Friday, January 30, 2015

TToT62: To Recap...

"I don't know what I look like without glasses," my husband just said.

This statement made me stop in my tracks. It was one of those off-hand statements that turns your thoughts upside-down. He doesn't know what he looks like without glasses.


I take my eyesight for granted.

Here's hoping the kids get my eyesight. And Brian's shapely calves and naturally straight, cavity-free teeth.

1. Seeing the world through another viewpoint.

2. My eyesight. It's not as good as it once was, but I got tested a year ago, and it's at least still 20/20.

3. I wrote a poem this week and published it. Not just one of my half-assed haiku, but one I spent some (a little) time on.

4. I got a poem from my dad in return. Not sure if I have permission to publish, so I'll abstain. It was good, though.

5. I felt like I was part of a community, that I belonged, twice this week,

6. I had the best artichoke I've ever eaten. It was marinated and grilled, and I ate the.entire.thing.

7. I saw Birdman. Didn't love it. But I am so up on current popular culture, I can't get over myself.

8. I set a task for myself and worked hard at it.

9. I decided it was boring as all get-out and chose the Cliff's Notes version instead.

10. I'm 39, three days into my 40th year, and I'm sorta OK with it.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Separation Anxiety

"What if I get 

How often does that happen?

"Hardly ever."

Who else has accidents?

"Almost everybody."

What if you have an accident?

"I will clean it up."

"...but I don't like school days."

     I know, Muffin.

"I will be alone."

"I will miss Mommy."

I love you, my brave girl. 
I'm proud of you.
I will be here when you get home. 

Write a poem inspired by the last conversation you had with your child.

Friday, January 23, 2015

TToT61: Turning Around a Week of Grievances

You know those weeks--the ones in which thing after thing after thing goes wrong? It's been one of those weeks.

Someone pulls the toilet paper holder off the wall.

Someone cuts his foot badly enough that you only figure it out when you find a trail of blood through the house.

You can't figure out what the hell everyone is talking about regarding twitter handles and share buttons and HTML code and this task has suddenly and irrationally becomes themostimportantthingyouhavetotakecareofrightnow.

You can no longer reply to comments on your blog (maybe because you screwed up the HTML code?).

You accidentally slice off a bit of your thumb with your new mandoline.

It snows.

There is an unreasonable amount of days off school, and your toddler won't nap.

The pepper grinder breaks right over the pot of sauce you're reducing for the meal you're making for another family and fills it (the sauce) with peppercorns.

You all of a sudden recognize that there is a veritable mountain of stuffyou'rebehindon that built up all that time you were sick abed or off singing at a chorus retreat. And your husband has an even larger mountain from the time he was taking care of you and the kids when you were sick abed or off singing at a chorus retreat.

And you end up with one of those totally rotten nights in which ever family member is fussing at one another, and everything seems bleak.

But it is time for the TToT:

I can putty. I can paint. I have a drill. I will soon mount the toilet paper holder to the wall once again.

I actually talked Leo into wearing a Band-Aid. (He hates Band-Aids.) The trail of blood is no more.

I figured it out! Me! HTML code! Not that I understood what I did. I just copied code from another site. And, I put the twitter handle in the wrong part, but I've also returned to rationality and will worry about fixing that another time.

OK, I have no gratitude here. And no reply for your comments. I'm just hoping for a response from Blogger. Boo.

Ummm...I have a new mandoline? My thumb is healing?

OK, the snow was kind of pretty for awhile.

School started up again; Leo took one very long nap.

I retrieved every last one of those damn peppercorns.

I've reduced the mountain to a manageable pile. Brian's still working, but...

here's the BIGGIE...

we're going out of town tomorrow, overnight, with NO CHILDREN as an early birthday present for yours truly (Tuesday, in case you want to mark that down). In nearly six years, we have never spent the night somewhere other than our home together, sans children. To say I am excited would be a wild understatement.

And what you are you thankful for?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, #1000Speak

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The best part of blogging is the relationships.

I know I've got several non-blogger readers, and I recognize how absurd this may sound, but I have real friends in the online world. I chat with them, play games with them, send them pics, share triumphs and deep sadnesses. There are a even a few to whom I tell my secrets and confess what I wouldn't to another friend in person.

Among the other bloggers whom I am privileged to befriend are some amazingly intelligent, compassionate, and funny women and men. They amaze me, inspire me, and make me laugh daily.

A few weeks ago, a dear blogger friend wrote a post about her anger and frustration and heartbreak over the unending and horrific violence in this world. 

Lizzi wrote in her article We ALL Need The Village:
Which makes US the village, and it’s a job we need to be more careful about getting right. We need to keep a look-out for one another, let ourselves care about strangers, act on behalf of those who are helpless, and encourage everyone we know to do the same.
If we make our Village strong enough perhaps the heartbreak headlines will become fewer. Perhaps people will behave more responsibly, knowing that others are keeping an eye on them. Perhaps there will be more respect for one another, and a soul-deep recognition of each person as someone worthwhile. Perhaps the world will become kinder and more compassionate.
Perhaps it will all be okay…
Because together we’re stronger, and between us all, we CAN make a difference. Perhaps the difference between life and death. It would be a great start, so I challenge you to try.
These are stormy times.
Get out there and BE the village.

Then another beautiful blogger of our tribe, Yvonne, said, Yes! And let's walk the walk! and set about founding 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. (Yeah, that's a link to a Facebook page. Go join!) We hit the halfway point in less than a week and are currently going strong at 900+.

On February 20, 2015, 1000+ bloggers from around the world will publish articles on compassion: compassion for self, compassion for others, compassion for the Earth. Compassion in any form.

Right now, we're all out spreading the word. In fact, here are two other blogger friends' thoughts on what this day can do:

From Lisa:
Read the headlines. Look out your window. Walk down the street. You already know why. I don’t have to list and link the stories here. You already know. Far too many days I see the news and find myself wondering, “What is wrong with people?” We can sit and try to answer that or we can prove that there is so much right with people. It’s out there. Compassion, kindness…it exists.

And Joy:
What this world needs, IMHO, is compassion in many different voices, from many different backgrounds, coming together to improve our overall communication. Not just with proper grammar, and you know, 'complete sentences' but also with terrible jokes and borderline appropriate behavior. 
I agree. What I'd add is that as hippie-like and amorphous as it sounds, I believe in positive energy. I believe it makes a difference. Yes, we will show what compassion looks like in our own voices, we will honor each other, and we may even urge others to action, but our combined positive energy will also have some effect on the seemingly inescapable negativity in today's world. The pain and the struggle and the violence. We will be an antidote.

One of my favorite books in the whole wide world is A Wrinkle In Time. Have you read it? Remember when Mrs. Whatsit transformed into the beautiful centaur on Uriel to show the children the terrible black shadow? And how the Happy Medium showed how it covered the Earth so they would understand the need to stand and fight Evil? Then the children brainstormed great minds from our planet who fought Evil through learning and teaching and...compassion.

I'm no great mind, but I'll play my part.


If any non-bloggers out there want to participate, you can also join the Facebook group and produce something demonstrating compassion on February 20. Write an article, tweet a thought (#1000Speak), create a video, post a photograph, draw a picture. Put it out there on the Interwebs or share it with a small group.

Be part of the positive energy. Be part the antidote.

Friday, January 16, 2015

TToT60: I Mind Christine

I mind Christine. She told me to come back next week and tell everyone I am well, and so here I am...well, telling you so, and not even lying.

How many is that? Ten? I'm pretty sure it's ten, but here are a few extras to appease the SGV.

I'm off, folks. I'm drafting this Thursday night because Friday through Sunday I am up in Ellicott City, MD at a vocal workshop with my chorus. I have absolutely no idea what to expect other than the schedule will be intense and I'll have a roommate, so I'm more than a little trepidatious. Here's hoping I come home hoarse and happy and not hoarse and harried.

Gold stars for Brian again. Not sure if you noticed while reading the previous paragraph, but after taking care of the kids and me for a week, he's single parenting it this weekend. He's accumulated a shiny, shiny collection of stars. Seems like he should be able to trade those in for a big prize at the grocery store. A new set of cookware! A package of tube socks!

Little Leo is a bit under the weather. That's still a thankful because he's the only one, and his symptoms are mild. Before I realized he was ill, he spent one night and day telling me me (I thought) that he "heard noises." Or, he had "head noises." I puzzled until my puzzler was sore for nearly 24 hours. Do you know how frustrating it is to not understand something that is clearly very important to the communicator? Then, make that communicator a teary toddler with a limited vocabulary. Breaks your heart. Finally, I understand the noises hurt: poor baby had a headache.
Head noises hurt.

But isn't "head noises" just about the best description you've ever heard for a headache? It is like constant clamor. I think I'm going to start calling headaches head noises.

I got him some medicine, and the next time I checked in, he told me, "Head noises 'top." Thankful!

I completed one of my favorite new year activities: I put all the holiday photo cards up on the fridge. If you ever send me a photo card, know I will put it up so I can look at your sweet face all year long. Plus, such an excellent use for the magnet collection.

And then this. This is so huge I'm not sure there are words. But other people like Lizzi and Christine (the other one, not the one I'm minding) have some good ones.

I'm going to call myself done except for gratitude to Lizzi for an early HTML and to Lisa for linking me up.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

TToT59: I Need An Immune System Reboot

That nasty three-week cold did a number on my immune system. While it limped out past the battered gates of my immune system, guess who was waiting around the corner to tear them off their hinges?

The flu.

This has been a miserable week of sickness. This has been a miserable week of shivering and sweating, sleeping and crying, aching and coughing. I've cursed the number of stairs in our house a hundred times. And I have double and triple cursed the cold (the wind made me cry as I made my way out of the doctor's office). And the snow (because it closed the doctor's office the first day I was supposed to go). 

But in the spirit of the hop and widening my lens, I can definitely find some gratitude.

1. Brian tops the list with about hundred gold stars. He barely got any work done this week, and I did barely any childcare. He's brought me water and and medication and my computer and encouraged me to rest. He showed me how to get to Netflix on the TV when I had napped enough. He took on errands and appointments I could not manage. Gold stars, shiny ones.

2. Ibuprofen. I can't say if Tamiflu has had much effect. I think I got it too late (stupid snow). But Ibuprofen (after the seemingly necessary bout of sweating through my shirt with every dose) got me on my feet. I kept up a steady dose every four hours for a couple of days.

3. My impressive stash of sleepwear. I am now on the last set of pajamas--the ones I have to hitch up with every step after stretching out the elastic with two pregnancies.

4. Tea. Regular old chamomile and such and also Lisa's sick tea, which is really not that bad.

5. The excuse to eat a carton of chocolate ice cream in one day. Yeah, I did that.

6. That iPad we got the kids for Christmas. I've tried to keep up reasonable screen time limits, but I threw those out the window this week. The times I've been alone with them, they've been on the iPad. It wasn't shining parenting; it was survival.

7. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. I've found them the right mix of interesting/mindless that seemed right for these flu-y days.

8. This explanation I got from Maggie, which I find utterly hilarious and charming. While working through the Bob Books app in my bed while I dozed, she said, "See, this looks like a cat, but it's really a mit." The cat was named Mit.

9. That one time I ventured outside in one my sweaty Ibuprofen moments and snapped this photo. I think my one photography lesson has had some effect.

10. And it turns out I will live. Weepy and brain dead I may be, but I seem to be recovering.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

TToT58: I'm Back And Ever So Slightly More Healthy

Please refer to the title for 1 and 2 and please forgive me for my absence last week--both from posting and commenting.

3. Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time 100% alone after--I don't know--being surrounded by crowds for two or three weeks. I enjoyed the houses full of people fully (because they're my favorite people), but in the words of Sandra Boynton, "One is wonderful after a crowd."

(Then, Brian walked in the door to tell me his entire extended family would arrive in twenty minutes.)

4. But, I think, maybe, if I'm really lucky, we're going to have a few days in a row in which we have nowhere to go and no one to host. I believe that's what I need to finally kick the cold that will not go.

5. And on to more exciting thankfuls, I have my very own, brand new, DSLR camera. Truly! My generous family pooled their funds and got me one for Christmas. I was ever so surprised and delighted. And now you, my readers, will get to reap the benefits of (theoretically) better quality photos.

6. My SIL, who is an amateur photographer, is going to give me lessons! I pitched the idea to her kind of hesitantly, but she jumped aboard as if she'd been considering it and seems to have lesson plans in mind. Just you wait, I will impress you with my knowledge of things like aperture and shutter speed soon.

7. I am not one of those people who can just 'cut back' after the holidays. I lack the ability to limit my caloric intake in a gradual manner. So, I've embarked on my annual cold turkey departure from bread, and sweets, and alcohol. This way, I'll be able to eat birthday cake at the end of this month (hey, my birthday's at the end of this month!) and still fit in my pants (jeans, trousers, whathaveyou, Lizzi). Where's the thankful? In theory, I'll have kicked these cravings in a week or two and can go back to eating with moderation rather than complete abandon or within tiresome limitations.

8. It is mid-day, and I am writing this post in bed.

9. And my new camera? No more depending entirely on my phone!

10. I've been highly entertained both my Facebook pictures of Christine's slow recovery throughout the winter break and Lizzi's singing on my loooooooong drive home on the 30th. I've been singing Dream a Little Dream of Me since, which is a fun song to sing when your voice range is lower than usual.

OK, time for my nap.

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