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Showing posts from March, 2018

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Snow day

Every time a snowstorm is in the forecast, I start talking like this:





And my kids generally glaze over just like Squidward: "I think I'll pass."

We're on snow day #7 or 8 for this season, and despite my board-games-and-cocoa aspirations, in reality, snow days usually end with me yelling and the kids pouting. Who am I kidding? They usually begin that way!

Snow days today are not like the snow days of my youth. When I was a kid snow days were a Big Frigging Deal, man. First of all, they didn't happen often (because I lived in the mid-Atlantic) and when they did, we were all off together (my parents were teachers). Second, we really did do things like play board games and drink hot cocoa. Snow days were novel and super fun.

And we played outside as much as our frozen fingers and toes would allow. I felt great regret if we didn't build a snowman every snowfall; I remember a particularly ambitious Snow Dinosaur one year, as well, that all the kids on our street h…

Lost between books

I'm in a restless state between novels right now, and it's really uncomfortable. You know that feeling when you finish a really good one and don't know what to do next? I needed a couple days to process the book I finished last week (Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng), but then suddenly found myself without a Next Book.

It doesn't happen often (I usually have 4-5 books going at once, all different genres and types), but every now and again I get stuck in this drift. Nothing really interests me enough to invest money and time in. So. Weird. I've spent way too much time over the weekend downloading samples to my Kindle, reading reviews on Goodreads, and perusing the library reading lists. Me without a book is like a guitarist without her guitar or a soccer player without a field to run on. I just feel a bit lost, even irritable. I'm just wandering in the snow, slogging through the slush, wavering in the wind...

I'm joking, of course. Mostly.

Honey p…

Math lessons

I was really great at school as a kid...but I'm really lousy at school as a parent. And I was reminded once again of this while sitting at my son's conference yesterday.

Seventh grade has been hard on all of us. Beyond the obvious physical changes -- Happy has grown at least 5" since this summer and now looks me in the eye (yeah, remember I'm super tall!), his voice is weird, he can't get out of his own way -- we're all trying to navigate his ever-changing need for independence. His teachers want him to take more responsibility for his learning, which in theory sounds like a great plan for all kids at this age; they have to not only learn how to learn but also learn how to advocate for their learning.

In reality, though, when you're the world's most laid-back 12-almost-13-year-old who really only wants to listen to music, play drums, video games, and action figures, taking responsibility and advocating for your learning is not highest priority. In fact…

Snail mail love

When was the last time you received a hand-written letter in the mail?

I received one today, a card from my second-cousin with a note and a poem tucked inside. The sentiment was cheerful and full of love, the poem timeless and poignant, the smile it induced immediate. I studied her handwriting -- elegant printing on the poem page with a small hand-drawn heart, casual script on the card above her signature: Claudia Jane. 

We are both named for my grandmother, Elizabeth Jane. I carry her first name, my cousin carries her middle name. I feel this connection instantly. Connected to my favorite woman, the one I miss desperately, through to another favorite woman, the one I'm re-discovering joyfully. 

When Claudia spoke at her father's memorial last month, she talked about these "ties that bind in a good way" -- family connected through time and space, we drift apart then back together, carrying these things in common that we hadn't even realized. I barely knew Claudia wh…

Mondays are easier now...

Oh, Monday, here you are again. Another weekend zoomed by, packed with errands, kid activities, friends and fun. This weekend we had the added bonus of a 7th-grader sleepover (hey, guys, it's 2 am and we all need some sleep!), a trampoline park birthday party (Zippy is celebrating 8 this week!), and the Oscars (I stayed up way later than I should have even though I still don't even know what most of those movies are about!)...so the 5:45 alarm this morning was not awesome. Even Whitney Houston singing on the clock-radio doesn't make an early Monday rise any easier.

You know what does, though? Remembering that I work from home. In fact, it's easier to wake up most mornings -- even Mondays -- now that my office is located at the bottom of the stairs. And I even get up earlier now than ever before! Here are just a few reasons why working from home rocks, in no particular order:

* I can kiss all three of my guys goodbye in the morning as they head out to school and work. (T…

Happy curls?

I dreaded the passing of the peace each Sunday when I was a little girl. Every week the old church ladies would comment about my hair...
    "Shirley Temple curls!" they cooed; I didn't know who Shirley Temple was.
    "So soft!" they petted; I didn't want their wrinkly, gnarled fingers on my head.
    "I pay a lot of money to have hair like yours!" they exclaimed; I couldn't figure out why anyone would pay money for frizzy, fluffy, brillo-pad hair.

I hated my curls. I felt embarrassed by my hair -- it was short, kinky, cut badly -- quite different from the long straight hair my friends all wore at the time in my life when I just wanted to fit in. Oh, how I wanted a ponytail! Or a braid...to braid my hair on a Sunday morning with ribbons hanging down, that was a dream.

Today during the passing of the peace, I found myself next to one of the older ladies in our church. Every week I marvel at her elegance, the way the dresses, the slow and grace…

Ottomania!

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about ottomans. A ridiculous amount of time, actually, given the number of other things I truly should focus my thoughts on. I find, though, that when the world outside gets scary (and scary is a truly relative term these days) I turn to online shopping for things I don't really need. Actually, it's more like online browsing; I rarely purchase. I spend hours searching for, oh, erasable colored gel pens or standing desks or all-natural curly-hair gel or the perfect black sweater. (Yes, these are things I've fixated on over this winter; I still haven't clicked "buy" nor settled on any of them.) This week, it's ottomans.

By the way, my girl BrenĂ© Brown would call this behavior numbing. I'm okay with that. Because online browsing is way less detrimental (so far) than chain smoking, which is what I'd really like to do when the world is scary. It's a way to escape, to daydream, to focus on things that don…

If the brain-mouth filter turned off...

"Mommy," he asks, reaching for my hand as we walk out of the grocery store, "wouldn't it be cool if we had some kind of a hat that when you put it on your head, you start to speak all of your thoughts?" His eyes are wide, hair fringing the blue. He's letting it grow until spring (exactly 21 days away, as he explained this morning) and he looks shaggy and wild. Like one of Peter Pan's lost boys in sweatpants and a Star Wars t-shirt. We've just ordered a cake for his birthday party - celebrating 8 years at a trampoline park this weekend.

"Can you imagine it?" he asks, "if everyone could hear your thoughts all the time? Ha!" I love ideas like this. They pop out of his mouth in unexpected moments, little gems that generally begin with what if? or wanna know something? I hope his mind always asks those questions.

But wow...can you imagine it? A hat that turns off that brain-to-mouth filter? What would he hear from me, right in this mo…

Because we can

At 9:00 this morning, Honey sat at the dining room table, prepping for a phone interview; I was working at my desk on the front porch. It's been a week since he lost his job, and today the weight of that seems to be pressing on both of us. Unspoken anxieties hang in the air next to whispered reassurances. It's a lot of work keeping the gremlins at bay.

A local radio station played in the background faintly, a DJ periodically yammering about temperature shifts or local bands. My ears perked up: the lilting opening guitar chords of "Power of Two," a song by the Indigo Girls that one doesn't hear often, except on my iTunes shuffle. 

"Hey," I smiled, "it's our wedding song." A really long song for a first dance, and we took some ribbing from friends because it's not a traditional wedding choice for straight couples. But when I picked it all those years ago, I thought the lyrics were perfect for us -- and they still are:

So we're okay, w…