Monday, November 8, 2010

The Rainbow Bridge

So soon after losing our Charlie dog we had to say goodbye to another friend, Alty. I got Alty when she was 8 weeks old and named her Altimeter Sky as a tribute to my passion at the time of skydiving. Alty was a German Short hair Pointer. She literally ran everywhere and only stopped running when it was time to eat or rest. She was my first dog that was my own dog. She was sweet and kind and lived life with zeal. It was a challenge watching her age. So agile in her youth and so frail as time took its toll. I am so grateful to have had my friend with me for 14 1/2 years. She was very hard to say good too.

People have told me that pets don't go to Heaven. That hurts my heart because I truly believe that they do. I love this poem that a friend told me about...this is what I believe...


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
 
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
 
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
 
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
 
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
 
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
 
Author unknown

Friday, October 1, 2010

Charlie

We had to say good-bye to our dog, Charlie, this week. Now, Charlie was an amazing dog. He didn't do any especially unique tricks and he didn't fetch my slippers and my daily newspaper. What he did was love us with his whole being.

Charlie came to live with me about 12 years ago. He was roughly six months old. He was found in a neighborhood off the beaten path. A woman opened her door one morning to collect her newspaper and she saw this little puppy laying there. He fussed and cried and as she knelt to pick him up she heard the whines of an older dog coming from the road. It was pouring rain as she started down the drive to find a mama dog with a litter of young puppies shivering in the cold. Charlie was the one that traveled to the door while mama tended to his siblings. While homes were found for the other puppies and mama, Charlie remained with the woman for a few months but for whatever reason decided she could not keep him. I was looking for a companion for my only dog at the time and the fit was perfect.

Charlie was a joyful dog. He had a lively spirit and everyone who met him loved him. I would frequently get asked, "How is Charlie doing?" as if he were my child or spouse. Everyone cared about Charlie.

When I did marry and have children, Charlie accepted each addition with an open heart. He watched over my children as babies and has played with them as young children. He was playful and liked to back talk. If you asked him something he would bark and yap back as if he was giving you a very thoughtful answer.

Three months ago, Charlie was diagnosed with lung cancer and given only 1 to 2 months to live. While we were devastated we sought to make our last bits of time together special. And, Charlie rallied. He started eating; his eyes lit up with that familiar spark. Soon, I began to believe that he had been misdiagnosed. That he didn't have cancer at all.

What I didn't realize was that Charlie was valiantly fighting that dreaded disease everyday. It came to be too much for him and he began to deteriorate rapidly. My husband and I made the most difficult decision to let him go. And, with us by his side, he took his last breath but not before I thanked him for being such a wonderful friend and companion and I told him how much I loved him.

I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of Charlie in my life. He made my world a brighter place and I am grateful for the many memories I have of this most special friend. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Rockstar

This three second clip of my daughter captures her entire personality. Her spunk, humor, and innocence are priceless and...pretty comical!

video

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oy! The Pressure!

I feel so much pressure to write a blog...a blog about something...anything! A witty blog. An informative blog. A blog that will inspire and require an introspective glance. But...I got nothing.

My mind is full of deadlines and obligations. It is rattled with worry over a million different things. It is chock-full of tasks eagerly awaiting the check mark of completion.

I got a bit sidelined when my husband calmly told me he thought he might have broken his hand. What? Might have broken? A popping sound? A snap? That can't be good. The x-rays proved that is wasn't good and it won't be for a few more weeks until he has surgery. He is a good sport and is ambling around as best he can. But, for the self-employed autobody painter and designer, a broken hand is a broken link in the "I do work, you pay me" chain.

About the same time the hand snapped, my paycheck was dinged. That well that went dry has to be paid for and the 401K I borrowed from is gathering its money back. For the next five years my paycheck will be lighter...a lot lighter. Lighter is good if you are on a diet...I am not. I am a lean, mean, coupon-cutting, sale-shopping machine these days!

So that is a brief glimpse at why my wit is zapped; my thoughts are jumbled; my mind is taxed. I am sure my new, amplified, cost-conscious life will provide fodder for future blogs because, after all, the best things in life - and to write about - are free!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Well, that's embarassing!

We all have moments that leave us searching for a hole to scurry into. Those times when we truly wish the Earth would suck us up and leave no trace. I have had plenty of such moments...pleeeeeenty! I am anything but graceful. Try as I might to stand talk and act polished, I still find myself in embarrassing moments.

FLYING and FALLING OBJECTS

I have been struck by bird and bird poo. By the poo twice. Once smack dab on the top of my head. Once on my shoulder. Neither pleasant. I think the poo on the head was much more traumatic because it was actually touching my skin...not my clothes, but actually creeping into the follicles on my head. Being somewhat germ-phobic, this literally put me on the outer limits of my sanity.

And, yes, I have been struck by a bird. While dressed in a elegant black dress as part of a wedding party I was struck by a just released symbol of love...the white dove. Proof of the assault came with the wedding photos where I am pictured diligently holding my bouquet while my face is a mix of surprise and horror. You can see my head bent sightly forward from the force and the dove actually pushing off with wildly frantic flapping wings.

I was also struck by an acorn once...in the head...in a huge park...with hundreds of other people. That acorn wheedled its way through the crowd and found my head to drop on. I remember hearing the knock, feeling the smart, seeing the acorn drop to my lap, and looking at my husband as he burst into laughter. I looked around to see other smirks and wondered why that thing had to hit me.

I have been the falling object many of times. I have fallen on the job, at home, at a clothing store. I have fallen while running, while walking, and once I toppled over from a dead stand still. I have fallen on asphalt, on dirt, on concrete, on a huge pile of boxed chocolates, in a moss-laden gutter, and on tile. I have fallen against stairs, cars, chairs, and tables. I have fallen over dogs, children, and my own feet. I have fallen off of motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters. I have even fallen from the sky on a number of occasions. I fall...a lot. When I showed up to my own bridal shower on crutches my mother pursed her lips and gave me a firm scolding because, obviously, I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing and don't I know how clumsy I am?

Also, under the category of flying object I can add the underwire of my bra. While talking to our vet about the health of my dogs I once had my underwire literally fly out of my sleeve and fall in a clatter to the floor. The vet was curious to see what the UFO could be but I had reactions of lightening and I whipped the crescent up and stuffed it into my purse. The vet stared at me curiously but proceed with his diagnosis. The underwire must have been ready to give for it to fly with such force. I am thankful it struck neither human nor animal.

OUT OF THE MOUTH

Some of the worst offenses are those made verbally. I am horrible with names. I no longer even like to address people by their names for fear I will, yet again, have them wrong. Once, on a first date, I called my date the name of his roommate. And, when I worked for a non-profit organization, I spoke candidly to the major founder. When I relayed this great conversation to my boss he doubled-over laughing hysterically. Apparently, the major founder was dead and had been such for a long time. I was just talking to some random guy that looked a lot like the framed photo on the wall. Those moments are the worst!

APPEARANCES

These are really rotten moments because you so often don't realize what a buffoon you look like. I once had my boss ask me what was caught on the front collar on my shirt. As I reach up and fingered it, I realized it was the tag. That's right, I wore my shirt to work backwards.

In another moment of bra drama, as I was flirting with a guy back in my single days I lifted my arm to make a gesture and the guy grabbed and tugged at something under my sleeve. "What's this?" he giggled. It was my bra strap. The thing had come unhinged and was dangling out my sleeve.

Boogers and zits and chives in the teeth are horrible to spy in the rearview mirror of the car. I can't count the number of times I have chatted and cajoled only to head back to the car to find a big black chive between my front teeth. Why don't people tell me these things?

I am sure my world holds more embarrassment for me. It holds far more than I have shared here! I just hope it goes easy on me...like, no more falling on 150 boxes of See's candy in a straight, tight denim skirt that would leave me wallowing like a turtle on its back. Yea, no more of that!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fres-YES!

I have endured the looks, the comments, the eye rolls. The sorrowful gestures that say, "I am so sorry you live in Fresno." The worst was the pity I received from a woman while passing through Barstow, California. She sadly nodded her head and clucked her tongue as she said, "Oh, you live in Fresno? I am so sorry for you." I couldn't help but lean forward and whisper, "You know you live in Barstow, right?"
I will declare here and now, without shame and downcast eyes, that I unabashedly LOVE Fresno! While I now live on the outskirts of town, I still consider Fresno my home. I have lived here since 1987 and now I am raising my own family in this amazing place.

Everyone hears and focuses on the negative media that Fresno receives. Yes, the city certainly has its fair share of problems. But, what about the good parts of Fresno? Yes, there are indeed good parts...oodles of them!

Fresno is centrally located in this grand state of California. We sit with the beautiful Sierras on one side and the rolling Pacific Ocean less than three hours away on the other side. We have repeatedly satisfied my husband's craving for fresh clam chowder with  day trips to Pismo Beach and we love to spend winter days playing with our children in the Sierra snow just west of our home.

Yosemite National Park sits grandly in our backyard attracting visitors from all over the world. No less than five times have I gotten up early to hike Half Dome and been back to sleep in my own bed that night. I marvel at the sheer beauty found in the park. It is breathtaking and inspiring. I don't think one can visit Yosemite and doubt God's existence.

Fresno offers more beauty found in the great agricultural landscape. I relish traveling home from business trips to be greeted by the fragrant smell of orange blossoms. The rich, citrus smell is the smell of home to me. It is comfort and security. A seasonal trip through the Fresno Blossom Trail is an amazing trip for one's senses. From the incredible beauty and colors found in the Almond, Plum, Peach, Nectarine, Apricot, Citrus and Apple blossoms to the incredible sweet and savory smells to the buzzing of hundreds of dutifully busy bees.

Fresno offers an array of great places to shop and there are numerous places to treat your palate to any number of cultural cuisines. Fresno offers the best Mexican food I have ever tasted. While some towns boast Taco Bell as true Mexican cuisine, Fresnans know that has nothing on Sal's, Javiar's, Mexicatessen, or Casa Corona.

One thing I truly love about Fresno is the small town feel it has managed to maintain while growing steadily in population. I love running into friends in random places. From the Woodward Park Library to SaveMart to The Shops at Riverpark, my husband and I always seem to encounter the friendly face of someone we know.

Fresno may not sit at the top of a list of the best places to live, but for me, it truly is the only place I can imagine raising my family. My kids are learning good, solid values not only from me and my husband, but from the community that surrounds them. They are seeing the rewards of hard work and the joys of a more simple life. They don't require 8-lane highways and skyscrapers dotting the skyline. They enjoy trips to the movie theater and swim lessons. They love picking fruit from our own trees and adventures to the coast and mountains.

Fresno offers many of the perks of a metropolitan city without the congestion and delays. Fresnans appreciate a less-intense lifestyle than the larger cities to the north and south of us. To me, Fresno is home.  To those who pity me because I live in Fresno I say Fres-YES!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

See 'em, but don't hear 'em

There are people who still subscribe to the notion that children should be seen and not heard. While I admit that my children are adorable to view, I think of what I would miss if they were never heard.

I likely would never puzzle over why the sky is blue and not pink. I might not question the differences between a one-hump camel verses the two-hump variety. And, I might never be curious enough to dig a hole in my backyard in hopes of finding a real dinosaur bone.

I understand that children can be loud and down-right obnoxious at times. And, I freely admit that I am able to tune them out while others cringe and claw at themselves in sheer agony at the piercing screams and giggles of childhood. I believe this is a trait of parenthood. We train ourselves to listen for sounds outside the normal and drown out the rest. If my children are quiet, my senses immediately perk up. I can tell the difference between a shriek of annoyance at a sibling and a shriek of pain due to falling. The sound of children is part of being a parent. And, though I ask my children to bring the noise level down a notch at times, I would never beckon them to be completely silent.

If children were seen and not heard we would see the chocolate smeared on their faces but would never hear about the yummiest chocolate chip cookie they ever ate. We would see the sadness in their eyes but never realize it was because their "bestest" friend in the whole world wanted to play with someone else at recess that day. We would see that their clothes don't match but never know it was because they chose to wear all their favorite clothes together regardless of color. We would see the dinosaurs in piles in holes in the backyard but never learn that it was the grandest imaginary fossil treasure.
I don't want my children to be spit polished and tucked in. I don't want them wearing sweater vests with nary a hair out of place. I don't want them to sit quietly and never wonder or be curious. I love that my children need to have their dirty feet scrubbed in the tub each night. I love that they have actually tasted mud pies. I delight in their laughter and marvel at their profound questions. And, yes I love their bright eyes and genuine smiles. Those things are all part of the marvelous package of childhood. Let's let children be children because childhood is short enough as it is. Let's see children and hear them too...we will surely learn a thing or two.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dry Hole

Living where we do comes with the knowledge - or fear - that there will come a time when the well will run dry. For me, that fear was realized on Saturday afternoon. As I watered our little makeshift garden I noticed our water pressure was low. I mentally noted it, but wasn't concerned by it. It was later when I asked my son to start his bath that the universe paused a moment. I was fussing with the kitchen sink and wondering if the faucet was plugged when my son came in all smiles and giggles telling me how the water was only trickling into the tub. My world slammed to a halt and I felt my blood run cold. I called...rather...I hollered for my husband and together we tromped out to the pump.

The pump was humming along but no water was being pulled up into the tank. The pressure rested at 15%. I pleaded with myself to not pass out. At that moment, I could only think of the hefty price tag we were facing. Wells don't come cheap and in these difficult economic times we are financially strapped.

After my initial breakdown where fear collided with tears, my husband and I were able to plan for the worst. Hoping that just the pump motor was bad, but sensing the whole well was dry, we took steps to pull a loan out against my 401K. On a Saturday night at 9pm, there is not much one can do. But taking a few steps towards a resolution along with an Ambien at least provided for some sleep.

Now, here is where I get to be extremely grateful. I called our pump company at 8am sharp on Monday morning. A crew arrived and by 9:30 we knew the pump motor was shot. Still waiting on a verdict on the water level, I contacted my 401K provider. After hearing my plight, a representative faxed me the paperwork to sign for tan emergency loan against my retirement fund. By 11am I had the paperwork signed and faxed to my fund manager and the loan was approved. It was moments later that my husband called to let me know that the well was indeed dry.

I choked down this information with a bit of ease since we would have the funds to cover the expense. I arrived home just prior to the arrival of the manager of the drilling crew. He provided us with a 5-digit estimate and told us he would file for permits that afternoon. In a move not typical, the County approved our permits in minutes rather than days. This allowed the drilling crew to come out yesterday evening to bring out their equipment to get set-up for an early start today.

We found out that sometimes it takes several months to get a new well drilled. We found ourselves with a dry well completely out of sync with the normal pattern so our wait was a mere 24 hours.

I am anxiously awaiting the free flow of water. It takes about 5 business days to complete a new well and destroy the old one. With luck we will be showering in our own home by next Tuesday at the latest.

My feeling of gratitude for the funds and quick response of the pump company is currently out-weighing my feelings of inconvenience. It is not convenient to be without water. It is not especially inconvenient with two small children who are home for summer. It is frustrating to fill the toilet tanks with water and to wash dishes with a two-gallon jug. It is incredibly difficult to suck up our pride and accept the use of parents' and siblings' showers and washing machines.

In a stroke of irony, on Sunday, a friend let us know we could have his old above-ground pool. We have no water but we have a pool! I can't wait to fill that pool up with water fresh from our 500 foot well! That will be a wonderful reward for these past few days filled with challenges.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Sprinkler

A couple summers ago I was training very diligently for a half marathon. Though I would run early in the morning, the heat would often become so oppressive I would have to cut my runs short.

On one such morning, I had become so overheated that I changed course and began my run home after only a couple miles. As I ran through the sleepy streets, I couldn't help but notice how many homes had sprinklers running full tilt. They were drenching lawns with lovely, cold, and inviting water.

I was thirst-quenched. The sprinklers wrecked havoc with my dehydrated body. I focused on getting home where I would reward myself with a brimming glass of ice cold water.

But, as I passed house after house of sprinkler-soaked lawns my thirst became absolutely unbearable. I began to not only notice the sprinklers, but that the blinds were drawn on most of the homes. The people inside were still asleep with their air conditioners churning. My mind turned to that of a criminal. "Who would mind if I took one sip of water from a sprinkler?"

Well, these things never play out the way we expect them to in our minds.

I did indeed attempt to take a drink from a sprinkler. However, in my dehydrated state, the sprinkler I chose was one of those high-powered doodads that rocket-launch water across the lawn. They spray out with a rat-tat-tat-tat and then they fire back with a tattattattat! I bent over the sprinkler and tried to get any amount of water to stay in my mouth while the power of the blast threatened to launch a hole through my cheek.

It was in that very undignified position that I saw them. I glanced to notice the two slippered feet standing just inches away from my head. I shot up in a flash and came face-to -face with a most confused older woman. She looked perplexed and none to happy that I had tried to syphon a sip of her water. Her hands were on her hips and her pj's were covered by an old fuzzy bathrobe.

I stammered that I was sorry and that I was just incredibly thirsty but she spoke not one word. She just stared at me as I sprinted down the street with my thirst forgotten and my shirt sopping wet.

When I got home, I ran the hose over my head and sat on the patio. It took a few minutes for the me to grasp the hilarity of the situation and to have a good laugh. I thought that next time I should pick a gentler sprinkler, but then decided that next time I would be better off to carry my water with me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My floors

I have heard that when it comes to housecleaning everyone has their "thing"; their one thing that matters. If that one thing is clean, all is well with the world. My thing is the floors. If I can walk barefoot on my floors without succumbing to grit, I can conquer the world! If my floors are dirty and grimy they will so haunt me that I can't accomplish a thing.

As I was tackling the floors today I realized what a story those tiles could tell. While I mop them and scrub them, there are little hints of life with children that are seemingly permanent.

When I open my closet, I see tiny drops of bright pink nail polish that remind me of the time that my daughter dropped the bottle and it shattered. While I cleaned up the most evident spots, I overlooked a few. They really don't bother me. They remind me of my precious daughter and her love of bling and beautiful.

In my front room, you will see googly eyes stuck to the floor. Every time I mop over them I am reminded that I really ought to scrape them up. But, then there wouldn't be anymore googly eyes on the floor. And, honestly, they make me smile. I don't know how they came to reside on my floor, but googly eyes are just fun.

There is also the streak of brown from when I vacuumed over a non-washable crayon and a patch of turquoise where some little artist decorated with a non-washable marker. The carpet in the kids' rooms is littered with colored sticker stars. I vacuum over and over them but they remain. They are all bits of evidence of life in my home. Life with color, vivaciousness, and Crayola products.

All these little blemishes just need a few moments of time to tend too. Yet they remain. I guess my decorating style right now is "Early Childhood in Progress." And, I am good with that because the floor isn't gritty. It may have googly eyes and modern art, but there is no grit to drive me crazy! And, I know that some day, the googly eyes will wear away and I will long for them. My house with be quiet and peaceful and I will long for the chaos of raising children.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Skippyjon Jones is muy, muy Excellentito!

I have just become a huge fan of Skippyjon Jones. I visited a bookfair at my son's school and picked up two different Skippyjon Jones title-itos. I am not sure if me or my children laughed harder as we followed the adventures of this Siamese Cat who fantasizes about being a Chihuahua and running with a wild gang, Los Chimichango's!

As I read the words, I found myself attempting to channel Speedy Gonzales to muster up my best accent. My accent was muy, muy lame at best but my rascalitos thought is was totally loco and insane-ito! My son even pleaded with me to read it again...yep, in his eyes, I was that good!

I ordered two more Skippyjon Jones books and have to admit I am pretty excited for them to arrive. With these and just seven more episodes of LOST, well, I am a pretty excited El Skippito Friskito myself-ito!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mean Girls

Today, I had coffee with a dear friend from high school. As happens, we drifted apart to be reconnected just a few months ago by random circumstances. While enjoying our coffee we reminisced a bit about high school before catching up on our lives now...which with both agreed, are quite stellar!

As I left the coffee house, I started thinking about my high school days and drudged up some old memories that were probably better left buried. I recalled my skirmish with the "Mean Girls" who were once my friends. These "Mean Girls" - who we will call MG's because they don't really rate a full set of letters - were atrociously awful. The meanest MG was a girl named Ana...oh yeah! That's right! I am naming names! And, I can do this with confidence because I am pretty certain she is not one of the five people that read this blog.

Anyhow, Ana, was a spindly little wrench. She would whisper secrets about me to the other girls in our group while I was sitting right there. Once I called her out on it. With nerves so tense I thought I would vomit, I screeched, "Why don't you just say what you want to say to my face?" Well, that catapulted her to center stage where she unleashed a verbal lashing so harsh I honestly do not recall the words. I only remember her contorted face and being mesmerized by how large her mouth was as the words spewed out.

It was on this day that Ana had one of her evil minions deliver a note to me between classes. This is how lame high school is...the messenger had typed up the note in her typing class! Anyhow, all the girls...um...excuse me...MG's signed the note which declared that they were not friends of mine anymore. I remember looking at the note and being horribly embarrassed. I had just been kicked out of the lamest group on campus...in writing! I felt hot and nauseous...a theme of my high school years. But, I refused to shed a tear on campus

Whenever I choose to recall my high school years it seems this is the memory that pops into my mind. I recall the snotty look on Ana's face and the smirk of her messenger (her name was Jennifer by the way) as she handed over my walking papers. I tend to forget my friends like the one I met with this morning. I forget the times we laughed and had silly conversations and dreamed about how our lives would turn out.

Whatever happened to Ana? I am not sure. No amount of Facebook stalking has turned up information on her. I have seen her twice since high school. Once while Christmas shopping with my son when he was an infant. I was strolling through a shop when I heard her itchy voice talking to the cashier. She was talking about how her hair used to be long and actually had her high school picture in her wallet to show the cashier as proof. I thought that was weird because I certainly never carried around my senior portrait.
The second time I saw her was outside of a home improvement store. My hubs and I had just loaded up our truck with whatever gear we needed to complete some forgotten home improvement project and Ana walked by with her dad. She caught my eye as I watched her pass and her reaction was to speak louder so I could hear her say, "so Denise says to him..." It was at that moment that I felt pity. I was hanging out with my family that I had created with my husband and she was walking with her dad and talking like a 30-year-old high school student...oh hey! That's like the cast of 90210!

I am so thankful for the few good friends I did have in high school. We have moved on and gone separate ways but it is a treat to reconnect with them and hear about their lives and successes. I will work on remembering the fun moments of high school and letting my memories of the MG's slip away. Maybe one day I will run into Ana again...perhaps I will ask her to show me her senior photo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rainy day

So, here I sit in my office watching the rain fall. I love the rain! I especially love the rain when I am inside and not splashing around in it. But, I love the sound of rain tapping the windows and the smell of rain when I step on our porch. I was thinking about other things I love and realize I am one lucky chick-a-dee!

I love the sound of my children laughing. They have these great belly giggles that spurt up from their very core. Their laughs are the sound of genuine delight and happiness.

I love having faith in a being greater than myself. I love praying and the comfort I feel knowing that God is at the wheel. It is hard to feel insignificant when I believe God created me to be specifically who I am.

I love my friends! I have such good friends from all walks of life. I love their differing characteristics and dispositions. I especially love my girlfriends who allow me to be my silly, dorky self!

I love scented lotions. I love a hint of scent rather than a dab of perfume which ultimately makes my skull cramp. It is fun and girly to slather on lotion that smells like cherry blossoms or raspberry buds.

I love living in the sticks...or on the fringes of the sticks! I love having a plot of land to traipse around on. I find joy in watching my son dig the biggest hole he can possibly dig as he searches for dinosaur bones. I relish in watch our dogs run the length of the property scouting out scents and traces of varmints. I love watching my daughter dance around in wildflowers while dressed up in a tutu and tiara.

I love old jeans, pony tails, and sloppy sweatshirts. All of these represent comfort, of which, I am a huge fan!

I love unexpected checks in the mails; e-mails from old friends; clearance sales on great merchandise; books I can't put down; laundry that is done; reading bedtime stories to my children; running without feeling winded; and a marinara heavy Italian meal.

And, I love my husband. I love that we don't always see eye-to-eye (and not just because he is taller) because it means we have maintained our individuality in our unity. I love that we both think we suck at the parent thing even though our kids are forming into amazing little people. And, I love that he loves me even when I am having a bad hair day; a bad zit day; a bad outfit day; or all of those days rolled into one!

The sun is starting to poke out and I am sad to see the rain go. But then I realize I also love the sun and again ponder my many blessings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Things that are plain irksome!

I was just sitting here thinking about the lady at the movie theater that left the bathroom without washing her hands. Worse, she had a child trailing behind and she didn't wash her hands either. That is blatant filthiness in training! Yuck! As I mull over this scene, I am reminded of other things that just irk me to my core. Here are a few random things that really get my goat...

1. People who drive slow in the fast lane. Hello folks! There is a reason it is called the fast lane and you are not it! Move your taillights to the right!

2. Braggarts! Oh, you know who you are! You one-uppers! Everything someone says, you have to up them one. Here is the thing...you are in competition with people who are not in competition with you! Live and let live! Who gives a hoot about your gazillion accomplishments and graces? Certainly not people you have already told 10,000 times. Here is a thought...listen for a change. You might be surprised at what you hear and learn about those around you.

3. Sunday Christians. Oh, you bug me deep to my core. Just because you have accepted Jesus as your savior does not give you a right to act like a twerp everyday but Sunday. Just because Jesus forgave your sins does not mean you can continue to commit them everyday but the Sabbath. And, how about some tolerance? The last person that was perfect walked on water. If you are still swimming get a clue!

4. Dirty feet. Soap is a beautiful thing! I think if a person is going to wear sandals they should really thing about scrubbing their toes. And, it is winter...why are they wearing sandals in the first place?

5. Silver testicles hanging from pick-up trucks. What the heck? That is all I am going to say about these raunchy, tactless, heinous things.

6. People who drop the F-Bomb constantly. Um, here is a thought...GET A VOCABULARY!

7. Secret agendas. These fascinate me. I used to think that only in the world of Soap Operas could people formulate truly ludicrous plans and attempt to carry them out. People who plot to get revenge or devise schemes to bring others down...well, really, they need psychiatric help. There is just no excuse.

8. Butt cracks. In my day - oh, I sound so old! - girls didn't show butt cracks laced in thongs. Who thinks that is sexy anyway? The butt crack was sole property of the plumber. If you needed a plumber you saw the crack. I figure if he is fishing a toy out of your toilet, ill-fitting pants are the least of his worries. Girls, buy a belt or hike them up. Let's just add boxers to this category also. What is with the low-hanging pants? Why is it stylish for boys to look like they are carrying a load in their pants so heavy that their nasty old boxers show? I can't even begin to understand this.

9. Discovering my favorite jeans have been worn so much that they have a hole in the butt. Can't even do yard work in those. Yet, they still hang in my closet in hopes of some miraculous mending that is certainly beyond my skills.

10. Great books that end on the last page like a made-for-TV movie that wraps up in the last 2 minutes. I love a great plot but am annoyed with rapid-fire endings like the author simply had no other thoughts for the characters.

11. Stupid people in general. People who vote for issues without reading about them. People who go along with the majority because they can't think for themselves. People who disregard the law and do everything but bake a cake while driving their cars. People who drive drunk. People who abuse children and animals. People who laugh at the ill-fate of others. Eye rollers...those people who have no other way to express themselves than by rolling their eyes and truly believing that no one sees them do it. People who issue backhanded compliments. Like, "Oh you look so pretty for someone your size." Or, "Wow! This is a great casserole. I can't believe you made it!"

OK. Nine and 10 are a little silly. And, I know it is not my charge to change the world. I also know that I have no right to be so fully annoyed by the things above. But, sometimes things are just so incomprehensible that I find myself completely riled up. My only saving grace is my children. If not for them I would become one of the baboons of society that annoy me the most. I would become so irate that I would become an incomprehensible, stupid person. For them, I must keep it together. OK, so I don't always keep it together. But hopefully I can keep statements like "Mommy! Look at that weenie driving slow in front of us. Why doesn't he just move over?" to a minimum.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ellie and the Toothbrush

Santa put battery operated toothbrushes in the kids' stockings this year. They were beyond thrilled! Mitchell got the hang of his toothbrush quite fast but Ellie has had trouble figuring out how much pressure to apply. She presses too hard. On hearing the gears begin to slip, I told her to not press so hard. She ignored my request and the grinding continued. I finally took the toothbrush away from her and told her I would have to start brushing her teeth again. She looked and me aghast and declared, "Mommy! You have ruin my life!"

I was quite surprised by this and said, "Ellie, I haven't ruined your life. I just took your toothbrush away."

She glared at me and said, "Fine! Then you ruined my heart!" With that she spun on her heel and walked away leaving me in stunned silence.

I wonder if this is training for the teenage years?