Saturday, March 30, 2013

Love's Interpretations

Sometimes the people we love are endearing to us for not only the things they do, but by the things they say. I love my husband more because of  his choice of tender words at a time of sadness, his message of hope when I'm discouraged, and his sweet compliments when I'm feeling a bit insecure. Simple words can manipulate the heart into beating more completely...

Of course, the opposite happens occasionally...when words fall out of his mouth that not only hurt, but actually carry a thousand sharp swords and a sack of dynamite. When - instead of choosing words like "delightfully-puffy" "slightly-bloated" or "attractively amplified" - he mistakenly says "fat".

Or on days when I look especially worn out, nice words like "mature" "seasoned" or "vintage" seem to escape his vocabulary and he just tells me I look "old".

Oh, I can live with that. He always has been one to keep unnecessary flowery language down to its simplistic form. One thing I can say about my husband is that he is brutally honest. I would much rather he be that than a compulsive liar.

 (And, believe me -putting a mirror in front of his face never seems to have the effect I'm hoping for.)

Somehow it all balances out. That's what true love is all about. You wear your armor when needed and shield yourself from taking things too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself when the occasion calls for it.

Then there are the rare times when words fall into a strange, offbeat and perhaps a bit psycho
category. Words that are so unpredictable and uncommon that you aren't really sure if they are
positive or negative. You find yourself wondering if they are words of endearment or repulsion.

For example: My husband and I were lying in bed last night watching TV, when he points his nose to the ceiling and says, "What 's that smell?"

I breathe in.


"Hmmmm...don't know." I tell him.

He turns toward me and sniffs.
" It's you."

I smile and ask, " Apple shampoo? The perfume you got me for Valentines Day? My coconut moisturizer?"

No, he says. "You smell like a pork chop."

Now- right then and there I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, to hit him or hug him, to be totally offended or modestly flattered.

 I have found no marriage guide which diagrams the steps of long term harmony and commitment
 that explains just exactly what category smelling like a pork chop falls into.

And you know why? Because they don't make one!!!

There are no written directions on how to respond when something so freakishly weird spurts from your spouses utterances.

"Pork chop?" I ask, still uncertain of how I should react.

"Uh-huh.." he says, snuggling closer and smiling contentedly...quietly closing is eyes and drifting off to sleep.

That's another wonderful and versatile thing about true love. You can interpret spoken words any way you see fit.

So, I'll just take it as a compliment and leave it at that.

This time...

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Price Tag On Memories

I'm on trial today. Or should I say, my house is on trial. The appraiser is coming this afternoon to put a price on it. It is rather sad to think everything here can be condensed into a monetary value, that a stranger will judge if it's big enough, good enough, and fancy enough to make the cut.

I suppose I'm being a hypocrite. Up till now I didn't care what people thought of my house. If I wanted to paint the kitchen purple, I painted it purple. If I wanted to drive nails in the wall to hang some flea market treasure, I nailed with abandon. If I had the impulse to move the sofa on an angle, I experimented without concerns.
But now, my eye is critical and I find myself wishing I had been more conservative. I wish I had taken the time to touch up nicks in the trim, spots on the concrete and changed those tulip shaped globes on the ceiling fan. I find myself hoping they won't notice my craft supplies huddled in the corner, the Halloween mice still hanging in the garage, and the broken sundial by the garden. But then I realize I am hoping they will not see "me"...because these little things are who I am, what I have I live.

If it wasn't for the fact that we have plans to "re-root", I would be content for this house to stay just like it is. In its crazy eclectic style, it's overly-comfy laziness, it's well worn surfaces and familiar smells...

How can you put a price on days of laughter, nights of music and firelight, the joy of new babies and the celebration of fresh beginnings? How can you ignore the memories of special holidays here...a lopsided Christmas tree...a gruesome scarecrow...pumpkin carving...Easter egg
sunning...and star gazing? Who can access the value of a well- lived life in a much-loved house?

I have promised myself not to cry when it's time to leave. After all, it's just a house. Just block and lumber and plaster and shingles. What do I care about such things? I guess it's because I know this was not just my house, it was my home. My nest. My comfort. My haven. My base.

The entire process is made easier knowing that I can fluff and fix and fabricate a new home. That I can take these beautiful, over- flowing and amazing memories with me wherever I go. That change is sometimes the best thing one can do...that someone else is waiting to make their own memories beneath this roof and in this yard...

I keep saying this is a new chapter in our lives. But is the book going to have a happy ending? Will it be worth reading, keeping, nurturing? My heart says so. And my heart is usually right.

And so I wait...thinking I might ought to hide my hideous mannequin.

But I won't. I can't. It's part of who I am.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I realize there are a lot of you who greet Easter like a major holiday. Shopping, decorating, cooking, gathering...but even when my kids were little, we rarely had an explosion of bunny rabbits and colored eggs and delicious ham in my house.

Sure, I would help the kids dye eggs. With those simple little Paas kits that usually came with only one flimsy wire egg-remover.

 The kids fought over that wire through the whole process, crying, fighting and spilling artificial coloring all over the tablecloth. If I had been a smart mom, I would have saved those stupid tools year after year so they could have their very own. But usually by the time the eggs were done and the fighting was over, they had bent the hell out of that egg extractor.

Martha Stewart is a liar. She makes it look like peace, harmony, and family fun. After two rolls of paper towels, a gallon of glitter, broken waxy crayons and sheets of stickers, we ended up with three dozen brownish, sparkly, cracked eggs that sat in a bowl of plastic grass until they rotted. So much for the egg tradition.

There are few years when I cooked an Easter dinner. But I can tell you now that it was no where near the dream I had of it. In my dream, the ham was succulent, had that perfect sweet/salty ratio, and melted in your mouth like marshmallow meat. Of course my dream mashed potatoes were silky smooth and loaded with butter, the green bean casserole close to magazine-cover worthy, and the desserts were beautifully artistic and a pleasure to the palate.

After so many dry, tasteless hams, lumpy starch-infused mashed potatoes, stringy green beans and failed desserts, I finally quit trying to achieve something beyond my limited capabilities.

Decorating for Easter? Well, I was never a real fan of pastels. There are only so many bunnies and chick pictures you want clinging to your front windows. And giant eggs on the lawn made me think of Jurassic Park gone gay. Nowadays chocolate is my choice of design. And around here, it never melts, rots, or fails.

I haven't bought an Easter dress in my life. Or a hat. Or shoes. There goes another tradition that I've avoided somehow...

But although these things aren't infused into my Easter holiday, that doesn't mean I don't celebrate.

I celebrate everyday that the Lord is my Savior and the King of Kings. That He died for my sins and rose from the dead... and because I believe in Him and follow His Word, I will have everlasting life.

Like I heard someone say the other day- "It's not about the bunny, it's about the lamb".

Have a glorious and blessed Easter!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Facing the Fight

It's Monday. There's snow on the ground and its cold. A great day to stay warm inside and be lazy.

But, that ain't gonna happen.

Mr. Hippie was laid off again on Friday, so we are planning one of those fun sit-down all-day planning sessions that raise my blood pressure and test my ability to focus for long periods of time.
We are going to review our moving plans, (a young couple has signed a contract on our house), tweak our cabin floor plans, and go over finances. Oops. That's the part where I decide to go off and take a long bath or clean my closet.

Numbers make my head hurt.
Bank balances make it blow up.

Trying to make my husband understand that you can't buy groceries for $50 a week and that they don't give me that case of beer free on Fridays is like doing your hair in the middle of a tornado. It's useless. By his estimations, we should have a billion dollars saved and sitting pretty forever and ever.

Believe me, I don't buy designer purses or clothing, eat out with girlfriends, invest in new furniture every few years - and I've never had a manicure or pedicure in my life. I don't drink, smoke or gamble. So, honestly, I have nothing to feel guilty about.

Except the fact that I am not organized. I can't just spout out credit card balances or mortgage totals by heart. I don't have my monthly bills memorized. I'm not sure about percentage rates and interest and all that other mathematical jargon.

But like going to the dentist, this pain has to be faced or its just gonna get worse. Once we get past
the yelling, screaming and crying, our move will be bright and welcoming and a new challenge in our lives.

I'm looking forward to what's ahead, but scared, too. It's like a journey into the unknown. Good thing I'm going there holding hands with my husband. Because no matter how much I anger and exasperate him, I know he loves me.

Gotta go now. Think I'll grab another cup of coffee and relax a bit before my head blows up.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hairy Scary Part 2: This Is Where I Eat Crow

(Note: this is not a paid endorsement. These are my own words and my sincere opinion. I wrote this purposely in a journalistic style so that the salon could use it for promotional purposes if they so desire).

Yesterday I was dreading my trip to the hair salon and had no doubt that it would be a repeat of so many disappointments I've experienced over the years.
I almost backed out.
But I'm glad I didn't.

Hollywood Hair of Centralia is the closet thing to a fairy godmother that you can get these days. And you don't have to be a princess to afford their many styling services and polished pampering. One step inside their gorgeous salon and you immediately see that this is not your ordinary beauty shop.
Glitzy chandeliers, large mirrors and posh seating invites you into a grooming experience that you won't soon forget.

First we were greeted by friendly smiles that gave us a quick tour of the salon. From pedicures and manicures, coloring services, makeup and waxing, to actual classes on how to maintain your winning look, the building was a maze of class and sophistication. But not pretentious or uppity in any way. The atmosphere was welcoming and warm as the perfume of sweet shampoos and sprays waifted through the air. We were offered a soft drink, water, or tea - all served in glass stemware that clinked with ice cubes and spoke of caring details.

I was totally impressed at the attention I was given and the fact that my stylist listened to my wants and don't-wants right from the beginning. In the private wash room where black shampoo bowls shined in perfect rows, a warm towel was folded beneath my neck as my scalp was gently massaged. Shampooed and conditioned, I was relaxed and ready for the true test - the cut and style.

It is rare to have a stylist who takes her time. I usually feel as though I'm rushed or left waiting while attention is divided among other customers. But I definitely felt this was a one-on-one situation and was grateful for that.

I loved my cut! Not only did she do an amazing job, she also took the time to show me the specific products and tools that she used and the steps necessary to keep my look fresh and fabulous.

When all was said and done, I may have spent an extra five dollars above the cost of my regular haircut. And I felt as though it was worth every penny for the atmosphere alone.

Hollywood Hair lived up to its name - full of glamor, star shining attitudes and positive vibes.
I have found my new salon. Why don't you check it out?

I will almost bet you will make this your new pampering palace.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hairy Scary

There are a many things in life that are scary. But other than a full blown zombie apocalypse, there is nothing more frightening to me than getting a haircut.

You think it would be simple, right? A sharp pair of scissors, a good mirror, all the necessary spray goop and heated hand tools... A clear photograph of your expected outcome... and a person you trust with your life smashing your sore neck into a shampoo bowl and spinning you in an hydraulic chair till you feel like the teacup ride on carnival night.

But, you see, the real problem lies in the fact that there are no hairstylists on the planet Earth that you can trust with your life. You know why? Because YOU, my friend, are their guinea pig. You are their Frankenstein. Their lab experiment. Their empty canvas. Their evil laugh-of-the-day when you walk out looking like a freak - and they pocket a wad of your money with a heartless flip of their purple Mohawk.

Sorry. I don't mean to offend anyone. It's just that in all my 57  middle aged   seasoned years of breathing and growing hair, I have yet to find a sensitive and talented soul that can transform my head cap into something beautiful, manageable, sexy and fun. How hard can it be? For heaven's sake, I'm not asking for a face lift, plastic surgery or an instant weight loss! I just want to be able to travel frequently in public places without a hoodie, hat, or scarf. I want to be able to greet strangers with a confident and hair-winning smile. I want to run into old high school friends and smugly display my no-gray, perfectly coiffed doo while they secretly smolder with envy that my head no longer looks like a wet groundhog.

I want to look into the mirror without gagging, run my fingers through my hair without losing a few fingers, and wake up with the confidence of a woman who has defied the horror of hair. Wouldn't life just be so much sweeter if your hair was always shiny, groomed, stylish and picture-perfect?

Alas, life is not perfect. And those much-needed hairstyle goddesses have yet to be created up in Beauty Shop Heaven. And until they are, we must make do with what scissorhanded talent is forced upon us.

Which brings me back to the really, really scary part. I'm getting my hair butchered  hacked  trimmed
this afternoon by a stranger I have never met with a comb I have never touched. And all I am armed with is a fuzzy picture of some movie star that is 30 years younger, 50 pounds thinner and 10 million dollars richer than I am. I can barely afford the $25. I do not have the luxury of flopping on a real-hair, high-dollar wig if Lizzie Borden decides to go a little crazy with the hair hatchet.

And, face it, ladies. There is nothing worse than staring into that giant, crystal clear and brutally honest mirror while your hair is wet, your make-up is missing, and you're about to crap your pants because you fear for your pitiful pompadour. I see the dread and doubt staring back at me. The hollow eyes that search for answers, the wrinkled brow that hopes for mercy, the weakened instinct in me that shouts, "Get out of that chair, NOW !". I tremble. Become teary-eyed. Regret I ever made the call. The appointment. The agreement to be a test subject for a hair laboratory.

So, if you pass someone horrific in the grocery aisle or stopped at the light on Main Street, DO NOT PANIC. The zombie apocalypse has not begun.

It's just me. With my new doo.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Spring Will Bring

Today is the first day of Spring!

Honestly, I don't really know anything about the whole vernal equinox, tilting axis, or hemispheric alignment that defines this scientific event. All I know is... it means there's less chance now that I'll need my broken snow shovel or the giant puffy coat that makes me look like this:

The coming of Spring also means that birds will build their nests and begin laying eggs, the sun will be warmer, the grass greener, the days longer... You can occasionally wear shorts, cook on the grill again, and plan outdoor celebrations.

It all sounds so perfectly romantic, doesn't it?

That's because everyone is so darn excited to crawl out of winter that they fail to remind you that Spring also means:

And, definitely the very worst thing about Spring for me is:

I'll have to shave my legs....
(Just kidding, folks!)
Enjoy your Spring!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I. Need. Sleep.

I've been up since 2 a.m.. The dog likes to tease me into thinking his bladder (or worse) is about to explode. So I jumped up from a very good dream for the sake of my carpet and my bedding and made my way through the dark house to let him out the back door. Halfway there I realized he wasn't following me. Turned around. No dog. One peek back in the bedroom and I see he has nested in the spot where my legs need to go. And on top of that, my husband has rolled over, crowding my side of the bed, has kidnapped my favorite pillow and is sawing logs louder than the Ax Men.


Might as well get up. Fix coffee. Start my Tuesday with baggy eyes and a sour attitude. Sleep deprivation turns me into a witch with a "B". However, there is a well-known remedy that can reverse that. It's called a nap. Of which I plan to overdose on sometime mid-morning.

Crankiness is ugly. Naps are beautiful. Simple fix.

To aggravate the situation, my computer mouse quit working. Now I have to slide my tired fingers across the pad thingy- and it has a mind of its own. I feel like I'm playing Mario Kart. And if you ask any of my kids, they will tell you that my go-cart has never once crossed the finish line without first finding every tree, pot hole and hidden bomb on the course. My fingers knot up like giant drunken tarantula and I mumble bad words. Forgive me.

I need to take out the trash, but it's still dark. You never know when some old-lady-loving psycho who has a fetish for ragged sweaters and grease stained yoga pants will decide to prey in my neighborhood. Or a rabid skunk decide to suddenly share its foaming mouth of disease with me.

I think the trash can wait. And if Mr. Trashman gets here early, then he'll just have twice as much dripping, vile garbage to hoist into his fly-loving truck next week. Sorry. That's how these things work.

I actually started cleaning my closet yesterday. Thought a bit of organization and un-hoardiziation (I made up that lovely word) might do me some good.
I was wrong.
It just made me realize what a loser I am. I couldn't bear to part with my disco outfit, the basket of antlers, or the cute lampshade that doesn't (and probably never will) fit any lamp I own. I kept grass stained sneakers, paint splotched sweatshirts and pajama pants with dangling snaps and threadbare bottoms. What is wrong with me? Four hours of sorting, grunting, sweating and swearing and all I have to show for it is one single trash bag to donate to Goodwill.

Someone once said you can judge a lady by her closet. Good Lord. Am I not more than crumbled vacation brochures, frosted denim fanny packs and a maxi coat? Is my personality reduced to fuzzy house slippers that have lost their fuzz, suitcases full of junk mail and a Christmas sweater with a Garfield Santa? Say it ain't so!

I have no idea how I will ever move. The thought is totally overwhelming. I cringe at thinking of what must be packed, stuffed, carted and gathered. My junk drawer alone will take up a good sized U-haul.

But I'm not the only one in this house that has a problem with releasing meaningless, worthless objects. My husband has saved every tool he has ever owned, found or broken. He has enough paint cans to fill a football field - and you would think rusty nails and screws are worth more than gold. He hangs onto scrap lumber, surplus pipe and fifteen kinds of rope and wire.
I predict that there will be sparks of friction flying when moving time finally gets here. The whole, giant accumulation will hit the fan, folks. And it won't be pretty.

It's 6 a.m. and I'm feeling like a ball of venomous snakes that only had three hours of good sleep.

Stupid dog.....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This Is Why

You would think I'd be upset.

Who in their right mind would want to sell a perfectly good home to go live in a cabin? Did I mention it's a small cabin? Like in - teeny-tiny. Like in -you can brush your teeth at the sink while taking a crap, simultaneously opening the window and keeping an eye out for the hot dogs to boil on the kitchen stove. No dishwasher, bath tub, washer/dryer, garage, or dividing walls (except for the bathroom where the restricted size has improved my contortionist skills remarkably).

(Rest assured, this will all change when we make the permanent move. There will be walls and modern appliances and privacy and room for company.)

But it all sounds horrible, right?

Well, I haven't even mentioned that this cabin is located in another state and twelve miles from the nearest McDonald's, Dollar General, bank, post office, grocery or gas station. Unless you count the peeling white convenience store down on J Hwy where the Hostess Cupcakes may or may not have expired in 2010. The proprietor looks as though he has spread biscuits and gravy on his head and let wild dogs eat it off. Repeatedly. And his ever-present wife resembles Lulu from Hee Haw. One can't help but notice her apron hasn't been washed since she screwed up the mashed 'taters last Thanksgiving.

Another the spring, gnats have you for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Accompanied by an occasional mad hornet, blood-sucking ticks, green-eyed flies and mosquitos that are out to get your mojo. There are also rumors of mountain lions, bears and bobcats. Throw in a few rattle snakes, annoying armadillos and an isolated Big Foot sighting - and that pretty much describes my dream home.

I know. Wow.

Why would I want to move there?

Well, I haven't told you the part about how the pine trees whisper sweet songs when the wind blows. And the huge oaks bend down and shade the yard while tiny wrens poke at invisible worms. How the sunsets are like soft melted sherbet. And how in the evening, the sky lights up with stars, tossed against the blackness like gallons of glitter. How wild iris's poke their purple heads up around the creek bed, as cool water flows over smooth rocks in a musical rhythm. How deer linger by the wood pile each morning while we quietly watch them from the screened porch, and the new fawns jump and play by the honeysuckle. I haven't told you about the dogwoods in the spring- how you can see them shining through the woods like puffs of delicate cotton. How wild turkeys race across the meadow with confident clucks and the sky is so clear and blue that it makes your heart cry. I haven't told you the part about finding rocks and hunting mushrooms and walking in the woods without a compass. How blackberries grow near the gate and persimmons glow golden in the autumn. How fragrant the bonfires are late in the year... the dry leaves burning in a smoky pile. Sticky s'mores and red wine and flannel shirts. Stacking firewood in neat piles, cooking maple bacon on the old electric stove and making sure the camo is all washed up and ready for a hunt. It's hard to describe the feeling of an old quilt on a too-small bed, of snuggling in front of the fireplace with a good book, of waking up before the sun does in anticipation of the day. I haven't told you about how I feel closer to God here than anywhere else on earth. That I feel blessed and loved and privileged to be part of this immense beauty. How I can find utter joy in walking down a dusty path, admiring the colors of the leaves, or simply listening to the silence. It's a magic place where I feel connected, empowered, and embraced.

That's why.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Juggling Junk

It's times like these that make me wish I had heeded all those primitive looking signs that say SIMPLIFY. Whenever I  see one in the store, I  smile and agree, but deep inside I know it is all such  bullcrap  propaganda  so... unrealistic. Especially for a gal like me that saves the little plastic swords from fancy cocktails and has tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to recycle dryer lint. Now I'm facing the fact that I may be moving and it has opened up this huge reality that perhaps I am a hoarder. There, I said it.

Whispered it, really, but I've always heard that the hardest part is admitting you have a problem.

Except, I don't like to think if it as a problem exactly. I think of it as a tiny quirk in my artistic neurotic unique personality. I've got baggage. And it consists of scraps and beads and glue and paint. Books and pens and fabric and buttons. Goodwill goodies, yard sale yummies and thrift store thrills.
Or, as my husband so furiously  angrily  delicately describes it : JUNK.

I know he's always dreamed I'd be one of those uncomplicated and unburdened type of women who immediately shreds unwanted mail, thins out closets to only essentials, and has never coveted a knick knack in her entire life. He would be happy if all the kitchen countertops were bare, the linen closet was an OCD's dream, and the garage would actually have room for a car.

Heck, I dream of being that way, too. But we are being honest here. I'm not one of those women and could almost bet  I never will be. I like embellishments, bling, collections and organized clutter. I like big bins overflowing with craft supplies, dog-eared magazines thick with inspiration and paintbrushes stuffed in jars like strange bouquets. I like textures and totes and odd treasures. I find a peculiar sense of satisfaction in being surrounded by color and kitsch and little pre-loved objects that I've saved from the landfill.

Yeah. I'm really starting to sound pretty crazy here. I've scared myself.

Fact is, I must become one of those women my husband dreams about. A woman who lives such a basic, unadorned life that she never has to dust figurines, pack old tee shirts in the back of the closet, or spend two days trying to find the kids' birth certificates. I must sort, shave down and select. I have no choice.

I imagine my new home. Bright. Basic. Airy and unadorned. Simple and sweet and soft. No extras, no frills, and no accessories. Martha Stewart closets, a Rachel Ray kitchen, an HGTV bathroom and a Nate Berkus everything else.


Not really.

Because honestly... I've had some dreams of my own. Of a man who will love my JUNK!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Home, My Friend

Last fall we posted a sign in front of our house. A little wobbly square with metal legs that announced in  thick red letters: FOR SALE.

Part of me is elated.
Sometimes I am so ready for change, for an uprooting of my spirit and a boost to my inspiration. Often times I'm psyched about building, decorating, growing. About starting a new chapter on fresh ground... About living in the midst of towering pines that sing sweet songs...

The other part is feeling such a huge bag of emotions that constantly zigzag and flip according to my mood. One day I hate the thought of starting over somewhere else. Of learning new habits, new faces, new lessons...I grow weary and sad because this has been my home for eighteen years. I know the sounds and textures and corners by heart. I find comfort in the swoosh of the dishwasher in the mornings... the click of the furnace as it fires up... the way the sunlight hits the wall with a splash of rainbow.

I'm familiar with the yard... the time it takes to make a hundred passes with the lawn mower across its summer skin...the places where stubborn dandelions play...the comforting smoothness of green on a warm night as lightning bugs dance in the fields. I know the pleasure of seeing my mom's tulips push through the earth every spring... my pink flamingos kissed by rain... the pond snapping with hungry fish on a hot afternoon...dragonflies and baby deer and birds that play in puddles of dust. I've memorized the ocean of gumballs that dot the yard...the orange of autumn sassafras...the smell of hay being baled... the scent of wild honeysuckle.

I will miss my life here. The parties and people who enriched this home. Halloween decorations gone crazy and karaoke loud enough to break windows... and bad enough to annoy the neighbors. The disco ball that crowned our first 70's party to the tacky tablecloths that announced a white trash bash.
Of course there are the celebrations of birthdays and graduations and holidays that lit up this house with energy and love...who could forget those? They are all imprinted on my heart like a badge. Like a reward for having nurtured and respected this house.

I grow sad remembering the big yellow bus that creaked its brakes to pick up my children for school every morning...and then, years later, occasionally stopped to pick up my grandkids. I smile thinking of the mail lady...her friendly wave, her postcard greeting at Christmas, her chit chat as she delivered packages to the door that were too large for the mailbox. I think of the propane trucks that backed in the drive every fall and winter, filling my home with warmth and heat, and leaving me awake wondering how I was going to fit it in the budget.

I'll miss the sound of a thumping basketball, the tuning of electric guitars in the garage, the clatter of a hot grill sizzling with steaks... and the joyous sound of an Easter egg being discovered among the daffodils.

Yesterday we got an offer on the house. Now begins the cat and mouse game of playing with the figures and negotiating the terms. I wonder if my house deserves be bid off without a voice of its be traded for something new, better(?), and so completely unknown.

A year from now, who will be watching those beautiful bright stars as they glitter in the night sky above the pond? Who will be mowing the lawn in smooth straight rows... or picking wild blackberries from the fence row? Whose laughter will be echoing through the rooms? Who will be making memories inside these walls? Who will ever hope to know the pride and security that I felt here?

And, yet, on the other side there is a brightness...a little red cabin waiting to expand, to fill up with voices and songs, to grow rich with flowers and parties and a doormat that says "Welcome". It's a place that already has our hearts...that simply waits to beat in regular rhythm to our lives.

My emotions flip flop again. How bittersweet are new beginnings! How sorrowful are goodbyes...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Steps

It seems like only yesterday, (yet a hundred years ago), that I was toting three children around- balancing my baby boy on a hip while holding hands with my two little girls that baby-stepped in slow motion...even when speed was of utmost importance.
Looking back, I wonder how I bathed, dressed and wiped their snotty noses in any sort of regularity. Because when you're a mom, the other stuff in life doesn't go on hold. You still must do dishes, laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning and all those other things that existed before motherhood.

But something must have happened when I looked away...while I was cleaning the toilet or dusting the coffee table. I turned around and they were grown adults. How did they possibly baby step their way right out the door and into lives of their own without warning? How did I miss those thousands of hugs and kisses I meant to give them? The silly songs I forgot to sing or the pictures I failed to help them finger paint? I just wanted to braid their hair and straighten their collars and pack their lunches a few more years....I had hoped to become a good listener, a dependable secret-keeper...a better mom. And if I wasn't, it's simply because they grew up before I got enough practice.

Or at least I like to think that is why.

Within the past two years, I've watched each of my children get married. Branch out their hearts and encircle new love...clip their wings and apron strings and rarely look back.

I'm lucky. The life mates they chose compliment them. Their happiness has deepened. And I believe their understanding of parenthood has reached a higher level. I love them all so much.

But, I looked in the mirror this morning and realized that time is no longer baby stepping. It is racing like a huge tornado. It's quick like lightning and totally unrelenting. And though there are days when I still feel like that young mother whose suffers from sleep deprivation and has peanut butter and jelly under her fingernails, I realize I am no longer that person. I've rounded into a grandma. I've morphed into a mother-in-law. I've shrunk into the person I will be forever.

Because you see, time is also unforgiving. Once you reach a certain point, there are no second chances.

So, dear young mothers everywhere - enjoy those snotty noses and late nights in the rocking chair and crooked braids and skinned knees and a garage full of bicycles and basketballs, wet towels and ruined homework, and steps.
Don't rush. Don't complain.

And don't look away.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


If I were a month, I would be October. Always floating a fine line between summer and fall. Loving cool nights… soft, cinnamon days- and beautiful colors.

If I were a day of the week, I’d probably be Wednesday and they’d call me the Old Hump.

 If I were a time of day, I’d be about 11:30 a.m. - Nap Time.

If I were a planet, I’d be my children’s moon and peek in their window at night… and shine on them and give them peace.

If I were a sea animal, I’d be dead. Because I can’t swim.

If I were a direction, I would be very, very confused.

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a soft, wide chair with jelly stains and crayon marks and silver coins under the cushions.

If I were a liquid, I’d be Tequila. (without the worm).

If I were a gemstone, I’d be a chunk of coal-trying my best to look like a diamond.

If I were a tree, I’d be an artificial Christmas tree so I would never have to die. And so I could spend my life watching happy people and smelling  warm baked cookies.

If I were a tool, I’d be a glue gun. Because I’m a Mom. Always trying to mend, fix, save and unite my family.

If I were a flower, I’d be a daffodil. Because everyone would love to see me coming and hate to see me go.

If I were a kind of weather, I would be an evening in May… 72 degrees with a sky full of stars and a soft breeze and the songs of crickets.

If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a guitar. So my husband would fondle me on a regular basis and we’d make beautiful music together.

If I were a color, I would be blue. Like the sky and the ocean… But I’d be envious of all the gold’s and silver’s and cool metallic's.

If I were an emotion, I’d be love. Because “Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
It is not self-seeking, nor easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongdoing.
It does not delight in evil,
But rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, trusts, hopes, and preserves.
There is nothing love cannot face;
There is no limit to its faith, hope, and endurance”.
If I were a fruit, I’d be ripe pear. Yellow, freckled, plump and sweet.

If I were a sound, I’d be laughter.

If I were a car, I’d be a little rusty, but a lot dependable. High mileage but low maintenance.

If I were a food, I’d be pizza. So I’d never get tired of myself. And I could wear something different everyday. Spicy-sweet and usually stuffed.

If I were a place, it would be wherever my family is.

If I were a material, I would be terry cloth. Cheap, but comfortable. Absorbent, but not abrasive. And I’d smell like Snuggle.

If I were a taste, I’d be crispy hot French fries, the rim of a perfect margarita …the taste of vinegar chips.

If I were a scent, I’d be my mother’s perfume, so that she would always be with me.

If I were an object, I would be a rabbit’s foot.Let people rub me all day and make their wishes come true.

If I were a body part, I would be a neck. So I’d get kissed a lot, covered up well when it’s cold, and get adorned with beautiful jewelry.

If I were a facial expression, I’d want to be a happy surprise. Because everybody likes surprises.

If I were a song, I would be “Que Sera Sera”…
“Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be. “

If I were a pair of shoes,  I’d be a pair of slippers. I’d never get muddy and I’d get to watch TV at night and even get to walk on the good carpet.

But today I am just me...
And I'll make the best of it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rules of Napping

Have you ever watched those "prepping" shows? The ones where the goony looking couple wear gas masks to bed and drink their own urine? Those reality TV shows that promote camo, ammo and Spam-Oh? Well, I'm all for emergency preparedness. No one likes the thought of being caught off guard, no matter how minor the danger. That's why I'm gearing up for next Monday.

What? You don't know about National Napping Day? Get with the program, people!

Sunday Daylight  Savings Time goes into effect. Napping Day provides an opportunity to adjust after changes to daylight savings when losing an hour of sleep due to ‘springing forward’. Or for my sister Linda and I, it's just one more excuse to roll into a fetal position on a soft bed and sleep while the sun is still shining. And, boy, oh, boy - are we good at it!
However, we take serious offense to the term "taking a nap". We don't take it, for heavens sake! It's not like we're stealing it or anything! A good nap just falls upon you like a shadow. It seduces you. It slowly and sweetly hypnotizes you into an afternoon dreamy land.
Take my word for it, Linda and I have been avid promoters of naptime since we were wee ones. And, by golly, we are pretty good at it. We have almost perfected it to an art.
First of all, laying your head on the kitchen table for ten minutes is NOT a nap. It's a wimpy option that is both unsatisfactory and possibly medically unsafe. Naps are meant to be enjoyed on a soft surface, preferably a bed, but we've found that a comfy couch is sometimes as good, if not better, as long as it is equipped with napping paraphernalia.
To help out all you non-nappers, I'm here to help you prepare. First off, one must outfit a Nap Nest with several essentials:

1. A crisp clean sheet or a soft comforter, depending on the season
2. Your favorite pillow or Pillow Pet
3. A phone within reach
4. An empty bladder
5. No distractions
6. No alarm clocks
7. No guilt

To further explain number 7, guilt is detrimental to the entire napping process. Feeling guilty about partaking in a rejuvenation of the spirit not only represents a sensation of intrapsychic tension, but is
sometimes linked to apprehension of a catastrophic threat to oneself.

In other words... it's not good.

Naps must be experienced with total surrender. You must always release any nagging thoughts and worries if you are to take full advantage of the healing powers of daytime sleep. It's a proven fact.

Naps should almost always have no time limits forced upon them. However, should your children need to be picked up from school or a burning roast removed from the oven, then, by all means, it is appropriate to curtail the nap, but only occasionally. Repeated infractions of rule number 6 above not only threaten your sleep health, but are also hurtful to your positive well-being.

Another very, very important fact about napping is-  that once it is complete and you are fully awake, your body must ingest some type of nutrients. Preferably home baked cookies, but salty snacks are also allowed. As with other napping rules, this will not, in any way whatsoever, spoil your dinner.

So, come Monday, I will be prepared. No gas mask, no puking up pee or slicing Spam- just falling into a gentle slumber of a heavenly nap.

Wake me up when the cookies are ready.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Tiny Gem

It's funny how memories work. Sometimes the things you think you'll remember forever become faded and lost. And other times, those moments you let pass without another thought can later become the brightest days of your life.
I've shared a lot of years with my husband. And throughout our marriage, there have been some amazing memories. Such things as our wedding, first car, new house, the birth of our children and grandchildren, birthday celebrations, graduations, weddings, and anniversaries.
But somehow through a mountain of time, one small bud of a memory repeatedly floats to the top.
Maybe it's just this time of year. The beginning of spring. Of new life. Or the immense reality of aging.
Whatever the reason, I continue to remember this tiny gem...

We had only been married a year or two. It was spring. Early morning. At our old farm house on the dead-end road, trees shaded the yard like green umbrellas. Birds were having a party with their sweet chirping. And the air was fresh...cleansed...soft with the perfume of honeysuckle and lilacs. The rising sun felt warm on our faces. Love seemed to glow from our skin like a rainbow ...and everything seemed new.

My husband's grandpa had given us a box of tomato plants for our garden, each one frail and spindly, wrapped in damp newspapers and smelling of greenness. We sat on the big concrete porch in our rusty lawn chairs and began to separate the plants, being careful not to expose the roots to the air. At first they didn't look like much, fragile and thin and clinging for life. But we had hope.

We glanced at one another and smiled, sipped our coffee, and coddled our plants. We spoke of our garden plans, our life plans...our dreams and our joys. The day was perfect...stretched out like a soft song that hums forever.

That summer the thin hairy branches grew strong and heavy with fruit, providing thick red tomatoes the size of baseballs. With gentle attention and special care they flourished...just like our marriage.

I don't know why, but that morning those many years ago still remains in my mind like a clear video. On spring days, I think of that time...the trees and birds and dew on the grass...

A simple memory of hope. And one I have never forgotten.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Step Number Three

There are a lot of couples out there that have huge fights over big things.
It's understandable.
Even though you pledge your lives as one, you are still two personalities that occasionally clash.
But, sometimes it's not the BIG things. It's the little things. Those quirky, crazy, tiny habits of your spouse that seep into your brain like poison darts.

I know I really shouldn't complain.
My husband always takes his shoes off before walking on the carpet. He showers and shaves on a daily basis. He chews his food well and uses a napkin. He's even learned to be a bit more stylish in the past few months.

But like I said, sometimes it's the pet peeves that drive you wacky...
We have a glass apothecary container in the bathroom where I keep an ample supply of Q-tips.

It has a loose metal lid that clangs like a bell when you replace it. The problem? My husband NEVER EVER replaces it! I wouldn't even complain if the jingling lid woke me up from a fantastic dream. Even if that clanking interrupted my favorite show, gave me a migraine or caused my eyeballs to spin.
Seeing that lid lying next to the jar in the morning makes my face scrunch up and my teeth grit together. Makes my already hot flashing blood begin to boil. Makes me slam that lid on the Q-tip jar so loudly that it sounds like Ringo Starr gone mad. How difficult can it possibly be?
1. Lift lid.
2.Remove Q-tip.
3.Replace lid.

There must be something in a man's brain that shorts out when they come to Step Number Three!!!

1. See the toilet tissue needs replaced
2. Find roll of toilet paper
3. Remove empty roll and fill with new

1. Realize the trash can is full
2. Stuff in a final beer can
3. Tie up and carry to curb

1. Plan a road trip
2. Enjoy the scenery
3. Stop and ask directions when you become lost

1. Remember your wife's birthday
2. Tell her happy birthday
3. Buy her some bling

1. Relax with an evening of TV
2. Enjoy The Godfather Marathon (for the tenth time)
3. Then let your wife choose the next 16 hrs.

See how it is?
If women never followed Step Number Three, the world would be in chaos! Wild, I tell you!
There would be no laundry folded, no dishes washed, no bills mailed out, no errands ran...and no babies!

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that my husband has clean ears. But seeing that lid has not been replaced properly makes me want to:
1: Put on a large heavy boot
2. Target husband's butt
3. Well, all us women know what we'd do on Step Number Three!

Don't we?