Monday, October 27, 2014

Girls Weekend

Thursday afternoon, while sitting around my kitchen table complaining about how hard we were working, how hard life seemed right now, how we just didn't feel like cooking dinner, my girlfriend suggested a girls weekend.

Ummm...girls only?  For a whole weekend?



We left Friday after work, drove 4 1/2 hours to Arizona and pulled in to her family's campground well after midnight.  The stars were so bright, the air warm, the silence...silent.

We were...camping.  Camping in a trailer, with a bathroom...but still camping.

My plans for the weekend revolved around very few things:

coffee and or tea and or wine.
chips and dips.
girl movies.
a good book.

But plans are meant to change.  By noon on day #1 we were on a pontoon boat cruising the Colorado River toward Lake Havasu.  We stopped all along the way, meeting people, visiting multiple floating bars, experiencing way too many interesting things...some of us swam in the chilly water and some of us just dipped our toes in.

It was an amazingly awesome afternoon spent meeting new people and laughing our heads off with the ones we already know.  

I showered in a shower the size of, well...a kitchen sink.  I've discovered I like the whole trailer camping thing...everything you could possible want is all at your reach.

Watch out, Michael...I'm searching Craigslist.


That night we were invited to the clubhouse...the trailer parks club house, where there was a residents only party happening.  I'm so glad we went...we were able to lower the average age to 75 or so.


Live band, pizza, wine, a rowdy ride on a golf cart, a tarantula sighting (SERIOUSLY!!!!), the Parent Trap with someone who had never seen the original version, chips ahoy cookies...and finally a really great night sleep.

Arizona...aside from the tarantula, I really like you.

Sunday we loaded up and began the trek home, stopping for real food in Palm Springs.  I'm telling you, I cannot go without real food for more than a day.  The whole chips and beer and ice cream thing?

That's just fine, but this mama needs protein.  And carbs.  And a veggie or two.

Once home, that guy that I like so much had supper ready (have I mentioned how much I like him?) and all I can now think about is a long hot shower.

Tomorrow is back to real life but I'm not quite there yet.

Weekends away with girlfriends?  Necessary.  Us females need that time...time to have fun, bust out a couple of moves on the (floating) dance floor, laugh until we can't laugh anymore.

The best part about girls weekends away?

Missing our boys...and coming home to them.


Such a great weekend...minus the tarantula.

Did you know they travel in packs?  That where there is one...well, there are more?

Farewell, campground.  Farewell.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


The weather has (FINALLY!!!) turned and Autumn is here.  There is no other way to describe it other than to say it is perfect.  This is MY season...the colors, the smells, the warm days and cool nights, the anticipation that something really, really good is coming.

Sunday supper was courtesy of our neighbors and 3 days later I am still thinking about it.  I requested her moussaka and if they had a moussaka category at the state fair, she'd win.  It's that good.  

Dessert?  Just a 'simple' baklava.

Want all this?  Just move to my neighborhood and it, too, can be yours.


Yesterday I was grumpy.  Like really, super, duper, ugly grumpy.  Brian had medical clearance to return to school only to get turned away because his crutches were not mentioned in the drs note.

No crutches allowed on campus unless you have a signed note.

Yeah...I laughed, too.

So we made the best of it...poor Brian was dragged from one appointment to the next.  We squeezed in physical therapy, the orthodontist, our primary care dr...we pretty much went from one right to the next.

And then lunch...hawaiian bbq (Nalu's) which was phenomenal.  And cheap.  Cuz right now, I could use cheap.


Anyway, then the grumps hit.  And then,  as the day was starting to slow, the neighbors started strolling outside.  Man, I love where I live.  It really is like Mayberry.

We're having a bit of a chair 'discussion' in our house.  As in, I like one and he likes one and neither is bending quite yet.

The original ones with the straw tops are just not comfy.  I sit at this bar and work for hours each day...I just love this spot in my little house on my little street.  The sun shines so brightly here, the view to both my garden and my front yard is right there, and it's my sweet spot...meaning I have great cell reception RIGHT THERE.


The stool on the end was my first choice but it's just not very comfortable.  The black one with the back is awesome, cheap and I could sit in it for days...that guy that I like so much doesn't like it.

What to do.  What to do.

Truth be told...I shouldn't have asked his opinion.


I love the picture below.  To me, it says everything.

Here's the deal.  Friends will come and go (*) but brothers are brothers forever.  Plain and simple.

Don't ever forget that, my boys.  Please.

(*unless you are Alex, of course.  That kids friends are like my own boys.  I can't even explain's bigger than all of us.)

Lots of errands today:  the million dollar blinds broke and I need to search out the new piece from somewhere.  The dog needs his prescription filled.  Brian needs new jeans because he grew like 2 inches since yesterday.  Red box movies to return.  Supper to plan for the boys...that guy that I like so much and I are meeting friends out at a new (for us) restaurant.  

But study.  My phone normally stays in my car for those 2 hours but I've got one on crutches, so that own't happen today...but it will be tucked away in my purse.  I love this time of prayer and learning with other women and God knows, I need it this week.  It's easy to let things get in the way of this time...sometimes the only thing that gets me motivated to go is knowing that the snacks are so yummy.  Not this week, though...this week I'll be the first in the door.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Ready For Calm

I took the Myers Briggs test a few weeks back and my results were the same as when I took it a decade ago.  I had felt like maybe they might be different...that maybe I had changed a bit.  But then again, I haven't.  I still like to watch and listen and dance and sing karaoke.

I'm still just me and the results of this test?  Very fitting, I think.  

Last week I had a 2 hour break in between work stuff so I went into California Adventure and rode the giant ferris wheel while eating my lunch.  Life felt peaceful and calm and I was feeling so thankful...4 hours later I would be in an ambulance with my 16 year old son.

Life has felt very much full of extremes lately...extreme calm followed by extreme chaos.  Usually I'd like to stand on the line in the middle but now?  Now I'd like extreme calm.  Please.

Brian was home with me on Friday...he had an MRI followed by breakfast out and then home to watch Dead Poets Society.  His pain level has been manageable though he is taking 3-4 advil at a time.  I jokingly told him that I thought I should keep him home forever and homeschool...he, in his sweet way, told me that he'd consider it.


We were referred to a fancy schmancy physical therapy place...the kind of place where pro's are rehab'd.  I knew instantly that our (very good) HMO was not going to be accepted there and was told that it wasn't, but that Brian was accepted there.


They worked him for 2 1/2 hrs on Saturday and will do the same for the next 7 days...the thinking is that they can get him back to playing in the next few weeks.  

It pays to know people.  It pays to know God.

Church on Sunday was an INCREDIBLE mass at a local catholic church.  That guy that I like so much's choir sang there and the mass itself was awesome.  Chanting, cantors, a priest who gave a great sermon, felt just like Europe except we could understand what was being said.


I have been returning to a love of mine...a love of writing scripture.  I have always loved reading it out loud...I feel like I understand it better and I love the way it sounds when being read, but there is something, too, about writing it out.   Especially the letters in the new testament because they are just that...letters.

I love the friendships that my boys have with others...the kind of sibling relationships that are safe and comfortable and easy.  Another reason I love it?

I get cookies out of it.  Not that I can eat them but the smell?  Oh my.  Is there any better smell than that of warm from the oven cookies?

This weekend it hit me.  The ambulance.  The memories back to Matthew's first stitches and surgery and Alex...oh Alex.  And then Brian.  I filled the tub with hot water water and loads of bubbles and lit some candles and poured myself a glass of wine and just soaked.  Soaked and prayed and cried a really ugly cry.  

This motherhood's hard.  The bath helped.  The wine helped.  The praying helped.

Calm usually follows chaos and I am more than ready for that.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Trip To The Hospital

 Today it happened.  

My baby tackled someone and the someone got up and my baby didn't.  He laid there and moved but didn't get up.  The ambulance came, he was put on a stretcher and off we went to the hospital.

Before I go on, he's fine.  Bruised and torn and tired..but fine.


I can't stop looking at the above picture.  Yes, he is on a stretcher but all I see is my boy covered in light...a bright and warm light.  He was hurt (but talking),  I went into my calm zen mode that all mothers go into when faced with a crisis and the paramedics were caring for him.  

But it all seemed calm.  There were scary things being spoken about what it could be or might be and yet it was calm...he was calm, I was calm, that guy that I like so much was calm.

That light though.  That light shining on him, engulfing him, pouring down on him...I simply see God in that light.

We rode an ambulance and I called in the troops.  I'm not a huge presence on social media but I threw out a fast prayer request, texted my boys, and asked for prayers for Brian.

That light was blinding.  

Hospitals are an interesting place.  Many rushing in only to wait for long periods of time.  It's a mystery to me...we were well cared for, X-rays were taken, an MRI scheduled, Drs. in and Drs. out. The ambulance guys stopped in after dropping off another load and chatted with Bri for a bit...they both played for the same high school as my boy and that whole football brotherhood thing runs pretty deep.


 Speaking of football brotherhood...the other team, as Brian was being put into the ambulance, all stopped and helmets in the air started cheering for him.

More light.

My middle boy dropped everything and met us at the hospital.  If ever there is a crisis, Alex is the guy you want around.  He's hilarious...or he was until he almost ejected Brian out of the hospital bed.

He just kept saying (over and over and over) that for the first time ever we weren't in the hospital because of him.

Even more light.


In the end we were released with crutches and pages of things to do later and things to watch for and blah, blah, blah.  

My boy?  He's going to be fine.  His hip was dislocated (and then relocated) and his hip flexor is torn.  He'll limp for awhile and be sad that football is over for awhile and probably feel a little nervous when the time comes to play again.  

I'm not worried...that light will shine down, protect him, engulf him.

Everyone is tucked in where they should be.  I've talked with Matthew, Alex is asleep and Brian is icing and watching TV.  Supper came about 4 hrs after it should have and was courtesy of the closest this case, Carls Jr.  Not the healthiest, not the tastiest but it was food and we were all starving.

The sun has gone down and it is dark, but I still feel that light.  I'm thankful.  Tired, drained and thankful.  Very, very thankful.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Time On The Road

Last weekend that guy that I like so much and I left a note for the boys that still reside here at home, packed a small bag and climbed into his cute little car.  We headed north on the 101 for a rather quick little getaway to Northern California.

Just the two of us with no boys in the back seat...something totally new for us and, if truth be told, rather enjoyable.  Not that traveling with a houseful of boys has not been enjoyable but, well...I was not blessed with children who could keep their hands off of their brothers.

At all.

We only had two days but took our time driving north, stopping along the way quite a bit to see stuff we've always wanted to see.  

This state of's long.  

Along the way we stopped and visited our friend Luke.  He's a wine guy who owns a bunch of real life, Luke and I work together but during the crush he's a wine and olive guy.

 His land?  Gorgeous.  His grapes? Beautiful.

Can't wait to drink them.


We did a little tasting and supported the local economy by shelling out a few bucks and then hopped back into the car and continued our drive.

The blessing of a long road trip is that there is lots of time to talk.  In our real lives back home there's work and boys and a little house on a little street...but here on the open road?  Hours and hours and hours to talk.

Thing is...after 30 years, he's still the guy I want to talk to.  He gets my quirky thoughts and my stupid jokes and knows my ways of thinking.  And I know his. There's something to be said about sharing a history, about that longevity...especially in the disposable times we live in now.

And I realize it's a's nothing he and I have done.  We're not deserving of it.  This life we have, and it could end tomorrow, is truly a gift.

And after a stop for ice cream, because what's a road trip without ice cream, the conversations got deeper.  About that gift we've been given, about how fragile life is, about the number of our days, about the legacy we'd like to leave.

About bucket lists.

About our faith.

My bucket list of things I want here on earth is rather short...very short actually.  

I want time.  

I want time to spend with the people I love and I want time to tell my people that I love them.

I want time.

The other stuff is just that...stuff.  

On this trip we walked among grapevines and redwoods...both which are 100's of years old.  Their roots have been stepped on by multiple people in fancy shoes and people without shoes.  I'm sure tears have been shed under them, prayers have been said,  love has been made.

Who were those people?  Are they remembered?  Does it matter where they vacationed or the things they'd bought or the food they've eaten?  

And what is my legacy...and does that even matter?

We spend so much time talking about our boys and their ratings....the grades they get and where they've gone to school and their degrees and cars they drive and girls they date and the fun they're having.

But none of that matters.

None of it.

Their faith...their relationship with God, that is what matters.  That is my legacy.  I can't do that for them...I can't make them believe.  I've planted a seed...a small seed by bringing them to church, talking about the truth of law and gospel, about baptism and the Holy Spirit and praying with them and for them.

But that order for it to grow, they have to water it.  

For now, I'll keep throwing in a good dose of fertilizer.  Reminders and hints and good old fashioned guilt.  I'm good at that.


The ride home felt a bit longer even though it was the same amount of miles.  I was anxious to get home...there was laundry to get done and meals to plan and boys to catch up with.  But the that time we were given?


Here's to being home.  We walked in the door after a stop to Costco, threw steaks and potatoes and asparagus on the grill, opened a great bottle of wine and toasted to life and love.

 And no speeding tickets this trip.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Road Trippin'

That guy that I like so much and I took a super quick getaway to Northern Cali this weekend.  Just me and him and a convertible on the open road.

Here's a glimpse:


Home is always the best after you've been away....wouldn't you agree?  


Monday, October 6, 2014

This Past Weekend

Friday morning: 

Pedicure.  And (not shown), a new pair of shoes.  

Happy, happy feet.


Friday afternoon:

Napping pets.  And (not pictured), a napping pup.  

His favorite place?  Under my feet.


Friday night:

My baby playing football.  And (not pictured), a fancy work dinner out with that guy that I like so much.  

I ate polenta.  Yum.

Saturday lunch:

Smash Burger.  So good...especially the rosemary olive oil fries.  And (not pictured), a trip to TJ's where we stocked up on (much needed) wine.  

Never a good thing to run out of wine.

Saturday afternoon:

Our little house on our little street is all dressed up for Fall.  And (not pictured), the front porch got a make over, too...minus one bale of hay and one cornstalk that still need to be purchased.

I absolutely love this time of year...the colors, the smells, the food, the blankets.  Oh, how I love to curl up with a good blanket.  Too bad they all currently smell like boy, thanks to a recent sleepover.  

Thankful for washing machines.


Saturday night:

Homemade pizza.  I had no clue my oven went to 600 cool (or hot?) is that?  This one was roasted fennel, soprassata and kalamatas.  So amazingly amazingly good.  

And (not pictured), a pepperoni and sausage for the not so adventurous eaters.

Sunday morning:

A long, long hike.  The trail was hot and dusty and empty and glorious.  I need this time so's easy to skip but then I realize how much better I feel once I'm out there.

And (not pictured), my neighbor who came along.  She was a trooper.

Why?  See below.


Sunday morning, continued.


And (not pictured), us screaming.


Sunday afternoon:

A good, old fashioned (but not really) hymnfest.  This one was fabulous...great hymns, lots of people, an incredible time of worship.

And (not pictured), an Oktoberfest after.  Beer and brats at the university.  It's good to be Lutheran.


Sunday night:

Prep for the week.  Time with my boys.  Laundry.  Bible study homework.

Felt good to be busy this weekend but it also felt good to sit.  There were moments where I was able to just be pray.  The number of people we know that are currently facing trials and it feels like there is nothing physical we can do to help.  We're too far to bring meals or to help...but I can pray.  I need to constantly remind myself how big and powerful that is...that God hears and knows and understands my simplest prayers.

I'm thankful for that.

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