Thursday, July 23, 2009


When I was a little girl, I was pretty confident. I was first to raise my hand in class, introduced myself and my siblings to "new people", and even challenged babysitters on their competency. By fifth grade, I had written a letter to president Reagan, contacted Yale university about their entrance requirements and started a little business doing neighborhood chores that payed for my first puppy.

My weak point was athletics. More specifically, it was running relay races. I LOATHED them. Inevitably some annoying red head boy with freckles and a stopped up nose would observe loudly, "that girl is SOOO SLOW!"

It seemed to me, like some mean prank. I talked fast, thought fast, had big fast plans, even bordered on hyperactive, yet as my sister later joked, "was at odds with the physical world." I clearly remember entering a new school and having to do relay races on the first day as an "icebreaker." It was a private school and we raced down this weird carpeted hallway (I promise this was not a dream). I was on the purple team and the races last all week during recess. Each night before school I would pray that I could somehow, miraculously find SPEED. I never did. I found that feigning a fall sometimes helped (although other times it would look obvious and make matters way worse).

Anyway, I'm older now - more sure of myself and my body - I've had two babies and now take a class at the Y (ymca) called "ZUMBA." I just adore Zumba. It's like Jane Fonda meets the club scene - in Miami. So I've been going to this crazy Latina dance party aerobics class for about 8 months now. Some weeks I get there more than others, but recently I've been going a lot - 3 to 5 times a week. I've even started dressing a little more Zumba-ish (tighter, tankier clothes) and feeling pretty good.

So anyway, I'm dancing my heart out one morning - neither my sister-in-law or good friend were there, so I was really givin' it all I got. "Wow, I look good," I was secretly thinking to myself. I mean, granted, it was a skinny mirror, but heck, I was really getting the hang of this.

Then I went to get a drink in between songs. I was pouring sweat from my efforts and a bit had gotten into my eye. "Is this your first time at Zumba," a voice asked. I wiped my eye and could see that it was the girl who had been standing behind me. My first time? What?

I'm not kidding, I nearly hit her. That would have been bad. A sad ending to my family's Y membership. And then I realized: dang, I've been coming for 8 months, that really stinks that you thought that. What a reality check - I mean I truly thought that I was co-teaching that girl. Visions of the purple team relay race came swirling into focus. My sister-in-law told me later that that girl was probably just making small talk. Sure.

Needless to say, it has been pure joy watching my oldest daughter Isabelle conquer the physical world. From the time she was teeny tiny, she has attempted to lift, climb, race just about anything that has entered her path.

My daughter Jane has been a different story. Softer, slower, she entered the world verbally rather than physically. I thought she was a girl after my own heart - or body, rather.

Well...getting to the point, this Sunday, Jane surpassed my athletic ability, shattering a box I had put her in. At the church carnival, she raced (gleefully, willingly) and BEAT her opponent (a stunning 2 year old male). Yes, Gabe may have been distracted by the toy whistle or lollipop that he had in his mouth. He may have misunderstood the object of a relay race (since he is only two). However, my daughter won the race. And instead of murmurs of, "wow, that girl is really slow " there was a soft, continuous chanting, " Go, Janie, Go."

Friday, July 10, 2009


So today Isabelle, Jane and I went on a fieldtrip to Niles, Mi with our sweet friends Kris, Mikey and Del (in fact, today Del turned 2! Happy Birthday, little guy). Anyway, we picked cherry after sour cherry - eating them, squishing them and dribbling them all over our clothes. The kids were bored quickly, and chose instead to play "Sleeping Beauty" in between trees. That left Kris and I to fill our enormous buckets by ourselves. Luckily the weather cooperated - neither raining nor blazing hot - and within a couple of hours, we were rinsing them in big metal buckets and waiting our turn at the pitter (yes, free pitting) what could be better!

Now, hours later, I'm cherrying it up - jam, pie, even a sour cherry martini to start the evening off in style!. Nothing's turning out too well - I mean, I really prefer wine to sour cherry martinis and the jam looks both too runny and too chunky at the same time, but hey, these cherries came off the tree today! They weren't shipped from goodness knows where, sitting on a truck for days and touched by who knows how many hands. No way.

So visiting Lehman's Tart Cherry Orchard clarified something for me. In all honesty, it was not just the Orchard, but rather a heartfelt conversation with Molly, countless brainstorming sessions with Zach and a quick catch-up conversation with my talented artist sister, Bethany. Regardless, our little business (maddex media relations) is refining it's approach. What I want to do - what really energizes and excites me, is encouraging others. Weird, right? but what I want to do it promote the underdog. Any small business, artist, author or friend who needs help promoting their work. Fortunately Zach is technologically and mathematically skilled. With the installation of our new programs (the Adobe Creative Suite along with Dreamweaver and the new microsoft office) we are preparing to offer professional graphic design services. Hmmm - if only we knew an artist/photographer that needed a job...(Just kidding, Bethany, you can do freelance work for us where ever you are).

This doesn't mean that I don't want to become the premier Orthodox Christian Publicist, I do! It's just that I think that will unfold in time. I'm building contacts, logging experiences and learning about book promotion. In the meantime, however, Sander's Dairy Farm sells fresh milk, local honey and Amish butter. They just opened a store and we need to get the word out! My dear friend Kris is an amazing florist. Although she's busy making cheese, ruhbarb soda and parenting four kids, her beautiful arrangements have made a name for herself. She's quite talented and is taking clients! The wedding arrangements she does are fabulous! Just check her blog.

All in all, this is just a great time in my life. Cooking, gardening, encouraging my friends and community, learning about my girls and how to parent them - these are fun and interesting endeavors. Stay tuned to see this reflected on our website!