Saturday, September 29, 2012


I am home right now, a brief pause between hospital visits, to help my daughter get ready for the homecoming dance.  I've played with her hair (a novelty here!) and did her make up, advised her on the right shoes and whether she should take a sweater.

And as soon as she says she's ready, we are off to visit her Dad up at the hospital, because before leaving for a dance, she wants Dad to give her a thumbs up.

He's doing okay, with surgery scheduled on Monday, and so ready to be home.  Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and prayers.  Much appreciated!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finding Jello On The Bright Side

Today I was sitting in the hospital cafeteria  looking out the windows at a zen sand garden, with its rake lines and little rocks, and I could not figure out how it is raked.  It had no doors leading to it and it's on a little balcony on the second floor.  I sat and drank a soda and snacked on chips and pondered the whole baffling mystery, instead of what I could have been doing.

Today I could have been sitting there, worried out of my mind, as my husband goes through a series of tests. Six years ago, on Christmas Eve, I told him he was not allowed to go home and go to bed because I didn't think he had the flu.  He had to go to the ER, and it is a testament to how weak he was, that he did not argue with me and went meekly to the hospital, where 11 units of blood later, we knew he had a GI bleed, but where and what have always remained a mystery.

On Monday of this week, he said he thought he was having the same thing happen.  So we began another adventure over the last several days, to the doctors, to the lab, to the doctors, to the lab, to the surgeons, to the hospital, to the doctors, to the lab, to the hospital, to the surgeons, to the doctors.

And as he has gone paler and weaker, I have tried not to worry.

Today I just sat and stared out the window and while I didn't find any zen exactly, I didn't spend two hours worrying either.   I know I have God to thank for that worry free wait, and all the people who have been praying for us.

As more prayers are answered and could be worries are solved before they become full fledged, I know we are very blessed.  My husband has more tests set up for tomorrow, but this time around, they have found where he is bleeding from.  Next step, stopping it!

But I'm not going to worry about that.  I feel pretty confident that if God has the whole world in His hands, and I know that He does, He's got this itty bitty bleed under control too.

The bright side of all of this is my husband can eat all the jello he wants, and since he is mad crazy for jello, he wants as much as he can get.  At the hospital, a jello cup was such a wonderful treat, we couldn't help but laugh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The First Day Of Fall?

I am shaking the wrinkles
Out of packed away sweaters
And folding up summer capris
The furnace switch has been
Flipped back to on
To keep our mornings warm
The calendar proclaims
It was the first day of fall
On Saturday, September 22
But by my own schedule
It's fall when I pull out the tights
And I'm holding off 'till October 1.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Like A Good Neighbor

Our neighborhood isn't one for block parties or social gatherings much beyond nodding to each other and an occasional meet up at the shared fence.

But we are good neighbors....making sure homes are secure when vacations are taken.....leashing run-away dogs and walking them fact, my first introduction to one of our neighbors was an early morning, me in my pajamas, him on the back porch, holding our little Sadie and telling me he'd found our puppy.

We've commiserated over parking woes and neighborhood break-ins and we've shared fire works on the fourth of July and huge amounts of fresh ripe cherries.  We're neighborly.

Friday morning I left the house, late for work, in a hurry, and as I drove away, I realized that it was garbage day, and our can was still up by the carport.  Oh well, it was too late for me to do anything about it.  Next week would have to be two cans.

But when I arrived back home that night, our can was out in the alley with all the other cans.  Maybe I hadn't noticed it this morning?

Our neighbor came over later to ask if it was okay that when he noticed our can was missing from the group, he dragged it down for us.  Was it okay?  Oh, yes!  Beyond okay, even.  Feel free to bring it out any Friday we forget.

After all, it's what any good neighbor would do!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where's My Vanessa?

I usually avoid reading 'working mom' magazines or books because it never seemed to be written for me, with sad stories of feeling torn between work and kids and how to do it all.  I'm not trying to do it all, I'm just trying to do enough. And truthfully, most sounded too boring to read.  Today at work, as I opened mail, I saw a magazine that caught my eye, with big words proclaiming it had a schedule for working Moms who are feeling tired and burned out.

Hmm.  I'm feeling tired and burned out and the dirty mirrors in the bathroom are proof.

I flipped the magazine open and read a short article on little boys and puppy love and I was hooked.  I know, it had nothing to do with working mothers, but I'm a sucker for puppy love stories.  I flipped further and started an interview with a mother of three kids, who is a real estate mogul and who is helping build some sort of sports complex.  

How does she do it?  

She gets up at 6 (I'm up at 5:45).  She drives 8 minutes to her spin class (I walk 30 minutes with three dogs).  She gets the kids breakfast of non sugar cereals (as I guiltily shove Lucky Charms at my kids).  She goes to work and works hard (I hear ya, sister).   But there are things that are out of her control and she has a hard time keeping up with (preaching to the choir).  So she employed Vanessa to do the cooking, cleaning, errands, and kid chauffeuring (wait, what?)

This brought my reading to a screeching halt.  This is the 'how does she do it and do it so well' interview the working moms magazine decided to highlight?  

Where's my Vanessa?  Why don't I have a Vanessa?

I sure could use a Vanessa.  Although, knowing myself uncomfortably well, I'd spend all my early morning hours putting a spit shine on the house so Vanessa wouldn't see how we really live.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If It's Free....

If it's free, I want it.

Doesn't matter what it is, I want it.

A free box at a garage sale is my idea of a treasure chest, a broken, drawer-less dresser on the sidewalk is a must have (and it took up residence in my laundry room for 5 years). If you offer it to me for free, I will take it.  This is how I once ended up with three couches and an accordion I have yet to learn to play.

But the thing that I struggle to resist the most is a free dog.

Oh, no one  has to remind me that dogs aren't really free.  They come with so many expensive needs!  And no one needs to tell me that I have three dogs already.  I'm well aware of that fact when I'm walking them!

But it's free!  To a good home!  I've got a good home.....

I will be strong.  I will resist.  Or, truthfully, my husband will resist.  He says three's the limit for us.  And logistically, I'm not sure where I could squeeze a fourth crate into the kitchen.  I'd have to get rid of the table.....the table I got for free and love dearly.

So, nope.  The good home will have to be found elsewhere!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Power Of Mom's Meatloaf

The power of Mom's can almost turn a vegetarian away from her vegetarian ways, just by looking at it.

All I did was ask my daughter to check on it as it was baking; how did it look?

Delicious, she replied.

This warmed my Mom heart to know that while she has turned away from her meat eating ways, it is not because I made disgusting food.

She's said  no thanks to bacon without a quiver.  She's passed fried chicken without a second of longing.  She's cooking with tofu and loving it.

But the sight of my meatloaf gave her pause.  Ah, the power of  Mom's meatloaf!

Monday, September 17, 2012

First Illness Of The Last Year

My son has always dragged home any virus that was making its rounds through the school, and this last year of school is no exception.  He started last week with a little headache sinus pressure thing going on.  The weekend saw him feeling less and less chipper, and by last night he was dragging.

I knew today, before he even got out of bed, that he wasn't going to make it to school.  I've got him tucked up in bed, water and tylenol within reach, and I'm about to leave for work.

I'm minutes away, and he is 17 years old, but I guess I will always want to stay home when one of my kids is sick.

He does have strict instructions to call me for anything, and I'll be home at's not the same as being downstairs and able to hear him if he needs something, but it will do.

Besides, knowing him as I do, he will sleep all morning and won't even notice if I'm here or not!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Movie Quotes

When I was younger, my sisters and I came up with the movie quote game....we should have patented it since now you can buy a game that is the same idea. Basically, we'd take turns trying to stump each other on quotes from movies. And back then, we had our brains stuffed full of them!

I have fond memories of giving the quote, "Run, Forest, run!" and one of my sisters was completely blank. In her defense I think it was in the morning. I seem to remember her standing by the toaster, and mornings are not her best time!

My kids, my son in particular, love this game. Unfortunately, I'm running out of brain space, and my kids are not, so I often can't think of a quote, and too many times am stumped by theirs.  It doesn't help things that as they have grown, they are drawn to obscure, independent films, most of which I have not seen.

Give me a good old tried and true classic, and I'm about 33% positive I'll be able to guess it.

Now, ask me if I can rattle off celebrity baby names....sadly, that I can do!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Taking Time For My Bad Habit

On occasion, I will indulge in my very bad habit.  It's terrible and awful and I just enjoy it so much.

On occasion, my husband will bring home a cigar and we will sit on the front porch and share it.

It's bad, I know.  But nothing makes me chill and zen faster than front porch sitting, and if a cigar happens to pass between us, all the nicer.

In the dusky fading evening light, feet propped up on the rail, dogs sitting with us, watching the neighborhood slow down, it is one of my favorite places to be.

Might need to get a warmer sweatshirt on....these September evenings have turned a tad chilly!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speaking Of Mugs

I might not have realized that I have a personal coffee mug at home, but at work, that goes without saying.  When I had a beagle mug, no one questioned that it was mine.  When I had a mug with photo's of my children, no one thought twice that I kept it at my desk and not in the staff kitchen.

Sadly, both of those mugs have met the broken handle fate, and while they wait for super glue to fix what ails them, I have had to resort to bringing a different cup to the office.

It is not as cute as my beagle cup or as sweet as my kid cup.  It is plain, white, with a blue band, and always reminds me of a mug from a diner.  Therein lies the embarrassment.

It could be a cup from the communal coffee mug shelf at the office.  But it's not.  It is mine.  I keep it at my desk, I wash it myself and never leave it sitting around taking the chance it could be used by another.  I have had several uncomfortable moments when I wanted to wash it (by myself) and a co-worker kindly offered to wash the cup for me.  Then I stand there waiting for it to be washed, so I can take it back to my desk, to be kept in wait for the next days use.

Tonight, it was washed by another, and it was put in the dish drainer, because that is were all the other mugs were hanging out.  I had to finish up some other things at my desk so I left it in the kitchen, for a brief, agonizing minute.  I worried the entire time that someone was picking it up to use.  As I walked out the door, I picked it up and put it in my purse.

Weird?  Possibly....

But tomorrow morning I will walk back in, withdrawal my mug from my purse, and fill my cup up before I walk to my desk.  This might work out pretty well!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Of Spilled Milk And Ghosts

My daughter has crazy dreams while she sleeps (she gets it from her father).  Almost every morning she comes downstairs with a new, weird dream to describe in great detail.

Last night she dreamed she was in her room getting ready for bed.  A middle-aged (perhaps bordering around 50) lady was in there with her, carrying a glass of milk.  The lady made it very clear that the glass of milk was hers, and Leah had better not touch it.  The lady went around the room, touching things, talking loudly, and making snide comments.  Then she set the glass of milk on the dresser, gave Leah a defiant look, and knocked it over.  Milk was dripping down to the floor, making a mess.

Leah woke up frantically thinking she better clean the milk up, forgetting that she doesn't own a dresser (a post for another day) to have milk dripping off of  in the first place.  She woke up more and realized she could hear the dripping sound.  It wasn't milk, but it was her open window, with rain blowing in and making a big mess.

When my daughter told her dad and me this story, my husband was quick to suggest the lady in Leah's dream was our resident ghost, and she was upset that my daughter could so carelessly let the rain pour into the house...

At which point I kicked him squarely in the butt.  I am easily freaked out, and I have just barely recovered from a recent experience of being alone in the house and finding a towel and the shaving cap lid in the bathroom sink, knowing full well I hadn't placed them there.  The look on his face was clearly, "Why'd you do that?"

Well, because, the kids really believe our house is haunted.  And I kind of agree.  And I can't agree because I will have to move out and find a new house!

-Postscript from Leah-

We kids don't just think the house is haunted, we know. It's the generally accepted theory as to why my room is a bit on the creepy side, why we hear random footsteps in the house, why, when you're alone,you don't feel alone.

We, or at least I, am not afraid of the ghost. She has given us nothing to fear.

Although, when I'm trying to sleep on a school night, I do not appreciate her invading my dreams!

It's 50 Shades of Unsettling!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Country, 'Tis Of Thee

This is the first patriotic song I learned.  I was 6 years old, in the 1st grade, and singing this song made my little red, white and blue heart swell with an emotion I couldn't put a name on.  It is still my favorite and I wasn't above singing it as a nursery song to my babies.  All morning I've been thinking of the words.

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

At six years old, I understood that fathers did die, that bad things did happen, that life wasn't all Saturday morning cartoons, but this song made me feel pride and hope.  It still does.

Today marks eleven years since 9/11.  That morning and all the events that dominoed to our life, our little four person family life, are still crystal clear, down to the feel of the carpet as I sat on the floor watching TV, stunned and.....just stunned.  I've written remembering posts before, here, here, and here.

This morning, the fifth verse of my favorite song seems very appropriate.  Granted, it was written for Washington's Centennial (the president not the state) but I like the words so much, I will carry them in my heart today.

Our joyful hearts today,
Their grateful tribute pay,
Happy and free,
After our toil and fears,
After our blood and tears,
Strong with our hundred years,
O God, to Thee.

Bad, terrible, horrific things happen, but I thank God for the spirit of life He gives, that keeps us going, on and beyond.  I have moved on and beyond, but I will not forget.  I thank God for that too.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Thing That I Saw This Morning That Was Scary

I guess I am predisposed to dislike this time of year because I am very aware of the darkening of days.  As I walk my dogs at 6 a.m. the dawn is further and further away.

I do not like the dark.  While I relish the early morning day-lit walks, I dread early morning dark walks.

I hear spookier sounds in the dark and I see freakier shapes.

I'm always on alert for other dogs running loose.  We once had a very bad big dog experience, and this morning in the dusky start of sun rise....

I saw a big dog.

Like the rabid dog from "To Kill A Mockingbird," this dog stood splay legged, head down, a block and half and across the street from us.  It was big and dark and seemed to be staring into my soul.

I gripped the leashes tighter while my three girls remained oblivious.

We got closer and closer and the dog remained where it was, menacing and odd.....

And then we were passing it and the dog was miraculously transformed into a regular garden variety lawn chair.

My imagination runs wild in the dark....

Or maybe, I need new glasses!

Friday, September 7, 2012

This Is My Mug

I have a mug.  I was not aware I had a personal mug, until someone has used it several mornings in a row and it hasn't been waiting for me and my morning cup of joe.....

Hands off buster.

This mug may have been a gift from you, but it is mine.  It holds an immense amount of coffee, fits my hand just right, and is the one I reach for every morning.

Out of the twenty odd mugs we own, please pick out a favorite of your very own.

I promise I won't use it.

I have my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When I Was Younger

When I was younger, the last "first day" of school was so exciting.  It was another step towards freedom and leaving childhood behind.  It was a leap towards adulthood, it was the start of making my own decisions.

When I was younger, I never thought if my Mom was sad or watched me leave and thought of me at age 5, on my first "first day" or if she wondered where time had gone to suddenly have a 17 year old in place of her baby.

When I was younger, I didn't know what being a Mom was like or that the last "first day" is kind of hard, and watching my son leave on his last "first day", for a brief moment, I felt his warm little five year old hand in mine, felt the nerves of the first day of Kindergarten, felt perplexed that 12 years had gone by so fast.

I sure hope my smile and kiss goodbye was calm and confident as my Mom's had been all those years ago.  I hope my son left having no idea that I was reaching for the box of tissue as soon as he was gone.  I hope he hit the halls of school, feeling the same joy as I did, when I was younger!

This post inspired by prompt #2 at Mama's Losin' It!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Mornings are very chilly
Where are my mittens?
Evenings are hot and stuffy
Turn the fans on high!
This is why I don't like September
Contradictions in a single day's weather.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School Supplies

It's not just about pens and pencils and paper and binders.  It's about having the really important stuff on hand, like coffee and creamer.....

My kids aren't big breakfast eaters, so the first day of school won't see me making a special breakfast of eggs and bacon and pancakes, but I can make sure everyone (even me) has a treat on the first day.  Now we can all start school off on the right, and hopefully less grouchy, foot!