful for the things in my life that don't change. When I reminded hubster today that I'm going to try and keep up with my posts here, with all his tree hugger sincerity he said "oh honey, can you put on your blog that we have palmetto seeds and young palmetto plants for sale?" And so I have. Don't hesitate to let us know if you need some, we've got PLENTY, and they make great screening plants. Hey - reduce, reuse, recycle - s'all good.

I'm a self-titled photo purist, so my 35mm doesn't lend itself as quickly to posting my photos online (go the shop, process the film, get the photo CD, load 'em up, yadda, yadda, yadda). However, in the words of my 4 year old, "I will not be defeated!". She motivates herself with that when she's having trouble climbing the back of the couch, but I'm inspired by it none the less. Pictures will come soon...

A Creative Inlet...At Last

For anyone who has just started their own blog recently, I wonder if you can relate - coming up with a blog name is HARD. Rambling on in writing I can do...but deciding on a title for all the things that I may think to write about or show on an internet site...sheesh! Glad I've done it now though, and for posterity I'll clarify the name. My blog is called Living My Why because this is my year of "discovery", if you will. My hubster (the incredible Denzel look-alike I affectionately call Drew-bee) has been doing alot of motivational reading lately. He's an entrepeneur-in-training on the brink of greatness. One of his books suggested that life is all about the choices we make, and that we can find much satisfaction if we can convincingly anwer the question, "What is Your Why?". So my quest is to be able to answer that question with conviction, and to live the answer every day. Plus..having a blog is just plain neat.