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.

Forty-niner

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.

Balance

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.

Gray

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.

 

Nothing, followed by nothing

I really just want to go to bed but I feel obligated to write something here.

I thought about finding one of those fill-in-the-blank end of the year summary things.  Have you seen them?  But now I can’t even find one, let alone fill one out.

I thought about talking about my day but the most exciting thing I did was wash a million dishes and walk 10,000 steps.  (I have a broken dishwasher that an actual repairman told me it was pointless to have repaired since a new one will cost less than the repair would cost.  And I have a new Fitbit Flex, a pedometer that’s worn on the wrist like a watch.  It tracks my sleep and my steps and for all I know, my IQ points and how often I trade them in for something shiny.)

It pretty much comes down to talking about the weather but if you live anywhere but here, you probably don’t want to hear about 70 degrees and sunshine.  The only downside of being here now is that the sun sets so early that it’s tough to get to the beach at 4:45 PM to see it.  I know.  Who wants to hear about sandy beaches when your world is blanketed with snow?

Snow is pretty and there’s a part of me that remembers fondly the coziness of being inside while a storm ranged outside when we lived in northern Michigan.  But that part of me also got really sick of six months of snow-covered ground.

So, basically here’s how my day went:

1)  Wake up at 8 or 8:30 AM.  Doze until 9 AM.
2)  Shower and get to work (downstairs, while wearing slippers).
3)  Work until 3 PM, stopping only to pick up son from his job.
4)  Wash dishes while watching The People’s Court.
5)  Roast and eat cauliflower for dinner.  (My husband bought the boys teriyaki but my daughter and I ate cauliflower before soccer practice.)
6)  Take daughter to soccer practice and walk for an hour while she practiced.
7)  Return home.  Nap!
8)  Work.
9)  Wonder why I have nothing to blog about.
10)  The end.

Time to lure the dog upstairs with a bit of cheese and go to bed.

Please tell me I am not the most boring woman in America.

Five minutes

I never sit quietly.

If I’m sitting, I’m watching television or reading or fiddling with my phone (reading blogs or Facebook or crushing candy) or working.  If I’m not doing anything, I go to sleep.

I feel sorry for my poor brain.  She never gets a rest.  Even while my body is sleeping, my brain is concocting crazy dramas.

So this evening while I was just about finished making dinner but before the meatloaf was done baking, I decided to set my phone timer for five measly minutes.  I went outside and brushed the dog hair off the patio furniture and sat down to be still and quiet for five minutes.

About two minutes later, I remembered that I needed to get a dish out of the oven.

I went back into the kitchen, took the dish from the oven and then returned to the back yard.

Then I got a text.

I reset my phone for five more minutes.  I tried again to sit quietly.  I had to resist the urge to investigate the fountain.  It sounded clogged or like maybe it needed to have more water added.  I noticed that the lawn needs to be “pooper-scooped.”  I saw the flower pot on the table that needed to be trimmed.

I sat there.  Quiet.  Wondered if I should sit facing the other direction.

Three minutes later, I heard someone in the house calling my name.

I ignored it.

The timer rang.

I swiped my  hand across the clogged pump in the fountain, trimmed the plant in the pot and went to the kitchen to get some water for it.  Then I finished cooking dinner.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll see if I can sit quietly for six minutes.

How to Prepare for the New Year in Five Easy Steps

I thought about trying to summarize 2013, but not tonight.

And as I sit here trying to think of what to say, I got a text from my 11-year old.  She’s spending the night at someone’s house, celebrating New Year’s Eve.  I am surprised she is still awake.  She asked me, “Please feed Annabelle and go in and say hi to her, could you?”  It’s 12:55 AM but she is thinking Annabella the Guinea Pig would like conversation and a snack.

Okay.  I fed Annabelle and said hello to her.

Now I wait for my 15-year old to get home.  He went ice-skating with his girlfriend.  I refuse to even open the door to the knocking worrier at the door of my brain who suggests that children are only safe at home, here under my roof where I know there are no drunk drivers or lunatic serial killers or mean people to threaten my beloved babies.  Why can’t the kids just stay home forever where they are safe?

Oh, and he just walked in the door.  So the children are all accounted for and safe for another night.

Now, to bring in the New Year I have done several very important things.

In no particular order:

1)  I cleaned out my refrigerator, throwing old old broccoli and scary jam from another year and washing out the door shelves where a pickle jar seemed to be morphing into an oozing vinegar volcano.

2)  I cleaned off my desk, though you’d never really know it unless you saw it Before and After.

3)  I cleaned out my pantry and tossed all the cereal, even an unopened box of Cheerios that “expired” six months ago.  I argued that the Cheerios were still fresh because they were unopened but the two biggest skeptics in my house refused to acknowledge my point and since they would be the main consumers of the outdated Cheerios, I gave up and threw them away.  (The Cheerios, not the skeptics.) I don’t really eat cereal and the cereal eaters in my house seldom actually finish a box.  They just abandon it when they deem it too stale to eat because someone–not THEM–didn’t close it very well.

4)  I bought a new shower curtain and a shower curtain rod for the “kid’s bathroom.”  The existing shower curtain rod is rusty and the shower curtain rings never stay on and so the curtain sags and it’s been an altogether unpleasant situation.  Since I had $10 of “Kohl’s cash,” and the items were on sale, it didn’t cost much, either.

5)  I went to Costco and purchased food, including a lot of vegetables and some meat and these tortillas that are uncooked until you cook them up in a pan.  I also bought bacon because everyone knows that Costco has the best bacon and what is a new year without a large quantity of bacon?   I put all the unexpired food in the clean fridge and the cereal-free pantry and now we’re ready to welcome 2014. Except I may have forgotten to buy cereal.

So, in summary, here’s how I recommend you prepare for the New Year:

1)  Clean out your fridge.
2)  Clean off your desk.
3)  Clean up your pantry.  Throw out all your stale cereal all willy-nilly.
4)   Purchase new shower curtain and put up an unrusted, shiny new shower curtain rod.
5)  Go to Costco along with three thousand of your closest friends and buy bacon.

Happy New Year!

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