November 14, 2017

Skelly’s gone

Jeff mentioned that he hadn’t seen Skelly the last few times he’s driven past the curve down the street but sometimes you could miss him in the trees, surely he was still there. But today I stopped for a parade of turkeys to cross and I looked and he’s not there. Maybe they took him down with the Halloween decorations. Such interesting timing, though, now that I’ve made some “living” friends here... did he feel like his job was done? I wish I could have said a proper goodbye.

It was opening day for the Cougar Cave and seemed to be a huge hit. I’m worried I didn’t order enough mesh stress balls and mini Rubik’s cubes. We sold mostly those, and lots and lots of slime.

I dropped Carter & Gray off for haircuts while I ran into the grocery store for a few things, and it felt like the closest experience I’ve given them to the Stranger Things kids kind of freedom. Not even close, but it felt so free range of me.

November 13, 2017

What if we let people tell us who they are by listening to their stories?

What if we let people tell us who they are by listening to their stories?

No assumptions, not by what they look like, not what we think their story might be...  let me offer a simple suggestion: think before you speak. I'm probably not talking to you but these days I could be wrong because today we were at the children's hospital for an infusion and two nurses yes TWO DIFFERENT NURSES have feet in their mouths right now and this mama is PO'ed.

My kid gets this stuff all the time in regular life. It would be oh so nice if when we make the dreaded trip every 8 weeks to the oncology center that we don't have to deal with this sh*t there. Can't we have one safe space outside of our home? 

First of all, I try to be positive and shine my light as far as the eye can see, but I have got to be honest. I am so over hospitals. It's the only life Noah has known, in and out of hospitals and ya know, the heart does not stop breaking after a while. There is always a new spot to be freshly broke. And many times it feels like the first. I'm so over it.

I'm tired, I'm unpleasant, and I am done faking like we are doing just fine when clearly we are not. What a hard profession it must be, to be at the service of people who wish they weren't there at all. But I am not sorry.

I'm frustrated that there aren't accommodations for the in-betweeners like him. The chatty, cheery nurses mean well but they need to read the room once in a while. We don't want to be there. And it's no offense to you. We legit just don't want this to be our life right now.

So the small talk gets you in trouble, then we feel like we have to make you feel better because you feel awful now for asking if he was in FIFTH GRADE? He's a junior in high school. Surely nurses are aware of invisible disabilities like Crohn's and growth delay, etc etc. Out of some form of privacy I won't get into what the other nurse assumed. I still feel like crying. And we're paying lots and lots of money for this. What a sucky deal.

So what if, instead of assuming, instead of judging by looks, size, shape, clothes, how much makeup... we allow the human to reveal their story in a way that is most comfortable to them? We come up with ways to hold a conversation that have nothing to do with age, grades, size, gender, looks? Things with value and substance? Or maybe we just say nothing at all? Quiet is always good. It's way better than making me and my kid feel like crap the rest of the day on top of being stuck in a childish infusion room for hours until we can finally go home.

I don't have any good solutions tonight. We are being very impatient patients. We have no choice. This is our reality and apparently it was high time for a good old fashioned pity party. I want us to not be in this situation in the first place. I want a different story for my kid, one where he can be typical in the ways he wishes he was typical. Of course he's awesome and amazing and special (see also: how does my heart continue to function while shattered?) and because of that he deserves so much more, so much better than this.

I've got to do something to make this better but I'm so tired, it always feels like starting all over again, looking like the difficult parent, expecting more than people are able to do, every time. And I'm just so tired. But I'll never stop. Because it never ends.

November 12, 2017

No Probllama

I spent this afternoon shopping with Molly and we bought wrapping paper and odds and ends and when we walked into World Market the first thing I saw was a llama pillow I just had to have. It would match my living room for the holidays oh and also it says "No Probllama." 

But it was $29.99 and not on sale and I just can't spend that much on a pillow with words. So we went about our shopping and learned that special golden llamas had been hidden in the store and we if found one we would win a gift card. Well then. I think we must have searched that store for a good hour. We gave up like three times. But we couldn't bring ourselves to check out yet and finally there was a gold llama waiting for me, hidden on the floor. It was worth $50! Yes I bought the pillow.

November 11, 2017


I'm coaching Ivy's OBOB team (Oregon Battle of the Books) and heard that a 5th grade team always wins. Well, third grade is coming for you, fifth graders!

Ivy and I plan to read all 16 books together. Tonight she read Wild Wings aloud while I knitted all snuggled beside her. It felt like a Little Women moment, if only there had been a fire in the fireplace.

This morning at the Voz Hispana session the students announced that they are preparing a pot luck for the volunteers at next week's class as a thank you and early Thanksgiving celebration. Pupusas have been promised, and enchiladas and mole, and probably a bunch of other delicious things I've never tried or heard of. I am extremely excited for next Saturday I can not even contain it!!!

November 10, 2017


I missed a day. Oops. It happens.

I didn't leave the middle school until almost 9pm last night, just me and the janitors. Our grand opening of the student store is Tuesday during lunch and I can't get back in there until Tuesday morning. I want it to look perfect! As my muscle memory kicked in from my "denim wall" and t-shirt folding days of retail, I made sure every spirit wear sweatshirt and tee was showing the logo just right on the shelf, and that they were in size order of course.

I would snap out of my obsession briefly with flashes of remembering that the kids aren't going to notice my perfect folds, they don't care about that kind of stuff. But then I was sucked back in, making everything just so. Yes I want it to be fun for them but also I want them to feel special about this cool space, that we care enough about them to make it look like a real store. For them. I don't need anyone to notice but myself, and I'm taking quite a bit of pride in it.

Today the kids are off school and I didn't get out of bed until okay so maybe I'm still kind of in bed. It's the first day in a very long while that we haven't been go go go since morning. It's nice. Tonight I'm unashamed about my excitement for a mom's night out to see Bad Moms Christmas and then drinks and cheap apps after the show. Um, yes. I am all about this cliché. And so deserving.

November 8, 2017

Ham and turkey

Out of nowhere I was jolted with the memory that I forgot to circle back to the deli counter and pick up my ham and turkey breast the other day. I had requested a half-pound of each and since they were a little busy I offered to pick it up after I did my shopping. And I never went back. Were they able to resell it? Will I ever be able to show my face at the deli counter again? 

Please tell me this probably happens all the time.

November 7, 2017

Tiny Fracture

I was looking at some past posts on my blog and realized I am so glad I wrote those words down, and took those pictures, and why did I ever stop? I need to find my camera.

Ivy's toe has a teeny tiny fracture, but there's nothing to do about it other than baby it until it feels better. She has my high pain tolerance so she'll be just fine. She did get a dr's note to take it easy in gym which would have been the golden ticket for me when I was her age, but to her it's a big bummer because she actually likes gym class.

I needed some new makeup and stopped in Ulta tonight and I kind of love being the busy lady who just wants someone to tell her what to buy, especially when I know the beauty sales associates want to push whatever they're being pressured to sell. And it's always the good stuff anyway. I'm in.

Tonight just being silly I signed "Love, Mommy" in an email to Carter and omg I miss being called Mommy. I don't remember when Ivy stopped saying it, and she's the last... All those years we didn't want to be called Mommybloggers.... um... you can call me that anytime now.

November 6, 2017

Big Toe

"Look I made a heart with my hospital bracelet, mom." Of course she did.

I took Ivy to get her big toe an x-ray today. She stubbed it coming down the stairs (too fast, as always, she has been warned before!) and I thought it was just your run of the mill toe stub until hours later when I looked at it again. Yikes.

Being a good mother I had an internal anxiety party until it was decided I should call the pediatrician as soon as they opened this morning. To be safe they suggested an x-ray and tomorrow we'll see the doctor for the results. What can you do for a broken toe anyway? But still, I don't want to do anything to dash her dreams of playing professional soccer someday. Couldn't take the risk. SO, this is what we do for a big toe.

Before all that, I had a pretty great plan for my day. Nothing got done in the end. I'm going to try again tomorrow.

November 5, 2017

Cue "It's So Dark Outside Now!"

Apparently one hour can pack quite a punch. It's dark when it's only dinnertime and I feel like winter suddenly came in with a thud. I'll adjust, but I can totally see why people start listening to holiday music in secret right about now -- it is how we cope with the darkness. Please people put up your colored lights now so I have something to look at in the pitch black as I drive by.

Ivy and I went to two plays this week and after the one today she asked when the next one is. She is the best seat mate and such a pro. She went down to the pit on her own to chat with the conductor during intermission.

I had a validating revelation while watching today's performance - these actors and singers were really good, and I didn't feel my usual regret for not auditioning. I felt like, you know, they have this covered. I'm not needed here. In a good way, like if you think of it how we're all in this together, we're all one, that grateful warmth that washes over you when you just get it.

November 4, 2017

Help I've Volunteered And I Can't Get Up

It started out small. Earlier this year the elementary school PTA needed someone who knew Wordpress to help with their site. I can do that. The Listen To Your Mother National Project was coming to an end and all my work on there was through Wordpress. Also when you've blogged for eighty years you come to know your way around a website dashboard anyway. I am not going to lie, I thought this was a cheater way to "volunteer" without having to leave my house.

Through Facebook I heard about a local group who created a social change conference for women and their allies -- how could I not be involved? I'll work a table, sure I'll be in charge of your social media.

School began this fall and I found myself helping in the library on Mondays and being the first to sign up for field trips and suddenly I'm going to PTA meetings on weeknights? Working the book fair every single day. I'm in charge of ordering the school t-shirts and taking over the middle school student store and YES of course I'll coach Battle of the Books! Who am I? I left the house!

I left the house. And I liked it. I love it?

Funny how I felt like I wasn't fitting in here, not finding my people but it was okay because I found out more about myself in the process, but also, admittedly it's a little hard to meet people when you never put yourself in situations... with other people. And through meeting people I heard about things, got invited to things, and could invite them to my things. And that's how I ended up doing something I love so much -- today I taught my first U.S. citizenship class for Voz Hispana, a local volunteer-run group that teaches the 100 citizenship test questions to immigrants in English and Spanish. Now, I don't know any Spanish, and am embarrassed about how much I am learning about our country's civics in the process, but I can help them with answers in English, and with pronunciation. And I can show up for two hours every Saturday. How could I not?

I see my time so differently now -- every moment I'm awake and alive, is it being put to good use? Ok, not every moment but the good energy moments. And again, because I know this might not last, I want to make the most of it. Because I know what it's like when this feeling is gone the value feels even greater when it's here right now. And gosh I hope it lasts.

Today I took a turn running the class along with an interpreter and I am still buzzing from the good vibes. I always leave those classes feeling lighter and happier. It's awesome serving and taking action in a way that is so full of hope. I love helping at my kids' schools but that's kind of for them. This is for me.

TL;DR So I've volunteered to the max, my day planner is puh-lannned out sometimes every single hour of the day and night. But as of right now, it's working, the timing is right, and so I'm going to show up.

November 3, 2017

Waiting for the boop.

The cashier at Safeway couldn't get one of the items to scan and he goes "I'm waiting for the boop."

It was the best thing I've heard someone say in a long time.

Today I got a lot more work done in the Cougar Cave- I have a huge order to place to stock up with fun thing for the kids to buy and redeem their reward passes. It's kind of fun shopping for all this stuff. I'm also excited about how much progress we've made in getting the store fixed up. I love that I see Gray in the halls almost every time I'm there, and that he is still happy to say hi to me. I realized that if we stay here (please oh please let us never move again) then I have six years in this middle school  - as soon as Gray leaves, Ivy will be starting there. This is a worthwhile investment.

The elementary school harvest carnival was tonight and so yeah I realize that it sounds like I am always at my kids' schools. But I've discovered that it is where I want to be. I've crawled out of the dark fog that kept me house-bound for a really long time (it was probably much needed recovery time, in reality) and now I have energy and the ability to be productive and helpful. It's a good thing and because I know that there is no guarantee on how long this will last, I'm going to do it all while I can.

November 2, 2017

Today on my way

Do you ever feel kind of sad throwing away your old contact lenses? I kind of hate to toss them... they were good to me, lasting wayyyyyy longer than the recommended wear.

Today on my way to work my middle school office shift I watched a man out on a walk with his dog and how he stood patiently on the sidewalk while his pooch sniffed a tree for the longest time. Like, this dog was sniffing for a while and all over this tree. And the man just stood there, not hurrying, not looking at his phone, just lovingly hanging out until the investigation was complete and the pup decided to move along. It was really touching.

Later I passed the sign in front of the boutique cannabis dispensary (that's what they like to be called, this one is named The Agrestic for any Weeds fans...) and the sign said: "I wonder what my dog named me."

November 1, 2017

Blog Is Not Dead.

Knitting in the car line (sing it to the tune of Smoking in the Boys Room) (sorry)

Let there be life! Blogging is making a comeback, at least here, daily in November. It might just be what I did that day, but it's writing and I have got to let it breathe again.

I'm knitting and blogging again-- it's like it's all 2007 up in here!

So, I'll just start with today. Ivy's class had a field trip to see a musical preview at the high school. Immediately after that I went to work on setting up the student store at the middle school (Cougar Cave grand opening soon!) and was able to stop and see what Gray was up to during lunch at Zoology Club (imagine a room full of aquariums of reptiles and rodents... and middle schoolers eating their lunch. ANYWAY they are having fun.) PS I had to come back and add that Gray told me on the way home from school that "it's just mice, mom, I didn't think I needed to wash my hands and oh the leopard gecko kept licking my lunch bag!" So.

After that I zipped back to the elementary school to see if the laminator was back up and running and IT WAS (I jammed it yesterday and then someone else jammed it today, so I didn't feel as bad) and I got my little project finished finally.

I did a lot of other stuff in the middle there, like a PTA thing and a Costco trip and picking up/dropping off/picking up the people aka my kids. And just now I finished creating the school t-shirt order form and completed a giant essay about five different types of government I mean Gray did, totally, and I feel like I've basically gone back to middle school every night, using my brain.

Let's do this, November!

July 5, 2017

Time makes you bolder

Even children get older...

Summer is here. I have a stack of books to read, guests to entertain, children to feed. A forest view to enjoy, a mind free of thoughts of moving and packing and unpacking -- and instead of new beginnings this year it's just beginnings, middles, ends, in whatever order I choose.

I know where I am and who I am. Those two things haven't been in sync in a very long time.

Driving home from camp drop-off today I was thinking about how I still don't really know anyone here still, not in a deep sense, and yet I feel like I know myself better than I ever have. As a people-person, or as someone who has always been so shaped by the people around me, it's been beautiful and wonderful, adventurous to discover an identity that is not based on who I know. Spoiler alert, the surprise twist ending is that it makes your heart and mind open even wider.

my babies, 5 years ago
I had the kids recreate this photo from five years ago, three of the four were willing participants. I not so secretly hope they plan to continue this tradition every five years until the end of time.

February 1, 2017

Fluffy Unicorn

Perle cottage socks

I've been doing pretty great on my promise to knit something every day. I finished some socks that I love, basically combining a bunch of mini skeins I had and to me they totally match. Instead of eating my feelings I'm switching gears to binging on beautiful yarn. I started a cardigan for Ivy with the sparkly rainbow yarn named Fluffy Unicorn. It helps.

Today Noah and I are at his first infusion in Portland. They don't have the rapid infusion process in place like Seattle (but they said they're working on it) however they also don't only allow diet sodas in the entire hospital so I am drinking a regular Coca-Cola right now. It's the little things.

January 8, 2017

Today I turn 40.

Turning 40 years old feels like... nothing I was expecting, mainly because it doesn't feel like anything. My bones don't creak, I feel no different than any other day, or year from the past twenty or so years, really. Isn't it one of those milestones where it's supposed to feel like a big deal? I think I'm just the kind of person who doesn't feel the big deals. The little deals... now that's another story.

Because I've been blogging forever, I can look back to the post from when I turned 30:

Apparently I didn't have a lot to say. Those pictures, though. 

I do remember turning 30, I remember that night because we went out to Buffalo Wild Wings in Valpo with the kids and had a fun family meal, and Jeff gave me a ring.

Probably the most stuff and adventures of my life so far happened in the last ten years, for sure. The biggest lesson being to expect only the unexpected. That's what my thirties and motherhood has taught me. And that journey brought me here, to realize living in this moment right now, these breaths are the only guarantee, and unexpectedly that is how to really feel alive.

Marking my 40th, we were snowbound in Oregon at home and thankfully Jeff thought to get a cake and take me out for a really nice dinner the night before the storm hit, and I ordered a Sage Sapphire Collins and then a lemon drop, and after dinner we went shopping at Target to stock up for the storm. We bought puzzles and a retro Sorry game, and a bunch of other random things. He gave me an Apple Watch aka Inspector Gadget Spy watch that I weirdly like a whole lot, and we came home and watched Wheel of Fortune with Ivy and Gray snuggled in our bed.

We spent all day yesterday in our snow globe as the biggest flakes and flurries fell around us. We put together a puzzle, watched movies while I knit, went sledding, and I made a big pot of minestrone for dinner.

This morning I opened more gifts and then we put away the Christmas decorations. Tonight I'm excited the Golden Globes decided to show up for my bday. We are about to dig into the cake.

It's a new year, new decade for moi, and all I can envision is a lot of beautiful open space with plenty of room to roam.