Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Irony

I'm not ready to do today's photo challenge, so I'm choosing to ramble about my day instead.  It's the end of the month-slash-beginning of the month and that combination of days is utter chaos in my office.  It's pure crazy from paperwork to computer entry to payroll to posting checks to finalizing orders.  Pure, crazy, hot, hell. 

The alarm was harsh this morning.  I awoke thinking about a friend.  Kept that up for most of the morning.  Enlisted the support of a friend to keep Mimi so I could visit my OWN doctor, of sorts.  Checked that off my list.  Came home, caught up on a few things.  Folded laundry.  Met my trainer, in the basement.  Called him bad words.   Found a lost iPod, decided to make the terrible trip to Wal-Mart for new toothpaste for Middle.  That begat making a real shopping list.  That begat opening cupboards and taking stock of what I really needed to make a few things for this week's meals with ingredients I already have.  That brought on a headache and severe hunger pains.  Went to Wal-Mart.  With the Goodwill donation.  Got rid of two boxes of crap that have been building in the garage.  Bought Mimi a happy meal and started cruising Wal-Mart looking for real life examples from peopleofwalmart.com -- crazy.  Have I ranted about how I detest Wal-Mart?  H.A.T.E.  But it's closer than Target.  And it has a Goodwill dropoff in the parking lot.  

I bought toothpaste.  And hamburger.  And 10-packs of plastic hangars.  My big girls wear clothes that fit on big hangars now.  We're getting older.  Chuckled under my breath at the sweet irony of Mimi feeding me the ends of her fries (she doesn't like the "hawd-pawts") while I read the ingredient lists on the backs of diet pills.  Hmmm.  

Left Wal-Mart exhausted and hungry . . . came home to unload, repack, shelf and stock.  Heavy sigh.  Folded another load of laundry in between.  Changed the sheets on the beds.  Picked up dog poop.  Made & baked taco salad bowl shells for supper.  Worked with Middle making banana bread for tomorrow's breakfast.  Cleaned up the mushroom cloud the size of Hiroshima from her adding flour and turning the KitchenAide up to high.  Heavy sigh.  I did not yell.   Finalized a bag-lady order.  Finished up the bulk of payroll.  Made taco salads.   Worked on PTA nominations.  Got frustrated and quit.  Heard about a terrible car-accident.  Texted Mama J to check on the family.   Picked up Middle, finished taco salads, cleaned up (again) . . . bathtime, bedtime, sweet, sweet, quiet time.

I will actively think about doing today's photo challenge . . . tomorrow.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 10

Blogger Photo Challenge; Day 10: Me as a Baby.

This is so easy!  In honor of my mother, I'm posting her favorite picture of me as a baby.  Well, I'm not sure I was still a BABY . . . so I posted two.  Here's the time for everyone to be so impressed with my digital photo archives that date back to the early 70's.  Be VERY impressed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday night.

Mmm-hmmmm.  Nearly moaned with the eye-rollin' goodness of Oprah eating fried chicken.  We are nothin' but action around here.  Nuthin' but action packed minute-to-minute goodness.

Our busy day of controlled chaos spiraled into a complete goat roap tonight.  

We had visitors this morning.  Two extra kiddos in the house . . . really good kiddos that showed up early with blankies to snuggle.  They plopped down in front of the TV with Moose & waited for my kids to amble out of the sack.  We made cinnamon rolls.  And drank cafe mocha.  And piddled the morning away.  Everyone woke in shifts.  It's a rare weekend when I have nuthin' on the calendar.  MOTH wasn't on call and had nuthin' on his calendar.  So we two responsible adults took six kids to the movie.  We schlepped our four young ones plus the middle and little J's to see Gnomeo & Juliet.  Fabulous movie.  Really fabulous.  Laugh out loud funny and peppered with adult humor that has me chuckling at recall, even now, nearly 12 hours later.  We consumed our body weight in popcorn, as I believe you should if you are spending $16.25 for a barrel of popped buttery goodness and two drinks.  All of us made it through the movie with no potty break.  That, I believe is truly the sign of a maturing family.  And, as an added bonus, no child got snapped in half by the cranky movie theatre chair. I'm still damaged from when that happened to Little . . . I could just hear a muffled "maaaa-maaaa" and see his flashing shoes sticking up from the jaws of theatre seating. 

We came home, all eight of us.  And the kids played a few dozen rounds of mancala for four.  Little tore into building a lego ship.  MOTH played babies with Mimi for a while.  Middle baked her first layer cake  . . and did a great job.  She's flying solo in the kitchen most the time.  Today, with the exception of some egg white drool and a small puddle of canola oil, she even cleaned up.  Darn fine cake, too.   I scanned a bunch of stuff, did some paperwork, packaged a garhugic order for delivery.   The J's left and my nuclear family gawked at each other for a while.  I decided on a flow yoga class.  I smuggled Big in with instructions on how to pass for a 13 year old.  She was a rock star through her first 'real' yoga class.  She didn't even bust a gut and laugh out load when the lady in front of her blew ass.    After yoga, we made the delivery and picked up dinner.  My kind of cooking.  Tough on the checkbook but yummy in the tummy.

This evening we spiraled completely out of control.  While putting some laundry away, I walked into a sibling wrestling match that rivaled the WWF.  Middle was videotaping it and making voice clips on her iPod to use as ring tones.  Big and Little were going at it full force and Mimi was cheerleading.  I gave the standard maternal warning, "don't come crying to me when you get hurt," and carried on.  Not long later, I heard a tiny voice singing "WHAM!" tunes, followed by some INXS and a little bit of showtunes from Dora's last digital CD.  Yep, this is my family.    Sometimes, I walk through my house and wonder what the hell happened.  The kids made a Barbie bungee out of rubber bands today.  They shot a Barbie up and over the rail so many times that now she's an amputee.   She's been repaired with hot pink duct tape so she can try to bungee off the trampoline and across the yard tomorrow.  Really?  Yes, really.  There are games out, puzzles half done, babies strung from hell to breakfast, stacks of books, shoes everywhere and at least one audiobook and one iPod playing most of the time. 

They are off to bed and I'm waiting for MOTH.  Mimi likes him better right now and he's reading and snuggling.  When this happened with Big, I felt a little jilted and hurt.  Now, I'm celebrating at the keyboard.  We're settling in for DVR'd TV tonight . . . . and that's a day in the life . . .

Day 9

Day 9, Blogger Photo Challenge . . . Family

Um.  Long pause. 

Well, seein' as I just posted my mom (see Day 7) and my dad (see Happy Birthday!) . . . I'm feeling a little tapped out.  I routinely post my nuclear family  . . . MOTH and the youngin's.  All that's really left is my brother.  Must go find picture now.   Ah, here he is!  Summer of 2009.  We were visiting Dad.  I took his picture as he was taking a picture of me.  He has a camera in front of his face 95% of the time, so this seems appropriate.  He takes beautiful pictures of landscapes, rocks, twigs, architecture, people -- just about everything.  He knows cameras.  He could make money at it, but he chooses to be an actor.  He's Boba Fett in the Mandalorian Legacy (if it ever starts filming).  He's also in a bunch of ads and a couple episodes of Numb3rs (correctly misspelled) and a soap opera.  He's practically famous, but I still don't have a signed picture of McDreamy.  That's how I'll know when he's made the Big Time.


I'd love to be able to post a ton more family pictures, but it just ain't there, folks.  I've even tried.  I found a family reunion, but I was pregnant with Middle, so those are tragically old.   
How about this??  How about I post a picture of Homestead.  She's family. Well, almost.  I know and love her parents and it seems a hell of a lot more appropriate than posting pictures of my ex-boyfriend's parents . . because, well, they still write, call and send Christmas cards.  They like me.  Homestead & I  have been friends since my first day of college, when she bounced (or maybe she crutched . . . I can't recall since we both spent so much time on crutches that year) into my room and said, "wanna go to Albertson's?"  Plus, she's been around to hold me up or carry me through all of my adult life.  There's something to be said for that.   Photo:


She's holding a very crotchity and angry baby.  Big.  Note to Homey:  I chose the photo intentially where your LEGGINGS were not visable.  See how much I value my life and our friendship??  So, that's family.  I realize it's a stretch because she's GOT a family and I have mine, too.  Still, she's MY family.  Oh, oh, and speaking of family -- hers is about to grow, since her REAL sister is expecting bambino numbero uno.   Congrats, Aunt C . . . (see, they even let MY kids call them Auntie!!)

Happy Birthday!

Ninety-three years young . . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

What I dislike . . .

I generally think of myself as a glass-half-full person, but today's Blogger Challenge is to post a picture of something you dislike.  It's not until you think of all the things that nag and bug that you realize just how many things are out there . . .

Here's my list . . .

body fat, love handles, arm zits, mail, orphan socks, socks put in the laundry in inside out, sweaty, foot-linty balls, car accidents, pain, whiny kids, terrorists, judgement, martyrs (not in the religious context, but as in one with a martyr complex), bigots, dog poop, waking up to the smell of dog poop in your room, worse still . . . waking up and stepping in dog poop, broken appliances, mean people, animal cruelty, plugged drains, cystic acne, drought, famine, genocide, infanticide, the high price of adoption, ignorance, irresponsibility, dead fish, when bad things happen to good people, waiting for the third (as in "these things happen in three's . . . you have 2 car accidents under your belt and you dream of taking a bus everywhere to avoid the THIRD being YOU), travel plans gone awry, vacuums that smell like burning rubber, arsonists, molesters, the devil . . .

It's just wrong to take pictures of your arm zits or love handles for a blog post.  Some of my list isn't really photograph-able and while I dislike dog poop, I don't hate it enough to not have dogs . . . so that was a short-lived rant.  For the sake of this post, I have to concentrate on one thing . . . so . . .

There it is.  Mail.  I don't like getting the mail.  Work mail . . . . means work, even though sometimes there are checks in there (which still means work).  Personal mail rarely brings anything good. (* see exception)  There is seldom anything really worth opening. The trees killed in direct mail marketing and catalog and magazine sales are ridiculous and actually make me feel a little guilty.  The cost of stamps and postage is astronomical.  Just holding the mail keys and marching out to the mailbox are chores, for me.  I don't like leafing through the mail or sorting it over the recycling bin.  I've received enough "bad" mail in the last few years to make me slightly mail-phobic.  I sometimes leaf through it with my breath held, one eye shut and my head turned side ways . . . . like I'm bracing for impact.    On particularly awful days, I open the mail near the bathroom, in case my nervous tummy actually produces.  It's best to be prepared. 

Exception . . . we do receive greeting cards here and there.  Thank you, Aunt CB, for your always-on-time-and-never-late-every-occasion-greeting card.  I'm not sure how you do it.  We do love and appreciate those.  They are a ray of sunshine!!  Last year, I received the most wonderful card . . that was really nice .. .

But all in all, I think I've made my point.  Aunt CB would have to mail 42 cards every day to match the volume of sheer crap in my mailbox.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 7

Blogger Photo Challenge, Day 7 . . . A photo of someone you love

Okay, in all honesty . . . anyone who knows me is aware . . . . I love alot of people.  I'm a silver-lining kind of girl, and even when I don't see eye-to-eye with someone, I still see the purpose for their presence in my life.  It takes a long, long, long time and multiple painful offenses for my silver lining to turn grey and fade away.  So, to choose ONE picture of the ONE person I would want to profess my love for . . that's tough.  I feel the need to qualify my post with the following disclaimer:  Obviously, I love my spouse.  MOTH is my everything and my life with him is more important than any other relationship that I have.  I positively adore my children.  All of them.  Every day.  I also love my dogs.  Alot.  Probably too much.  Family is also a given.  I love my mom, dad and brother.  

But the LOVE of my LOVE post is my mom.  She's testament to the power of a mothering relationship.  Without her, well, I wouldn't be here.  But, I'm speaking more figuratively.  Without her INFLUENCE, I would not be the adult that I am today.  I would not be the woman that I am today and I certainly would not be the mother that I am today.    As a younger girl, I do recall times when we didn't get along, but we still had love.  She didn't agree with things that I did.  But she still loved me.  She gave me wings and trusted me to do the right thing.  In my snotty pre-teen years, I remember her tacking up a pull out from a magazine on the freezer.  It was a picture of a big machete style knife.  It said "words can be weapons.   Let all you say each day be a reflection of who you really are and who you really aspire to be."

As a moody pre-teen, I hated that damn paper.  But now, I appreciate it more than ever, for I do believe in the power of kind words.  Words can be weapons . . .  (more in a future post).  My mom taught me to say what needs saying but to say it with a smile.  It works.  I can tell my husband his shirt doesn't match and he looks like a dork and the delivery is so keen, he wonders if I'm joking.  (Cheese!)

My mom also taught me to be a strong woman and to provide.  Though she was happily married for many years to my dad, she believed in having a back up plan.  She believed in having a career and being able to support yourself, if ever the day came.    She taught me to love deeply but to stand on my own feet.

She expected excellence from me.  She usually got it.  

Most importantly, a giant lump wells in my throat when I think, perhaps, my mom's greatest accomplishment.  Abuse is a cycle.  It trickles down from generation to generation until one mighty person is strong enough to say no.  That person changes the course of the future.  In that one moment, when the foot comes down and the no comes out, lives are changed.  My mom was that person.  She ended the cycle of abuse with her generation.  Now, as I hold my own children in my arms, as I talk with them, tell them stories and learn about who they are, I appreciate even more the strength in my mom's core to stop the cycle of abuse.  She's given me the freedom to really, really, really love and mother my babies.

I chose this picture because she looks so happy.  Grandparenting has been such a joyful adventure for my mom.  This was taken in 2004, the summer, I think.  On her lap were the grandbabies (at the time) . . . Middle, Big and my sweet niece.    She's happiest with an armload of grandbabies.  One tugging at her ear, one poking at her eye . . . she can juggle them all and tell a story at the same time . . .



Cheers, Mom . . . we raise our juice pouches to you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hey, Jam!!

Jam . . Are you there??  I have to share this with you so I hope you can see it . . . .

This was tonight.  You can tell she was watching me -- there's a long pause at the top to see if I was looking.  Look how FAR APART those bars are!!  I was telling her about the "olden" days when we used to bruise our hip bones from beating the lower bar & she looked totally confused.  Had to google some old Olga Corbett to explain myself!!   They call this the 'first half'  -- it's the first part of their routine . . . minus some extra work & the dismount :)


Dearest Heather,

Thanks for your last letter.  (Well, I called it a letter becasue it sounds so Cival-War-Esque and appropriate . . . )  

On my heart aching . . .

My heart aches for anyone who hurts because people failed to use words.  You know, I've spent my career life as an OB/GYN nurse.  I've been in rooms a zillion times during exams, during deliveries, during scary procedures & the delivery of shitty news.  There are trained professionals in that room who have a responsibility to you.  It's their job to use words to make sure you feel as comfortable as you can, in that very, very uncomfortable situation.   From my professional point of view, it pisses me off that the professionals in that room let you down and failed to do their job.   It's a poor reflection of colleagues. 

Now, on to cyber-sisterness.  My heart ALSO aches because you experienced PREVENTABLE duress. We, humans, are only a few rungs above the apes.  One thing that keeps us there is that amazing ability to communicate with each other.  When communication breaks down, in ANY situation, my heart aches.  Make no mistake, my heart aches on a regular basis for all kinds of situations where we noble folk with the opposable thumb forget to talk.    We forget to tell our kids how wonderful they are.  We forget to say I love you when we part ways, or worse, we use harsh words as parting words and leave a situation untended.  It's all preventable.  Your situation was preventable.

I do get it.  I understand.  You can handle it.  You can.  I'm only a keyboard away . . .

xoxo
Elle

Day 6

Blogger Photo Challenge: Day 6:  A Photo That Makes you Laugh

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 5

Blogger Photo Challenge, Day 5: A recent picture of yourself and 15 interesting facts about yourself.

Uh, no.  I actually did look.  I combed through all of the 2010 pictures.  There are about 5 shots with me in them.  I look retched in all of them and am not woman enough to post a picture.  I did find some startling revelations clicking through pictures, though.  Of note . . .

1.  2010 right around surgery time and in the couple of months following are certainly my points where my weight hit maximum density.  Wow.  Meds, pain and mental stress apparently equal pounds.   Well, and the camera adds ten pounds, right? 
2.  My kids are damn cute.  They looked cute even at the 2010 family reunion.  I don't agree that they ruined the pictures.  The don't look like orphans at all.
3.  I take and keep alot of pictures.
4.  Watching saved video clips makes me happy.

And now, on to today's challenge.  There is no recent picture of me.  Try as I might to get a good iphone picture today, I failed after multiple attempts.  There you have it.  Failed.  So, I took a picture of my new boots.   

I bought these from the clearance rack at Target.  They make me happy.  They have a nice heel and they make me tall.  The look great with my black leggings and sweater dress.  I'm power-dressed today to compensate for my dismal mood.  I'm exhausted.  Way, way, way tired. 

And now, interesting facts about me.  I'm an over-achiever, so there are 30, not 15.  All you've ever wanted to know.
1.  I have a freakishly sensitive sense of smell.  I can smell a cigarette from 100 yards out, one beer on the breath of a near sober teen, latex, pheromones, hair products and all kinds of other things.  Though I'm clearly Team Edward, I might have some werewolf genetics.   My favorite smells are clorox wipes, clean babies, new toys that come in plastic & the smell of clean dirt at a garden center.
2.  I was on two high school state championship teams.  Gymnastics and track & field.   I was a college co-ed cheerleader & traveled the west teaching college camps for UCA.
3.  I coached two co-ed high school cheerleading teams to state championships.  I love choreographing stunts and dance.
4.  I have a thing for clean teeth, straight, white teeth.  The end.
5.  I own and operate my own start up business.
6.  Though my profession is technically "nurse", I think I missed my true calling to teach.
7.  I'm mom to four kids, but deep down, I would love to have more.  I would really love to adopt (not have) ONE more little boy . . . or maybe two. 
8.  I love dogs, especially misunderstood pooches with sad eyes and heavy hearts. 
9.  I have a crazy obsession with office supplies.  I love them all.  From binder clips to rubber bands . . staplers to markers, I just love office supplies.  I also really love cleaning supplies.
10.  I grew up with an undiagnosed hoarder, so as an adult, I'm obsessively clean and organized.  Clutter makes me bonkers.  I feel unorganized and ineffective.  I donate frequently and make split second decisions on throwing things away.
11.  My make up kit is minimal.  Ten pieces.
12.  I grew up in a trailer.
13.  I'm a pathological name caller.  If your name is Susan, I'll find ten ways to morph your name into different combinations.  It's meant in love.
14.  I'm a complete jingle junkie and victim of advertising.  I make shopping decisions based on whether not I can remember (or liked) the commercial for a product.   I absolutely love the 'as seen on TV' row at Walgreens.
15.  I'm a TV addict . . . especially medical and crime drama.  Love TV.  And DVR.
16.  I have always longed for a sister.
17.  I have had the privilege of being loved and the unfortunate circumstance of being truly, 100%, genuinely hated.
18.  MOTH stalked me before we got married.  We had a whirlwind courtship and an express wedding.
19.  I'm a fan of circuit training and hot yoga.
20.  Though I'm dedicated to teaching my kids piano, the extent of my musical talent is in pushing "play" on my iPod.
21.  I believe in love, love at first site, paying it forward, good karma and second chances.
22.  I also believe in closing doors, cutting your losses, clipping strings and cutting cords.
23.  I obsessively buy chewing gum and cuticle oil.
24.  I believe in jewelry.  I wear earrings with my pajamas, a bracelet that makes me feel empowered and a necklace that reflects my mood.  
25.  I like my flowers with roots and dirt at the bottom. 
26.  I have a tattoo.  It's a big one.  I designed it and commissioned a tattoo artist to put the finishing touches on it.   (See below . . . )
27.  I don't love to cook, but I do love baking.
28.  I'm very fond of drinks.  I like smoothies, milk shakes, frapuccinos, coffee, tea & water.  I seldom drink soda or alcohol.
29.  I'm a closet writer.
30.  I love these things:  a good bag, a fun vacation, board games, educational games, a good cause, cute paper, a decent hug, feeling just a little bit hungry, girlfriends, well-mannered children, nature, waking up refreshed, a good night's sleep, pedicures, shopping, a good deal, financial security, honest people & good books.

Elaboration on number 26: (Don't the floors look clean??  I'm really loving my Shark Vac-then-Steam!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 4

Blogger Photo Challenge: Day 4 . . . A picture from the last place you went on vacation.


Balboa Island was one of the best family vacations we've ever taken.  We rented this adorable little Victorian house for a week.  It was walking distance to the beach and only an hour's drive to Legoland, Sea World or lots of other attractions . . . .

Of all the awesome things we did on that vacation, Catalina Island is at the top of my list.  We saw whales in the Pacific as we crossed from the mailand to Catalina.  We spent the day piddling around the island and ended up getting everyone new swimsuits so we could play in the water.  Catalina Island is definately a place I want to visit again . . .


Swedish Pancakes AKA Crepes

A recipe from an old friend . . . .

Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry
(yea, I nix the Lingonberry)


3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons melted butter


Beat eggs until very light. Add half the milk and fold in flour sifted with sugar and salt.  Add cream, butter and remaining milk. I make this one at a time on the stovetop in a well-oiled, non-stick circular, small frying pan over medium-high heat. I thin the mixture down some with a little more milk to make a thinner crepe type pancake.  Know that the first two or three are always jacked, until the pan seasons and the heat is just right.  Also, don't flip 'em.  Thin the mixture enough so that when you spoon it into the pan and spread the batter by tilting the pan, the edges cook. 

Mimi loves these with cinnamon/sugar mix sprinkled right into the batter.  Big & Middle slather them with whip cream & strawberries or raspberries.  Middle's own creation is to add a few cocoa krispies (yes, the cereal) for a touch of sweet crunch.  Little just eats them plain . . . like a soft pancake.  And my favorite thing to do is roll a piece of ham in them & send them cold for lunches with a little side of ranch :)

Yum!!

Good morning, Sunday & Last Week . . .

Good morning, Sunday.  Oh, how I love thee. 

I love opening my eyes to a tiny snuggly toddler snoring softly in the crook of my arm.  I love snuggling on the sofa with Little while the rest of the family sleeps.  We get up early, my son and I.  It's our thing.  He drinks warm apple juice.  I sip hot water and we watch something mindless and numbing on the television. 

When Middle pads out of bed, we make pancakes.  Or crepes.  Or something for the rest of the week.  This morning, we made a broccoli quiche, crepes and carrot muffins.  Yum.  We're still waiting for a few to wake up, so it's a good time to pause & reflect.

Today's a two-post day.  (Amended: yesterday WAS a two-post day, but MOTH and I started doing home improvement projects thus ending hobby-time and initiating work time.)  I'm on track with photos, but will have to hunt for a day 4 postable shot.  After I posted yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking about photos of ALL the things that make me happy.  I might have to expand on yesterday's challenge.  Really, there's so many MORE things I could and should post.  Happy thoughts.    I'm much more happy than not so the world is wide open when I'm posting happy things.

Last week.  Sigh.  This week, Big passed her states test on the first attempt this week.  Yea, Big.  She also scored 100% on a benchmarking test at school.  Go, Smartie!!  Middle wrapped up her first week of CSAP testing.  She came home tired and flat and said, "it's boring."  True, but there's no homework during CSAP week.  Hooray!  Little is just Little.  I've been trying to catch him playing in the backyard.  I've been trying to capture a decent segment of video.  I love to watch him.  The warm weather has him slaying dragons, summoning the Gods, playing Percy Jackson and commanding his troops in the back.  Video coming, I promise.  Mimi is coughing.  I'm pretty sure she caught something at school, which is to be expected, but still a bummer.  She's been introduced to the joy of scissors.  She loves to chop paper up.  It's good, cheap fun. 

I grounded myself from Facebook again last week.  In all honesty, I was getting irritated by religious soapbox.  Facebook is tricky, right.  You can't really 'unfriend' someone for updating their status, but sometimes I feel like I have a troop of secret Facebook missionaries posting on my wall.  Alright, it's not ON my wall . . . but still. . . . 

And here's where my amended post ends, mostly becasue I deleted all of the rest of it for a future post.  Humph.  On then, to Monday . . .  President's Day . . . no school .  . . I really have gobs of work to do, but I think I'll take the kids shopping or to a movie.  Seems like more fun.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 3

Day 3: Blogger Photo Challenge . . . Pictures that make you happy.  

Okay, Fans. I didn't have so much trouble with this one.  In fact, I found it downright pleasureable to surf through files of old photos looking for my happy theme . . . which is . . . . (drumroll, please) . . . HOLDING CHILDREN.  There is a deep, deep need for me to hold these kids.  It's not enough to be near.  It's not enough to just be there mom.  I have a maternal need to hold them, comfort them in times of hurt, and celebrate with hugs in times of cheer. 

Photo 1:  This is Middle, just over a year and a hald, taken at Big's birthday party.  She loved the crepe paper headband.  And, look at what a fat & happy kid she was.  That makes me happy.


Photo 2:  Look how young I look.  Probably becasue I am.  That's me with Big at the circus.  She was two.  Notice Foo-foo bunny.  That's the bunny that wore all of her shoes.  He just came through the dryer AGAIN this week.  Love that bunny.  And the kid is pretty awesome, too.


Photo 3:  I know this picture looks like Mimi, but it's actually Middle.  About 2 years old in her painfully shy mode.  She was always on top of me, snuggled in or hiding from someone's eye contact.  This photo captures the essence of that time of our lives.


Photo 4:  Little only a short while after delivery.  I was so exhausted.  Still thinking it was ironically funny to plan a child so their birthday didn't fall in the month of Christmas, and then birth the kid ON Christmas.  So happy to have him.   So glad that the Lord thought enough of me to trust me with a son. 


Photo 5:  Swinging with Mimi.    I'm not sure who took this picture, but I remember playing with the kids that day . . . swiminging and just hanging out at the park.  I remember feeling ENGAGED, really THERE, in the moment.  And that's why I love swinging.  When you're swinging, you're always right there, a true part of the action.


Photo 6:  Me with Mimi, Laguna Beach.  Heavy sigh.  Such fond memories. 


Photo 7:  Little and his light sabre.  I love this little boy.  He makes me really happy.


Photo 8:  Me with Mimi on Newport Beach . . family vacation 2008.   On that day, she wouldn't let me put her down . . now I'm posting about the tender times when my arms are full of child.  Those days are numbered . . . best cling to the happy thoughts while they are fresh!


I lost count of the numbers, (photo below)  but I wish I could bottle this feeling and sell it by prescription.  I took the girls (when there were only two) on a vacation.  MOTH couldn't come, so I took them camping.  We stopped in at some cheap store and bought plastic spoons and tupperware so we could dig in the river and make mud pies.  We spent all afternoon making bridges, digging ditches & playing in mud.  It was wonderful . . .

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 2

Oh, Crap.  I'm already stumbling.  Maybe a blogger photo challenge was too big of a bite for me.  I'll persevere.  But, I'll have to bend the rules.  Today is:

Blogger Photo Challenge Day 2:  A picture of yourself one year ago.

Um.  I'm coming up empty.  Nuthin.

I'm anally organized with photo archiving.  I've been through January 2010.  I have pictures of Little's birthday party, Middle in the front yard, A GREAT picture for later and a bunch of video of Mimi skating through the kitchen on cereal boxes.  Nuthin' with me in it.  In February, I've got Big in volleyball, Mimi's performance team finale, Little on the 100th day of kindergarten.  Nuthin' with me in it.   Stretching into March, I have  Middle's kipcake, Big's basketball team, Little with his giant tie on school picture day & Mimi's owie.  Nuthin with me. 

I know why . . . so I've decided to post toward that feeling.  In February of 2010, PAIN was my middle name.  I had just decided to stop the madness of quarterly epidural injections and opt for spine surgery.  I had gained weight, lost hair, become puffy, discovered the symptoms of menopause through medication & was overall un-photogenic.  I was not capable of bending, walking, standing or sitting.  I wasn't sleeping and was hurting everyday.  So, it's no surprise that I wasn't too keen on posing for the camera.  Hmm.  I'd love to post a picture of my scar.  But, ew.  The kids say it looks like a caterpillar is crawling out of my crack, especially when I'm wearing low-rise jeans.  (See, back to the jeans topic.) 

So, behold . . . a clinical picture of low back surgical plans. 



 
That best summarizes where I was one year ago . . . .

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm a copycat.

I'm a copycat.  I admit it.  I've been reading Heatherroneous lately.   She's doing some blogger photo challenge.  I love it.  So, I'm copying.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to be done on a time frame or anything specific.  I'll be making up my own rules as I go along.  I just think it's cool.  So, here we go:

Blogger Photo Challenege Day 1:  Your facebook profile picture. 



This is my current facebook profile picture.  I don't love it.  I NEVER love pictures of me, but my photographer friend has me well convinced that this is as good as it gets, so here it is.  This photo is a cropped version of the Christmas card photo shoot that she did in our back yard.  Here's the REAL picture (or one of the series, since I'm obviously holding Moose's collar in one.)


I love that we were all looking the right direction.  I love that pot in the background on the left.  It overflows with hen and chicks in the summer.  It makes me smile.  I also LOVE Mimi's shoe-sox and Middle's cut off shorts, long pipi longstocking socks & purple boots.  This was taken in Little's turtleneck phase.  He wore nothing but turtlenecks, no matter the temparture . . . for a LONG time! I gave that necklace to Big & she wore that turtleneck for Halloween when she dressed up as Velma.    Ooh, and my garden pagoda off to the side . . . . MOTH gave that to me as a gift so I could capture my zen spirit.  I planted that tree behind us the summer after Little was born.   Mimi's still sad that her purple ball is gone.   So much happens in the background . . . it makes me wonder why we crop.


This is the shot that actually made the Christmas card.   I liked the hats.  Tana is watching an animal over MOTH's arm, but that's normal.  And this was when Moose was nutty as a froot-loop, freshly adopted, un-trusting and borderline mental.  He was so deep in trauma that he wouldn't hold eye contact at all, much less look at a camera (but he loved to sit on Middle's lap!)



And above . . . well, that's what MOST of the pictures from that day look like . . .


And finally, the one hanging in my front room.  I still hate ME in this picture, but I adore everything else.  From the Beezer on Middle's lap, to the paci in Mimi's mouth, Little's PJ pants & the baby doll.  Our house in the background, even with the door hanging wide open!   It's perfectly disorganized and captures the true essence of us.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alex said . . .

Recent TV has has some hum-dinger lines lately.  I'm loving this one, from Parenthood, where you'll find me on Tuesday nights at 9 pm:

In a meeting with Hattie's parents, Alex says:

"i'm solid.
i want you to know i'm solid.


you go down the road you go down when you are younger. 
you learn what you can from watching . . . imitating what you see that's in front of you.


but when you grown up you get to make your own choices.
choices that define who you are.
your morals.
what you'll stand for . . . and what you'll fall for . . . "

I must have rewound it a half dozen times.  And not just to peck it into my phone.  Because it was brilliant.  What a phenomenal opening conversation to have  . . . wow.

Religion - Part One of One-Million

I've been pondering religion for a long, long time. Not pondering religion because I have questions or doubts of my own, but because I find it interesting. From a historical standpoint, I wish I could rewind the clock and found a church. I'd be the founder of the First Church of Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along. I'd proudly put my name on a 'church' with no 'church'. I'd love a community. I'd be the bishop, minister, father, rabbi and secretary at the First Community of TOLERANCE.
How's that?

One of the things I despise about modern religion is the label that it comes with.  Christian women (supposedly) have no flaws.  Cathlotic women have a bunch of kids.  Mormons, too.  When I was ever so plump with Mimi, I must have been asked a hundred times if I was Catholic?  No?  People would just say, "you must be mormon, then."   I usually muttered some smart ass remark, like "Oh, and I left the triplets at home." 

If I must put a label on myself, it would certainly read "Christian." But I really struggle with lots of areas of traditional Christianity. See future posts -- but the least of which is that my own family can't be "saved" if they don't profess their devotion.  I can't live with that.  There's gotta be another way to skin this cat.  Not many years ago, I thought I'd found a church "home", a non-demoninational Christian church, when one Sunday, the sermon was on homosexuality. I have zero tolerance for bashing. Gay bashing especially. So I walked out. And never went back. Months went by and another church home was found (sort of). Then I was asked to join a small group that meets every Wednesday night and do volunteer hours every week, along with donating on a regular basis and filling out some membership paperwork with a background check and fingerprints? What???
I have history with a handful of churchs and belief systems. I actually feel like I have a decent grasp of many different religions. As a kid, my mom was Christian. We attended church. Most of my friends were Catholic. Or Mormon. My dad was Buddhist. I've been to all kinds of ceremonies, masses, churches, fasts and testamonies. I've been to Sunday school, girls' camp, and learned songs and games to celebrate Jewish holidays. I've burned incense, made mochi to celebrate Buddha's birthday, and watched while friends pull out a prayer rug and drop to their knees in a parking lot to face Mecca. All of the above, along with many, many others. If religion were like a Country Buffet, I'd be absolutely set for life. I'd like to take the faith and believe portion of Christianity and marry it with the wisdom of Budda. I'd sprinkle it with the family values of the Mormons and the community aspect of Cathlolics. I'd teach from the Torah AND the Bible. I think even my atheist friends are onto something . . . just because there's no formal belief in a diety doesn't mean they lead an unspiritual life. There's no better way to understand the intricacies of a religion than to study them. I'm skeptical of anyone who bashes ANY religion without making honest attempts to understand it.

I suppose I'm gearing up for a series of posts on religion. I'm somehwat eager to summarize the things I'm learning and the things I already know. In all fairness, I'll jot down my hiccups along with things I love. But brace yourself . . . there's a possibility, as with anything that I deem blog-worthy, that you'll be offended. Or enlightened. Either way, causing thought isn't bad.

Which brings to me to . . . a book list.  I haven't posted a book list in a long time.  Why?  Because I've been reading some fiction . . . and alot of religion. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day. Not to be confused with Val-um-time's Day, a holiday occuring the same day, but only celebrated by the 5-and-under crowd.  

MOTH calls me a 'holiday squelcher'.  I don't like Valentine's Day.  I'm really don't like Halloween.  I'm not a fan of Thanksgiving.  It's true. But in my defense, I do like Labor Day.  And Memorial Day.  And Mother's Day.  And Christmas. I LOVE Christmas!   Now, back to Valentine's Day.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a fan of love.  Really, I am.  I LOVE love.  I love the idea of love.  I love being in love.  But I detest the commercialization of Valentine's Day.   I also hate the idea of being obligated to "do" Valentine's Day.    And, like with all holidays . . . I'm not a fan of giving gifts because you feel obligated or because there's an alterior motive.  Gifts should come from the heart and be given freely every day . . . with no strings attached.   MOTH and I had this conversation just this morning.

I asked, "What's the deal with Valentine's Day, anyway?" 
He took that as an out and reminded me . . . "it's when your fabulous husband buys you a hip new jacket to keep his love toasty warm." 
I pressed, "No, other than that . . what's the history . . . do you know?"
He said, "Yeah, it had something to do with a Saint.  It's probably a Catholic holiday that's been commercialized by florists and chocolatiers for massive profit."
And then my cheery self chimed in . . . "Wasn't there a massacre?  Maybe lover's named Valentine were massacred.  Romantic."

And so here I am . . . blogging . . . . and researching Valentine's Day, to further my academic awareness and develop my person. 

Yes, there was a massacre.  A famous massacre in 1929 between rival gangs in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.  Seven died.  It's called the Valentine's Day massacre because it happened ON Valentine's Day.  It has, obviously, nothing to do with love.

And now on to Saint Valentine.  He was real and there is legend that surrounds him.  I'll let you read it for yourself, othewise I'd just quote the whole thing:  http://www.theholidayspot.com/valentine/history_of_valentine.htm

Kind of a sweet story -- Romeo and Juliet-esque.   But I'm still not sold.  We don't celebrate it that way.  We don't reverently remember a man who was executed for failure to renounce his religion.  Hmm.  Reminiscent of the religion post I've been working on.  Still unpublished.

I digress.  And yet I press on.

In my household, Valentine's Day is about a color and shape scheme.   I'm making heart-shaped personal pizzas or calzones for dinner.  With chocolate milk and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.  I made cookies for Big's party at school.  The always handy and super fabulous cake box cookie from my mommy toolbox of last minute magic.  I'll post the recipe soon, since I had to call Homestead for it AGAIN.  Special thanks since she was willing to trek to the shed and go digging for it. 




We personalized Valentines.  Yes, personalized.  Notice how I didn't say MADE, right?  I have an inside track to a paper-crafting machine who sells her adorable creations on Etsy.  She mass produced cute things for me.  Small price, but it beats the every day run of the mill perforated nightmares with the un-stickable stickers. 

And we made Valentine's Boxes for school parties.  Here's Big's campfire box, crafted from a hot chocolate container . . 



And here's Middle's aquarium.  Ironically, also crafted from a hot chocolate box.  Apparently, we drink alot of hot chocolate.



And that's it.  I'll show them extra love today, in honor of Saint Valentine, and the friendship he formed with the mystery women from the legends.  But, there's only a little bit of room for wiggle . . . I'll still be grumpy about commercialized Hallmark holidays.  And I'll still be a touchy crotchity about thoughtless gifts for poor occasions that come with emotional strings. 

Enough said . .  Happy VD!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Mountains . . . Peppered with Sidenotes

The call of the moutains was too strong to resist this weekend.  With only two events to skip out on . . . one volleyball game we were sure to lose and one gymnastics practice, we packed the car, slapped the skis on top and took off.  It was glorious.  Just outside the city, it happened again . . . I could BREATHE.  Actually breathe.  Deeply.  Deep, full, glorious breaths of sub-zero lung-cleansing mountain air.  I can't say "mountain air" without singing it like the Travelocity commercial.  It was wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful.  The mountain air.  Not the singing.

Friday night, we met an old nursing school friend of mine for dinner.  Their cute little family of three had dinner with our party of six.  Her hubby looked a tad bit overwhelmed when we blew in and exploded into an otherwise quite corner of a quaint little mountain brewery.  C'est la'vie, no?  In those situations, I've learned to shrug it off.  We need an extra chair for our gear.  The poor chair winds up buried beneath hats and gloves and jackets.  It looks like a closet barfed next to us and we almost always end up one mitten short of a covered-dozen paws, so someone's crawling under the table hunting for mittens but discovering petrified noodles & broken crayons prior to our departure. 

We stayed at our favorite haunt.  I've got weekend-mountain grocery shopping down to a science, and can almost get it done while MOTH circles the lot.  This trip, the kids were pleasantly surprised at the invite from Auntie K (my kids have TWO honorary Auntie K's . . it's very confusing . . . but with no sisters, we'll take what we can get) . . . to return to their condo for make-up & movies while MOTH, Mimi and I hit the grocery store.  Blissful. 

Saturday MOTH skied with the big kids.  Mimi and I met Auntie K in the village for a little shopping.  Sidenote:  Auntie K is THE most fabulously dressed and fashion conscious friend I have.  She has been that way since we met, um, er . . . in 1995, was it?  Sheesh, I don't know.  I just know she came into class looking like a zillion bucks every day.  In my shredding college sweatshirt and dirty ball cap, I just tried not to sit next to her.   She shoved me into a cute little boutique, stripped my jacket, held my purse & entertained Mimi while handing me pairs of high fashion jeans through a very sheer dressing room.  Ugh.  I hate jean shopping.  See previous posts on jeans shopping (in no particular order):  

http://bonkdown.blogspot.com/2006/11/jeans-cousel-me.html
http://bonkdown.blogspot.com/2008/03/frumpelstilskin.html
http://bonkdown.blogspot.com/2010/07/date-night.html

Suffice it to say that in THIS session, I was thankful to be on a time schedule.  She hollered into the dressing room, "How's it going?"  I came out looking more disheveled that normal, back in my ski pants and boots, and suppressing a mild panicky feeling to flee the trendy boutique.  She said, "Did you try them on?"  And I had to admit, "Yes, ONE Of my legs tried them on.  The other leg quit early."  "How about this pair?", she pressed.   "My ass doesn't fit in those,"  I said.  "At all?" she seemed surprised and told me I just needed longer tops.  And she said, I needed to do "frequent hip wiggling pull-ups".  Really?  Longer tops?  No, that can NOT be the fix.  I won't pay $98 for designer jeans which require extensive and advanced yoga poses just to get them ON . . . then have to buy longer tops and do frequent vigorous pull-ups in order to keep them on my butt.  No can do, honey. No. Can. Do.

Happily, I was able to flee the boutique and meet MOTH and the kids for lunch.  Happily.  A second sidenote.  I love boutique shopping.  I do.  I like bracelets.  End of story.

Big's big brown eyes were still red rimmed from a morning meltdown at lunchtime.  Her cheeks were tear stained and she looked exhausted, so I extended an invitation to abort the skiing mission for the afternoon.  She enthusiastically accepted.  Sidenote number 3:  an admission.  Skiing is super fun.  It's a great family activity.  BUT, when you are the parent that stays "down the mountain" and your primary mission is to entertain the too-young-to-ski crowd & make attempts not to buy half of the town, it's not that fun.  It's mind-numbing, actually.  After a long day of not-skiing, I'm grumpy as hell and feel like my brains are oozing out of my ears.  Aside from organ donation, it's at the very top of my list of Selfless Feats of Parenting.  I know it's the RIGHT thing to do.  I know I CAN do it.  But it SUCKS.  Plain and simple. 

On previous ski trips, I've felt obligated to stay close to ski-school. With MOTH skiing black diamonds in the upper bowls and kids in ski school, I was tethered to my cell signal awaiting the injury call or some sort of tragedy.  This trip, with MOTH in charge of Middle and Little all afternoon, I broke stride.  Big time.


Can you see that?  Maybe not.  It's not the best resolution, since it was taken from my cell phone as I was turned backward, with Mimi in one arm and hanging off the back of a sled pulled by a snow machine.  Still, know this:  That's Big back there, driving the dogsled.  Yes, I took Big and Mimi dog sledding.  Through the rugged mountain outback.   It was so stinkin' fun.  Big is an awesome dogsled driver.  She banks hard & mushes like a champ.  I think she's ready for the Iditarod. 

Mimi wouldn't (a) let me take her picture OR (b) get off my lap long enough to let me drive the sled, but it was still FUN, FUN, FUN!!  I highly recommend. 


We ended our afternoon with a gondola ride and a very zippy ride down the Alpine Coaster.  Mimi rode with me and said over and over, "it's not scary, it's not scary, it's not scary."  She chanted "it's not scary" all the way UP to the top.  When we pressed forward for the downward part, she kept up the chant.  It wasn't until the end of the second corkscrew and we were pulling into the slow-zone that she finally said, "is it done yet?"

Well . . . is there more? 

Maybe?  I went shopping.  Bought cute bracelets (see, back inside my comfort zone) for Big & Middle.  Also sat on the fence for a long time about an Alpine shirt for me.  Ended up going home without it.  But, MOTH took me back just this morning.  In a blur of "try it on", "is this the color you like best" and the sound of the credit card machine running, MOTH made it mine.  He hugged me and said, "Happy Valentine's Day!" all in the same breath.  Now, I'm the proud owner of a brand new North Face jacket.  The FIRST winter jacket I've had in my whole life with MOTH.  I've been wearing his boxy man jackets for so long, it's become normal.  But I positively love the feminine color and cut of my new summit series jacket.  I love it.  

And we're home.  It's 68 degrees.  Go figure.  Now, it's too warm for me to wear my new jacket!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goosebumps.

Every now and again, a complete goosebump moment happens. 

Tuesday, we had one . . . well, several.

Tuesday was a complete clusterfuck.  We awoke to temperatures -15 below and had a two hour delayed start for school.  Despite an extra two hours in the morning, something wonky happened and we hustled our butts to get out the door at 9:50.  Mimi had a playdate . . . I had an appointment that overlapped.  Because the roads were bad, I arranged to pick Mimi up on my way to piano with the big kids.

Somewhere in between me picking up the big kids, stopping in to let the dogs out and get a snack & leaving again for Mimi & piano, MOTH called asking where we were . . . could he help with something or should he hit the gym.  Weird.  An odd call.  Usually, I count him out until evening.  Anyway, he was minutes away from the Mimi pickup, so he went that direction and I loaded Big, Middle & Little and headed to piano.

Understand this:  had he NOT called and I NOT asked hiim to pick up Mimi, he would have driven tandem style home with the fella that works with him. (E, I'll call him.)  When the roads are crappy, he and E often caravan home  . . . we live close and it's good practice.  So, he drives in front of E and they pull some backstreets and sideroads to avoid the myriad of hills coated in ice.  

As I was pulling into piano and MOTH was opening the garage door with Mimi safely gathered, E was two cars behind a major car accident.  Multiple cars were involved and one car rolled several times.  The driver, a young woman 20 years old was ejected from the car and died in the accident.  E was the first responder.  He and one other passerby administed the help that they could and waited for the ambulance and fire trucks to arrive. 

E came over for dinner that night.  Shaken.  Witnessing someone die in front of you . . . and in such a tragic and horrible way is a huge mortality check.  The senselessness really comes home and it forever changes a person.

The goosebump moment for ME . . . the wife and mother part is thinking of that odd, odd call.  When MOTH called and said, "what can I help you with?"  I almost laughed at him.  My first thought was "Seriously . . . I've got this," (insert mildly sarcastic tone), but now, as I think of where he WOULD have been had he not called, I'm not so sure it was just a random call.  He would have been driving home one car in front of E that day.  He would have been creeping up the ice hill just before the library when one SUV sped through a yellow light, another swerved and caused a chain reaction, and he would have been squarely in the middle of this fatal car accident. 

And the goosebumps visit me again.  It brings to mind that phrase, "The Lord works in mysterious ways."  Though I'm not the kind to sling about popular religious phrases, it's the only thing I can think of, because it certainly feels bigger than a coincidence and larger than fate.  It feels like we should all hug what's around us . . . .

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Little's SWEET Ninjago Valentine's Box

I'm totally impressed.  In the spirit of recycling and home crafting, Little made this out of a shoe box and a plastic nut container.  And paper.  And lots and lots and lots of tape.  

Happy Valentine's Day.  Smooch!!

Happiness is ME!!

Popcorn

No microwave.
I've never wanted microwave popcorn so bad in my whole life.
I'm jonesing like an addict.

It's 9:14.
Installation window is between 11 and 1:00. 
I can practically taste the buttery goodness.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Raw Talent

My Pop

This is my Pop, aka Dad, in Christmas of 1971.  He's taking his post turkey nap in a new cherry red flannel shirt.  He was (heck, still is) famous for a catnap or twenty minute power nap whereever and whenever.  Doesn't he look young and fine?

My dad was the first generation born in the US.  His parents immigrated from Japan and he was born in 1919 in Oregon.  He's the oldest of seven.  His family farmed and lived on the west coast.   His family and relatives worked on building the railroad.  Fast forward to the time of World War II, when in America, Japanese Americans were given the choice to either (a) enlist as American soldiers or (b) go to concentration camps.  While most of his family went to camps, my dad and several of his friends and my relatives enlisted.  At the time, there were essentially three "units" of Japanese Americans.  The 100th Infantry Battalion was the first unit in US history to be comprised of 100% Japanese Americans.  They were drafted from Hawaii prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and heriocally guarded Hawaiian beaches from land attack.  The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was formed from volunteers after a cry from the war department to form additional forces.  Over twelve thousand Japanese Americans served in the 442nd.   Finally, during WWII, six thousand Japanese Americans served in the MIS, Military Intelligence Service, performing secret language related work behind Japanese lines. 

The MIS is where my dad served the bulk of his time.



In the story of dad's life, there are some significant gaps in time.  This is what helps explain a 28 year gap in age between my mom and my dad.    He served in the military.  Served again.  Then served again.  Concurrently, his parents and family were released from concentration camps and claimed a tiny piece of land in southern Colorado where they farmed potatoes.  Upon his return from wars and lands unseen, he took up residence with his family on the farm.  In that small town, he met my mom, who was a college student.  Are you scratching your head?  Of all the half-breed Asian kids I know, I'm the ONLY one who has the Asian dad and the Caucasian mom.  It's usually the tiny petite Asian lady who falls for the hunky corn-fed white man.  But my family is bass-ackward in that respect.  It's just one of the many ways . . .




It's been years and years and years.  Most of the men my Pop served with have passed on.  Still, many remain, and this fall, they will all be recognized by receiving a Congressional Gold Medal.  In all honesty, I had to do some research on what EXACTLY that meant . .  so here it is:

"This medal is an award bestowed by Congress and is the highest civilian award in the United States. The decoration is awarded to an individual or unit who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States. Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients. First recipient of the medal was George Washington in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. Of the 145 recipients, also included are the Tuskegee Airmen, Navaho Codetalkers, President Ronald Reagan, Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers and Mother Teresa."

It's been YEARS in the making.  In May of 2009, Congressman Adam Schiff & Senator Barbara Boxer simultaneously introduced bills into the house and sentate to honor the 442nd and 100th.   In July of 2010, the language was amended to include the MIS, and in August, both the senate and the house of representatives passed the bills.  President Obama is set to seal and sign in 2011, and the living honorees are being medaled at a dinner in the fall of 2011.  Between now and then, medals are being designed and created by the US Mint.

And there you have it . . . the official story.  Pictures punctuate his life perfectly, so here's my Pop in December of 2010, with Middle.  He wanted his picture taken with a future Olympic gymnast. 

So, Pop, hat's off to you!  I'm looking forward to taking your picture as your son wheels you across that stage!  What an honor!  We're proud of you!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Random Unconnected Thoughts

The truth is that I got angry.  Okay, somebody made me angry on Saturday morning.  In the interest of being calm, cool, well-spoken & level-headed (and also being the bigger person), I walked away.  Seems I've been walking away from a few things lately.  But, the result of being angry and spending energy in a negative way (for me) is that my thoughts and actions are a complete jumbled haystack of mess. 

I cleaned the dickens out of the baseboards this weekend.  And I scrubbed grout like nobody's business.  I made a few threats inside my own head.  MOTH talked me off a cliff a few times, but hours later, I'd catch myself dragging my knuckles like a caveman again with a sour look on my face, rummaging through the pantry for chocolate healing.

Whatever.

It's the end of the weekend, and I have random thoughts to string together on this tightrope that I'm walking, in no particular order:

* Green Bay won the Superbowl.  Middle planned a menu.  We ate potato chips.  Gasp.  We rarely have such luxury in our house. 
* The Darth Vader commercial made me laugh to the point of tears.  I stole a look at MOTH & he, too, was in a fit of laugh-crying.  Hysterical.
* We went to the Pikes Peak Cup on Saturday night to watch the Elite session.  Wow. That's what I have to say about that.  And, in the spirit of our own commercials:  Admission, $44, Concessions, $11.50, Another PINK hoodie that says "gymnast", $32.22, Dinner for the occasion, $41.67.  Babysitter while we were gone, $40.00 Making memories with our Big Kids:  PRICELESS.
* We watched Toy Story 3.  Oh MY GAWD.  I cried. 
* My computer is sick.  I've been defragmenting the hard drive since noon today.  It's still going.  That MUST be a sign.  Sheesh.
* Big's volleyball team took another whoopin' this weekend and she did a free camp on Saturday.  Middle, Mimi & I explored the fieldhouse and tried very hard to not get stuck in a men's locker room.
* I finally had a catch-up conversation with Homestead this weekend.  It's been weeks and I'm positively in withdrawl.   June 11th.  The big visit.  I'm counting the days and planning the menu and the reunion between kids that haven't seen each other since two new additions (my Mimi and her Bugsy.)
* I'm following Heather.  She's cracking me up with her size 2 on "her fattest day".   More later, for sure.
* I've been thinking alot about Frankie.   Cold weather keeps us in, for sure . . . 'cause I haven't done more than drive past her place and wave in weeks. 
* I'm counting the days until the new microwave arrives.  Monday's installation got pushed to Wednesday.  Apparently, my unit (yes, I chuckle when I say that) is stuck on a truck out of Texas that was stranded in an ice storm.  Come on, Wednesday.
* Zumba.  Me likey.
* Wii -- Just Dance 2.  So fun to play with Big!  Middle mostly watches and/or tries to do her beam routine to the music, but Big can bust it and she actually beat me at Rasputin.   Brings back fond memories of college dance team . . . . sigh.
* Religion . . . . I've taken some time off of recreational reading to do some heavy reading.  Religion, mostly.  Future post coming. 
* My dad.  Ee-gads.  He turns 92, or is it 93?? this month.  Another care conference next week for him.  Contemplating driving down because there are some big topics to discuss.  Heavy, heavy sigh.  Yet another post, but here's the teaser . . . . he's receiving a congressional medal of honor this fall for this work behind enemy lines in World War II.  I'll pause and let that sink in.  Yeah, wow.  Huge honor.  Story will follow, but suffice it to say that the logistics of taking him and the four youngins to DC for a week is a wee bit overwhelming.  Wee.  Bit.

And now, it's temperpedic and memory foam time . . .

xoxxo
Elle

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Car Accident

Anybody who has been coming here, to my little sliver of cyber space for any length of time knows this:  (a) writing is therapy for me and (b) blogging is an awesome way for me to clarify and connect. 

So, a little background. 

Many, many, many years ago, I was traveling by car on a major city artery.  I had a child (or maybe two) with me and one other passenger.  I was in the center lane.  I needed to shift to the right lane to make an up-n-coming right turn.  When I began to move over, low and behold, a car was hauling ass up, right in my blind spot.  There was a near-accident.  And by near, I mean that I swerved and she swerved.  We ALL swerved.  She hit the curb with the right rear tire.  She went around the block.  I switched lanes and went right around the block to find her.  I found her.   We exchanged numbers.  At the time, she told me that she was fine, didn't need a ride . . . everything was okay.  I gave her my insurance info anyway.  Weeks went by and I didn't hear anything more.

Then months later, she called me out of the blue.  She told me that her insurance would only pay for part of the new rim that she needed and she asked me if I was willing to help her with the other portion.

Uh, yes.

I met her.   We had coffee and talked about our jobs.  I gave her a check.  We parted ways.  The end. 

Except . . . fast forward years.  And I do mean years.  The person that was with me as the passenger that day thought that I drove away.  I'm not sure what was happening in the car when I was exchaning information with her. Perhaps a child dropped a juice cup or needed a goldfish refill.  I'm certain that I didn't elaborate on all of the detail -- the insurance exchange, the check, the meeting, the friendly ending.  Now, said passenger wants to know what kind of person I am and says that anyone who drives away from an accident that they caused is "suspect."

To recap and bring it full circle, it is highly unlikely that I'll talk to the un-named passenger again.  I won't have the opportunity to say what happened.  I won't have the chance to explain myself.  Enter blog-therapy and delivery of the full story. 

There's the full story.  I did the right thing by me.  I did the right thing by the other driver.   That's all that matters.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Life is not about the people who act true to your face.
It's about the people who remain true behind your back.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

February Family Snapshot

I haven't done a family snapshot in a while, so I'm feeling the overwhelming need to connect in words with what everyone is doing.    I'm diving in head-long . . .

MOTH is working.  He went to his annual national sales meeting last month.  It's affectionately dubbed "ortho-palooza" by me.  It's essentially a four day party with a couple days of training and some fancy dinners in the evenings.  It's mandatory and good away time for him.  But when he calls me from a sailboat in the Pacific, the logic has to kick in.  Really?  Required training.  Horse shit.  A wee bit of training peppered with team building and fun.  His company is providing iPads for everyone.  Rock on.  I'll get mine back.  He's looking forward to the next ski trip and has started researching the specs on my next set of wheels.  My lease is up in May and I'm giddy with excitement.  I love leasing.

I am working.  Am I not always working.  I'm mothering the youngins, and leading the PTA, neither of which has been a small feat these last few months.  The youngins are fabulous.  PTA . ..  well, I'm ready to exit stage left.  May 3rd will be my last official meeting to run.  Yeah.  There are a couple of difficult folks this year.  I suppose that's not different from every year, but this year, I'm a bit more OVER it.  I lack the patience required for this position.  Someone tell me how smart I am to recognize that.  Work, work . . my REAL work is stressful.  See post on financial stress.   The year started off stressful and I'm clinging to the hope that it will settle down, even out and be fine.  The good news is 20% growth will come by the end of first quarter.  The bad news is part of the growth will take a while to materialize.  I sometimes wonder how I went from patient care to this circus, but it's okay.  I miss working with moms and babies.  I miss the moment of delivery.  I miss being a REAL nurse.  But . . . . I don't miss working 12 hour shifts.   I choose this.  I started peddling bags with Thirty-One Gifts on the side back in August or September.  I just did it to get my own product, but holy hell . . those sucks sell like funnel cakes at a street fair.  I'll keep it up as long as the keepin' is good.

Big is so frustrated with her volleyball team, I can smell it seeping from her pores.  They suck.  Bad.  Initially, there was an age limit on the team, but miraculously, after all the parents shelled out cash for pre-tryout clinics and tryouts and all the associated fees, they were a few girls short of making two teams -- so they extended open invitations for a few extra girls.  Low and behold, two little nine-year old munchkins got put on the team.  It's hard to train a girl to set when the passers keep ducking when a ball comes at them.  They've lost every game.  She cries on the way home and is so, so, so sad.  I don't think I can give the "sports are for developing character" speech again.  I just want her to win one.   She did a great job with her science fair project -- testing truth in advertising with toilet paper commercials.  Science fair was a huge debate for parents at school and I  am just happy that we had a good experience with it.  She made the Battle of the Books team and is excited about it.  She's developing some moves and a hilarious sense of humor.  She's officially a certified baby sitter now.  My life is about to change.



Middle lost her iPod.  A good four weeks without it.  It was so, so sad.   It's been found, thank heavens.  And that's the biggest of the stories for Middle.  She's freakishly smart.  It kind of scares me.  Very talented academically.  She's the logical thinker of us and always sees the 'other side'.   There's a mini storage up the street from her gym.  She asks, "is there a big storage further up?"   There's a sign nearby that says "no trespassing 7 pm to 7 am" . . . she wants to know, "does that mean you can trespass all you want between 7 am and 7 pm?"  She's walking the fine line between voicing her opinion and being a talking-back smart-ass.  Teetering precariously on a very, very thin line.



Little is a dancer.  Well, not really . . . but they are doing a dance unit in gym and he's cracking me up singing the songs and showing me the steps.  He has no fear about the 'boy factor'.  And he's got loose hips . . . he's got moves.  I've elevated my status by leaps and bounds by being the best at wii just dance 2.  Finally!  A video game that I can beat him!!  He's into Ninjago.  One has his name and he's suddenly bonded to little spinjitsu dudes.   He has aced five spelling tests in a row.  His handwriting is perfect; he's a whiz in math; and he's made two new little dude friends. 


Mimi started pre-school.  And gymnastics.  I spend a lot of time in creative play being Miss Cole (which is really Ms. Nicole . . her preschool teacher) or Miss Karen (her gymnastics coach).  She's great at school.  Using scissors is a bright spot in her day and she really loves to paint.  She's helpful in the kitchen . . . loves to wash dishes.  She's suddenly BIG, from words to actions.  She's such a fourth child . . blunt, raw, loud.  She's the one that will stand at the dinner table and shout, "do you want to see my butt?  do you? do you? do you?" as she points to each person and demands an answer.   Little girl words like 'bum' have been exchanged for big kid words like 'butt'.   The Pacifairy came while MOTH was at ortho-palooza.  She's lost interest in her Beezer, too.  With no paci and no blankie, she seems like a much older child.  We're still speaking in Mimi-language.  "I don't know" is "not know."  Our family favorite is "your" which comes our "orn".  She sings and dances . . . we especially love "hit me with ORN best shot."  "I don't want to" comes out "but I don't."  And when she agrees, her little noggin bobs up and down while she exclaimes, "yea, and ME TOO!!!"  Oh, and she LOVES black olives.