Sick and sick of it

Everyone in my family has had a cold in recent weeks.  And now it’s my turn.  When other people have a cold it seems like a minor inconvenience and I say things like, “Get some rest.  Drink more water.”

When I have a cold, I feel like it would only be appropriate to cancel school and work and hire a nurse to bring me soft tissues and warm blankets and steaming mugs of homemade chicken noodle soup.

The reality is more like me producing massive piles of used tissues and wishing I could breathe like a normal person and working while coughing.  No fun.

* * *

Today was my daughter’s second-to-the-last soccer game (not counting tournaments that happen after the regular season).  The sun shone and I wasn’t the only one wearing a sweater or sweatshirt even though in Seattle these temperatures would be cause for sunbathing and a trip to the water-park.  It was sunny, but overnight it had been cool (fifty degrees, maybe), so we embraced the fall, such as it is here in Southern California.  By the time the game started at 9:30 AM, the temperature was pretty close to perfect.

Even better than the weather was the actual game.  The opponent was tough–as tough as a bunch of 10-years olds with ponytails can be–and our girls played excellent soccer.  They won 3-0.

The rest of the day has been considerably less exciting.  I went to Costco.  I cooked homemade chicken soup and put it in the CrockPot.  I napped and picked up and dropped off kids at work.  I watched football with my husband while he coughed and I sneezed.  I washed an awful lot of dirty dishes that had been lurking around the house.  (One word of explanation:  kids.)   I read a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I worked a little at the computer and contemplated doing a load or two of laundry.  (Verdict:  No laundry for me today, thanks anyway.)

Now, go wash your hands with lots of soap and hot water so you don’t catch the plague.  It’s too late for me, but maybe it’s not too late for you.





Actual unretouched photos (taken with my iPhone 4!)

I said  yesterday I’d post pictures today . . . and despite my technical difficulties, I’ve kept my promise.

On Wednesday, my daughter and I went to Sea World on a school field trip.  We loved the sea lions and found it very amusing to feed them a little tray of fish (which cost $5!).  The birds were extremely aggressive while the sea lions were just obnoxious and demanding and adorable.

Thursday night, I had a follow-up hair appointment so the stylist could make a few snips to fix my crazy hair.  We were traveling down the Coast Highway and the sun to our right was sliding down the sky and I handed my phone back to my daughter and asked her to look up what time the sun would set.  (There’s an app for that, you know.)

She reported it was to set at 4:51 PM.  My appointment was at 5:00 PM.  So, over the objections of my daughter who thinks I have enough photos of sunsets here in Southern California, I pulled into the parking lot and we spent ten minutes watching the sunset.

The beach was still and calm without even a breeze.  What an amazing ten minutes.

And then it was time to drive down the road.

After the hair appointment, on to the soccer field.  It’s so weird to drop her off at soccer practice when it’s completely dark out, but the soccer fields are well-lit and full of soccer players.

And now, time to sleep so we can be at the soccer field in seven and a half hours.

Now you don’t see it

So, it’s late (as usual) and I’m dozing off at my desk and I thought I’d take the easy way out and just show you some photos I took today with my phone.

Except that the photos aren’t downloading quickly and I’m impatient and tired.  So, instead, I’m leaving a promise here, an I.O.U. of sorts.  Tomorrow, a few photos and maybe an accompanying story.

But for now, bed.  I have to be at homeschool co-op in about eight hours.

Long day

I am extremely tired.  We woke up extra early this morning so we (Grace and I) could go on a field trip to Sea World.  Once we arrived, we stood in a line for thirty minutes before being admitted.  (That’s the price you pay for going on an inexpensive field trip–you have to be patient.)

After we finished with the sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins, sharks, and more, we had lunch in Del Mar.  Afterward, I took my daughter home and then turned around and retraced my steps (sort of) and had a hair appointment.

I really like the new stylist I found.  However, when I asked her to cut my very long hair to my collarbone, she . . . cut it to my chin.  That’s a good three inches shorter than I intended, which, okay, fine, it’s just hair, but why in the world do I keep ending up with this same cut no matter how hard I try to avoid it?  I am either a really bad communicator or somehow I keep asking for the very thing I do not want.  I don’t know.

Anyway, somewhere between here and there, I got an email from someone that was fairly upsetting.  It’s nothing you can really imagine and it’s not from anyone you’d think . . . but that’s about all I can say.  It kind of ruined the rest of my day.  I’m hoping I’ll feel better about the whole thing tomorrow.  It’s amazing how a good night’s sleep can soften the sharp edges of a difficult situation (she says with hope).

Then it was time to throw together a quick dinner so I could drive one kid to piano lessons and one kid to AWANA.  Throw in a quick viewing of Survivor and three hours of work and now it’s time for bed.

And in case you were wondering, a dolphin feels like smooth soft cold rubber.  At least that’s how the dolphin I touched today felt.

Good vibrations

Three of my kids have cell phones.  They’ve had them for years now.

Yet, half the time when I try to reach them by telephone or text, I get no answer. Do you know why?

I’ll tell you.

It’s because they all keep their phones on “vibrate” only.  This is excellent when you’re holding your phone in your hand or perhaps when you are concentrating on your pants pocket and can feel the buzz of the vibration.

However, if you are more than three feet from your phone, you will not hear it vibrate.

What’s up with using that setting?  I’ve noticed my kids’ friends have the same thing happening . . . no ring tones, only vibrations.  We went to pick up one of their friends the other day and seven phone calls and five texts went unanswered.  Seriously. It’s weird.

Also weird is when you are with someone who goes into a trance every five minutes, reaches for their silent cell phone, texts a few words and then tucks the cell phone away, all without a sound.

* * *

In other news, I inadvertently wore slippers to Costco today.  I didn’t mean to, but after I picked up my son from school, he reminded me of something he urgently needed from Costco.  I was wearing my moccasin-style slippers and I just pretended I was wearing super comfortable shoes.

I doubt anyone noticed, of course.  Around here–maybe everywhere in America now–people wear their pajamas to stores.  I’ve seen a polar bear fleece pajama pant, flannel pajama pants, obvious pink pajama pants.  That is a line I just won’t cross.  Slippers, maybe.  Pajamas at WalMart?  Uh, no.

So tell me.  Do you keep your phone on vibrate?  Do you wear pajamas in public?



Taxi Driver

Late last night I received word that my son would not have his usual ride to school this morning.  I quickly figured out that I’d need to take him to school a little earlier than strictly necessary so I could get home and pick up another son to get him to work on time.

That plan would have been perfect except that someone (not me!) was running late and gummed up the works.  This made the second son three minutes late.

Then I worked for several hours longer than I intended.  I promised my daughter we’d go to lunch and by the time we got out of the house we had less than an hour to eat.  That would not have been a problem except that when we came back to the car after eating, I saw that the passenger side rear tire of my car was flat.

Not flat-flat, but saggy-flat.  Flat enough that I knew I should not drive around with that flattish tire.

In our family, my husband handles the car-related stuff.  Not that he knows anything about cars, but he takes the cars to people who do and that’s his gender-assigned role.  I’ve never once even been into a tire store that I recall.  I got married so I would not have to go into tire stores or talk to life insurance sales men or kill spiders.  (Plus one or two other reasons.)

My husband, though, is in Texas.  He happened to call just after I discovered the tire.  I explained what was happening and asked him where he usually takes our cars to get the tires fixed.  (Discount Tires, as it turns out.)

In the meantime, however, I drove slowly across the parking lot to the Sears in the mall.  I parked by the open garage and asked the nearest uniformed guy if he’d put some air in the tire.  He did–and he pointed out the nail snugly embedded in my tire.

Then I hurried to pick up my son from school.

I dropped off son and daughter at home so I could go to Discount Tires.  Once there, I waited for almost an hour for my tire to be repaired–at no charge, it should be noted.  The store was so clean and tidy and the employees were awesome.  Weirdly, this was the second time this particular tire has needed a repair.

When I got back into the car, I saw that the indicator light–the one that had been glowing ever since my husband left, the one that told me a tire was not fully inflated, the one that I ignored because I am that kind of person, the kind of person who ignores warning lights–that light was no longer on.

So I filled up my gas tank with more gasoline ($3.67 a gallon which almost seems like a bargain considering recent prices) and now I’m ready to resume shuttling kids around.  (Daughter to class, son to class, son to work, son home from school, daughter to soccer.)

Too bad I don’t charge my passengers by the mile.

Empty nest sneak peek

I just finished working and almost shut down the computer.  Then I remembered my commitment to blog here.  So, here goes.

By the way, I meant to mention that last month marked the tenth birthday of my blog.  I never could have imagined blogging for ten straight years, but lo and behold, somehow I did.  My blogging patterns have changed over the years as my kids have grown older and my daily life has shifted from non-stop childcare to a full-time job (in addition to everything else).  Some days now there is nothing to say and sometimes I have something to say but I’m afraid to say it.

When I started blogging, I had about ten readers.  Not even my husband knew about my blog at first.  Now, I’ve met people who have said to me upon shaking my hand for the first time, “Oh, I’ve read your blog.”  So I most definitely think before I click the “Publish” button.

Anyway, happy birthday to my blog!  Ten years old!  You’re almost a ‘tween!

I continued my time-consuming hobby of being the family chauffeur today, starting with a delivery to the soccer field at 8:30 AM.  I left my daughter at the field and returned home to pick up my son who had to work at 9:30 AM.  I dropped him off and returned to the soccer field where I watched our team decimate the other team.  (Final score:  10-0.)

When we got home, I took my first nap of the day.

Then it was time to drive my second son to work.

My daughter decided she’d have more fun at her friend’s house, so she arranged a pick-up for herself and left.

I returned home for my second nap of the day.  When I woke up, I thought it was time to take my third son to the movie theater.  However, I apparently cannot tell time and was ready an hour early, so I went to the grocery store so I could get a twenty dollar bill to hand over to my son for the movies.  Also, I got lettuce and other stuff.

Then I picked up my son, picked up his friend and took them to the movie theater.

I returned home to an empty house.




I’m still a decade away from an empty nest . . . and I’ve had kids in my house for twenty years, so this was a remarkable and longed for moment.  I hardly knew what to do with myself, so I decided today was the day I’d begin watching The Walking Dead on Netflix.  (I am super behind the times, I know.)

I finished up my day by picking up my first son from work.  My third son was driven home by his friend’s mom.  Then I drove to pick up my daughter and my second son.  We got home at 9:30 PM.

I worked a few hour and now I’m excited to sleep an extra hour.  This is my favorite weekend of the year, the Sunday I go to church a little less tired than usual.

And now you know how I spent my Saturday (contributing to global warming by driving my non-hybrid Toyota Corolla back and forth and back and forth and back again).

The end.

Lost and found, revisited

While my husband is on an eating tour of Texas (also known as Visiting His Family), I am the family chauffeur.

Really.  I’ve been all over.  In the past two days, I have driven:

  • Son to work
  • Daughter to trick-or-treat at friend’s house
  • Youngest son to friend’s house
  • Son from work
  • Youngest son from friend’s house
  • Other son to work
  • Daughter to birthday party
  • Daughter from birthday party
  • Son from work

Shockingly (not), I haven’t received a single tip or payment from any of my  passengers.

None of my kids drive yet and, yes, that skill is way overdue.  Soon, hopefully, soon, they’ll be driving, too, though, of course, that involves its own set of issues.

Today, after I dropped my daughter off at a birthday party, I decided to make the most of my freedom and so I headed to Marshall’s to celebrate by browsing the discount merchandise.  After shopping, I headed back to my car and found an older woman standing near the trunk, gazing around with that look I recognized.  She could not find her car.

She held her key fob like a divining rod and I paused and she said, “I can’t find my car.”  I said, “What does it look like?” and she said, “It’s white.”

Well, so is every other car in Southern California (except for mine).  I said, “Well.”  Then, “What direction is it pointed?”

We stood shoulder to shoulder, peering at the white cars.  I offered to drive her around the parking lot so we could check every white car–she looked frail–and she said, ” No, but if you could just stay here.  I get anxiety and I know I parked here by Sally’s and I shouldn’t have even come–I’m not feeling well at all–but I wanted a refund.”

I said, “What about that white car?”  I pointed and said, “Let’s walk that way and check.  Click your key and we’ll see if the lights go on.”  I took her hand and we walked a few feet and heard a the familiar “beep” of a car being unlocked.  We both said, “I hear it!”

So, we walked a few more steps and then I said, “Click it again” and she did and it was coming from the right, not the left where we’d been headed.  I turned and saw the flashing taillights.

“There it is!”  I walked her over to the car and she told me she’d been having so much stress–she’s moving from a two bedroom into a one bedroom, but the two bedroom hasn’t sold yet and she’s signed paperwork for the one bedroom and she’s not feeling well at all and I said, “Are you going to be okay driving?” and she assured me she was driving straight home.

And I almost hugged her–she struck me as the kind of lady who needed a hug–but instead I just rubbed her shoulder and said, “Drive safe, okay?” and then I left her.

I prayed for her as I drove away and hoped that she got home safely.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart, especially in a parking lot full of white cars.

Farewell, October!

As usual, Halloween Day was a whirlwind of activity.  I’ve been known to sew costumes just hours before the festivities begin, but no sewing was involved this year.

Instead, my husband left for Texas.

He had an early afternoon flight, so weirdly enough, we had a slowish morning.  He filled both vehicles with gasoline and packed at a leisurely pace while I walked the dog and strung up some decorations outside (including a giant spider I bought at the grocery store earlier this month).

He left at about 11:15 AM and I prepared homemade soup for the Crock Pot and then at noon it was time for me to work.

Meanwhile, Grace could barely stay focused on her school work.  The dog was rowdy even though she’d been walked.

I worked until 4:20 PM, then drove one son to work and another son to his friend’s house for a Halloween party.  When I got home, it was time to braid my daughter’s hair and cloak the dog in a cow-print cloth.  The dog cooperated because she was distracted by food and so I knotted two corners under her neck and then diaper-pinned the two sides under her belly.

She was a cow but she looked kind of like a Dalmation.

We drove to a friend’s house to show off the costumes, then rushed back home in the darkening evening so my daughter could trick-or-treat.  Our street was quiet at first and then we started to encounter other trick-or-treaters.  The dog/cow was feisty at first and eventually, tongue-hanging-out-tired.

Once home again, I had enough time to watch part of the Charlie Brown special (I saw my first Christmas commercial on television!) and then it was time to work again.  I interrupted my work for quick jaunts to pick up the two boys.

And now, somehow, it’s past 1:00 AM.  I’m about to shut off my television, click off my lamp, lock my sliding glass door and leave my office for the kitchen where I have to make my son’s lunch for school tomorrow.

This last day of October has been incredibly busy, yet not so unlike so many other recent days–and not so unlike almost everyone I know.

Anyway, all this to say that in November I’m going to be writing every day . . . even if it’s as dull as a diary entry.  Hey, it’s my blog and I’ll drone on if I want to!

Happy Look-Out-Here-Comes-Thanksgiving!

Lost and found

On a recent Sunday, my 11-year old and I spent most of the afternoon at a soccer-related event.

Afterward, I realized we’d have just enough time to catch the sunset, so we drove through town and found a parking place.

The first spot I found required parallel parking and normally, I am an adequate parallel parker.  I’m always kind of amazed that I can maneuver my van into a parallel parking spot but usually, I can do it without too much trouble.

Except this particular time.  I had the mini-van angled in but as I pivoted my head around and around (like the Exorcist, exactly as you picture), a man’s voice came clearly through the open window:  “Nope. Not gonna make it.”

I agreed and wheeled out of that spot in shame and circled around some more until I found a stretch on a block with plenty of space to pull into.  This space also had no critics standing nearby to mock me.

Anyway, I parked and we hurried out, down the street and toward the stairs leading to the beach.  I expected the sunset to be spectacular because a wildfire had been burning nearby.  Did you know that smoke in the atmosphere can turn the sunset more intensely red?  (Something about debris in the atmosphere scattering the green and blue light, leaving just the red showing.)

Just as we were to cross the street, my daughter noticed a wallet-type purse sitting on the street corner.  I bent to pick it up, revealing a smart phone with a cracked screen beneath the wallet.  The wallet contained the owner’s driver’s license and what appeared to be a credit card and some other kind of card.  The phone seemed to be ringing without making any sound but I hesitated to answer it.  I noticed the icon said she’d had four phone calls.

I put the phone and wallet into my purse and then we went down the stairs to the sunset.  My plan was to wait until the sunset and then to deliver the phone and wallet to a sheriff’s office near a movie theater where we’d be heading to pick up my son.

So, the sun set:

My son called, so we drove down the highway to the movie theater.

I parked and walked down the street to the sheriff’s office but it was closed.

I looked at the phone and saw twelve missed calls.  I imagined that the phone’s owner in panic, calling her own phone, hoping someone would answer, hoping she could find it somehow.  I’m acquainted with that type of panic.

I thought I’d get home and then figure out what to do. The address on her driver’s license was local.  When I lost my driver’s license at the beach a few months ago, someone picked it up and turned it into the police department.  I received a letter in the mail telling me they had my property and after I called, they mailed it to me.

I picked up my son and then started to drive away.  I glanced at the lost phone and saw it was ringing yet again.  I answered it.  Fourteen missed calls.

“Hello?”  Silence.  So I said, “Is this _______________?”  (I knew her name from her license.)

Then, “I found your phone!”

She shrieked with relief and joy.  I circled back around, waited for her for ten minutes or so and then happily delivered her wallet and phone to her.  I was so happy to be part of the miracle that young woman experienced.  What was lost was found.

Amazing grace all around.


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