I've taken a break from walking the dogs in the morning. My runners knee was acting up again, and I know from past experience, being dragged by three dogs does not help my knee at all. Once it felt better, my lazy started acting up too, and the lure of a cup of coffee and a good book was too hard to resist.
But I woke up this morning, determined to walk the dogs. I'm doing it. Knee felt good, lazy was pushed the the background, and I harnessed my beasts and told myself to just walk a mile. That's it. Just one measly mile.
At the half mile mark, I wished I didn't have a time constraint, that this wasn't a work morning and I didn't have to be anywhere by 8, because I wished to keep walking, past the one mile goal and on down the trail.
I'd forgotten what walking in the early morning brings to me. It's not just about exercise, it's about peace. There is nothing else going on, hardly any cars or people, I can hear the birds and watch the sun start to unfurl. Almost home, I started singing an old Sunday school song in my head (not out loud, because the morning was too peaceful for that kind of racket)......
I'm inright, outright, upright, downright, happy all the time......
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been happy this last week or so. It's the end of summer, end of vacation, end of my favorite season. It's the start of school, my son a senior, my daughter in drivers ed, and I've been on kind of a bummer trip.
This morning, I feel renewed. Walking: it's not just good for your cardiovascular system....it's good for your soul!
My daughter suggested that lost wasn't the right word to describe the situation, but I said what else would you call it when you go upstairs in the morning to tell something to your sleeping son and he isn't there, none of the boys are there, and the car is still in the driveway and he isn't answering texts or phone calls and you have no idea where he is.
Because after a 20 minute (slight) freak out where I went back upstairs and turned on all the lights to make sure I wasn't missing him under a lump of covers and went outside and looked in the car in case he is like his dad and sometimes falls asleep late at night in the seconds after he turns off the car before he opens the car door and left a message for him to call me because this wasn't cool at all, after all of that, I took a deep breath and thought where on earth could 4 teenage boys be at 7:30 in the morning on a day they can all sleep in?
If they aren't sleeping upstairs, where else could they be sleeping?
And just like that I remembered they had told me the night before that they were going to camp out in the trailer. I knocked on the trailer door and heard sleepy mumbling.
Whew. Not lost. Just forgot where he was.
I told him to ignore all 7 texts, 3 missed calls, and one voicemail. Every Mom gets to have a freak out or two, and this was one of mine!
Today, as I struggle to get ready for work, feeling weak and tired and not a little bit sick, that song from the 90's keeps running through my head....but only two lines of it because that is all I know....
I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
Sometime in the early hours between Sunday and Monday, I got hit with a terrible fever. Chills, aches, the whole nine yards. I might have even talked some nonsense, asking my husband to not tell my Mom I was sick because she would take my covers. Which, to my husband, made no sense at all, but to me, it made perfect sense. My childhood high fevers were spent shivering without covers and sometimes even a cold bath to get the fever down.
Today I feel better. No fever, just the general feeling of having been run over by a convoy of semi trucks. As I make myself presentable for work and plan dinner for tonight and try to remember the kid's schedule of the day, I'm just trying to get myself back up again.
For days I have sat at our computer desk and smelled an odd smell. Not good, but not terrible. Not findable either.
Today I was in the kitchen, and pulled the beater out of the cupboard and smelled that odd smell again. Only more potent.
I immediately flashed to the vent that is in the wall, connecting my cupboard and my computer desk in a smell, sound, and sight way, and thought, oh this is not going to be good.
I called my husband out to investigate (because it was that bad) and he got down to sniff the cupboard. His determination?
It smells like hillbilly breath.
Not sure when he became that acquainted with a hillbilly, but he insisted that is exactly what the smell was.
But he cleaned out the cupboard of it's onions and potatoes (some, I'm ashamed to say were in liquid form) and he threw them away outside and I stood in the kitchen kind of gasping for fresh air.
My husband has always said we aren't too far removed from hillbillies, and based on the taste that lingers in the back of my throat and my nose, I'm guessing if someone were to have an unfortunate encounter with me, they'd smell hillbilly breath.
Most days, I'm happy that my kids have so many great friends. Most days, I'm thrilled that our house is the hang out place. Most days, I'm pleased that our home is an open house and friends are in and out like immediate family.
Most days, I like it.
But the other days, I'm not as happy, thrilled or pleased. Days when I walk into our all ready messy, cluttered and hard to use mud room/laundry room/back porch and see this:
I know that bikes have a chance of being stolen here at our house (last count: 5 stolen), and I do not want another one to be taken, especially a friend's bike, I squeeze my way around the bike to get to dog food, shoes, and laundry.
This is actually the second day of the bike hanging out in the house. Today is not most days when I'm happy, thrilled and pleased. Today, I'm kind of wanting the bike to get back to wherever it should actually be!
But I also know that the owner of this bike is days away from moving out of state, and this bike won't be in my way too much longer.....I'm just going to let it hang out as long is it can. The owner is welcome to do the same.
1. His perfect baby hair swirled cowlick on the center of his forehead has grown out. When I see his hair flop towards his eyes, I am always amazed. That cowlick meant business.
2. He is so funny and creative and he always makes me laugh. Tacked to the bulletin board is a drawing of an octopus with the words "Historically Truthful Account of Octopi" and every time I see it, I chuckle.
3. He taught himself to play guitar and impresses me with the tunes I hear him strumming.
4. He is passionate about movies and loves to find obscure films, watch them over and over, get the family to watch too, and analyze every detail.
5. He has a kind heart. He is nice to little cousins and pain in the rear dogs.
6. He's not embarrassed to hug or to be told "I love you" in front of friends.
7. He is a snazzy dresser, his style is his own and he rocks it.
8. He is so like me, sometimes it's like gasoline and a lit match, but more times than not, it is PB&J.
9. He's filled my house with boys and made my old dreams of having six kids underfoot a reality.
10. Seventeen years ago today, he made me a mom and changed my life for the best. I held him in my arms, looked at my husband and said, "I am falling in love." I never knew it would feel like this, but I am oh so glad it does.
Seventeen years ago this week, I was starting the last week countdown until I would have a baby. I had no idea...this first baby was due Aug 26 and everyone says first babies are late and I just assumed I had weeks to go still.
So I spent this last week doing nothing to get ready. I had zero nesting impulses. The crib was in pieces, baby things were jumbled all over baby's room. I had packed a sour grape sucker and a book (a book I tells ya!) in my "going to the hospital" bag. I'm still not sure why I packed a book for labor and I never ate the sucker!
The only thing ready for the impending surprise birth was my heart and my arms. My arms to hold and to rock and my heart to love like I had never loved before.
It was over a month after our son was born before his crib was put together. Turns out tiny newborns are okay with tiny bassinets that fit just right next to Mommy's bed. Being perfectly ready is overrated anyway, I'm sure!
August 11 is a very nice day, but I'm not in any hurry to get it done with, partly because it is my birthday and birthday's should be savored and partly because I'm just not ready.
My Mom can tell it best, how 38 years ago that back ache was really labor and I appeared to be in no hurry to get down to the business of being born.
My husband could tell you that I still appear to be in no hurry to get down to the business of anything. And since we leave for our family vacation today, and I'm still not even close to ready, I think he would be right.
Procrastination took root in me early and has flourished!
Especially on such a nice day like today, being rushed just doesn't seem right. I will enjoy my birthday breakfast and I will supervise last minute packing, and when we hit the road (probably closer to 10 than I care to admit), there will be nothing left to procrastinate and I can just relax and enjoy a very nice day.
We have three dogs, two Beagles and one fluffy badger, and when we go camping, they go with us. Two out of three like camping, like getting in the car, like travelling.
Two out of three are allowed to come with us this time.
And no, the car sick one is not the one we are leaving at home. She can take a pill and overcome her illness.
No, we are leaving behind our lovely and sweet Sarah who can not stop peeing on our beds in the trailer. I'll take dog vomit in the backseat over soaking wet with pee bedding.
I understand why we are leaving her. She hates to travel, she refuses to eat the entire time we are on the road, and of course, the wet bed thing is really not acceptable. We've hired a house sitter, who knows and likes Sarah, and she will undoubtedly have way more treats than she would usually have....
But it makes me sad to think of leaving one of the family at home!
As I pack up today and we hit the road tomorrow, I keep reminding myself that she will be happier at home....
This is how I imagine she will look the entire week we are gone.
I'm really dog crazy. I'm hoping to not cry too much as we pull out of the driveway without her!!
My Mom can rock the park out of spaghetti and tacos and chicken soup and no one can touch her biscuits, but my childhood memory of my least favorite meal involves a vegetable that I use fairly regularly as an adult...and actually the meal itself is served at my own table weekly.
I'm talking stir-fry, heavy on the zucchini. As a kid, when this was served, it was a torturous ordeal, involving me (and my sisters) sitting at the table long after dinner was 'over', trying to finish our meal. We became adept at chewing fast, quickly, without really tasting, just to masticate it enough to swallow it down and be freed from our table shackles.
We grew up with a football field sized vegetable garden and zucchini was at least 3/4 of it. My step dad was going to school and we were a bit tight on the budget, so we ate what we grew. Any zucchini we couldn't eat, we'd take over to the campus mail room and leave in a free box. That still left a lot of zucchini for us.
I know as a Mom cooking, stir-fry is my friend. I throw a bunch of veggies in the pan, add some meat to the meat eaters plates, sauce it up with whatever Asian inspired flavors I am inspired by, and voila, a quick meal.
And I add zucchini to anything I feel like. I just tossed it into lasagna last night (chopped super fine to hide it from everyone) which actually could be the secret to my success.
I hid it. I cut it, slice it, grate it, dice it, then discretely add it to our meal.
The worst secret is: if I leave it big, I pick it out. Must be remnant of childhood directive that I can not escape!
Sweet Merciful McGillicuddy
There is no coffee in this house
The toilet paper is on its last square
The bag of bread has one heel left
The cracker sleeve is full of crumbs
The PB jar is scrapping empty
But the worst thing of all
Not Enough Dog Food To Feed Three Starving Dogs
(Starving is their word not mine)
But I will change out of my pajamas
Throw my hair up in a crazy ponytail
And go to the store
And buy coffee and tp and bread and
Then our morning can proceed as regularly scheduled.
It's been 19 years since we said, "I do." That seems so hard to believe! I don't feel much older than I did when I arrived in front of the little white church, and saw my guy in his dress blues, with such an intense look on his face.
I wanted to say, "Lighten up Frances!"
Kidding, I didn't want to. When I saw how serious he was, I couldn't help but grin. We might have been young, but we were committed to each other and the idea of marriage being forever. His intense seriousness made my heart skip. This wasn't child's play. This was real.
This is real.
Today I have our wedding song running through my head. Well, to be honest, I've been singing it all week. The moment we first heard this song (in the movie theater because we LOVE George Strait and if he wanted to be an actor, we were going to be his #1 fans) we both agreed. This song is us, and all that we hoped would be us.
I cross my heart and promise to
Give all I've got to give to make all your dreams come true
In all the world you'll never find a love as true as mine
You will always be the miracle that makes my life complete
And as long as there's breath in me, I'll make yours just as sweet
As we look into the future, it's as far as we can see
So let's make each tomorrow be the best that it can be.
Nineteen years, I still feel the same. Only more so. I cross my heart and promise.
I am not quite like my daughter, in her severe dislike of used silverware or cups or anything she might eat food off of, but I do find some things I pick up thrifting slightly suspect, a little gross even.
When I found this little wire frame vanity stool, I could barely stand to touch it because of the green cloth covering it. It was dirty and made my skin crawl. But for $4, I thought it was a good deal, and I knew exactly what vintage piece of fabric I was going to use to recover it.
I took it home and after gearing myself up to the ordeal of touching that fabric, I proceeded to unscrew and unstaple. As I was pulling the staples out, it was clear that it had more fabric underneath the green. That just would mean more staples to pull!
As I pulled the last staple of the green cover, I spread it opened, and prepared to turn over the brown covered seat to see what was so awful that someone had to use that ugly green stuff to hide it. I said to my daughter, "I'm scared!" and she laughed.
I turned it over and gasped. I was not expecting to see this hand painted loveliness!
It is beautiful! I guess I'll save that vintage fabric for a different project. This chair is perfect just as it is.
My husband is wild about ice cream. He loves it. Given a choice of treats, he wants ice cream. I want cookies or cake or brownies or just about anything but ice cream.
Not sure why, because I do like it. I have a favorite (Tillamook Mudslide) and I really do enjoy it.
But I usually am the voice of reason when my husband wants to run down to the store for ice cream. There are so many reasons why we don't need it, why we shouldn't have it, why we're better off without it....
Today provided the only reason why I don't raise any objections.
It is Hot.
And nothing sounds better than putting my feet up, and enjoying a cold bowl of ice cream. My husband was gone in seconds after I said yes to ice cream!
The sweetest thing that happened to me today, the sweetest, nicest, kindest, bestest thing that happened today, was the dishes were done when I got home from work.
My guy is on a roll! First, the remote control was mine last night, and now today, I came home to a clean kitchen!
It has struck me that it is the little things, the every day things, the filled up gas tank or the sack lunch packed, that have made our days so much better. I do not need to be whisked to Paris, France for love and enchantment. All I need is a moment in our day to quietly hold his hand, and I am romanced.
The sweetest words I heard today came from my husband. We're shockingly kid-less at dinner time and usually that unexpected event has us running out the door to have dinner out on the town.
But we have realized that this kid-less moment is really a taste of what is to come with college looming in our future and we have got to learn how to cook for two again. I suggested chicken salad sandwiches, because we love them and our kids hate them and my husband suggested the sweetest thing....
"Let's watch the Olympics."
Now, that might not seem sweet or romantic, but this year I've developed a yearning to watch the Olympics. I want it on even if I'm not really into the event I'm watching (men's volleyball, sorry, I'm talking to you) but the rest of my family has been kind of of ho-hum about the whole thing.
The key to my heart turns out to be kindness and control of the remote!
Thanks, babe. It's been a perfect evening, just the two of us and the Olympics.
Your days are meant to be spent in the sun, the grass prickling beneath feet, books stacked high, ice water melting, sunblock perfuming skin.
Your evenings are destined for barbecues, backyard eating, cake and ice cream parties, soaking in the last rays of the setting sun, legs stretched out and arms relaxed in the moment of bliss.
August, you are my favorite month. You are celebration month: my birthday, my anniversary, my son's birthday, and if my daughter hand't jumped the gun and held steady with her due date, her birthday month would be you too. You are vacation month, and camping month and swimming in the river month and wringing every last drop out of summer month.
You are the crowning glory to summer and I treasure you above all other months!