Featured

2am Mornings and Watery Awakenings

You know those mornings in which you are so tired that the only utterance you can make is a low guttural moan?  This would be one of those mornings.  Yes, time to stop the 2am bedtimes with three hours of sleep.  I said that to myself yesterday morning too.  Now I’m saying that to you.  Does doing so make me feel any more committed to actually going to bed at an earlier time?  I wish, but probably not. It is difficult to have self-discipline when it comes to those things.  Late nights are on my list of “things.”  What are on your list of things?  Please let me know that I am not alone here with having a rather lengthy list of “things.”

The scriptures say to not run faster than you have strength. However a lady in church made an excellent point in saying that the scripture does say to “run”, not to “walk”, or in my case “lumber.”  I am happy to report that I am back to orange juice with all sugar included this morning. No! It’s 6:30am and the teenager is still in bed.  I’ll be right back.

Back.  The teenager barely moved with the lights being turned on and the warning of, “You’re ten minutes late.”  I thought I was going to have to go back to her door and scare her into moving by saying, “Get moving.  You’re half an hour late.”  Oooh, I am so bad.  My father used to come into our rooms early Saturday mornings (the day of all days in which a teenager should be able to sleep in) and use a water squirt gun to wake us up and get outside to do yard work.  Sure hated it then, but now appreciate the hard work ethic it taught me.  Like 2am nights  

Stick to the sugary orange juice this morning because it’s half way through the week.  And because we have a lot of running to do. Don’t wait for life’s squirt gun water to hit you in the face like it hit mine! J

Featured

Golden Ticket

Our grocery store periodically entices customers to play Monopoly.  You get your own little scoreboard (which by the way folds out to be this huge monstrous thing upon which the numbers are not in numerical order!). When you shop, you get Monopoly “tickets.”  The tickets are like pieces that match the same blocks on the board.  And you can lick each one to paste it down and taste glue for the rest of the day. Or you can do what my sister-in-law advised – tape them down.  Wish she had told me that before I licked a pound of glue. 

The process or receiving tickets can be quite humbling.

Cashier speaking to man ahead of me in line.

Cashier:  “Sir, are you playing Monopoly?”

Sir:  “No.”

Cashier:  “Maam (me), are you playing Monopoly?”

Me:  (quietly) “Yes.”

Cashier: “Sir, you can give your tickets to her if you’d like.”

Sir turns to face me and awkwardly hands me the tickets.

Me: (quietly) “Thank you kindly.”

Should I feel the embarrassment that I do take the tickets because I need to play Monopoly and he doesn’t?  Why doesn’t he play?  Is he too wealthy already and doesn’t want to risk the extra income?  Or is his luck as bad as mine so he’s given up playing. 

Well, I need to play.  I never win, but I still play.

It feels like a scene out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The scene where Veruca Salt is in her wealthy father’s factory and all of his employees are opening chocolate candy bars in a vast effort to find a golden ticket.

What is our golden ticket?  What are we each chasing after?  Do we give up along the way or keep trying?

Too many questions, and I don’t have answers.  Guess it’s about time I start thinking about it. SM

Featured

A Neighbor’s Revenge

I have two angelic dogs – soft, fluffy, wet nosed, cuddle in your lap dogs.  They are angelic at almost all times, except for just a couple of occasions.  Like when UPS is dropping a package off at the front door.  Understandable barking then, right?  Protective even.  Guarding their owner.  Yes.  Or if a squirrel is pestering them at the glass back door.  A little barking then is understandable too.  They’re animals, right?  It’s instinctive.  If the cat runs past them, they bark.  If a neighbor starts talking outside, they bark.  If any slight shadow passes the front blinds, they bark.  If a sound louder than a footstep is heard from upstairs, they bark.   If I drop a sewing pin on the floor, they bark.  Hey, it’s raining, why not bark?

What do you do if you are the helpless neighbor of such aforementioned dogs in a wall to wall townhouse complex?  Yell?  No.  Bang on the walls?  No.  Tape a mean note to the dog owner’s door?  No.  What you do is this.  You go and buy a huge puppy, which will grow into a huge dog and have a huge bark.  And you bring this puppy home.  You happily watch him grow quickly as his vocal chords rapidly begin to emanate a deep, loud, booming bark, replacing the little puppy yips.  Then…you leave home often.  Oh, yes, often.

Every time you leave home, that beloved dog barks.  And bark he does.   And every time he barks, my two little rascals bark back.  Except my little ankle biters have this high pitched, screaming bark that resonates off the walls, the ceiling, the floors, and my head.  Back and forth they go.  The loud dog barks. My dogs bark back.  The loud dog barks.  My dogs bark back.  The barking is this tennis ball that is hit from one townhouse to the other, except it bounces off the top of my head every time it passes back and forth. Of course I shush them.  But the hushing always comes after the barking.  And as dogs, they must return a bark with a bark.  So alas, here I am complaining about it. 

Smart neighbor.  Clever neighbor.  I hope I haven’t given any of you out there ideas.  And as my daughter likes to remind me, “Mom, if you had trained them, this wouldn’t be a problem.”  If…

Featured

Yell “YES!”

She says yes.  My seventeen year old daughter yells to the world, “YES!”  She has been bullied, and she yells, “YES!” to life.  She has grown up without a dad, and she screams, “YES!” at life anyways.  She bravely expresses her feelings to the boy who almost got away, and she demurely says, “Yes” when he asks her out.  Almost her entire life has been spent moving from one apartment to another, all on the same street in the same little town, and she says, “Yes” to life with every move. 

She cried when I held her on my hip at the pawn shop as we sold our sparkling things, and she still hollered, “YES!” at life, and I held back the sparkliest ring for her to keep, but I only realize now that she was the most sparkly thing that I was holding that day.  Her uncle commits suicide one week before her 5th birthday, the very night he helped her look for her beloved, stuffed dog Rosebud, and she said, in her confusion afterwards, “Yes” to life.  Years later, when she understood what happened and the vacant hole left behind, she screamed at the top of her lungs, “YES!” to life, and to all who will hear her.  In the angst of being a teenager, you know what she says after wiping tears away.  She angrily says, and then humbly says, “Yes” to life.  Her deeply loved, closest friend and cousin, attempts suicide, and my daughter yells, “Yes!” to life and “Yes!” to her cousin, affirming her and on showing tremendous courage after surviving. 

To the future, she says, “Yes”, to loving those who are difficult to love, she says, “Yes”, and after suffering a trauma so scary that she wrote her will during it, thinking she wouldn’t survive, she said, “Yes.” To forgiving me, she says, “Yes.”  And I love her.  I loved her when she cried with the voice of an angel as a newborn, and I love her now when she speaks with the voice of angel.

Scream with her.  Scream with her!  Yell “YES!” to your life!  Yell “YES!” to love.  Yell “YES!” to surviving!  She is amongst the greatest of heroes.  And so are you, because you are here with all of us and are saying, “Yes” to life right now.

Featured

The Day After Vacation

I like to put the clean dishes away first thing in the morning when my eyes are still groggy.  Before breakfast, before anything.  Just empty that dishwasher and get it done.  Inevitably this means opening the doors of that lower cabinet to the left of the sink.  That cabinet.  Yes.  The one with the broken shelf, where each pot, pan and casserole dish is teetering on the other.  Where one cookie sheet, misplaced by just an inch, on top of the cupcake pan, will cause an avalanche – the sounds and scene of which no mother of school age children wants to see at 5:50am.  (My child, a teenage girl of seventeen, will be up soon anyways.  Either I wake her up, and she is angry with me for waking her up too early.  Or I let her wake up on her own after pressing the snooze button six times, and she is angry with me for not waking her up earlier.)  6:20am. Time to wake her.  I will be right back.

Back.  First day of school after vacation.  It is probably easy to imagine her reaction upon waking her.  But back to this lower cabinet on the left hand side of the sink.   If I take my time and slowly, cautiously, put the dishes away in it, my eyes have time to see what is before me.  Aha.  Put the casserole dish in location A vs. B, and the avalanche is spared.  And there is the pasta strainer that has been missing for months.  Now are not our lives this way?  Each day, each hour, and each minute, there are choices to be made.  Do we rush through them?  Or do we take time to contemplate the possible outcomes first?  (And of course there is the warning of not taking that to the extreme, or you will find yourself in the grocery store aisle spending fifteen minutes analyzing but still unable to choose which pasta sauce to buy.  I would only know this because I have been there many a time.)

And do we slow down enough at times throughout the day to find those things that are missing?  Perhaps we had even stopped looking for them and they had become just a passing thought now and then. 

Now, I do know what I am having for breakfast.  No need to contemplate that.  Ice cream.  I am a person with many faults, one of which is not grocery shopping the day before a vacation is going to end.  I also know exactly where that chocolate syrup is.  Right hand refrigerator door, third shelf down and second bottle on the left.  And straight on to dawn.  Never grow all the way up.  And in those moments when your seventeen year old child tells you that they do not want to grow up, slow down and watch that favorite old Disney movie they loved with them.  Correct choice made.  No avalanches.  Mother and child bond rediscovered.  The grocery store trip that I would have made in that time instead?  We can eat ramen just one more night.

Lumbering

Lumber.  To Lumber.  I am lumbering this morning.  Google is quick to pull up the definition for lumber as to, “move in a slow, heavy, awkward way. ‘a truck filled his mirror and lumbered past”.  I am a truck?  Yes, I am a truck.  I’m not sure about the “mirror” part of the definition, but I know that I can fill a mirror if I stand in front of one. Yikes! The Merriam Webster website is much kinder and shows the first definition as, “1 : surplus or disused articles (such as furniture) that are stored away.” Then it proceeds to define lumber as wood.  Now that is much kinder, especially at six in the morning when the low sugar orange juice just isn’t doing it. Surplus? Yep. A disused article? Yep. We can even throw in there an “old” disused article and I will not mind agreeing.

I want the sugar back in my orange juice. Yes, it may cause me to gain weight and be a truck and lumber as I maneuver a heavier body around, but, alas, I like my sugar. So okay Google, you are correct.  I am a truck.  I am a bit quieter than a truck as I move in a slow, heavy and awkward way in the mornings. Well, that is if I do not trip over the dog, stumble on the stairs, etc. Then I am a bit louder, but it still does not wake that teenage daughter.

Low sugar orange juice. How sad. The regular orange juice was all gone when I made my “mad dash out of guilt” run to the grocery store yesterday so that there could be more food in the house. I felt guilty that the freezer contained only ice cream, and the refrigerator had a preponderance of whip cream cans and little of anything else. Oh, yes, the chocolate syrup bottle too. Side door and second over to the left. Aha, breakfast is now calling. Happy lumbering. rror:func