Ooooo! Ahhhhh!

I just can’t think of anything to say.  So, here’s a photo of the fireworks we saw at Disneyland last week.

Today I cleaned my office, so I am no longer in danger of being cast on the television show, Hoarders.

I’ve been working extra hours because other people at work are on vacation.  I’m trying not to be bitter about this because I like my job and co-workers so much.  But still.

I just turned on the heat so it won’t go below 65 degrees in the house tonight.  Turning on the heat in Southern California seems like a serious infraction but my husband doesn’t want the children to have frozen toes, so fine.  The heat is on and it smells kind of burnt since it hasn’t been on in a long time.

I finished reading  This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Now I am unmoored, unable to decide what to read next though I am surrounded by stacks of promising books.

My husband keeps urging me to write the Christmas letter.  I told him I bought stamps which I feel is a fine and timely contribution toward the Christmas letter goal.  Baby steps.

But say, aren’t those fireworks captured by my iPhone pretty?

See?  I have nothing to say, really.


Let it begin with me

And today, I cleaned up the garage

When we moved into this house about a year and a half ago, I quickly unpacked and organized the house.  (If you saw my 10-year old’s room, you would never believe that sentence, but it’s true.  Even her room was organized and tidy.)

But I neglected the garage because it’s the garage.  I kind of arranged the boxes in a sort of order so I could find Christmas decorations and sand pails and I randomly put items on some shelves that some men from the church installed on one wall.  I thought that later I’d sort and arrange and maybe even alphabetize things.  You just never know.

However, as is wont to happen, the bottom layer of semi-unpacked stuff formed a solid crust and then the fluffy flakes of new snowflakes fell, covering the icy layer and then we had an avalanche.  In other words, the suitcases we’ve packed and unpacked were deposited rather haphazardly out there.  Then we added a Costco pack of a dozen rolls of paper towels and a bunch of packages of napkins and some inexplicably intact cardboard boxes, plus cans and bottles that need to be returned for their five cent deposit . . . and so on and so forth.

It was a mess. Someone gave us  table which ended up out there . . . a loveseat broke . . . the down comforter sat in a bunch on the suitcases . . . all this stuff just sat there, waiting.  Lurking.

I took some time off from work today and spent three rather dusty hours breaking down cardboard boxes, peeking into storage tubs, piling things into boxes to give away, moving things around, and wondering if the weird folding bike made in Austria that the former homeowners left is worth any money.  My feet did not appreciate the cement floor at all.  Neither did my back.

The worst part is that I’m not done.  I have four shelving units (I bought from the next-door neighbor) and I shoved things onto those shelves, thinking that later I’ll organize better.  Later needs to be sooner rather than later, though.  Otherwise, another layer will land on what’s still out there and no one wants that.

And, no, I haven’t bought a single Christmas gift yet.

Time to begin panicking.


I keep thinking I might think of something to blog about.

I’m not sure if I’ve lost my creativity or if there really is nothing to say about my life.  Some things are off-limits, of course.  Some things are boring.  Who wants a recitation of the monotony that is a full-time job, a dog who eats inedible stuff if you aren’t careful, cooking dinner (every night!  so grueling!) and laundry?  Really, laundry is the least of it . . . I don’t mind except that I ran out of laundry detergent.

My husband has introduced me to Duck Dynasty which makes me laugh so loudly that I can’t hear what comes next.  So, there’s that, but watching television is hardly interesting to relay, right?

My house still looks like Thanksgiving with a little Halloween mixed in.  Houses on our street have Christmas lights and I see Christmas trees through their front windows but I just can’t seem to shake my grinchy lethargy.  It’s hard to feel like Christmas when it’s sunny and the flowers are still in bloom.  I’m also afraid that Lola the Dog will eat our Christmas ornaments, so we’ll have to protect the tree with a dog-fence thing we got when she was a puppy.

And the idea of decorating for Christmas makes me feel like a loser because my garage needs to be unpacked and sorted and organized and cleaned up.  I never really did get it fixed up after we moved, so there are still empty moving boxes sitting about.  The neighbor is selling me some shelving units, so I ought to get right on that.

Except, of course, for this full-time job that interferes with garage organizing.

And this weekend, a final soccer tournament for the year.  I’m not exactly sure where it is, but I’m sure it’s at least a thirty minute drive and it involves two games and an end-of-the-year pizza party between those games.  So, that will keep me busy . . . there’s also a game on Sunday.

I’m reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (for the first time ever) and then have a couple of memoirs lined up.  All I really want to do is read and eat brownies, but woman cannot live by books and brownies alone.  Alas.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Little known fact:  I played the turkey in the Thanksgiving play when I was in fourth grade.  If I can find the photo, I will scan and post it.

In the meantime, here’s an old photo of one of my kids in Thanksgiving mode:

Four years ago and not much has changed when it comes to black olives.



Here are just a few things I am thankful for:

My husband who laughs when I act out conversations I have (either real or in my imagination).
The stacks of novels waiting to be read.
My kids, especially when they’re getting along and having fun, but even when they leave the butter on the counter where the dog can eat it.
Friends I know through the computer who take the time to say, “Hey, me, too!” from time to time.
Real life friends . . . wish we all lived in the same town, though.
A house with a pantry and a perfect office space for me.
Sunshine.  On my shoulders.  Makes me happy.
Health.  The older I get, the  more lucky I feel.
The Internet.  Seriously.
Living near the ocean.

And I’m thankful for those of you who read this blog.  If this blog were a person, it would be in fourth grade, so hopefully the best is yet to come.  Which brings me back to what I was doing in fourth grade . . . playing the turkey in the Thanksgiving play.

See how I did that?  The circle of life blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Note from the lady with the crazy hair

Let me illustrate with this YouTube video . . .

This morning we had to be at church thirty minutes early.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll skip walking the dog and wake up the boys at 8:30 AM.

Since I exercised unusual discipline in getting out of bed on time, I had enough time to make my bed and consider a variety of necklaces.  I tried on two different skirts. In short, I lollygagged.

I kept an eye on the time, though.  Then I checked my phone and it was 10:36 AM.

WHAT?  I realized that we weren’t supposed to leave the house at 10:45 AM, we were supposed to be at the church then.

I was dressed, my make-up was on and I was about to start taming my hair with a very hot curling iron.  Instead, I grabbed my shoes and phone and hurried downstairs . . . where I heard a shower still running.  My youngest son was still in there.

Without a moment’s pause, I decided to drive my daughter to church, then return for the boys.  (The drive is about 12 minutes if all the traffic lights cooperate.)

I rushed her to church.

Rushed home.

Picked up the boys.

Rushed back to church.

Hurried up to the balcony where our tardiness would be less obvious.

And that is why my hair looked crazy today.  Just in case you wondered.  It wasn’t a problem with gravity or anything . . . just a itty bitty problem with time.


You know what I hate?  A vague blog post full of muddy hints and impossible to decipher clues.

So I won’t write that blog post.  I can’t write a frank description of why I’m feeling the way I feel or why it matters, so I won’t write anything at all.  It’s maddening, isn’t it, to wonder what happening in someone’s life and to be excluded from knowing?

Tell me this, though.

When something happens in your life, do you extrapolate that event to the whole of your life?  Do you see patterns where maybe there are no patterns?  Do you say, “Susan looked at me funny.  This indicates something serious.  Everyone looks at me funny and what is wrong with me and will I ever have any friends?  My whole life people have looked at me funny and clearly there is something fundamentally wrong with me.”?

Or do you just note: “Susan looked at me funny,” and maybe wonder what’s wrong with Susan and go on your merry way through life?

Guess which one I do.

(No, don’t.  Because I will take it personally and no one wants that.)

Lost weekend

Our neighborhood had its annual garage sale on Saturday.  Grace and I walked the mile and a half loop, searching for treasures among our neighbor’s garages.  It was just like trick-or-treating, except in all the ways it wasn’t.

She found some cute stuffed animals–because when you already have a billion stuffed animals, what’s two more?–and books and a shirt.  I bought some new place-mats and a book.

Then, we came home to find our dog stir-crazy and I realized that although I’d already had a walk, she really, really, really needed to have a walk, too.  So I walked another mile and a half loop with her.  It’s true what they say: a tired puppy is a good puppy.

Then it was just about time to get ready for Grace’s soccer game.  This was the first game in which I felt chilly–and when I mentioned to my husband that I was cold, he reminded me of all the games I watched when we lived in Washington.  I used to sit beneath a leaking umbrella, covered in a blanket, wearing a heavy coat and  mittens suffering through 40 degree temperatures.  I don’t know how the children didn’t get hypothermia.

So, 65 breezy degrees wasn’t really freezing . . . but that didn’t stop me from wishing I’d thought to wear something warmer.

The girls won the soccer game.

After a few hours at home, it was time to leave again, this time to attend a professional indoor soccer game with Grace’s teammates and parents.  We drove into San Diego, shivered in the parking lot while waiting for everyone to arrive, then watched the fast-moving game.  It was fun but we returned home late at 10:20 PM.

Then it was Sunday, time for church followed by a nap.

A little grocery shopping, some television (Amazing Race) and four hours of work . . . and the weekend’s over.

And now, a picture of the baby elephant we saw at the Safari Park last Thursday.   You’re welcome.



Ten-year old Grace chatted as we walked the dog this morning.  She is usually chatty and I’m usually groggy.  Maybe because she was so busy talking she didn’t notice the bunny until after I’d yanked the dog off the sidewalk.  I didn’t want her to see it at all but it was too late.

All at once, she saw the bunny laying in the vines and dirt next to the walkway.  I looked closer, too, and saw that the bunny was still wiggling–at least its head and upper body were.  The rest of it seemed broken.

My heart sank.  Grace stared at the bunny.  She begged me to help it, she wanted me to use the pink plastic bag I carried for the dog’s waste to scoop up the stricken bunny so we could carry it back to her bedroom where she could nurse it to health. She suggested we wrap gauze around its legs to help it feel better.

I wanted to look away from the bunny.  She wanted to draw closer and help.

“Grace,” I said, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Circle of life and all that.  I told her the bunny would probably be hurt more if we moved it.  I told her we didn’t have a safe place for a hurt bunny.  Finally, I said we needed to move on and continue our walk. I hugged her and she cried a little and then we walked on.

After we looped around, we came back to the spot where the bunny was.  It wriggled its paws and moved its head a little.

We noticed a patch of fur on the road and a bit of fur on the sidewalk.  I speculated that the bunny had been hit by a car and then crawled off the road and across the sidewalk to the comfort of pine needles and vines.  Or maybe it had been snatched by a hawk and then dropped.  At any rate, it was alive but gravely injured.

Grace begged again for me to help the bunny, to carry it to safety.  She wanted to feed it, offer it water.  I really didn’t know what to do.  Finally, aware of the clock and an impending appointment, I told her we’d go home and do a Google search and find out what to do.

So we hurried home and did a search and found a nearby place that rehabilitates injured wild animals–from hummingbirds to squirrels but not rats or mice.  Just in case you wondered.  Then the doorbell rang and the appointment person arrived and I worked for an hour and then the lady left and I rushed upstairs to shower.

Grace asked for permission to go check on the bunny and I said she could go if her brother went with her.  So she woke up one of her older brothers and went down the street while I got ready.

I was almost ready to go when she came back and reported in a matter-of-fact voice that the bunny died.

“Died?  How do you know?”

She said the bunny was stretched out and had his eyes wide open and he didn’t move.  They poked him with a stick but he was dead.

We went back to the bunny.  She wanted to be the one who picked it up with a towel and moved it away from the sidewalk.  She placed it a few feet back from the sidewalk in the midst of the leafy ground-cover.  I gathered some pine needles and covered that little furry body.

It was sad, so sad.

Maybe she will never believe me when I said there was nothing we more we could have done.  I tried to convince her that even if we’d scooped up the bunny as soon as we’d seen it, by the time we delivered it to the wild animal rehab place it would have still died from serious injuries.  If it were just a broken bone, I told her, it wouldn’t have died so quickly, so easily.

I had a box, towels, an address and would have driven that poor creature to San Diego and not just to save the bunny but to save that soft place in my daughter’s heart that cried when she encountered a small hurt being who needed someone bigger to help.

I wanted to keep faith alive in my girl, even though I doubted.  I didn’t think we could make a difference to the bunny but I knew it would make a difference to my daughter.

Rest in peace, Mr. Fluffigans.  (She named the bunny posthumously.)  We will never forget you.




For three nights, I slept in a strange bed, in a room not my own while my in-laws slept in my bedroom.  (And by “in-laws”, I mean my 82-year old father-in-law and his new bride.)  My dog was confused and kept barking outside of my bedroom door as she is accustomed to sleeping on my bedroom floor.

Then the time changed Saturday night and ever since I find myself dragging through the days as if I were a newborn baby who had days and nights mixed up.  I want to nap every twenty minutes.

I’m reading a memoir–“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  I’m racing through it, really, reading during commercials of “Survivor” and whenever I can keep from napping.  I love a good memoir.  (What’s your favorite?)

I’d write more now if only I could sleep-write.

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