The reason for the furry tumbleweeds

Almost two years ago, this puppy came into our family.

We had a choice between another puppy and this one–and someone in our family chose this one–the “feisty one” because that sounded like more fun for the kids.  (That someone was not me because my ideal dog is kind of like a bear rug that just lies on the floor by the fireplace, not moving.)

So, Lola the Dog has been wreaking havoc ever since.

She ate a bunch of ibuprofen once, for instance, and ended up in the specialty hospital for three nights.  That hospital charged us by the hour.

She’s eaten shoes that do not even belong to our family.

She steals food from the kitchen counters.  She cannot resist butter and has more than once eaten a bag of tortillas.  She gnaws on my kitchen utensils and has left toothmarks on my Tupperware measuring cups.

Lola the Dog is smart but unless you have a treat in your hand, she may or may not cooperate. Lately, if she wants to cross the street and walk on the other side, she will just stop and look at me until I say, “Do you want to cross?” and then, if I head across the street, she’ll happily follow.  Otherwise, no go.

I kind of remember the days before this dog with longing . . . you would, too, if you saw how much she sheds.  I wonder why we complicated our lives with a feisty dog who eats stuff that is not edible.

She is a dog who cannot contain her joy when we return after even two minutes away from the house.   She sprawls under my desk while I work.  She barks her fool head off when we get a delivery.

When she comes to my chair and I try to pet her, she reaches up and holds my hands with her paws.

She’s a pain.  She leaves her toys everywhere.  She slobbers on me.  She keeps digging random holes in the lawn.

But she is a big fan of everyone who lives in our house . . . and of everyone she’s ever met.  (She is more hesitant about The Cats.)

If only she could do laundry.

Cat’s in the cradle

Some years ago, a friend stopped by for an unannounced visit.

With some horror, I gave her directions to our  upstairs bathroom, not knowing what condition she’d find it in.  After all, with three small boys, you never know if you’ll see a sink full of dried toothpaste, an unflushed toilet or worse.   (Much, much worse.)

She came out of the bathroom saying, “Oh, I remember when we had Power Rangers in the bathtub!”  Her boy was ten years older than my oldest boys.  Those days were long gone for her.

I think of that sometimes, especially when my daughter uses the big master bathroom tub and leaves her little family of animals perched on the edge.

These days don’t last forever.


While I was not sleeping

I finished reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods yesterday.  I read it as a counterpoint to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, but it was such a different type of book.  I thought I’d find similarities–after all, both books are about hiking trails–but Cheryl’s book was a memoir, decidedly so, and Bill Bryson’s was an amusing travel book, the first book by Bryson I’ve ever read.

(Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, is being filmed by Reese Witherspoon right this very moment.)

Now I’m reading Beverly Donofrio’s book, Riding in Cars with Boys.  For some reason, I thought this was a novel, but it’s really a memoir.  I read an article about Donofrio in a magazine and immediately went to my bookshelf to find the book.

Recently, I saw Robert Redford’s new film, All is Lost.   I loved it and heartily recommend it.

* * *

That’s about all I have for today.  Today was three-nap day.  Yesterday was a three-nap day.  I feel better tonight than I’ve felt since the plague (aka Common Cold) overtook me.  With any luck, tomorrow will be a two-nap day or even a one-nap day.

Having a cold is such a bummer but at least it’s temporary.

Look away

I am still in the throes of a bad cold.  I stayed home from church so I could stay in pajamas and lie in bed with  box of tissues and the remote control.  I took three naps.

And then I had to work for four hours.  I’ve created an impressive tower of used tissues during my stay at the keyboard.

Tomorrow should be a better day.  One can hope.

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.

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