Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When It Rains, It Snows....

Oh wait, that might just be in the Pacific Northwest!

I walked to work today, braved the wind and the cold, and mostly, just had to since we are a three driver family with only two cars.  I got to work with my bangs not too crazy, my skirt stayed modest (the wind has been playing havoc with my skirts) and a brisk, rosy cheeked, chill.

But when I left the office an hour later to run up to the hospital, it was a different story.  It was raining.  Heavy, splattering drops of rain.  Totally do-able.  Up went my trusty old umbrella and onward I trekked.....Only to get halfway there and the rain became less rain and more snow.  Heavy, splattering, wet flakes of snow.

And it was cold!  And the wind threatened to carry my umbrella off, but not me ala Mary Poppins, just the umbrella.  Once inside the hospital I knew I had to go all the way back down to our office.  It was snowraining even harder, of course, and the wind was blowing it UP into my face.

I made it to the office, papers only slightly damp, umbrella still in my possession, thankful for pencil skirts that don't flap around like a can-can dancer and a cup of hot coffee to chase the chill away.

The walk home later wasn't snowy. Just a dumping downpour of rain, soaking me to the skin.

Still glad I walked, though!  Worth every wet minute.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinner By Mom

Today, an unexpected surprise.  A text from my mom, asking me if I had dinner planned.  She knows I usually have dinner planned, sometimes in the crock pot, anything to make the dreaded witching hour after work of being hungry and tired manageable!

I was planning on a 'dump' chili, as in, I open a bunch of cans, dump them in a pot, and simmer it for 30 minutes.  So, no plans that couldn't be postponed!

And that is how a huge casserole found it's way to my oven.....

What a wonderful thing, to live close enough to Mom that a surprise dinner is an event that totally happens!  And to have a son who can drive over to pick it up, and a daughter who can come home from play practice and put it in the oven!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Perfect Storm Of A Monday

A dog leaped over it's fence to have an aggressive confrontation with the girls and I (it lost).  The truck tire was flat, the motorcycle wouldn't start.  Tupperware and a matching lid for a lunchtime salad could not be found.  Dishes were stacked from last night's party.  The walk to work was so cold.

The computers at work were not firing on all cylinders.  Papers started piling up.  Birthday and sympathy cards were making rounds and inspiration did not flow from my pen. The office was chilly.  So much so, I turned off my mini desk fan (which is NEVER turned off) and I pulled my coat over my legs and cupped a mug of hot coffee and shivered.

Walked home in the cold, and found all those dishes still stacked.

But my husband was fixing the tire.  His motorcycle fired off on the first try.  We laughed at how three smallish dogs scared a much bigger dog off.  We did the dishes together.  He sat on the counter as I put rice on to go with our simmering curry.

And we talked.

And suddenly, all those conditions that had met to create a perfect storm of a Monday, faded away.

It doesn't hurt that he makes a kick ass margarita!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Tripping, Part Two

The open road beckoned
Spontaneous destinations welcomed
Some money was lost and casino'd
Antiques were shopped and purchased
Cookies were shared,
Dinner savored,
A movie enjoyed,
Home again, home again,
Blissfully renewed.

My apologies to my daughter, and any other Beatles fan, who thought yesterday's post was about the Fab Four!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day Tripping

Day Tripping
Just me and my guy
Driving through
Rainy countryside
Sandwiches packed
Mochas cooling
Hands held
My left, his right
Smiles big
Anticipation brimming
Eyes on the horizon
Adventure begins!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Trouble With Imaginations

The trouble with imaginations, or mine in particular, is that my mind is captured by the fantasy world, by the what ifs and what would I have done questions.  I think about the books I've read, the articles, the movies and shows I've watched and I find that it is easy for me to get wide eyed with fright.

If I watch too many zombie shows, I find myself looking for zombies.  And when I'm looking for them, I find an inordinate amount of solitary figures, standing in empty parking lots, not moving but a slight sway back and forth.  My husband, being rational, asked if the person was smoking.  Zombie's do not smoke.  One was, the others were just behaving spooky.

If I watch too many episodes of "Justified," I find that I can not look over at the hillbilly compound next to the trail I walk, for fear the reclusive inhabitants will see me and think I'm taking an inordinate amount of interest in their business.  I have a fondness for apple pie moonshine, and I do not want to be constantly on my guard, waiting for the dreadful words, "It was already in the glass," signifying I've crossed the wrong person and will suffer a quick and painful death.

But this morning's imagination musings take the cake.  I had just read a magazine article about the tragic and horrific exotic animals killed in Ohio a few months ago.  I'm not a fan of zoos, and that 'animal farm' was so much worse than a zoo.  As I was washing my hair (since the shower is where I do a lot of my thinking) I started thinking of what it must have been like to look outside and see a tiger in your field.  Scary, to say the least.  Or a bear!  Frightening!

At that moment I heard the lumbering crashing noise that only a bear in my dining room could make.

Wide eyed with fright, once again.  Darn you, imagination!!!

P.S.  There was no bear, but my dogs were all looking suspiciously angelic.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Wish I Could....

I wish I could quit wasting my regular day off on chores.  It's not wasted exactly, since the house is clean at the end of the day and everyone has clean underwear and I feel pleased in a bone tired sort of way.  But I wish I could send the kids off to school and not do a darn thing I didn't want.

I'd quit the laundry, the dusting, the dog bathing, the errands, and I would stay in my comfy pants and drink copious amounts of coffee and eat a large bowl of fruit-o's for breakfast.  I'd make a groove on the couch and watch reruns of "The Golden Girls" and find a good book to fall into.

Instead, I will eat plain cheerios for breakfast because I know it's better for me than that delicious fruity cereal.  I've got 5 loads of laundry sorted, ready to cycle through.  I have a dust problem so bad I could build little dusty 'snow'men.  I have my grocery list in hand ready to shop sensibly.

But I have decided I am going to stay in my comfy pants.  It is my day off after all!

This post inspired by prompt #4 at Mama's Losin' It!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Fork Of A Different Set

In my childhood, I did childish things, like setting the table with one unmatched plate, given to the person in the family I was not too keen on at that moment.

Current plates are all matching in our household, but we've acquired a few forks that do not belong to us.  Remembering my childhood, I have started calling it the fork of hate when the table is set and dinner is served, and I find that odd fork at my place.

I dislike those forks.  Not for the same reasons my daughter hates them (she doesn't like to use "used" silverware) but because they don't feel right in my hand.  The heft is all wrong!  I complain about that different fork, because I know I have a drawer full of matching (in "my" pattern) forks.  Why do I keep getting the fork of a different set?

The other day when we sat down for dinner, my daughter found the odd fork at her place.  She asked my son to trade forks before the meal, and he said no way.  I looked at my regular, beloved, fork, finally one of my own, and I looked at her holding the odd fork.

Like any good mother will do, I traded forks with her.  Now when I see that fork of a different set, I don't think of it as the fork of hate.  I think of it as a reminder of a mother's love for her children, of giving and sacrificing and it all being worth it to see her children smile.  I am reminded that sometimes the simplest of things is the kindest of things.

I get all that and more when I see one of those different forks.  So long, forks of hate.  Hello, forks of motherhood!  I'm not above trying to get them back to their rightful homes, but I no longer complain when one is at my place.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Secret To Leftover Sauce

Back to the stove top yesterday, and I managed to not scorch my spaghetti sauce.  It was delicious!  But a little sad since earlier in the afternoon my nephew had cried as he left, "I stay for dinner!"

The secret to leftover sauce is baked spaghetti.  I can stretch a cupful of sauce into a pan of dinner.  Calling it baked spaghetti is not quite right because I use 'fun' pasta like bow ties or mezze penne so it feels less like leftovers.

I present exhibit A

And exhibit B

Just one serving left, and rumor has it my son has claimed it for his lunch tomorrow.  Asked how he heats things up at school, he says he doesn't.  It's that good, he will eat it cold!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Day Off

It's a day off, a pot of decent coffee, and a nephew visiting, which is the perfect reason why I should just sit back and enjoy the day.

Granted, while he was eating his first package of fruit snacks of the day, I did the dishes.  But now it's a second cup of coffee and one of my favorite movies and no rush.

My day off is off to a very good start!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thank You Some More


I forgot to say thank you today. And yesterday.

And actually, the day before that.

So I will catch up and say

thank you,thank you, thank you

And thank you some more!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Secret Of The Sauce

Almost the only thing I took into the cooking part of our marriage is my ability to make spaghetti sauce from scratch.  It is almost a dump sauce, where most ingredients come from cans, and it is heavenly.  My Mom taught it to my sister, who tweaked it into perfection and wrote it down for me.

So we started off our married life with me able to make spaghetti sauce and a plethora of casseroles, all cream soup based.  The casserole phase has long since passed (I'm not even sure my kids ever tasted one of my tried and true classics) but the spaghetti sauce remained.  It is the meal I make for special occasions, for romantic dinners, for Christmas.

This weekend I have one small, dairy free, nephew staying with us and I know he has eaten and liked spaghetti at our house before.  While he is starting a movie, I throw the ingredients into the pan and leave it to simmer.

The secret of the sauce is the simmer. All those tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, mushrooms, spices, and red wine vinegar, roll around in an aromatic slow boil.  The secret of the sauce is the occasional stirring during the simmer.  A watched pot of sauce cooks the best.

All of which I forgot as I got sucked into "Horton Hears A Who".....I know, it would be understandable if I got immersed in "Shrek" but "Horton"?  I was snuggled on the couch with nephew #4 and dog #2 when I suddenly remembered the sauce.   Actually, I suddenly smelled the sauce, and not in the good way.

Scorched doesn't even begin to describe it.  The sauce looks so lovely, but the taste.  Oh, the horror!  And the pan has suffered greatly too.

It's back to the drawing board for dinner!  Meanwhile, little nephew has found that we have a bowl of Valentine heart candy......he's pretty sure that is all he needs!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I See You, Blinking Light

I see you, blinking light on the phone signalling a message has been left.  I see you, and I am ignoring you.

The phone rings off the hook lately, but thanks to caller ID, I know that most the time it is telemarketers, a radio survey that has a serious jones for my husband, my daughter's friends because they can't reach her on her cell, my Grandpa calling to ask my husband how the new job is, or the library.

The library leaves long messages telling me I've got holds waiting or books overdue.  Since I am not ready to return my overdue book, I'm going to ignore the message.

By tomorrow morning, I'll be able to face you.  I will have finished my book by then!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Tale Of The Sample

I work in a family practice clinic, in medical records.  Way back when I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a nurse.  I took a course called "Health Occupations" which would result in me being a certified nursing assistant at the end of the year, but after some on the job training, I learned it wasn't really my calling.  I did learn what was: records.

I love keeping records.  I love filing and organizing and maintaining.  And that is what I have done ever since, minus about 15 years for child raising.  

At my office, I am sometimes asked to run stat labs up the hill to our hospital.  I don't mind, and getting out in the fresh air is always a huge plus.  One cold winter's day, I was asked to run a sample to the hospital lab.  I said no problem, donned my heavy coat and gloves and took the red plastic bag in hand and briskly walked to the lab.

When I handed the sample over, the tech took the orders out to verify all the correct information was there and then she said, "It's really cold out, isn't it?"

I thought she was making weather chit-chat and replied, "Yes, freezing!"

She smiled and said, "Next time, I need you to keep this kind of sample warm.  Zip it up inside your coat.  These little guys are no good if they get too cold."

My smile froze.  What exactly was I carrying around without a care?  

I went back down to the office, found the nurse, and told her the sample might have gotten too cold to be viable. I'd carry over her labs anytime, but I would never, EVER, tuck a sample inside my coat, to keep sperm warm.  

I went to my desk of papers and folders and nothing that needed to be warmed by body heat and was never so happy to be back at my work!

This post inspired by prompt #5 at  Mama's Losin' It!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I'm Finding Happiness In Composting

My daughter wanted us to compost years ago, but I said no thanks.  My number one issue is our neighborhood has a slight rat problem (just a slight one but one that did result in our darling puppy dragging in a mummified rat carcass years ago), and our three dogs love rats and rotten funky smells (and a compost is nothing if not a rotten funky smell fest).  The dogs would be in heaven and I'd be scared to walk outside.

A few weeks ago, a flyer from Waste Management arrived in our mailbox, touting the joys of composting and did you know, you can put all those pesky food scraps and coffee grounds in the yard debris bin?  For weekly pick up? 

I did not not know.  So, I got out a weird little bowl that I don't like and I dubbed it the composting bowl, with reminders to the family of what can go in it, and to dump it every day (maybe more, depending on the smell) and rinse the bowl out at night so it will be clean and not too gross.

It's not a unanimous family decision.  It is a bit like having a garbage can on the counter, and yes, people have as good of aim for it as they do for the actual garbage can (less than 100% accurate) and I have not been super hardcore about it.  I'm not sold on it myself.

But the reason I persevere is simple: the yard debris/compost bin is the best way I've ever found to dispose of pizza boxes. 

The happiness at not clogging up the garbage can or trying to recycle the ungreased parts of the box,  or our neighbors having no idea we've eaten pizza twice in a week (one night was all for the kids but the neighbors won't know that, all they will see is 6 boxes and think holy cow) is so worth the hassle of a compost bowl!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Freaks O' Mine

This will come as no surprise to those who know us, but my children are freaks of natures.  I've said it to my kids, so they know it, but they don't really know because it's just natural to them.  They are freaks in the fact that they hardly ever, almost never, very rarely fight.

They are siblings who get along.

The few times they do fight, it is very unsettling for us as parents.  It is such an unusual happening, it throws our whole family groove off.

My son is the oldest and he never looked on his new baby sister as a thing to be jealous of.  She was just a boring old baby.  Then when she was older, and not so boring, she thought her big brother was the best thing in the world.

A few weeks ago, with the start of orchestra practice, my daughter needed to be picked up after school at 4:30, five days a week.  The job of chauffeur fell to my son, after all, he has a license now!  The first pick up was a disaster.  Some teasing that wasn't taken as teasing and a bad mood or two and they were Not Happy with each other.

After talking to each kid and saying 'ignore teasing' to one and 'this is a job you have to do' to the other, that was it.  One sort of fight, and the next day, and all the days since, no problems.

This is why I love these freaks o' mine!  I have no idea how we got so lucky, to have two kids who like each other and like hanging out with each and get along so wonderfully.  They're laid back, easy going, kind and funny selves are just the bee's knees.

The freaky bee's knees, and I am so proud of them!

This post inspired by the daily prompt at NaBloPoMo

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sandwich Thoughts

If someone is inside my circle of trust, it doesn't matter if blood is thicker than water.  If I count someone as mine, it doesn't matter if we share genetic coding.  If I care about someone, that is all it will take for me to go crazy mama bear in defense.

If someone eat meals with our family and spends the night frequently, and in my morning question for the kids of, "Do you need me to pack you a sandwich?" I hear someones voice say, "Yes," I will pack someone a sandwich.

And tell someone to ignore my kids who are saying I make the worst sandwiches.  I just happen to believe that when packing a lunch, sandwiches go in the bottom of the bag and everything else gets piled on top.  If my sandwich doesn't have the imprint of an apple on it, it's just not as good as it could have been.

For the record, the only sandwich that I squished today was my own.  And it was delicious!

This post inspired by today's prompt at NaBloPoMo

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shout To The Lord

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing.

Thankfully, that doesn't say let us sing the right notes because I can't.  I can't clap out a beat (so don't try to follow me when I'm at a concert, I'm just trying to mimic the crowd) and I can't read music (music classes and a painful year of piano lessons cemented that fact) and I can't hear if something is being played right or not (that does mean I enjoy recitals with all levels of expertise).

But I love music.  I love a good song.  I can make a joyful off key noise and I can shout out of tune with exuberance.  If you glance over your shoulder to see who is doing that and it's me, well, I'd say I'm sorry but I am really not.

It sounds good to me and your attention only makes me louder....even when I don't know all the words.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Miss Jon Stewart

When my husband was between jobs recently, we got into the habit of staying up late to watch Jon Stewart.  I should be honest here, my husband stayed up late to watch Jon Stewart.  It was always iffy as to whether I'd actually make it or if I'd be starting to fall asleep.  But that was okay.  I liked falling asleep to the sound of my husband's laughter, and in the morning he'd tell me what the funny jokes were and we'd agree, it's one of those retellings that ends with 'you had to be there' to make it hysterically funny.

Now we're back on a work schedule, and while we love the new job, it means such an early morning start that my husband is asleep by 9 every night.  No more Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  We've talked about setting the show up to record, but haven't.  What if Jon Stewart isn't as funny in the light of day?  That seems unlikely, given that we find him to be Hilarious with a capital H, but it would be weird to watch the show in daylight, instead of just the glow of the TV.  I guess we could close all the blinds and create a mock nighttime feel.....

Oh how I miss Jon Stewart!  He tickles my nighttime funny bone.....that is, when I'm awake enough!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Close Enough To Holler

This town I live in, this small town, dairy town, home town, is my favorite place to live.  I can say that because I've lived in lots of different places.  But even as a child, if you asked me where I was from, I would trace my roots back to this little dot on the map.  The pull of it wrapped around my heart and never let go.

This is the town of my family.  My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  The stories my mom told of her growing up years involved landmarks like Swede Hill and Silvana, Grange Hall dances and berry picking on the Loop.  I would go back to visit my family and I would see those things of fabled glory, and I'd feel a thrill.  This is the place where it all happened.

When I was in high school, my family moved back to town.  I was giddy.  I walked the halls of the same high school my grandparents did.  I had teachers who had taught my parents and aunts and uncles.  And I wanted nothing more than to stay right here.

But, the guy I loved wanted to join the Coast Guard and that meant moving.  He joined, we married, and I moved.  I wouldn't have missed those adventures for anything, but when we had our son, both of our thoughts turned to home, to family and how much we missed them and they missed us.

We left active duty life without a backward glance and moved home, because that is what this town is: home.  We settled in, had a second baby, and thanks to my Mom's everything, we bought our first house.   Five years later, I was walking in our neighborhood and saw a house for sale.  We walked through it, and knew.  This was it.  Our kids will pack us out of here to a nursing home.

So here we live, on a corner lot on a hill where we can see the top of town buildings, look out into the valley, see the dip where the river rolls through.  After a few years, my Mom bought a house two blocks one way from us, my youngest sister bought a house a few blocks the other way.

I live close enough to holler.  And if I'm feeling particularly loud, I'm sure my sister in Seattle can hear me too!

I've slid into home base and the ump has called it.  Safe!

This post inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Cho-Cho-Choose You

Family is family
Tied with red cord
Linking and joining and passing along
Likes and dislikes and familial quirks
Eye color, hair color, height short and tall
Been there forever, always will be
Fate chosen, threads woven, generationally

But you, my dear man,
Are something much more
You are the one I simply adore
In the great words of spiky haired Lisa
Said to Chief Wiggum's Ralphie boy
"I Cho-Cho-Choose You"
And that my dear man
Means I'll choose you and choose you
And choose you again.

This post inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo and prompt # 5 at Mama's Losin' It!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lone Buffalo

My husband just told me I'm like that one lone buffalo that stands away from the rest of the herd, chewing my grass and giving huffy snorts to any other buffalo who dare to wander over into my space.  I'm just not a herd animal.

True.  I won't argue that!

I've always been happiest doing my own thing.  I'm not anti-social, exactly, but I have thought I'd do well being a hermit mountain man.

Today's prompt asked if we had a friend who was practically a brother or sister.  I don't.  I have two sisters who have filled that sibling roll so very nicely, and even better, they fill the friend roll perfectly.  I don't have to explain anything about me because they know it already.  We like the same sort of movies and books and can spend hours discussing anything that pops into our minds.

We do get into arguments, we are human after all!  But we also know how to forgive and move on.  Although, we probably will never play Pictionary again, that's okay.  We have so many other games to choose from!

And this huffy Buffalo is okay sharing my lovely green grass with my fellow huffy sister Buffalo......

This post is inspired by the daily prompt at NaBloPoMo

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Playing Favorites

Is picking favorites fair?  Not usually in my book.  But I have favorites....I do!....even though I am a firm believer it isn't fair....I have favorites.

I have favorite memories of all my aunts and uncles, of horses saddled up and ridden slow, of the best scrambled eggs in the world, of dune buggies and strobe lights.  I have favorite memories of my cousins, of babysitting days, make believe games, performances put on for parents.  I have favorite memories of my in laws, of camping trips across the country, of New Years Eve parties, of Snapple left as a surprise gift.

But how could I pick just one?

I can't.

So I will pick the family member that has me the most excited, a member of our family that isn't even known (although I have a guess and I've guessed right 13 out of 14 times) favorite is a blessing , an expected delight, a new baby.

Niece or Nephew?  We'll know in May!  And right now, when this little peanut is making its presence known, popping out in a cute pregnant tummy, it is my favorite!  It's the joy of a new life, and I am quite beside myself with excitement.

This post inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo

Monday, February 6, 2012

In Praise Of My Grandpa

Grandfathers are plentiful, but none are like mine.
He is funny and loving and stern and wonderful.
His help kept me ogre free, certified my first car was a good deal, finished a roofing project when my hubby was unexpectedly deployed.
He tells a silly story with a straight face, wrote a terrific history of Swede Hill, walked me down the aisle on my long ago wedding day, and told me I picked a great guy (he's so right).
As a kid, hugs from him were taken for granted.  As an adult, not so much.  Every hug is treasured.
I've grown up knowing, without any doubts, that if I needed anything, he is just a phone call away. 
I am so blessed.
And so is he.  I'm one of 11 grandkids, and we are all pretty awesome!

This post inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Superbowl Sunday Means To Me

Superbowl Sunday means good food and funny commercials. Our party has little to do with football.  Growing up with all girls, it never even occurred to me to watch the Superbowl...until my sister married her sports loving husband and suddenly, we are a Superbowl family.

Sort of.

If by "Superbowl family" I can mean a group of people who gather to "watch" the game, but mostly eat too much food, play games too loudly, and are completely unaware of which teams are playing in this football extravaganza.

I had so much fun!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's 7:30 In The Morning.....

It's 7:30 in the you know where your dogs are?  I know where mine are.  Sitting on my bed giving me the hopeful eye, with an occasional wet nose snuffle to my face.  As alarm clocks go, it's not too bad.    Of course, being that it's Saturday, and I was not really wanting to jump out of bed, it was a little harder to like.

But when I opened my eyes and saw three sets of brown eyes, I forgave them.  I got up, got dressed, got walking.  There was the usual hassle with putting on their harnesses; you'd think since all three are so eager to get walking, and it's been a harness kind of walk since the they were puppies, that putting the harness on wouldn't be so traumatic.  Well, one out of the three disagrees with that, but once I get her on the leash, she is ready to forgive me for the harness.

Then we walk.  It's cold and crisp and frosty.  Being as it's 7:30 on a Saturday, we don't meet any other walkers.  We do see two people warming up their cars and I discovered that all three dogs live in mortal fear of  the cloud of billowing exhaust.  Okay, we will cross the street to avoid that.  There are no other dogs out in yards to bark at, but one of the dogs never forgets a place where barking occurred, and she strains against her leash as we walk past.

In the home stretch, we all slow down a little.  They have breakfast waiting at home and I have my first cup of coffee, but that last half block is not as fast as the other 1.5 miles.  Once we go inside, we are faced with responsibilities: for me it's tons of laundry, for the girls it is staying in our yard.

This is how our half hour walks turn into hour long walks......

Friday, February 3, 2012

Find Us With Laughter

In our family, my two sisters and I have a tradition a decade old, of packing up kids and cars and driving down the coast to Seaside.  We fill our weekend with fish and chips, beach combing, sand castle building, big hole digging, salt water taffy, the best pizza we've ever discovered, story telling and laughter.

Our kids hear stories of their mothers, as told by their aunts, and our memories are very, very long.  Not always 100% accurate, we leave nothing out.  We laugh loud and clear and distinctive over each story, clearly enjoying each retelling.

Our kids could find us in a crowded room by following the sound of our merriment!

I love that our kids are growing up with the knowledge that siblings, who fought like cats and cats as children, can emerge into adulthood as friends.  Not only friends, but friends who can travel together, share one hotel room and a single bathroom, split the cost of pizza and share the leftovers, enjoy the beach in rain or shine (usually rain), and still come back to do it again.

Of course, now that our first trip party of five has grown into party of 12 proportions, with a new baby on the way, we don't share one room.  We have several, and our doors are always open, kids run in and out, visits are made for lunch or late night parties (after the youngsters have gone to bed) and it is good.

These things join our memories, and find us with laughter.

This post is inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Everyday Presence

Talking about my Dad is a tricky thing.  I want to share, but I do not want pity or sympathy or comforting words, and when I start off with the key part of our relationship, kind and lovely people tend to say they are sorry, as any normal person would.

I was four years old when my dad died. 

This single event shaped me into who I am as a woman, wife and mother.  My memories do not have a point to start from without the knowledge that my dad was gone.  I grew up with the extreme awareness that life is uncertain and time is not something you always have.  It instilled a driving need to imprint myself on my children, so they would know me and remember me.  I desperately wanted to be a presence in their everyday moments.

I know that my Dad was handsome and smart.  He loved music and on family bike rides, my baby seat was on his bike and he rocked an awesome 1970's mustache.  He was in the Navy (briefly), he was a fisherman off the coast of Alaska, and he was a volunteer fireman.  I know there is so much more that makes up him, the guy that is my Dad, but I really only need to know one thing. 

He loved me and he told me and my sister every day.  I treasure that knowledge, albeit gleaned second hand from my Mom, but it is very good knowledge to own.  I, in turn, have daily told my children I love them.  It's so common at our house, their friends expect to hear me say it every morning as they all walk out the door.

"Bye!  Have a good day!  I love you!"

And their very expectations mean that I have succeeded.  I am present in my children's daily life.  I am so very blessed!

This post is inspired by the prompt of the day at NaBloPoMo and prompt number 1 at Mama's Losin' It!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Quite A Mirror

What is my Mom like?  Sometimes I think I am like her and she is like me.  I catch a glimpse of a photo and my brain thinks 'Mom' but with a longer look I know it is really me.  Not a mirror image in appearance or attitude, but enough alike that no one would ever mistake us for strangers.

My Mom is all those good things we all say about our moms: strong and smart and loving and kind and just about the greatest thing since the invention of toast.

She showed me that moms always sacrifice for their children.  She showed me that love is patient.  She showed me that sometimes the cranky and the responsible need to be thrown off, the pouting children forgiven and fun needs to be had.  She showed me that one on one mom and child time is crucial and it never gets too old.  I'm 37 and treasure my dates when it's just her and me.

My Mom's life reads like a novel, the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the romance and love and through it all I learned that hard times are gotten through, home is the place that cradles your heart, a hair pin turn is not a dead end, and a loving family is the greatest of things.

When I am sick and low, she is the cry on my lips.  When I am joyful and giddy, she is the listening ear I can't wait to tell.  When I am just me, prickly and sweet, she is pleased.

It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops in our life, but she did a darn good job and I appreciate it.  My kids appreciate it.  If I am a good Mom, it is because she showed me how.