Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses or Look at the Rocks....or Rescued

The morning had gone well. I had accomplished so much at home I was proud of myself. I wanted to get Noel's birthday gift, wrap it and ship it at the Post Office, which would close in an hour and a half, plenty of time. I parked in the lot of the store. I stepped out of my granny van, set my purse on the driver's seat, pulled my sweater across from the passenger seat, (begin slow motion action at this point) almost dropped the sweater in a puddle, made a lunge for the sweater, knocked the van door with my elbow, door closed and locked. Hmmm. I had my bluetooth in my ear, but the phone and my keys and my open purse (displaying wallet and credit card to all passersby) were in the locked van.

James is a big proponent of hide-a-key. I'm sure there must be one on my van, but do I want to lie down in the rainy parking lot to search underneath for the little black box? Not if I don't have to. I used voice commands to call James. Something about his name doesn't register with my bluetooth. I voice dialed his phone number...still no connection. I called Holly Rose. My phone always understands her name and called her immediately. She called James at work who told her there is no hidden key on my van. Huh? (Silence...bird's twittering in the background...) What? Why?

Holly and Jeff, dropped their shopping plans and headed from Auburn to Black Diamond (twenty minute drive), dropped the three boys off at home for their naps, and picked up my spare key from the key ring at my house. Then Holly came to Covington, another (twenty minute drive) to rescue me.

Meanwhile, back at the parking lot, I paced around my van in my infamous sweater, my scarf and gloves in a light drizzling rain. (Umbrella visible on the passenger seat, heavy sweatshirt visible on back seat.) Not too bad. I called Noel by voice commands and she entertained me by describing greeting cards she had purchased for several friends who will soon have babies. I was proud to put a guilt trip on Noel, telling her I was in the parking lot because of her birthday gift. She offered to read me some Edgar Alan Poe poetry or Pride and Prejudice, I settled for detailed descriptions of the cards. She offered to call the store with her credit card information so I could do my shopping, but I didn't want to leave the van with the purse advertisiment saying ROB ME. A nice young woman in an electric green car stopped to express her concern for me. She invited me to sit in her warm car, she said she would wait with me until my daughter arrived. I thanked her, but declined, since I knew Holly was almost there. I wish I had taken her up on her offer. Maybe I could have made a new friend. Who knows what I could have learned from her.

Holly Rose arrived, I had been stuck for a little more than an hour. I unlocked my door, jumped in and took off for home. I had lost the desire to get a gift, I had missed the Post Office closing time anyway. I headed for home.

On the way, I noticed a UPS store. Hey, I thought, UPS doesn't close at 2:00! I pulled into the parking lot and checked the hours. They closed at 6:00 for the holidays. (Fanfare and beginning strains of Hallelujah Chorus play here) ALRIGHT! Plan B. Back to my parking lot. I very carefully exited the van holding my keys and my purse tightly. Zoomed into the store, purchased Noel's gift, drove back to the UPS store, had her gift packed and shipped (okay, it will go out Monday and arrive Thursday). Success.

The whole experience made me think about how busy we are. We think we don't have an extra hour. But when forced to spend an hour doing something unplanned, it always works out. Two other stuck and rescued stories come to mind that illuminate this point.

When James was a long haul truck driver, I went on a trip with him one summer. We were headed for home going through the Colorado Rockies. Up ahead was a road work project, as there always is during the summer. Traffic stopped and what started out as a long wait, became an extended event on a mountain road. We learned that the road crew had stopped their work to use some of their heavy equipment to help rescue some rafters who were in peril in the river below us!!! Well, what did we have to complain about? Everyone got out of their cars, trucks, campers and motorhomes. We milled about on the hot roadside. Some petitioned the Coors Beer truck driver to open the back of his truck and supply a roadside party. He declined. The river was too far below us to go wading or swimming. Across the river at our level was a train track. I enjoyed watching several trains come around the bend on what appeared to be a ledge just wide enough for the track, and then disappeared into a tunnel. The road surface we were standing on was beautiful. The aggregate was of pink and blue and gray and yellow stones. Colorado roads have alot of mica in them, so as you drive along the roads sparkle, but I had never seen the road surface up close. We wandered along the roadside, enjoying the various wildflowers and weeds. I was almost embarrassed to be enjoying myself. Many people were crabby and impatient, but James and I had a lovely afternoon together. It was a date we never could have arranged, and will always remember.

The other story took place last week. Three teenage boys were discovered on a remote uninhabited island in Fiji. They were 800 miles off their course (EIGHT HUNDRED MILES that is the equivalent of from my house to Salt Lake City). They had been missing for FIFTY days. Their families back in New Zealand had given them up for dead and had already eulogized them. The fishing boat that rescued them had taken a short cut through the islands. They never went that way (and neither did anyone else). The boys had survived by catching a few fish, drinking a few drops of rainwater and eating a sea gull!!! It hadn't rained for a few days and the boys had begun to drink sea water...DEADLY.

The boys were not stuck for an hour as I was. They did not suffer because their bluetooth wouldn't dial a certain number. They didn't have to get a little cold and wet because instead of the sweater, the heavy sweatshirt was locked in the van. They didn't turn down offers of help because someone else would be along in just a sec. Our lives are busy. There is another world out there. I like to zoom out, step back, see what I can see. Who is in the river? Who is stranded on an uninhabited island? How can I give an make a difference. And what pretty rocks or weeds or trains will I discover as I step aside from my own microscopic world?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Love Homework!

I love the beginning of school and wish I was going. Am I weird? I love homework! I remember the disappointment of the first few days of school when I was poised with my pencil at the ready, my blue report cover nearby with it's little brads awaiting neatly organized pages. I wanted a project! I wanted to read and write and launch into some new and interesting study. But alas, my teachers were still on vacation. They gave us text books and had us read the table of contents. They pointed to the chart of classroom rules and explained each new and innovative rule ad nauseum. No cool homework, no fabulous assignment to stretch my tiny little mind.

Did they not know I had a new eraser? One hundred crisp white 3x5 cards were in my little zippered pouch waiting to become a bibliography. My colored pencils were weeping from disuse. My mini stapler was longing to let out that pleasant little ker-thunk as it put the final touch of finishment(sorry, I couldn't think of the right word)on my project.

The sad thing is, I was not a very good student. I usually had about a "C" average, and I do mean average. I got "A"s in English and "D"s in Math and Science. I always felt a little lost about the actual assignments I did receive: How many pages? When is it due? Where am I supposed to find the information? Often the deadline passed without my launching into anything and so, I spent alot of time in a frenzy to turn in sub-standard papers...late.

Luckily after striding through elementary school with my children, I caught on to the system and did really well when I went to college for my LPN degree. Ahhhh, now that's what I'm talking about. Real assignments with real due dates and specific requirements. I loved everything about my classes. Amazingly, the class given on Math for Meds was a favorite of mine. A gifted teacher melted away all of the mystery and gave me the skills I needed to work in the nursing field and successfully and safely care for my patients.

Now, as I drive to work each morning, I watch the little souls waiting at the bus stop. None looks too eager. Heavy backpacks weigh them down. They look sleepy and bored. Is an energizing assignment awaiting them? Will they become engrossed in some new study? Will they get to use their colored pencils and their mini stapler? What will appear between the covers of the blue folder with the little brads?

Fall is here. Leaves are crimson and russet and shriveled tan. The first round of progress reports and parent teacher conferences has passed. Do you know a student of any age who needs encouragement? What experiences have you had that can open the way for them? Share your love of learning. Write a report!

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Library Makes Me Cry

I LOVE the library. I have to hold back tears each time I walk through its doors. No really, I do. Usually, when I leave the library, (having bitten my tongue the whole time I'm in there), I just cry for joy, in the privacy of my own car. I'm never tempted to text message while I'm driving, but I would dearly love to prop a new book on the steering wheel and sneek a peek while I drive. Don't worry, just wishing.

When I was 10, I got a turquoise bike with chrome fenders for my birthday. Freedom. I used to get up early and go ride my bike around Greenlake. I never asked my parents permission and they never batted an eyelash when I came in past breakfast time and informed them I had been several miles away from home, cruising on my bike, but that's another story. On Greenlake Way was a branch of the Seattle Public Library. I loved that place but rarely went inside. My mom was frustrated with trying to keep track of books checked out by her brood and so, paid our fines and cancelled our library cards. On my morning bike rides, I used to stop and sit on the steps and wish I could go inside and get a big stack of books to read. The place wasn't even open at that hour, but I used to wish for library books.

I love the shelves and shelves of books and CDs and DVDs,the smell, the decorations, the stuffed animals, the comfy chairs, the little tables in the children's section, the smiling workers, the clean restroom, the drinking fountain... What other place can you go and walk in and gather up as much stuff as you want from the shelves and take it home with you? Yes, you have to check out your books, and you have to pay a fine if you don't bring them back on time, but this place is free. Anyone can go. And furthermore, I order books online and pick them up from my Black Diamond Library when they are available for me.

I raised my children on the library. When Danny was three we lived in Shelton. It was a HOT summer (check out the temperature records for August/September 1979, record breaking). We would walk to the library, crossing the street several times to stay in the shade as we walked. And then, the cool relief of the LIBRARY. Ahhhh, so nice to sit and read stories and gather up a few to take home. A blessed gift.

Years later, I used to take six small children to the library in Parkland (yes they were all mine). I allowed each child to check out one book per year of age. That was alot of books. I had to fill out a slip of paper for each book: title, author, publisher (why?), copy number etc. Each slip also had my name address and library card number. Wow! I remember corraling a kid between my legs to keep him (probably Christopher) from running noisily through the library. If I had been smart, (which I wasn't) I would have taken a big stack of those check out slips home to fill out my information at my leisure and add the book stuff when we had our stack ready.

When the Spanaway Library was finished, it became our branch with a Computer!!! Woo Hoo! No more slips of paper. At this point, we sometimes took out 80 books a week (remember, we had Noel in our family). I asked the librarian if there was a limit to the number of books we could check out. She said a teacher had recently come in to check out alot of books and the computer had stopped at we were safe.

I remember seeing a bit in Reader's Digest about a small African Country that was trying to promote literacy. A visitor asked if even though she was not a resident, would she be allowed to check out some books. She was given permission, but when she brought a few books to the counter, she was told she could not take these few books because the library had a 13 book minimum, per person! Now, that's promoting literacy. I love that.

We have a small library in Black Diamond. I sometimes go to the Auburn Library. The Maple Valley Library is a few miles away from home and the Muckleshoot Library is a few miles from my work. I shop in Federal Way and use one of the two libraries there (can't wait until the renovation is finished on the FW Regional Library next week). I love the Bellevue and Issaquah libraries, but I don't get there much with my current work schedule. I take my nanny babies to the Enumclaw Library and while their mom is at physical therapy, you can find us at the Covington library, so there you have my libraries of choice.

Anne, Laura, Jurgis, Kunta Kinte, Corrie, Precious, Jim, Caddie, Clifford, Horton, Abigail, this list could be pages long. I have met and love and hated so many people in library books. I have learned from all of them.

Cook books, decorating books, craft and pattern books, gardening books, picture books (yes, for me, not necessarily for the children in my life), foreign language training CDs, novels, and my friends on CD to keep me company in the car. Yummy, delicious and free. One of the most uplifting places in my world. I LOVE THE LIBRARY!!! Thank you Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Navel Orange Experience

I fasted yesterday for spiritual reasons. I fasted today for medical reasons. (I did eat dinner last night after church.) This morning, I zoomed to Federal Way to have my lab work done, without eating a piece of James' utterly fabulous chocolate cake with ultra fudgy frosting for breakfast (or anything else for that matter). Had my blood draw done, got my cotton ball and tape on my arm and headed to the grocery for a little shopping.

Little is the operative word. With my head swimming with hunger, I couldn't think of anything I needed, but I wanted something to eat, but what? (Are all of my blog posts going to be about me going without food? I need to discuss that with my counselor....oh wait, first I need to get a counselor) Odwalla chocolate protein drink??? Wow more than 400 calories per bottle! A little cup of fruit? Nah, looks overprocessed and it's packed in syrup instead of juice. Yum, those strawberries smelled good, but how can I eat them without washing them (it's a 30 minute drive home). I don't eat bananas in their un-banana breaded form. What else can you eat without washing? An orange?

I like oranges, but they are a gamble. Sometimes fruity and tart and juicy and sometimes bland and pithy and yuk. I chose the heaviest, smallest orange I could find, added a loaf of bakery black bread and yanked a quart of fat free milk out of the dairy case, they didn't have any pints.

I sat in my car in the parking lot, watching the Douglas firs across the street waving in the very gusty wind. They were so beautiful against the blue with the wispy clouds barrelling across the sky behind them. I peeled my orange, it smelled so good, kinda like Christmas, I opened my milk, pulled out a slice of that chewy dark bread. I turned on my CD story book, and enjoyed a perfect orange, a delicious slice of bread and sips of milk straight from the carton.

What is the point of this story? No point, just wanted to tell you I had a really good orange today.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hot and Bubbly vs Cold and Crunchy

Once or twice a week, I cook a nice dinner for my Nanny Family. The mommy loved to cook before her incident and she has some lovely recipes. So we plan for the family favorites and I throw in some of my own and we put out some nice meals. They are very generous and offer to have me "take some home", but I always feel funny about it and anyway, it's nice for the mommy to have some leftovers for her lunch.

So as I drive home, visions of hot and bubbly dance in my head. I think about those nice pork chops and seasoned rice, or that beautiful roasted chicken or a steak stir fry, that I just left behind. Herbs and spices, roasted asparagus, a nice little sauce...

I am tired when I get home at about 6:30, so the idea of launching into another meal preparation is nix. So I open the pantry and what do I see? Mmmm, shredded wheat (actually, it's mini spooners in a bag, but we call it shredded wheat [sorry Post]), and that's what I usually have for dinner. Now, I like shredded wheat. Don't get me wrong, but it is not exactly hot and bubbly. We are told to breakfast like a King, lunch like a Princess and dinner like a Pauper, so I guess I'm on the right track, but it's a little dispiriting to finish the day with cold and crunchy.

Every week I plan to feed myself better, but tiredness and time constraints get in the way of my well planned list. And, bless his heart, James is on his own, most of the time. So, onward...I'll just keep trying. I know having everything thawed and prepared in advance is the key. That's what Saturday is for. I did buy a rice cooker with a timer and I continue to work on my relationship with the crock pot. We're in counselling together and he is being a little more giving lately.

So, here is my plan for the coming week:

Salmon and asparagus with roasted garlic potatos (leftover potatos from Sunday dinner)

Curried chicken and rice (crockpot)

Snow pea and radish stir-fry with peanuts (prepare the veggies in advance) What should I serve with this? Soba noodles in chicken broth with julienne carrots and scallions? Yes.

Lemon herb chicken picatta (pound the chicken and leave it marinating, add frozen veggies)

OK, my friends, I will report back on my adventure in "Hot and Bubbly" land. If you have any advice, or desire to drop casseroles on my doorstep or serve me a plate while I'm tucked in to my bed watching Evening Magazine and Jeopardy, feel free. Or my shredded wheat an I will continue our little tete a tete each evening at 6:30.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shallow vs Deep

I guess this post is kind of a disclaimer. I find myself editing my posts as I write them, not really saying what I could say, or might want to say, because I might be misunderstood or hurt feelings etc. Such was the case when I listed some characteristics of my children. Would they be surprised at how I view them? Would I say more about one child and less about another? I would love to bare my soul and just say what I think, but as with all things in life we do need to apply some kind of filter.

My filter leads to my postings seeming shallow to me. ("You're kidding" my reader thinks "She's whining about spoons and forks?") So, in an effort to be a little less shallow, I will attempt to adjust the filter, to take a step deeper and see if I can express myself without whacking anyone on the head.

The disclaimer is that I would never intentionally injure any of my loved ones, and hope I never do. If you read, and get a little bruised, consider the source. The source being just me, someone who loves you, thinking out loud.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lovin', Wishin' and Makin' It Happen

I love the lives of my children and there are seven of them, so there's alot to love.

*Jennifer shares the stories of motherhood and raising those 4 girls with me. She is a great photographer. I enjoy Jen's sarcasm. She has a spunky outlook on the world. I also love that even being a half sister, she and Holly and Noel share some similar traits and expressions. They are great together.

*Dan is here there and everywhere. He always has a new tale to tell and he always encourages me when I think I "CAN'T". Hold your sides when you see him coming because you will start laughing and you won't stop until three days after he's left. He is big, and warm, and beautiful, and irreverant and compassionate.

*Andrew calls me to ask nursing questions, I usually don't know the answer, but we brainstorm together and he usually finds the answer himself. I'm sure he is a better nurse than I am. Andrew loves his wife and he is the best daddy.

*Noel and I share a certain sweet friendship. She knows what is inside of me and I kinda get what's going on in her. We share a love for books and food. She cooks great food. Noel has an amazing circle of friends who let me in when I visit, or when they visit me. Some of them even let me be their facebook friends.

*Evan, Evan, Evan. A great man who loves his mom and his wife and his rope and his shoes and his car and his truck and his truck (ok, he sold one truck) and adventure and adrenalin and the gospel and... He loves life. Evan is also headed for a nursing career, so that will make five in the family.

*Christopher. Hmmm, pause, think,... Christopher. Yes, he is. I have never known a more intense person. He thinks. He is an unusual man when it comes to planning his life. He really does look to the future and make things happen. There is a list. He is check marking the list. He loves his children, but they have not arrived yet. He loved his wife before he knew her. He planned his home, but he doesn't have it yet. Like I said, he thinks. Christopher is my only child who has attended a mandatory class for people who have been shot in the chest on the job. I love the Marines!

*Holly Rose. Emily used to call her my sidekick, and she is. We are phone friends. I call my phone "The Holly Phone", because when it rings, it's her. Holly bails me out when I'm over my head. She is sensible and compassionate and can put tab B into slot A when I can't figure it out. Holly Rose is a way better mother than I was at her age. She just gets it.

*Jennifer (yes I have 2 Jennifers) She adopted me and I adopted her. She has become family. Stalwart. She is always there if I need her. I don't know how she does all that she does. When I hear about all the help she gives others I wonder if there are two of her (uh oh, that would make three Jennifers). She is crazily putting a vegetable garden in my back yard!

Don't get me started on the in-laws. How did we get so lucky or so blessed? Wes, Emily, Sarah, Jeff, Jerell. I could write a whole post about each of them...another day.

Interacting with my 10 plus 2 grandchildren is the best thing I have ever done. Hailey, Piper, Darby, Phoebe, Cayden, Jordan, Alexander, Graysen, Megan and Colton, plus Emily and Hudson are delights in my life. Seven are near, 5 are far, but all of their lives are filled with wonderful escapades. Once again, another post another day.

This is my life and my love, my family.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Joie de Vivre

I am trying to figure it out, and have been trying to figure it out for many years. This problem is certainly not unique to me. How do I have it all and do it all? How do I show my love for my family and friends and fulfill my obligations to work, church, chores, appointments and do some things that I just want to do for fun?

When I say have it all I do not mean "stuff". I have more stuff than I want. I love my home (though I do dream about having one huge room that will fit everyone I want to feed). I have a nice granny van complete with baby carseats and boosters. I have plenty of clothes, the sewing I do is not because I need a new dress, it's because I love to create.


*Being able to fit in a vegetable garden (don't have one). I am away from home for 12hours a day. I work from can't see to can't see for many months of the year.

*Spend time with my more distant grandchildren. Being a grandmother is more than sending a birthday card and a Christmas box. I miss the Baker girls so much. They used to be able to come for weekends, but I can't get them and return them anymore.

*Keep my house neater. I just keep my head above water. If I was willing to be a minimalist and get rid of my books and fabric and crayons(mine, not the grandchildren's)and Japanese dishes, and two kinds of potatos, and 5 pounds of onions, and three jars of herb tea, and library books,...My house would be tidy, but then I would cease to be me.

*Read. I remember my mom asking me how I had time to read so much, well, I stayed home with my children and we didn't have a TV. While the children read or played, I read (usually while stirring a pot). Now most of my reading is snatches and I listen to my "storybooks" in the car. I relish an all day read-a-thon. Maybe I'll put one on the calendar.

*I want to visit my Mom more often. I do not want to look back on this time, that I am giving service elsewhere, and say, I missed precious years with her. I am grateful for our phone conversations. We usually talk long and roundabout on every subject, but it is not the same as a visit.

Mostly, I want the people I love to know that I love them, and for life to be organized and peaceful.

Once again, I'm ranting and raving and as Andrew used to say "There's just no answer." It's just a matter of planning, preparing, and doing the best I can and enjoying the journey.

Joie de Vivre

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Insomniac ramblings to a daughter who works night shift and loves me anyway

Hi Noellie,

I am crazy awake. I need to go back to bed for 1 1/2 hours so I can be 'sponsible while driving the mommy to the Dr. today. We are also going to Storables at U Village. We need stuff to organize the girl's toys so Nanny doesn't have to pick them up all the time. The daddy doesn't want plastic bins, they are not super cool mid century designer stuff. I told the mommy it would be lovely to get 40 handmade Navajo baskets for the kids' Happy Meal toys, but it might be a little out of the price range, sooo I think we are getting a bunch of plastic bins. Sorry daddy.

We are also going to Trophy Cupcakes at U Village. I have made a promise to myself to buy ONLY ONE. No, seriously, one cupcake, so the thing better be awesome.

I just ordered a bunch of stuff I needed from the Church Catalog. That was fun. Children's Songbook CDs in French and Spanish. Cool! They have had the books before, but not the CDs.

I want to write a note to Yvonne Gronberg. She frequently sends me stuff, I never respond. Rude! I compose notes to her in my head, but unfortunately, (or fortunately for both of us) she's not in there. Can you tell I'm really wierd at 3:30 AM?

Christopher is sick on ship, but hopefully getting better. He said he is one of at least 10 sickies on board, but his sx were the worst. Three litres of IV fluids and IV and PO anti nausea RX. Still weak and dizzy, but back at work.

Danny called me on Monday--Mega Migraine times a week and a half. I told him maybe he has a brain bleed from his fighting. He said he had been knocked out two weeks ago, but that's no big deal, it happens all the time. Cool, just what a mother wants to hear. After more discussion he decided it might be his jaw. Long story short, one hour massage, one hour chiropractor and one more hour massage, no more headache. Nice.

OK, I'm goin' back to bed for an hour.

Did you see that I started a blog? Check it out. I am very proud of the fact that I have one follower...Katie. Don't tell me if you hate it, just say something nice and polite.

Love Your Tired Insomniac Mom


Love Mommy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Forks and Spoons

We call it silverware, but it's stainless steel. I guess steelware doesn't sound that good. I know I'm wierd, but I like my little fork. I have Reed and Barton French Floral Silverware in the left hand drawer that we use all the time, but I have a potpurri of hand-me-down and thrift store "silver"ware in the right hand drawer. I use it for cooking and cereal and my favorite little fork for cake. My daughter-in-law, Sarah, goes through the forks to find the one whose handle balances best in her hand. She likes a certain feel to her fork. I love her for that.

Not that long ago, I made Evan go to the thrift store to buy more spoons. It was a punishment. He insists he did not lose my spoons while he was living here, but where may I ask did they go? I used to have two spoons monogrammed with "P". We called them the "P" spoons and they are gone. This is significant, because I have two grand-daughters with "P" initials. Piper Rose and Phoebe. They loved to use the "P" spoons when they stayed overnight at grandma's house. Where did my "P" spoons go? The other thing that makes the "P" spoons special is their origin. Once aponce a time (no, it's not a typo, that's how our children always liked their stories begun)....we invited a family over for a soup dinner after church (I can't remember if it was chicken and dumplings or minestrone, but I can remember that it was cooked in my turkey roaster.) I told Denise that we would love to have her family of four for dinner, but could they please bring spoons, because we didn't have enough. (This is long before Reed and Barton) So, Denise and brood came for dinner bearing their own personal spoons. After supper she asked if she could take my turkey roaster home and bring soup the following Sunday. I agreed, and the next week, she brought a delicious giant pot of potato soup and a big bunch of spoons bound with a rubber band, from the thrift store. In that bunch were the "P" spoons. I so appreciated Denise's gift and I have enjoyed those spoons ever since, except that now the "P" spoons are gone.

When our children were little, we used to lose spoons in the garden. They always had something they had to dig up, like a china hippopotamus (but that's a different story). When they got older, we lost our spoons (and Tupperware)in their cars. Before Evan and Sarah got married I made him clean out all of his cars (2 or 3!) and find my spoons. There was Tupperware, but no spoons. So I am sad for my "P" spoons, but whatever, it's just a spoon and this is not Haiti or Chile, so what am I griping about?

But, for those of you who go to thrift stores (I don't very often) could you check out the silverware bins and see if they have any "P" spoons or for that matter "S" or "E" or "J". I will pay for them and come and get them, well, not to Texas, but I'll pay postage for them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Commute

I drive 10 miles to work each morning. I get up two hours before I need to leave, so why am I zooming every day as I try to get out the door. I eat in the car, usually toast or a good little breakfast sandwich. I drink peppermint tea out of those red beer cups you see at picnics. They're the only things that work in my cup holders. As I drive along, I listen to my books on CD. Am I boring? I listen to the same book series (how do you spell plural series?) over and over. Mitford series, Number One Ladies Detective Agency, or the Cat Who series. Sometimes I listen to other books, and I enjoy them, but I always come back to Father Tim, Precious Romatswe and Jim Qwilleran. Please encourage me to listen to your favorite series. I drive 25mph and 35mph in Black Diamond(do you know about those BD speed traps?) I drive 52 in the 50mph zone and 47 in the 45mph zone. Why 2 over? I always think I'm going to be late, which I never am. I need to knock off my 2 over stretches. I usually cry a little bit on the way to work...the condition of the sunrise sky, the clouds over the foothills, THE mountain in her majesty, a situation with one of my children or James or the little family I work for. I try to dry my tears before I arrive. Sometimes the daddy takes a second look and asks me if I'm alright. My tears are my meditation and my therapy. My 15 minute drive is a good part of my day. The best part is no traffic. No I 405, no back-up (maybe a stopped school bus with it's sign out), no one honking or going crazy. I love my morning drive.

Brain tumor, but that's ok.

Emily Rose is my surrogate grand-daughter. Her mother Jennifer lost both of her parents and asked me and James to be her parents. We love her and her husband Jerell. So I have been blessed to add three year old Emily and her one year old brother Hudson (they are the plus two) to my little flock.

About a year ago, Emily Rose suddenly went cross-eyed. The optomotrist told Jennifer that she had probably always been crosseyed, we were just now noticing! REALLY!? Time for an ophthalmologist at Children's hospital. They decided to treat the eye for a weak muscle and possibly surgery later if patching her good eye didn't work and as an afterthought, let's do an MRI just to make sure there isn't a problem in her brain.

Uh huh, yep there is a brain tumor in there. Scream, cry, (us not her) worry, pray, fast, wait, wait, wait, gaze, take tons of pictures, hug, hug, hug, read, research, think about funerals, how to tell other little children, spoil, give strawberry milkshakes for dinner, wonder if every behavior is due to the tumor...wait, wait, wait and then the appointment with the neurologist.

Yes, there is a tumor in Emily Rose's brain, but it is not causing her eye problem and it should never cause her a problem unless it starts growing. We were stunned and so grateful we could not and cannot express the joy. Emily Rose has a follow-up MRI every so often and that little tumor just sits there doing nothing...nothing. Yesterday was the most recent MRI and still, nothing. It is hard to send a three year old under anesthesia every few months, but considering what we had contemplated it is also...nothing.

Walking the halls of Children's hospital with healthy, bouncy, snippy, adorable, smart Emily Rose is a revelation. Many mommies and daddies have not received the same blessed message Jerell and Jennifer received. Their precious ones have something, not nothing. They look so strong. They look like they know what they are doing. They are bearing their grief with patience and stalwart hearts, for the children.

Love the children.

We are grateful for our blessing. Emily Rose, I love you.

Soon I will figure out how to post photos, but for now just imagine a beautiful, dark haired, little three year old, in a blue dress, with a huge smile, with a chipped tooth (from a flashlight), who has a brain tumor, but that's ok.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's not a book, it's a blog.

My brain is overactive. I compose essays in my head every day. Sometimes I have to get up at night and write whatever is circling around in there. I occasionally put them on paper. I have often thought of collecting my essays in a book called Erin's Essays, but alas, never made it happen. The worldwide web has opened a door to me to freely blab the stuff in my head. I am an exhibitionist (with clothes on) at heart. I love to talk, I love to teach, I love to know, I love to write, I love to see. I don't know if anyone will bother to read my stuff, but I will have the relief of getting it out of my head.

I don't know how to post photos. I don't know how to link links. I don't know how to make anything look cute, but I will learn. Let the blogging begin!