Bits and pieces

After church today, we had some friends over for lunch.

This pretty straightforward situation was complicated by the fact that it’s hard to cook lunch when you’re at church and made worse by the fact that my dog woke me up three times between 2 AM and 4 AM because her puppy tummy was upset.  At least, I think that was her problem.

(Trust me.  You do not want additional description of what I saw.)

After our company left, I took a three hour nap.


On Friday, my daughter lamented, “It’s Friday!  A ten year old girl should have plans on a Friday!”  She did not have plans, much to her dismay.


I spent a long time on Saturday trying to get my backyard fountain flowing again.  I went to Home Depot twice.  I bought two pumps, both wrong.  I am going to solve this problem or die trying.


My daughter would like several things, including but not limited to 1) more American Girl dolls and accessories; 2)  a trampoline; 3) a swimming pool; 4)  a baby sister; 5)  a guinea pig; 6) a small puppy.  Her chances of acquiring these things ranges between slim and none.


Since living in Southern California, sometimes I can’t quite remember what season it is.  As it turns out, sunshine can be disorienting.


Five things in five minutes

Let’s see.  What can I tell you?

1)  I figured out and filed our taxes all by myself this year for the first time in many years.  I used Turbo Tax and a friend of ours reviewed the forms before I hit “submit” and sent them off.  I tell you this so you feel my pain over spending two whole Saturdays finding the paperwork and then filling in the forms.  Also?  I still have piles of tax-related papers on my desk.

2)  Several weekends ago, I went to a Storyline Conference featuring Donald Miller.  I met a high school English teacher from Los Angeles who happened to have the same breed of dog that I do (which is relatively uncommon) and the exact same business card design.  So it was excellent to hang out with a new friend.  Donald Miller turned out to be an interesting speaker, amusing and engaging.  (Better than I expected, actually.)  The second day, I met a different new friend in the cafeteria line (an aspiring actress and screenwriter) and we’d put our things down on a table to save ourselves spaces.  I was also saving a space for my new school teacher friend.

When we came back to the table with our food, there were several other people at the table (designed to seat six) which would have been fine, except they took the space I’d saved for the school teacher.  I was trying my best not to be annoyed, smiling tightly and assuring them it was fine, just fine.  Then one of the ladies waved her hand toward the other older lady and said, “That’s Donald Miller’s mother!”  I looked at her as if I didn’t speak English and said, “I’m sorry?”  And she repeated it.  “That’s Donald Miller’s mother!”

And that’s how I ended up sitting at Donald Miller’s mother’s table with his mother and two aunts and their friends, all from Texas.  (Favorite quote from his mother:  “We’re from the Bible Belt.  We shock easy.”)

3)  Why does Easter always sneak up on me?  Just a few weeks and it’s here.  Somewhere I have bunnies and eggs and decorations.

4)  We went to see the sunset last night, me and my daughter.  The others refused to leave the house.  I can’t understand why you would give up the chance to see the sunset at the beach–considering that each sunset only happens ONE TIME.  But whatever.  As soon as we started down the road, I saw a huge bank of clouds squatting over the horizon.  As we drove closer, the fog rolled in.  We nearly turned back but decided even a cloudy beach was worth visiting.

We parked and saw that a narrow strip of sky along the horizon glowed.  And so we were able to see the sunset.  I would post a photo but . . . the photos are on my phone and I’m so tired, too tired to transfer them tonight.

5)  I ran out of ideas.  So there is no five.


Raindrops feel brand new here

Random thoughts to fill up this space:

Rain is falling here in Southern California.  So I guess the yard guys won’t be by tomorrow to mow the lawn.

I spent two Saturdays in a row gathering information and then filing our complicated taxes.  This was the first time in years I’ve done my own taxes but the gentleman who usually does them told me I could and he was right.

One of my sons had two job interviews at Legoland.  Now he’s just waiting to hear if he got the job.

One of my other sons is waiting to hear if he was able to transfer to a different high school.  Hopefully we hear in another week or so.  I am impatient.

Grace and I went to Sea World on Wednesday on a school field trip.  Fun.

My dog’s favorite ball, the one that’s really a food dispenser, has disappeared.  Why?  How?

Helping people move reminds me that I never, ever, ever want to move again.  Ever.

We have a very loud frog living in our back yard.  I wish I could see it but every time we step closer, it suddenly shuts up.

I saw daffodils blooming in someone’s yard today.  I need daffodils.  And lilacs.

But mostly at this moment, I need sleep.

I just wrote a whole post that disappeared

That just makes me mad.

Good-night dumb Internet.


Who needs the alphabet?

I looked for a book on my shelves today and couldn’t find it.  I knew I had it, this seasonal book about Lent but where could it be?

I finally gave up.

But as I was reclining on my bed, reading a different book (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller) I had a sudden urge to organize the bookshelf by my bed.

I realized I hadn’t really sorted it and made sense of it since stacking the books in random order when we unpacked.   (And by “we”, I mean “I.”)

So I rearranged them by color.

The only bummer was realizing that I’d stashed a bunch of books out of sight.  So now the blue books will have to shove the green books down to the next shelf.  And so on and so forth.

And for the record, purple books are in the  minority.

Oh!  And I found the missing book.  It was hiding on the very bottom shelf.

Blizzard inspired

When the blizzard hit (last weekend?), I was here in Southern California.  I think we might have had some clouds, but we most certainly did not have snow drifts.  Or snow flakes.  Or weather, as the rest of the country defines it.

I heard on the news that New Haven, Connecticut, got thirty-four inches of snow.  I instantly remembered trudging through a snowstorm in New Haven when I was a young bride.  Snow had begun to fall while I was working at the attorney’s office on The Green and the attorney I worked for sent me home early.

I started to walk home so my  husband wouldn’t have to drive our only vehicle to come and pick me up.  By the time I’d covered the mile or so, I was literally leaning into the wind and stomping through knee-deep snow.  Good times.

So when I heard about thirty-four inches of snow in New Haven, I thought about how weird it is, how positively mind-boggling that we used to live there.  We used to live on the East Coast and stand in lines for an hour to pay.  We learned to deal with super rude customer service employees.  We goggled at the unbelievably beautiful autumn colors and historic architecture.  Once or twice, during my lunch break, I’d wander over to the Yale museums and stare at art that I didn’t really understand.

I’d stand at my office window and look down at the the three white-steepled churches spaced out on The Green and watch people.  A lawyer worked on another floor in our building and he walked like a duck and he was such a nerd that I could hardly believe he was for real.  Once I dragged my husband down to The Green to watch Shakespeare performed live.  We spent one Christmas watching a foreign film at a small theater.

And now we are living on the other coast with four children, a dog, two cats and two fish.  I’m not sure anyone from that life would recognize the older version of me.  I’m not sure I would recognize this older version of me if I were still the younger version of me.  Life has way of transforming you, one way or another.

I would like to think of life as a timeline, all tidy and orderly, moments marked off in even increments.  But really, I’m finding my life to be more tangled.  It makes as much sense as a three-year old’s scrawling picture of a storm.  As a sequential sort of gal, I find the wackiness to be off-putting.  To say the least.

Sometimes, just to blow my mind, I try to even imagine what life will be like in twenty years.  My life today was unimaginable twenty years ago.  I’m not sure whether to be terrified or delighted at the prospect of an unpredictable future.

I wonder if there will be snow?

Thar She Blows!

Before today, I’d never been whale-watching.  This seems incredible since I grew up in Washington State, close to the Puget Sound where orcas swim.

It could have been Seattle today here in Southern California.  Yesterday, it was sunny.  Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be sunny.  Today?  The clouds threatened to rain.  The wind blew turning all the ungloved fingers red. It was cold.

I brought a wool hat that a blog reader knit for me.  (Best birthday gift ever, all those years ago!)  I wore the kind of gloves that look like mittens until you flip back the end and then they are fingerless gloves.

(I love her hair.)

We’d been out in the open ocean, maybe five miles from shore for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Some moms were leaning over the railing throwing up, but I was taking photos of  the shimmering sun on the waves, bummed out that we weren’t seeing any whales.

And then, the captain got all excited and told us to look at “one o’clock” and though I looked and looked, I saw nothing.

Time passed and my nose grew colder and then, suddenly, he told us the whale was at “eleven o’clock”. I couldn’t see it because I was on the wrong side of the boat.

But then.  The boat turned, the whale surfaced and I saw it!

So amazing.  Even the captain–who told us his dad built the boat we were on when the captain himself was in kindergarten–he was excited!

These were fin whales, the captain said.

And amazingly enough, not a drop of rain fell while we were on the boat.








The story

Stop me if I’ve already told you this.  I have to set the stage.


Every morning, my 1o-year old and I walk Lola the Dog.  I crawl out of bed, pull on my exercise clothes, brush my teeth and put on my glasses.  I do not look cute during these walks, but who cares, right?  It’s not like the paparazzi are waiting for me.

This particular morning, I completely forgot to grab a plastic bag to clean up after the dog.  But honestly, the dog rarely does anything requiring clean-up during her morning walks.  She saves it for the back yard.  I don’t know why.  Who am I to question my dog’s digestive system?  It doesn’t matter.

Except for that particular morning.  All the sudden, she paused, hunched her back and . . . did what dogs do.  Only, Lola the Dog does not like to admit that she’s doing That Thing so she continues to move away from it, disavowing anything that happens at her back end.

I watched with dismay because my pocket was empty.  No plastic bag.

We were far enough from home that I didn’t want to go back to get a plastic bag.  But I couldn’t just leave the mess on someone’s lawn (and driveway).  I decided to walk a little more, then turn around, go home and get a bag so I could come back in the car and clean it up.

I am a responsible dog owner and I would never in my wildest dreams just leave It there.

So we walked some more and as we walked I wondered how I could get a plastic bag.  I was peering into cars by the road, looking in the gutter, wondering if someone might have an accessible trash can.

Then I realized that a lot of people’s newspapers were still sitting in their driveways.  The papers were double-wrapped in plastic bags because it had rained the day before.  I didn’t want anyone to think I was stealing their newspapers, so I hesitated, but finally I took a chance and stripped the outer plastic bag from someone’s newspaper and we hurried back to clean up the mess.

As we approached, I realized with horror that a mom and dad and several kids were standing in front of the house.  From a distance, it appeared that they were studying and discussing the dog poop sitting on their grass and driveway.  I was mortified.

We got closer and I saw that they weren’t actually staring at the dog poop, but I smiled and announced to the mom and two of the kids, “Hey!  I’m here to clean up my dog’s poop!” Nothing like pointing out your idiocy and lack of preparation to a stranger.

As soon as I spoke, I realized how I sounded and looked.

I kind of babbled about forgetting a bag and stealing a plastic bag from someone’s newspaper and how I would never, ever not clean up after my pet and she said, “Oh, we’re having  a fire drill,” and then she directly looked at my daughter and said, ‘Hi, I’m Mrs. ____________.  What’s your  name?” and my daughter answered and I thought, “Hmmm, this lady seems like a school teacher.”  And then I thought how nice she seemed.

I carried my dog’s  poop home with me and that was the end of that.  I haven’t forgotten to bring a plastic bag since.


My 10-year old daughter started taking an art class at the local homeschool co-op.  The first day, we arrived at the last minute and she took one of the last open spots in the classroom.

Afterward, she told me that she’d starting chatting with the girl next to her and they discovered that they both lived very close by.  In fact, the girl lives in the neighborhood just down the street from us.  The girl’s mom gave my daughter a business card with her address and email on it.

“The mom looked so familiar to me,” Grace said.

I asked a couple of questions but I instantly knew the mom was the same lady who caught me sneaking back to her yard to clean up dog poop.

I emailed her and said, “I think we’ve already met.  I was the one who came back to your yard to clean up dog poop and you were having a fire drill.”





Seventy-five percent of my children have a cold.  The only one who does not has a broken collarbone.

So it was inevitable that I caught it, too, very much against my will.  For one thing, today is (was?) my birthday.  I am too old to catch the common cold.  (Ha.  Don’t you wish?)

While walking the dog this morning and discussing my age, my 1o-year old daughter pointed out, “Both of my parents are elderly.”  I laughed out loud.  Then, encouraged by my reaction, she intoned, “My parents will be pushing each other around in wheelchairs at my wedding.”

Oh!  That child makes me laugh.

I had a quiet birthday.  My husband and I went to lunch where we used up a $25 birthday credit.  I love a bargain, so that felt quite satisfying.  Then after lunch we came home via the route along the coast.  The sun was bright today, so the water was such a beautiful deep blue color.

And now I’m taking my sore throat to bed where I hope to ignore it and sleep.

Also?  I don’t really mind my age, but I’m kind of mad at the whole idea of getting old and dying.


I have a story to tell, a silly one, but it’s really late already, so that story will have to percolate until tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s an unrelated, random photo from a few weeks ago.  (My daughter is on the left and my son’s girlfriend is on the right.)







Parenting Blogs - Blog Top Sites