Saturday, August 30, 2014

I’m thankful I don’t live in the city limits of anywhere.  I like a lot of the people who live in the city limits of various places, but it sure seems like the closer people live to each other the more there is to complain about.  And be judgmental about.   My neighbors are close enough to ward off that fear of no one being able to hear me scream, but not so close that they can see me have coffee in my jammies on the porch.  Very nice balance of solitude and sharing, and I’m so lucky that – for now at least – I have it.

I’m thankful that, while I do sympathize anyone who’s been affected by ALS, I did not participate in the ice bucket challenge, and no, I didn't donate either.   I give to my church and I send a small donation every year to Sloan Kettering in honor of my dad, and I think it’s admirable for anyone to complete a challenge or to donate to the charity of their choice.  Or not donate.  Or not accept the challenge.  Whatever.   About seven thousand people die each year because of ALS related issues.  Between 3 and 6 MILLION worldwide die because they don’t have access to clean water. Donate where you feel it’s appropriate, please. 

I’m thankful for children’s books I can read in funny voices and make my kids laugh.  I have a pretty strict DEAR policy – Drop Everything And Read – and a wonderful selection of awesome books so when Echo brings a stack, they get read to her.  And the funny voices are one of the things even my older children still like.  I read something different the other day and one of them said, “Mom, that’s not the right way, the crocodile has a southern accent.”  Love it.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

So it's not Thursday... I'm trying...

I’m thankful for my mom, whose support – financial and emotional – has been the lighthouse in the storm of my life.  I have been able to keep my home and my sanity because she has been there for me and my kids.  I don’t tell her often enough how much I appreciate her strength and commitment to me.  Love you, mom.

I’m thankful for shower board.  This amazing invention has allowed me to create a 6 FOOT BY 6 FOOT calendar that keeps us – for the most part – swimming through the sea of chaos that is four kids and a working mom. 

I’m thankful for my friends John Rodabaugh and Shelly Smith, who are doing a monster job cleaning and repairing my Kubota lawn mower and I know I will get it back in mint condition.  Shelly will say all she did was feed him and put up with the complaining, but I know she helped.  She always does. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I went back to work on the 6th, the kids started yesterday, and I’m grateful for the return to routine.  Even if the routine involves chaos and more frozen food than I would like, I’m extremely glad to get back to it.  My summer was waaaay too short, I got done exactly ONE of the thousand things I eagerly stayed up late fantasizing about while searching Pinterest, and my toddler is potty trained but still not quite ready to give up the sippy cup. 

I’ve tried for years to get myself into some sort of a writing routine with about as much success as any other routine in my life, which is to say very very little.  Remember how often I get back out of bed to brush my teeth (and lately I’m sorry to say I’m dragging poor Echo with me because I didn’t even get hers done). 

A recent project at church has inspired me to try something small however.  We were handed a list of all the church members and friends, committees, groups, and even beloved former pastors.  Each name had a date next to it – the idea was for everyone to focus an extra prayer on that day just for that person or family or team.  So simple – say a little prayer when you normally pray, asking God to be there for them.  The power of group prayer is wonderful, and just to know that my family was being prayed for on that day was pretty amazing. 

One a day.  Just one little addition.  Those experts we all hear from frequently from the TheySay Company Incorporated, LLC tell us that if you make one little change every day, you can change your whole life in just a matter of months! But wait! That’s not all! Order now and… oh sorry, this actually is kind of true. 

I’m not looking to commit myself to something daily because that’s so… well, hard, frankly in my line of work (just being me, I mean).  No, I’m going to commit to a weekly project, and I have chosen Thursday because it is quite often the only night of the week that I’m not chained to someone else’s schedule. Thursday shall from here on out be known as the day I submit to you Three Things I’m Thankful For.  (I kinda have a crush on alliteration.)

So please enjoy finding out more about my life as I share them with you.  And if it inspires you to be thankful for things in your life, that’s wonderful – please share!  Or if it just inspires you to brush your teeth more often, that’s awesome too. Thanks for reading.

I’m thankful for my coffee cup.  I found it at the dollar store, and it’s the perfect size for holding loving with both hands on cold mornings.  It’s clear, which I really like because I had a horrible experience this last summer when I drank a fly.  Apparently the little guy needed a caffeine boost or was just suicidal and French Vanilla was the way to go.  They don’t usually show much interest in plain unsweetened coffee, but this one ended up in my black Minnie Mouse cup and I took a big gulp.  Immediately on feeling something strange in my mouth I ran for the sink and spit. Seeing the soggy dead  fly laying there in the sink sent me into an absolute frenzy – I don’t flinch at much, but this was more than too much.  I started gagging and crying, I rinsed my mouth with hot hot water, I considered a bleach rinse, I thought about having a fly IN MY MOUTH one too many times and actually threw up, brushed my teeth about seven times, spit repeatedly for over an hour because I was afraid to swallow, and then got interrupted mid-trauma by Echo waking up from her nap.  She was genuinely concerned about me, so I finally calmed down about it.  And put my beloved Minnie cup in the back of the cupboard.   This one allows me to see any possible contaminant, and I’m much happier now. 
I’m thankful for my wonderful, smart, perfectly normal, healthy kids.  I know, everyone has wonderful kids, but I’m blessed with four amazing young people.  I really do feel very fortunate, especially since I started working at a school.  I see over a hundred children every day, and I can’t help but compare them all to my own, and I realize how lucky I really am.  
And I’m thankful for my ex-husbands.  Yes, I am.  What they have taught me about myself has been humbling and empowering.  While I have ZERO interest in dating anyone else, I have learned that whether I ever find Prince Charming or not, it doesn’t matter.   I don’t NEED a spouse or a boyfriend to verify my value to the world.  Yes, there are things I miss about the few months of my life that I was actually happily married, but overall, to know my own worth as JUST ME is pretty wonderful.  I apologize to my family that it took two failed marriages to figure that one out. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I’m in love with my new toy.  No, and sort of sadly, it’s not what you think.  This is my new toy.

Last night I mowed part of my yard with this thing.   Night.   I was out mowing the lawn at 9:15pm.  Mowing.  At 9:15.  PM.   I mowed until I couldn’t see the sticks I’m not supposed to mow over. 

 Does it look like a golf course? No – but if I wanted golf course I would have made sure husband #2 was a plastic surgeon.  I love my un-fertilized organic weed- and mole-infested yard, all 10 acres of it.  If there's a husband #3 he won't be a plastic surgeon either.  Unless he also loves my lawn as is.

I got the best workout I’ve had in decades.  I was sweating and breathing air – not diesel fumes – and the only place grass clippings went was around my ankles.  This morning, everything hurts but in that really good “I just got an amazing workout” way, not in the “I sat on an uncomfortable seat bouncing around” way. 

Echo followed me around and chased flashy-buggies and I heard every funny thing she said.  We had races and she picked up sticks in front of me and it was fun. FUN.

I stopped – just stopped without having to put it in neutral, stop the blades, slow down the engine and put on the emergency brake and still not be able to hear what my child was shouting at me – to solve a frustration issue for Ben.  And then I started right back mowing.  Just started mowing again.  No complicated procedure that I never do right the first time anyway.  Just walking.  

I could hear the kids coming and going from the house and it was pure joy knowing where they were and kind of what they were doing.

I got closer to the fire pit and trees than the Kubota has ever managed, and without the frustration of a weed whacker, which has always been, in my opinion, one of the most poorly designed pieces of equipment in history. 

The Kubota will still be necessary for the larger fields, but I’m so happy with my new little mower for around the house and trees and swing set.  I haven’t been this happy in a long time.  And maybe in a few months I’ll be posting a picture of my new ass in a pair of size four jeans instead of lawn equipment.  That would make me pretty happy, too.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No offense, but... it's just a word...

I recently followed a board on Pinterest that had a rather colorful cover page and by colorful I mean it used the F word prominently.  In neon.  This showed up on Facebook and was immediately leapt upon by a dear sweet friend of mine from church and my mother.  My mother came to my rescue by saying she was sure I didn’t know it would show up on my page for the whole world to see, and she’s partially right.  I didn’t know that people could see that on their news feeds from me, but I did know it was going to show up in that little section on the bottom left of my own page.  And I didn’t care.  The owner of the board has collected some of the most amazing quotes and sayings and I had so much fun reading them and I wasn’t the least bit offended when I saw what her cover photo was. 

But other people are offended by things like swear words, and I do apologize for having it featured prominently on your news feeds – that was never my intent and now that I know better, I will be more careful.

And the little scolding I got made me think about being offended. 

I’m seldom offended by anyone’s language for a lot of reasons. 

  1. I love language, all the words strange and beautiful, passive and strong. I love the history of languages, I love dictionaries and books and magazines and quotes and song lyrics and I read everything I can get my hands on.  Adore words.  All of them. 
  2. I know from experience that a person’s language can sometimes give you clues as to their upbringing, their family life, their education level or the job they do but it really can’t ever tell you what’s in their heart.  Some of the kindest people I’ve ever known swear all the time.  Sometimes very educated language comes from a cold, judgmental… meanie.  See, you wanted me to use a B word there. 
  3. I’m too busy being offended by other things.

Oh, yes – it is possible to offend me.

 I’m offended by the fears of 300 little African girls and their families; and by the fears of all the girls who are home safe tonight but fear for tomorrow because of what has happened.

 I’m offended by the knowledge that people are “training” for dog fights this weekend.

I’m offended by reality television shows, quite frankly.  Can’t stand them.  I do like to watch Jeremy Wade’s River Monsters, but with the sound off.  He’s yummy. And also Kitchen Nightmares.  Hilarious and scary. But most of the shows are just dumb.

 I’m offended by the idea that somewhere a pedophile is grooming his next victim with flattering text messages and emails.

 I’m offended that people I know and love had some very un-Christian thoughts about homosexuals today.

 I’m offended that a woman who probably had to make the hardest decision of her life today will have to walk through a picket line of hate-filled strangers to carry out that decision tomorrow.

 I’m offended by anyone who uses a child as a weapon in a relationship conflict.   

I’m offended that oil companies are still – STILL!!! – making huge profits. 

I’m offended by the pitch people who do school fundraiser pep talks and get my kids all riled up about trinkets and stuff they will never get.  I’m sorry, but selling ridiculously priced wrapping paper and candy to people who struggle financially so they can earn a plastic monkey key chain is NOT teaching them to set a goal and work for it.  NO, IT ISN’T. 

And I’m pretty defensive about how dirty my house is.  I know I’m not a great housekeeper.  Do not point it out to me.  I get bristly.  If you don’t want me to bristle, don’t come over.  Invite me to your house but do not, in your immaculate house that smells like apple pie instead of wet dog and teenage boy, apologize for two dirty cups in the sink and the pile of bills on the table.  I will tell you to shut up and mean it because I will be thinking about the roasting pan I finally just threw away and the gigantic stain on the carpet where the dog likes to sleep after swimming in the pond.

But this is about me being offended, not slovenly, so back to the list. 

Actually that about covers it.  I’m offended by hate, cruelty, injustice… and Honey Boo Boo.

 I would never presume to tell you that you cannot be offended by the use of language, and I certainly will apologize in the event that I inadvertently offend  anyone with my own language or the language in anything that is or appears to be connected to me. 

That was your disclaimer, by the way.

No, I’m far from being offended by swear words and a lot of other things that offend others, because  I recognize that sometimes you just have to throw your hands up in the air, release the strong person inside of you and refuse to accept personal responsibility for the self-induced drama of others. 

Of course it’s more fun to say fuck it, my inner bitch is out and your shit is not my problem. 

Made you smile.

Next up?  An etymology lesson.  Yep – this shit just got real.