Friday, May 31, 2013

Indian name: Sleeps with Elephants

You've heard of "Dances with Wolves", right?

Well, this is "Sleeps with Elephants."

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Little kids are smart these days.  Inventive.  Bright.  Mimi had a play date with a friend.  I took them bowling and let them play in the arcade.  And by play in the arcade, I mean I gave them no money but let them go in there and push buttons and sit in the cars.   Neither one of them is big enough to get what they are doing anyway, but it did make me laugh when they figured out that one could 'drive' and the other could 'do the pedals' and then they could trade off.  Cute.  Funny.  I love kids. 

Never Too Old . . .

Me thinks that this should be a life rule:  


The best part of the crowns was NOT playing with Middle and Mimi at the mall.  It was that we went BACK to get a cow-crown for Big and Little.  It was that we moo'd like cows all day.  And the very best part was the beautiful smile that it brought to Big's face when we picked her up from Middle school wearing our cow crowns, with Mimi moo'ing out the window.  She got in the car laughing and with all of the troubles of her day melting away and exclaimed, "I love you guys!" 

We have a couple graduates, here, Houston!

There are too many graduations these days.  I know, we rename them and say that they are "passages" or "continuations".  Whatever.  Put on a cap and gown and parade around singing graduations songs, and that's a graduation, to me.   Last week, we had two in our family.

Little "graduated" from kindergarten.  Well, sort of.  She was in a private kindergarten this year because of her age, so she'll repeat next year in the public arena.  She's ready and it will be a great transition.  She was adorable in that little cap and gown and absolutely brought tears to my eyes!!

Middle also graduated from elementary school. Around these parts, that means she's going to Middle school and sixth grade.  I wasn't so teary at her graduation, but swollen with pride and deflated with relief once she was done with the mandatory singing part.  She hates that part and I think I might, too.  But I won't say it out loud because I don't want anyone else to hate it!

On a hilarious side note, Middle is really petite.  She's front row material, for sure, when you look at her across the spectrum of the 100 other kids in her class.  She's probably in the shortest 5 kids, overall.  So imagine my surprise when she turned up on the third riser up.  Shocking.  After wards, I asked her how she managed that and she admitted to doing all the 5th grade recognition rehearsals on her tiptoes so that the music teacher wouldn't move her down.  Her genius plan, by the way, was to do all the rehearsals on her toes . . . then when performance time rolled around, not only stand flat footed, but also bend her knees so that nobody could see her.  And boy, did it work . . . . I'd never have found her if the girl next to her on the riser hadn't fallen down and caused a commotion!

Also, in a moment of maternal pride, I have this story to tell .. . . . Every year one child from each class is nominated via a complicated private election process to be the class speaker.  Middle received that nomination.  When her teacher came to her with the news, she was proud and overwhelmed, but the thought of speaking in front of not only all the kids, but the staff, and all the teachers left her near vomiting with nerves.  She penned this very mature and well written letter to her teacher declining the opportunity but conveying how flattered she was.  She used this line in the letter that still has me blinking . . . "In the gym, I've learned that part of being a champion is knowing your limits, and at this time in my life, I know with certainty that public speaking is a limitation of mine."  She was very eloquent in describing her anxiety and explained that she wanted her last couple of months of elementary school to be fun and filled with memories she would recall fondly, not riddled with anxiety over speaking at an event that should be a celebration.     I would have LOVED to see my kid up on that stage, speaking for her class.   BUT, I am equally, if not MORE proud of a kid that did what she did.  Go, Middle!!

Big . . . Is a Badass, too!

I ordered this for a future gift for my bad-ass athlete volleyball player.  I LOVE it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Big Girls . . .

Have I said how much I love kids.  All kids.  Little kids, especially.  Even though I'm pushin' 40, I really think like a little kid.  I'm right on their level and I speak their language .. . fluently.  I play like a little kid and I totally, 100% identify with them.  I've known that for a long, long, long time . . . since I before my nanny days.  Rewind to, like, high school and all I can think of was how much I wanted to be a mom  . . how much I wanted to have little kids.    As a mommy, I breezed through my days with little kids like nobody's business.  I was kind of one of those parents that secretly thought, "shit, someday, they are going to be big."  It wasn't panic or a fear that I wouldn't like them once they were big, but I just look back nostalgically at their wee-one days.

I'm happy.  Scratch that.  Overjoyed to report that I am really, really, really LOVING having big kids.  The big girls and I are having such a good time doing big kid things and I am totally loving it!  I'm blessed to have two awesome middle school kids who are navigating the social scene, juggling academics and doing an overall bang-up job of managing their lives.  Whew.  Collective sigh!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Attitude by Charles Swindoll

  The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than what others think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.  It will make or break an organization…or a home.  The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change the past.  We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have…and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I respond to it.  And so it is with you.  You are in charge of your attitude.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Bravery Prayer

Dear God,
Help us to always be able
To use the feelings of
Hope and fear, together,
In one great force . . .
Bravery is extremely
Necessary in life.
If we are able
To have bravery,
We will be able
To achieve
Many goals in life.


December 1999
Mattie Stepanek

I'm not gonna lie . . . .

I'm not gonna lie.  January and February were rough months for me.  I'm glad to the nth degree that I was busy with kids, traveling for sports and treading water with work.  It gave me far, far less time to think about the anniversary of my dad's death, in January.  And, his birthday, in February.  Still, in my most silent and alone moments, it was painful in a way that surprised even me.

If you know me at all, I'm pretty fucking tough.  I kindof have a squishy emotional center but I'm pretty tough, or I put on a nice game face.  So . . . . I boil that down to "I survived".

In those months, however, a woman who puts together a local bank calendar for Veterans contacted me.  The nursing home residents nominated Pop to be a focus of the 2014 calendar.  I'm honored and flattered for him and of course, I'm eager to do the project.  The process of locating photos and going through all of that "stuff" again really made me take notice of these two shots.  Take a look:

The top one is my dad . . . . 1944-ish.  My uncle, who served with him says it was taken right around Battle of Bataan time, which was 1942.

The bottom one is my brother.  He was an extra in a modern day Hollywood movie.

Is that not some CRAZY shit??


So my husband decided to stop chewing.

Just like that.

He called on Monday and said, "I stopped."

My heart began hammering in my chest and I could feel the nic-fits begin.  We've been through this before.  And it is HELL on earth.  At times, it is SO bad that I feel like I (insert bold, italics and shouty capitals!) want to start chewing.  He's a terrible husband, short-tempered father; he's nervous, anxious and an all-around awful person.   There is always this moment of panic when my husband makes these snap decisions.  I feel like I should run in circles, pray, chase my tail, be a helper, whip out a cheer, grab a box of tissues (for my tears, not his) and maybe buy him a can.  

The cheerleader in me wants to say, "You go, Hubby!  You can do it!"
The realist in me says, "Fuck, here we go again."

There was a time in our dating life that he promised to quit.  He said he would when the time was right.  Job stress and family stress always seemed to trump the desire to kick the habit.  About five years into our marriage, I made a conscious effort to quit thinking about it.  I settled.  I resigned myself to being married to a nicotine addict.  

My personal view on chewing tobacco goes like this, "Eww, gross."

It's because of the smell.  Have I said that I have a sense of smell like a werewolf?  I can smell a beer popped from two yards over.  My hubby would never be able to sneak a smoke or come in smelling of another woman.  I can tell when he has been to the gym by the very, very faint smell of gym body wash and his quick dip in chlorine.  People who chew emit this odor when they talk, breathe or are otherwise in your personal space.  There is no kissing.  Ever.  I'm certain I can live out the remainder of my life without ever being kissed again.

My husband has been chewing for years.  And by years, I estimate that to mean on the order of a quarter of a century.  In our married life, he's never been tobacco free.  That'll be 15 years in July.  In our dating life, we was never tobacco free.  Add a year to that plan.  He estimates he started before his 1st marriage was over.  Add five years to that.  So, yes, 25 years is likely very accurate.  

He's using Nicorette, which he asked me to "pick up" for him about 2 years ago.  Yes, I noticed it expires this month.  Whatever . . . . I think he needs Nicoretee, Nicoderm, some herbal snuff and to pick up the phone and call Colorado quit line.

Now . . . on to me .   . . .

I have kind-of had a shitty string of months.  I'm friggin' exhausted.  Beyond exhausted.  Exhausted to the point I thought there might be something clinically wrong with me.  I had some testing done.  So desperate was I that, I, (you know the one who only goes to the doctor when I'm almost dead), went to the doctor.  He's a good friend of mine.  He took one look at me and I started crying.  It was all over from there.  So . . . .

(a) eight weeks ago on Thursday, I fell off of a curb while running.  I sprained my ankle.  Bad.  Bad, bad.  It swelled and turned black and blue with some nice purple and green and yellow streaks.  Four weeks after, it still hurt enough that I opted for x-rays to make sure I hadn't fractured it.  Good news:  it's not broken, BUT  .  . now almost eight weeks post-injury, it's STILL swollen, and still hurts a fair piece.

(b) . . . but I haven't complained much about my ankle because I had another ginormous ovarian cyst diagnosed by my doctor during my very teary visit . . . . . and quite frankly . . . those suckers hurt.  Worse than ankle sprains.

(c) Well, you know when you limp and favor one part of your body, it just throws everything out of whack, so insert moderate to intolerable lower back pain here.  Sheesh, I'm falling to pieces (sing with me . . . I love that song!)

And, I had a bad day yesterday.  Field trip, major disciplinary moment with Little, fatigue, exhaustion . . . . and I was ready to have a loving, supportive husband come home so we could chat.  Decompress.  Discuss.   Scratch that.   I'd forgotten during the day, the point of this post . . . . when someone is quitting a habit, everything is all about them.  Everything.  Husband came home grumpy.  I don't mean grumpy like the cute little dwarf.  I mean, "take cover . . . where's my gun" grumpy.

And there you have it.  That's where I am today.  And where I've been for the last several weeks.  Now, on to happier topics.  Pictures coming soon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Golden Chain
I am a link in Amida Buddha's golden chain of love that stretches around the world. I will try to keep my link bright and strong.

I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than myself. I will try to think pure and beautiful thoughts, to say pure and beautiful words, and to do pure and beautiful deeds, knowing that what I do now depends my happiness and misery.

May every link in Amida Buddha's golden chain of love be bright and strong and may we all attain perfect peace.

The last band/orchestra concert . . . .

One of the many, many, many things we accomplished last week . . . .
The last band/orchestra concert of the year . . .

I wonder if Little will want to start band.  He could, beginning next year . . . . .

On a sidenote . . . . I did capture one great photo of Middle with a few of her friends.  She, of course is the Fun-Sized one with the clarinet in the grey dress.

Middle . . is a badass.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Checklist . . . .

'Tis that time of the year. 

Last Elementary school band concert for this year.  Check. 
5th grade baseball game field trip.  Check.
5th grade state float.  Check. 
3rd grade mammal project.  Check.  Diorama. Check.  Paper. Check.  Prezi.   Check.
Middle won the science fair at school.  So, project done.  Corrections made.  Regional Science Fair. Check. 

Big's group placed third at regional history fair.  So, Berlin Wall project done.  Corrections made.   Day trip to the state capital. State History Fair.  Check.

Oh, I should rewind further. 
Kindergarten registration.  Check.
Kindergarten testing.  Check.  
Blue forms for teacher placement.   Check. 
Email to Middle school principal and counselor re: Middle's classes & schedule.  Check.
State Gymnastics.  Check.  Pictures later.  My kid did awesome.  At the last meet of the season, she stuck her series on beam.  I was overjoyed.  She's a rock star. 
Club volleyball done.  Check.
Middle school volleyball.  Big made the A-squad.  Hooray.  The district classic tournament is this weekend.  Almost check. 

Have I mentioned in the last several months that I've been absolutely buried with work.  Buried.  Alive.  I haven't worked this hard at this business since it was born a decade ago.   It really is like a sixth child.  

I'm too disjointed and in too much survival-slash-day-to-day mode to think past that.  So that's all I have, along with a personal resolution to blog more.   It feels good to blog.  

Hey, someone shot a marshmallow up in the iron thingy.  I wonder how long that's been there.