Friday, September 30, 2011

Every Day People

The thing I enjoy most about my life lately isn't always getting to the destination. You know, like finally arriving at the Giant or finally getting to your vacation spot. My favorite moments fall on the timeline between leaving and arriving because that's where the unknown happens. That's where the things you didn't plan occur, the surprise guests of the day pop out and remind you that you are not alone on your trajectory, wherever your journey takes you and however disparate your paths may eventually be.

I love talking to the server who smiles at Abby's chocolate milk mustache. She will be the person I will think about for the next fifteen minutes instead of myself or my own children. She will be my main focus before pancakes land on our table, steaming and gleaming of blueberries and extra whipped cream. We will learn that she has two grown children herself: a boy who is bashful and handsome, a girl who loves the beach and crossword puzzles. A little family of the past that is suddenly thrust into the present by a stranger who wonders if the girl has her mother's green eyes.

Another chance meeting with a pet store owner reminds me there are still many kind people in this world. A tall man with soft gray stubble takes his time lifting each active hermit crab from the cage for Abby to inspect. He gently discourages against a pretty shelled crab because apparently you shouldn't judge a hermit crab by its paint job. This tall man with a Middle Eastern accent helps Abby find hermit crab accoutrements while ignoring other customers in his store. Perhaps poor customer service for them but nothing short of an educational experience for my girl. He too, we learn at checkout, has children. The picture he shows from his wallet is of a young baby girl whose face is the exact female version of her daddy's. No wonder he spent so much time with Abby. He has his own waiting for him at home.

The people we meet and chat with on our way to somewhere else offer themselves as a break in the controlled universe we create as parents, as adults in general. These people offer up conversation, momentary kinship, and the feeling that this life is connected by positive energies willing to share their own time with yours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


While they are napping, I watch the ocean arch its angry backs until they calm evenly as one flat spot in the sand.

While they are napping, I check in on friends tucked close as they zigzag through an abyss of private sadness.

While they are napping, I feel the pit in my stomach growl.

While they are napping, I miss my husband even though we are in the same building.

While they are napping, I wonder how many more days I will get to keep my children so buoyant in their own imaginations..

While they are napping, I pray they learn not to let their fears keep them ashore.

While they are napping, I stare at this churning ferocious sea and feel proud of the moon for drawing it back to the salty depths from which it came, every single time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No Mouse in This House

Hubs borrowed our computer mouse for work so I'll be writing to you live on the iPad (and therefore sadly without pics because I think there's an app for that) until the mouse returns to his rightful nook soon.

In addition to there not being a mouse in this house, we are also dog less. Which, for me, is the equivalent to being only half alive.

Sadie is fine, she is on loan to Pop so they can start up a workout regimen together. She has been loving all the exercise lately and this week is jammed packed with stuff and appointments for us so I won't be able to get her out as often, if at all. Pop offered to take her hiking, strolling for squirrels, sniffing for chipmunks, and perhaps chasing some deer and it was all I could do to keep my husband from packing himself along with her dog bowl too.

Let me tell you how strange our house is without a Sadie in it. It is eerily silent. I can hear the refrigerator thrummimg and the walls of our house drawing in just to resituate themselves from time to time. Inanimate things making sound is something completely drowned out when your house is filled with the organic buzz of life. I have forgotten what it is to hear the kind of quiet that comes from absence. Things that should be sounding off are not. Nails clicking over the kitchen tiles, the slide of metal rings as Sadie shoulders the shower curtain aside to climb in to the tub, the low vocals we hear as she pushes her arthritic elbows down to the floor. Her presence is so large that she fills our house with a soundtrack I have come to rely on.

Missing Sadie has reminded me how to cherish the rest of our soundtrack I'm sure has been taken for granted because everyday things often are. Today I will listen when I hear all my living cohorts. Instead of wanting to shove my ears with Kleenex when the kids begin to amp up their kidness, I will remind myself that it's lyrically richer than the refrigerator dropping ice. Toy car wheels banging into the stove will always bring more melody than breathing roof tiles. Abby's deafening soliloquies about bathing her baby girls will always be more in tune than than the nothing jumping through my eardrums until my teeth ache for the sounds that were once the only thing I knew.

Monday, September 26, 2011


We have been busy around this place getting ready for the fall.  Mostly we have been visiting pumpkin patches in the parking lots of malls and buying out their wares.  Then we come home and turn the pumpkins into works of art:  traditional and post modern.  Here's a few of the mentionables:

Number One:  Pooh Bear...Labor of Love between father and son.  It is the sweetest thing I've seen all year.  I bring it inside to the garage to tuck it in safely at night.

Number two:  Mini Marilyn Monroe or possibly Marilyn Manson, however you see it.  I went for cute but got disturbing at best.  Abby loves it and that's all we care about or so I tell myself every time I see that pitiful excuse for a carving.  Oh, what could have been had I just traced first!  Or used buttons and my trusty glue gun.  Nothing good can come from a woman wielding a pumpkin saw past 4pm, nothing.  I will be deferring all future pumpkin carvings to my husband for sure.


Here's what happens when you give Grayson permission to paint while you relax on the couch for a few minutes.  He did an amazing job mixing paints to come up with colors I wish I would've saved instead of threw down the sink.  Parental fail.  Next time, we will save it and patent the beestung purple.

Finally, we have the au natural Halloween decor up and in full swing too.

Pop found this praying mantis with jacked up eyes and crooked smile.  One of her kids hitchiked a ride to Giant the other day on our windshield.  We hope it doesn't eat human eyelids for a good time.

This beautiful orb spider was working hard at her web for three days.  She put on the greatest show for us when we got over the fact that she could also eat our eyelids for sh*ts and giggles.


Creepy Marilyn sends her love.  Through her freakishly large mouth hole.

Happy Halloweenin', you guys!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cupcake Bandit


I can't be sure, but I think we must have a cupcake mouse in the house.

One that is afraid of ghosts...

but not the golden delicious tops of unfrosted strawberry cupcakes.

Huh.  It's a mystery for sure...

 ...just not a really hard one considering the guilty look on this particular cupcake eating face.

Case Closed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Yesterday Abby and I came upon an injured bird on our walk back home from the park.  It was a big bird, smaller than a crow but about the same size as a pigeon.

We watched her hobble against the curb, scuttling in front of us in a panic to flee.  She could only use her wings for balance and did so like a tipsy barfly the closer we got to her.  I thought she had a broken wing until I caught a peek of her neck:  pink, bloodied and in bad shape.  Something tried to "ate" her.

We sat with her a minute and she blinked up at me with fear that I might hurt her.

Abby and I walked home with a promise to get her some help somehow.

I had to pick up Grayson from preschool first but thought that was good because he could help me get her safely into a box without harm.

He held the box while I scooted her gently into it with the lid.  The whole thing went down without a hitch. Grayson said we should name her Pokey because she was so slow.  
Thank heavens we are not all named based on our behaviors. I'd be called "Circles," "Mugface," or "Sink Stander."

We then drove Pokey to an animal clinic that takes wildlife.  It was a few miles out of town and I didn't hear much from the box with Pokey in it so I was worried.

She was okay when we got there, thank goodness.

A vet tech came out to retrieve Pokey and thanked us.  We weren't allowed back even though all of us had eager faces and a Nikon.  They weren't biting.

We settled for taking far too many pictures in their front yard instead.

I called later to find out how Pokey was doing.  The secretary said she was a dove that had most likely been attacked by something.  Her lungs sounded bad so they gave her antibiotics and already released her back to my neighborhood.

All that worrying about Pokey who (hopefully) was eating grass seed from my neighbor's yard....far away from the black and white cat I spied slinking around on that exact same curb.

Suspect if you ask me.

(Where we found her, she's not there I already checked.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Glue Gun

Found my hot glue gun, you guys!  We've been separated for a few years.  It still had feathers and slivers of blue crepe paper stuck to its nose from the last time we were together....a birthday party?  Costume?  Vegas?

 Years later, I come back to it, a mom and a woman who refuses to throw acorns away when her babies collect 74,290,892 of them on their first nature walk of the season.

(It will be a Christmas tree when it grows up.)

And yes, that is a McDonald's hot vanilla latte medium cup underneath, good of you to notice.

Happy Happy Fall.  Come glue with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Light of a Boy

In the light of a boy there is no room for darkness.

I have never met her but I think of her every day.  Not far from here, there is a mama who lost her gorgeous son to a horrific accident last week. I have not been able to shake them from my thoughts ever since.  I don't want to.  His name is Jack and he is every bit as handsome as a boy named Jack should be.  This mama has a blog and she writes about him here.  You will not be able to keep your composure so enter there at your own risk.  The whole thing still makes me shake my fist at the sky in fury.  It is just not right.  It just needs to be undone somehow, you will think.  No mama should have to be without her child. The fact that this mama has to be without this boy is just something too overwhelmingly cruel to comprehend.  It's not for mortals to get, I guess.

I think of her.  I leave my own family at night to drive the streets and bawl my eyes out in the privacy of my own car for her.  I curse dirty words at my steering wheel for her and her husband and her sweet lovely little girl whose heart is missing the other half that is her brother.

May they all feel his presence as they speak his name.  May they know the weight of his kiss as they close their eyes to be with him again.  May they feel the warm light of him all around them as they beg the God who took him to share him just a little bit until they can be together again.  God Bless this family and this beautiful little boy named Jack who is missed by people who never even met him but somehow love him anyway.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dog Day of Summer

At the end of the summer season our pool has a Doggie Day Swim.

  (Sadie meet Grace meet Sadie.  That big boy is Champ.)

Sadie was right at home.

She was tentative for about thirty seconds before jumping in, nose first.

Although there was an attempt or two to cheat the system by paddling the ball to her.

 She usually wound up going in after it.

With gusto.

Champ lived up to his name.

This two year old Golden swam circles around Sadie.

But they would both come back with their prize.


Sometimes, however, Champ liked to bring it up a notch and come back with.....two tennis balls.

Show off.

But with age comes wisdom.

 (Gracie, the black lab pup, elected to shy away from the pool herself.  She is the second lab I've ever met who preferred to be on the dry side of water.  Dear baby had herself a great time and hid under lawn chairs when her owner tried to coax in her in the water.)

Sadie figured out if she ran the perimeter of the pool first to get the ball, it would cut her swimming time in half.  She used her shortcut to outsmart Champ every time.

Everybody had an awesome time.

We did too, just watching her.

She even met a cute boy.

Evidently, he makes her smile.

*Oh, funny aside story, at one point, Gracie, the puppy, came over check out Grayson and Abby.  I glanced over to see Gracie grab something in her mouth.  It was Sheldon, Grayson's hermit crab who had become lunch.  I yelled, "That's a hermit crab in her mouth!" and her owner got her to spit Sheldon out.  Poor thing, his first day out on the town with us was almost his last.  He's looking for his way back to Petco.)