Perhaps I’ve been hitting the chlorine a little too hard lately.

 

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I’m sitting in the concession stand area during pool lessons. I have my computer, my super cool Netflix thermos of coffee, and a kitty coffee mug. I am fully outfitted. The other parents are sitting around talking or playing on their phones, but I’m pouring coffee into my cup like some weirdo epicurean coffee lady who doesn’t drink coffee straight out of her adult sippy cup thing like everyone else.
Here’s why I have the thermos: Netflix GAVE it to me and I am not one to look a gift thermos in the mouth.
Also, I spill. I spill horribly. Adult sippy cups are hard.

It’s summer. Did you know?

There’s this smell here, at the pool. It’s chlorine and sunscreen and heat on concrete, and I remember this smell from my own childhood.
I remember when I was fifteen I had a white one piece that I bought at The Limited. I never could do the two piece thing. I didn’t even ask. A bikini on me would have been equal, I am sure, with my mom sewing a big red G (for “grounded”) on my white one piece.

Oh the memories.

It’s cool here in the shade, and as I pour more coffee like a weirdo and smell the chlorine I am filled with peace.

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There are two reasons for this:
1. My children are over THERE. I am over HERE.
2. I am writing, which is my happy place.
3. That thermos really makes good coffee and yes I know that’s three but the peace doesn’t equal fully firing synapses in my case.

I know I’ve already talked about how summer can be crazy busy. But it’s a different kind of busy.
I realize this is like saying it’s a “dry heat” when the sun is melting your eyebrows off, but still. I stand by my “crazy but different” explanation. I think it’s because the phrase “Crazy, but different” sums me up, so perfectly.

If I was ever to get a tattoo, it would be that, “Crazy, but different” all scrawled across my lower back because that is JUST how I roll. In my alternative universe where I get huge tattoos on my lower back.

(Don’t think for a minute that I am judging you, Tattoo People. I am just admitting that I am powerless over any sort of pain and needles and if anyone wanted to even TRY to poke at me with an inky needle all over my lower back for an hour or so there would be lots of crying and dramatic behavior. I can barely manage to pluck my eyebrows, for Pete’s sake. Pain is to be avoided, at all costs.)

Ohhhh that explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Perhaps I should get a tattoo: “Pain is to be avoided at all costs.” Right? Very cool and ironic? Also, long. A long sentence. So, so painful.

Somehow this post ended up being about skin art. How did that happen?

Every once in a while I look up from my screen and take a deep breath. The smell is soothing and energizing, at the same time. It’s like my oil diffuser back home, that I always have loaded up with buckets of lavender because of all the running and animals and endless Star Wars. Lavender oil does only so much, when it’s 6:30 am and your boys (WHO NEVER WOKE UP THIS EARLY DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR MY LORD IN HEAVEN CAN THEY NOT JUST LUXURIATE IN A BED FOR ONCE) are ready to tussle and also have a full on conversation about The Hulk. At 6:30 am.

I think I figured out why my synapses aren’t always firing on all levels, folks. Children beat the synapses right out of you. They do, at 6:30 am, as they stand in front of you in Lego Star Wars underpants, wishing to discuss the merits of The Hulk and his anger issues. He’s still a Good Guy, you know. Even though he gets so Angry. But his powers are nothing in comparison to Wolvering (yes, that’s how we pronounce it at our house. It’s cute but messed up. OH MY GOSH THAT COULD SO BE ANOTHER TATTOO.)

Anyhow. Picture me, standing over my oil diffuser, sucking in lavender mist like I need to go to oil diffuser rehab. That’s how I start my days.

The pool, and ten am swimming lessons? A much better substitute.

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Thank you so much for reading this post.
Obviously the pool fumes are making me a bit drunk on summer. There’s a lot of feelings but not a lot of logic.
Logic is for winter.

(AND JUST LIKE THAT. ANOTHER TATTOO. BOOM.)

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I am amazing and wonderful and I’ll work on humility tomorrow.

Today’s post is all about Five Minute Friday. The theme?

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Hi, um, humility? I got this one. You just sit back and bide your time, ok? Go eat something with lots of vegies in it, and fiber, and watch some educational television. Or do yoga. You know, just go on being the workhorse of Goodness, because today?

Today I am not gonna hang out with you at ALL.

Today. Just for Today. I am:

Awesome.

Capable.

Strong.

Pretty.

And I am SO jazzed on caffeine right now.

Also, I am:

Terrible at yoga, but I will continue at it. Even if that means a face plant during that weird spread eagle pose. I will do it anyhow.

Why? Because that’s how awesome I am.

Also: I am pretty bad at making solid decisions that are really well-analyzed and researched. I guess it’s because I had to teach the research paper to 7th graders and that’ll put anyone off their game.

But I continue to make decisions, on a daily basis, and you know what? I stand by most of them. I try to do stuff in a way that matches my insides with my outsides.

Because, I am still SO awesome.

Today, as I write this post, on the couch, with a large vat of coffee and my dog for warmth (our house is over 100 years old. It’s always chilly) – I am pretty convinced that I am the best thing ever.

Also: I took a shower this morning AND put on real clothes. The kind that have buttons. I MIGHT EVEN ACCESSORIZE.

I deserve a parade.

I thought about the theme today and realized two things:

  1. Reflection is good. It’s necessary. We need to do it to take tabs on our life, our progress. The ever shifting world.
  2. If I reflect for one second too long I slip over into total nutball.

Here’s what I mean. I look into the mirror every morning, attempting to do the mascara thing without taking out an eyeball because I am getting old-ish and can’t SEE much. Anyhow, if I stand in front of that mirror a tad too long?

I tend to think I have somehow morphed into this lady:

hqdefaultJudgemental creep. She’s fixated on the little things (shoes) and has a voice that can make dogs howl. Also, it’s pretty clear she hates the dentist.* She has some things to work through, and there is no amount of foundation that is gonna deal with that green.

So, reflect. Look back. Look forward. But also remember to two things:

  1. You didn’t make you. God did. And He is in charge and He loves beautiful things. He is the Michelangelo and you are the David, and last I checked, there was no green going on in that image at ALL.
  2. Just remember #1, okay? Especially on the green days. Because, there are always green days.

Reflect and remember who gave you the brains and heart to wish for reflection in the first place. He sculpted a pretty amazing thing.

And now, I am gonna take my fabulous self and prance right out of here to Papa Johns. Because, I promised my babies a Christmas movie night, and that pizza isn’t going to make itself tonight. No sir.

Merry Christmas. Take time to reflect a little on this:

The God of ALL creation, allowed us to live along side His son. The ruler of all the Universe likes to hang out with us.

Amazing. Simply breath-taking.

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If a human can create this majesty, just think what God can do.

 

*As awesome as I am, I still have not been to the dentist in three years. I’m all cowardly lion on that one. Progress, not perfection.

 

 

 

Life Sentence.

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Something lately has been really really really bugging me.

No. It’s not the coffee cup thing. Don’t leave the post.

Here is my issue: Lately I had a review of The Book (I wrote a book. Did you know?) in a local paper. The review was really nice and well written and we had a great interview prior. It was, all in all, great press and great information about the book.

But.

The final paragraph or so was about my brother. This was a fitting place to end because his story intertwined with mine is really important. He died from alcoholism. I didn’t.

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that – but that’s not the problem. The problem is the final line of the article. It says something like: “After what happened to my brother, I was cured forever.”

No. Just. No.

I don’t think I said it, but to give proper credit to the writer who did a good job (I am not trouncing him – interviews are tough and he did a great job of fact checking and making sure most was copacetic prior to print.)

But, no. I am not cured forever. Chris would certainly understand that.

I understand this: I am an alcoholic. After all this press and marketing and “Wow, I read your book” from my small town peeps, I still have a hard time saying that, ‘out loud’ here for you. After all this time. Still bugs me to say it. Still kinda bugs me to have people say, “Yea you! Good job! You’re awesome! You are in recovery! Woo hoo!” I know. That isn’t quite the way they say it, and I KNOW it’s not quite the way they mean it, but humility is really important in my program, and sometimes all the pats on the back can be a way to forget.

That I’m an alcoholic.

Forever. It is a life sentence. It can be a death sentence if I forget. And it’s a sentence that has given me more freedom than I ever thought possible.

So. Nope. Not cured.

But, forever grateful.

Thus is the essential paradox of my situation. If I think about it too long, I get a big wonky, so most of the time, I just mutter the Serenity Prayer and get a coffee and do the next right thing.

Thank you for listening, readers. Does it sound mushy to say I am grateful for you? Well. I am.

And now, I’m gonna go get a Starbucks and while I stand in line I’m going to lay hands on the barista and speak and pray to Jesus to save her soul.

This should go well.

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Yes, dear.

Linking up today with Heading Home today for Five Minute Fridays!

Today’s theme:

 

DEAR.

 

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It’s our second week of marriage. Brian and I are still in that blissfully unaware state of unfettered love and devotion that is honeymooning all over the place.

I am still in bed – the summer is still lulling about and I don’t have to go to work because I’m a teacher. I yawn. I stretch. I might unpack today. Or go to the bookstore. Or go for a run.

Life is good.

Brian, however, is getting ready to leave for his job. He’s in khaki pants and is wearing aftershave and an air of professionalism. He is pouring coffee. I am slipping back into sleep.

Then, he asks, “You want some coffee?” I don’t hear him because I’m cocooned in my blankets and lethargy. Brian, persistent, asks again, “Would you like some coffee?”

*snore*

“DEAR WOULD YOU LIKE SOME COFFEE?”

I have been rattled out of my blissful dreams and blink. Someone is yelling at me and it’s seven a.m. This is new.

Oh! Marriage. I blink again.

Brian, really really interested in making sure I get some caffeine, now bellows, “COFFEE? YOU WANT?”

And, I, annoyed, bellow back:

“YES. OK! ALL RIGHT! JEEZ. PUT SOME SUGAR IN IT BECAUSE I LIKE IT SWEEEEET!” This last part was a bit of a screech, like a grumpy macaw was in the bedroom, placing her order.

It is important to note here that when he brought it to me, I didn’t look very sweet. I looked all crumpled, and sleepy, and ticked.

Oh, marriage.

I take a sip and wrinkle my delicate nose. “This doesn’t have creamer. I like creamer in my coffee.”

Brian blinks.

At this point he has a crucial decision. He can tell me to put the coffee where the sun don’t shine, which would be all sorts of painful but probably rather deserved,

Or he can go for option B. Niceness.

Because, marriage.

He picks B and answers with a phrase I hear quite a lot in our years together:

“Yes, dear.”

As I sat back and waited for my coffee (which, when handed to me the second time was paired with a huge grin and so much creamer it was, um, just white), I wondered at it. I was being petulant and demanding, and I got a totally unexpected response. Quiet kindness.

This was rather new.

We tell each other, “Yes, dear” all the time. We say it when it’s hard, or when we are smiling, or when we are aflame with anger. We even say it when it’s drippy with sarcasm. But we still say it. And it always does the trick.

“Yes, dear” works. Why? Because we’re simple folk. We like to be reminded, even when annoyed or distracted or just plain mad, that we are precious to each other. That we chose each other.

That we hold each other, dear.

He is my darling, after all. And I am his. Even though he knows to maybe not talk to me too much in the morning before coffee.

Because, marriage.

Ephesians 4:31-32, ya’ll. It’s a good one.

 

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Top Ten Momsie Thankfuls

 

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I am grateful that the interwebs will never run out of pictures of cats dressed like turkeys. The cat looks so grateful too, doesn’t he?

 

Top Ten Reasons I am Thankful Today:

10. Coffee and the Macy’s Day Parade. Lots of coffee. From my father-in-law’s Keurig. You just push a button and WHOOSH coffee. It’s like coffee from gadget heaven.

9. Pink jammies. Why? Because I’m still in mine. They are Tinkerbell jammies, and did I mention, I’M STILL IN THEM.

8. Momsieblog. It has brought me so many blessings this year. Mainly, an audience that will listen to me meander through my thoughts,  for cripes sake. I don’t get a lot of that at home. I wonder why?

7. When I just asked my husband, “Hey! I’m having a brainblock! What’s something you’re grateful for?” and he answered without any hesitation: “You.” Be still my heart.

6. Watching these boys watch the floats go by. They are entranced. “Da Spidermans! And ninja guy! And I don’t know who that is because mom won’t let us watch anything but der PBS!”

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5. Paired with the jammies is the simple fact that my darling father-in-law made his traditional pancakes for the boys this morning. I have not moved from the couch. Grandpa Ed is da best! I didn’t have to wipe der syrups offa anyone!

4. My husband, who keeps reading tidbits from the sports section of the paper at me. I am grateful that he still, after all these years, thinks I am interested in this.

3. Our church. Have already answered a plethora of texts and posts from them; so grateful for their friendship and their faith. I always picture my church family as those kids at the end of a Charlie Brown Christmas. We are faithful friends to even the most wishy-washy (me). We are also short and rather strangely dressed.

2. Family. Of course. I know it’s the obligatory answer, but holy cannoli I love them so.

1. Jesus. He loves me so. Proof still that miracles happen here on a daily basis.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday Funny

It’s 8:57 am.  I am attempting to type while Red leans his sad little sick self against me.  We are watching our PBS.  We are drinking our juice.

We are, truly, and deeply, down in the dumps.

Red has clearance.  He has a bad cold and had very little sleep last night.  He is wrapped up in his Spiderman blankie and seems to be facing the day with acceptance.  More juice.  More PBS.  More coughing.  It will get better.

Momsie doesn’t really have the same excuse.  I’m tired, yes, but I’m just… blue.

It makes sense, really.  I have been surrounded by dirty tissues, germs, and a general sense of sickie ennui for days now.  What is a Momsie to do?

1.  Read my bible and make a LARGE pot of coffee.

2.  I pray.  Prayers like:  “Help.  Tired. Please? Thanks.  Love You, too.”

3.  Watch Bob Newhart.

Of course.

Saturday and So Long, NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMerry Christmas!

NaBloPoMo!!!!  Gesundheit!!!

It’s the last day of November, and therefore, it’s also farewell to my nut-ball experiment:  Post Every Day for the Month of November because I have Issues and Must Write About Them.

NaBloPoMo was thought up by Blogher – a lovely group of women who blog and then make other women blog too… and the love keeps spreading.  Sorta like a rash.  I have been posting every day this month and I tell you… there are days when coming up with something of interest has been…  interesting.

Here were some possible posts that did NOT occur this month:

Do I really, REALLY need to go to the dentist?

Where are my keys?

Do you need to go potty?

Do I?

There is a strange smell behind the couch; what do you think it could be?

If you give a mouse a cookie, will it die?

Is it possible that “losing my marbles” is painless and maybe even… pleasant?

Where are my keys?

Instead, I decided to go for something really creative.  Something that’s never been done, I am pretty sure, on the old interwebs before.  And we all know, if it hasn’t been here on the interwebs, it didn’t happen.

My Gratitude List:

(What, you say people have done this BEFORE?  PREPOSTEROUS! But, here’s the catch:  I’m gonna post about this AND cutifie it somehow, perhaps with a MASON JAR? And then post it on Pinterest!)

I know. I am on fire here.  Truly an original, Momsie.

Here’s the thing:  Gratitude lists are important.   Every morning I text three of my dearest friends things that I am grateful for – it’s kinda a calibration for my day.  Gratitude and practicing it is like a daily visit to the chiropractor.   Readjustment is key.  Attitude is key.  Life is hard.  Chin up and stay grateful, even if it’s for things as small as:

1.  Coffee.  Fresh ground.  Because it pairs well with this:

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Pairings:  Bold Italian Roast?  Romans. A happy breakfast blend?  Psalms.Leftover cold and bitter ?  Lamentations.  Late night decaf?       Song of Solomon, of course.

2.  My family back home.  My mom, my dad, my sisters, my brother.  They are my rock, and my foundation.  And they provide loads of material for this blog.  They are all mine, I tell you, and I love them.

3.  Daily runs on my treadmill in my scary basement.  Our basement is where crickets go to die.  But the treadmill don’t care.

4.  My Ipod WHILE I run.  And: Abba, the Bee Gees, Queen, a little Olivia Newton John (Xanadu soundtrack, anyone?) and possibly a smidge of Supertramp.

5.  Jars of Clay, Mandisa, Plumb, and my other Christian groups that I also rock to while running.  It is disconcerting to lose ones footing while shouting “Amen! Yes Lord!” but so far Jesus has kept me upright.  Amen!  Thank you, Jesus!

6.  My boys’ ability to show up every morning, jammied,  mussed and adorable.  They smell like puppies.  The cuteness really is overwhelming for about forty-five minutes, SOLID.

7.  Oh, and this guy:

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It’s Red’s hat. This is love, friends. Or the signs of Alzheimer’s. Take your pick.

8.  Key Lime pie.  It’s important.

9.  Furballs.  This one visits us every day and puts his fat furball paws up on our front door and stares inside, all accusingly, like “Why do you not come and pet me? I am adorable!”  (I imagine this all in a French accent.)

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I am beeutiful, no? Oui.

10.  Christmas music.  Pretty much any type, style, and flavor *

11.  (British accent now):  Masterpiece Theatre.  Crikey Moses.  It’s blooming brilliant.  (Cringe.  I know. I am not British.  I apologize if you are and you are now reading this shouting something at me in your beautiful accent.)

12.  Hmmm…. did I mention this guy?photo 2

13.  And this one?

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14.  And well, all of ’em.

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*I draw a line at this one.   And you do realize I had to sit through the whole thing to make sure it wasn’t weird, so I could post it here.  That’s dedication, my friends.