Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ca-too-shon

"Mom, what's a ca-too-shon sign?" asked my 9-year-old.

"What?"

"You know...ca-too-shon. I am drawing a building with a fence around it and fences around buildings always say, 'ca-too-shon.'"

"Caution? Do you mean a caution sign?"

"Oh! That does sound more right."

Ah, kids. Positively love the way their minds work!

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

60 Days of Insanity

In an effort to get myself back in shape I have committed to a 60 day challenge. Last summer, I bought a used copy of the Insanity DVD workout. I did precisely one workout. So, when I stumbled upon a trainer offering limited enrollment into her 60 day challenge, I requested to be considered. I was accepted for the challenge and I am using my Insanity DVD's and last. Yes, I had to brush a layer of dust of the DVD jacket. The best part is - I am sore! I know by my soreness that my muscles are being used and targeted!  They are getting tone!


A fit person does not a runner make! I run consistently. My heart is strong and my legs are strong but I noticed my belly was jiggly and my arms had developed bat wings. And, not like cool Batgirl bat wings...like flab bat wings. The kind that flap and don't fly (Aw! That sounds like Opus the Penguin!). But, upon recognizing my lack of overall fitness I found I still struggled with getting up and completing a workout that did not involve running. I horrified myself with the realization that I was being lazy! Laziness positively freaks me out. I fear becoming a lazy person. I am so high-strung that the mere thought of lackluster living frightens me to the core. 

Amazing book!

So, to have found a motivation group thrills me. For 60 days I am encouraged and inspired. I am accountable. I have to do my part to stay in the group. I have to report my daily exercises and I have to follow my Insanity schedule. I still run so I am really giving myself a wake up call. I know I cannot slack. I have to tow the line. It works for me. I needed to be held accountable to begin this transformation. I am hopeful that at the end of 60 days it will just be a new routine at that point. It, like running, will just be what I do. And, hopefully I will shed my uncool wings!



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best Conversation of the Weekend!

My son's friend came over for a play date on Saturday afternoon. Well, they are both 9 years old now so maybe they aren't called play dates anymore? I am not sure. Let's say, my son's friend came over to hang out.

Anyhow, they were hanging out in the backyard and our dog starts barking ferociously at our neighbor. He is coming through a side gate with a hung bouquet of flowers freshly cut from his garden. I go greet him and thank him and apologize for our over-protective dog. I say all of this with waving arm gestures and an expressive face because he doesn't speak English. He laughs and pats my hand and goes back to his yard. He is the nicest man. At almost 90 he is more active than most people my age!

As I return to our yard I hear my daughter tell my son's friend, "Our neighbor is so nice. He only speaks Spanish."

The friend replies, "Really? That is cool. He seems really nice. You can talk to him in Spanish. You can say, 'Aloha, compadre!'"

Ellie looks completely fascinated.

She replies, "Wow! That is so fancy! I usually just say, 'Hola!'"

We will see if my neighbor now gets greeted Hawaiian style! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Respect

My son received the character counts award for school. The characteristic he was awarded was respect. I am so proud of him. As parents we do our best to teach our children to be good little people and then we send them out into the world. It is what they do in the world away from our watchful eyes that really matters.

Last year my son received the characteristic of trustworthy. His teacher said he received the award because, even if he implicated himself, my son always told the truth. His lip may quiver, his eyes may scan the floor, but my son will tell you the truth as he knows it to be.

He told me last week that he received the respect reward because his teacher said no one is as respectful as he is. He respects her, his classmates, and himself. He respects the rules and follows them though once in awhile his giggles get the best of him and he has to be re-directed.

It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy knowing that he leaves for school each day and moves through the world as a good person. I have watched him interact with younger children who are in awe to have an older classmate acknowledge them. I have see him High Five the custodian. I have heard how he sticks up for his friends against bullies. And, his little sister always tells of something told her at lunch. 

Mitchell makes time for everyone. He is not bogged down by labels and classifications. If he likes you, you are his friend. If you are an authority figure, he will respect you. If you need a hand, he will lend you one. If you need a smile, he will provide that too.

He is a good kid. I am so thankful that God blessed me with my kids and my husband. OK...some days, I really want to run for the hills! But, on days like today I remember what makes my tribe so awesome!


Monday, November 11, 2013

We Bought a Beast

Yesterday my husband purchased the ugliest pick-up known to man. It is 1997 Dodge Diesel. It has seen better days. Actually many, many better days. The only thing that surprised me is that the title was not salvaged. It has not been destroyed...just very well used. 

My husband knew what he wanted - an earlier model, extended cab diesel pick-up. He sold our F150 Ford crew cab and set out on his quest. The challenge was finding a diesel for the right price. Because of the rising cost of gasoline and the mileage an older model can get per gallon the diesels are in high demand.

But, my husband has a special talent. He restores old cars for a living. He set out to by the most mechanically sound vehicle he could find regardless of cosmetic appeal. In his research he stumble across a mechanic selling the beast that would soon become ours. I cannot emphasis how ugly this truck is. Though its appearance can make a person weep, the thing runs like a top! It has a brand new transmission with only 200 miles on it. New brakes, new battery. It runs like a cougar. This truck has power.

When I first saw the truck last night I laughed. It struck me as funny. In the morning light I actually could not bear to stare at it. It made me nervous. It is that ugly. I have great faith in my husband's ability but since we forked out money for the thing it did make my pulse quicken. The good news is that my husband was able to get the truck well below market value. And, he already has it out in the paint booth beginning the transformation. Once he has it in a more presentable state I will post before and after pictures. If I post pictures now, our friends and family might host an intervention thinking we have gone mad.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Days of Joy

Some days seem daunting from the get-go. I have definitely had my fair share of begrudgingly started the days. I have decided I am not good with that. I don't want to dread what awaits me at work. I don't want to fret about what bills will arrive in my mailbox in the afternoon. I don't want to wonder how I will accomplish everything the day has prepared. I don't want to begrudge the day...I want to live it! I want to enjoy it and savor it for the gift that it is.

I feel I am going through a shift. A good shift. A shift in my perspective and a shift in my core. I feel like I am becoming more keenly aware of what is truly important and what is not. I feel like I am choosing my battles better. I am aware that my attitude is mine to own and alter. No one can steal my joy...if I have lost it, it is because I relinquished it. My life has been a set of adventures and adversities and I think I finally am grasping some lessons God clearly wanted me to learn.

My faith is on fire within me. I finally get that God is at the helm and not me. I believe that He has plans for me that I can't even fathom. I realize that if I slump through my day, I am robbing myself of gifts that God is setting before me. If I grouch at my children, I am stealing the blessing of their presence from myself. If I grumble at the slow driver in front of me, I am robbing myself of happiness by filling it with irritation. If I become so frustrated with work that I stress intensely over it, then I am robbing myself of any number of moments of joy that are taking place all around me.

I have to let go and let God. Let God provide. Let God's favor flood my life. Let God's plans for my life unfold. 

I believe I am at a good place in my life. But, I believe deep in my soul that this is not all God has planned for me. I truly believe this shift will take me beyond my expectations. Have you ever felt that deep in your gut? That feeling that something big is coming? Something good? That is what I am feeling right now. And, to keep myself from missing any opportunities I am starting the day on the right foot. I am declaring my days will be good and I am starting each with great expectations.



 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grumpiness at the Acres

Today was a rough morning at Smokey Acres. My daughter who is 7, woke up angry and loaded for bear. She was in a foul mood and wanted to make sure no one else was happy. She fought with her brother, argued with me, and screamed at her dad. She stomped around and cried and yelled. It was not pleasant.

I don't remember my son behaving like this at 7. I might have blocked it out. This is a rough age for my daughter. She it caught between wanting to still be a baby but also wanting to assert more independence. She is not only challenging for us but for herself. She gets so mad at herself for acting out and wants everything to immediately go back to normal. She is a sticky widget right now.

School mornings are the hardest. Aside from myself, no one in my tribe is a morning person. I wake the kids up at 6:30 just so they can have a full 30 minutes to accept it is morning and consume some breakfast. On weekends they sometimes sleep in as late as 9:30. Mornings are just not their thing.

My son wakes up very sullen but he moves and shuffles through the routine. My daughter wakes up mad and fights every step of getting ready. She grumbles about breakfast, She screams about her clothes. She argues about her how to wear her hair. She spits her toothpaste out like a viper spitting venom. I know she sounds like a brat but the thing is, she is the funniest and spunkiest kid I have ever met. She loves her family and loves her animals. Mornings are just not her cup of tea and they leave me drained once she is off to school.

I might look back on these years and laugh about them...if I survive them. But, right now, I am just trying to not mess up too badly. I am trying to mold and shape this fiery little creature. I am trying to reign her in a bit without crushing her spunk. This is a day by day adventure and sometimes it is a minute by minute one. 

Raising a daughter...I think it might be easier to be pecked to death by chickens.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shout Out Across the Seas!

One thing I love about having a blog is seeing the audience that reads it. Most folks reside in the grand USA but I do have readers in Russia, Poland, and even the Ukraine! I give a hearty shout out to my friends across the ocean! I did have a small contingent from Latvia for a bit but I think they grew weary of my musings from Smokey Acres.

I would be delighted to hear from my counterparts across the seas about life in their world. I am an exceedingly curious person (OK. I am very nosy!) and I think it would be fascinating to hear what life is like in your neck of the woods. 

Where I sit now it is a chilly  53 degrees outside. The sun is shining though so things are warming up. I am in my home office getting ready to tackle the work day ahead. My work laptop is humming away in the background holding e-mails I need to answer and projects I need to tackle. There is no rest in college publishing...seriously...this job is like air traffic control on a busy day. Who knew working in publishing would be like wrestling an angry octopus on a daily basis? For a job I thought I would kick around in for a couple years, I find myself still here 13 years later. I must like herding eight-legged sea creatures.

As I switch chairs to settle into my work space I wish all everyone out in the world that takes a gander at this post an awesome day! Thanks for stopping by in the course of your busy day! My hope is that you experience something truly amazing today in your world!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No PR for me!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent Saturday morning running the Two Cities Marathon and Half in Fresno, California. I don't say "competing" because really - there was no way I was in contention to win anything. I only challenge myself at these things. When I finally saw my official race results and cringed! I was 14 seconds shy of beating my personal record (PR) that I set in 2009. Drat! So, so close! 

I reasoned that I was older now...my time was still applause worthy...I finished on my own two feet...and those extra seconds I burned on the course were when I was high-fiving my kids and my friends and family that were cheering me on. So really, those extra 14 seconds were well spent. And, now, I still have a goal to beat. I still have a challenge before me. 

Oh, and while I lagged on the PR I still burned 1453 calories! That is something snazzy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Un-Romantic Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary! We are not a particularly romantic couple. The first order of business for me today what to run the local Two Cities Marathon and Half. I didn't run the full marathon...the half is plenty for my aging bones! It was my 12th half - or there abouts. I can recall clearly recall 12 but have this feeling I might be missing one or two. I sign up for the half every year just so I have something to work towards that keeps me in motion. I have determined that should I ever be too feeble to run the half, I will walk those 13.1 miles. I must just keep myself moving.

After the half and a badly needed shower we headed to the movies - with the kids - to see Free Birds. It was ridiculously cute! The kids loved it and I did too. It was silly and fun and it was positively wonderful to just sit. We finished our romantic date for four at Red Robin...Yum! And, we even got a free burger with our Red Robin Royalty card!

When we were first married we would go on weekend getaways for our anniversaries or indulge in fancy dinners. As we have added years and kids to the mix, the need for that has changed. Yes, I love time alone with my husband, but I also dearly cherish family time spent together with the kids. And, in 12 more years, they will have their own plans and lives to tend to. I am good to share my anniversaries for now. Not so romantic but real life. And, I am very thankful for the fellow God placed in my life. My husband has been an amazing gift indeed!

 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloweenie!

The morning after Halloween is never pleasant for us. The kids emerge from their sugar comas in surly moods. They are angry that they must go to school. The sugar leaves them incapable of dressing themselves. They flop on the floor in despair with bed hair that rivals the finest bird nest. They limply wiggle their toothbrushes in their mouths. They slump and shuffle down the hall. The weight of their backpacks is suddenly too great for them to manage. It is tough. But despite the morning after we trek out into the darkness on Halloween and have a spooktacular time collecting treats. 

This year we had a hot dog and a Jedi in our ranks. They were quite a combo! My daughter usually likes princesses and fairies so I was surprised she opted to be a food item. But, she was the cutest hot dog I have ever seen!

We went to a friend's home for a pre-Halloween party  and then took a crop of kids out in search of treats. One of my daughter's friends was a witch and she told her mom, "I never thought I go trick or treating with a hot dog!" 

Our group was eclectic. We had ninjas, princesses, witches, and, we even had Mr. Toad.

 


And...just like I did 15 years ago...









I had to kiss Mr. Toad again...









So, even though we know the morning after will be dismal, we continue to celebrate the quirkiness of Halloween. I love that the kids get to pretend to be warriors, toads, princesses, and even hot dogs for the night. Memory making in progress!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

I am a terrible decision maker. I don't want to inconvenience anyone or appear aggressive so when decision making times comes around I try to defer to others. I am the master of deference. This is truly a weakness of mine. 

I don't toil over decisions that need to be made with respect to my job. In my mind, my job is pretty cut and dry. I am not as worried about stepping on toes or outlining a very black and white plan for a customer. I know what needs to happen and what can happen with respect to work. It is my personal life that harbors the decision making weakness.

Unfortunately, I am a known softie. I am a people-pleaser. I don't want people to be upset with me or not like me. When I have asserted myself after allowing myself to be stepped on one to many times the offender will look at me like "geez. What's her problem!"

And there's the rub.

I know I need to declare, "I want to eat at The Yard House!" when my husband asks where we should have dinner. I know I need to say, "No" when someone asks if I can assist them with some project that has no bearing on my existence. I know I need to say, "Thank you so much for the invitation but I have another commitment" instead of attempting to cram everything into one afternoon.

And, seriously. How happy would my friends and family be if I could just say this is what I think; this is what I want to do; this is my decision. After I picked them off the floor from fainting, they would probably be thrilled!

I know I put too much weight on decisions. I over think them and fret about making the wrong decisions. I once heard a speaker say we are all one decision away from ruining our lives. I think he was referring to choosing to drive drunk or get get high but, unfortunately, I have pondered that statement until it cannot be pondered anymore. I have wondered, "Is this the decision that could ruin my life? Oh no wait. This is just choosing to eat at Taco Bell."

I have looked back on past choices and thought, "Snap! I wish I could re-do that one." Like when I sold my first house. If I had rented it and hung on to it for just a few more months I could have sold it for $125K more that I did. Seriously. The people that bought the house from me surely laughed all the way to the bank a few short months later. 

It is the fear of bad decisions and upsetting others that cause me so much useless angst. I should just pony up and say this is who I am and this is my decision. But, oh! That might make someone unhappy! I know, I know. I am 40 years old! I need to get over it. I guess the first step is deciding to get over it...and we all know how that's going to work out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Facebook. It is not anonymous people!

Facebook. The only place you can read about an acquaintance's bout of colon-busting diarrhea and view 200 pictures of your friend's "little getaway" to Italy that cost more than your child's future college education.

I am flabbergasted by what I read on Facebook. I wonder what possesses people to write about impacted and inflamed pimples and post pictures of their ingrown toenails. Seriously. Who does that? 

My Facebook posts are quite benign. I mostly post about the sheer awesomeness of my children and share a Grumpy Cat snark from time to time. I don't find it necessary to relate toilet matters and irritations of bodily orifices. I don't call people out to tussle and I avoid passive aggressive posts because those simply grate on my last, badly frayed nerve.

Some Facebook users believe a wall flies up the minute that they start typing.Though they brand their page with everything but their social security number they have this sense of anonymity. Everyone and everyone's friends are going to see that post about issues with their derriere. When they meet that frantic Facebook status updater at a party they will wonder, "Is this that anal drainage person? Better watch where they sit!"

I love reading posts about soldiers returning home to happy dogs and babies being born to happy parents. I enjoy hearing about the adventure of simply living and the funny things that occur in a day. I laugh out loud at many posts and some make my heart weep. I like seeing vacation pictures of well-rested faces on a tropical beach. I can cope with all of that. It is the ghastly tales of the stomach flu and the in-depth descriptions of the aftermath of the bite of a Brown Recluse that make me close my eyes in horror. If I wanted to know more on either topic I would google it myself.

There are the gross Facebookers and the boastful Facebookers. While I find immense joy in people achieving their goals and realizing their dreams I do find the falsely happy posts over-the-top. The posts that wax on about the positive wonderfulness of my amazing life with my amazing spouse and our amazing dog and our amazing children, Buffy and Buttons, and our amazingly amazing bank account that allows us to wrap all our Christmas gifts in $100 dollar bills. I don't see these posts often because my peeps don't rub elbows with Bill Gates, but I come across one every once in a Blue Moon. Mostly, these posts make me sad. I think if a person must go on about their amazingly perfect world then it probably isn't very amazing at all.

When I post anything on Facebook I think, "What would my Pastor think of this?" That is my reality check. Personally, I don't want the man that delivers God's word to me each week wondering if "I got that thing looked at yet." But, I am OK with sharing a funny tidbit about my day. 

Remember Facebook isn't anonymous. Watch what you post. And, go see a doctor about that thing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Clash Day!

It is "Clash Day" at my kids' school. As part of Red Ribbon Week each day has a different theme. My kids already have their own sense of style so today we just tried to clash more than usual!

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kids Have it Right

I love watching kids navigate the world. There is never a doubt where my 7 year old stands on an issue. If she doesn't like something, it is apparent. There are no guessing games with her. If her brother makes her mad, she will sweep her toys up in her arms and march out of the room. No discussion. I wish grown-ups could be so easily read.

Sometimes I wish I could stomp my feet and point my finger at my offender and say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Or, I think how simple it would be if I could sweep my laptop in my arms and march out of a meeting if I am frustrated by the discussion. How nice it would be to break all social acceptances and say "You are mean!" to someone who truly fits the meaning of the word.

The beauty of kid disputes is they get all their emotions out and then they come back and say, "Do you want to go outside and play now?" There are no grudges or lingering drops of resentment. They move on. They let it go and redirect themselves to a mutual activity they both will enjoy.

I have listened to my children bicker one moment and fall into a fit of laughter the next. I would love to - just once - push a goon with an attitude one moment and then give them a head noogy the next.

As adults we have social norms we tend to follow. We tell white lies and some even tell grandiose tales with plots. We are kind to a person when we are face-to-face and then we totally dis them when they are out of earshot. Adults are mean. Mean adults are worse than mean children because mean adults are calculated. They play the games to get the results they want. They behave as though they are overflowing with compassion but are devious in their ulterior motive. I would love to say, "I know what you are trying to do. You are a meany, yucky, booger head!" But, I cannot do this because that behavior is not acceptable. I have to hold my tongue and steam and fume...that is proper. Isn't that odd?

We should be able to say, "Yes, that dress is totally not flattering and the Sloppy Joe's you made for dinner look like poo." How amazing it would be to live in a world of truthfulness and obvious intentions! That is mind-boggling in its simpleness. No spared feelings yet everyone would be happier and more mentally sound. That's a thought to rattle around in the brain a while. 

I think the next time someone cuts my off in traffic I will raise my fist and say, "You poopy head! You cut me off! No harm done! Have a nice day!"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Color Me a Runner

Today we took on The Color Run and crossed the finish line as wonderful, colorful creations! I love The Color Run and was so happy to be joined by my kiddos, my hubs, and my Dad! We didn't finish with speed but we had style...maybe not cool style, but style was had!

My kids had the BEST time! The color tossers loved dousing the littlest runners with the most colored powder. I am looking forward to next year! 

I don't do Zombie runs but I am always up for a pack of cheerful color tossed in my face! Something about being covered in crazy colorfulness just brings on the happy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I am Forty...and that is OK!

At forty, I feel like I am finally getting it. Not completely…but, getting it. I am finding comfort in my own skin and acceptance for who I am. I know that bad hair days will come and they will go. Some days I will be on top of the world, and other days I will be clawing my way through the trenches. There will be days when my worth is affirmed and other days when I feel positively worthless. And that is OK.

At forty, I don’t feel the need to be a slave to fashion. Oh, I don’t dress like a toad…but I don’t dress to the nines either. I feel like I have lived through enough bad fashion eras to sport my own style. My closet is a hodgepodge and that suits me fine. Some days I will rock it and some days I should probably hide under a rock. And that is OK.

At forty, I wear many hats and I adore most of them. I am Mom and Wife. I am Daughter and I am Friend. I am Employee and I am Dreamer. I am Mrs. Fix-it and Mrs. Compassion. I have dozens of beautiful hats to wear and a few scuffed up derbies in the mix. And that is OK.

At forty, I have tags. I have earned my tags like a marathon runner earns medals. I step up when everyone else steps back so I am tagged as reliable. I go after the goals set before me so I am tagged as a go-getter. I get up after life smacks me down so I am tagged as having perseverance. I cry at movies and coo at babies. I will back up a friend and face an enemy in the eye. I am forty! I don’t play games and I am too old for hidden agendas. I see the beauty of patience even though I don’t always possess it. I marvel at the sunset when I chance to see it. I am full of gifts and faults. And that is OK.

I have reached an age where wisdom starts to catch up enthusiasm. I am not as quick to say yes and I consider my no’s. I know that falling on the ground hurts more these days and it is finishing the race rather than winning it that counts. I know people will still disappoint me in amazing ways and I also know people will surprise me at the craziest times. I know that I can’t change people. They are who they are. And that is OK.

I am forty. I don’t have it all figured out but I am on my way. Life is sweeter. Each day is a gift. Life is more precious…like I want to be a better person each day. I want to grow and learn. I want to cling to what is dear and release what is toxic. Life is short and I don’t want to waste another day or moment on nonsense. I am forty and I feel I know when it is right to walk away. I don’t have to be a total troll but I don’t have to be a doormat either. And that is OK.

I am getting it. I am looking back on my life and the sheer volume of experiences. I see so many lessons I learned and many I re-learned. I am finally taking note. It is almost like I hear God saying, “Finally!” Hopefully I won't have to work my way through too many more harsh teaching moments. I expect they will come, but I hope they will be mild compared to the past. 

I see that 40 years have brought me to this place and this moment. It is these bones and muscles and skin and eyes…all of the bits that make up me…that have brought me here. I am here to see another day and experience another joy. No, I don’t have it completely, but I am finally getting it! And that is beyond OK!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Reptilian Guest

We are are currently trying to keep a baby blue-bellied lizard alive. He is ridiculously cute. My son found the lizard at the mercy of our cat's claws and intervened. While it might have been best to let nature take its course, that is not how we roll here at Smokey Acres. We love creatures great and small and all life is worth saving.

Sam, because he needed a name right, is currently residing in a makeshift terrarium complete with dirt and branches. A Tupperware lid is serving as a shallow water dish and a sized-down paper plate holds his feast of worms. But Sam is clearly a baby and I am fretting over him. 

I went to the pet store yesterday to find food for blue-bellies but Gecko's appear to be the lizard of choice these days. I debated between a can of dead crickets and a can of dead worms. Knowing I would have to dice this delicacy up I went with worms. Never, ever would I imagine I would someday find myself in the kitchen whipping up a meal of worms for a lizard. I realized at that moment that I would do the absolute unexpected for my children. I do indeed love them that much. And, by choice or not, we are fighting to save a reptilian life.

At first glance it appeared Sam had a wounded leg but after observing him it seems like the area of damage is his neck. He is a pretty rough case. I am not sure if he will make it but we continue to pray over him and try our best. Our goal is to nurse him back to health and release him to be free and in the wild again. 

One thing I do know is that a child's love knows no limits and love can be extended to even the smallest creatures. While Sam likely never intended to tangle with a cat, I am sure he also never expected to find a group of humans rooting for him. He never thought his best friend would be a 9-year-old human boy with an amazing heart. 

So, for Sam and my kids I will continue to disengaged while I dice up worms and I will pray over the wounds of our tiny little guest. And, hopefully soon, he will be strong and able to survive in the wild. And, if not, perhaps a trip to buy a better terrarium will be in our future!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Riffraff at the top

I have been working like crazy the past three days. I am definitely not a slacker but this week I have run myself ragged and it is barely Wednesday! I think the fact that I don't have a government job makes me more grateful for the job that I do have. I don't have to deal with ObamaCare and I don't have to be furloughed while Congress battles over the budget. 

The state of our country makes me sad. There is a serious bunch of riffraff running the country. Unfortunately, the apathy I see among voters continues to allow these people to run our government. If you don't vote - you can't very well complain. If you choose not to exercise your right you can't have a valid voice of discontent. 

I vote. What's more...I vote with my mind and my gut. I don't vote party lines. I vote for what I deem to be the lesser of evils or the best option. I educate myself so my singular vote will be mindful. I think educated voters are a dying breed. 

Look at our government...our government that is SHUT DOWN! Our government that DOES NOT work in the best interest of the people. Our government that is so full of drama it should have a reality TV show. Our government that is more concerned about a non-native fish than feeding the world. Our government that seemingly believes the America people don't deserve the same rights as our elected officials who are getting paid while the government is closed and who have ridiculously awesome health care while they pass ObamaCare off to the nation. Our government that agrees to raise the minimum wage so that everything else will rise in price proportionally. Seriously! I wish every America with a dream in their heart and optimism in their spirit every opportunity to succeed. Sadly, our government does not.

The Constitution states that American people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - spot on Thomas Jefferson! It is a RIGHT! We have the right to pursue our dreams. Yet, at ever turn the government is there bearing down on us. That makes it hard to be totally awesome. But, still I will try. I will cling tight to my rights and hold fast to my faith. Something will give and the madness will stop...right?


Friday, September 27, 2013

Little Fire Sticks

This morning my daughter walked up to me and said, "Matches are dangerous!"

"Matches?" I question. I was not sure if she meant matches as relates to fire or pairs of things.

"Yes, matches. Those little fire sticks." She replied and then she walked away.

I laughed to myself because she sounded like a caveman. No matter how far we get from prehistoric times we still grunt and puzzle over things. 

"Me Grog. Me make fire. Fire hot."

I love words and I am so intrigued by the way my kids describe things as their vocabularies develop. Their word choice makes me smile more often than not. They use the words they know to decipher the world around them. Sometimes it is a puzzle to figure out what they mean. Slowly we figure things out and incorporate new words and descriptions into our own "family language" - that language you speak with your family that only they understand.

My kids understand if I asked them to scrub their nibblets thoroughly. That translates to "Wash your toes. Your feet are dirty."

And, an "ache in my skull" equates to a headache.

Even the dogs are trained. They will run to the kitchen for a doggie treat if you ask them if they want a Kuby snack.

Sometimes words choices are just funnier than others like "little fire sticks."

Ah, kids. Gotta love them!

Now, me go work. Earn paycheck. Make living to buy more fire sticks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Not all Mustangs are Cool

Today I parked between a car with a severely flat tire and a car with a bullet hole in the side. I am not a car snob but I do like a car with four inflated tires and without life-threatening bullet holes. Simple demands really.

My first car was a hand-me-down from my parents. It was a convertible Mustang. It sounds like a sweet ride, yes? I had a friend who mercilessly called it "The Shit Mobile." It was that bad. Toward the end of my tortured relationship with the Mustang I think I pushed it more than I actually drove it. Once, I actually had four men push it out of an intersection so quickly I had to run alongside it and jump back inside Dukes of Hazzard style. Though, I don't ever remember a Duke boy bonking his head on the door jam in his quest to keep his heap of junk from running into a streetlight.

I drove that car for four long years. I dumped money into it to fix everything from a cracked engine block to a rear window that just fell out one day while driving. I even had the alternator locked up and catch fire while driving. When I popped the hood to see the source of the smoke a gust of wind came through and gave the fire new breath. I seriously debated with myself over whether I should just let the whole thing burn or if I should seek a fire extinguisher. My good side won out and a businessman from the building I was near got the thrill of his life when I asked him if I could borrow a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire in my car. He bolted out like Superman in his suit and tie. He wanted to be a hero. Later he sent me a bill to have his fire extinguisher re-charged. Some hero!

I met a lot of interesting people in my time with my broken down speedster. I met a man who lived in his truck and drove around the states wherever he pleased. I met a kid with a Mohawk that promised to take me home if I would just get in his car - I did not. I met a tow-truck driver named Ace whose phone number I memorized because I called him so often. You know you are down on your luck when you have a favorite tow-truck driver. I met mechanics and service attendants. I even met used car salesmen I pleaded with to take my car. Only one actually did and he called me later to come pick up my lame car because it would not start for an interested buyer. I went, jostled the key, and drove off the lot.

I had many conversations with my father that sounded like alien garble. He would say, "What did it sound like before it died? Did it go rib-a-rib-a-knock-knock?"

"No," I would answer. "It sounded more like clang-a-clang-a-bop-bop."

"Hmmm...The bop-bop again? What can that be?"

I learned more about car repair than I could possibly ever want to learn. I changed spark plugs and belts. I watched my Dad spend weekends trying to get the thing to run before he would sigh and tell me which repair facility to take it to.

The car was a lemon. I think it came off the line with some defect that no one could ever pinpoint. My parents had trouble with it before the bestowed it upon me.

Finally, my grandparents gave me $2,000 to put toward a new car. That was a requirement. It could not be used. It had to be showroom new. I was a young adult with stellar credit so I marched down to the Saturn dealership and drove away in my first car that was my very own. It had just seven miles on the odometer. It was wonderful. Well, except the part where they sang to me. Saturn used to do this thing where the entire staff would sing to you when you bought a car. It was horrifying. They even took my picture and sent me a calendar with a picture of just my new car and me with a pained look on my face. After their joyful singing they lined up so I could drive my car down the platform while they cheered and waved. Seriously painful.

My parents hung onto the Mustang for a couple more years before finally giving up on the thing and selling it. My dad told the young fellow buying it about all the issues it had and the dummy still wanted the thing. As he drove away my dad wished the kid well. It was less that a week later that the kid called and asked what the heck my dad had sold him. My dad reiterated that he told him all the problems the car had.

"You didn't tell me the windshield would fall out while driving down the freeway!" the young man hollered.

"It what?" my dad could not stop laughing. He apologized to the kid and told him he hoped he could find a good repair shop...he would need it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Little Bit about God

I am one person sitting at a desk in a house on a street in a city in a state in a country on the Earth in an ever expanding universe. I am a tiny blip on the radar but God has my back. And, He has your back too. We have bad days and tough times, but by God's grace we muddle through. I am so thankful to have my faith when times are bleak and when times are bright. I love having a belief that resonates in my core and fuels my soul. 

Nothing is too big for God and nothing is unimportant. God wants us to lean on Him. God wants us to trust Him. He wants us to ask for His favor and expect it. He has an amazing plan for each person on this planet and He wants us to fulfill that plan. God wants us to rise above and rock this world. God is good like that. 

God wants to know all the sheep in His flock and wants all that are lost returned to Him. Whenever we are ready, God is there. Go ahead. Start talking. He is listening! If fact, God never sleeps. He is ready day or night. He is listening just as well at 3 a.m. as he is at 5 p.m. He is available every moment of every single day. He hears our cries and knows our pain. He heals and He comforts. Sometimes we must go through things to appreciate the blessings around us. It is not a perfect world. This is a world of tests, torments, and struggles. But it is also a place to form friendships and learn about love and joy. It is a world with immense amounts of happiness tucked away in the most unexpected places.

People disappoint us and shock us. But God doesn't. He never fails us. We may feel alone at times but we never truly stand solo at the battle lines. God has placed His protective armor on each of us. Really we just must believe. 

When I look at the beauty of Yosemite or the span of the blue ocean my faith roots ever deeper. God's hand is in nature and His fingerprints cover my children's faces. He is evident around us. We just have to look. God wants everyone to know Him. As my son once wrote, "I love my family. And, I love my friend. Do you know Him? His name is God. I hope you know Him. I love God a lot."

Sometimes kids get it. We can learn a lot about faith, hope, and love from their marvelous minds and enormous hearts. Cast your eyes upward and send up a prayer. God is seriously listening to your every word.

Thank All That is Good That Friday is Here!

My brain is tapped out from this crazy week. I got nothing. I have started a couple different thoughts and deleted them. Some days maybe it is best to NOT write. My great-grandma - Granny - used to say, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." She also said, "Pretty is as pretty does." Whatever I type today would likely portray me as a snarky ogre. I have no nice words and, alas, I am sweating AGAIN in this heat so I feel more like a pool of goo than pretty.

This week I have solved, strategized, sold, shopped, cooked, cleaned, organized, fueled, run, typed, responded, created, cared for children, cared for pets, cared for husband, balanced the accounts, brooded, rejoiced, watered the foliage, bandaged a wound on myself, bandaged a wound on my child, walked the dogs, met with people for work, met with friends, commiserated, scratched my head in confusion, been dismayed, been surprised, laughed, cried, and slept. 

Not in that order.

I guess it is no wonder why my tank is empty. I am thankful for a weekend to recharge. I need to de-frazzle and re-boot. I need to rest and refresh. That might be a lot to eek out of two days, but I can at least attempt to rest more than I run amok. I have never been good at resting but this weekend my just be the weekend when I become a pro!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Briefest of Me Postings

Today be talk like a pirate day! Arg! Ye needn't be shy me hearties! Dig deep into ye soul and talk like the pirate ye know ye be! Ye needn't fear the words of them scurvy dogs angst'n to get ye down. Yonder sun be setting an tee-marrow be another day. Carry on ye scallywags! Enjoy ye day before ye!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Extra Special Toast

I crept quietly out of the house this morning as I do most days. I met my running buddy for an early 4 miles to start the day. When I got home I walked into a dark house that smelled of toast. A flashlight illuminated the kitchen table and I could see toast and Toaster Strudels neatly displayed on paper towels. Above each place setting was a note on lime green paper to each family member. It read, "Thank you for being the best family ever." 

As I processed this my 9 year old son popped out and whispered, "Surprise!" so he would not wake the rest of the family. He was already dressed for school right down to his sneakers.

"What time did you get up?" I asked

"I woke up at 5:05!" he declared proudly.

I gave him a huge hug and told him was a wonderful surprise this was. He told me how he used the microwave to soften the butter and the toaster to make the treats. 

"I am so impressed," I told him.

He wanted me to eat and enjoy his breakfast so I quickly started the coffee brewing. As I was fiddling with the coffee spot he told me him made cinnamon toast. 

"Yummy!" I said.

"Yeah, I had to climb on the counter to get the cinnamon in that big jar thing, " he said.

I had just walked over to partake in his surprise meal when I paused, "Big jar thing?"

"Yeah, with the red stuff right? That's the cinnamon."

I walked back to the kitchen and opened the cabinet with the spices. The first item that caught my eye was the large container of Pappy's Meat Seasoning. I started to laugh.

I held up the container and asked my son if that was what he used.

"Yes! That's the cinnamon!" he said.

"Sweetie, this is meat seasoning."

"Meat seasoning? Why does it look like cinnamon. No one will want that on their toast!"

I told him we probably ought to stick with the Toaster Strudels and throw out the toast. 

"Well, I should throw out Daddy's Toaster Strudel too then," he said in a very deflated voice.

"Why?"

"I wanted his to be extra special so I put cinnamon on that too."

I laughed again and then he saw the humor and laughed too. 

It was a most special breakfast made with the biggest heart west of the Mississippi. No, I did not taste the toast but the Toaster Strudel was tops! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Truly the Pits!

I went to one of the colleges I call on yesterday. My first stop was the campus police department. At this particular account I am fortunate to get a vendor permit for the semester. It doesn’t cost me anything and spares my travel budget a small amount in parking fees. Plus, it allows me to park in some choice spaces during the harried first few weeks of the semester.

As I waited for the student deputy on duty to validate my permit another student entered the building and stood in line. He was in a hurry and was agitated that he had to wait for me and the person behind me. He had lost his sunglasses and “Dude,” he just needed to check the lost and found bin.

I admit to having a fascination with human behavior so I watched this young student from the corner of my eye. I saw him reach from something and press it to his face. I, casually, looked his way in that sweeping of the eyes manner that is supposed to be an attempt to look at the entire room but everyone knows you are totally scoping them out. When I did this I saw that the student had a copy of the student newspaper pressed to his cheek. I turned back to the counter a bit grossed out. I assumed he busted a zit and was coping with pimple ooze. That was enough to churn the bile up in my stomach a bit.

Another scan of the room relieved that it wasn't a zit at all. Instead of pimple ooze he was blotting perspiration. I know this to be true because in my secondary sweep of the eyes I saw he had lifted his shirt and was pressing the newspaper into his arm pit. He secured the newspaper and squeezed his arm down. When he lifted his arm back up he removed the newspaper now stuck to his pit and examined it. Then he folded the newspaper over and repeated the action on the other pit. It was like mega size rice paper! I had complete bile churn now.

My sweeping eyes halted and I know I did a full-on gape at him. I had to lift my jaw from the floor when the student deputy called me to let me know my permit was ready. I was dumbstruck. Who does that? I know we live where it is hot but don't groom your pits in public! I sweat too. I sweat into a serious mess but I do not blot any part of my torso in public. That is just smelly wrong.

The only thing the student did that was considerate is not return his newspaper to the stack for some other individual to grab. That was kind...I will give him that much. But I did re-evaluate my own decision to grab a paper at another location on campus. I knew it was likely clean...but I decided not o chance it. I didn't want to see the words in the articles smeared by sweat!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Bad Taste

Two summers ago while camping at the beach my daughter got a very bad taste in her mouth. She was five years old and it was time to bundle up in the tent for bed. I had given each child a glow stick in case they were uneasy in the dark as it was our first camping adventure. 

I was getting situated in my sleeping bag when I noticed an odd, blurry glow in the sleeping bag next to me.

"Ellie?"

"Yes, Mama?"

"Do you have something you want to tell me?"

"No, Mama," came her little voice in the darkness.

"Are you sure?" I coaxed her.

"Yes, I am pretty sure."

Every word that my daughter spoke was illuminated by the liquid from the glow stick smeared across her lips, chin, and nose.

"Ellie?"
 
"Yes, Mama?"

"Did you bite your glow stick?"

Silence.

"Ellie?"

"Yes, Mama?"

"Did it taste bad?"

A brief silence was followed by a flood of tears. 

"Mama! It tastes so bad!"

Fortunately - or maybe not - we had already run this round with my son about two years prior so I knew the liquid in the glow stick was not toxic. When my son realized she had in fact chomped on her glow stick he shot upright in his sleeping bag to get a look at the glowing lips of his sister. She wailed and he laughed. I tried to keep the order while laughing myself.

To this day my daughter remembers how bad glow sticks taste. But, I do feel lucky that glow stick goo is about the worst thing she has tasted so far. Well, at least the worst that I know about!
 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet that clings fast to the heel that has crushed it.” - Mark Twain

This is one of my favorite quotes. It is right up there with Walt Disney's "It's kind of fun to do the impossible!"

The sticky thing about forgiveness is that the people we need to forgive are the very people we feel deserve our very least. Yet the gift of forgiveness is our very best. Though it is hard to give this gift we often seek forgiveness. We so often want people to forgive our errors while clinging tight to the errors made against us.

It takes a big person to forgive. I think it's something huge to ask for forgiveness. That can be hard to do when you have stepped into a pile of fresh manure and drug it through the entire house. - figuratively speaking. 

The goal is to forgive and forget. Forgiving is hard enough. Forgetting is near impossible. I think forgetting often comes in the form of moving past the pain or the hurt. No, we won't forget, but we can let go. 

At 9 years old, my son is amazingly wise. He has an old soul. While talking about forgiveness and past hurts recently he said, "The past is in the past, Mom. We get to leave it there and move on. We get to be happy that we have today." 

I started at him with my mouth agape. I had just been schooled by a extremely bright little man. It was what he said next that really humbled me.

He went on to say, "I learned all this from you and Dad. That's were I learn most of my stuff."

They really do listen! I marveled at this revelation and I pondered the words my son gave back to me that I had given to him.

Today I vow to forgive. I am letting go of past hurts and curses cast upon me. I am also forgiving myself for my missteps. I am taking a lesson from the Bible and following the advice of my son. By the end of the day my soul should permeate the scent of a thousand violets.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Were You

Twelve years ago today yet it feels much more recent. Like the assassination of President John Kennedy and the death of Elvis Presley, most people remember where they were on that fateful day in September 2001. 

I was in Las Vegas. I had driven out the day before for work. I had planned to call on my college accounts in the area. My brother called me that Tuesday morning while I was getting ready to head out from the hotel. 

"Turn on the TV! A plane just hit the World Trade Center!" he told me.

My first thought was that a small, single engine plane had struck the Tower. I learned I was terribly wrong when I turned on the television just as the second plane hit. I was speechless. I dropped to the couch in the hotel room and watched the events unfold. I remember being so confused at what was happening. News reporters where trying to piece the story together and were reporting bits they learned but overall it was a mass state of confusion. 

I sat in stunned silence most of that morning. My eyes were glued to the TV and my heart was wretched. I felt connected to people I didn't know in an unimaginable way. They were Americans. They were people with friends, co-workers, families, and lives. We were the same. Yet they were under attack.

My husband - who was then my fiance - called to tell me he had secured the last rental car in the Valley back home. It was a beater but he was driving out to Vegas so he could make the 6-hour drive back home with me. He rattled his way to Vegas in a white hatchback that had been rented one too many times. I recall seeing his hulking frame emerge from such an odd car. My soul was so desperate for humor that it struck me as incredibly funny. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes and then the tears turned to tears of sorrow for all that I had seen on the news. It was such a relief to have him with me. To have some bit of normal by my side.

As the days unfolded, I remember hearing the stories of survival and loss. I remember hearing about first responders and unlikely heroes. I prayed for the rescued, the rescuers, and the ones unaccounted for. I even prayed for the search dogs and prayed they could find survivors so they to could feel joy.

I wondered about colleagues in our offices in Manhattan. I ached for people that were trapped and frightened. I reached a point where I had to remove myself from the TV. After days of stories of joy and heartbreak, I had to step away. I was entrenched in sorrow and I needed a break. 

I have never forgotten September 11th. I don't think any of us old enough to have memories of that day will ever forgot. We will never forget how our nation came together. We will never forget praying and fighting for a common cause. We will never forget identifying with people we have never met. We will never forget where we were. We will never forget being proud to be an American.  

Where Were you When the World Stopped Turning - this song became an anthem for a nation struck with grief.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Perseverance

Today we are tackling perseverance. My son's interest in gymnastics is waning. He absolutely would not get in the car to go to class this afternoon. My husband carted my daughter off to her happy world of balance beams and uneven bars while I sat with my son to try to discern what had happened. 

My son usually goes with the flow. That he was so adamant about not going to class was not normal for him. He and I sat and talked and with tears in his eyes he said, "Gymnastics is too hard. My coach is too hard. And, it takes too much time. I just want to compete." 

I always try to channel Danny Tanner from Full House in moments like these. They remind me so much of the last few minutes of any Full House episode where the words of wisdom come with the soft, everything-is-going-to-turn-out-just-fine music. I am never sure if I reach that epic moment as a parent but I try. 

I told my son that if he truly wants to compete then he has to work hard. I told him his coach has a goal to get a competitive boys team together so he has a lot of pressure to succeed as well. I told him the class is only an hour and a half a week. That really wasn't that much time in the whole scheme of things. And, anything worth doing takes commitment.

"Do you feel better now that we've talked?" I asked him.

"Maybe a little," he replied.

"Hmmmm... Do you want to talk to Daddy about this when he gets home?" I asked.

"Yeah. I think I do."

Epic moment fail! 

My son and I did agree that he would keep at gymnastics at least through the end of the month. That will give him time to sort out what he would like to do.

This is such a challenging parental place for me. When I was young, I didn't have the opportunities that my kids have. I completed one year of Girl Scouts and that was it. I wanted to try out for cheerleading and track and field but I was never encouraged to go after my desires. I was a very introverted child and I think my parents truly had their doubts that I would follow through with anything.

I think because of that I developed an intense ability to persevere. I constantly find myself in the middle of challenges I totally didn't need just so I can show myself that I can do it. I will stick to something until I achieve whatever goal it is that I have created for myself. I do realize that this is my hang-up and not my children's. 

My goal as a parent is to help my kids find out what their passions are and then to chase them down and tackle those passions to the ground! I want them to never give up and to dream really huge dreams. I want my kids to succeed and I want them to persevere.

I realize my son may not be an Olympic gymnast in his gut but I want to help him find out what he is deep in his soul. Maybe it is swimming or music or art. I will support him in whatever gifts he chooses to develop. And, if Mommy gets too fired up he will, thankfully, always have Daddy to talk with!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wild is not Totally Wild at all

I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was meh. It wasn't the best book I ever read but it did make me curious about the Pacific Crest Trail. And, I do have admiration that Strayed completed the trek with no ounce of training. I admire that she was gutsy enough to set foot on the trail solo.

I like adventures. I like reading about them, watching movies about them, and experiencing them first hand. I haven't ever had quite an adventure like Strayed had but that is ok by me. I actually would like to know less about Strayed's sexual adventures. I think I would have enjoyed her book more if she left that part out and focused on the adventures of the trail itself. I get that it was cathartic for her to get all of the words out and tell her story but yeesh!

I was thinking about the boldness of stepping into the wilderness for basically 3 months. That is boldness in spades! I can't imagine that you would be the same person at the end of the trek that you were at the beginning. The resilience it would take to live by the whims of nature is mind-boggling to me.

I know that I am a weenie. I love hiking and have hiked 20 miles in a day. But, at the end of the day there was a shower and a bed. Strayed hiked miles upon miles with no shower promised to her at sunset and no flush potties waiting for her rump. I could go a day - maybe. I don't like to be gritty and smelly and stain streaked. I will ride a canoe and hike a mountain and even jump out of a plane but I must have a shower and a potty when the day ends. And, I would not turn down a razor and a toothbrush!

In the book, Strayed talks about her over-packed backpack. I totally do not judge her because I would likely want to pull a wagon behind me to carry the odds and ends I think I would need on such a journey. Toilet paper comes to mind. As does toothpaste and a few bars of soap. And sneakers for when the boots become unbearable. Something about sneakers makes my feet happy! I would definitely want a pair of those for when the trail wasn't too strenuous. Something sweet that wouldn't melt would be good. Maybe gummy bears or licorice. Like Strayed, I would probably want a book or two and a light to read them by. I would also need a pad of paper and a pencil to record the events of each day. In short, I would need a lot. I have seen those garden wagons with monster truck wheels. That would need to be part of my gear unless I could round up a donkey.

I wanted to hear more about the friends that Strayed made on the trail. I wanted her to expound on the sounds in the woods whether real or imagined that she heard as her journey began to wind down. Some parts of the book where so descriptive that I felt as though I was right there with her plopped on a log watching the events unfold. Others were skimmed over like she was tired of writing. 

I am curious what other readers of the book felt? I would encourage others to read it because some parts are bewildering and some parts are exciting and still other parts are heart-wrenching.  The book, like its topic, is a journey. It will take you from California to Oregon but it won't happen overnight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Feud

My family is having a feud. It is rotten and uncomfortable. There is a great deal of "he said" and "she said" going around. Facts are distorted and the truth is becoming harder to recognize. Everyone is trying to defend themselves while drawing lines in the sand. It makes my stomach churn and my bones ache. I am a peacemaker by nature and conflict makes me want to hurl.

While bile builds in my throat I find I am at the center of the conflict. I made an error and that error was pounced upon and strewn about. I have apologized - because what else can I do? I admitted fault and ducked my head ashamed of my myself. But, my apology was not accepted. And, social media is now alive with passive aggressive posts that make me wonder if they are meant for me?

What can we do when we stumble but try to move on? Next time I trample toes I hope they are not attached to a wild, angry boar frothing at the mouth with eyes glinting of joy because they got me. I have never professed to be perfect but rather a perfect mess. It makes my heart hurt that family members delight in my slip. They are joyful that I fell from an imaginary pedestal I never felt I graced.

My error wasn't tragic or life altering. It was a slip of the tongue that caused a great deal of hurt feelings against the one person I always try to walk delicately around. I said mean words in confidence and that confidence was a ruse. When the trust was broken all manner of wild beasts tore loose.

I felt betrayed but I know I should have kept my words in check. With the help of my amazing husband the knife has been removed from my back and I understand that the ones who condemn me are not my judge. My Judge is high up in the Heavens and He forgives. Even when we mess up He forgives.

I have one close friend I confided all this mess too and she said her heart hurt that I was so dogged by a ridiculous thing. She said the punishment I have been dealt of silence and whispers behind my back does not fit the crime. The fact that it is family is what makes it difficult. Families are remarkably resilient so maybe we will come through this better than we were before but I know it will take an incredibly long time to mend these wounds. I made the first slice but the gash was ripped open by others and covered in salt. I could only watch it unfold in mouth-gaping wonder.

Time will tell how this story will play out. The good thing is I learned a hard lesson about true friendship and the dangers of a spiteful tongue. If nothing else, both needed to resonate with me...and resonate they did! Life will go on and I will walk a little wiser and a little more cautiously. My trust will no longer be given freely and while that may seem sad, it is probably the wisest move of all. 

Onward and upward! I can't change people's perspective or feelings but I can change my own. It is time to forgive myself. It is time to pull myself up and dust myself off and say, "Well, it wasn't fun but the lesson was learned. The damage is done and I have remorse but it is time to move on. To all this nonsense I bid a hearty ado!"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Heat Wave

I am pretty much done with the oppressive heat that is slamming California's Central Valley. Our air seems thick enough to cut a slice off to breathe it. I am used to the dry heat that normally visits us. This muggy mess is unbearable. The air is so humid it feels heavy. It is challenging to move through it. It is exhausting.

I am not keen on sweating. But, if I earn the sweat, I can accept it. If I run or jump or play outside and I sweat that is something I can cope with. But it is not right to break out in a sweat from sitting. I sweat in my sleep. I sweat while I eat dinner. I sweat when I read a book. I sweat in the car. I sweat in the house. The air conditioner is churning away a $300+ electric bill and still we sweat. My kids sweat. My husband sweats. Even the cat is panting.Truly the only creature not impacted by this heat is the fish. 

The heat is sticky and icky and leaves my tribe stinky . My daughter put her foot in my face in a playful way and I nearly gagged. It smelled like vinegar. She laughed at my expression but I did a double take to make sure her foot wasn't rotting off. Feet in flip-flops should not smell that bad!

It has been a long while since I actually wished for winter to arrive. But, I am ready. Bring on the chill and take out the sweat! I am ready for rain, fog, and hail. I am ready for trips to the snow and being bundled up. I am ready for cozy and snug. I am ready for cocoa and soup. I want to see my breath when I speak outside. 

I am tried of my make-up melting off my face and still feeling parched after drinking 8 cups of water. I am tired of sweating - everywhere! I am tired of wrinkled linen tops. I am tired of be blown incessantly by ceiling fans and oscillating fans.

I am ready to be cold! Come on Jack Frost! Visit us early this year! Bring a drop in the temperatures. Give us a chill that will cause us to catch our breath and say, "Burrrr!" Give me a new thermostat setting. Bring on the weather that will make me grumble about our propane bill. 

Oh, I know when winter has set in I will likely find fault with it too. But, at this moment, being cold sounds so nice and so stink-free!