What I did instead of going to the beach on this fine day

My daughter begged me to buy bunk beds at a garage sale quite a few years ago.  We crammed the white metal beds into the back of a van and dragged them upstairs to her room.  She’s had them ever since.

Last year, she thought it would be better to unstack the bunk beds so she’d have two separate beds.  I knew this was a terrible idea because of the lack of floor space but she insisted.  Ever since, her room has been an obstacle course, made worse by the fact that she has an emotional attachment or special memory assigned to everything she’s ever accumulated.  Also, she has a tiny hoarding problem.  (Stuffed animals!  Dollies!  Head bands!)

Recently, she decided she would like to get rid of one bed.  I suggested that maybe we should removed both bunk beds and then move a spare daybed from the boys’ room into her room.  So that was the plan for today.

I am a sequential and thorough rearranger, so I knew it would be an ordeal.  And since there was no school today, we tackled the chore.

Let’s just say that two hours into the seven hour task, she lost steam.  She petered out.  She would have flopped onto her bed while I dug through piles but her room had no beds in it.

But despite her lethargy and my eventual exhaustion, we did it.  We moved the bunk beds into the garage.  I took apart the daybed and then reassembled it in her room.  We sorted and purged (a little) and repacked and restacked.  It’s not perfect, not quite the thorough job I’d hoped to do, but it’s enough.

And now that I’m thoroughly exhausted, it’s time for a new week of school and soccer and lacrosse and work and driving kids around.



A complete life

For once, she’s not posing . . .

I’ve spent the last two days with Chatty Cathy chattering in my ear.  At least that’s how it feels.  (Frankly, I’m exhausted.)

On Friday, I invited her to accompany me to the beach to see the sunset.  She quickly accepted my offer so off we went, racing the clock to arrive before the sun disappeared beyond the horizon.

Looks serene, right?  It was not.  (Fun, but not serene.)

This child only stops chattering when she is singing.

She makes up songs (“Mom is grumpy . . . Mom is lumpy . . . “) and occasionally she makes me laugh out loud at her quick wit.

That’s all she needs. The reinforcement keeps her going until sometimes I snap at her.  She immediately pouts and I feel exasperated and repentant.

And then she resumes her shenanigans.

Walking on the beach with this kid is not peaceful.  You cannot contemplate anything while she’s keeping up a running commentary.

When I attempt to take a pensive picture of her gazing at the horizon, she busts out the jazz hands.  She jumps and struts and runs from my camera (which is really just my iPhone).

That’s why this picture is a minor miracle.


Today had to buy a birthday gift for her friend, so we went to Michael’s.

It was when we were leaving Michael’s that she told me that she requires four things for her life to be complete.

She wants:

1)  To live in Michael’s since it’s her favorite store and has all her favorite stuff.  (Rainbow loom rubber-bands and decorative duct tape, for instance.)

2)  To become a famous singer.

3)  To have a money tree so she can grow her own money.

4)  To own a “teacup” pig, which apparently is a really small pig that can fit into a teacup.

A girl has got to dream, I guess.  And this girl is dreaming out loud.



This is the face of merry, is it not?

She’s always been a fan of the merry-go-round.

The photo of this joyful face was taken almost seven years ago.

Where does the time go?

Around and around and around and before you know it, your babies aren’t babies anymore.

Quickly, before I go

I wash dishes at breakneck speed, only rarely breaking them.  And I hardly ever cut myself on knives as I swish the sponge over the blade.

When I walk, it’s as if I’m competing for first place.  My kids trail behind me like ducklings.

I read fast.  I type fast.  I drive fast though I haven’t been ticketed for twenty years.

I make snap judgments.  I decide quickly–once I have all the facts.  I watch television after it’s been recorded so I can fast-forward through the commercials.

I’m not sure why I’ve always been in such a hurry, but even back when I was nine I was proud of the fact that I was the fastest girl runner in the fourth grade. I finished my tests first.  I learned my multiplication facts before everyone else in my third grade class.

Traffic lights turn green and my foot is already pressing the gas pedal.  Let’s go!  I’m a toe-tapping, finger-drumming, heavy sigher.  I just can’t quite understand why everyone else is moving so slowly.  Come on, I think.  Let’s GO!

And then yesterday, as I was rushing from somewhere to somewhere else, I had a fleeting thought.  (My thoughts, they flee sometimes, like they’re being chased.)

I thought how aggravating it must be for my kids to have a mom whose default speed is 80 MPH when they are happy to tootle along at 25 MPH.  And I thought that maybe it would be a relief to me to just acknowledge that some people are meant to move along at a less frantic pace.

Some people are meant to linger, to loiter, to meander.

Some people want to take the circuitous route for whatever nonsensical reason.  (I always figure out the fastest route, don’t you?)  It’s not a race.

So I’m going to try to stop judging the slowpokes among us.  I’m going to try to stop yelling at those cars that drive like there’s a Department of Motor Vehicles evaluator in the passenger seat.  I’m going to try to stop sighing at people who just get in my way with their unhurried, impossibly leisurely dawdling.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run upstairs to sleep really fast so I can get a million things done tomorrow.

Bloom where you’re a grown up

I don’t even know what this is but it’s blooming in my backyard!

I remember saying long ago that spring should arrive directly after Christmas.

And lo and behold, here in San Diego County, after Christmas comes spring!  My  Gerber daisy is in bloom as are the African daisies.  I have bulbs emerging in a pot.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to be close to eighty degrees.

Eighty degrees!

That’s not because of spring, actually, but because of Santa Ana winds which start in the desert and rush down the mountains toward the sea.  It’s very dry here–my hands haven’t felt this dry since we lived in frigid northern Michigan winters–and so the fire danger is high, they say.  Aside from that, how about those temperatures?

I’d really like to play hooky and sit at the beach and read a thick novel but, alas, that is not meant to be.

Why?  Because I am a grown up and grown ups have to work and take their kids to school and pick their kids up from school and drive their kids to soccer practice and wash dishes and cook dinner and make sure that everyone has clean socks.

Note to self:  Next time, read the fine print before agreeing to be a grown up.


This is my birthday month.  I’m turning forty-nine.  Does that sound old to you?  It sounds old to me even though I will insist that “old” people are at least eighty or ninety or maybe a hundred.  But mathematically, forty-nine is practically fifty and fifty is twenty years old than thirty and didn’t thirty seem like a grown-up age when you were thirty?  I’m old enough to have children who are doctors and lawyers and who have children of their own.  (Not that my own children do because they aren’t old enough for such things but mathematically, you know, it’s possible.)

I’m at the age where plain old eyeglasses are no longer adequate.  The eye doctor has set me up with progressive contact lenses.  This last time, he gave me a lens for my left eye that will help me see up close and a lens for the right that sees distances.  The issue is that I see blurry when I’m driving, especially at night.  And I’m the kind of person who will put a hand over one eye and then the next to figure out which eye is not working right.  So if you see a woman driving with one hand over her left eye, then one hand over her right, you’ll know why.  I’m trying to figure out which eye is making things blurry.

I can see up close perfectly fine without any lenses or glasses, so I’d rather see perfectly at a distance.  I can always  use reading glasses to undo what the contact lenses have done.  At night I take out my contacts and wear glasses for distances.  I take them off while I’m reading. I just really want to see the signs when I’m driving.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  It is, however, awfully complicated.

Yeah, so this is what it’s like being oldish.  You start talking about your ailments and frailties and it’s super boring for you whippersnappers.  But why are you reading an old lady blog anyway?  That’s the question.

I thought it would be fun to use this month to recall moments from days gone by.  I thought maybe I’d start today with my earliest memories and move forward through the years but as fate would have it, I spent all my time and space talking about my eyesight, so an actual story will have to wait until tomorrow.

Try to contain your enthusiasm.  At least I didn’t mention what happens at my advanced age when you cough.  Ha.  (Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.)

Now get to bed.  You need your beauty rest!  (Or if you’re reading this in the morning . . . Good morning, Merry Sunshine!  You look so dewy and well-rested this morning!)

Worth three thousand words

The center of Disneyland is Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

California Adventure!

The lights are beautiful even through the blur of an iPhone camera.

The day after Disneyland

I cannot tell you how tired I was today.

Sunday night, I slept a mere three hours and forty-five minutes before waking up early to take kids to Disneyland.  (I took my 11-year old, my 15-year old and his girlfriend.)

We stayed at the parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) for eleven hours.  Then I drove home (an hour!) and worked for four hours.

Today, I worked my regular shifts and drove three of my kids around. (School drop-off, school pick-up, work drop-off.)

I am just thankful that my husband took my daughter to soccer practice tonight so I could take a nap before work.

I have some iPhone photos of Disneyland . . . but I’m in a hurry to get to bed, so maybe tomorrow.

I do have to say that it was kind of weird to be warm at Disneyland (79 degrees at one point!) while the rest of the country is experiencing such freezing weather.  It was the last day of Christmas decorations at the parks, so it was also like turning back the calendar pages a couple of weeks . . . how fun and strange.


We’re heading to Disneyland tomorrow so I’m trying to get to bed quickly.  (So far, that’s a complete failure.)

I spent my weekend putting Christmas away and napping and watching my daughter play soccer while holding an umbrella to shield myself from the sun.  Supposedly it was sixty degrees but it felt warmer.  No breeze, just sunny blue skies.

I’ve also been working on laundry, but to keep the universe in balance, my kitchen is a wreck.

Here’s to balance.


I wanted to walk somewhere new (also somewhere without the hills that are in my neighborhood) so I volunteered to drive my son to work.  Then I continued on to the beach.

Unfortunately, low clouds obscured the sunset, but the gray sky and smooth ocean were beautiful anyway.  When I first arrived, I noticed dolphins cresting the surface of the water.

The tide was very low, so I crossed the sand to walk on the flat wet sand near the waves.

I took a few photos with my iPhone but they didn’t really capture the beauty of the scene.

I walked for an hour, returning to my car in the dark.  I stopped on the way home at Albertson’s to pick up some fresh French bread.

We ate homemade soup I’d cooked and put in the CrockPot before I left for my walk.

All day I’d planned for the soccer game in the morning but tonight when my daughter asked what color jersey she should wear, I looked up the information in an email from the coach and realized that the game is actually on Sunday morning, not tomorrow.  (I can’t tell you how often this sort of thing happens to me lately.)

And so, tomorrow I get to sleep in, unless you count the twenty minutes when I have to drive my son to work.  I plan to immediately return to bed after dropping him off because that’s how I roll.

Now, the question is . . . will I put away Christmas tomorrow and help my daughter rearrange her room (a complicated situation involving disassembling her twin beds and stashing them in the garage and then moving a daybed into her room–which will probably also have to be taken apart and then put back together) . . . or will I go to a movie?

Diligent Mel will have to convince Lazy Mel to do the right thing.  But Lazy Mel can be very convincing.


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