Twenty-five years ago

Twenty-five years ago, I married my first husband.

He’s still here.

Well, he’s not here-here because right now he’s in Colorado on business, but he’s still here, married to me.  I know.  That alone demonstrates his bountiful patience and good-will and kindness.  He is among the steadiest and calmest people I’ve ever known and that’s just one of the reasons I love him.

Tomorrow we’re ditching the kids and our jobs and the puppy and our house for twenty-four hours and we’re going to San Diego to celebrate our silver anniversary.  (I just have to swing by the airport to pick him up before the celebration begins.)  (And I have to walk the dog, take Grace to VBS, work, pick up Grace from VBS, deliver our houseguest to the airport and discover a cure for the common cold.)

Who would have guessed on that July day so long ago that twenty-five years would slide by in such quick fashion?  I would have taken more pictures and written more words if I had fully realized what a vapor life is.

We’ve lived in five states, had four kids, seven cats, two dogs and a few fish.  We have lived in three apartments, one townhouse, one parsonage, and three houses.  We still agree on a few things:  we don’t like raw tomatoes and we don’t like coffee–though he is a social drinker from time to time.  You can also count on this:  I’m usually running late and he’s always early.  I have a messy desk and his is so tidy that it doesn’t look like anyone owns the desk.  He’s an early bird and I am a night owl.

We’re growing old together.  I can’t think of a better way to grow old.

Go Dog, Go!

I’m going to the airport again in the morning.  My husband is leaving on yet another trip, this one for business.

I am staying home.  Again.  NOT ALONE.

My biggest dream in life has been reduced to this:  I want to be in my house alone.  For a week.

But that dream will not come true until the day it does and on that day, I am sure I will cry and wish with all my wrinkled heart that I was not alone and I will remember this night when I dreamed of being alone and I would kick myself if only I were flexible enough to do so.

In other news, after work today, I dropped off Zach at lacrosse practice at the YMCA.  He has to be there at 3:30 PM.  Grace’s soccer practice started at 4:45 PM and was located about ten minutes from the YMCA.  It’s pretty boring to arrive to practice an hour early, so today, I had a plan.

I took the dog with us and looked up online and found a dog park near the YMCA.  Perfection!  We found the park and discovered that dogs were allowed to unleashed but the park was not fenced.  Bad idea for me with a rambunctious puppy.

But I met a nice dog-lady (dog people are the nicest people in the world) and she told me about two other dog parks.  So, we chatted a little more and then got back into the van and headed to the second dog park.

Inside this enclosed dog park were . . . no dogs.  Lola sniffed around some, ran back and forth a few times, looked with disinterest at the tennis balls we found and so we decided to head to dog park number three.

Dog park number three looked promising.  It was located behind a humane society.  We approached the gate and discovered the closing time was 4:30 PM.  It was 4:30 PM.

So, three dog parks, no actual running around with dogs.

Some days are just like that, I guess.

Oh!  And guess what?  It rained today!  Just sporadically, but it enough that I kept saying, “I can’t believe it’s raining!” and flipping on the wind-shield wipers.

Now, to sleep so I can be semi-alert while avoiding semi-trucks on the freeway tomorrow.

Jealousy: The Pea Beneath

Between work, soccer, lacrosse and the eye doctor, I haven’t been doing much besides working, driving around and waiting.  We do like our new eye doctor–but I can’t figure out what takes so long during our visits.  There might be one other person in the waiting room, two women working behind the front desk . . . and yet, we were there for two hours.

Last week, Grace and I had back-to-back appointments and we were there for three hours.  We practically needed to bring a snack and a change of clothes, we were there so long.

Summer is barreling past faster than the speed limit, and I’m spending all my time at the eye doctor or waiting for a child’s sports practice to begin and end.

* * *

A misguided part of my brain harbors a poisonous kernel of jealousy.  I know it’s poison but it’s still there.

I thought I was jealous of the woman I know who is starting her life over or the one I know who has just had a baby or the one who is heading off to college.

But really, I am jealous of myself . . . of who I was when I was young and unencumbered and of who I will be when I am old and unencumbered.  (That is a might big assumption there, that one day I will be unencumbered.)  (Notice how I assume without pause that I will one day be old.  How arrogant of me.)

I have some internal flaw that keeps me from resting.  I’m the princess and the pea is buried in me.  I wonder if someday I will rest in the moment and stop thinking that those other selves are lucky because they aren’t me, right here, right now.

I hope so because I know for a fact that one day I will look back at this moment and long for it.  Misty water-colored memories and all that.

When potato salad makes you think about your mortality

I made German Potato Salad tonight, following the recipe card that my great-aunt Connie wrote in her loping cursive.  The recipe card is yellowed and spattered with what I can only imagine is bacon grease.

As much as I love Allrecipes.com, there’s something special about cooking from a recipe hand-written by a relative who is no longer living on earth.  I think about her–about all the cook-outs from days gone by, all the get-togethers, all the laughter and inside jokes, the kids running around–I was once one of those kids–and the older folks sitting on lawn chairs, shooting the breeze.

Life changes so dramatically but in such small increments sometimes that we don’t realize it’s changing.

And then one day the babies are all grown with babies of their own who are graduating from high school.  The gray-haired aunts and uncles shrink and battle cancer or their hearts fail and they leave us behind.  We move from being the young ones to being the old ones, from being the college kids to being the adults, from being the parents to being the grandparents.  It happens in a flash, happens so fast we can’t even feel the earth moving.

And so I made Aunt Connie’s German Potato Salad and thought of her.

(It was delicious.)

Anyone else need a ride to or from the airport?

I drove to the airport tonight again.  For those keeping track at home, I drove to the airport on Tuesday afternoon.  I drove to the airport very, very early Wednesday morning.  And then tonight for an 11:30 PM pick-up.

I am really tired.

But I can find my way to the airport now, even without my handy-dandy GPS.  We’ve lived here for a year now and I love being able to find my way to important places like Costco and the airport.

The puppy was so thrilled to see Shane after his three-week absence that she jumped, whined and peed all over the entry way.  That, my friends, is love.

Lola the puppy did her dog thing this morning when she woke me at 7:40 AM because of a knock at the door.  Or maybe the ringing of a doorbell.  How should I know?  I was sound asleep.  Anyway, I threw on a bathrobe and opened my bedroom door and Lola bolted to the front door where she began barking at the exterminator who was just notifying me that he’d be spraying.

Lola and I went back to bed.

Did I mention I’m tired?

Incidentally, while the rest of the country has been sweltering, we’ve had a thick marine layer and temperatures under 70 degrees.  This morning a light sprinkle even covered my back patio.

With that, I’m heading to bed.  For real.  Forty-seven year old women should not be awake at 2:19 AM.

Happy Independence Day!

I had a thought, an inspired thought, about something I could write about here.

But I have no idea what that thought was now . . . it’s been a little busy around here.  (Isn’t it always busy around here?) I have a list of phone calls to make and emails to send and the fish bowl needs fresh water and the kitchen is a wreck.  How am I possibly supposed to sustain a thought long enough to shape it into a blog post?

Anyway.

I took my husband and 14-year old to the airport this morning, then worked all day, then delivered Grace to soccer practice.  I took the dog, so it wasn’t very peaceful but I did read a little bit while waiting.  I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I read it 24 or 25 years ago, so it’s interesting to read it again as an older person.  Also, weirdly enough, the plot has a link to the last book I read, even  though I didn’t choose it for that reason.  (I just finished The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.)

I have to go to the airport again . . . leaving my house at 4 a.m.  The trick will be staying awake long enough to get back home and back into bed.  Wish me luck.

Hope your day is full of red, white and blue fun.  Or at least something festive and patriotic.  Or a potato salad.

I see

Today, Grace and I saw a new eye doctor.

We arrived at 2:30 p.m. and left at 5:45 p.m.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, I have been thoroughly soul-searched.

Also?  I have new contact lenses that help me forget that I am at the age where the small print is really too small to read.

And my 9-year old daughter will soon have glasses to replace the ones she lost mysteriously sometimes after February 26 of this year.  I fully expect that those glasses will appear the day we pick up her new glasses.

Or maybe we’ll just be better able to see them with our newly corrected vision.

In case you were wondering, I am among 5% of the population who has flatter corneas than the rest of you.  Just when I thought I really knew myself, I find out something new.

I wonder how long I can think of random sight-related things to say?  We’ll never know because now I need some shut-eye.

Ha ha.

You talkin’ to me?

The other day, I was walking this beast around the neighborhood.  A daily 30-minute walk is pretty much a necessity since Lola the Dog is at that naughty adolescent stage of life.

They say a tired puppy is a good puppy and that about sums it up.

I have a regular route around the neighborhood.  It’s about a mile and a half, I think.

Our neighborhood is rather quiet.  Sometimes, it feels like I’m walking on a movie set or in a ghost town.  All I hear is barking dogs from inside houses or behind wooden fences.  I occasionally see another live human being but not frequently.

So, this particular afternoon, we’re about halfway through our route.  Lola is sniffing someone’s lawn and I hear a woman’s voice floating out a window.

“Get out of my  yard!” she says.

I think to myself that she must be talking to neighborhood kids in the back, but wait.  The yards in our neighborhood are all fenced in.  Maybe she’s yelling at a rabbit or  . . . wait.  Wait.

“Stupid _______!” she mutters. (Censored for the delicate eyes that read this blog.)

Well.  How odd, I thought.

We resume our walk.  Two houses down, it dawns on me (I’m slow to catch on, sometimes).

Was she talking to ME?  To Lola the Dog?

She was talking to ME!

The awkward, yet amusing thing is that I can’t quite remember from which house the disembodied voice came, so now I hurry past a string of three or four houses, wondering if someone who hates me and Lola for . . . sniffing her front lawn is watching, waiting, ready to throw raw eggs or call us even worse names.  Unseen eyes may be watching and hating me.

Hey, lady!  We’re nice people!  Lola the Dog wasn’t even stepping on your grass.  She didn’t pee (0r worse!) on your lawn.  We weren’t even IN YOUR YARD.  And did you know that your window was open and I could HEAR YOU?

I just wish I could remember which house you live in so I don’t have to walk so fast up that hill, fearing that you will yell at us again or send your mean evil eye glare our way.

Who needs a personal trainer to hurry you along when you can be prodded along by fear of a name-calling voice?

Untitled because it’s too late to think up a title

You know what’s not fun?

Handing the  checker your Albertson’s card as she’s ringing up your random groceries only to realize that your debit card is in a Zip-loc bag in the beach bag you took to the beach yesterday.

But look on the bright side!  At least you were at the Albertson’s closest to home so it only took seven minutes (each way) to retrieve the card.

Am I the only one who finds myself trying to purchase things only to realize I have no debit card, no credit card and no cash with me?

Three naps

It’s not that I don’t want to write a post tonight.  But it’s 2:34 a.m. and I’ve just finished working . . . Monday nights are like this and end pretty late.  My flickering Internet connection didn’t help things either.

This was a Three Nap Day, which is why I am not dozing with my head resting on my desk at this very moment.  I had to take Grace to soccer camp, which started at 8:30 a.m., which is okay for those of you who are morning people, but we night creatures find 8:30 a.m. painfully early.

So after dropping her off, I came home and promptly took a nap.

I woke up in time to work a little, then picked her up and took her to lunch.

Then I came home and somehow took another nap.

At 2:15 p.m., I took the kids to the beach–Grace, Adam and his girlfriend and her sister.  Sun, sand, waves, sparkling water, clear blue skies, occasional seagulls, frolicking children, and a book.  I stationed us directly in front of a lifeguard station so I could read without worrying about one of my kids drowning.  Grace had fun catching waves with her Boogie Board.

We finally gathered up our chairs and towels and buckets and flip-flops and headed to the van at 6:30 p.m.  We went through the drive-thru at In-And-Out and arrived home a little after 7.

I took my final nap at 8:00 p.m.

Then I woke up and worked at 9 p.m.

All in all, it was a perfect summer day to spend at the beach.

I only wish I could tell you all about it but I’m too tired to write this post.

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