Sunday, October 18, 2009

are you brave enough to be really happy?

I recently had a conversation with a good friend. We haven't seen each other for a while. We were talking about the changes that our lives had gone through. We've grown - wiser, older, smarter, more beautiful and more comfortable in who we are. Mostly, we are happy. Happier.

We talked a lot about our roles as women in the world today. Our mothers, grandmother, and aunts fought the fight so we could "have everything." The problem is, we don't really want everything.

But still... we work until we can't see, and we parent competitively, and we are wives to men who are willing to step into our world and forgive us when we seem to go a little crazy... and I'm not sure we're happy.

So, what does it take to be happy?

Are you happy?

Are you honest with yourself? Do you have the courage to be honest about what you want in this life? Be really honest - to yourself, to your spouse or partner, to your children, to your family, to your co-workers, to your neighbors, to every single person in your life about what makes you happy?

What did it/does it take to make you happy?

I haven't had the courage recently to do what I need to do to make myself happy. Oh, I spend a lot of time making everyone ELSE happy - my boss LOVES my hard work, my students KNOW that I am always there for them, my husband can COUNT ON me for everything from dinner plans to unshakeable love, my children find SAFETY in my love for them, my parents trust that I will ANSWER every question quickly and with the answers that the EXPECT...

But what about me? I don't even think that I know what makes ME happy anymore. When I have 10 minutes quiet time, I am afraid to dream about those things that make me happy, because I am afraid that I am going to be disappointed.


I have a challenge. It is a challenge that I I am going to take, too.

Set your timer for 5 minutes. Take out a piece of paper and write. Write every word that describes you. Write and write and write and write.

Now. Take that same list and start to highlight - start with the ones you like - or the ones that you don't like, it doesn't matter. These are all part of you.

Here's the challenge. Whittle it down to one word. One word that describes you today. This word doesn't have to describe you tomorrow or when you were a teenager or what you'll be like as a grandparent. Just a word that describes you NOW.

Once you've got that single word, write that word on a post-it note. Now, slap that post-it note on your chest like a name badge. Do you have the courage to wear that word all day long? If you do - come back here and write about it.

What did people say? How did you tell people about that word? Were you honest? How much courage does it take to be really really happy?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

willy and roxie

I love our house. I've been browsing blogs tonight - I love this task and so rarely have the time anymore - anyway, as I said, I've been blog hopping and I've realized, as I saw all of the gorgeous photos of homes and such, I love my house.

(I'll post photos sometime soonish - maybe.)

Our house was built in 1902. It is rumored to have been a rectory for the Catholic church some blocks away, and was thought to have been moved in the early '20s to this spot. It feels like my grandparents homes. Both sets of grandparents' homes. Little snippets here and there. It smells like family. It smells like dust and chicken dinners and coffee for friends and children and crayons and pledge and pets and work and music...

This house has only ever seen girls raised here. The last family had 4 girls. That was when Willy and Roxie owned the home. They bought it in 1960 and sold it in 2005, to us.

It needs work, but it's ours. And we are so lucky.

I'll share more later, but I didn't want to forget to be thankful for something so important. It shelters us and keeps us warm and together and feels like home and family. Lots of family and shared, happy memories.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the fast and low-down

So. Time goes really fast. Crazy fast. It's good. I'm happy. I'm busy. I feel like I am doing something that matters to someone. To lots of people, actually.

I love being a mom. My girls are so spectacular. They are loving school, and being so wonderfully successful. I love the time that we get to spend together at dinner! I look forward to hearing everyone chime in with what they learned that day. Yaya chimes in and is so thrilled to finally be in school. Noni and Via are thriving. We are planning parties and sleep-overs and all that stuff. Via (10 yrs old), was asked if she wanted to date a boy at school. Luckily, she said "No." There will be no dating until she's 16, then it will be group dates only.

We are making lots of trips to piano lessons, and brownies, and gymnastics, and swimming lessons, and church choir. Then there are play dates and ... you get the idea! It's rich and lovely and I am in bliss.

School is going really well. I love teaching. I feel like I was ... called to be a teacher. I am teaching 4 sections of theater to kids K - 6. I am also teaching math and reading in an RTI block. I've got a tremendous bunch of 4th grade students. We actually have conversations, these kids and I - questioning and thinking and working on math and reasoning through lit questions... Sounds kooky, I know. But I really love these kids.

The next challenge and shining moment in my life are the kids that I am mentoring. Our school had low NCBA test scores and is in danger of being re-configured (yikes!) so we (the staff) have all chosen to mentor the students with the lowest test scores. I have chosen 2 girls - same family - and I dig these kids. The hardest part part is knowing that these lovely little people go home to such hell, it's breaking my heart.

Without telling you all too much, I want to share their story. Mom is an alcholic/drug addict. She is single parenting 4 children. The youngest is an angelic little boy in 2nd grade and there are 3 older sisters (I think that's all the kids at home, but hwo knows?). It's really no big surprise that these kids come to school unprepared. How could anyone be ready to learn when you never know what kind of chaos is waiting at home?! I've given the girls my phone number - the youngest girl calls me every night to "check her homework." I'm pretty certain that what she really wants is anything BUT homework help.

Last Monday, the children returned to school. We've managed to completely catch up th youngest girl - homework in on time for the first time in years! But the little boy... he wasn't in school. His sisters said that he'd been hurt over the weekend. When all of the pieces of the story were put together, we learned that one of the older children had jumped on this little boy. The mother - who may or may not have been home at any point during the weekend, has not taken the child to the doctor. We think that his collar bone is broken. It's happened before, the kids say. The boy came to school on Tuesday. His arm was in a sling. He is in obvious pain.

We've told all of the authorities, but I worry so much about these children. They are kind and loving and simply want to belong to a family that offers safety and security and comfort and love. Daddyman and I talked about fostering - we don't have the room, yet. But oh, if the world works it's magic, these children will be placed with a family that can love and care for them. A family that will offer these children the safety and security that they deserve. A family that they can count on to do the right thing.

Until that happens, I will continue to answer the phone for "homework help." I will try to help these children learn so that they can make the most of their lives. I will help them learn to love to learn so that they can see their own future - a future that is different from the one they live in now!

So now, I am really tired. I am tired and I am going to take care of myself tonight and go to sleep.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

the great minnesota get together...

So. This is where we lost Ava. The Minnesota State Fair. One minute, she was there. The next minute, she was gone.

As I looked over this enormous sea of people, I couldn't even begin to think about where to start looking for her. I put the two older girls at a corner and insisted that they STAY PUT! They held hands and held their breath. And Rick and I ran in circles shouting Ava's name at the top of our lungs.

Other parents seeing what was going on started searching as well.

If felt like HOURS.

Shouting and running and looking. Running in circles. Shouting like crazy people.

Then, I stopped at a ticket booth. "How can I find my child?" I shouted through the bullet proof glass. "I can't find my daughter! She's too little to be here alone. She's only 4 years old! I can't find her."

They were calm and gentle and efficient. The sweet smelling lady in the blue t-shirt picked up her walkie-talkie and started talking to people at other ticket booths. Have you seen...? She's really little... Yes, pink dress...

Calling and talking and paging.

Then, someone called back.

"We think we found her." the quiet voice crackeled on the other end.

The lady in blue picked up the phone to get the details in private. Trying not to frighten me. I am shaking and tears are running down my hot cheeks. There are too many of us in this tiny ticket booth. Everyone is trying to be calm. They talk too quietly. I am very afraid. I hear everyone breathing.

Then, the nice lady hung up the phone and turned to me. "Is her name Ava?"

I could only nod.

"They've found her. She's OK. She's at the East ticket booth. Mike will take you there now."

I don't know if I said thank you. I had to run to keep up with Mike. He looked to be about 72 - short, maybe an ex-marine. As we walked-ran-darted through the crowd to where we hoped to find Ava, he said, too quietly, "you'd be surprised how many people this happens too. We'll be there in just a minute. Can you keep up?"

I couldn't see anything through my tears. I wasn't breathing. I was frantic. I'm so glad that he kept talking. It gave me something to hold onto. Something to follow through all of the sweaty State Fair visitors.

Then, there she was. In the arms of a very nice looking woman. She wasn't crying. She wasn't talking or fighting to get out of her arms. She was just waiting. I heard the woman say, "Don't worry, sweetheart. They'll find your mom. Mom's sometimes get lost at the fair."

"OK" was her tiny answer.

Then I had her in my arms. I was squeezing her and holding her and crying into her sweaty hair.

The nice woman patted my arm, and said, "Everything will be OK now, mom. You found her." Two college girls showed up from across the street. "Are you her mom? We were really worried. We saw her standing here. She was lost. We didn't know what to do. You're her mom, right?"

"Yes. Yes! I'm her mom!"

Then Mike turned me around and started steering me back to the other ticket booth. The last place I'd seen my other children. I hadn't even told Rick I had her. I hadn't told anyone where I was going. I just went.

Mike reached over and patted my shoulder. "Remember, it's not her fault. She didn't mean to get lost."

"I know." I said. "I know. She's only four years old. It was my fault. My fault that Ava got lost. It wasn't her fault at all."

I was calling Rick on his cell phone when we turned the corner. He had his cell phone in his hand to call me. He looked like I felt. Then he cried when he saw Ava in my arms.

Then, a doughy lady and her pasty husband, along with their 5 children, held Rick's hand and said, "I new something bad was happening when I heard you calling for your daughter. You looked so frightened. I started praying right then that God would bring her back to you safely. We all prayed."

"Yes we did," said the husband, nodding his head gently.

"God answered our prayers today at the Minnesota State Fair."

Thank you. Thank you for praying. Thank you for looking. Thank you for caring about one family's daughter. Thank you sweet smelling lady with the quiet voice. Thank you Mike who led me through the crowd. Thank you to the moms and dads that saw our panic and started to search with us. Thank you young girls who knew that something wasn't right about a four year old girl standing alone at the Fair. Thank you nice woman who told my daughter that it would be ok, mom's get lost sometimes. Thank you praying lady for caring enough to stop what you were doing and care for Rick and our family. Thank you, God, for teaching us how precious our children are and how quickly our lives could change.

15 minutes.

This whole thing lasted 15 minutes.

What do you do if you loose your child for a lifetime?

Ava is snuggled in bed, waiting for me to tuck her in. I am so thankful that she is safe. I have a whole new prayer to say tonight.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Sometime, I find that I am gasping for air.


Not breathing.

Nothing involuntary.

Nothing gentle.

When did breathing become such a difficult thing to do? I am working really hard to just master the involuntary action of breathing in and out, in and out.

School starts on Tuesday. Had a vicious prep week last week. Mom and Dad home from the Lake. Friends on the edge. Children gone mad!

In and out.

In and out.

My mother tells me I am gasping for air.

Yes. I am.

I forget to breathe.

I am too busy holding may breath, sucking my stomach in, trying to look like I've got my life together - like everything is rosy and happy and good.

In and out.


in and out.

in, in, in, in, in, in,

in and out.

How can a person forget to breathe?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the 1, 2, 3's of family vacations

I am vacationing with the Littles at the family cabin in Northern Minnesota. It's so beautiful. The lake is crystal clear. There are enough people near us that we don't feel lost. However, it is never a vacation for mom. It is crazy busy! And I love it.

For those of you who have never ventured into the Northwoods with a gaggle of little people, here is your primer:

One - canoe to the bridge.
8:42 AM
Note: must find 4 different sized life jackets to fit 4 different sized people. Fail to find an adult life jacket. Spend 20 minutes discussing the reasons why mom can sit on her life jacket and children must wear their life jackets.
Note: must find 2 paddles. One might have to use a kayak paddle. Teach oldest child the art of the J stroke. Give up. Just pray that the wind doesn't pick up so we can make it back to the cabin.
Note: Swimming at the sandy beach at the bridge really is fun when mommy finally decides to relax.

Two - race to the merry-go-round.
11:14 AM
note: Mommy does NOT ride this merry-go-round. It spans exactly 2 feet across resulting in approx 4000rpm.

Three - practice with the kayak. 12:02 PM
note: See one.
Note: Practicing with the Kayak only works with one child per Kayak. There can be no learning when one is balancing on the front end of the kayak.

12:14 PM
Four - dig in sand & create amazing 4 story sand castle.

Note: Can't find sand toys. Make do with large spoons from drawer. Don't forget to return them after beach time.
Note: avoid sand fleas. Don't forget the pain and tears of last year.

Five - set up and play badminton.
12:27 PM
Note: give up on the beach idea. Sand flea idea is too scary. No one willing to put knees or fingers in the sand. Must find all pieces to assemble badminton net. Must find mallet to hammer the spikes into the solid clay. Must find 4 badminton rackets. Settle for 3 rackets and one tennis racket that is missing most of its strings. Mom gets tennins racket. Must find 2 birdies. Must retrieve birdies from roof of cabin or branches of trees multiple times. Smile.

Six - snarf down lunch. 3:32 PM
Note: it's 3:32 PM. Mom forgot that small children need to eat lunch. Bonus: When we eat this late, children will eat anything.
Note: Did mom also forget the sunscreen? We'll see.

4:00 PM
Seven - start fire in fire pit at beach.

Note: Time to start dinner. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and anything else that will cling to a stick over a crackling fire.
Note: When lunch is served at 3:32 PM, children won't eat hotdogs that are roasted at 4:20 PM. Haul all of the leftovers back up to the cabin. Save the hotdogs for fishing off the dock tomorrow morning. Yes, children, some fish will eat hot dogs.

5:30 PM
Eight - pour large cocktail and collapse into the lawn chair.

Note: This is only for the Mom! Children get water, milk or juice.

nine, ten and 11 - kids are on their own.
Note: This should need no explanation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

uff da!

Uff Da!

For those of you not from these parts, that's a really tame way of saying "Holy F***ing s***!

It's been one of those days.

I had full on kid duty today. And yesterday. And the week before that.

I know. Boo hoo hoo. Poor me.

OK, here's the deal. I USED to be a full time, stay-at-home mom. It kicked my butt. I loved it, but - yeouch! Then, Daddyman and I switched places. I got a job I love, he gave up one he didn't. I got really used to going to work, being with grown-ups, getting stuff done on a pretty regular basis, and then being the superhero when I'd walk in the door at the end of the day. Not a bad gig!

Then, summer. Ahhhh. Summer. Scrumptuous, sensuous, languid summer. I dreamed of days in the garden and lounging by the pool and days at the beach... Ahhhh.

Reality check: Daddyman's work schedule picked up just as my vacation started. I became a stay-at-home mom. A SINGLE stay-at-home mom!

I have tried to keep everyone happy and entertained and educated. We've been to 476 cabins. OK, not really, just seems like 476 cabins when a person spends that much time in a car with three uber chatty girls and a panting black lab as we voyage to and from a variety of midwestern cabins. I have traipsed, picnic basket in hand, to various and sundry stay-cation sights - we've seen live music and waterfalls and rode ridiculous 4 seated bikes. We've eaten every kind of fair food know to exist in the free world. We've held lemonade stands on rainy days. We've celebrate birthdays and chased down ice cream trucks after searching frantically through couch cushions and pants pockets for forgotten change. We've bog walked and kayaked and tubed and tripped the light fantastic through every sprinkler in the metro area. We've "camped" in the back yard when it was warm and the basement when it was too hot.

And again I say, YEOUCH!

So, to all of you stay-at-home parents - I raise my glass to you. My glass that is very full of bourbon and diet coke. I'm just tryin' to survive after a couple of long, long days. Long rainy days.

Kicked. My. Butt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I've been taking classes this last week. They are focused on Responsive Classroom. All of you elementary school teachers out there might want to look into this educational theory. It's pretty amazing.

One of the tools we are using is a book called Yardsticks. It's a wonderful book that explains, in detail, the developmental growth -year by year - of children 4 years of age through 14 (?) years of age! It has not only helped me in my teaching, but it has helped me in my parenting.

So, tonight, instead of absolutely loosing my mind over my 7 year old - I pulled out the book, checked on a couple of things, took a deep breath and proceeded without freaking out! Hooray.

It's the small victories.

Monday, August 10, 2009


So, today wasn't so bad, as far as mondays go.

Daddyman purchased a ticket with "found" money. His boss, the one we've heard some not-so-nice-things about (not his clown boss, the other one...) actually paid him - well - for his work this month. He's been dabbling in stand up comedy, and he's run the room at a local bar/hotspot! I am very proud of him!

I guess that I should back up just a little bit.

And I'm getting off track!

Daddyman's bonus dad passed away last Friday. Bonus Dad hasn't been well for awhile and we've been waiting for the phone call. Apparently, BD got up in the morning, had his usual - cookies and coffee - then he went back to bed. He passed on while he was sleeping. Not a bad way to go, I guess.

But it does lead to the question: what was in those cookies?

I have no idea! I just know that when it's my time, I want me some of them cookies.

Meanwhile, we've fretted and worried about how to send him out to Philly to be with his family. Where would the money come from? What would we do about babysitters? How would it all work out?!

Well, the world can be a wonderful place! The boss paid Daddyman, plus gifted him with "extra" money from The Actor's Emergency Fund! Very generous, indeed.

Then, Papa gave Daddyman a couple thousand bonus miles to lower the flight of the airfare. Again, very generous!

Daddyman will fly out to Philly on Wed. and stay with his mama, sisters and brother, and aunties and uncles and cousins - big Irish Catholic family - through the weekend and return home to us on Monday.

So, as Mondays go... this one was pretty good. I expect that NEXT Monday will be a good one, too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

i love Julia

Noni and I watched Julia on PBS this morning. She was making omelets. First, I must say just how much I admire her sense of humor and the absurd. Then, she makes everything look super easy.

So, we watched and our mouths were watering. What's a girl to do? We marched our littles selves into the kitchen and made omelets! The swirling and the flipping. We all cheered - we did it! They were REALLY good. So good, in fact, that they didn't stay on the plate long enough for photos.

Noni: "Mom, these are so good! They taste like egg marshmallows!"

We love you Julia!

a long time...

wow. It's been a really long time.
It's been a perfectly rotten spring and winter. Now, normally, I hate blogs that people spend all of their time complaining - who cares, really? But I need to get it out of my system so that I can move forward.

In November, we hit two deer with our lovely family mini-van. TWO! At the same time! yes, it wrecked the van. Nope - we'd let the insurance lapse. Yes - big mistake. No - we didn't do it on purpose!

So, we were thankful that we'd purchased a ridiculously cheep vovlo station wagon. Yep - that was a mistake. Nope - didn't want to run. Door came open on the highway. Ava was sitting inches from the asphalt during rush hour. TERRIFYING! Driving to Thanksgiving - car began to smoke - inside the cab! Had the car towed. Needs a new engine. Car guy says, don't bother! It's not worth it.

So, we were thankful to purchase a car from a friend. Yes - another mistake. This car does not start in the rain. When a person really needs to drive. Oh, another joy - we can't fit all of us in this car. What a great purchase.

I don't think the car gods like us very much.

So, we were thankfully allowed to borrow my father's car. Thanks, Daddy.

Then, through the holidays, jobs came and went. quickly. Then, I was told that my contract would not be renewed. Cant we talk stress? I never thought that I would feel that kind of desperate, stomach clutching fear. I am usually the optimist. Things will always get better. But I've got to tell you, I've got some serious worries about how we're going to get out of this mess!

Long story short - I've been hired back into my job. The joy is that I will be returning to the district as a tenured teacher. I think this is what I want. In some ways, I feel like I've missed a chance to reinvent myself.

This winter/spring/summer has kicked my ass. Hard! I am going to have to reinvent myself, but I still feel sort of stuck. I hate being stuck at home. ALL OF THE TIME. Daddy man has hit his midlife crisis hard - he's exploring the world of stand up comedy. He's very good. But he's not making much money and it's taking most of his time. That means that I am the one at home all night long. I feel resentful and lonely. He's got a brand new social life that he can't wait to get out the door to be a part of, and I'm home - alone with kids and no car - yet again! It really sucks. I want him to be happy, but I wonder when it will be my turn to do something fabulous, instead of always being the practical one!?

OK enough complaining. THank you for letting me vent. I will return to happier thoughts soon. Maybe tonight.

Monday, April 13, 2009

little love

Sometimes, my heart just breaks when I look at my girls. They are spectacular! I often fear that I am wrecking them. I wish that I could move my family to the moon to keep them safe from everything that could harm them. Love is a funny thing.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

are you there? can you hear me?

Yaya has taken to shouting at the world. She is not subtle. For example, tonight she trotted her little footy-jammied self out to the middle of our lawn. She spread her arms wide and shouted at the Easter Bunny.

"Easter Bunny! EEEEEEEAster BUNYYYYYYYY! Why don't you ever let me see you? Where are you. Come out right now. Come out and see me. I want to meet you!"

She is shouting at the top of her lungs.

In her jammies.


Her sister, Noni, walked outside to try to talk her down.

"Yaya. That's not the way it works."


"Yaya. We're not supposed to see the Easter Bunny. It's kind of the rule."





"Do you think the Easter Bunny will still come to our house?"



"'K. Let's get a snack."

Two nights ago, Yaya was shouting out the window to God. It was too cold. She wanted him to do something. He should listen the first time.

Can you imagine what the neighbors are thinking?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Our very smart, very talented, very funny girl!

This is our dear, dear friend Patrice. The Littles have been taught to ask adults what they would like the children to call them, ie Mrs. Byrd or Margaret. Patrice said that they could call her Miss Patrice. However, they were too little at the time to say those words together. They call her Matisse. Which is perfect, because she's an art teacher. And our favorite adopted aunt!
Matisse and Noni are best of friends. I think they might be cut from the same cloth. They can laugh about life so easily. Laughter and painting. What more could a girl ask for?
I love them both very much! One if family that I chose and the other is family that was born from love!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Poor Daddyman woke up this morning and said, "I think I might be getting sick again." I burst into tears and shouted, "That is simply not an option so get over it RIGHT NOW!"

I think that he feels better.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I love this illustration. It totally "illustrates" how I am feeling right now! See the bindings that are wrapped tightly around her poor, little body? See the buldging brain and eyes that are straining to focus? That's me! Pokey pony tails and all.

o·ver·whelm (vr-hwlm, -wlm)

tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms

b. To affect deeply in mind or emotion: My life overwhelmed me - and not in a good "Oh, you shouldn't have brought me so many delicious and beautiful presents" way. No, in a crappy "I can't see what's ahead of me because I have put too many obstacles in the way - I should really learn how to say NO" sort of way. When will I learn? Doesn't really matter. Someone, throw me a floaty ring, quick!

I wish that I could claim the fabulous illustration as mine, but I can not. It came from The Sum Of David The author/illustrator is wonderful. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

why am I such a flake?

Do you ever have a day that you wonder - who the hell have I become?
You see, I used to be really fun and easy going. I had not a care in the world. I was the first one to jump into this world and play hard.
Apparently, that's not so true anymore.
I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with these two good friends from college. Eric picked me up at my house, and together we drove to Northfield to visit Steve and his wife and step-daughter. Well, it was snowing. Like crazy. I became the biggest old lady worry wort. I would have hated to drive in the car with me. I kept trying to tell myself that I was a Nervous Nelly because of the last car crash that we had - you remember. The one that took out the deer and totaled the car? Yep. Life changing, because now I can hardly be a passenger in a car.
So, the embarrassment didn't end there. Nope. Our friend Steve treated Eric and me and his step-daughter to a lovely dinner at a great Indian restaurant. Well, I guess that my nerves got the best of me because all I did was chatter. Chatter. Chatter. Chatter.

I wish that there were do-overs in the grown-up world. If I had it to do again, I would be super cool, articulate, charming, relaxed and of course, insanely interesting. As it stands, I think that I was just annoying. SHIT!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Guess who came back? Actually, he didn't work out at the other home. They couldn't deal with his puppy antics! So, we take a deep breath and head back into it!
Daddyman gave it 2 weeks. Keep your fingers crossed or things could get ugly!

Monday, February 23, 2009

what's the attraction?

Will someone please explain to me what the attraction is to Angelina Jolie? So, she's got boobs and long legs - most women have those parts - but she is the most unpleasant woman I have ever seen. It appears that she wants to be a part of the Hollywood scene - she walks the red carpet at the Oscars - but she obviously doesn't think very much of the people around her. She barely smiled as she made her way through the crowd. As a matter of fact, she looked like she was simply tolerating the attention as if it were the biggest hassle of her life. If she hates it that much, why does she bother?

I was astounded by all of the people who gushed over Angelina last night and again this morning on T.V. Is it just a case of, "She looked at me! I must now be as cool as she is?!" I think it's sort of pathetic. She wants to be an example for other people? Then she should lighten up and smile. Be kind to everyone, not just the "needy" people in 3rd world countries. Is she nasty to the people in the media because she can't adopt them?

Good Grief!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

otis is going home...

We have been fostering this lovely, feisty, snuggly dog for almost 6 weeks! We have been torn about finding him a 'forever home' or keeping him in our family. Tonight, we met the most wonderful couple! Their dog passed away 3 weeks ago, and they are so sad. They met Otis, and it was love at first snuggle! I hope that this is his home! They all seem so happy together.
I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

party preparations

I don't think that there is anything more special in this world than a handmade Valentine's Day card. I have always thought that. Year after year, I hope and wait to see if someone will make ME a special card by hand.

This evening, the Littles and I spent an hour or so crafting several dozen handmade or hand decorated cards for classmates, teachers and best-friends! It was a blissful evening. Lots of laughing and giggling and sharing ideas.

Via was quick to offer suggestions for the "lyrics" for her little sister's cards. She had great, witty ideas. Sometimes, the ideas were embraced. Sometimes, just laughed at. Via was not offended. She was part of our circle of family creating tokens of love to share with the everyone around us.

We couldn't afford to purchase Valentine's Day cards this year, so we made them from scratch or altered and decorated the ones that we'd printed from the computer. There were scissors snipping and glue sticks flashing and glitter sprinkling and ribbons being tied and the 'fancy scissors' were a huge hit.

Next year, even if we can afford store bought Valentine's Day cards, we're skipping them.

This was a wonderful table full of love. I spent a lot of time just watching and listening - really listening to the chatter and the giggles...

There is no fancy cardboard box filled with punch out cards that has the power to ever replace the joy that we shared tonight.

I wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day! May it be filled with love and laughter and enough chaos to remind you of just how special, and brief, it all is!


a little town on the prairie

Then, and...


Then, and...


Then, and...


This is the town that my mother grew up in. Actually, these are just photos of the beginning of that town set next to photos that I took last summer at the centennial celebration. It seems that the town only lasted one hundred years. When the train no longer stopped in this town, it seemed the whole town stopped.

It was a magical place! I loved it very much!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

ahhh. melty goodness

Those of you not familiar with the Mid-winter thaw that some of us Midwesterners LIVE for know not of what I speak.


It was almost balmy today - 38 degrees I think. The snow got all sloppy and slushy. Things began dripping off the roofs and down the gutters. I say things, because who knows what lies beneath the frozen snow all these months.

It was glorious. The sun shone so bright and warm that we opened the front door to the porch and read on the nearly forgotten summer reading couch.

We watched as the college boys next door flitted about in their burmudas and t-shirts like they were on some tawdry Spring Break beach - beers firmly nestled in chapped and chilly hands.

There was no fighting in our home today. We all did happy little dances around the dusty Saturday house in our slippers and happy hats! I dug out my long abandoned sunglasses, and then...

Guess how I celebrated? Go on, guess.

I scooped up slurpy dog poop!

Little known fact: Frozen dog poop thaws to the consistency of melted chocolate. So, the choice is chisel the frozen stuff out of the ice crusted snow or wait until a thaw...

And now, as I close the house for the second half of winter, I gaze across the rusty chocolate stained snow covered lawn and know that it was a good day!

Ahhh. Melty goodness!

a great recipe site for healthy foods!

101 Cookbooks

This is a beautiful site for those of you foodies out there! My dear friend, Mrs. Byrd, passed on the goodness that is 101 Cookbooks. Mama Byrd is one of the greatest foodies I know. She has kept me healthy, introduced me to the love that is a CSA, and taught me how to cook those strange and unnamed root veggis I did not know existed. Mama Bryd helped me pick out my first cast iron roaster and winced when I introduced a vintage pressure cooker into my kitchen (no accidents, yet.)

I love this site - and I think that you will, too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

january is done

I dont' know if I can tell you how happy I am that January is over. It's too damned cold.
Tonight, however, is bliss. I am watching the Littles watch "The Secret Garden." It's one of my favorite movies, books, musicals. You name it. It is heart filling to see them love it like I do. Heart filling.
It also makes me yearn for spring. Then summer.

I think I need to live in summer all year long. If I could just move my life here to somewhere warm - the dessert, perhaps... Mexico or someplace even more exotic! Ahh, that would be the life.

I would like that life very much.

I like my life very much.

Here's a little secret for anyone or no one.

I've been on Facebook lately. (That's not the secret.) I've reconnected with many old friends. (Here's the secret - not a big deal, really) It makes me yearn to start acting again. My soul needs it. My ego needs it. My heart needs it. I want to make that kind of art again.

Finding old friends again reminds me that I was once a girl. A woman. Not just a mom or a wife - someone that is needed, but rather, someone that is desired. Noticed. I have been shopping and redoing "me." Actually, uncovering ME. I wonder how my family will respond. It's still me, just a part of me that's been hidden for a long, long time.

I know that it sounds self-centered, but I NEED it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

extraordinarily talented child or idiot savante?

My daughter is singing some Garfield opera. You know Garfield. The cat. She knows the whole darn thing. I am getting the play by play - she's describing the scenes. She's singing every. single. word. All of the characters have different voices.

It's not really that cute. In fact, it's kind of annoying.

I didn't know that Garfield had starred in an opera. Did you? I no longer need to wait until the national tour comes to Minnesota, because I've heard the whole thing.

Oops. Took too long to write this post. She's started the whole thing over again. This time, including all of the dance breaks.

Did I mention that she is also eating a peanut butter, raisin bagel sandwich at the same time.

There has got to be some way to make money on this skill.

I think I need to get out of the house. I'm going to IKEA to be with my people.

Friday, January 2, 2009

some times, motherhood sucks

OK. So I am ignoring my children. Isn't it time that they started to pay a little attention to me? I mean, really. Do they have any idea who has been feeding them and clothing them for these many years? Is it too much to ask?

I am so getting mine when I am old and infirm. I am going to live with all of them for an extended time. I might even to threaten to die in their home if they don't love me. I will pout until I get my way. I will only eat the food that I want - causing them to make several different meals at one time. Then, when the cooking has ceased, I won't touch any of it.

I will have favorite clothing that I demand to wear on a daily basis, then, on a whim, I will only wear my bathing suit and rain boots with sparkly fairy wings. See how much they like that when they have to take me to the grocery story. In Feb. Boy, I can't wait to hear what they say to the lady behind them in line. Then, when I don't get the balloon that I want, I will throw a holy fit! I might even throw myself to the floor and flail about while screaming something like, "I'm not your REAL mother."

Oh, and bedtime. Just wait until it's bedtime. I will not sleep! I will demand that my children lay down with ME until I am asleep. And they cant just sit in my room, they must lay down next to me so that I can wrap my cold feet with long, scratchy toe nails around their thighs. Then, just for shits and giggles, I am going to join each daughter and her spouse in bed around 3 or 4 in the morning. Of course, I will demand that I sleep only with my daughter, sending the spouse to my now very wet - Oops! - bed to sleep for the remainder of the night.

I won't do anything they ask me to do. I won't listen when I am being spoken to. I will ignore direct requests for EVERYTHING! I will randomly take things out of drawers and scatter them boldly throughout the house. I will drop car keys into the toilet and wedding rings into the Dispoz-All.

But I will be cute, and their friends will find me charming, and they will feel incredible guilt for wanting things to change!

Ha. They'll get theirs in due time.