Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Summer Of Sunburns

I spoke too soon when I called this the summer of winter.

This is the summer of sunburns.

This is the summer were we rush outdoors at the first hint of sun and warmth and frolic and play and don't even think about sunscreen. Sunscreen? What's that?

As we bask in the sunlight, we are giddy with joy. This hot day is super fantastic.

And then the next day rolls around, cold and wet and damp, and we all sport various shades of red, in interesting patterns.

Mine came from riding around in my little red convertible, not really thinking twice about sunburns. I'm driving, for gosh sakes. I will sing the praises of a convertible, though, both arms are red, not just the one hanging out the window. No drivers burn for me!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And The Moth Along For The Ride

It's time, you say. Past time, I say, let's get going. Put the top down on the car and don't forget my pillow. Kiss the kids and leave them some money for dinner. Pet the dogs and say goodbye.

We are off, your right hand clasped with my left. Point the car towards directions north and drive, drive, drive.

We arrive at the hotel in the waning summer light, grinning from ear to ear, happy to be together, proud to have almost 18 years tucked into our belts, celebrating a few weeks early due to schedules of our now grown up selves, but still dreamily in love with each as much as our kids selves had been.

Pull the top up over our heads, latch the roof, kiss and get out of the car. Stand at the trunk and stare at the giant moth flapping around in the back window.

Holy Moley. That thing was in the car with us. You try to catch it to let it out safely, but it resists. When you finally put it on the pavement, you shake your head. You tried, but it's probably done for. I feel sad that it is hurt and dying, and even though moths freak the crap out of me, I step closer to look at it with pity.

And then it flutters towards my foot.

And then I scream.

And then you laugh and turn it so it gets its feet under it and it takes off.

It'll be okay, you say as we watch it fly. That's a much better way to start off our trip, I say. Just picking up hitchhikers, not killing 'em.

I don't think I'll ever put the top up again, without checking the back and having the door open for easier escape!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I'd Forgotten

In a family fun magazine, I read about a great summer reading challenge for the whole family. I broached the idea with the kids and they jumped on it. We set the time frame (until August 31) and decided how we'd count (by book or by page won) and made a chart and agreed that the books we were all currently reading would count from page 1 and invited Dad to join our fun and made the prize be the winner picks a family outing.

Now, I read all the time. I'm on book 85 for the year, and yes, I know that because I still am keeping a list even though it's not like last year when I just wanted to know how many books I could read in a year. I still keep a list because I like to make lists. I probably read more than anyone in the family and when we started the challenge, there was some mutterings that it wouldn't be fair because Mom reads so much....

Well, I have other things I have to do. I can't read all the time! I have laundry to fold, tubs to scrub, gardens to weed, scrapbooks to make, dinners to actually going to work takes a chunk of my day away from reading. But I remained confident that I would blast the competition out of the water.

What I'd forgotten is that the same daughter who wore a groove into the couch last year watching Law and Order every day because she loves that show, is the same daughter who raised (by the sweat of her brow) $1600 in less than a year to go on a school trip. Once she determines she is going to do something, she does it with single minded focus.

This last week she's worn a groove into the couch because she's reading.

I've got 994 pages in the last 6 days. She has 1128.

I huff and puff and shake my fist in funny frustration, but I'm terribly proud of her. She's a reader and she comes by it naturally.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Summer Of Winter

I just read that the Pacific Northwest has had 78 minutes of summer this year.

78 Minutes Of Summer.

And judging by the fact that I shut all the windows, turned off the fan, wore winter pajamas to bed and pulled up the heavy quilt to once again be part of our bedding, I would whole heartedly agree with that.

It's been a brisk summer. A tad chilly. I haven't really broken out the tank tops or short skirts. I didn't put away the winter quilt, even though I threatened to. I kept all my long sleeve shirts in the dresser instead of switching out to my summer wardrobe.

But you know what? That's okay. Sure, I want sunshine and hot weather. I'm not really in the mind set for it to feel like autumn, and pumpkin harvesting is just around the corner and it's only mid July. I'd like to sit outside around the fire pit without actually needing a jacket and sweatshirt, long pants and thick socks in spite of the fire throwing off heat. I did watch my kids put on layers of shirts, jackets and even a scarf to go walk down town last night. That isn't what this summer is about.

It's the summer of winter! I kind of prefer this than the summer I remember of my childhood, with a drought going on and everyone praying for rain.

Guess what? Those prayers have been answered! Let's just be thankful for the day. I'll try to stop complaining if you try. It'll be a joint effort. We will agree to not begrudge other people in the country who have hot weather and actually have enjoyed a popsicle and a run through the sprinkler. We will slip on our jackets and agree that it could be worse.

Our lawns could be dead and brown from lack of rain. Actually, that is one part of summer I don't mind. Less yard work when the grass quits growing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Only Rule For Eyebrows

For years I have agonized over my eyebrows. I know, vanity, thy name is me. Eyebrows are a totally odd part of the human being, why should I worry so much about them?

Well, to be quite honest, I have very masculine eyebrows.

And I decided a few years ago to embrace them. I am not willing to have them tweezed down to feminine, archful lines. I'm going to let them be with only slight changes, such as keeping them off my eyelids and forehead.

Today my son so kindly left lying around the new Esquire and I read all about The Meticulous Man's Guide To Eyebrow Care and I thought, holy cow! That's all I need.

I learned the only rule for eyebrows: they shouldn't touch in the middle.

I'm so on board with that.

Friday, July 15, 2011

So Of Course, That's How It Goes

I have a few quirks, little things I do that make me feel better. I never leave my pajamas on the floor because a spider might crawl in them. I always shake my towel out before drying off in case a moth is in it. I usually don't get in the shower until I've looked for spiders, because in the spider jet set, the tub is the place to be.

Yesterday, as I looked and didn't see a spider for like the millionth day in a row, I kind of wondered if I really needed to look, to give the shower curtain a shake, check up high in the corners. I mean, come on. I haven't seen a spider in the shower in ages.

So of course, this morning I don't check.

And as I'm soaping up my hair, I see something dark against the white of the tub. Being without my glasses means I have to get closer to see what it is.

Oh yes. It is a pretty freaking huge spider. In the tub with me. Way too close to my shoeless feet.

I killed it with the conditioner bottle, then washed it down the drain. I'm not a spider killing machine. I've felt pretty guilty about it in the recent years and try to let spiders alone as long as they leave me alone.

But all rules are off if a spider decides it's shower time at the same time as me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Record Breaking Motivation

I love my Wii Fit. I know I've said it before, but I will say it again. I love it. It got me through the winter when it was too cold and wet and dark and kind of creepy to be out walking by myself.

The first few days after it came, the whole family played on it. But then for the last 190 days I have been the only person using it.

The only person setting records, getting the top scores.

Suddenly, my kids have taken a liking to my Wii and my records are being broken.

Oh. No. They. Didn't.

Turns out, I've got a bit of competitiveness in me that I have not acknowledge before today. That is my Wii, that is my high score, and gosh darn it, I'll just have to work harder.

But, did my son say he just unlocked the 90 second plank?


Okay. Some things they can keep the top score on. I barely make it through 30 seconds of the plank position!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fourteen Years Ago Today.....

Fourteen years ago today, four weeks early, our baby girl was born. I was telling everyone I wanted a boy, but that was just to hedge my bets with fate. I thought the baby was a girl, but if I was wrong, I wanted it out there for the universe to know that a boy was good too.

My doctor told me that he thought we'd see a baby at 2:00 PM. At 2:01 PM, our daughter made her entrance into the world......with a cap of dark hair, huge dark eyes, perfect except for a white waxy coating all over her due to being early and slightly purple hue due to the cord around her neck.

She had a big brother who loved her, but being less than 2, and us having only referred to her as "baby", called her Baby as her name. She had a Daddy who was so immensely proud to have a daughter and was marvelling at her accomplishments when all she could do was look around and blink. She had a Mommy who quickly realized she was the most perfect, in every way perfectly perfect, baby in the whole world.

Fourteen years later, big brother still loves her and hasn't called her Baby in 13 years and 11 months. Dad is even more proud and brags about all her accomplishments to anyone who holds still for a second. And Mom has quickly realized she has the most perfect, in every way perfectly perfect, 14 year old in the whole world.

Happy Birthday, L! You've made our life better in every way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

To Get Through Sad Times....

To get through sad times, all I really need are God and my Mom's biscuits. A little homemade strawberry jam couldn't hurt either.

Last night, as my husband and I were driving into town from our date, the main road in was closed, but my husband, being the former cop that he is, said that's not road closure for construction. That's a closure due to an accident. The detour we took had us driving a cornfield away from the road we wanted and sure enough, we could see flashing lights in the dark. Lots of them.

Looks like a fatality, my former policeman hubby said.

He was right.

But what we didn't know then, and found out this morning when my husband got up at 5am to get ready for work and read an email from Pastor, was the person who died was someone we know.

Shocked doesn't even cover how we feel. There's a whole mess of sadness, tears, disbelief, and bewilderment mixing around in my heart.

I was undecided on going to church this morning. But as I sat in my living room, sipping coffee and wiping away tears and praying for my friend whose husband has unexpectedly passed, I knew I needed the comfort that church provides. I've tried to explain it to my husband, but he did not grow up in church, and doesn't understand the feeling of 'home' and 'just right' I get when I sit down in a pew and listen to the voice of Pastor or when we start singing songs of praise. This morning, I knew I needed to sing some songs and be reminded that God holds us all in his hand, even during the hard times we think we can't get through.

After church, I left feeling better. Then my Mom texted me, "fresh biscuits and strawberry jam" and I texted back, "I'll be there in a few."

Church gave me one kind of comfort, sitting at my Mom's table eating the best biscuits in the world and licking jam off my fingers gave me another. And that is how I am getting through a sad time today....

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Art Of Procrastination

There is an art to procrastination. It takes talent and gumption and skill.

First, I make a do-able list of the things I want to get done. On a lazy day off of work, I make the list not so terrible, like iron the 17 shirts, 2 skirts, and 1 pair of shorts that have taken up residence on my desk. I can iron and watch TV. Not too bad for a lazy day off work.

I can also throw some laundry in the wash. Folding the dry clothes can be done between breaks of book reading.

I throw in some fun errands like picking up books at the library, and go buy some peaches and cherries and yogurt and toilet paper at the grocery store.

All mixed in with that list of things to do is the idea that I will work on my scrap booking. I've got a plan, a will and a way.

So......of course, instead, I have to decide this morning is the morning the dogs and I will walk a long, long, long walk and eat up a an hour of our morning. I have to search craigslist for things I don't need but as soon as I see them, I desperately want them. Then I have to write some blog posts. Then I have to wander around picking up stray scraps of paper and sorting them into piles.

The next thing I know, it's four hours since I got up and all I can show for it is three worn out dogs, 4 piles of paper, and the clothes to iron has changed its location from the desk to the couch.

Artfully done, once again!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Bummer Of Rain And Convertables

I have a little red car that I love to put the top down and zip around in when the weather is warm. Or just not raining.

The bummer of it is that I forget to put the top back up. Constantly. And it is for certain that if I leave the top down, it will rain.

I am speaking from experience.

I woke up last night, woke my husband up, and asked if it would rain today because I just remembered I left the top down on the car. He said nope, no rain. Don't worry.

I went back to sleep and low and behold, today it is raining.

Rain in the summer is a huge bummer. All I want to do is leave the top down and have it ready for me to jump in and go....

Worse now, the insides of the car are damp and it will need to dry out before I want to get back in.

Sunshine, sunshine, where for art thou sunshine?

I could use some help in the drying out department. I'll just put the top down and let you do the rest.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Three Reasons I Love The 4th Of July

Twenty-one years ago, when I was almost 16, I remember standing by the old bakery with my friend and her boyfriend, watching our hometown parade and talking to people who walked by, when this cute guy we knew started to pass by us. We called him over and asked about how his summer was going and I remember thinking he is so cute and funny and he stayed the rest of the parade with us and my heart was a twitter.

Still is, actually.

Still love going down to our hometown parade with him, holding his hand as we talk to people we know.

Sixteen years ago, we were far from home, on the East Coast, 8 months pregnant with our first child, and feeling homesick for our usual 4th celebrations with family. Instead, we walked down to the beach and laid on a blanket watching the firework shows across the water in New York, talking about the baby we were expecting in a few weeks. It was pretty cool, actually! Not the same as we were used to, and the mosquitoes were crazy biting, but we had a good time and made a great memory.

Fourteen years ago, we were back in our hometown, back celebrating with family, watching the parade and walking up the hill to see our hometown fireworks show. I was a little less than 8 months pregnant with baby #2 and I remembering walking home in the dark, having contraction after contraction, thinking it's kind of early to be having such strong ones. It was, but 7 days later, we welcomed a 4 week early, 8 pound 13 ounce, baby girl into our family.

This day not only invokes feelings of patriotism for our country, our founding fathers, our soldiers, our American has strong memory ties to the three most important people in my life.

My husband, my son, my daughter.

This day signals the start of love, of birthday celebrations, of joy and wonder and the best events in my life. I love this day!

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The First Of July

Today was my first morning of summer vacation that I did not have to have my alarm go off before 6. With the dogs snuggled down all around me, I slept until 7. Then I stayed in bed until 7:30, because I enjoy that quiet peaceful moment first thing in the morning, when the house is silent and the dogs are curled under the covers and the kids are sound asleep and I know coffee is warm and waiting for me.

I got up, and the dogs started their crazy dancing and jumping and cavorting and when I looked out the window and saw sunshine, actual honest to God sunshine, I wanted to do the same crazy dancing and jumping and cavorting.

It's funny how the weather helps make my mood. Last night, with all the gray skies, rain clouds, and wet dampness, I felt sad. But this morning, this fresh, bright, blue sky peaking out around white clouds morning, I am renewed. I'm smiling and almost giddy with joy.

This first day of July is setting us up for our summer. Today I can look outside and see us eating dinner on our patio while the tiki torches burn and the dogs embarrass us by barking at every person who dares walk by our place. I see the promise of real summer and it is good!

So good and so promising, I ditched the cold cereal and celebrated this sunshine with buttered toast. Sometimes you've just got to celebrate the small things with other small joys.

Happy First of July!