Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanks full of Thanksgiving: #76 Ten Things Of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful

Here in Colony, we are in the waning hours of Thanksgiving. My soul is full and my body is exhausted.

1. This dog:

2. Preparing for Elephants in the Room. We all have them, so I wrote about it.

3. Updating a jacket and having a friend to help.

4. Girly: On Wednesday she came to me and asked, “Mom, can I miss dance today? I would like to finish cleaning my room and I just found the floor.”

What else could I say to that responsible 14 year old?

5. Mutant knows me so well. Yes we did sing the song and danced in the kitchen to it.

The rest of these have to do with Thanksgiving and why my heart is so full.

7.  My friend Jeannie: This is our first holiday without her now that she is on her life adventure. But when I pulled out this rolling pin it reminded me of last year’s pie making. The rolling pin I did have annoyed the crap out of me. So she went out and bought me a proper french one. My life is made richer with her.

6. Working boys: Both Zany and Ase worked on Thanksgiving. Both looked forward to it. Zany lifeguarded in the morning, watching all those who visit Dr. Pool before the feast in the afternoon. Ase worked at the restaurant from 2:00 on. He said there were a few big gatherings but most were groups of four and five. As a family we’ve always had an open door policy. When we find that someone does not have somewhere to be OR that place is not safe, then we invite them to ours. It makes the holiday sweeter.

Cranberry Pear pie filling

7. Mutant, Girly, Zany and I sat down to dinner with a friend who’s family has become complicated within the last year. We ate-not my best turkey this year-enjoyed a laugh. We were not able to go out for a movie because Girly experienced the flu the night before. So, we snuggled up with Stardust.

8. Turkey and Stuffing Omelets: When Mutant was a teen, he stood in front of the Thanksgiving full fridge and wondered what else could be done with turkey and stuffing. He came up with this:

The kids made it VERY clear that turkey on Thanksgiving is nice, but what REALLY matters is the day after. While everyone else is out in the Black Friday madness, Mutant is up cooking the important breakfast. They all declared this year, "We may not make it home for Turkey Thursday, be we will ALWAYS be home for Friday Omelets.

9. Friends in need- A friend of mine found herself stranded in LA. I had been keeping tabs on her all week and she finally asked for help. She had plans for Turkey Thursday, so Mutant and I climbed into the big Beast on Friday for an adventure. After picking her up, we stopped at Pinks-an iconic hotdog stand in West LA-for dinner. Good food, an adventure and listening to the stories of her life made the day amazing.

10. Dinner and inappropriate laughter-OF course that meant that friend needed to come over for dinner on Saturday. Over pizza, coke, icecream, and a smore’s dessert pizza she met Ase for the first time. We laughed at her stories, Mutant’s stories and the summer adventures of Zany. Our home was filled with love and grace.

Who could resist this face?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That Thing in the Room

They are very timid animals you know.

They are quiet, lumbering and often awkward. Out in the wide open world, they are easy to manage. Fresh air, weather or even a simple distraction make them seem manageable.

But in a room of people.

With a mountain of food.

And a holiday.

This beautiful, great big creature cannot function well. THEN we who bring the lumbering beastie with us, make it sit in a corner and be quiet.

The poor elephant.

Photo by David Blackwell.

Not able to talk to anyone, the pachyderm is in a precarious position. It must pretend to not exist. With a trunk, four legs the size of tables and a broom tail. The unfortunate thing is thinks itself invisible.

However, toes are stepped on.
Words are misunderstood.
Feelings well up into knots of yuck.

The pitiable delicate beasty can do nothing right.

Truth is, as we gather together for holidays, these gentle creatures join us. We need to be gentle. If it isn’t possible to talk to the elephant, just a nod will do. A small recognition of grace is what they deserve.

If we are gentle with them, possibly a few toes will be saved.
Words might be heard clearly if spoken with a sprinkle of love.
Feelings could unravel and begin to heal.

I say we should dress that elephant in a pink tutu. Adorn it’s head with a crown. Pull out a chair and offer it a seat.

Pretending like they are not there is not working. So,  remember this holiday season:

Please be kind to elephants.

Thank you Non-Sequitur  for saying it so well.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Cold and the Sun: #75 Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful

I did it!

I read everyone’s posts and left a little love. I usually only have time to either write OR read and it seems I will be able to do both. It seems the theme this weekend is simple things and finding silver linings.

1. Nutcracker Sweatshirts: Our studio does a fundraiser each year to help with some of the costuming costs. With so many sweatshirts floating around, it is easy for them to get lost. I love being able to pull out my Mother-in-Law’s embroidery machine and personalize each one. It is part of our Nutcracker tradition.

2. Dog snuggles- Now the temperatures have come to their senses and our high is in the upper 60s, the tile floor gets a little chilly for low-riding dogs. Daisy is learning to appreciate the warmth of Watson.

3. This video reminded me of Girly when she was little:

Now-as a super logic teen-this empathy is still there, but is expressed differently. In the car when she is telling me about some injustice, or peoples’ insensitivities. It was a good reminder for me that even though she looks stoic on the outside, that deeply empathetic heart still pitterpats.

4. This important Christmas message:

5. When my family gets a cold: Over a week ago I felt really crummy. I figured it was allergies because our air was pretty crummy: rain+inversion layer for days=SMOG


This week everyone came down with a cold. What I thought was my fibro/allergies kicking me into bed really was an honest cold. There is something very grounding to have an illness to get better from every once in a while.

6. Ase and German. In developing better habits than playing online games ad infinitum, Ase bought Rosetta Stone’s German because he’s always wanted to learn the language. On Wednesday he interrupted his study session to share the German music he’d been listening to. Of course that mean I had to stop what I was doing and jump over to Spotify and research more music, which means German Punk. It was a fun few hours of reading titles and he telling me what they meant.

7. Thursday was Craft Day. In the homeschool group, I am in charge of the quarterly craft day. This time we made Nativity Sets from DelineateYourDwelling. The ages ranged from 3 to 11 years old. The room was mostly quiet for over an hour as they worked on each peace. They all turned out amazing!

8. In-N-Out. Of course I had to nutritionally power up before I taught the class. The weather is perfect for sitting outside in a sweater in the SUN!! I miss sitting outside the 6 months out of the year the sun is a glowing-scorching-orb bent on giving me the experience of Hell. I love this time of year.

9. This made be glad to be a preschool teacher in my life before kids. I can imagine Mark Ruffalo with his kid in my class… leave me alone! I’m imagining…

10.The SUN. With the fancy inversion layer we get around here, when it rains often the moisture/clouds get trapped and never leave. After a day of beautiful rain, I woke up the next morning to the outside looking the same as when I went to bed. When the sun finally burned through the clouds at 12, I was doing a happy dance.

And such is life, right? When it is the gloomiest, and we see a brighter patch struggling through the clouds we all look to the sky and cheer on that glowing orb.

Just like hope struggles to burn through those bluish gloomy moods.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back to the Usual: #74 Ten Things of Thankful

We survived the weekend of emotions and bitter disappointments. Counting Mutant changed his flight and came home early on Sunday because he simply couldn't be with out us one more minute.

Ten Things of Thankful

1. Nutcracker is circling like a vulture. The good thing about Girly staying home is she was able to make all of the rehearsals. Last weekend is the point in our rehearsal season where individual dances are woven together into scenes. Watching Girly and Zany work together as mice warms my heart.

2. Oreo the guinea pig: While they were in rehearsals, I snuck over and bought all the bits to give the adventurous guinea pig a proper home. When Zany got in the car, he was pleasantly surprised.

3. I think Oreo is expressing his gratitude.

4. I made it to level 300 in Candy Crush.

5. Turtle adventures- Three years ago, Girly discovered a newly hatched turtle-Cinna- in our lake. Of course she “saved” it from the big fish who might eat it. With a promise of keeping only until it was bigger, we made a home for it. A few weeks later, she found another one. It seemed to be from the same batch of eggs. This one-Green Guy- was a bit savvier and it took her a month to catch it.

Early this summer we released Cinna back into the lake. He was big enough and kept escaping from the tank.

Green Guy however, was content to eat lettuce, chase a few fish and sleep under the light.

The past few weeks, his appetite waned. The weather is still nice here, so I suggested we set him free. That way Green Guy could get comfortable in the wide world before winter.

It was fun to watch the little guy race for the water and swim. Unfettered by glass walls.

6. It was Veterans Day here and I am grateful for all those who served in the military. The day is significant for me because of my Dad. He served stateside during the Vietnam War. We lived on base and in military housing until I was around 8. Growing up, in spite of what society said about Service Men and Women, I understood their sacrifice. Their secret keeping. The more we can do to support them, the better.

7. It’s winter and that means most of the time Daisy is in my jacket. Because tile floors are cold on dachshund feet and bellies.

8.. Yoga. I went this week, feeling quite out of sorts because of the disastrously emotional weekend. I was able to go with out one ounce of anxiety-which was nice.

9. Writing and leaning into the pain, is an expression used in yoga a few weeks ago. Because of it I began writing about a very painful season in my life 20 years ago. In Yoga I was able to move past Anger and into what its’ trigger-Fear.

10. Growing up is hard. Especially on the patience of a parent. Watching them make mistakes, opt not to participate or marathon gaming. In the middle of this slow progress for them, I am grateful they even want to be around. They are willing to learn and in small steps move forward in life.

I just need strength as I practice this Virtue of Patience.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sublime and Bizarre with a Side Of Lemon: #73 Ten Things of Thankful

It’s been a bit of the sublime with a side of bizarre and a side of lemon this week

Ten Things of Thankful

1. Life is about play and these people make me laugh.

2. Rain!!

3. Girly wanted to walk in our area’s Juvenile Diabetes 5k for part of her community service hours. A friend’s daughter has this disease. It was so much fun to hang out with them for the morning.

4. Nutcracker is an ever constant source of entertainment. Last year Zany was Mouse King and Girly wore his mouse head. This year they are both mice. When the heads were pulled out, Zany grabbed the one that fit him. Girly was left to rummage for a different one. The after rehearsal home theatrics was epic. The conflict centered on miscommunication not territory, but I did threaten to beat them both with a bag of Halloween candy. The kinks worked out and a solution found. I love watching them work out life together.

5. A Danish Orchestra eating chili peppers.

6. A nap in the sun and a reminder of simple pleasures.

7. It’s official, we’re getting an El Nino! Not a strong one, but I will take any promise of rain for our mostly brown not quite Golden State.

8. With Kramer agility, Zany burst through the door with a bundle in the crook of his arm.

“Mom! There was this Kit Fox. My friend and I were watching it and saw something moving in the bushes. I saw it was a guinea pig! So we chased it all around the park and LOOK!”

9. Counting Mutant and Girly spent the last few months planning a weekend trip to Virginia to see the sights and Colin: A Ballet. It is an original piece from The Manassas Ballet Company telling the story of Director Amy Wolfe’s son Colin. Amy has taken one of the greatest tragedies-losing a son in war-and made it an oasis of healing. Amy is an inspiration of grief and healing to us all.

You can find Amy and Manassis Ballet Theater here

With all the bags packed and ready to walk out the door on Friday night to catch a red eye, Mutant looked for a small piece of information-an official ID for Girly. It was no where to be found. According to everything he read, Girly would not be able to fly without some form of government issued identification. With crushed hearts, Mutant left alone in a flurry of colorful words.

10. Girly cried for much of the night, walking through all the feelings of disappointment. Slept on the couch because she couldn’t face the bag, which needed to be unpacked. Never angry about being left behind because, “Of course Dad still had to go! He made a promise to Amy.”

Yesterday morning I called my dearheart friend Julie in LA to see if an adventure was possible. Turns out they were heading out to an Ever After High screening of the Thronecoming.

Julie is the voice of Blondie Lockes

So in a whirling dervish, we jumped out of our pajamas and into the car.

And turned those lemons into lemonaid. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vague Simplicity: Ten Things of Thankful #70

Ten Things of Thankful

Hey, look! Two weeks in a row of Thankfuls. It is nice to have the words. Feel room within my soul to weave them together and join in the chorus of Gratitude.

1. Interwebs: I’m a bit of a quirky person. Finding people to play with, talk with and simply walk life alongside can be a tricky thing. I’m grateful for people like Lizzi, an ocean away and eight hours in my future. She was right there, my imaginary-glitter infused-friend filling the store with giggles. Girly and I tried on all the hats. Took all the pictures. The burdens within my soul lightened a bit.

2. Friends: I’ve needed some compassion, validation and perspective this week. I am grateful for the laughter and love given to me this week. Shaking their heads at the stories, they say to me, “You can’t win.”

3. Murky things: Navigating through the request made of me by  Parentals, I am working at honoring it. Understanding that winning is not possible, the next question is how to navigate the now. The process has me walking through some painful scars in order to find a medium. The whole process takes patience. Which leads me to Watson waiting for me to take a walk: he is the picture of patience.

4. Boundaries: Often are elusive to me. As an Extrovert who LOVES all the people, I can get caught up in the fun and forget about my needs. A friend gave me a game plan to use in a particularly foggy relationship. It worked beautifully.

5. Dogs-Sometimes a nap outside fixes everything.

6. Community service-Girly chose to participate in our area’s Juvenile Diabetes Walk for her community service project this month. She’s excited. If you are interested in supporting her follow this link.

7. Weather maps: *snark font* I’m beginning to think Mother Nature has something against California. A whole week’s worth of rain and all we get is a windstorm as it swirls around us.

US National Weather Service Hanford California

8. Little Girls: They grow up. This Girly fills my heart with joy. Keeps me humble and got a hair cut this week. The boys are not quite sure what to do with her.

9. Science Fair reprieve: In Girly’s head she doesn’t have to do one this year. BUT I think she should. I have to thank Jimmy Fallon for giving her this brilliant idea that Ase and Zany cannot wait to help her with. At lunch yesterday the Three were discussing PSI formulas, density, weight, circumference with ALL the sparkles of mischief in their eyes. All I have to do is buy the craft supplies for the board.

10. Growing Pains: Ase and Zany are walking through all the growing pains of early college. Discouragement, mistakes and failures were discussed this week. I am SO grateful that they still want me involved. It is a privilege to be a part of this season with them.