Thursday, July 31, 2008

Totally Random Thursday


Why is it that I can leave at 7:30 a.m. and barely make it to work on time, OR, leave at 7:50 and get there at 8:10? (Even when I stop for coffee?)

At Starbucks:

You get your coffee faster, better service at the drive-through.
Also: Starbucks! Sometimes VENTI isn't big enough! Some days I need an extra large Venti.

Transference and witchery:

Yesterday, after I picked up two pennies on the floor near my desk, I was thinking about how I always pick up pennies. The way I see it is - money is money. So, this morning while we were getting ready for work, I asked Doug if he picks up pennies. And, he is all suspicious like

"Why are you asking me that?"

and I said, "I was just wondering because I always do."

He got totally freaked out and told me that he had a dream last night about dropping a bunch of change and how he picked it all up - except for the pennies, which he left for the janitor. Then he asked me if he was mumbling in his sleep (which he often does).
I told him he wasn't. I was thinking about this yesterday.

>insert spooky music here<

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Selling yourself.

I suppose I am an odd duck because I truly enjoy the interview process. I also love auditioning in theatre and music. It is putting yourself out there. Because of putting yourself out there, you are conveying

"I vote for me!"

"I believe in myself!"

"I can do what you are asking!"

Many years ago, in high school, I might not have learned that I enjoyed this process or developed my confidence to the level that it is today without one person in my life - Becky. I would have never auditioned for any theatre or music without her urging.

If you've never auditioned for a play - I would encourage you to do so. It is reaching, stretching, challenging yourself to a new level.

Because I was successful in sales, usually number two, sometimes one, I enjoyed sales. It was a kick, a high, a rush when someone said yes after I gave my spiel. And what better high is there than someone actually hiring you and saying to you:
"we believe in you"
"we want you to represent our company."
There is nothing like that feeling of success one gets when one gets the job. I too, am always confident that when I don't get the job, that it is for a reason for that as well. I believe the best person will get the job and if it isn't me, then it wasn't meant to be - that there was someone better. But what is more thrilling than selling yourself?

Monday, July 28, 2008

New skin, new awareness.

Have you ever had so many mosquito bites that you wanted to rip your skin off of your body? I think that is where I am. I've been bitten repeatedly this summer, initially while gardening. This weekend we were up in Goshen with Doug's family and sat out near the lake and while that is always beautiful, I continued to be devoured by mosquitoes. I am just ripping at my skin, scratching away. UGH. It reminds me of the summer that Doug & I went up to the Boundary Waters, which was something akin to being on survivor.

I feel as if amidst desiring to rip my skin off, that I'm experiencing some other kind of new awakening. Experiencing this incredible awareness, I am listening and paying attention. In part, this is due to the fact that a friend of mine has Stage three cancer and it causes me to think about how I want to live, what I want to do with my time. The time is now.

That is part of the reason that I'm getting Chelsea, now. I had a black Cocker Spaniel when until I was ten. His name was Blackie and I loved him. I was the one who found him when he died, and I laid down and put my head on his side. He was so sweet. Then, as a young married, before children, I had another Cocker Spaniel, a buff, named Megan Marie Bennett. She was my little girl, but ran away from me repeatedly and I would usually get her back because of her tags, but finally, I didn't. I don't know if she was hit by a car or someone kept her. I cried for about two weeks and my then husband kept saying

"She was a dog."

As if I wasn't entitled to the pain that I was experiencing because of her disappearance.

I've had Milo, my cat, for approximately eight years. She is beginning to show some age. Laura says to her

"You stayed in the tanning bed too long."

because of the white around her eyes.

Now, I live in the country and we are empty-nesters and it is time for another child.

I've also been reading many crafting blogs and I feel this intense desire to be more artful. I have never been too creative. At Christmas, I'm known for my curling ribbons and my tags that I make from old Christmas cards - I cut them out with pinking shears and put a hole in with paper punch - nothing too difficult, but they are nice and have become my signature. Grandma Minnie (my great-grandma) used to make them.

I love to make collages, so I've been clipping out pictures. We'll see what emerges.

Despite hating what the mosquitoes are doing to me, I'm loving what is happening to me, how I'm emerging in new skin.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"the look"

As if we don't have enough to do at our house, "the farm," as I've started to call it, I am now considering decorating my kitchen - cottage style. I asked Doug one day if he knew what cottage style was, and as he got a thoughtful look upon his face, he suddenly brightened and said

"what we are doing?"

"very good, Doug."

We now have dark, rich, wood cabinets, which means we also have a dark kitchen. I have taped paint samples and two pictures torn from magazines, similar to this insert, to one of the cabinet doors. On the hood of the oven, there are paint samples of this finish-type paint you can buy. One of my gal friends (thanks, Karen) got the bright idea that we might be able to paint the entire stove with it. What a great idea!

For me, it is all about "the look," and that transcends from my yard, to the carport, the porch, the garden, the entryway, my bathrooms, the entire house. I always have my eye open for that little detail that will make my home a bit homier. I remember early on when Doug and I started dating and at that time, I thought it was adorable, the way he sat on the sofa and yelled and screamed at the ballgame. (That was before the WHOO sound became so very annoying.) I remember emailing Donna and saying "I had a man on my sofa last night watching a ballgame. As if I'd found a new pillow, this man was my perfect, new accessory.

Then, there is ME. You know how it goes, girls. We are always looking at one another.






You know you are, so don't deny it. Women dress more for other women than men. Men, we ask you opinion, but we are being nice. We really don't care what you think. If we say

"does this make my butt look big?",

we are either fishing for a compliment or just trying to get you to look at our butt.

A local shop here in Bloomington, who has a look I like, is Lola Rue, on the corner of 10th and College. I read about the publication Artful Blogging, on Alicia Paulson's blog because she was featured in it. Then, I read that Lola Rue carried the publication. I wanted to go in there anyway and this was the perfect excuse. I met the delightful shop owner, Lisa, and we had a very nice visit. She opened her shop last November. That is when I moved to Bloomington. I left with the magazine and two nest prints in my bag. The shop is full of cottage, shabby-chic, and they have classes, too. Go see Lisa, gals, and take something home. End of plug.

When I bought my car, my thought was does this look good on me? My red Honda Civic EX? Oh, yeah.

And guys, when we make you get all dressed up and lookin' fine for a night on the town, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. You are, again, a mere accessory. It is more about how you look on our arm. Similar to a charm bracelet, we are only wondering if you make us look better, to complete the ensemble. So now you don't have to wonder what is going on when you come out of the bedroom and we say

"are you going to wear that?"


"you aren't wearing those shoes, are you?"

or my personal favorite

"did you shave?" (and tweeze your nose hairs?)

It is because we want you to look good, because when you look good, we look good.

So when you wonder, fellas, why we love to peruse magazines and shops and websites, we are just looking for the latest look. Because that is what it is all about.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sentimental Heart

Cried all night 'til there was nothing more
What use am I as a heap on the floor?
Heaving devotion but it's just no good
Taking it hard just like you knew I would
Old habits die hard
When you've got
When you've got a sentimental heart
Piece of the puzzle you're my missing part
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?
Cried all night 'til there was nothing more
What use am I as a heap on the floor?
Heaving devotion but it's just not good
Taking it hard just like you knew I would
Old habits die hard
When you've go
When you've got a sentimental heart
Piece of the puzzle I'm your Missing part
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart? Zooey Deschanel (She & Him Volume One)
Empty house, quiet is good.
I sit and read the paper
drink my juice, eat my yogurt and munch frosted mini wheats.
Take the bypass to work blasting Vampire Weekend.
Constant Comment (comfort) tea. Check.
She & Him Volume One. Check.
The Wreckers, Stand Still Look Pretty. Check.
Thanks, Zooey for singing about how I feel.
I miss you Grandma.
I know what you'd say..."It will be o.k., honey. Do you feel my arms around you?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008



Ms. Chelsea Kabob Bennett!

I think the whole world has seen her picture by now. My whole world. So, I thought I would announce it to the rest of the whole world. Is she adorable or what? Only three weeks old. I can't bring her home for three more weeks. I can, however, visit whenever I want. Since the farm is out in B.F.E. and gas is out the ass, I will probably only visit her once a week.

We went out and for some reason Sylvia was showing us everything except the Corgis. I finally said "Um, we're here to see the Corgis." There were originally four females and a male. Sylvia probably already has the male placed with a gentleman from Illinois, and I thought I really wanted a female anyway. The runt, had already died, and I took the smallest one. She seemed to "choose me" and to have the most personality. The other two were like lumps. So tiny and sleepy. As Sylvia held one of them, she held her on her back and the puppy just put her head back and fell asleep. Chelsea does look exactly like her mother. Next time I go out I'll get pics of the Sire and Dam. Plus, document Chelsea's growth.

Here she is with her sisters:
I wanted to have a small dog. I liked the markings on the one that has a lot of black and white, (pup on far right) but she also had a skunk appearance about her. Plus, she was a fatty. The one on the far left is Chelsea. The one in the middle had very similar markings except the line down the middle of her head was crooked and we just can't have that!

Sylvia had the sire penned. She said he got the rest of the dogs riled up. She did let him out so that I could sit in the pen with the babies and sure enough, he got all of the other dogs on the farm all excited. The dam seemed very docile and quiet. Doug couldn't get them to fetch, but we'll work with Chelsea from the beginning. That was one of Doug's criteria: "a dog that fetches.

As Chelsea gets older, she should look more like the dog on the right in this picture:

She is a "tri-color" and already has the little brown spots on her eyebrows and she has brown along her jawbone as well. She has white paws like this one, too. Ohmigawd, I'm in love! So, three weeks to puppy-ize the house, buy bowls, collar, leash, make appt. with vet and obedience school, check out prices to board. We will have to leave her when we go to Starved Rock in Illinois... I will contact them to see if I can take her. We can't take her with the hiking club (no dogs allowed) but, if I can have her in the cabin, I'll take her and the kennel.

If anyone has any suggestions regarding care and training, I will welcome any and all comments.
oh! Found pics of the dam & sire on the website...
Dam: Chelsea looks just like her Mama - a very sweet dog.

Sire: He was bigger and fluffier. More aggressive, too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You know you are a real gardner when...

I love this Norman Rockwell gardening picture. I think anyone who knows me knows that I love Norman Rockwell. I don't have this picture, but I think it is safe to say that I will have it in the future.
I've been thinking about all of the things I've experienced recently that make me a real gardner. The first thing I do when I pull in and out of the drive is to check out my new full sun garden (to the extent of stopping my car and gazing) (what must the neighbors think)? Then, as soon as I change clothes, I run out doors to water. My legs look like a "through-hiker's" legs. (Appalachian Trail Through Hiker - eaten up with mosquito bites.) My hands are familiar with the way the shovel handle feels and my palms have responded to this repetitive motion by growing a thicker covering of skin - "working woman's hands," I call them. After a planting session that becomes hours long, my back aches so badly that I can't straighten up or stand or sit. I have more receipts in my purse from places I've purchased plants than anywhere else. I bought a tarp to put in my car for hauling dirt or plants. (Never mind that Duggles has already absconded said tarp.) Now, I buy organic "gardening" tees. I worry about my plants when I'm gone for the weekend. When it rains I think "oh yay, I don't have to water."
In my garden it is peaceful. The birds are singing. (The neighbor is yelling at his dog, Christmas.) A cool breeze blows. Or, it doesn't, and sweat is running down my face. Now, when I plant, I carry a bandanna to swab my brow, or just put it around my head to keep the sweat from running down into my eyes.
Nothing thrills me more than picking flowers from our yard to arrange in an old Ball Jar with a wire clasp. It sits on the kitchen table and as fast as he can, Milo jumps up to nibble the grasses. (Then just as promptly as he swallows, he barfs them back up onto the hardwood floor in the living room - Thanks, Milo.) Nothing thrills me more than seeing the bumble bees on the coniferous flowers and butterflies flitting about. I think to myself I did that! I brought those bees and butterflies into our yard!
I was looking for a gardening quote and found this one that describes me well:
Gardeners are - let's face it - control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wresting weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.- Abby Adams, What is a Garden Anyway
Doug brought some water out to me recently when I didn't have sense enough to go into the house to get some and I said
"Isn't it a little crazy - the way I dig the dirt up and put some back, I pull the rocks from the earth to put them back, I pull stray plants and weeds out - only to put other plants back?"
It is a crazy obsession. Anyone who knows me would describe me as a control freak anyway (Laura says: "You aren't as bad as you used to be), but they don't know what they are talking about. In my garden, even with the desire for control, I can go a little crazy and get muddy and sweaty and dirt under my nails and stay out until dark - literally. As the sun sinks below the horizon I'm silently saying to myself "if only I had a little bit more time." Doug came home recently around 9:30, just about the time it is getting dark and as he pulled in, he saw the outline of my body in the garden in the beam of his headlights and he told me that he thought "WHAT is she doing???"
Gardening. That is what a real gardener does.
P.S. to yesterday's post: As much as I would love to head to Portland, Oregon to live with Miss Cozy Posy, I'm staying put. Bradley said "that was mean- entitling your post "I'm leaving Doug." Aw.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm leaving Doug.

I was the mom who was always lousy at making Halloween costumes. In fact, the way I saw it - Halloween was one of those holidays just to make me look bad. The most creative costume(s) I ever came up with was the year that Laura and I were black cats. She must have been four years old and there is an adorable photo of the two of us, somewhere. We both wore black long sleeve tops and black sweatpants. I took orange ribbon and put a bell on it. We each had one, which we wore like a necklace around our necks. Then, I bought a long furry, fuzzy boa thing which I cut in half and secured to each of our butts with a safety pin. (Be careful how you sit on that tail.) Then, I took a head band and cut two triangles of black felt and made ears. My make-up completed the costume with drawn on noses and whiskers.

I've never been very creative or very "good" at things like sewing, baking, crafting. I enjoy it, but am not very good at it. I don't have a lot of "vision." I took a jewelry making class last fall and each piece I fashioned looked as if it had been made by a first grader. I don't feel as if I have very much vision. Even planting my garden, I say a secret prayer that it will all turn out right.

Someone who seems to be ever so good at everything she does is Alicia Paulson (of Posie Gets Cozy). I'm in love with her. I've spent hours reading her blog and I have to say - I want her life. She lives in Oregon with hubby Andy. She is so cute the way that she refers to him as "Andy Paulson." She knits, she sews, she cooks, she takes great photos. AND, she has the most adorable new Cardigan Welsh Corgi that she named "Clover Meadow." Is that adorable or what? She absolutely loves life and delights in every detail, including her goofs. So, sorry Doug, I'm off to Oregon to live with the Paulsons.

Friday, July 11, 2008


When I first moved to Bloomington, someone said

"Welcome to the land of one way streets."

And, until today, I had never driven the wrong way on any of the many one way streets. I headed south on College. As soon as I did it, I realized the error of my way and turned into a bank parking lot and headed in the correct direction. I'd just gotten off of the phone with dug so I had to call him back and tell him what I'd done and that it was his fault. Walnut goes south and College goes north and I don't know how many times I've heard locals (including dug) say
"I don't know how many years I've lived here, but I couldn't tell you which way College and Walnut runs."

I have been having frequent headaches. Yesterday, I had a pressure headache, to the point that tears were overflowing out of my eyes. Despite feeling nauseous, I went to Panera to eat dinner. Bradley met me and while he sat and talked to me, I had a salad. A young Asian family- mother, father and son, sat to our right. The father and son had met the mother and I'd watched the son run to hug her. When I went to leave, my car was parked next to the mother's. I looked before I began to back out and then (as Emeril says) "BAM." I pulled forward and got out. The Asian father had stopped behind both of our cars. He had a black Honda CRV and the mother and father were both frowning and speaking a language that I didn't understand. I had noted that she had an I.U. parking hang tag on her car (yes, I note things like that), so I figured they were faculty or PhD students and surely could speak English. The panel near the bumper was popped out ever so slightly, maybe an eighth of an inch. I walked around to look at the other side of the vehicle and it was popped out, too - quite a bit.

"That is old injury." the mother said to me.

When I walked back around, without even thinking, I just reached out and hit the side of the vehicle with the palm of my hand and the place popped back in. I said

"There you go, maybe the other side will pop back into place as well."

For a few minutes, they continued to speak to one another- then suddenly he gave a slight bow and held out his hand.

"It is o.k."

As I shook his hand, I said

"My apologies. I am so sorry."

It was so upsetting. To bump into his car, to stand there while they spoke in a language I didn't understand, not knowing if they were talking about how much they could get out of me or what...I drive a 2003 Honda Civic EX - I don't think it looks as if I'm wealthy. I don't even wash it or wax it very often anymore. With a sigh of relief, I pulled away.

Then, I went home and watered flowers, cleaned the kitchen, took a brief nap, talked to Laura upon her return to the USA, and Stefanie called. Then to the Y for a workout. All the while, the headache continued on. At some point, I'm certain I took Tylenol.

At 4:30 a.m., I awoke, my head splitting with a migraine. I took my Relpax 40 mg. and went back to sleep. Because I had a fasting blood draw this a.m., I slept a little later and couldn't eat. I felt like crap.

When the woman went to do the venipuncture, it seemed as if she were training her colleague and she told her what to write down

"Full lipid and two thyroid."

"And, liver." I added.

"No liver." she responded.

"That is the point, isn't it?" I snapped back.

Instantly, I began to back-peddle

"I'm sorry I snapped at you. I thought I was having a liver profile as well."

She told me she would look into it and if the doctor decided it was desired, she would add it.

I think I'm overly concerned because of my brother's liver issues.

Then, I drove the wrong way down College. It seems as if it has been going that way. The wrong way.

I'm glad it is Friday and I don't have any plans. Maybe I can get back on course and headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


This is the photo on my computer screen. Bradley & Laura looking up. It makes me happy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My heart goes out to Matt and Madeline.

I've been spending a lot of time reading this blog:

While I feel sad about the loss of Matt's wife and Madeline's mother, what I feel most is immeasurable admiration for this man. He writes from his heart about his grief, his fears, his loneliness, and how he might break or mess up his daughter. (Which we all worry about, Matt.) (I sometimes feel my children have survived and thrived in spite of me and the upbringing I gave them.) He pours out his heart in an unapologetic manner, even telling his readers "if you don't like the words I use, don't read it," which is how I feel as well.

At times, I had tears running down my face reading his blog. He wears his wedding band and his wife's rings on his pinkie finger. It makes me think about how I put Grandma's wedding band onto my finger, just as the mortician had taken it off of her finger, and we were about to drive to the cemetery. I think about how many married men won't wear a ring at all - which is an outward, tangible sign in our society of love, devotion and commitment between two people. He writes that he wears them to keep her near and I know what he means by that. The love that he feels for Liz is nearly unfathomable to me. He writes of how he was with her for something like twelve years and 59 days, how he doesn't want to be without her longer than he was with her, and how at some point in time, it will happen. I don't know if any man has ever loved me the way he loves her. Photos show not only her outward beauty, but the love she had for life, her vivaciousness.

I wore Grandma's ring until it caused me more pain than comfort to have it on my finger. As I write this, her picture is here beside me.

He longs to talk to Liz and he talks to Madeline instead. I have always spoken to those who have gone on before me- Benny, Papaw, Grandma Lindsey, Grandma Minnie, and now, Grandma Doris. I like to believe that they can somehow hear us. I also believe they are looking down upon us and the love continues to flow upon our lives.

Matt writes about how he wants to grieve but Madeline needs him to feed her, change her diaper, hold her. I remember how many times Laura and Bradley kept me going, kept me hanging in there, kept me alive. I would have dried up without them. Or, I would have ended up laying in some gutter somewhere. Laura and Bradley believed in me, loved me and forgave me more than I ever, ever deserved. There were so many times that I was afraid, but they were always there, looking to me, believing that I would take care of them. Matt will find that children are wonderful, resilient creatures.

This man is beautiful. You can see the pain he has experienced in his eyes. You can also see what a solid person he is. His story is a real life Sleepless in Seattle. His blog is a testimony of the goodness in most people. There has been an outpouring of love for he and his daughter. Operating it seems, on the "it takes a village" philosophy of raising Madeline, he shares her generously with everyone. There are as many photos on his blog of others holding her as there are of him holding her.

He spews it all - the pain, the loneliness, the fear. Many entries end in "I hate this day." But he also expresses gratefulness and recognition of a good day or laughter or friendship. He appreciates what he has and often entries end in the goodness of having his daughter.

It sounds trite, but I for one know "that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." I know I can survive anything and if Matt doesn't know it already, he will. There is a sort of comfort in the awfulness of what life deals out, in the surviving, in the wisdom of the strength that one acquires through adversity. I don't know this man, but I admire him intensely for his tenacity, his strength, his honesty, his spirit. He will, in time, be o.k. and will bask in the love that Madeline will shower upon his life. My heart goes out to them.

Monday, July 7, 2008


This is my beautiful girl, Laura. Today is her birthday and she is 26. She is accomplished, successful, smart and very driven. Did I mention beautiful? She is a natural beauty. She is a success at nearly everything she puts her hand to. She also works harder (and has for years) than just about anyone else I know. Today she is in Europe with her firm and I called her this morning to leave a message on her phone.

Twenty-six years ago I was married to her Daddy. We took classes in order to have natural child birth. I was very determined to do so. I awoke at 2 a.m. on the sixth of July with contractions. I'd read that if they were Braxton-Hicks, if you did a certain exercise, they would cease. I got up, went into the den and sat on the floor and performed the exercise. The contractions only intensified, which ticked me off. I went back to bed and tried to sleep while trying to figure out if "this was it." At 7 a.m., my contractions were five minutes apart and we decided to leave for the hospital. Beforehand, in response to the pressure I was feeling, I sat on the commode and cried. Don asked me why I was crying and I told him that I was afraid. He told me that it was a funny time to decide that I was afraid to have a baby. It was more of the unknown. She was originally due on July 1 and I had predicted that if we went past July 1, it would be July 7th.

She was born at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. An inner city hospital, it was under construction. We made our way through the mess and I was checked in. Going in, I was put into an antiquated wheelchair, wooden with a high back, something akin to what I'd imagine was used in FDR's day.

We got to the room and I labored and labored. I could hear other women crying out or yelling. I was determined to be focused and quiet, reserving my energy for her birth. At some point later in the day, they gave me an epidural. It was at that point I watched t.v. with my then husband and tried to relax. It seemed every hour on the hour a different person would walk into the room to "check" me which meant shoving their hand up to my tonsils at the moment of a horrendous contraction. At one point some greasy looking nasty guy came in to tell me he was on duty and I looked at Laura's dad and said "that guy isn't touching me." And fortunately for him, he didn't attempt to do so. At varying points in time, various doctors would come in to plead with me to "get things going," which meant drugs and artificial inducement, etc. I did NOT want that and whenever they would come in to speak with me, I'd turn my face to the wall and wait until they were finished. About nine p.m., a nurse came in to check me and I said to Laura's dad "you know, after the first came and went, I always thought the baby would be born on the seventh, and now it will be the sixth." The nurse delivered the then disheartening news that she felt the baby would indeed be born on the seventh. I felt as if the moment of her birth would never arrive.

Finally, around eleven p.m. a doctor came in to plead with me about the delivery. He told me that the baby had been out of its water for many hours and if we didn't act soon, infection might set in. Don turned to me and said "HE is the doctor, I think you should do what he says." I relented and they pounced upon me with any number of needles filling my body with the artificial stimulus that I did not want. I wasn't progressing and they induced me at that point.

A doctor I'd met one time in the hallway (my doctor was on vacation, of course) came into the room and announced "I'm Dr. Prochoroff and I'm here to deliver your baby." He was Russian and over six feet tall. At that point I didn't care who was going to help me get the baby out of my body. (I just googled him and his name is Dr. Nicholas N. Prochoroff.) In the end, Dr. Prochoroff had to use forceps and brace his feet and pull her from my body. She came out screaming. The required repair work to my body was extensive and I was able to hold her the entire time, once they had performed the initial tests. I even held her as we wheeled down the hall.

The next morning, they wheeled the isolate into my room. It was as antiquated as the wheelchair that carried me in and it looked like an aquarium on wheels with yellow metal trim all around. She had her head turned toward me and her eyes open-wide as if to say "Hi, Mom." She was hours old but her gaze held steady and she seemed to know it was me.

The time of her birth was ten minutes after twelve o'clock midnight and the date was 7/7.

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