Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Twenty Five Days

Hello, friends!

Long time, no see! I've missed this place, and all of the blogs that I stalk. Err, follow. I've been away from the intertubes a lot because I have been busy living. Funny how that living thing works.

Anyhoo, the entire month of November sailed by, and we have landed smack dab in December. Normally, I would start to freak out and be trying to make everything perfect-ish. I would be making lists of exactly what gifts to buy for the monkeys, what to do for everyone else, how I could jam more decorations in nooks and crannies, and pretty much being unpleasant in my attempt to make things pleasant.

Not this year. No freaking out. No stressing. And absolutely no unpleasantness. I worked too hard to get rid of all of the unpleasantness in my life to let anything that feels like that come creeping back in with the tinsel.

Sooooo, instead of getting all of the gimmes that go along with the season, the monkeys and I are trying something different. We are spending twenty-five days giving. Twenty-five days of random acts of kindness. A random act might be paying it forward for a coffee at the coffee shop or making cupcakes for an Advent Festival or leaving a gift on a neighbor's porch. We have definitely been blessed in so many ways, and we are concentrating on trying to give that back instead of making a long list of 'wants'.

It's like Flat Stanley. With Teeth.
Oh, and this happened. No explanations, except I think this fifty dollar Crocodile head, bought on the side of a Louisiana highway, may be the weirdest and coolest thing I have ever laid eyes. That being said, one of the random acts of kindness may be gifting him to someone else...


Peace and love and kindness and crocodiles, cupcakes. XOXO


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

True Achievement, Part Two...

My favorite face in the universe. Shhh. Don't tell her. 

I bragged on the boy monkey yesterday, and alluded to bragging on the girl monkey, but not enough.

She rocks. She has been through hell, twice for good measure, and she is still standing. She's also one of the funniest and wisest people I have ever known. She is wiser than any adult I know, and I would probably have been a helluva lot better off if I had started listening to her advice a couple of years ago. Her one-liners can make my jaw drop, and I am pretty sure she could be famous for her stream of consciousness speeches if she was the type to put 'em on youtube. She can be at the doctor getting a gallon of blood drawn, and she gets the nurse to open up and talk about herself. She knows the grocery store cashier and what he sells at his Etsy store. She searches out the new or lonely kid and lifts them up.

Today was epic amounts of suckage, to the point that it got funny around lunchtime. Two dogs ran away, I found a black widow THIS close to my head on the ceiling, my phone died a majestic and sudden death, and all three dogs required a vet appointment. Before ten this morning. And this is just the stuff I can share on the World Wide Web, because I am learning boundaries...

When I left after work to deal with some of the above trauma, I think she saw the copious amounts of suckage that was my Tuesday. My monkey cleaned her room, cleaned the kitchen, made gluten free cookies, went to our local bbq place and bought me dinner, and dealt with the various mammals. She then helped me program my new iPhone because I have never owned one.

My first iPhone photo. He looks guilty and expensive, yes?


Just had to note that I am raising two awesome and amazing people. I am putting people out there who make the world a better place, and definitely a sweeter place. I think they have absorbed my mantra and effort to be the light.

Peace and love and cookies and grace. XOXO

True Achievement

Even when you have a good kid, an unexpected email from a teacher can tie your stomach up in knots. I received an email this afternoon with the monkey's name as the subject.

I know he is a good kid. He is in sixth grade, doing eighth grade algebra only because I refuse to have him doing ninth grade algebra this fall, breaking records on his state test scores, getting second in his age group in 5ks, but when I saw his name on an email, I instantly starting thinking about how to properly word an apology.

Nope. She dropped a beaker in science class and it shattered. She said every other kid yelled or said "What was that?!" or the equivalent. Again, I was still in apology mode, thinking the kid must have yelled out "WTF" or "Damnations" or anything else that he might have heard from his sister or me.

Instead, she wanted me to know that he was the only kid to come over and ask if she was okay.  She wanted me to know that I am raising a good kid. I know that I have amazing monkeys, but so good to know that other people recognize this.

There is so much emphasis on achievement and accomplishments in our world. I know, because I can easily fall into it. Nothing makes me happier than when I pass someone while running, even if my lungs threaten to stage a mutiny with the effort. The weekly email that lets me know how I am performing at work compared to my peers, it sets my mood for the week.

Honestly, though, there are lots of douchebags that are high-achieving. I know kids who outperform everyone around them, who are wickedly unpleasant to be around. I know adults who are hyper-overachievers who are straight up Mean Girls, male and female. But, good people, really good people with warm hearts and well-developed empathy, they are a rare gift.



I have two smart and talented kids. They are wickedly funny, to the point that I sometimes think that we could be our own sitcom. Today was a really important reminder that I am also raising good people. I think this is more important than raising Valedictorians or overachievers. Those titles are awesome, but I love having the kids who check on their teachers and who make every person that they come into contact with feel better for it. That is the highest achievement and accolade I can ever wish for my monkeys.

Peace and love and warm hearts and the occasional "Damnation", buttercups. XOXO

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sometimes it snows.

I got to catch up with two of my favorite people tonight. Not Facebook or social media people at all so they will never see this, but they are the kind of people I can sit on a patio with  or in front of a fire with and not realize that three hours have flown by.

We were talking about the recent red light days, and Dave gave me a deep thought for the day.

"Sometimes it snows in Denver."

...and sometimes it snows in the summertime.


At first, I didn't really get it. And then I suddenly did. I hate the snow. Snow in March, April, and May just makes me weepy or stabby. But here I am. And sometimes it does indeed snow. It happens, without fail. And it passes, without fail.

The red lights will turn. The snow will give way to blades of green. Life is good. Or, as Dave puts it, life is "wonderful, wonderful, wonderful."

There's the lesson I learned today. Sometimes it snows in Denver. Oh, and he also told me to quit dating assholes. Told me life would be more wonderful if I would pick better. Suggested maybe I make anyone after my self-imposed dating hiatus pass the test with him and with Superteen.

Two life lessons in one day. My job here is done.

Peace and love and snow and thaws, cupcakes. XOXO

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Party Tip

We are all going to die, buttercups. Whether it's from Ebola or an attack or seventy-four years of shitty eating or pickling our livers with liquor or a bad genetic hand we are dealt. We are all gonna die.

So quit watching the news. Quit worrying about the stuff that you have no control over.



I get it. I am tempted to go all in with the news. I am tempted to read a variety of sources to keep up with the latest threats from an incompetent response by our own government to crazy French Jewish girls trying to join ISIS. However, my reading and obsessing about all of the threats is not going to save me or my loves from any of the dangers.  It's not going to save you or your loved ones either.



So, go enjoy this day. Get outside and feel the leaves crunch beneath your feet. Walk your dogs and watch how joyful they are to be alive. Call a friend and have a glass or three of wine. Play hooky and take your monkey to a movie, ordering popcorn with extra butter. Sing along badly to the radio. Enjoy all of the everyday moments, because we only get so many of them.

Peace and love and presence and crunchy leaves, loves. XOXO

PS, It's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Feel yo'boobies because that is one thing we can try to avoid dying from. Trust me on this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Golden Wisdom

I heard two amazing quotes from completely opposite spectrums today. No deep thoughts from me, just loved these and wanted to share them.

I know these golden leaves are going to be covered in snow any day now...


"It's okay to look back. Just don't stare."
                                     -WWII Normandy vet

"Just be yourself. Unless you suck."
                          -Wisdom from the World Wide Web

Both thoughts stuck with me today.


Peace and Love and Wisdom and less suckage, mis amigos. XOXO


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Putting Summer to Rest

We got ready for winter today. Put the garden to bed, stacked firewood for the stove that I now know how to use, and otherwise planned for what looks like a long winter. 

It's days like these, when the snow starts swirling in the late afternoon, that I remember I am truly a Texan at heart. As I pull out warm wool sweaters, jackets and thick scarves, I find myself checking the weather reports and real estate listings in Texas.  I could handle sticky heat and cedar fever much better than I can handle below freezing October nights.

On that note, putting the garden to bed always feels good. Even as I know there is no more eating carrots or spicy mustard greens straight from the garden, I love taking care of each plot in the chilly morning.

Remains of the Rainbow Chard...

One more of the Rainbow Chard, little bites of heaven

This is where the Composting magic happens.

Gate to the garden, with a photobombing Luna. XO

No more Chard, plenty of compost, and we got done right before the freezing rain started. Now, as I write my paper for one of my classes, I find myself flipping from heirloom seed websites to Texas realtor pages. And so it is, being a displaced Texan in a beautiful Winter wonderland. 

Peace and love and Rainbow Chard and warm weather, cupcakes. XOXO

Life Lesson #794


This. This is why, when you live close to a forest with lots of critters, you should always check your glass before you take a drink. Always.

Peace and love and 20/20 vision, cupcakes. XOXO

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Red Lights

The last couple of weeks have been red light weeks. Not red light like the Amsterdam District (I live in Mayberry, cupcakes), but more like it feels like I have caught every theoretical red light in my path. If it could go wrong, it has gone incredibly wrong the last few weeks. Entire panels of electricity going out in my house, check. Water pressure whacking out every toilet and sink in my house, check. Octomouse eluding the dogs and me, except when she decides to party at two in the morning, check. Dogs vomiting random things, check. (FYI, Labs can eat socks and regurgitate them largely intact.) Everything going off the tracks at an alarming pace, check.

So I went to check the mail today. I figured, why not add some bills to the mix? It already seems like I am hitting every red light, why not throw the random unexpected medical bill or IRS notice from when I was still married to He Who Must Not Be Named? Unlocked my mailbox, sifted through the eight thousand circulars, gathered the pile o'bills, and noticed a card hand addressed to me. In what looked suspiciously like my handwriting.



I had a Marty McFly moment where I wondered if I had written to myself from the future. And then I remembered. Several weeks ago, I had to go to a new student orientation at DU. One of those touchy feely get-to-know-you weekends just short of doing those annoying trust falls. At the end of the weekend, which was actually an amazing one, we sat down to write cards to ourselves. We were supposed to write cards to motivate ourselves that our advisors would send to us at some random point during the quarter.  Everyone around me started writing frantically. Words seemed to flow from their pens at a frenetic pace. I just sat there, not knowing what I would say to myself besides "Don't screw this up, buttercup.". But then, this. This was what came to mind, because I know I am doing the hard work, raising my monkeys on my own, working a million hours, and going back to school. Simple. You can do this.

That card was a green light. Finally, a green light telling me to go. Funny, how something as simple as four words in your own handwriting can be just the motivation that you need during red light times. Electricians and plumbers can fix pipes and wiring, Octomouse will surely figure out that the kids next door have much better junk food available. All of the other stuff. Well, yeah. Maybe it doesn't go completely off the tracks, or maybe it does. I can just keep looking for the green lights like this card.

Peace and love and green lights and working electrical outlets, buttercups. XOXO

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October Afternoons



No deep thoughts today. Still fighting the good fight against OctoMouse, hiring plumbers and electricians. Days like these, I LOVE being a homeowner. Luckily, I have a job where I am off in time to see monkeys when they get home from school and go on hikes even on workdays. These pictures are all five minutes from our house.




Overturned tree trunk or something with tentacles from a sci-fi flick. Depends if you are a forty-year-old or a twelve-year-old. Hint. He says I have an overactive imagination.



Aspen golds literally change overnight, so I am obsessed at this time of year with the groves near our house. This lone Aspen amongst the pines looks like a desperate escapee. The rest of the Aspens are a few hundred feet away.




           
   "Nothing gold can stay."
                                           Robert Frost












  Peace and love and crunchy leaves beneath your feet, XOXO




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life's Learning Moments

Things I have learned today...

Unconditional love is going to the mall for my sixteen-year-old. As if carrying her for what felt like thirty months, driving myself to the hospital in the middle of the most active tornado night in Oklahoma's history to give birth amidst swirling funnel clouds, wasn't enough, I went to the mall for her today. Those things still exist. They still have Orange Julius and that greasy pizza place.  I love my cupcake enough that I went to get what she needed. I dodged Dairy Queen and the guy hawking skin care. I noticed how many people still go to the mall. I thought they kinda died out a decade ago. Regardless, this is love on the scale with giving birth, staying up entire nights to ward away the boogeyman, and being a lion mama of unparalleled ferocity.

Forty-eight hours being Facebook free is going smashingly well. Except for two things. One, I probably should have given more thought to swearing off of dating (more on that in a future post) and deleting my Facebook at the same time. I equate it to giving up coffee and wine at the same time. Or swearing off of walking and talking, if I give in to the drama queen portion of myself. The last forty-eight hours have involved a fair amount of soul searching, introspection, and literal cleaning house. The second thing is my Spotify music account. Spotify is one of my favoritest things in the world. It has my running lists, my chill lists, my random songs that I love. It is indelibly linked to my Facebook account, and I can only access it by activating my FB account. The only way that I can log into my account is through Facebook. I actually contacted Spotify (awesome customer service, btw :)), and they told me that I could start from scratch if I wanted to disentangle myself from Facebook. That is trauma, buttercups. I have hundreds of songs on dozens of playlists, and they all go away if I commit to that option. This may be worse than giving up dating.

Octomouse. Damn Octomouse. She survived the night. There was a scuffle with two dogs around two o'clock this morning, but she fared better than either dog, my desk or my computer. I went and bought some old-fashioned traps, some non-lethal traps, steel wool, some sort of sound-emitting, rodent-repelling thing, and a Red Bull. The woman checking my groceries actually commented on my Red Bull, "Are you trying to make its heart stop?" Yeah, no. I just gave up dating, Facebook, and I have a rodent living behind my shoes. Don't judge me.

On the up side, my house is really organized after the last forty-eight hours. Octomouse is only getting into any food if she has opposable thumbs. My paper for a class is written and re-written. I know no new gossip or anything that is socially interesting but I can talk about last night's Blacklist and tonight's SOA. So, life is good.

And this happened...






Monday, October 6, 2014

The Hunt for Octomouse

Twenty-four hours without Facebook and I am still breathing. Seriously. Life goes on without Facebook, believe it or not.

My phone stayed charged all day, I got no requests to play Leprechaun Land or Candy Crush or anything else that used to annoy me. I ran, took dogs for walks, cleaned my garage, actually spoke to real people, and I saw this.



Really saw it. Not while I was distracted by eighteen other things, texts and tweets and IMs and Facebook chatter and emails. I actually saw it while I was sitting outside, simply enjoying being outside. Granted, I took a picture of it, but I always have a camera with me because you never know when you will see something magical, like this.


Oh, and I have a mouse. She's a good distraction. Anyone who knows me knows that I loathe mice with a red hot passion. Snakes, fine. Spiders, fine unless they breach the bedroom perimeter. Bears, fine. But mice. Disease-carrying, pooping, peeing, scurrying little assholes, not fine. I knew it was a matter of time, living where we live, but still. Last night, I thought I saw a shadow from my bed. And then the shadow moved. A plump scurrying shadow. She took her path straight past two dogs, who simply lifted their heads, glanced at her, and then lay back down. The same dogs who bark at air apparently cannot be bothered with this probably pregnant rodent invading our home. I have torn my bedroom and bathroom apart, looking for Octomouse, but have nothing yet. All in good time, my pretties.

Peace, love, mousetraps, and presence, XOXO

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Truth


This. Lol. I need a break from the fake. Probably longer than an hour, but I know my way home if I need to come back. Most of you know where to find me if I need to be found.

Peace and truth and integrity, cupcakes.  XOXO

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cinnamon Girl


My sister is celebrating the anniversary of her twenty-ninth birthday today. I wish I could make her a ginormous red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and twenty-nine candles. Or that I could whisk her away for a girl's weekend of shopping and running and wine (white for her, red for me, natch).

Real life gets in the way, so instead I can just send her a gift. Send her good vibes. Call and sing to her until she begs me to stop. Send her the cards that I buy because we share a sick love of Hallmark and all cards, funny/sweet/twisted. Lift her up in my thoughts and prayers and tell her that I would have picked her as my best friend even if we weren't sisters.

I should also apologize for being such a bratty little sister. I harshed her gig more than any other little sister ever could have. I tagged along on sleepovers with her friends, I tagged along on her  dates. I followed her to her after school job, and probably jeopardized it with my endless questions. I blabbed her secrets, and my big mouth guaranteed that she spent a large amount of time grounded. I stole her earrings and may or may not have pilfered some of her clothing. Every time I was annoying the holy heck out of her, I was trying to be like her. I should have spent less time being Ramona the Pest and more time telling her I looked up to her. I cannot go back in time, but I can tell her now how much I look up to her and admire her. Every day.

Happy Birthday, sister of mine. You are loved and adored! XOXO


PS- Sorry your gift is late. You know me, pretty sure I was born late and will die late.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Silvery Strength

I haven't taken this necklace off since the beginning of April. Not once. It's been in the shower, in Brazilian salt water, chewed on by my friend's chunky monkey babies, up mountains, and down steep descents. It's caused a permanent knot in my hair, and I may have a funky tan line from it. But the last five months have been so hard, so fucking hard. They have been a lot of pushing a boulder up the mountain, without knowing how I could even take the first step. They have been falling down and getting back up again, sometimes literally wiping the dirt off and continuing on.

I needed a tangible reminder that I was strong enough. That I got this.



Silly little necklace, but it has been a reminder every step of the way that I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, and smarter than I think. It's been one that I could literally touch the silver and breathe in the words if I started slipping.

I took it off my neck yesterday. Seems like such a tiny thing, taking off a silver necklace. In some ways, it is a tiny thing. In another way, it is huge, this not needing a physical reminder that I am enough.

Peace and bravery and strength, buttercups. XOXO

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cracked.



We are all a little bit cracked. Some of us maybe more than others. And sometimes a person gets so many cracks and has so many broken pieces that they don't know how they can ever put them back together again. This doesn't make them weak or cowardly or less than. It makes them feeling and hurting and in need. Whether this person is Robin Williams or a twenty-two year old kid back from his second deployment, they are one of us.

Anne Lamott, in a tribute to her friend Robin Williams, touched on the fact that one in three people will be either an addict or diagnosed with a mental illness or both. One in three, buttercups.  Think about that when you are in your next spin class or waiting in a line of fifteen people for your latte. Think about it when you throw around terms like 'nutjob' or 'crazy' or 'mental', because chances are that you are talking to someone who might technically indeed be 'mental'.

So remember, we are all cracked. And we can all be the light. At the very same time. Hug your monkeys, call your friends, and be gentle with the people around you.

Peace and love and light among the broken pieces. XOXO

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beacons in the dark

Today was such epic suckiness that I truly thought about taking sick leave from work to curl up in my bed with the covers over my head. From stepping out of my bed into pee (not mine, thank you very much) to the Comcast fail to work fail to a nonfunctioning lawnmower to a stolen/missing iPad to a garage infestation of earwigs and black widows... It. All. Sucked.

However, sometimes, when things are awful, the good things stand out like beacons in the dark.

You want to kiss this face. Admit it.
This girl. Oy vay. She was so sick last week while the monkeys were gone that I thought she was going to die. I had to carry her out to the yard, and she would just pee on herself, not moving. When she did move, she would stumble and fall. Bloodwork and stool samples and neurology and various doggie indignities, and nothing came back except a lot of questions about ingesting mushrooms/chemicals/xylitol and an ear infection. Six days later, antibiotics and anti-fungals and lots of love, and she is her old puggie self. She may well have incurred brain damage or who knows what, but she is getting back to normal. When she was barking like mad at air earlier, I had to smile. At least she is barking.


Another beacon? Perserverence. When I checked on the price of equal lawnmowers, I got ticked. So ticked that I downloaded the troubleshooting PDF for my lawnmower, tinkered, changed a blade, cleaned it out, and it worked. My lawnmower roared to life like she was supposed to. And she cut grass like a sword-wielding Samurai.

More beacons. Monkey brought me a Reese's Cup and brought the trash cans in from the curb. Without being asked. Sweet texts, reminding me that I am loved even when I am stabby over Comcast. A forged metal butterfly from the amazing Jodie Bliss, pure happiness as art. An unexpected letter in the mail. Yummy brisket sammich with my monkey, the part-time vegetarian.

Lest you think I am done with wallowing, let me leave you with this...


Don't ever ask me to make you toast. Bad things happen. Really really bad things, y'all.

Peace and love and pugs and lawnmowers. XOXO

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Daddy

Today is your birthday.

You have been gone for almost a year. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I thought we had time.

I thought we had time to heal wounds and make amends and love and live. I was wrong.

I am glad you are no longer hurting. I am glad you are free from all of the chains that held you, free from your pain.

I am thankful that you taught me things I never got a chance to thank you for. You taught me curiosity about the world around me. You taught me that learning is a light that should never flicker out. You taught me to laugh deep and to laugh hard. You taught me to read voraciously. You taught me to love soulful music. You taught me that love doesn't really leave. You taught me to believe in second chances. You taught me the value of a beautiful watch.

You taught me more than you probably realized.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sixty days and counting....

Today marks two months of home ownership. Two months.

The amount that I have learned in two months of home ownership is astonishing. Every day is another lesson waiting to be learned. Sixty days of wisdom, right here, some of it hard-earned.

I now know the difference between hobo spiders and wolf spiders. I know that there is a weird house spider that looks suspiciously like a black widow, but that black widows prefer the far corner of my garage. I know which ones get a reprieve and which ones get a shoe.

I know that this is Poison Oak. It may look like an innocent little greenery in the front corner of the yard, but it is in fact a vicious beast that will make you want to soak in a tub of Benadryl. You are welcome for the heads up.





I know that IKEA has nothing on furniture ordered through Amazon. IKEA may have directions written by drunken monkeys but IKEA has directions. I have now put together a bed with one hundred and sixty pieces. Truthfully, one hundred and sixty one pieces. After a half hour of trying to figure out where I had forgotten a crucial piece, I realized the manufacturer put in an extra piece. To be helpful. Or to screw with people trying to do it themselves. I would have killed for directions when I opened this package. Even directions with blob people smiling and telling you what NOT to do. 

I know that I love mowing the lawn, which I avoided for forty years. My slight obsession with orderliness works well with mowing. My allergies have a different take on the mowing of lawns. I now know that I should take two different antihistamines, strip down and shower as soon as I am done mowing, and avoid the Poison Oak. For the love of God, avoid the Poison Oak while mowing.

I know that plumbing in an older home is like a needy toddler. If I plan on leaving the house for a day or for a week, something is going to go wrong with the pipes. They are going to throw a tantrum that requires the sitter to call. I now have the number for a local plumber that shows up in my favorites on my phone. True story.

I know that every night that I go to bed in my house, including day fifty nine, I lie down and am thankful that I am lying down in my house.  Day fifty-nine, after I jumped on my newly assembled bed (again, true story), I lay down in my bed, and literally thought, "MY bed. MY house." With those thoughts, I went to sleep happy and satisfied.

And finally, I know that I love my little house. It is a work in progress. I thought I would get everything done in the first couple of months, but then we just got busy living. I thought I would take pictures of the progress, but we just got really busy living. Pictures still need to be taken, Timesboy's ocean blue walls artfully decorated with duct tape. Superteen's cherry red walls lined with mandalas. My dove grey and butter walls gracing a bed that will not ever move, thanks to my mad skills and sweat. 

We will take pictures soon. When we take a rainy day break from living.

Happy Two Months! Peace and love and Benadryl and paintbrushes, buttercups! XOXO




Thursday, July 17, 2014

These Days.

As I swept up a handful of dog fur and finished cleaning yet another spot on the carpet, a realization took my breath away.

Look at this face. Look. At. This. Face. Pure joy.


I am going to miss these days.

These days. Full of dog fur and dog vomit. Messy rooms and milk left out on the counter. Escaped crickets from the gecko cage. Wet towels on the floor and pizza boxes. Mysterious fur on my pillow, complete with a pug-shaped indentation. 

All of these things that drive me absolutely batshit, I am going to miss these days. 

Every one of these things that drive me mad, they are just part of what I love fiercely. 

Someday, I might have clean floors with no dog fur. I might have perfectly made up rooms with everything in its place and everything just so. I might only have crickets outside in the summertime, where they belong. I might have crisp pillows and linens with no dog shaped indentations in sight. 

I am going to miss these messy days. 

Every bit of the mess and the chaos and even the stench (We will blame the pug, every time) are proof of the living that is occurring within these four walls. 

These dogs are adored. They are thriving and happy and excited- they know where their toys are and where the creeks to splash and play in are. They know which beds to sleep in at night, and that they will be held tightly when the storms roll overhead.

Kid messes are signs of joy. Art on the kitchen table, experiments strewn across desks, mud caked on bikes, they are all signs of thriving kids. Games left out on the living room floor, pizza boxes waiting for the recycling, sticky counters, they mean that several kids felt comfortable spreading out and being kids in these four walls. Sometimes a stray kid even wanders through, looking for a safe place to fall, and I am honored that this is becoming that messy safe place.

I stopped sweeping tonight, and just sat on the floor with Squish,' til he fell asleep in my lap. I realized that the fur will still be there tonight or tomorrow, but these messy magic moments might not be.

Peace and love and magic and furballs, cupcakes. XOXO

Monday, July 14, 2014

Evolution of a Runner

I was never athletic. I think I have blogged before that the only way I would run in my twenties is if something was chasing me or there was a dessert in front of me. I didn't really discover running until a bad breakup. When I discovered it, every initial footfall was anger. Pounding down. Pure anger and hurt, one stride after the other until my body screamed. I discovered if my body ached, I forgot that my heart hurt. This went on for a while until running ceased to be out of anger and started to feel more like love. I remember when running became something I looked forward to, when I started to love the hardness of my hamstrings and how my shadow looked, stretched out on the trail. Running became meditation. Instead of replaying hurts, running became about my breathing in and out. The wind blowing over the tops of the wildflowers. Slowing for deer crossing and sidestepping snakes without losing a beat. The songs in my ears. The sun moving towards the mountains.

Old Faithful, the trail I can run with my eyes closed...


And then I stopped. Life. Complacency. Another shitty relationship (I know. I know. Life lessons, trust me). A hamstring injury that hurt worse than childbirth and impacted wisdom teeth. Death of a loved one. Loss. Ankle injury. More loss. And instead of running to get through it, I quit running. Just quit.

When I bought my house, I was once again smack dab in the mountains. I started running again, because they were right there. Again, a little bit out of anger and hurt and leftover loss. But mostly because I knew that every time I tightened my laces and pulled my hair into a ponytail, I was running towards freedom. Every stride was therapy, healing what had been broken.

This Zen moment, interrupted by knowledge that one should not down Ginger Kombucha before a run.


And now, I run. I run almost every day. I think about what I eat, if it is going to affect a late run. I plot out hills versus flat, three miles or seven miles. I watch the skies carefully, trying to time what I can run before the heavens open up with summer storms. I dodge friends asking to run together, because it is almost like praying together. Cool for others, but not my thing. I run alone. I look at where I am traveling to see if I can run. Some days, I purposefully run slow, so I can simply be. Other days, I do intervals until I feel like my lungs are going to collapse. Some days I get caught in the storm,and learn that hail actually hurts worse if you run fast. (There's another life lesson, getting caught in the storm). Sometimes, the only sound is my breathing, or my feet hitting the ground. Other times, the Ting Tings get me up the steepest hill.

Summer storms, teaching me both patience and speed. 

Running saved me. Pure and simple. Every time I pull on my shoes,  I remember this.  And I run a little further, just because I can.


Peace and love and sweat and long strides, buttercups. XOXO




Monday, July 7, 2014

Us and Them.

Not sure who pissed in everyone's cheerios today but I noticed a distinct nastiness on the intertubes today. Several people, who I usually adore reading and hearing from, seem to have woken up on the holier-than-thou side of the bed this morning. That's a shame.

Not a darn thing to do with this. I just really dig this tree near my house.

When we start playing this Us versus Them game, judging people who we only think we know, everyone loses. Everyone loses. Republican versus Democrat, Citizen versus Illegal, Gay versus Straight, Black versus White, Haves versus Have Nots, Us versus Them.

Party tip, cupcakes. We are all Us. And we are all Them. If we spent less time being Judgey McJudgeys, and more time simply being, I daresay the world might be a better place. I am not saying we need to stop advocating for what we believe in, or we need to stop thinking. We just need to quit being assholes about it.

Be a Republican. Be a compassionate conservative. Take a page from my friend, Ronda, and advocate passionately for your conservative beliefs. Do it like she does, from a place of love. Advocate for a kinder gentler world where every life gets a chance. Be that Republican, not the one who blames Obama for the overgrowth of cedar and the rising price of yarn.

Be a Democrat. Hug trees and advocate for green energy. Ride your bike to work, but don't begrudge the working mom driving her gas guzzling SUV. Plaster your car with Flying Spaghetti Monster stickers, but don't denigrate the family in their Sunday church clothes. Just keep planting trees and move on.

Nothing to do with my soapbox, just a friend's chicken. Isn't she awesome?

Be gay. Be straight. Be rich. Be poor. Be vegan or be a carnivore. Cover your body in tattoos or not. Be whatever you are, and spend time being that. Define yourself with what you are, not with what you perceive others are not.

It may be trite and overused, but remember that everyone is fighting a hard battle. So before you judge that woman with a SNAP card buying bakery goods, remember that you have no idea what her situation is. The average person getting food benefits gets four bucks a day to dine on, so the stories of lobster and champagne are one in a million. SNAP mama might be treating her kiddos to a once a month splurge at the beginning of the month because she can. She might be too fucking tired from working two minimum wage jobs to bake, but she might just splurge this once. The last thing she needs is you standing in line behind her, judging away. So, take that energy and use it somewhere else. Look at volunteering at a faith based charity. Investigate groceryships.org, an empowering organization that helps get people to choose well.  Donate to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/490865454/good-and-cheap, and actually try the recipes to see how 'they' live.

I could go on and on, but just please knock off this 'us versus them' thing. We are all Us. We are all Them. It's a big messy world, and we are all doing the best we can. Most of the time. Take your five minutes of Judgey McJudging, and see what you can do to be better than that. Put yourself in 'their' shoes. Buy a coffee for the guy behind you. Make the crying baby in front of you at the checkout  laugh, instead of judging his young mama. Volunteer to teach English to kids at your elementary school, who don't speak it at home- look in their faces and get to know them as people, not just a statistic. Work at a soup kitchen, and thank every homeless veteran for their service. Hug a surly teenager. Make eye contact with that person you would normally see as a "Them", and get to know them for five minutes. And thank your God or Goddess or Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever you need to thank, that you are where you are and that you have the ability to be the light.

Flying Spaghetti Monster. This guy really happened.

If you cannot do this, well. Go back to bed. Sleep it off. And try to be less judgey and more light tomorrow. We won't judge you, we will just see that you are doing the best you can.

Peace and love and light and new beginnings, buttercups. XO





Monday, June 30, 2014

Failure

I am a failure. I have failed as a mother. Utterly failed my kids.

Right before I left for Brazil, Superteen turned sixteen, which is another teary and blubbering post. I asked her what she wanted me to cook for a special birthday dinner.

"Why don't you order crab cakes from Villa?"

"No, what special meal do you want me to cook? What's your favorite thing I make?"

"Ummmm, we could order pizza from Bella. Or go get dinner at La Rosa."

I have failed to remember to cook, cupcakes. I have failed to make those special meals that my kids will someday want to come home to . I have failed to make those foods that will speak to them when they are heartbroken or sick or just in need of love.

In my defense, I am a complete badass at restaurants and at takeout. I know where to get the best pizza with perfect crust. I can call one local restaurant and the server knows what we want before we even finish our hellos. I know where a wicked food truck with fiery gordas sits. I can reel off the phone numbers for several amazing restaurants, and I know which servers to ask for. Chinese? Oh yeah, I know which of the three local Chinese restaurants also serves a green curry shrimp that will make your tastebuds sing. Sushi? I know which day of the week to go to which place, depending on who the sushi chef is. Charcuterie platters? I know a girl...

But cooking. Cooking. Between food allergies and food preferences and food issues and schedules and vegetarianism and junkatarianism and time, I forgot to cook.

Grace's birthday changed that for me. I decided to come back from Brazil and NOT order out. No takeout, no restaurants, no food I don't make. Several challenges here. Timesboy calls himself a meatatarian. He LOVES meat. Granted, he will eat Brussels sprouts and kale all day long, but he would like a slab of beef wrapped in bacon beside the vegetables. I hate cooking meat. Hate it. If I never had to cook meat again, I would be fine. Superteen slips in and out of vegetarianism. She can go weeks without meat, and then want Ground beef grossness. I don't eat wheat, and have not for over seven years.

So far, we have survived. Omelets, didn't suck. Raw corn chowder, totally didn't suck. In fact, Superteen ate almost all of it and I barely got seconds. Pizza, but not takeout. Again, didn't suck. Homemade Guacamole and Pico de Gallo Tostadas. Tons of kale, because Timesboy and I could survive on it. Mango Cashew Lassis, which the kids strongly disliked. This worked for me, because I frikking loved them, so I got extra. And tonight, this.



Cilantro Cornbread waffles. Vegan and gluten free. And more importantly, GOOD. With spicy black beans. So good that Superteen told me she liked my cooking. I tried to act like it didn't make me want to jump up and down, but I am totally excited about this cooking thing. Tomorrow, raw corn chowder for lunch, and something involving cherries. I don't know what, but something involving cherries In my zeal for cooking, I decided to buy about three pounds of cherries. So yeah, they are on the menu tomorrow. And Timesboy asked me to make bacon pasta this week. Bacon pasta, otherwise known as pasta carbonara.

This is what I am working towards. Kids asking me to make a meal versus to order the usual.

Peace and love and cherries and waffles, buttercups. XOXO



Monday, June 23, 2014

Brazil, Part One.

"They have a joy for life in Brazil unlike any country I've ever seen." -
Morena Baccarin





How does one do justice to a nation with mere words or pictures? Nothing I say could capture the experience of the last eight days.

Brazil. Brasil. Salty warm air. Blazing sun. Fierce storms that rolled over the ocean as we scrambled for cover. Chicken hearts on skewers that I could not dare refuse. Coconut water that no Whole Foods can ever replicate. Tapioca flour cakes and cassava. Fresh lobster eaten out of the shell while sitting on the beach. Seahorses slipping through tree roots, as we watched from a boat. Lemurs with lion manes. Ridiculously beautiful waters surrounded by white sand. Luxury like I have never seen before. Hammocks beneath coconut trees. Portuguese, Spanish, English, German, Japanese, Italian, and other languages all flowing freely, interspersed with nods and laughter at the attempts. Motorcycles and bikes weaving through traffic that could make my heart race. Caipirinhas, which have replaced Moscow Mules as my favorite drink. Bairros that took my breath away with the  crushing poverty pushing right up against the shiny stadiums. 'Love' Hotels. Little girls in too much makeup and stiletto heels outside of the stadiums, confirming the worst news stories that I wanted to ignore. The amazing people of Brazil, so patient with our attempts at Portuguese. "Bom dia" and  "Abrogada" and my near constant "Como se... diz en Portuguese." Jaw dropping graffiti that put everything I saw in Europe to shame.

These are a handful of the things that come to mind when I think about Brazil. So many contrasts, so much beauty intertwined with extreme poverty. I am still trying to wrap my brain around all that I saw, without even broaching the unbelievable World Cup matches. I will get to those in time :)

Boa noite, meus amigos. Paz e amor e agua de coco. XO


Monday, June 9, 2014

Driving My Monkey Crazy, a Picture at a Time.

Superteen says I need to work on my selfies and poses.

What, this is my expression most of the time....

This is my Miley- Superteen isn't impressed. I don't know why.

Okay, here...
Superteen, me, and the Bestie. Behaving. No Miley.

The Bestie, me, and Hot Toddy. No Miley, no crossed eyes. You are welcome, Superteen.
And then this happens.

Sorry, cupcake, this is how I roll.

No regrets, buttercups. Moving forward. Peace and love and Miley poses and selfies with lovies. XOXO

(PS, updates on the journeys, literal and figurative, and the HOUSE, coming soon. Scout's honor :))



Monday, May 12, 2014

Monkeys.

They say we are neopolitan ice cream. I just say it would be beige if we were all the same...

TRUTH

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
                                                                                                                                    -Anne Lamott



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Home

Hello, buttercups!

So much going on that I can barely wrap my head around things. I have been like an old lady who needs a pill box and possibly a "Help, I've Fallen" panic button. I have to-do lists, sticky notes, lists on Evernote, and stuff written on my hand for those moments when I cannot access any of the above.

That being said, GOOD things are going on. Signing up for classes this summer, planning trips to and fro with the monkeys, and BUYING A HOUSE. Yep, buying my very own house. All by myself. No one else. I have owned houses in the past, several, but they have always been with someone else. So this is kind of my first baby in a way.

I thought about not saying anything and keeping it a secret until it closes, in case something falls through. Superstitious, and scared to put myself out there, maybe. However, I remembered that months ago, I wrote that my word for 2014 was 'authentic'. Authentic means real and transparent and putting myself out there. Damnations.

My friend Pat and Superteen were both at the inspection. Keeping it real, and Pat, an amazing chef, reassured me that this is a workable kitchen in the house. Whew.


So, here we are... My offer was accepted, and I had my inspection on Monday went smashingly. Now, for all of the fun stuff, appraisals and loan shenanigans. Loans have changed a LOT since my last house. First, one income versus two, LOL. Second, they want to know what moon my firstborn was born under and the history of my banking transactions since 2002. If I deposit a birthday check or move money from one checking account to another, this matters with the loan process. I guess it is to make sure that I am not laundering money for a cartel, or robbing banks, but I really just have a lot of accounts for random things. If the NSA and loan companies could get together instead of asking me for documents, they would probably save a lot of time and trees.

My inspector, Bruce. I learned a ton, laughed a lot, and he had peanut butter candies for me. Winning.


No pictures yet, saving those for when we close, so we can do before and afters :).  This house has been well taken care of and is a blank slate. It is absolutely screaming for color and paintings and pictures and flowers, and is going to be a safe and happy home for the monkeys and me. And our door will always be open for anyone who stops by for a glass of wine.



My surrogate Realtor, Tyler. I don't think he was expecting the inspection to be quite so entertaining...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Forty

Okay. Forty .

Forty. That is approximately 14,624 days on this earth.

Forty things I love. My Monkeys. My Mom. The Pug. The Senile One. The Grumpy Lumpy Lucky Humperdink. Writing. The New York Times (especially the inky real edition). Pottery. The smell of a freshly printed book. Kale. Coffee with a shit ton of real cream. Lavender plants. Succulents potted in funky containers.  Letters from my dad. Scrapbooks. Peppery Cabernets. Tree pose. Pigeon Pose. Airplanes descending. My Mema. Cinnamon Girl. Feather Pillows. Mountains. Saltwater.  Sand between my toes. Scrunchy faced kisses. Real cotton. Ballet flats. Cowboy boots. Mirrored sunglasses. Nests. My pink piece o'shit bike. Forgiveness. Old campers. Sleeping bags. Hammocks. Flip flops. Six ounce running shoes. Figs.

Forty things I want to do. Be the light. Run a half marathon. Then, run a marathon. Travel 25K this year. Start a list of fourteeners. Take a cooking class from a chef friend. Get Lasik. Volunteer with a favorite charity. Make bread from scratch. Learn another language. Pay off debts. Take my monkeys to Europe. Teach my girl to drive a standard. Master chess. Plant my own garden. Buy more flowers. Get a nose ring. Get a tattoo. Beat the monkey up the incline. Watch the sun rise from Red Rocks. Put my toes in the sand. Be my own boss. Write the book that has been percolating on the back burner. Publish the book that has been percolating on the back burner. Forgive. Write more thank-you notes. Visit my Mema. Sleep more. Be authentic. Eat more sushi. Replace coffee with green tea. Be the last one to let go in a hug. Love harder. Laugh louder. Experience discomfort more. Speak my truth. Design a new blog/website. Sleep under the stars. Build a little free library. Learn something 'homey' like laying tile or running a snowblower or a lawnmower.

There. Forty. Forty things that I love and forty things for a bucket list. Let us never speak of this forty nonsense again.

XOXO, Peace and love and figs and 14,625 sunrises.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Marking Shoplifting Off of the Bucket List

Alright, Miss Karina.

I read your 'turning forty' blog, and I have written and re-written about forty responses about turning forty in three days.

None of them ring true. Some have little resemblances to the truth, or echoes of the truth, but they aren't authentic.

Truth. I am tired. I am forty years of exhausted. I have this sammich generation of heavy worries on my back. I fall asleep worrying, the weight of my world sitting firmly on my chest. I wake up with an incredible lightness, until all of the realities come crashing and crowding back down onto my chest, and I have to think about actually just breathing in and breathing out.  I am forty fucking years of exhausted. That bone-tired exhaustion where sleeping for days, waking up and not knowing what day of the week it is- that sounds aaah-mazing.

So forty years- forty years. Karina, I thought I would have it all together. If forty years has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can control my responses to the world, but I can control nothing in the world around me. If someone is sick, I cannot fix it or fix them. If someone is hurting, I cannot heal them or their hurts. If someone wants to heap all of their blames or hate onto me, I cannot stop them. All I can do is control my response, tuck in so that I am not hurt, and recognize the "serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Forty years as of Thursday, and my big takeaway is recognizing the waves crashing around me, and that I can just dive into them and let them wash over me.

That being said, I am still thinking about my bucket list. I am always late, so I figure it is apropos if I just start working on my bucket list for forty. Early bird gets the worm? Who wants a fucking worm? I start my bucket list now.

First thing to mark off my bucket list?

Shoplifting. Besides that unfortunate and accidental time in 1983 when I took Industrial Sized Razor Blades from the Strike-It-Rich Grocery Store, I have never shoplifted. I have an outsize sense of right and wrong, and taking something that is not mine would never be an option. Until this....


Kinda hard to see, but see that adorable black flower headband perched on my noggin? Yep, that one. Totes shoplifted it. I was enjoying lunch with my bestie, when she started staring slightly above my eyes. She said in a stage whisper, "Don't Panic."

Anytime anyone says "Don't panic", I panic.

She is staring across our plate of olives and papitas bravas, slightly above my line of sight and to the right. I hear "Don't panic" and think one of two things. Either there is a huge frikking spider crawling across my head or there is a wild-eyed knife-wielding man standing over my shoulder. Either way, I have enough pent-up rage to take them both out. As I am preparing to ninja chop something, she again stage whispers.

"Did you pay for that?"

My hand goes up to where the spider was supposed to be crawling. Nope. No spider, just a cute handmade fair-trade rose. Which I totally yanked from the boutique next door, as we were birthday shopping.

Damnations.

We finish our birthday lunch, go back, and I say that I would like to pay for my headband. The (new) woman is confused. I am wearing it. Already. I have to explain, and rather than explain that I was so FRIKKING mentally exhausted that I accidentally stole said fair-trade headband, I just tell her that I have now successfully marked shoplifting off my Forty-Year-Old bucket list, and I need this headband.



Voila. Now, I work on my grownup bucket list, which hopefully includes a really long nap. I look forward to being friends when we pass the eighty year mark, Karina. And you can totally borrow my headband.

XOXOXO, Peace and love and naps and fair-trade headbands.



August

Do you ever have one of those moments when you do something so incredibly stupid, and you have only yourself to be furious with? Looking ...