Monday, September 30, 2013

Putting The Garden Back Together

I needed rest.  I needed time to get caught up in laundry.  I needed a few days with no schedule.

I needed a weekend.

This past weekend was just that.  Truth is, that guy that I like so much works every single weekend...most people just don't understand what his schedule is truly like.  He works hard and when an occasional day comes up where there is nothing on his schedule, well, there is much rejoicing.

It's cause for a celebration around these parts.

It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (or rather, mumbling, grumbling and cursing) to put our garden back in order following three weeks of operation 'termite eradication', which involved the replacing of everything from all our fence posts to the ripping off and changing of all our shingles and wood of our little house on our little street.

We've done one remodel and I have always said that I won't do's just not that big of a deal to me to disrupt my life in order to have something not so much different than what we already have, but this was worthy of any major remodel.  And we had no say in it as we live in an association and they were in charge of the whole project...which was a blessing and a curse.

A curse because we had no say (though our house was quite literally infested) and a blessing because we didn't have to pay for the tens of thousands that this whole thing ended up costing.  Thank you, dues.  Seriously.

The thing is, when you live in a tiny space...and tiny for us is 1,200 sq feet, you just live in every inch of that space.  There is literally no corner that we don't live in, including our garden.  When one of those spaces is removed, it's just hard.  When one of those spaces is removed AND there are 6-8 workers banging and pounding and walking in and walking out all day long for three weeks, it's even harder.

How many ways can you spell grumpy?  Annoyed?  Bothered?  



But, for some reason, God wanted to shake me up a bit.  He wanted me to adapt and go with the flow...something I was much better at before I went back to work.  Something I was better at when my boys were little.  Something I was better at when I was younger.

The past few weeks?  Not easy.

But not impossible.  Suppers were still cooked, work was still done, basketball games were still played and friends were still over.  

And the best part?  The termites are bye bye.


I have realized that my routine is a little lacking.  The school year has begun and we are living each day as it comes, but I have failed so far at one major relationship in my life.  He asks for so little of me...and I can't even give Him that.

The thing is, I'm in church every Sunday.  I pray like crazy.  But I just don't seem to be finding the time for that quiet time every day that I need so badly.  I have all these opportunities and I just don't grab them...I can go every day to chapel at that guy that I like so much's school, but parking isn't easy.  I can get up 15 minutes earlier, plop myself at my kitchen table and read...but I keep hitting the snooze button.  I can jump into my favorite church (which is always unlocked) and spend some quiet time...but it's just enough out of my way that I haven't been going.

I'm sad that I can't seem to give the one person who gave everything of himself and I can't adjust my schedule lately to give Him 15 minutes of my time.  I make time for coffee.  I make time to text.  I make time to cook and clean and drive and talk.

I make time for everything except the most important thing there is.

This weekend was a good start.  I sat in my favorite blue chair in my garden and read and prayed and wrote in my journal.  I need to get that daily habit back...for me.  I'm a better me when I am making the time for that quiet time.  I have the time...I just need to prioritize what I do with that time.

I need to make it easy.

Like I said, this weekend was a good start.  A new beginning.  Gotta love how many 'do over's' we're given in a lifetime, don't' you?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coffee At Disney

Lately my hikes have seemed hard.  Super hard.  Long.  Tiring.  Hot.  I have been trudging through them, but I think it's time to mix things up a bit.  This trail is just so convenient to my house...just a few miles away which makes it so easy to get to, but after today I know I need to try something new.

I'm just not sure what yet.  

That guy that I like so much and I stole away for lunch at California Adventure...we shared a thai coconut curry chicken brown rice bowl and then rode Radiator Springs.  It seems lately that we have been put in line with some rather colorful characters...last time was a group of older woman smoking electric cigarettes while trying to pick up on men and this time was an older gentleman who shouted and complained and was one step away from being the rudest person I've ever met.

But, we were quiet.  And polite.  And kind to his meek wife.  

I felt like it was a lesson for me.  Don't talk.  Just deal.  And so I did...but I'll admit, it wasn't easy.

I love Cars Land and until last night, I had never even seen the movie.  I know, I know.  But I finally watched it and I loved it...and now I get it.  And, FYI...Disney peeps are geniuses.  Seriously.

On our way out we grabbed a Starbucks and sat for a few minutes just...sitting.


We picked up a pizza on the way home and pulled up to week 3 of termite removal.


It's a lovely process.  Not.  Our front door will be out of commission while they remove and replace the roof overhang today and then, I think, it will be done.  

Back to School night is tonight...year 10 at the high school.  

Would it be wrong to ditch?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good Food and Good Baseball

I cook.  Lots.  It's what I do because I love to do it.  Every night (well, I'd say 6 out of 7 nights) I cook a full meal for my family and whoever else might wander in.  I'm weird in that I don't plan ahead...I wake up in the morning and decide what I have a taste for and then shop if I need to.  We don't eat a whole lot of pre-packaged foods and many of our meals are rather simple...while I love nothing more than an ooey, gooey, cheesy casserole,  I have two people under my roof who don't like ooey or gooey or cheesy.  (I know.  I don't get it, either...) One of those will eventually move out; the other is here for the long haul.


All that being said, I know what it takes to prepare a meal.  The thought that goes in to it, the time, the money.  And let me tell you, if you don't have turkish neighbors...go out and find yourself some.  They are friendly people who can out party the Italians (seriously) and the food?


Introducing, stuffed eggplants.  


Moving on...though it's hard to do.


 On Sunday we were invited to The Angel's game...our neighbor had a box, complete with free food and drink.  It was SO much fun...we sat and talked and laughed and ate and even watched a little baseball now and then.  

 This boy of mine....this baby boy of mine, is growing up to be such a sweet young man.  He was born with the sweetest of temperaments...don't get me wrong, he can toss an attitude around like nobody's business, but for the most part?  He's a love.  

Plus, he's really fun to hang out with.  He's chatty and witty and funny.



I'm having some major work issues with a Jekyll/Hyde employee that is keeping me on my toes.  Nothing unmanageable, but this work world of mine is never routine, that's for sure.  As far as termite removal?  Almost done.  They've been painting and staining and are still up on the roof doing something or other, but I think it's nearing an end?  They had said 3 weeks and this is the 3rd we should be back to quiet again soon.

I hope.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Restful Weekend

Autumn arrived this weekend and with it, happiness and good cheer on my part.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Summer.  And Spring.  And Winter.  Let's face it,  I love all the seasons...but Autumn?  It's the best.

There is a chill in the air and I actually put a sweater on the other night.  

The best part?  All these nasty BIG spiders go away when the weather gets colder.

We are entering week 3 of termite removal and found out that our pretty window boxes out front cannot be saved.  Well, they can be...for a price.  And I said no to that price.

Farewell window boxes.  It's been real.

Friday night our friends came over and brought with them two large jars of homemade olives.  I almost wept...we'd had a jar of them before and to now have TWO WHOLE jars?


And, for the record, my olive tree out back has 47 olives on it.  Just enough for one jar.  I've been reading up on curing olives and it's just nasty's one of those things that you'd just rather not know about.

Saturday morning I walked out to a kitchen that looked like the end of the well as a text from my girlfriend saying 'thank you for last night' and 'come for dinner tonight?'

My answer?  You're Welcome and Yes.

Perfect timing.


Alex was out of town this weekend but had preordered a rather nasty game...which meant little brother had dibs.  Perks of being the youngest.

And yep, I know all about the game.  And yep, I'm ok with it.

I shouldn't be...Matthew's had his car stolen twice by people who probably locked themselves in a  room and played this game until they knew they could do it in real life.  Their parents were probably in the other room, hosting dinner parties and listening to Frank Sinatra, dancing occasionally while sipping cocktails.  

Oh well.  

Add it to the list of things I could do better.

Saturday afternoon found us back in the bleachers, cheering on our favorite high school ball player.  Here we go again!  No breaks until next August...welcome to our little world.  It's a fun little world, so I'm ok with that.

Part of the reason I've been so hit and miss lately is that my computer was not doing so well.  It developed a few, well, issues and while traveling with my boss, she used my computer for a bit.  And told me to buy a new one.

I'm not one to argue, so I did.  

I am sooooo thankful.  And let me tell's a groovy computer.  It's got some extra of this and some extra of that (to make that guy that I like so much happy) and it turns on and stays on and all the keys work (to make me happy)...a win-win situation.

Blessed.  I'm feeling blessed.

This weekend, in a word...restful.

And I needed restful.  We did lots, but it felt...easy.  Quiet.  Fun.  Low stress.



Friday, September 20, 2013

Gosh Darn Termites

Lately it feels to me like my feet aren't planted on firm ground.  Like every time I stand still, the ground shifts a bit from underneath me.  Not enough that I am going to fall over, but just enough that I feel wobbly.  

It's not uncomfortable...but it's not comfortable either.  It's just...kind of unsettling.

Part of the issue is that our little house on our little street is in termite mode...all the infested wood is being removed and replaced.  It's pretty safe to say that 50% of the wood on the outside of our house was affected, which means there has been hammering and banging and painting and staining and men's driving me crazy.  I normally work from home but the noise is LOUD...and I am feeling frazzled.

I've worked at IKEA, crashed that guy that I like so much's office, visited a few Starbucks and even a Panera or two.

But I miss being home.  I miss having some privacy.  I miss my garden (which is dead and ruined and I feel like crying just thinking about it).  I miss...quiet.

I'm also feeling nostalgic.  I'm missing my children being little and the simplicity that comes with that.  I'm missing boys doing homework at the table while I cook supper, telling them to concentrate and not get distracted by the big climbing trees outside...and then telling them to go ahead and climb trees while the sun shines.

That being said, I love the stage we are in now.  But still.

But still.

I am looking forward to this weekend.  We have friends coming for supper tonight and then we'll see where the rest of the weekend takes us.  The best part is that there will be no hammering, no workers coming in and out, and no need to escape.  

I'm ready for that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OktoberFest at Big Bear

Last weekend was spent in a big house on Big Bear Lake...there was some boating and some card playing and some cocktails and some sleeping and some laughing.   

The weather was perfect.  Warm and sunny during the day; chilly at night.  I've missed my mountains and while these ones differ from the Flat Irons, they are just as beautiful.  

Saturday involved the Chicken Dance and a liter of beer...or maybe that should say a liter of beer followed by the Chicken Dance.  And nope, that wasn't just for me.  I've learned my limit (I never said I was a fast learner) and shared this with others.

Nothing beats a Spaten Oktoberfest beer, though...especially when it's ice cold and poured by an Italian named Sal.


I missed going to an OktoberFest last year and to be there on opening day seemed fitting.  The band was...loud.  The food  The liederhosen were...everywhere.


Monday morning came early and with it a boat load of problems.  A big boat load.  Every employee was frustrated and it was just an ugly morning (and afternoon) but it did settle down.  I really like what I do, which helps...but Monday morning was rough.

I finally just called it quits and made a beef stroganoff (with roasted short ribs as the beef part of it) and it felt so good to actually feed my family real food for a change.  They've taken the brunt of my working so much with throw together one has gone hungry but still.

I need to change that.

I've worked a few hours already this morning and am going to head to the university to hear that guy that I like so much's choir sing in chapel.  I've got a lunch date with girlfriends and then a PILE of paperwork to sort through, but I think today will be an at home day as much as possible.  The laundry is out of control and you could seriously eat off my floors...and find yourself full.  Ick.

Welcome to real life.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Day Of A New School Year

Yesterday was a day that we had had on the calendar for quite a while.  Our youngest boy started school and we (that guy that I like so much and I) celebrated by going to Disneyland for lunch.  It's kind of a tradition for us...send boys off to that very first day, all clean cut and fresh and ready (with no missing assignments, lost books or whatever else is sure to come our way in the next, oh, 24 hours or so) and we RUN like children to somewhere that makes us happy.

So Disneyland it was.  Our passes were finally back up and running after being blacked out for a good chunk of the summer and we've missed being able to just wander in for a few hours, eat lunch, ride a ride or two and then head back home.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  Warm and sunny but with a bit of crispness in the air.  It felt like it feels when summer is ending and fall is beginning.  In other words, it felt perfect.

The weather, that is.

But it wasn't perfect.  Far from it.  We were...grumpy.  That guy that I like so much and I had spent the morning destroying our other happy place...our garden.  Our association, who we have a love/hate relationship with, is coming in to treat for termites, replace all the rotting wood and then painting our house and fence. 

Sounds nice, and I'm sure it will be, but it's not right now.  We (ok, he) had to move and trim and cut and by the time we left for lunch,  we (ok, he) was pretty darn ticked off.

He was grumpy.  I was grumpy.

And even the happiest place on earth wasn't helping.

We parked.  We strolled.  We talked about selling our little house on our little street.  We grumbled.

We were majorly, majorly crabby.

And then we rode Indiana Jones and shared a lobster roll and slowly relaxed into the day.  It took a while, but the shift slowly happened and we had a nice time.  I'll be honest, there wasn't a whole lotta laughter (unusual with us) but a smile or two was probably seen.

We came home and finished ripping apart the garden and bright and early this morning the workers came and began their work.  It's not their fault; it's those nasty termites.

But still.  

In the big scheme of things, it's not big.  It's just an inconvenience.  And I'd rather not be inconvenienced right now.  Or ever.  And to make it even more fun?  They power washed our house, my bedroom window leaked significantly and we now have no power in the the back of our house. 


In the middle of it all, our new microwave was delivered...the one we got for free because our old one broke and I wrote a letter to GE asking them to do the right thing.  And they did.  And the one they replaced it with is totally way nicer than the one that broke and let me just say that the one that broke was totally nice, too.  Until it broke.  But still.

The good news?  There is still power in that outlet.  Can't dry my hair in my bathroom, but I can warm up some leftover risotto.  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Last Day of Summer

Yesterday was the last day of summer vacation for Brian and so we spent the day together, doing the things that most people had probably already done....but what that meant for us was empty stores and we were able to get lots done in half the time.

He's got a new back pack now and shiny shoes and a sweatshirt with some logo on it that I never would've let his oldest brother wear...but I'm older and worn and tired and is a skull on a sweatshirt really that big of a deal?  

We then lunched at Hole Mole in Tustin which seriously has the best fish tacos around.  Brian is such a fun lunch partner...he likes to try new things and go new places.

I miss him already and he hasn't even left for school yet.


The best part of the day was when he got to spend his birthday money, all of it (plus $3.38 that I kicked in because I like him so much), on a brand new skateboard.  He'd been waiting pretty much all summer long for one and finally had enough money (minus $3.38) to get what he really wanted.  I love when things like that get to happen...when you've waited long enough for something that you know you really, really want and then once you have it you can't help but smile for days.

That's how he felt about getting his skateboard.


The other best part of the day was when I was dancing and I asked if he was embarrassed.  His response...'I'm not embarrassed OF you; I'm embarrassed FOR you'  all said with a totally straight face.  He is so very much our child.


So, here we are.  Another summer over.  The air became so cool and crisp last night that I had to put on a sweater in a the garden.  My favorite season of all is approaching and I can see it coming...I'm looking forward to leaves changing and suppers in the oven and hiking my favorite trail (that has lots of snakes during the hot months) and blankets piled high on my bed.

But I think what I'm looking forward to the most is having a routine down again.  I love that our summers don't have a schedule to them...that we can have long suppers at night and stay up late and not worry about early mornings and rushing around.  But after a few months of that,  I find I'm ready for shorter days and longer nights and for some sort of plan...whether it be a meal plan or school plan or concert plan or basketball plan.  

I like being able to write in my calendar.

I also like that by the time I start getting to the point where I cannot handle being scheduled to the gills anymore, that summer will come again.  


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Baby

I blinked...twice, actually, and my baby turned 15.


This baby of mine?  He's a blessing.  They all are...but just as there is something so special about the oldest and something so special about the middle, well, there is just something so special about the baby.

He wanted carnitas for supper and had a bunch of friends over.  Alex's were here, too...and then Matthew showed up and we had ourselves a party.  

 Brian is a joy.  He is chatty and funny and hasn't yet caught on that parents aren't cool.  I love that.  He has lots of friends and has multiple mama's that he has charmed.  His brothers ride him hard and he takes it his mind he's better than them anyway.

And he truly believes that.


The big brothers?  Well...they'll continue to argue that point.

Happy Birthday, Brian.  And thank you, knew I needed just one more.


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