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.


"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.


"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.

"Yes, Mama?"

"Did you bite your glow stick?"



"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 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


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!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The "Just Enough" Mom

My daughter was terribly sad to head back to school today after the three-day weekend. She is a very emotional creature, much like myself, so I knew what she was feeling when she said she didn't want to leave me and Daddy today.

As I drove to work her little face and simple words kept nipping at me. I know both of my children are growing up fast and I started to wonder if I spend enough time with them. Do I play with them enough? Do I talk with them enough? Do I just hang out with them enough? Is what I do as a mother simply enough? I decided it wasn't.

No matter how much time I spend with my kids, I will always want to spend more. No matter how many stories we read together, I will always think of the one we missed. No matter how many bike rides and dog walks we take, I will always long for one more. No matter how many bedtimes hugs and kisses I give, I will always remember the nights I was away for work.

As a mom, I know I will always want to be and do more for my kids. This is the reason why my daughter has a stuffed gorilla the same size as her and why my son's interest in swimming has me pricing local team participation. I said yes to the huge gorilla because I love my daughter. I am pricing swimming lessons because I love my son. I want them to have more than I had growing up and I want them to accomplish more than I ever will. 

These are the things I pondered on my hour long drive today as I pictured my little girl's sad eyes when I left this morning. In my gut I knew what I had to do. I completed the task at hand for work; I presented to a class of 120 college sophomores and juniors. I took care of loose-ends on campus. I made sure my work obligations were fulfilled. And then I drove back to my kids' school just in time to have lunch with my daughter. Yes, I will have to work late tonight to make sure I complete all my work. Yes, I will be tired tomorrow. But, no, I have no regrets about spending extra time with my girl. Today she needed a mom and today I decided to be just enough. I know I am going to turn around and she will be grown. Today I was not perfect but I was enough...just enough for my little girl.