Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Catalpa

I watch the catalpa sway.
Wind catching her leaves just beyond the window.

Planted after you passed.
She is taller than I, now.

Her roots--a lifeline that winds deep,
through rock and sand,
before finally meeting fertile soil.

She is here for the long haul.

Despite the wind that sways her.
The heat of sun that burns her.

Despite the loneliness the cold nights bring.
Or the weight of snow that pushes down upon her.

At times she may seem stark--bare even.
You may wonder what is left of her.

Yet she continues on.

She spreads her limbs to embrace the wind.
Even if doing so may hurt her.

She turns toward the sun to feel its light.
Even if doing so may dry her.

She allows the cold to seep into her trunk,
Even if doing so may chill her.

She does so, because that is what it is to live.

And like my love for you, little one, regardless of the elements, she grows.

Reaching up toward the heavens you now call home

--Kristin Binder 9/18/12

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

I'm not usually a big thriller reader, but something in the description of Trust Your Eyes, by Linwood Barclay, intrigued me, and I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this book to review for BlogHer's Book Club.

We first meet Thomas Kilbride walking through the streets of New York. He is a world traveler of sorts--though we don't know why. A spy? I wondered. An FBI agent? I was unsure reading the opening of this novel what Thomas' role was. What I was sure of, though, was that he was important.

Thomas stops to take in the sights, and looks up, to a window to an apartment above the street, where he spots what appears to be a woman with a bag over her head. I wondered at this point what Thomas would do. Would he run up there? Would he save the woman? Would he spring into action?

Thomas did none of these things.

Ray Kilbride's father has just died. Home for his funeral, and to settle his father's affairs, Ray also is unsure of just how to care for his younger brother, Thomas, a schizophrenic.

Thomas is obsessed with maps. He spends his days on a Google Maps type program, called Whirl 360, virtually visiting streets in every city in the world. He memorizes what he sees--down to the smallest details. It is a talent, he believes, that will save lives. Thomas Kilbride thinks that he is doing important work. He believes that Bill Clinton has asked him to memorize all the maps before they are wiped out forever. He doesn't know exactly what will take the maps away, a cyber virus perhaps, or a nuclear blast, but he does know that when that happens the CIA can count on him to recall what was lost.

Many of the things Thomas Kilbride believes, do not exist, so when he comes to his brother Ray for help about what he believes to be evidence of a murder on Whirl 360, it is hard for Ray to take him seriously.

Only--there has been a murder, and it is linked to a high profile politician. When Ray agrees to check things out on a visit to the city to appease his brother, his snooping alerts the wrong people.

The thing that Barclay does so masterfully in Trust Your Eyes is create several character's with truly unique and distinct voices. While Ray Kilbride is the main narrator of the book, the reader also gets to experience the POV of Thomas, a gold-digger, a hit-woman, a crooked union boss, a politician's manager, and others, each with clearly distinct voices and motivations.

As a writer, I appreciated this aspect of the book just as much, if not more, than the page-turning suspense.

*I was provided with a copy of this book to read and review, as well as compensation for my time, by BlogHer Book Club and Penguin books. All views expressed in this review are my own. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To Peyton, On Your Fourth Birthday


Today should be your fourth birthday. I imagine you here, brown curls, blue eyes. This year feels so different, or maybe the wave just hasn't come for me yet. I am sitting here, next to the light that you have been turning on for me all week, thinking about how amazing and strong in spirit you are to continuously find ways to remind us of how connected we are. How can I feel anything but joy, love, and appreciation for that? You make me so proud.

It feels like Daddy and I have every ball up in the air right now, juggling a million decisions at once, but I know in my heart that no matter where they land, no matter where we land, you will be right there guiding us.

Some days I miss you so much I can taste the mint of your hospital room in my mouth. I can feel your head on that heavy place in my chest. I nearly believe that if I reach out just far enough, you will be there reaching back. I am learning to live with the fact that you won't. I am learning to accept a life of never again getting to cuddle and hug you. It's hard. It's always hard. It always will be hard.

Some mornings I hear your brother and sister laughing in their room, and like to imagine you in there whispering little jokes in their ears, or singing them songs. Maybe you are.

Squeaks reached out for your picture the other day. I explained to her that you are her "big, little sister." She just laughed. I promise you that I will raise your siblings knowing how amazing you are.

Peyton, there are so many things I wish could have been different. So many things I wish I had done differently. So many scenarios that I play, and replay in my mind, just searching for the one that would have saved you. I wish I could have, baby.

Daddy, Bubba, Squeaks and I are going to be sending lanterns up to you tonight. Will you look for them, baby girl? Will you feel the heat of my hugs in their flame? I hope so.

I love you my sweet forever-baby girl.

I will never stop wondering why you had to go.
I will never stop feeling grateful to have had you to love.

Happy Birthday.


Peyton Elizabeth 
First. Loved. Always.


September 4th is here already. 

To honor what would have been Peyton's 4th birthday, we are doing a Gift Card Drive to benefit families with critically ill infants at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. From Sept. 4th (the day she was born) through Oct. 2nd (the day she passed) we will be collecting gift cards to the following establishments:

*Dunkin Donuts 
*Shop Rite, Stop and Shop, Walmart, Target, Price Chopper, etc.
*Gift Cards to Area Gas Stations (Sunoco, Shell, Valero, Getty, Gulf, Mobil, BP) 

These gift card donations are tax deductible. Please provide us with your address and keep your receipt.

Gift cards of any amount would be greatly appreciated and can be mailed to:
Doing Good In Her Name
P.O. Box 1281
Burlington, CT 06013.