Friday, May 22, 2009

Lexington, Virginia

So, last weekend, we were supposed to go camping. Then, our group opted out because of some scary weather forecasts. What's a Nicolich to do? Go on an impromptu trip to Virgina, of course. We decided at about eleven on friday night and woke up at four Saturday morning to go. I am very happy we went- it was a great time!

Why Lexington? Bill served a mission in Virgina 16 years ago. He hadn't been back before now, and we decided this would be a good opportunity. We got to see members of the ward, and people he taught. That was really great! There was one guy he taught, and then didn't know what happened to him. it turns out, he was baptized shortly after and has been a strong member ever since. We also chatted with some bluegrass musicians that he worked with. Who knows, maybe that will afford me an opportunity to play sometime. We also went to some caverns, saw a natural wonder called Natural Bridge, checked out the LDS standards school Southern Virgina University, checked out Washington and Lee university, saw the remains of Stonewall Jackson in a neat cemetery, checked out the remains of Robert E. Lee in a chapel dedicated to him and enjoyed lots of time with our little family.

Here's the breakdown of our trip. It's out of order. I hope that's okay.

Sally sulking amongst some headstones

Cool gravestones

Sally had some rough moments. She's become...more difficulty lately. I'll post on this later and ask for tips. There will be a family post first- my parents are here! and Wendy and her fam will be here on Sunday!

Handsome and ready to see people from his past

I'm always behind the camera, but i did snap this one of myself. Nice lips, right?

Alice fell asleep in Daddy's arms when we were looking at Natural Bridge

Getting her toes wet

Natural Bridge

Daddy and Sally in the caverns

Happy girl!

Poor Bill had an eye problem. He was hesitant about meeting people while having red eyes, but is super glad he did.

Just a pretty Sally shot

She enjoys life to the fullest.


I think this is so pretty

My cute family. You know you're jealous.

What a sweet girl.

This is at Stonewall Jackson's grave/statue. People always put lemons there because he had a fondness for fruit. Weird. Also, confederate flags are weird to me. I do like this picture, though.

Lots of pretty old gravestones

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Glass Ceiling

There are some pretty impressive abilities out there in the natural world. Dolphins have sonar. However, there is a "glass ceiling" for each species in the present--a set of clear limits.

Nature is brutally frugal and efficient. Sure, it would benefit the squirrel to be outfitted with more strength and intelligence, but a set of invisible but real constraints (including the constant fight with pathogens) factor into the evolution of the squirrel and create that glass ceiling (invisible but iron-clad).

Then there's two-year-old Sally.

Monday she guided me over to the computer to help her play a game on I placed her hand just so on the mouse and placed her first two fingers on the left button. I placed my hand on hers to guide the mouse to interact with the web browser-based games. When I prompted her to "click," she would click the mouse. She soon began to get pretty good at guiding the mouse with little intervention. Her assimilation of the computer and interface astounds me.

Now she asks to play a game on the computer, which she calls the "puter."

It occurs to me that what I'm witnessing isn't really supposed to happen in nature. Like I said earlier, nature is ruthlessly frugal and efficient. If an organism doesn't absolutely have to have an ability, it won't get it through the aeons of evolutionary time. And, at times, an organism doesn't get something it needs or gets handicapped due to intra-species competition and goes extinct.

Let's say that computers have been around for maybe 20 years for the masses, and the Web has been around for 10 for the masses. Place a squirrel in front of the computer and it might be puzzled, but will not in any way think to assimilate it into its life.

Sally has been on planet earth since her beginnings as a fertilized egg for about three years. In that time, she's acquired language and is ready to assimilate computers into her life, looking to them for watching YouTube videos of cartoons and playing educational games. Her species haven't had computers through nearly all their history as we know it. This is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Now my friends who are maybe fluent in biology and some of the other sciences might add some additional justifications for why Sally's use of the computer is not astounding, because in the abstract, we're talking about tools and play, things that are old. I'll counter that with each layer of abstraction, a whole new array of wondrous questions and facts surface that invoke a sense of awe.

Other friends might agree that I'm witnessing nothing less than the spark of divinity.

In any event, this post records a moment where I pause, try to put things into perspective and experience a deep sense of wonder at my children.

For Sally, there is no glass ceiling keeping her from assimilating these new computers. She's ready for them. It's as if they've been here all along.

More could be said on the science of the situation, but I think I've laid down just enough for my purpose. Now I think I'll just end with a lyric from "What a Wonderful World."

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more
Than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I adore motherhood. I've never felt as fulfilled as when I'm wearing my mom hat. Hearing Sally say, "I love you way much, mama," or seeing Alice's excitement when she sees me after her nap fills me with a kind of joy I didn't know existed three years ago. Then, there's seeing them succeed. Every new skill, every resolved problem makes me feel all....glowy. Like there's this wonderful feeling inside of me that wants to burst out. I love it. I know it isn't all laughter and hugs. We have our blow-out diapers, public meltdowns, irreverent church meetings, and messy messes. There are times they drive me nuts, and times I question my ability. But I love them. And I love being their mother. My whole life, my number one desire has been to be a mom. Now that I am, I find it to be so much better than I expected.

Ever since Bill (who is wonderful, and enables me to stay home with my awesome girls) wrote his poetry entry on this little blog, I've been working on a poem about my girls and the way they make me feel. I'm no "real" poet, but here is this little diddy.

Pixie Eyes and Curious Hands

With pixie eyes to light my path
I travel through the dark,
Beyond vast seas, our little bath
Where mermaids outwit sharks.

Those pixie eyes with vivid light,
Each spectral hue intense,
Enhance, improve my inner sight
With truth and no pretense.

These curious hands that keep me warm
Through busy, starfish touch,
Ignite my hearth in wintry storm;
Heat fills me with a rush.

Small curious hands that hold my face
Reach up, and melt my core.
They blanket me with sweet embrace;
Like ocean coats the shore.

The light, the warmth; most precious gifts
That raise me high above
The earth, the rain, the clouds adrift,
To atmospheric love.

At times, I’m lost. In unknown lands;
Strange trees through which I roam.
With pixie eyes and curious hands
I know that I am home.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


We said goodbye to a friend this week. An old friend, but he was very sick. Half dead, in fact. So sick he was losing limbs whenever it stormed. Sick enough to make me extremely anxious every time there was ANY wind. And so when the knock on the door came of men offering to do any tree work for an inexpensive price, we said okay.

Here it comes down. It was louder in real life than it seems here.

This is half of it on the ground. Can you see how far the branches go into the circle? He was over 80 feet tall.
After half was gone. Can you see how many leaves are on this half? It was time.

Before- and on a misty day in January...

and after
Goodbye tall friend! Time will tell what goes in your place. Another tree? Flowers? The possibilities are enough to drive any indecisive girl nuts.