Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hello from Sunny Florida

It happens every year. It never fails to surprise me when it is 78 degrees on Christmas Eve. I know, I know... I lived my whole life here until a few short years ago, and I've returned here every Christmas since...but still! 78 degrees??! In December??! What the what? This year, instead of mentally fighting it, I'm trying to fully embrace it. For instance, I actually packed a pair of shorts and two pairs of flip flops this year. Whereas in the past, I have suffered in silence in my jeans and oh-so-cool (NOT) urbanite black sweaters and boots. Nope, I've gotten on the crazy train this time. And I'm so much less irritable. Go figure. Maybe the Snowbirds have something here after all. It is really quite a scene. We've already been to the beach, collected shells, watched children splash and turn blue in the waves (hey, I haven't completely lost it - the Atlantic is COLD in December) and adopted a mostly-bare-feet policy for the week. Big Stuff and Small Fry, although consumed with Christmas-is-coming ADD madness, are taking to long hours in the backyard, lots of satellite TV and wearing their bathing suits once daily. Thank goodness I don't have to put on my bathing suit. Because I just can't stop eating. My people are amazing cooks, and they just don't stop the cooking and the eating, they don't care how big your butt gets. BTW, Small Fry asked me yesterday if "ass" is a bad word. New Year's Resolution #1: Stop eating every two hours. You are not a newborn. Resolution #2: Stop saying ass in front of the children. Now have a merry Christmas, people...and if you are a non-Floridian, don't hate me because I'm sweating.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Christmas, Oh Christmas. A blur of expectation, getting ready for this event and that one, enjoying this event and that one, creating meaning, living tradition. It's exhausting but I love the magical moments that happen, especially those that you least expect. Like tearing up in the American Girl store, knowing how happy Santa's gift is going to make one and yet feeling so melancholy in the knowledge that the other is way past such childish things as dollies with matching shoes and hats. Only six Christmases have come and gone, and yet Big Stuff is already "too old" for some of the "wow" toys! How did that happen?? More melancholy comes over me in the clothing store, when I realize that I can't really buy them matching dresses this year on account of the embroidered peter pan collar and soft brown velvet jumper with the pearl buttons that I'm getting for Small Fry will just be too little girly for my big girl. Who by the way, insisted on wearing a stained Silverbacks soccer T-shirt with camo gauchos on pajama day today because she was too "embarrassed" to wear her cute baby blue bunny Christmas pj's on the bus. And you're not embarrassed to wear that get-up, I kept wanting to blurt out. But I didn't. Because it's starting to be important not to be embarrassed on the bus. And I remember how that felt. Although I was probably in the 6th grade before I knew from embarrassment, but still. I remember. But here's something she's not too old for. Not yet anyway. Santa. Reindeer. The tooth fairy. Kitchen fairies. Wary and watchful (and beloved, don't you know) elves who bring messages to Santa every night. Thank goodness we still have some magic alive and well in this home. But for how long? Is it strange that sometimes I want to whisk my brood away and go live in Walnut Grove, in a little log cabin? On Christmas Eve I could tuck my girls, in bedcaps and braids, into their rope beds in the loft while a merry fire crackles outside my and Pa's bedroom door. Someplace far away from Hannah Montanas and Wiis and Playstations and Spongebob Scarepants? And they would be thrilled with candy canes and oranges in their stockings and those incredibly special rag dolls I made from quiliting scraps? Is that so wrong?? Obviously, I would never survive the bone cracking hard work it took to live On The Prairie but it's a nice thought anyway. And I shall savor these magical times, even if they insist on sliding through my fingers like running creek water.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sexy Exits

Have you ever been sitting at Moe's, innocently eating your taco salad, pretending to listen to a 4-year-old trying to spell (Mama, how do you spell Exit? What does P-S-A spell? How do you spell Taco?) when all of a sudden, it happens.

Her, matter of fact-like: Mama, I'm spelling s-e-x. That spells sex.

Me, horrified: Say what, Small Fry? Are you trying to spell six, like the number? Please God, let her be spelling six like the number.

Her: No, sex like sexy. Oh no.

Me: What is sexy, Small Fry? What does that mean?

Her: You knnnnnoooowwww, like when you're all pretty with red lips and you're sparkly and you're wearing fancy clothes and like that. Waves hand vaguely in front of her face.

Me: Uhhhhhhhhhh.

Me, later: And where did you hear about sexy, honey?

Her: Duh, mom. The cheer? Boys are the strongest? Girls are the sexiest?


Me, later, lame-like: Yeah, of course you know girls can be the strongest too.

Her: Yeah, of course I know that mama.

Annnnddddd I have nothing more to say. Continue eating taco salad and mourn the loss of innocence.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Voting Buddies

Proud and honored to vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Things that Made Me Happy Today

Numero uno: Memories of Halloween. One of the
best nights of the year. And the seemingly unending supply of
Reese's pb cups and Hershey's dark chocolate that now


in my

Numero duo: MY 4-year-old, that's right, MINE...who was possibly the only one in her class (at least that's how I heard the it) who knew the names of both presidential candidates. And their platforms. And their voting records. OK, maybe not. But she can pick them out of a line-up from a distance of 10 feet and that's




Numero three: The mental prep my girls are doing to be sure they are prepared for long lines tomorrow. We have listed all items we will bringing to the voting place (Harry Potter book, a Barbie computer, drawing papers, Uno, fold up chairs and a pen. And possibly candy.) And we have figured out a plan for what we'll do if we need to visit the potty during our wait in line (we will go with our sister while mom holds our place in line). If you see us there, please feel free to

join us

in a game

of Uno.

Number Four: Lunch. Friends. Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion, honey.

Number 5: Coming home hugs and kisses from this one. Ahhhh.

That's better.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Does God Look Like?

Enroute between church and home on Sunday afternoons, we sometimes are treated to interesting conversation. This week, Big Stuff asked, What does God look like? Apparently unsatisfied with my lame response - We don't know honey, but we'll find out someday - Small Fry immediately takes up the challenge with all the authority of a theologian. "He wears a long white shirt. His hair is like this (gestures), and he has a moustache." She thinks for a moment, then adds (for humility's sake, surely): "But I don't know what kind of shoes he wears." I'm going to go with flip flops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Heaven Sent

I got a gift today. I'm watching Small Fry on the playground, and mulling hard and heartbreaking things over in my mind, when I notice a little girl of about 3, with Down Syndrome, was going around the playground giving out hugs. I smile and think, oh how cute. How precious. Her little polka-dotted bow was stuck precariously in her bobbed haircut. Her great big eyes were smiling and delighted. My mind, as it is apt to do, wanders back to my worries, and I look away. But wait... Here she comes, arms outstretched. Oh! For me? A sweet moon face turns up for a kiss. Now how did she know that is exactly what I needed today?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday's Provisions

Yes, I know the world is crashing all around us.
And our 401ks look like minus 401ks.
And the election. And the banks. And the layoffs.
And so on, and so on, ad nauseum.
Really, how could I miss the constant barrage of news and conversation on these very topics??

What an unfortunate time to get accidentally free cable.

But still I'm grateful.

Call me One Hot Pollyanna, but I'm actually rather stubbornly determined to be grateful.

I'm grateful for a husband who makes me laugh by saying, hey if the worst happens, we'll just go back to Florida and move in with your parents. (Just kidding, mom and dad!) And I'm grateful for a partner who nods and truly agrees with me when I say, as long as we've got the Good Lord and each other, we'll be fine.

I'm grateful for kids who are so oblivious to the world's woes that they can be happy for hours catching lizards and meticulously constructing fairy houses from sticks and rose petals.

Talk about trust.

I'm grateful for those kiddos, just in general. The opportunity to love on them. Pet them. Make them feel better when they are sick. Delight them with outlandish bedtime stories. Kiss their toes. Grant their wishes. (At least some of them). Cart them around and swell up with poorly concealed pride that I am, actually, their very own mama. Me!

It's easy to forget that there are people in the world who would give anything, anything to love on their babies tonight. And mine are right here! Within my reach. Ready for some good lovin' any old time. Can you believe my luck?!

Me either. But I'm working on it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How's Your Mom and Them?

An excellent primer for Yankees on the use of y'all.....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's a Snowflaky World

I've been turning over the premise of a study I've been doing in my mind for a couple of weeks. The premise is that we start out life as maverick-like Individuals...we have all these hopes and dreams and ideas in our youth. Children revel in themselves and love to feel special. Then we grow up and begin to make decisions. A funnel effect occurs as we make one decision and rule out 10 others, and so on down the line. One day we wake up in a life that looks eerily like the lives of every other person we have surrounded ourselves with. You look around and see very little variation in the landscape. Everyone is thinking, doing, feeling, talking and living...exactly the same way. And all of a sudden, you feel a little Trapped. That's when you know that the Individual part of you is feeling smothered, shoved into the back room closet.

It's so interesting how we are made. God made each one of us completely unique - no two exactly the same - just like the snowflakes. But he also made us so alike that we have many, many things in common with the other humans. We're all snow, after all, even if we're also all flakes. And isn't is such a delight to find common ground with a new friend or a writer's words or a piece of music Resonates. And you say, YES! I have felt that. I have thought that. I believe that. And it's a great feeling. It's simpatico. Commonality allows us to feel connected. Individuality allows us to feel special. And God, brilliantly, made us with both halves of the same whole. Individual, but yearning for connection. Unique, but made for community.

I think one of our downfalls is when we cannot appreciate that dual nature in others, or in ourselves. We swing too far either way and forget that the most natural place is right in the middle. Some cling to their individuality at the expense of their connections with others. Then come the feelings of isolation and resentment that no one understands. Some become obsessed with conformity and begin to drown in self-imposed rules about how they "must" act or dress or think. Then come the feelings of entrapment. If only we could regard ourselves as God must. Completely unique and precious individuals, who are designed to love and be loved by their understanding journey-mates. This is why I love travel so much. It is a reminder that anywhere you go in the world, people are very different. And very alike. See? Snowflaky!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Finding Love at the Skating Rink

Remember when we were too young to drive and too old to hang out with our parents on Friday night? And we put on our cutest clothes and our pinkest lip gloss and our biggest hairdo and had our moms drop us off at the local skating rink? As we walked in the doors, we were mesmerized by the mysterious darkness, the pulsating music, the smell of overcooked pizza and the sight of the glittering disco ball. Ahhhh...pre-teen heaven. It was one of the first places we went to see and be seen. We could scan the room instantly, and with laser-like precision, pick out our friends, our frenemies and the objects of our romantic crushes. Let the drama begin!! A successful night might mean escaping the wrath of the ever-present skating rink bullies or being asked to couple-skate by the right boy. A really successful night might end with you and the-cutest-boy-ever "going together," whatever that meant. It was all about looking for love, wasn't it? Just like every other Friday night for the rest of our lives, until we hopefully found "true love" and made it our own. There is something magnetic about the skating rink. Even Big Stuff, who is a few years away from looking for love (Thank you, Jesus), could not get enough of the skating rink recently. Round and round she went. For almost three hours. She cried when we finally had to go home, and said we could live at the skating rink if only her parents weren't so mean and unreasonable, insisting on living in a house and sleeping in beds and all. Cutie Pie, who was apparently a preteen skating rink god (you learn something new every day!), picked up all his old moves right away. He tried to teach me to turn and backward skate, but apparently if you don't learn these skills by age 13, your chances of mastering them are close to nil. He did hold my hand for a few turns around the floor though. And he did try to show off a little (hey, don't we look better than that other dad and daughter?) It was cute. Toward the end, the DJ hooked us up with the Alan Jackson 9/11 song, which goes something like this: And some good things He gave us are Faith, Hope and Love....and at this moment I'm passing my sweet little girl holding hands with her Daddy and looking up into his encouraging eyes, big smiles on both of their faces....And the greatest is Love..... And the greatest is Love. My conclusion? It's still possible to find true love at the skating rink.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Composer in the Making

I get treated to the original works of a singer/songwriter most every day. The Silver Bullet seems to be a constant source of inspiration for my budding musician because songs just come to her out of thin air everytime we get in it to go somewhere. Today I heard the first-ever public rendition of a song called If You Like Bugs and God is in Your Heart (a working title). It went something like this:

If you like bugs
and you think they are delightful
Delightful, delightful
You should keep the bugs
and never squish them
You're not afraid
Because you adore God
and you praise Him
Because of the bugs
They swim in the pool
In the pool, in the pool
And God is in your heart
in the pool, in the pool
And that's all....

She always asks how I like the song, to which I always reply - I love it!! Where did you learn that song? And she scolds me gently, Mama, I didn't LEARN it. I thought of it. Myself. Yes. Of course you did.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bringing up the Rear

Our Small Fry joined her first soccer team today. Actually her first official team ever. I must say I derived great joy from the whole thing. Seeing her in her tiny uniform just about sent me over the edge into the land of There Has Never Been a Cuter Child Than This In All of History. It's the land where her older sister lives also, in case you were wondering. But really, the greatest part of the whole thing was seeing her out there, just doing her thing. Her Daddy pointed out early on..."Look. She's last." And we exchanged knowing looks. There is a universal truth about Small Fry that we have all come to accept. She's always last. No matter where you're going or what you're doing, the kid will be bringing up the rear. Trying to rush her will do you no good. In fact, in her younger days, it might have brought on a fully involved, five alarm tantrum. I've even gone so far as to warn preschool teachers trying to hustle her out of the car..."Don't Do It. Just let her finish her thought. You will be so glad you did. And so sorry if you don't." Nowadays she takes it mostly in stride, just looking at us quizzically as if to say, What's the rush folks? I've got butterflies to catch and songs to sing. What's your hurry, what's your worry? And soccer practice was no different. They tried to get her to kick the ball and hustle back in line. She was not fazed in the least. She took her time, never noticing that she was taking longer than anyone else or that she was always the last to get back in line. She swung her hair. She played patty cake with her friend. She waved at us on the sidelines. La La La. And she was so happy every single second. God, I love that about her! Not to say it hasn't frustrated the living bejesus out of me now and again, but I think I've learned to let her be. And I so rejoice in her being-ness. I have a friend who is around us a great deal, and she often comments that I am so patient with her. This is, of course, quite comical to me as I would not rate patience at all high on my list of good qualities. But she just brings it out in you. She has trained me to be patient. She insists on doing things at her own pace, and what's wrong with that? We should all insist on the same thing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just Keep Swimming

We have survived the first week of school. Summer seems a long-ago memory, although the air is still heavy with Indian Summer heat. It seems that I require a good long while to process life, a system that does not respond well to frequent interruptions and constant sidetracking. There are a lot of experiences and lessons-to-be-learned from this summer that have yet to be fully experienced or properly learned because I'm not an on-the-fly experiencer or learner. My ability to multi-task is just not up to snuff, people! And I have this idea that at my age, my psyche really ought to be a little more settled. You know, like I should know what I want to be when I grow up already. I don't have the luxury of time to ruminate, reflect and figure things out, and yet I feel constant pressure to have things figured out so that I can be this steadfast rock and foundation to some other little growing psyches in this house. And so I'm back gulping snatches of air while the crashing waves of let's-just-get-through-today churn over my head. Is that any way to live?? I think not. But what can I do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...I guess that's what Dory would say. Sounds like a plan. Not a great plan, but it's the best I can come up with on limited oxygen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

10 Things to Love About Summer

Swim team! Where else can you gorge yourself on Twizzlers and Pop Rocks whilst screaming your head off for your offspring, whilst simultaneously trying not to cry because you're so stinking proud of her?

Slip-N-Slide! The genius who invented this glorious contraption should be crowned in the How to Kill a Summer Afternoon Hall of Fame.

Low Country Boils. YUMMMMM.

Naps, because we aren't on a schedule, you see, and 10 p.m. has suddenly become a perfectly acceptable bedtime! Heck, it's not even dark at 8:30, mama!

Backyard tomato gardens. No fear of salmonella!

Using my passport twice in one month!

Florida sunsets. Small Fry kept prodding me...get a picture of it now, mama. Get one now, mama. She was right. It just got prettier and prettier.

Hello Kitty kites.

Days when blood is thicker than beach sand.

Olympic fountains on a blazing hot day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Puddle Jumping

Don't you love how one thing leads to another? Serendipity. I popped onto a new blog today by an writer I loved when I was pregnant with Big Stuff about 7 years ago. I saw Catherine Newman's name in a magazine I was perusing whilst waiting for my OB-GYN appointment a couple of months ago. Cool right? And finally, I've gotten around to catching up with her new blog at In the comments section of her latest entry, I see a shout-out for a book that sounds good - The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. So I pop over to that author's blog, which I'm loving already. Then I click onto her book for sale at Amazon. I stash it in my wish list, to perhaps purchase later when I have other things to add in the hopes of getting free shipping. I wasn't too sure I even had a wish list, but I actually do and there were 22 items on there, none of which I remembered. The earliest wish was entered in 2001, a few months after Big Stuff was born. Apparently, I was interested in Tony Bennett singing the blues that day. Hmmmmm. A year later, I wanted Jewel's new album along with the Spanish versions of The Big Red Barn and Goodnight Moon. Because I was really into my one-year-old being bilingual at that time. And liking quirky folk music. Apparently. Two years later, we were into fairies and Harry Connick Jr. In 2004, I was all about creating family traditions and heading off sibling rivalry (I was pregnant with Small Fry at that time, and apparently planning ahead for the Big Bang that was about to shatter my only child's life). Since I've had no wishes since 2004, I'm thinking that was about the time I decided getting books from the library would be so much more economical than buying them from Amazon, seeing as how we were becoming a one-income family. I love how jumping around in some link puddles on the internet suddenly shows you a bunch of links in your own life. Who knew?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dream of a Summer Day

Hey, that thing I said about summer...I really need it to come. I do. And soon. I need to wake up in the morning at a less ungodly hour and to the sound of snuggle-happy voices (can we get in, mama?) instead of the obnoxious beep-beep-beep of my alarm clock. I need to be free from having to remember 18 pieces of paper, two checks, three overdue library books and 39 permission slips that must be tucked into backpacks, purses and preschool bags before anyone can set foot outside the house. I need to think about how I can make a memory instead of a dollar. Memories last so much longer, you see. I need to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watermelon and cut-up apples by the pool instead of remembering to send in lunch money. And snacks. And water bottles. And juice boxes. I need to smell sunscreened faces, chapsticked lips and chlorinated hair instead of stale laundry that I forgot to put in the dryer. I need to take walks outside with my kids at 8:30 p.m. without a barrage of thoughts running through my mind about how quickly I need to bathe them, read to them and shuffle them off to bed (can I shove all that into 25 minutes? Sure! Step up the pace, girls!) I need to lay on a raft after dark and watch the stars pop out, one by one. Those stars, they love to show off, and I haven't paid the least bit of attention to them in months. I need to read something for fun instead of because it was assigned. Or because it's on the AR list. I need to take trips to faraway places where I can appreciate companionable silences. And really tall mountains. And lakes and oceans in which you can float and talk and laugh about stuff and reminisce (remember the time I saved you from that big wave, mama?). Because memories, they last so much longer than dollars.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Summer is Only Four Weeks Away, I Promise

It's official. I'm just not cutting it this week. I'm losing my mind. I'm not on top of ANYthing. In fact, I think I may be under a few piles of s.... something. Laundry most likely. Actually I haven't been cutting it for several weeks now. It's so lame to complain about how busy things's to be expected, and nearly everything going on is Good Stuff. No doubt about that. School is wrapping up for the year, we've had St. Patty's, Easter, visits from the tax man, three birthdays, overnight guests, planning for summer trips and activities, end-of-the-year parties, field trips and gatherings, concerts, sports and school functions, ordering things, returning things, wrapping up my own classes and studies, oh yeah and throw in trying to make a little cash to pay the aforementioned tax man. Everyone's busy. We expect to be busy in April and May. What I don't expect is to lose brain cells over it! And really disturbing is the fact that I seem to have no control over this loss of mind. No matter how much time I put in trying to catch up, reorganize and reprioritize, I am still letting some not-so-minor things fall through the cracks. Last week, I realized at 1 p.m. that I had just plain forgotten to send Small Fry to preschool. Today I remembered to send her to preschool and even packed her lunchbox, along with snack for the class and money for her end-of-the-year pictures (which were overdue, natch). Unfortunately, I forgot to put anything INSIDE the lunchbox. The look on her best bud's face was priceless. He was appalled and ran over to me, saying dramatically "Small Fry Mama, Small Fry Mama, Small Fry opened her lunchbox and....THERE WAS NOTHING IN IT." Sadly, Small Fry herself seemed not at all surprised that her mama would do such a thing. Which prompts me to muse...have I forgotten to feed her other meals in the past few weeks? Luckily, she is pleasantly chubby and could probably miss a meal or five with few ill effects. But still. It's disturbing. But what can be done? I imagine most people I know are going through the same thing right now. It's why everyone is saying how they can't wait for summer to come. Although I wonder if their dirty deeds are staying better hidden than mine? I have no time to notice or to comtemplate this. Now there is a cheering thought! If I have no time to notice their flaws, perhaps they are too busy to notice mine. See, I knew this post would make me feel better. Here's to hiding behind a pile of dirty laundry!

Monday, March 17, 2008


If you are a Seinfeld fan, do you remember the "B.O. in the car" episode? Remember when the valet left the highly offensive O. in Jerry's car, even after the B. had long since departed? I am thinking lately of funky smells, because there is one that seems to have invaded my house. Over the past two weeks, Cutie Pie and I are like the Hardy Boys sniffing every crevice and corner around here to narrow down the Smell's emanation. Is it on the staircase? Is it in the hall? Is in a child's room? Is it in our room? Is a family member possibly producing the Smell and refusing to confess, sending the Hardy Boys on many wild goose chases? Every day, we are sniffing household items and questioning each other in Dr. Suesslike fashion: "Do you smell it here? Do you smell it there? Do you smell it everywhere?" The frustrating part is that a) I have a bad smeller, made worse by a recent cold-cough-croup-fever combo and 2) once you live in the smell for more than 3 minutes, you stop smelling it and apparently become immune to its odious charms. You trick yourself into thinking it's gone. Until you come home from the outside world and walk into the Smell, all fresh and smelly again. Finally, last night, I believe we narrowed the Smell to our children's playroom, which has direct access to the attic. This was after closing off certain rooms for specified periods of time and then rushing in, pouncing cat-like and nose-first, to try desperately to capture a whiff. So, after turning the playroom upside down looking for the culprit, we discussed the matter for probably 30 or 40 minutes. Yes, this is how sad we have become. And yes, this is how we know the truth about our marriage: We are no longer newlyweds. AKA, The Honeymoon's Over. We discussed the Smell at length. What the Smell smells like. What could be the source of the Smell. Why the Smell is stronger late in the day. Is the Smell animal, vegetable or mineral. I even asked for a crash course on duct work and attic joists so I could intelligently add to the theories being bandied about. The unfathomable mystery is: How can we have a smell in the house that smells like a dog's rear end (this was the conclusion we came to after many scientific comparisons of the Smell to known and unknown smells) when in fact, we do not own a dog? This is a mystery. And it's driving us crazy. If you know any specialists, experts, vendors or Smellologists who would consider taking our case....well, we would be ever so grateful.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

Once upon a time, I used Photoshop in my job. I never really got the hang of it, outside of the mundane importing and cropping of boring product shots into even more boring product information bulletins that went on and on about mind-numbing properties such as Viscosity or Flash Point. But it's ever so much more fun to learn when you have a subject as cute as this to work with! So tell me, do you like rosy, pink cheeked Small Fry or Vintage-y, colorized Small Fry? Personally, I think either one is beyond adorable. But that's just me!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wild Things

Man, weather can be wild sometimes. We've gone from a balmy, spring-like Monday to Tornado Tuesday to Snow Day Wednesday and that's just so far this week. I make a whole lot of fun of Cutie Pie because he is mildly obsessed with radar and forecasts, and he would watch the Weather Channel like sports 24-7, if only we had cable. But I can see the draw. It's big, it's wild, it's uncontrollable and nearly unpredictable... although he would probably disagree with me on that. Because an intelligent enough weather person, or perhaps a cute enough weather woman (he has crushes on most of them), can certainly give a highly accurate forecast IHHO. (I remain unconvinced).

But there is no doubt that a force strong enough to snap a tree in half, or pull it up by its roots and deposit it upon your roof is certainly interesting, to say the least.

And a trampoline in a just don't see that everyday.

But it was also interesting how quickly a house could move in my mind from a cozy, nesting place for a family, from a point of pride and a pile of nailed-together wood whose only true purpose and worth is to remain standing and sheltering three small people huddled on the stairs should a gi-normous pine tree decide to fall on top of them. What clarity a bit of wind and rain can provide!
I think I'm usually pretty good under pressure. I had to laugh afterward, though, when I thought about how fast my heart was beating and how I was gulping in ragged, shaky breaths but I was still able to have that breezy, "isn't this fun, kids?" crazy Stepford mom voice coming out. Later they said they weren't scared. And that is good. Because Mama was scared enough for all of us.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fresh Start

I love January. I know some people dislike old Jan...maybe it's the post-holiday letdown, or the bleak weather she brings or the cynicism of unkept New Year's Resolutions. But it does feel like a new beginning, no matter how you slice it, resolutions notwithstanding. You've got all that great loot from Christmas to pretty up your home and closets, which forces you to organize and declutter and throw out all your old raggedy stuff because it just doesn't go with the new, shiny stuff, does it? You make an effort to reconnect with the dear friends you missed seeing while you were all whirling around in a holiday frenzy. And you get a new calendar! Ahhhh. I love a new calendar. The blank pages are so pretty and crisp. Uncreased, they fan themselves out at me...full of possibility and hopefulness. I love to consider the ups and downs of the past year, the accomplishments and failures ....and think of new goals and milestones yet to be reached. And I think a lot about my peeps, too - the old and new friends come to mind as I write down their birthdays and their new addresses and their updated emails, maybe adding a new baby's name to the family profile. And I think, I'm so glad I met her last year. I hate that I haven't seen him since his last birthday. I've got to return that book to her, and she would just love the last one I read.... And I also, inevitably, experience the sadness of purging people that, if I'm following the rule of clean closets, I haven't spoken to in the past year. Some of them are easy to let the annoying editor I had to work with at my last job. Or Animal Control, who really fell down on their job of controlling the mean dogs that kept getting out of my former neighbor's fence. But some are harder to let go. Like the one who moved two states away and didn't keep in touch or the one who has gone Home to "have fun with God," as Small Fry will say. I tend to keep those in my calendar. I may not have celebrated their birthday with them in several years, but I leave it written on the usual page because I imagine, if nothing else, I can think of them fondly on that day and maybe send a good vibration or two their way. I can look at their old phone number, and recall the conversations we used to have. I can look at their address and remember the great times we had around their dinner table. It gets a little crowded in my shiny new calendar, but I figure...I can always purge next year. Organization is overrated anyway.

Pay No Attention to the Chick Behind the Curtain

Well, we've been on a little hiatus haven't we? I'm sure, as my Twelve Most Devoted readers, you have taken note and perhaps have been wondering... What Gives? OK, maybe just one of you took note, but whatever. It's just a little case of stage fright combined with several weeks of personal drama not fit for internet consumption. But here I am - Happy New Year, Ya'll!- and I am in that Clean Sweep frame of mind... therefore, I am blogging again. And blog I must. Because it's an awfully good way to clear a girl's mind. And 12 readers isn't exactly what you'd call a stage, right? So I'm just going to get over that. But maybe you could help me out? If you are a member of my real life and you read me here, maybe you shouldn't tell me. Better to just leave me an anonymous comment or something like that. Otherwise, I may start sweating and blushing and otherwise dying of embarrassment. Obviously, I'm highly un-evolved and also a big old fraidy cat. But I'm really glad you're reading. Just don't look at me while you're doing it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pride Before the Fall

Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build 2008

I am proud to tell you that I am related to a couple of these people. They are two of my coolest relatives. One of them was not supposed to be on the roof. But here is the irrefutable proof that he was indeed on the roof - for all of the internet to see. He is officially in trouble with his loved ones, namely me. But he's still really, really cool so I guess I'll have to let him slide. Also he doesn't listen to anyone, so you just have to roll with it. No one can wear a Friday shirt like this guy. You have to admire fashion sense combined with technical know-how. It's a rare and precious thing to see. Way to go Mema and Da! You inspire your offspring, namely me.