Saturday, September 25, 2010

An old friend

We introduced ourselves to you on our first trip together as a couple, just 6 weeks into our relationship. You were a lovely host...providing sunrises and sunsets that took our breath away.

We enjoyed our first trip so much, we joined you again for our honeymoon a year later.

A few years later, we met up with The Best Man and his family within the confines of your lovely village, and found out that their three would soon be four.

And we last visited over five years ago...which is silly because we used to make at least an annual trip to see you.
We're excited to see you again, old friend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh my cabernet.

...or, Living in a Cul de Sac: Neighbors are Overrated.

We're a circle of seven homes, trapped by channeled through a single entrance. Two homeowners are originals...been here for over 11 years, and knew the area when it was a big pile of dirt surrounded by cornfields. Another one moved in about two years before us. The other three have moved in since we got here, which is almost five years now.

There are kids who would really just love to play together and sort things out on the playground like it's been done for decades. But alas, they are being raised by graduates of The Helicopter School of Parenting...who also have a raging case of Not MY Kid.

Other parents were good friends of ours...before they started behaving like petulant 4th graders whose desk is no longer in what they think is The Best location in the classroom.

And one parent, who is struggling to find her way in a brand new world outside polygamy, wants to understand why helicopters and overgrown 4th graders are playing such an invasive role in her life right now.

We, for our part, want to be far less disgusted with the behavior of some of our neighbors than we currently are.

Personally? I'm partial to a Cabernet-Shiraz blend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

No, actually I'm *not* borrowing my teenage son's car

I drive one of these:

And am married to this sense of humor:

And he buys parts to fix these:

So he gets free stickers like this:

And this:


I never know when a new one will show up in prime viewing location on one of my windows, although it's usually after a weekend of this:

Because these two:

Just can't be trusted.

Oh, yes. It's a laugh a minute here in Schaererville.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I plead insanity, Your Honor

Sept. 17 - Peggy arrives

Sept. 19 - Mr. O leaves for South America on business

Sept. 25 - Mr. O returns from South America

Sept. 26 - We leave for a family trip to Yellowstone National Park

Sept. 29 - We return from Yellowstone National Park

Oct. 1 - Pops and his Pensacola Hobo Wagon arrive

Oct. 3 - Mr. O leaves for Mexico on business

Oct. 4 - Pops heads back into the wild blue yonder

Oct. 9 - Mr. O returns from Mexico

Oct. 13 - Peggy heads back to Switzerland

Oct. 13 - I head home for 25th reunion festivities

Oct. 14 thru 18 - Kids off school (fall break)

Oct. 19 - I return to Schaererville to survey the damage

Oct. 22 - Family camping trip to the San Rafael Swell

Oct. 25 - Finish extracting dirt from bodily orifices after camping trip

Oct. 26 - Meet new roommate at the funny farm, because that's where I'll be

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Delilah, grab your scissors

I've had so many lessons to reinforce what's truly important and what is not.

Like when our first-and-supposedly-only was born with aplasia cutis. It's a very simple absence of skin on the scalp, a minor affliction that - in her case - healed in the form of a quarter-sized bald spot on the top of her head that was of more concern to us than to her at the time.

Always looking for a cause, I decided that I was growing my hair out to donate...just in case, when she got to an age when a small bald spot could be the harbinger of doom and potentially the end of the world, I needed material for a teaching moment.

I grew it, and grew it, and grew it. When I found out she would have a baby brother almost 4 years later, the benefts of prenatal vitamins made me into a Lady Godiva-in-waiting.

And when I knew I couldn't take it anymore (4 weeks before Muggsy was born), I donated two 14" pigtails - the blessing of thick hair - to Locks of Love.

Not making appointments for haircuts more than once a year leads to ponytail hair, and though ponytails are boring, they are certainly practical and I'm all about practical.

Since it was already almost long enough to donate, last fall I shrugged and thought it couldn't hurt to make another donation to Locks of Love so decided to give it another year to grow. I didn't know it then, but it turns out there's another personally meaningful reason to donate my hair this time (there's always a take that, stoic therapist).

Although my sister was able to get her own wig through a wonderful and generous shop right where she lives, there are so many others who are not as fortunate. So this time, my donation is going to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

And, with October just a few weeks away...being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all...I think it's time for a haircut.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sure - just let me know and I'd be happy to help.

My writing muse is back, and apparently she's brought a friend: the creative paper fairy.

Not a moment too soon, either, because I've landed myself a PTA gig. The competition was fierce - in the end, I beat out every single other mom who, uh, didn't volunteer for it.

It's a disease, I tell you. Because - you know - I do need one more thing on my plate these days. I'm the Birthday Commissioner - among other festive duties, the provider of birthday treats and cards for all 63 members of the team that keeps MiniMe's elementary school spinning like a top.

Of course the cards are handmade. I've also created a female version and a male version. Since I'm just sadistic like that.

So, I'm in the middle of making 57 of these for the women:

and 6 of these for the men:

And lucky me - when I'm done with this, I get to tackle the other part of my PTA Birthday Commissioner responsibilities: planning, inviting, and decorating for the principal's monthly lunchroom celebration for each month's birthday students.

That one may very well put me right over the edge.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yeah, I've been messing around with the blog again. Finally.

My Writing Muse had been on extended leave...vacationing somewhere due east of Nowhereville, apparently. But she's back, though I'm not thrilled with the impetus for her return. She sits faithfully on my shoulder only in times of crisis or stress - my tool for working through it all.

And there's an awful lot to work through right now.

I get twitchy when I need to write and can't. And for this round of trials, I couldn't write about it for six whole weeks. There were others who had to be told before I could put words to my devastation, and reading a public blog was not the way for them to find out. The process of having the conversations was convoluted. The list included parents, step-siblings, offspring, in-laws, outlaws, friends and co-workers - taking place in a certain order, using delicate timing.

So I spent the time trading texts with her, getting details, and then stirring up an interwebz smorgasbord of information with Chef Google. Sifting through medical lingo and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious pharmaceutical names was somehow comforting. I added links to my favorites at a lightning-fast pace.

I found Caring Bridge, and started the uphill battle of persuasion...she insisted that no one needed to know, or cared to know, about her progress.

But I'm a writer. I told her it was for me.

She's gotten messages of love and strength from so many people, many who don't even know her...but they know me. I'm touched to the deepest places in my heart to know that my friends would reach out to her in this way.

And then...I found my own place in the battle. Being so lost, unfocused, wanting to do more but being so far was comforting to be able to choose my warrior symbol:

I'm standing strong. And writing strong. And just trying to be strong. Because we have each other. And I think she needs me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


The chin-length bob. With its neatly trimmed bangs, it's known as a stalwart, low-maintenance friend to moms who care more about practicality than fashion in those post-toddler years.

Me - 1971 - age 4
Handed down from generation to generation, it's timeless and classic - with subtle shaping that identifies its place within a decade.

My mom - 1947 - age 4
And the autocratic practicality vs. fashion conversation doesn't really become a battle of wills until well after these years have passed.

MiniMe - 2007 - age 4
Maybe it's less about practicality and more about an innate sense of how a certain style works with a genetically predisposed round face with almond-shaped eyes that turn down at the corners.

Although I can't imagine the newest member of this timeless and classic generational club ever having a practical bone in her body, who knows? Maybe it only surfaces when there's a new genetically predisposed head of hair to be managed by the hands of her mom.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ol' Blue Eyes

Fly me to the moon

Let me play among the stars

Let me see what spring is like on

A-Ju-pi-ter and Mars

In other words, hold my hand

In other words, baby kiss me

Fill my heart with song

And let me sing forever more

You are all I long for

All I worship and adore

In other words, please be true

In other words...




It's past August 28, but still not October, so technically I'm not late. Hon, it's been 11 years of love, marriage, friendship, parenthood, and everything in between. I'm a lucky girl!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Warriors in Pink

I can sit in front of my therapist, being the truly cockeyed optimist that I am, and insist that there's a reason for something. A BIG, MEANINGFUL, KARMIC reason for something. Even when that something is kinda like a bag of rotten tomatoes being dumped over my head as I'm standing naked in the town square in front of my freshman algebra class.

She'll sigh and tell me - yet again - that sometimes crappy things just happen and there's no hidden meaning so I should focus my energy somewhere else.

I never listen to her, and the cycle begins anew. Job security for her, I guess.

This time, my bag of rotten tomatoes is not financial, or job-related, or litigious, or an unexpected [but thoroughly adored!] addition to the family.

Those are all so very, very small by comparison.

This time it really is a matter of life and death.

Cancer. My sister. A Warrior in Pink. It's a ravaging feeling - this sense of being unable to help.