Monday, December 29, 2008


We are home and the holidays are over - phew! I survived this visit with only a little evil spoken. I did lose my temper at one point - it was in defense of my children. Those with children will understand that "mama bear" instinct that comes out.

Otherwise, I mostly avoided any contact, and watched my girls enjoy their cousins. They played the Wii Rock Band and laughed until they had tears streaming down their faces. It was so fun to watch them.

Dan and I took a walk in Los Gatos and had about an hour of "normalcy." We talked about the people we saw walking and wondered what they went home to for the holidays. Did they look forward to it? Was it out of obligation or joy?

Sooo, I wasn't perfect - if Santa was watching I would guess I'm teetering a fine line somewhere between naughty and nice.

Thursday, December 25, 2008



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Speak No Evil

Those of you who know me, know I had a rough go with my mother-in-law on my birthday in July. I have spoken to her only once since. I have encouraged my husband and children to have a positive and productive relationship with her but I have removed myself from the equation. Soooo, here come the holidays. It is our usual course of action to go to her house sometime after Christmas during the school break. Our plan is to this year the day after Christmas. I thought about not going, just sending Dan and the girls. Dan asked me to go, the girls begged me to go, so I decided to go for them. Then we got a card in the mail from her and along with lots of other stuff, it said, "and Troy, thank you for the best present of all, your presence." Now, from the outside looking in, that's kind of sweet. From my perspective and knowing her like I do, it's a condescending dig.

The woman is over 80 years old. The signs she is losing her mind have been apparent for all the years I have known her. I still harbor a great deal of hurt and anger but the only one it's hurting is me. There is no satisfaction in it. She isn't affected by it at all. So I need to let it go, but how do I do that I keep my pride? How do I go down there and smile and be there for the girls and Dan and speak no evil? I need to - I know it will serve no purpose to say or do anything about this. I'm grinding my teeth already. This will be a real lesson for me. Can I be the person I wish I was? Can I fake it until I make it?

For now, I will just pray for snow so I can put it off a little longer.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Vacation Begins

Today was the last day of school before our two week break. The students were excited, the teachers were excited - the energy was high. I just went in to see the kids and be there for the class party. I love how energized they are and how ready they are for the holiday.

I was tired though. My parents watched the kids and Dan and I stayed in this amazing room at a local casino. They had this incredible week night deal making it affordable. It was so nice to have that time. I don't think we've had a night away since July. I know - for many people it's once a year if that - but it's always our goal to spend several nights a year by ourselves. We drank, ate, gambled, laughed, talked and had a really special time.
Our friend sent us champagne and chocolate covered strawberries- it was just the touch to help the night feel special and decadent. I got to the room about two hours before Dan could meet me. I filled this enormous jetted tub with hot, bubbly water. I turned the equally enormous flat screen tv (that is IN the bathroom) to the soaps I haven't watched in forever and climbed in. It was so relaxing and over the top. Seriously - a bath - who has time for that?

It was one of those nights when your forget there's an economy problem, you forget about stresses of work and family and just escape to another world. We felt so far away and we were only ten minutes from home.

In other news:
I had an interesting exchange with one of B's teachers at middle school. I received an email from her that blew me away. I can't imagine EVER talking to a parent the way she spoke to me. I got right down to her level and sent an equally nasty email back. I was fuming! I should have counted to ten and taken a deep breath before I clicked "send" but I didn't. It's all fine now, I went in to see her and though the resolution wasn't very satisfactory, the anger dissolved. It made me think about how anger can take over and make usually positive people snap. Then it is fed and grows until it almost feels good to be so angry. Interesting to think about....

Alrighty, I'm planning on riding the high I have now right on through the holidays. Exhausted, happy, content.....

Have a wonderful holiday season! (Catherine, Lisa and sometimes Elizabeth and Tricia - my only readers! :-) Hugs to you!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finding the positives

Working hard to find the positives right now. It shouldn't be difficult because there are many. Have you ever noticed though how easy it is to wallow in the negative? That negative energy just feeds off itself and multiplies. I've been there for a few days. Frustrated with a student at school and the system that is perpetuating the problem - whining to my peers who understand my frustration and by doing so, feed my need to be negative. (They are trying to be supportive - I'm just taking it where I want it to go.)

I'm worried about the economy - Dan's hours and salary are being cut. We'll be fine - mostly luxuries to be hacked - but a bummer none the less.
And really, that's it. Frustration at work and worries over money. If I were to list all the reasons to feel positive - the blog would over load. Yet here I wallow any way.

Then I got an email from a friend who didn't really know the extent of my wallowing but knew I was getting deeper. All it said was to look for positive aspects in every experience. That turned a light switch for me. My emotions are within my control. Many other things are not - but those are. I can reach for a positive thought that will lead to a positive feeling. I can do that. That's empowering.

Now, I just need to remember to do it! :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All is good

Dad got an "all clear." No cancer. Retest in 6 months. HUGE relief.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Family and all that

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I brought a couple of pounds and a cold home with me. We went to my brother's home, had fun eating, talking, laughing.... all the usual for our family.

Dan, the girls, my mom, my sister-in-law and I all did the 5:00AM Black Friday shopping event. I was hard pressed to find signs of the recession at the Roseville Galleria. There were sooooo many cars and people - most with arms full of bags. We made took care of a lot our gifts - but we're scaling way down this year, so this wasn't a huge task.

When we got home, the girls, Dan and I decorated the Christmas tree then pulled out a bunch of our old holiday videos to view and reminisce (sp?) about our Christmases past. They girls love watching scenes from their childhood - we all laughed so hard remembering some of those times. We have a "giggle video" that we love to watch over and over. B is about 21 months and K is about a month old. They are just out of the bath and in undies and diapers. B keeps touching K's belly button and K lets out this high pitched happy yell that sends B into a fit of giggles. They do this over and over. We've seen it a million times and still laugh hysterically every time we see it.

These videos remind me what a great family I have. Nothing is perfect and there are days I want to get in my car and just drive - see where the road takes me. However, most moments are good moments. We watch too much T.V., fight occasionally, eat out a few too many times a month, eat some non-organic processed foods and many other things that people from the outside looking in might judge as bad parenting, but we have two fabulous children. They do well in school, clean their own rooms, make their own lunches, do their own laundry, have amazing senses of humor and even more amazing warm hearts. They are good human beings and growing more incredible by the day.

In other daily news.....

We should hear today or tomorrow about my dad's biopsy results. Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

I get in to see a homeopathic doctor who practices both Eastern and Western medicine on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed that my hives will disappear and the this two year journey of hives from cold will end.

I'm thinking of going back to school.....shhhhh.... I haven't told anyone yet. :-)

If you read my blog, will you email or comment?

Have a great day!

Friday, November 21, 2008

To fish or not to fish....

This was sent to me via an email forward today. I forwarded it to my husband - his reply? "Don't worry, I'll make a lot of noise if I come home early." Do you think he missed the point?

"Saturday morning I got up early, dressed quietly, made my lunch, grabbed the dog, slipped quietly into the garage to hook the boat up to the truck, and proceeded to back out into a torrential down pour.The wind was blowing 50 mph. I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad throughout the day.I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. There I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, 'The weather out there is terrible.'My loving wife of 20 yrs replied, 'Can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?'I still don't know to this day if shewas joking, but I have stopped fishing."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today's the Day

For some of you - that means the day the election is over. For me, it's my new thought pattern. "Today's the day." So sappy, I know, but what better way to seize each day than going into it thinking - this is the day - THIS day is the day that good things happen. Maybe it will the same good things, maybe it will be different good things - but TODAY good things will happen.

Maybe today I will talk to someone who makes me smile. Maybe today I will skip the candy and eat the carrot. Maybe today.... oh you know, the list can go on and on - but I know for sure that today is the day. Something good WILL happen today.

So I've been trying to meditate every day. I skip a day here and there - but most days I take 5-10 minutes and I sit - very quietly, listen to my breathing, try to let go, try to clear my mind. Sometimes it's interrupted by the desperate need to borrow a straightener, or find a sock, or to tattle on a sister.... but for the most part they (my daughters) are old enough to respect my need to do this and leave me alone for just a bit.

Things in their world are so immediate - I thought that would change as they got older - and it does, sort of. But still, as generous and warm hearted as they are - and they are - when they want something, they want it NOW. Patience is so difficult for them. If my mom is reading this, I'm sure she is laughing because she always told me that I wanted everything yesterday! If I'm honest with myself, I would admit that that is still the case. Funny how our personalities come to haunt us through our children.

One last election comment - since today IS the day we vote in our new president. Obama is an amazing human. He will lead this country to good places. I feel in my heart that he will win, but if I'm wrong, I just pray we come together as humans - not citizens but as humans. We need to lift each other up..... who ever our president is.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a weekend!

The weekend isn't over, it's only Sunday morning. EARLY Sunday morning. We started this weekend by agreeing to "help" paint B&K's rooms. B, of course, chose to paint each wall a different neon color. K chose a light brown paint for all the walls and large,chocolate brown circles on top. Dan and I figured that it is paint, it can be painted over and it's an opportunity for them to express themselves. Someday they may be asking for purple hair, piercings or tattoos - for today I'll give in to the paint. We started early Saturday and took a break to go to K's last soccer game for this season. It was warm, sunny and gorgeous out. They won their game then it was right back to painting.

Both girls had birthday parties to attend that afternoon so we didn't finish. I was covered in paint and rushed them off to their separate events. Dan and I had a nice dinner out then collapsed on the couch in exhaustion. It seemed like such a simple idea - but now the office is overflowing with all their "stuff", they had to sleep in the guest room and the ladders, paint brushes and rollers sit waiting for me today.

Dan left early this morning to go hunting. He took our pup, Woody with him. Wally, our older English setter (He's 4) has to stay home now because he has seizures when he hunts. This is all fine and good, but even though he's been debarked, he has spent all morning (since Dan left at 4:30 - yes - 4 fricking 30) doing his "silent" bark. We had him de-barked because nothing worked to stop him from barking. Now when he "barks" it sounds like a seal with laryngitis.
It doesn't bother our neighbors, but it makes me insane.

My schedule for today? Finish an article that is due in a couple of days. Finish grading papers because Friday was the end of the grading period. Go to school, lesson plan and work on report cards. Grocery shopping needs to be done for the week. The girls have play practice in the afternoon, K needs to walk the neighbor's dog she gets paid to walk and oh yeah, I need to finish that darn painting!

Did you notice I didn't mention meditating? Ugh!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Meditating, elections etc.

So I decided that if I want to figure out the whole mediating thing that I need to attempt it everyday. I've attempted it the last two days. I sat quietly for 10 minutes. I focused on my breathing, relaxed, tried to eliminate my resistance - so far no amazing contact with the spirit world - but it feels good. I'll keep trying - maybe my "fake it 'till you make it" attitude will bring me there. Time will tell....

I'm feeling so excited about Nov. 4. I voted early - felt so good to cast my vote for Obama. I don't just want it all over - I want to be cheering for Obama and celebrating his election to the presidency! It's going to feel so good.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chick Night!

Last night my book club friends (plus 1) came over for a "Chick Night". I need nights like this to remember why I love them all so much! Great food, lots of laughter, fantastic conversation....
It was a spur of the moment thing - but most everyone made it. The stars must have been aligned. I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.

I think we all have "sections" of our lives. We have family, we have work friends, we have friends from school either high school or college or both, book club friends, mom's group friends, hobbie or professional group friends.... I feel welcome and special in each group and cherish them all. But there are certain groups - the ones where you feel yourself start to relax and be yourself, the ones when you say things you probably wouldn't say anywhere else, the ones when laughter is more frequent and hugs abundant. That was my group last night.

It was a night of "I'm so happy right now" instead of "I'll be so happy when..."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My kids and Obama

I forgot something very important - B and K got to see Obama here in Reno on Tuesday. My friend Renee took them. (I had to teach) They found it to be (and I quote) "inspiring" "awesome" "I got goose bumps" "There were sooooo many people!"


Ugh! I don't know about you, but these debates are making me want to throw a brick through my television screen! Obviously, as a supporter of the Obama/Biden ticket, I agree with most of what they have to say. However, both sides say the same thing over and over and over and over! Did you know Mcain is a maverick and Palin is part of the middle class? If you didn't before the debate, you should now because she said it 12 million times! (That might be an exaggeration - another happening in these debates.) Obama/Biden are just as guilty when it comes to repeating themselves. Change, change and more change. The last 8 years have sucked. Okay, we get it already. Will these debates make the undecided decide? I just don't know.
I do know that Palin scares the living crap out of me. Her God Bless the sick pack, gun toting American spiel(sp?) makes me want to hurl.

How do you guys feel about the bail out plan? I honestly don't know what to feel. I want my parents to have money left in their retirement and I fear the bail out may be the only way. I just don't know.

Okay, enough politics. Here are a few quotes or sayings that running through my head this week - things I think will point my thoughts and feelings in a more positive direction:

"I have two dogs fighting inside me all the time. The negative dog and the positive dog. The one that will win is the one I feed the most. " (This is adapted from an old Indian saying)
"I will feel so great when I figure this out."
"I am where I am right now."
"I am grateful."
"Pure intentions."

Let's wade our way through what's going on in our world and vibrate as much positive energy as we can......(I am well aware that my rant above is not espousing positive energy - I'm working on it!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another day

It's Thursday and my day off. It's my long weekend week. I had yesterday off too. Yesterday I worked out then basically did nothing at all. I had a list - my forever long, never ending list - but only accomplished one thing on it. It was only a phone call, so I could do that from the recliner in which I had planted my butt. I think we all need these days occasionally. I think I take them a little too frequently and then feel the day has been wasted. It creates a vicious cycle.

I picked B up from school yesterday. I listened to the woes of being a middle school girl. Who is feeling left out of what, who called who a word that can only be spelled to mom - not repeated...
I don't know about you, but I have to stop myself from trying to fix everything. I have to do a mental check and keep myself listening, nodding, patting her hand..... I want to tell her all my experience with these things. I want to share how I too had these middle school moments but I came out the other side and look how amazing my life is now! :-) There are two problems with this approach - one is that right now she doesn't care, she's just bummed and wants to feel that way. The other - I'm not sure she's all that impressed with how my life has turned out! :-) Someday she'll look back and realize all that I juggle, all that I've accomplished. Right now she sees a mom who works a couple days a week, writes for some magazines sometimes and who drives her around. Some days that's all I see too - then I see what I've accomplished as a teacher, a writer, a mother, a wife.... I look at her, I look at K - I see what amazing young ladies they are and while they may have just been born that way - I think Dan and I can take some credit for how things are coming along. :-)

The things going on in a middle schooler's life seem so huge to them. We've been there, done that and we know life goes on. They don't. They are right here, right now - thinking life can't get any worse and will never change. I forget that sometimes. The issues my girls bring up seem so trivial to my adult mind and I forget how huge they are in theirs.

Today was a new day. B smiled on the way out the door and gave me a hug that said "thanks for being there" with out having to say the words. K is still getting ready for school but she handed me a letter she has to write me every week. It's a school assignment and I have to write her back every week. It's a great idea - I don't always like having homework too, but I like writing her and reading what she has to say. She wrote all about a cousin she is proud of - very cute. Then she wrote all about how she would have chosen me, but the reasons would have made the letter too long. (okay, let's hear the collective "ahhhhh....") Those hugs, those letters - they make the moments of rolling eyes, wet towels on the floor and bickering - all worth it.

Quick political note - Don't vote party lines - read all the facts, go to the candidate's websites, LEARN - educate yourself on what's really happening and what we're facing. The United States is swirling down the crapper - the only way this is going to change is we vote and speak up. I personally feel Obama is the only one who has a chance to turn things around. If we vote for McCain, the world is going to look at the U.S. and think - "here we go again..." This is just my opinion based on my values and beliefs. Obama's the man I want representing me. The great thing about living here is that we have a choice and we have the freedom to speak and believe what we want. Use your freedom and voice - VOTE!!!

I'm working very hard these days to remember to be grateful. It's the crazy time of the year when I get in function mode and don't take the time to breath and remember how incredibly grateful I am. (Some days it's just because I CAN breath. :-) ) Each morning I make a mental list - it helps me step out of bed with a smile instead of a groan. If I turn on the news, that mental list gets longer because I know there are so many people worrying about their retirement, their health insurance, the roof over their heads.... okay - stop me there or I'll start on politics again.

I'm reading another Kris Radish book - Annie Freeman's Traveling Funeral - it's a tear jerker but another one that makes me take a second to remember what's important in life....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back Again

It's been a while. I've been busy getting back into the swing of school and work. I find so much comfort in routine. I like having my calendar out - seeing what's happening when, knowing what to expect. I dream about being spontaneous, foot loose and fancy free - but the reality is, I can only handle that in brief spurts.

There's no escaping the presidential election and since this is my blog - I'm going to vent about this. Anyone who knows me knows I'm an Obama fan through and through. I really like Joe Biden too, so it's clear where my vote is dedicated. I do have disappointments about how his adds are currently turning too negative. I don't mind a negative ad if it is tempered with information about how the candidate it supports can do better. Negative for the sake of negative just pisses me off.

I've been having debates with my trainer (yes, I go to a trainer - no it isn't obvious in my appearance, but it is in my strength and stamina. :-)) about who would be our next president. He is someone I respect as a trainer , but his views frighten me. I'm guessing mine frighten him so it all balances out. However, the things I hear from him, seem to be the general Republican view of "every man for himself" and that America is superior to all other countries. I agree that we need to work on a society that is filled with problem solvers and thinkers vs one that us filled with people who want to be taken care of - however, we are all human beings. This isn't a bleeding heart thought - it is reality. Oy, I'm starting to get angry just typing this. I have a problem articulating my thoughts when I get this frustrated.

This came up this morning because it is September 11th and my 6th grader was instructed to wear red white and blue today. She had lots of questions because she was so young when the twin towers were attacked. The point I really wanted her to understand is that we have an opportunity to create a future that will mean her children won't be reading about more violence in their history books. If we all made more effort to communicate, to see both sides of issues - even when we don't agree - maybe we could get to that place - REALLY GET THERE - where we all use our words instead of guns. Why is that so unrealistic?

I'm rambling and not making clear arguments. My heart aches for all the families who are missing their loved ones today - either because they lost them 7 years ago, or because they lost them recently or because they are away fighting the war - it was a sad and horrible tragedy.

Maybe the lesson we all need to remember today is the importance of enjoying each moment, telling the people we love how we feel, no wasting energy on fear or anger. Let's not focus or perpetuate fear - let's celebrate life and each moment well lived......

Monday, August 25, 2008

School's in session and WHOLLY COW!

Well, life is back in full swing. Met my 28 4th graders today and honestly love them all. It think it's going to be a great year. It's been good being back with my peers, talking about our summers and having that adult time I used to miss when I stayed home. I do have to take time to remember all the things I practiced this summer - stay positive, stay in the moment, only say the kind words..... I don't know who said this - I'm sure someone out there will know - "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

Okay on that note - Wholly crap! Just when I think no one is reading my blog, I get a comment on it from my new idol - Kris Radish. To all my children's book author friends - please do not feel slighted. Knowing you, learning from you, reading your books - all have enriched my life. I brag about you all daily in my classroom and try to make myself more important by sharing that I know you. :-) I guess the difference here is just the immediate connection I felt with the writing - the characters, the situations. I've been inspired to work hard on my female friendships. They have always been important to me and I think we are all there for each other when needed - but as I've said in previous blogs and to many of you in person - I'd like us to MAKE time for each other. We need to make these relationships a priority.

Alright, I already have papers to correct and lessons to plan. The girls both have homework to be checked and papers to be signed - oh and of course checks to be written.

Oh, but before I forget, Dan and I had an amazing weekend in Tahoe listening to Toot, James Blunt and Cheryl Crow - it was the perfect end to the summer.

Find your bliss!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Email from Kris Radish!!!

Okay - I'm soooooooo excited! I went to Kris Radish's website to comment on how much I enjoy her books. She sent me an email! It's like hearing from a movie star! Too cool.....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Title to describe your summer

My boss has asked me to come up with a song or book title that represents my summer. I've thought of many - most of them inappropriate. :-) So give me some ideas - tell me what book or song title YOU would pick to represent your summer......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ready, Set, GO!

This is my last weekend of summer. Here come the routines, schedules, commitments.....I'm looking forward to it though. I had a fabulous summer - one for which I am incredibly grateful. It was actually one of the best summers in recent memory. Ironically, we had no big vacations, no life altering events, just relaxing, quality time together. I'm sure it's a combination of things - older kids, the cabin, good health....whatever the reasons, I'm starting this school year feeling on top of my game.

The girls and I went in and got new hair dos today. Kate trimmed her long, straight, gorgeous locks, Bailie cut off quite a bit of length and her naturally curly hair looks amazing. I chopped all my hair off and colored it quite dark. (well, I didn't cut it off - fortunately, my very talented friend and long time hairdresser did the cutting.) I feel refreshed, funky, sort of reborn. I'm not sure how good I look, but it was a change I needed.

These books I've been reading, by Kris Radish, have me missing my girl friends. We've all been busy with our families this summer and all the other obligations of life. I want to make you all my priority. Family is important, but these kids grow up and move out. I want to keep building and deepening my female friendships. Husbands are great too, but sometimes, a woman is the only one who understands.

Okay, I have to get back to watching the Olympics - so motivating. I will dream about being that physically fit while I eat my ice cream. :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bucket lists

I went to a funeral on Friday - it was for the parent of one of my students from this last school year. The funeral was very nice and I have to admit, seeing my student light up when he saw that I was there, made it worth going - even though I, like everyone I would imagine, hate going to funerals.
I did come up with a few rules about my own funeral after attending this and many other funerals over the years.
First of all, I want my family to do whatever brings them comfort. I'm not particularly religious, but if it brings my family comfort to have a funeral in a church - go for it. I'll be dead - so you won't hear many objections from me. However, I do have a few suggestions. If you feel the need to have a religious ceremony - no mass! It takes forever! If people are going to eulogize me, tell stories that make people smile and have fond memories - not stories that will make people blush (or me from the grave) or uncomfortable. Spend time celebrating, remembering not "mourning." Again though, I'll be dead, so do what you need to do.

My "to do" list still sits undone, but tomorrow is a new day and I plan to tackle it head on. My goal is to have it all done by Wednesday - but check back with me, chances are it won't be. :-)

I made a "bucket list" today - yes, inspired by the movie - and to my surprise, it wasn't that long. There are places I want to see and things I want to do - but I don't have this great longing to experience things I've yet to experience. I feel really fortunate to have seen and done all that I have so far. Sure, there is more to see or do - but if I don't do or see them before I die will I die less happy? I don't think so. Just to give you a small insight into my list - a few things on it were:
Experience Alaska, Drive a semi, Eat only dessert for a whole week, spend a whole day naked, See Brazil and Mexico, see a play in New York, see Maine, be my daughters' best friend (later, not now), be as happy everyday to wake up next to Dan as I am now.......

Do you have a bucket list? What's on it?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Onward and Upward

So here's the good and the bad about blogging. The good is the opportunity to write and share. The bad is the pressure to keep it up. My parents have been here for two weeks and getting back into real life has been a struggle - so those are my excuses - accept them or don't. :-)

I have a pile of "to-do's" waiting for me on my desk. I got my work out in this morning with my Nazi trainer. Actually, that's not fair - he works me hard but he's extremely patient with my moaning and groaning. If he could just go home with me and keep me from eating - that's not too much to ask is it?

I have an article due for Family Pulse Magazine. I did tell them I was not longer going to write for them - but they asked me to do an essay from a teacher's perspective about my ideal parent of a student in my room. No research necessary for that - so it's doable for me. Of course, when I said yes, I had nothing else on my plate. The same day, two books arrived from Foreword Magazine with a request for me to write reviews. Okay - two writing projects, I can do that. Then last night I attend a production team meeting for the next Sierra School of Performing Art's sponsored - Broadway Bits. I already said no to being the production manager for this - I realized that with school starting and Dan's strong objection to the idea - it would be too much to handle. THANK GOODNESS I said no. Not because I wouldn't love working with my treasured friend Janet, but because it is a HUGE load of work. Just being on the committee, I now have a list of forms to produce that is longer than my arm and I need to call a school to set up rehearsal times. Not huge responsibilities in and of themselves, but with all the other things now being thrown my way - it feels like a lot.

That leads me to my problem with saying, "I'll do it." It sounds so cliche to have a problem with saying no, but often times I do. I know it is totally my ego. I feel so proud to be needed (ick!) and my ego explodes when I hear I'm the best one for the job. Am I a sucker or what? With working, the girls' schedules and my desperate need to have mandatory family time - there just isn't enough time in the day for me to keep saying yes. I keep hearing that I should add mediating into my life by doing it just one minute a day. Would it count if I did that while sitting on the toilet - because that may be my only opportunity after August 20th!

I had lots of emails about my post regarding my angst causing phone call on my birthday. I have no problem now saying the call was from my mother in law. The details aren't important and it was more about the proverbial straw breaking the proverbial camel's back than anything else. As it stands right now, I've kept my mouth shut. I heard a saying that when there starts to be a defense, it is the start of a war. I think that's true. Protecting myself is different than defending. I won't allow myself to be the brunt of anymore of her insane tantrums, but I also won't waste my time defending myself - she won't hear it and it will only add fuel to a fire that is down to a smolder. My children and husband are welcome and encouraged to have any relationship they choose to have with her - I am just no longer a part of that picture. For years I worried about being the bad daughter in-law - I'm over it! :-)

Alright, my "to do" list is still waiting. I'm looking forward to coffee with two friend this morning who feed my soul and who have been absent from my daily life for too many weeks. THEN, I will start on my list. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Drama and Tears and Angst Oh My!

So I started this post yesterday then deleted it. I was afraid I would create more drama with it. Then I realized two things - first, hardly anyone reads this blog anyway :-) and 2nd, I created this blog as a place to communicate with family and friends. So, drama or no drama - here's what's going on.

First of all - super birthday surprises from my parents, children and husband. Fabulous gifts, loving poems - great food! My dad made my very favorite banana creme pie - yum! It was great to have my parents here for my birthday - I love my birthday and being the center of attention for the day. :-) Who better to create that for me than the two who are responsible for my birth? Dan has heard complaint after complaint each year because I set the bar very high for my birthday - poor guy. This year he really came through though! I don't think he can top asking me to marry him and finding out I was pregnant with our first child - but concert tickets came close! :-)

The drama, tears and angst came in the form of a hurtful, manipulative and unnecessary "birthday" phone call early in the day. I'm at a complete loss at how to handle this. My enlightened friends would tell me this is happening as a lesson for me - as a way to learn and grow. They would also tell me I somehow brought this into my life with my vibrations. I suppose the latter could be true - sort of a be careful what you wish for type situation. I like to be the center of attention on my birthday - next year I need to be more careful about how I vibrate that. :-) Those friends would also tell me I need to put my ego aside and handle it for that moment - not for all the moments before that this same person made me crazy. OY! I know this the way it should be handled. I need to focus on my own reactions - I can't control anything else.

However, the ego in me is strong today. I want to yell, scream, shout, defend myself and shoot below the belt to hurt back. This is all of course, what this person wants. More drama, more reason to call attention to her own need to feed her ego. I also need to consider how my reaction may affect my children and my husband. Is my ego's need more important than the possible fall out?

In the end, I know this blog will be as far as my venting goes. I won't become a punching bag and if the situation were to pass my way again - I will speak louder than I did this time. I will end the conversation and the drama. The reality is, as much as I love drama and being the center of attention - I want it in a way that makes me feel good inside and about who I am as a person, mother, wife, daughter, writer, teacher - human being.

I SOOOOOO appreciate the patience of any of you who read through this whole diatribe. Today is a new day - this too shall pass - and all that crap! :-) It could be worse right? It could be raining.......

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Age/favorite birthday gift/define happy

Well, tomorrow I turn 42. It seems like such a strange number to be. There are a lot of ages that create a picture in your mind's eye. 20 makes you think young, care free, with the whole world ahead of you. 30 creates a vision of settling down, career in order... you get the idea. What does 42 look like? I just can't see it - especially when I look in the mirror. Don't get me wrong , I'm not one of those perpetually 39 kind of people. I don't fear aging. Frankly, I see it as much better than the alternative. (not aging - DEATH) I also see each year as a notch in the self esteem belt. I'm not sure if I'm feeling better about myself or caring less what others think - either would be positive I think.

However, I do start to wonder if I'm doing all I'm "supposed" to do. Am I living life as it should be lived? Who has the answer to that? I think "supposed to" and "should" are words to eliminate from the English language - along with GUILT! That's what I want for my birthday - can any of you gift that to me?

On a lighter and less self-indulgent note - I won $220.00 tonight! I went gambling with my parents while Dan and the girls worked on my birthday surprises for tomorrow. The best is that I won it on a PENNY machine! Too fun! (wait a minute- was that less self-indulgent or more?)

I'm wondering what you all feel is the best birthday gift you've ever received. I have a couple and they are corny. Dan proposed to me right before a birthday and I found out I was pregnant with Bailie at the next one. Those were pretty terrific gifts. The corniest though is my favorite gift is when people remember. The phone calls I receive from friends I haven't talked with in a long while (thank you Elizabeth and Tami!), cards in the mail, emails. I'm such a Leo - that attention makes my mane swell! :-) So when you have time, let me know what you think you're favorite birthday gift was....

You know what else I have been wondering - (lots of time on my hands!) how would you define "happy?"

Monday, July 21, 2008


Phew! The kids are back from camp and we are all back home. Leaving my home away from home was incredibly more difficult than I thought. I didn't realize how much I was living in the moment until it was time to go home. Over the 20 some days I was there, I didn't think about my "to do" list, I didn't open my calendar.... I just enjoyed it. If I'm honest with myself, I would admit that I do find comfort in my "to do" lists and calendar. I like knowing who needs to be where and when. HOWEVER, doing nothing does not suck! :-)

Before my parents arrived and before the girls came home, Dan and I did a 7 1/2 mile hike to Rock Lake. (Yes, to my friends who know me - I REALLY hiked seven AND a half miles!) It was a beautiful hike. Bailie back packed into the lake with her camp group - she carried a 20lb pack. I only carried my day pack with water, so I don't have the same bragging rights she has, but I must say, I was mighty proud of myself.

My parents arrived two days before we picked up the girls. We went out to dinner at this great spot - The Iron Door. Dan and I had already gone there and loved it, so we were excited to take my folks. It was a great dinner, followed by a short walk to an ancient cemetery in the town of Johnsville. (By Plumas/Eureka State Park) We walked around reading the headstones and made up stories about the lives they might have lived.

I don't think I mentioned in early posts that while I was having my alone time, I painted my kitchen. Dan HATED the color. He said it looked like I smeared a frog on the walls. When my parents came, they convinced me to do a second coat. We actually really like it now. It is VERY green, but it is kind of retro and cool.

On a short political note. My friend Mary and I had a friendly bet going about who would take the Democratic nomination. She and I went to college together and have known each other for more years than either of us would probably admit. She was a strong Hillary supporter while I was in the Obama camp. As you all know, I won the bet! I was quite thrilled to arrive home and find a SMALL box with Mary's return address waiting for me. Tucked inside was the smallest bottle of Patron tequila that she could find. :-) My favorite tequila was promptly opened and enjoyed with a toast to you dear Mary!

My parents, my brother and my nephew all joined us picking up the girls at camp. Then we had a great Saturday and Sunday with the whole group listening to camp stories and enjoying each other's company.

Oh, and before I forget, the girls had a fabulous time at camp. Kate let me know she would go again and "really didn't miss you that much." Bailie said she would go again but seemed pretty happy to be home.

Well, now that I am facing reality again, I feel a bit melancholy. I wonder if life would be as wonderful at the cabin if I were there full time? Wouldn't that then become real life and not be as good? Is it possible to create what I had there - here? While I ponder that, I'm back to tennis lessons, volleyball camps, play dates and planning for the new school year....... instead of being sad about that though, I'm going in feeling incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time alone, alone with my husband, and with my whole family - relaxed and happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Dan and I took the long, windy, steep cliffs with no railing, drive to La Porte and Little Grass Valley Reservoir yesterday. I decided that even if I never drive the road and even if it is a huge tax, I will vote to pay whatever tax it takes to put railings on all those types of roads! Anyway, I camped at Little Grass Valley all the time when I was little. It was so much fun to go back and see the camp grounds, visit the beach and the lake. Stuff I hadn't thought about in years came flooding back.

We wanted to check out La Porte - population 35 or something ridiculous like that. We stopped and ate at a little "deli" where they barbecued us some hamburgers on the front porch. Three guys sat at the bar and found many uses for the term "soms of bitches" while they bashed all liberal democrats and described the freakishly enormous cat fish they caught. Even if they'd had banjos it couldn't have been more back woods cliche. The burgers were great though! We skedaddled out of there with my Obama sticker on the back of my car and decided to take a different route home.

While we wound our way through the hills, we drove past towns I hadn't heard about or thought of in years. Then we came around a curve and there was WOODLEAF! The place I spent 6th grade outdoor education camp, where I went as a high school counselor for 6th grades and where I won the "Mud Momma" award at Young Life camp. It was great to see it. It was teeming with Young lifers so we didn't stop but the comfort of the memories was nice.

We finally found Hwy 49 and weaved our way back to Portola. We stopped in Downiville and had a milkshake. What a cute town that is!

We got home and sat on our deck with cocktail in hand and just sighed the sighs of grateful and content people. It was a great day exploring and remembering. Then to come back to our little (emphasis on little) slice of heaven to watch birds, chipmunks and deer among the pine trees - it doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My adventure continues

I've moved from solitude to couple time. I think it has been since before children that we have had so much time alone. Thanks to my parents and good friends, we have had get aways and time alone - but not for such an extended period of time. It has been great. We have eaten at restaurants up here that we've always talked about but in which we have never set foot. We have driven up roads just to see where they lead. We went to a "Solar Cook Off" in Taylorsville, CA. It is between Quincy and Lake Almanor. Thousands of people camp, cook with their solar cookers, listen to live bands, shop at the vendors selling tie die and jewelry... very few bras to be found, and I'm pretty sure if we searched the suitcases, the women did not own razors. We strolled around trying to look like we attend these things every weekend, but I have no doubt that people were pointing and whispering at the newbies who were faking it. Of course, there also seemed to be a lot of haze that wasn't just the smoke from the nearby fires, so maybe they didn't notice us at all. :-) It was an excellent people watching event and the music was great.

Speaking of music, we also went to the live music in the park that they have here on Friday nights. We got to watch and listen to Soljibe - a fabulous Reno band. They were great! As it got dark, all the kids were throwing glow necklaces in the air all around us - just missing the bats that were flying low...

I'm looking forward to checking the mail box to hear from the girls. Bailie writes a lot - Kate, not so much. I hope that means she's too busy having fun. I get this ache in my chest with missing them. I'm trying to focus on enjoying each moment of couple time - which I am certainly doing - but I get this occasional lost feeling - I compare it to what I hear people who have lost a limb feel - that phantom limb thing - it's like they are there but they're not. Okay - not the healthiest analogy - but you get what I mean. I'm looking forward to being able to wrap my arms around them.

Today we are heading to one of my old stomping grounds - I haven't been there since I was in high school (yes - a VERY long time ago!). We camped there when I was a kid. Little Grass Valley/LaPorte. We'll see where this journey takes us - we may find a road we haven't explored yet.

I'm reading a FABULOUS book - Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn - I don't know how it ends but as of right now, I would highly recommend it. It is written by Kris Radish - she also wrote The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. I'm sensing a theme of the strength of women and friendships. I would love to hear about other books with this theme if you know of any. (Another I read was Same Sweet Girls)

I feel like I'm in another world rather than just an hour from my normal life. I'm so grateful I have this time and space to experience this. I wish this for everyone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sad news

I heard some sad news today. The father of a student of mine died yesterday. He had been battling ALS for sometime. Hard to imagine being 11 and losing your dad. My heart is breaking for him and his brother. So again, if you're inclined to pray or send out positive, comforting vibrations...
Oh, and my friend Ann's brother is home now. He seems to be doing really well....healing...

Economy Sermon

Dan drove up last night and we enjoyed some lasagna that was supposed to be for book club and watched some DVDs of the Showtime series's - Weeds and Californication. We don't get Showtime but I had heard a lot about these series and since we don't get cable at all at the cabin - I thought it might be fun to watch these. They are very well written. The dialogue is witty, quick and sharp. They use the "F" word a little more than my liking - not that I don't partake in a little trashy mouth on occasion - it is just used as often as most of us may use the word "is".

I got a letter from my oldest from camp. It wasn't the cheeriest of letters. I wanted to drive to camp, scoop her up and let her know mommy would take care of everything. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and I only wrote her a long letter about finding the positives, the experience being what she makes it etc. It sounds like she and her younger sister are comforting each other a lot - which if that is the only thing that comes out of this camp, it is worth the money we paid. :-) They are so funny together - typical siblings. One minute they are laughing, sharing secrets - the next they are screaming and pulling hair. I'd love more of the first....

Yesterday I watched a gray squirrel work very hard to eat out of my bird feeder. This morning there are a zillion jays all around it. I have seen what we call the "cheeseburger bird" (because it's song sounds like "cheeeeese buurr g er" ) eating there - but those nasty, big, and mean jays tend to dominate. But guess what - on my way back from the mail box (it is several miles from my house) I saw ANOTHER TURKEY! It was hanging out with a couple of deer. I think someone may have put food out - a major no no - and they were all feasting together. Very trippy!

The smoke is pretty hideous yet again. But at least it cooled off quite a bit after sundown last night. It has been ridiculously hot - about 10 degrees cooler than the valley, but still too hot. No one up here has air conditioning - it is rarely needed - but man it would nice to have right now!

I met a lady who is trying to keep her book store open in the current economy. Her determination was inspiring. She focused on the positives - which is so important right now. We could all sit around complaining about the gas prices, and the domino affect that has on the rest of the prices - which believe me, I am feeling - but maybe this is our opportunity as a community, and country to count our blessings. If we vibrate gratefulness as a whole, things may turn around in spite of our current ignorant leader. :-) Plus, (I know, I'm getting preachy - but it's my blog, indulge me!) this is a chance to support each other and help where help is needed. Ask your neighbors if you can pick anything up at the store for them if you're going -save them the gas. Find those little ways to make the day better for someone you know who needs it. It all vibrates back to you......whatever you put out there, good or bad, it comes back to you.....

Okay, done with my sermon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

writer ramblings

I was staring at the file on my computer labeled "writing stuff." I must have 50 or 60 files in that folder. Not to mention a stack of hard copy file folders will much of the same and some different. I have tons of brilliant beginnings. Some even have fairly good middles. Sadly, very few have endings. I came to the realization today that that has to do with my inability to stay in the moment. When I get an idea to write - I start off with gusto. Then, while my fingers type away, my mind starts to wander and think about how long this writing is going to take. My mind inevitably leaps then to how much I'll have to edit and re do when I finally do finish it. I get so completely overwhelmed by the whole and can't stay focused on just writing, right now and in the moment. Does that ever happen to any of you? Maybe in tasks other than writing? How often do we tell our children or did we hear from our mothers that if we spent more time doing and less time worrying about the doing, we'd already be done?

I'm sure once I'm finished with my Davis Lake sabbatical, I will be blogging less - so thanks for your patience with how many posts I have in just two days.

My book club isn't making it up here after all. I will miss the laughter and camaraderie, but maybe I'm supposed to have one more day to explore this "alone" time....

My friend Ann is sitting next to her brother, keeping him company in the hospital. If you're inclined to pray or send out good vibrations or whatever your beliefs - send some positive energy her way.

What a turkey looks like

Not my turkey but this is what it looked like.....

Turkey sighting

I took a long walk early this morning. I wanted to get my excercise while it was still cool out. I saw much of the usual, ground squirrels, chipmunks, lots of mountain jays (or is it Stellar jays?), and LBJ's (little brown jobber birds :-)). But, what I didn't expect was what I caught out of the corner of my eye - a turkey! There it was, just looking at me with the same shocked expression I must have been giving him (or her?) back. I didn't realize we had wild turkeys in this area - but sure enough, we do! I wish I had my phone at the ready to take a photo to share - I wasn't that quick.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Okay, I tried to meditate and I just can't seem to get it. Any tips? I give up fairly quickly - maybe it's because I don't know what to expect so I just assume I'm doing it wrong. I figured being up here alone would be the perfect time to try it so then I could sort of figure it out for when I'm back in the chaos and try to do it again. Ugh...
It's cooling down here now, the sun is behind the trees and I'm on my deck enjoying the birds and the trees. We had much less smoke in the sky today - thank goodness. The heat has brought out every conceivable insect in the known world. I knew there were big spiders and ants out here - but wholly cow - there are what Dan identified as June bugs, horse flies, many different sizes and colors of moths, things that as kids we called mosquito eaters - but they must not be eating the mosquitoes because there are tons of those too!

My book club is joining me here on Thursday. I'm looking forward to the laughter and great conversation that always come out of our being together. Dan will arrive the next day and we will have a week together. I think it will be good to take the time to remember why we fell in love in the first place so that when the girls are grown and gone (already happening too quickly) we will still find comfort, laughter and joy together.

My parents will be here to join Dan and I at the end of that 2nd week and to pick up the girls at camp. Ahhh, camp. I hope Kate isn't having to use her inhaler too often with this smoke and I hope Bailie is relaxed and being her 13 year old amazing self. I hope Kate is laughing her infectious laugh and that both are making friends. I have to imagine all the good times to counteract my fear they are crying themselves to sleep. I guess that is a bit self aggrandizing - assuming they are missing me rather than lost in all the fun they are having. :-)

If you have any tips on mediating - please share - HELP! :-)

I finally did it!

Well, I did it - finally. I've started blogging. My friends Tricia and Suzy inspired me to quit being a blog "lurker" and join the fun. My daughters are at camp for two weeks and I am enjoying some quiet time at my fabulous cabin near Lake Davis. Have you ever had a "be careful what you wish for.." experiences? I've been dreaming about this peace and quiet since last September when we signed the girls up for camp. Now, don't get me wrong, I was dreading dropping them off and have worried just about every second since driving away, but as you parents know - more than a couple of hours of alone time is quite rare. I woke this morning with no schedule, no place to be, no one to take care of, and for a moment, instead of nervana, I felt shear panic. What was I thinking? All this time by myself? How soon until I'm eating a half gallon of ice cream because no one is watching? I started doing the usual, I checked email, paid a few bills, did my breakfast dishes, started a load of laundry.... then it hit me. I'm in the woods, I'm by myself and I can do ANYTHING I want! Soooo, I went for a long walk and tried to focus on just that moment. That's my one of my newest goals, try to be in the moment more often than not.
This is not an easy task for me. Either I'm planning ahead or berating myself for something in the past.
Wow, now I really am rambling. I've realized a couple of things today. First, and really probably the most important, I like myself. I'm an okay person with whom to spend time alone. Whoda thunk it? The other is that I'm incredibly grateful to have this time. How lucky am I? How many people have the opportunity to spend two weeks in the mountains, at a cabin doing basically whatever they choose? I also realized - though this is not a new realization, just a reminder- I love my daughters and husband. I love the craziness of our lives, the daily, sometimes hourly challenges, and just being together. We all went to the fireworks in Graeagle the night before the girls went to camp. I listened and watched as my husband and daughters layed flat on their backs and giggled, whooped and hollared over each and every spectacular display in the sky. I wanted to bottle that moment. I over flowed with gratefulness - corny, but none the less true.
Okay, I think this is enough for today. It's cooling off outside and I want to take a stroll.
Oh, before I go - guess what my writer friends? I started back on my fiction today. I wrote for a couple of hours straight. It's been a long time..... I feel like I've come home again. I will keep it up, even when school starts again and I'm facing all those 4th grades. They've got to give me an idea or two - don't you think?