Thursday, October 29, 2015

Some Days, You Lose Your Pants...

She came flying around the corner, and nearly knocked me over. Probably six years old. Filthy shirt, cable knit tights, crazy hair,  a conspicuous absence of pants, and clutching a huge candy bar. She was followed by her brother and mother. Brother had hair standing in every direction, a filthy tee, a fresh cast, a huge candy bar, and a soda for good measure. Mom just looked exhausted and spent. She caught my eye, and looked ready for judgement. Pretty sure I would have been Judgey McJudge at some point in the past, either about the sugar surplus or lack of pants or something.
Instead, all I could do was pick up the candy bars that had toppled over in our near collision and talk to the little girl about how much I liked the candy bar she had picked. I smiled at Mom and went to check out my water and pay for my gas. 

After I drove away and got back on the highway, I thought about what I should have said to her mom instead of just smiling. I should have said, in all sincerity, "You rock. No matter how rough the day, you are still standing with your kids."
I should have also said, "It's gonna be a doozy of a story about the day that ended with no pants and a new cast. But right now, you should get yourself a candy bar and soda because you rock."

We all get so judgey about other people. Their parenting. Their lack of parenting. Their nutrition. Their political beliefs. Their religious beliefs. Everything. We get so judgey about everything that people do differently than us, never knowing what might be happening. That mom caught my eye with the expectation that some sort of judgement, silent or spoken, was coming her way. 

The Great Candy Bar Collision was a reminder that we are all usually trying our best. Or at least trying. Some days, simply showing up and trying is enough. No judgement here, love. Just what should have been a hug and a spoken, "Solidarity, Sister. Eat the candy bar."

Peace and love and pants and chocolate, buttercups. XOXO

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blurred Edges of a Best Day Ever

Sometimes, a moment is crystallized forever in our memories. Years later, we can tell you exactly what we thought and felt at a moment, down to what the smells and sounds were around us at that second.
This time several years ago, I remember everything falling apart. I had a kid in the hospital at the start of an excruciating journey. My heart was shattered and I kept having to remind myself to breathe, lest I forget. I had someone in my corner fighting the hard fight with me, and everything else going well. These things were pure joy. 
 I remember standing on a rock in my back yard, talking on the phone with my counselor. I remember the smell of aspen leaves all around me, and the chill autumn air, as I stood outside, trying to keep my falling apart away from everyone else.I called her because I couldn't breathe from the crushing hurt and worry and fear, and yet I had happiness creeping in at the edges of my heartbreak. I was balancing on the rock, on my tippy toes, telling her that I couldn't handle feeling joy and pain all jumbled together.



She asked, "Why not?"
As I balanced precariously on the rock, my phone tucked in my shoulder, my arms out to my side in some attempt to do a yoga pose, I told her, "I only like feeling one emotion at a time. I want just joy or just heartbreak. I don't want the edges blurred."

Monday, August 17, 2015

School Cannot Come Soon Enough.

Summer slips through my fingers each and every year.

I think that the monkeys and I will do all sorts of bonding activities. Camping. Long hikes. The Incline. Days at the penny arcade. Grilling. Planting a huge garden. Building firepits. Traveling around the state. Leisurely bike rides and days at the pool. I picture us being one big Pinterest List of Kumbaya and Family Fun.

In reality....

I work too much (I know, I know, I am trying to remedy this...). They netflix too much. And argue too much.

I know it is time for school to begin when I see this battle line drawn.


The kid laid claim to his own jar of Nutella from Costco. Told me I could keep his lawn mowing money because the jar was his. Pretty sure he thought about brandishing a fork weapon if G came close to his jar.

I am counting down the hours til school starts. And I am not touching said Nutella Jar. Pretty sure it is booby-trapped.

Peace and love and Pinterest family fun and your very own jar of Nutella, buttercups. XOXO

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Heart on my wrist

Have you ever heard that expression 'wearing your heart on your sleeve?'

I wear my entire being on my wrist- I have six bracelets that I wear almost like my own personal talisman collection. The only thing missing from my wrist is the day-glo purple rabbit foot I had as a kid for good luck. It might get in the way of everyday activity and would probably be a little gnarly if I actually found it.


I have a charm bracelet from my mama. It has charms reminding me to breathe, a sailboat from my mother-in-law, a turtle, and other gentle reminders that ground me. Every charm comes from a loved one or signifies something that defines me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Five Peppers, Aioli, and a Forty Dollar Lesson in Love.

Sometimes, I feel like men and women don't come from different planets. Like that whole Mars and Venus thing was a lie sold to us one Oprah show at a time. I feel like we all have the same thought processes and emotions, and just need to work on loving and open communication.

And then we try to go out to eat. At a restaurant.



Here's the thing. I am a female. I have certain ideas when it comes to restaurants and what I like. I am not a fan of chain restaurants. I much prefer mom and pop places where the bartender knows how I like my martini, and the chef remembers that I don't like certain ingredients. I like little tastes of several different things; I would rather have small bites of tapas than a huge gut-busting plate o'food. I love sharing- sushi bars and tapas restaurants are my favourites because you are supposed to share. I will also try anything once. Steak tartare, chicken hearts, escamole (ant eggs), and more- I am game at least once. But you bring me to a buffet or an Applebee's and I might tear up. A Steakhouse is only slightly better because the portions are "side of cow" and "potato farm" and "enough cheesecake to kill a family of four." Why? WHY does someone need that much food?


Thursday, July 9, 2015

I am a walking, talking, wet miracle.

It's been a while....

So much has happened that I cannot even begin to tell you guys from start to finish. If this is a mid-life crisis, well....

"Yes. Please, sir, may I have another?"

A little backstory. I don't tell a lot about this, because I have no desire to be a poster child. But now, I can sing it from the highest mountains. I have this funky hereditary disorder that has been a ton of fun for the last thirteen years. It causes excruciating headaches, vertigo that has left me absolutely bed-ridden, and deafness.  I have lived with it for years, but I felt my world shrinking the last couple of years as it worsened. Every time I drove somewhere out of my small town, I had an emergency back up plan if my vertigo made me unable to drive. My headaches made me a BITCH (Sorry, mom, but no nice word for it...) My deafness was to the point that I was avoiding crowds, making excuses, and only able to hear you if you were speaking directly to me where I could read your lips.

I could literally feel my world getting smaller. Shrinking. No matter how many times that I took my six thousand dollar hearing aids to be adjusted, I could no longer hear anyone behind me, crickets, or Nate's quiet voice.  I failed to master surfing in Nicaragua because I couldn't hear, and I avoiding even dunking my head in the Brazilian ocean water because I could not hear anything at all without my hearing aids. I was missing out on big and small moments.

The last time I went to my audiologist, she tried to tell me about great advances in hearing aids. I basically told her, "Hell no." I told her I wanted to hear my son without asking him to repeat himself over and over. I wanted to dunk my head in tropical waters. I wanted to drive three hours away without fear that vertigo would have me trapped in my car, unable to drive. So she told me about a surgery that might be able to help someone with my condition.

Almost five weeks later, here I am, I can hear crickets. I can hear my son's voice without asking him to repeat himself, even if his back is turned. I can twirl in circles, and drive with no fear of vertigo striking me down. I find myself listening to the trains rumble by, and the sound of thunder rolling in over the mountains. I haven't had a headache since I awoke from my surgery.

Naters cried the first time he realized that I was having a conversation with him while he was in a different room. I cried when I realized that his laugh had a lower timber to it, more man than boy. Grace was speechless when she realized that I was able to hear everything without hearing aids or concentrating on her lips moving. I was blown away when I was in Denver one day, and I realized I had no backup plan for being incapacitated.

My surgeon says I am a raging success. He wants to pick my brain (metaphorically, this time, instead of literally...) He wants me to be a testimony to other people that he can help.

I am a walking talking miracle. My first thought when I came out of surgery was a bizarre one for a skeptic like me. I woke up and immediately thought, "I am blessed." I could almost literally feel myself being prayed for, and in my post-anesthesia stupor, it was absolutely mind-blowing.

And then, this. I was at the market last week. A storm rolled in, rain coming down in sheets that caused flash flooding all around. I would usually be glued inside, unable to leave because getting my hearing aids even slightly wet could completely ruin them. I lived in fear of water, because I would not be able to function if I damaged my hearing aids.

I looked out the window with all of the other customers, at the rain coming down sideways. I got my groceries together, and started to walk out of the door. The manager asked me, "Are you sure you want to get out in that?"

"Yes. Yes I do." And I walked out, turned my face in the rain, and got absolutely drenched, because I could. And I smiled all the way home, soaked and hearing the rain beat against my car.

Soaked and smiling after the storm...


Peace and love, crickets and glorious rain soaking you to your bones, buttercups.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mothering

No Mother's Day post from me this year. I was too busy mothering. And I actually spent the day being incredibly grateful for all of the mamas I am surrounded by and for the two monkeys who made me a mama.
Mother's Day- we are surrounded by the Hallmark version replete with cards and flowers and Coach bags and mimosas. These things are great- I am never going to refuse champagne nor a fine leather bag. But those things are not what Mother's Day is about. Mother's Day is about mothering.
Mothering is about getting down and dirty in the trenches. Mothering is having someone crawl into your lap to 'cuddle' and immediately throw up a pound of green grapes all over you. All. Over. You.
Mothering is staying up til sunrise, with a croupy kiddo. Going from a steamy hot shower to the cold Colorado air, so they can breathe.
Mothering is having your heart break when your kiddos hurt. Every crack in their shell will crack you more.
Mothering is teaching your son to shave because there is no one else to do it. It involves googling "how to shave." (Don't do this, cupcakes, because there are a whole lotta things that get shaved that you do not want video tutorials of. My eyes still burn.) Copious amounts of shaving cream, sharp razors, and awkward laughter are also involved.

Mothering is wanting to keep them safe in the nest, but trying to teach them to spread their wings.
Mothering is embracing your monkeys being themselves, even if it not what you envisioned. It's encouraging them to let their freak flags fly, instead of fitting into the narrow confines of what they are "supposed to do."
Mothering is trying to teach your daughter that she has value high above the number of Instagram likes she gets, and above how people constantly comment on her looks.
Mothering is trying to teach your son that real men show emotion, and that being a real man involves being gentle and good instead of steamrolling or bullying.
Mothering is attempting to model being a good human every day, and admitting when you fall short.
Mothering is only stealing the pieces of Halloween candy that they don't love, because no self-respecting kid will actually eat Raisinets.
Mothering is buying your monkeys shoes when they need them, even if your shoes are as old as your single status.
Mothering is trying to be better and gentler every single day, because they are watching and learning from you.

Happy LATE Mother's Day, cupcakes. Peace and love and raisinets and quality shaving cream.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three Peas

Years ago, when my divorce was still fresh and new, I decided that the monkeys and I needed a motto for our little family of three. This decision probably came about when the kids were fighting and picking at each other on a snowy day. In my climbing of the walls, and my new-agey touchy feely thinking, I probably thought that having a family motto or credo would bring them together to be kind and sing "Kumbaya" while clasping hands.
This didn't happen. I recall the fight actually grew because they hated each other's ideas. After much compromise, we ended up with some strange thing about being Three Peas in a Mailbox. That is another story, but it has stuck through the years. Every birthday or Mother's Day, I get something related to the three, and it is always the best present. 
Because, even after all these years, we are still our tight little family of three. We tried the whole blended family thing with shattering results. We've thought about adding a fourth to our family, but we always come back to our core three. One, two, three. Three peas in a mailbox. 


I try to remember this when parenting and adulting are challenging. Because they have been more than challenging lately. I've recently thought of how nice it would be to lean on someone or have someone else to occasionally do the heavy lifting. I've been so overwhelmed and life has been difficult for the monkeys (Side note, there are some wicked brutal kids out there these days). I have yelled, which is not my normal go to, and I have had fleeting thoughts of running away. When everything seems impossible, I'd like to go back to bed or crawl into my pillow fort, but these options are apparently not feasible.
So I pull out the various Three Peas pieces, and remember that this is what I need and this is what I do it all for. This tight, close, messy, chaotic, transparent little family of mine. We are enough. And we are strong enough together to do this thing. Just the three of us.Three Peas in a Mailbox.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Better

       Ever tried. Ever failed.
       No matter. Try again.
       Fail again. Fail better.
                 -Samuel Beckett

Picture of perseverance from my run today :)
This quote went through my head when I was running today. Running after four months of NOT running feels more painful than running for the first time. My lungs and my left hamstring have told me to go to hell, in very clear terms. I figure they would rather sit on the couch and catch up on House of Cards and eat Thin Mints. But. No.
No Thin Mints and no more House of Cards (Frank really upped his douchebaggery this season, didn't he?!).  I have trips to plan for and mountains to climb and adventures to begin. Yummy cookies and Netflix do nothing for these plans, so off I go...
And on that note, I just passed a hurdle for one adventure I am attempting. Good vibes and the such are appreciated because this one will truly be that annoying and overused "trip of a lifetime." More if I pass the next hurdle, but I don't want to jinx it.

Peace and love and perseverance and adventures, cupcakes! XO

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

.

Sometimes, I have so much to say that I say nothing at all. Probably a wise decision, for now.

Peace and love and blank space, buttercups. XOXO

Monday, February 23, 2015

Do what you love.

"Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still." 
                                                                                                     -Henry David Thoreau

No bones in this pic. But. Look. At. This. Face.

I found this quote tonight while looking for another quote and cannot get it out of my mind. Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to find what they love to do knows what Thoreau speaks of.  When you love something, really love doing something, it gets under your skin. You go to sleep thinking about how you did it that day, you wake up with an idea about how to do it better. You ponder it while you are doing your nine-to-five grind, and think about it as you absentmindedly burn the toast. 

Whether it's singing or writing, building lego sculptures or photography, it is your bone. You gnaw at it, bury it, dig it back up, sniff it, bury it again, roll around thinking about it, unearth it yet one more time, and gnaw a little more.

I'm lucky. I found my bone. I kid that it is red wine or Netflix, but nope. I obsess over it, worry it like a nervous ninny as I bury it and dig it up daily.

We should all be so lucky, right?

Peace and love and knowing your own bone and finding your bliss, buttercups. XO

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Forty one candles

Last year's milestone birthday was shattering, a wreck that became a complete paradigm shift for me, even though I didn't realize it that awful day.

Amazing how one year later, everything is different.



Getting a birthday wish come true at 12:01 AM, then awaking to homemade chocolate cake with a candle and songs, an entire day with the people I love most in the world, presents that were so thoughtful they took my breath away, and working on something I love. The only thing that would have been better would have been MORE hours.

If you had told me on February 13th, 2014, how ridiculously happy I would be on February 13th, 2015, I would have thought you were off your rocker. But here I am. Here we are.

Forty one candles. That's a whole lotta light, cupcakes. Light to soak in and light to give away. Forty one things to be thankful for. Kismet. Grace. Nate. Morgan. My mama. Cinnamon. Pug sneezes. Lab belly rubs. Lucky humperdink's fierce love. Colorado sunrises. Broken in running shoes. Long trails. Sunny days. Good wine. Basil. This itty bitty happy house. Healing hamstrings. Kumquats. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Almond milk. Good friends. Second chances. Wisdom. A good pen in my hand. A brand new moleskin notebook to write in. Evernote. University of Denver libraries. Sparks. Skip-bo with my Mema. Left-handed kisses. A few extra dollars in my bank account on the last day of the month. Spring tulips that I pick out for myself. Freedom. Feeling safe enough to turn my lights out. Fresh berries in the fridge. Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Good friends. Paolo Coelho by my bedside lamp. Airline miles to use. Gas in my tank. The ability to breathe freely, without being scared of rustling the sheets.

Forty one wishes. Forty one plans. Travel. Tents. Foreign houseboats and hotels. Two wheels, especially on a cobblestone road. Running on a beach. Riding a roller coaster. Seeing a volcano. Buying fresh fish, straight from a fisherman. Making my own sushi. Forgiving. Growing my own food. Yoga at sunrise. Finishing the book. Kismet on my wrist. Letting the birds fly. Scattering the ashes on a mountaintop. Sleeping under the stars. Better neighbouring. More dinners with friends, and breakfasts and brunches and lunches. Working out with Cinnamon. Doing the Incline without a rest. Having my name at the top of Galaga. More epic boardgames with the monkeys. Being a voice for mamas with no voice. Maybe tiptoe-ing back into the labyrinth and through the doors. Being vulnerable. Being authentic, even if my voice shakes. Loving BIG. More greens. Less chocolate. Better chocolate. More water. Less coffee. More sleep. Less nightmares. Sending thank you notes. Sending the love letters. Less safety and wading in the shallow water. More diving into the deep. Soaking in every second with the monkeys. Loving better. 

Happy Day, cupcakes. And a belated thank you for all of the love- I felt it all.

Peace, love, more hours, and a lotta light, XOXO.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nick

I found out today, quite by accident, that an old friend passed away. I have been scouring my photos all day, searching for a picture I had of him from several years ago, playing chess with Naters.

I worked in a coffee shop up the street from the monkey's school, right after my divorce. Naters would come to the coffee shop with me at the crack of dawn, and drink hot chocolate while I worked. He was always shy, but slowly got to know all of the regulars who would congregate at the Speedtrap.

And then one day, Nick walked in. Nick was a big bear. No idea how tall Nick was, but he had to have been at least 6'5" or so. A barrel chested big man with a big beard, crazy hair sticking up in every direction, and a booming voice. Nick was a walking example of intimidation, at first glance. When Nick and Tammy walked in that first morning, he walked over to Nate's little corner of the coffeebar. Nate always had a book or two, coloring sheets, and either Mancala or Checkers to amuse himself while I worked. Nick walked right up to him, asked him if he knew how to play chess. I remember Nate being absolutely speechless that this big bear was speaking to him,  and just shaking his head. Nick walked over to a bookshelf, pulled chess pieces down and started to teach Nate chess. I think Nate was so in awe of Nick that he could not even refuse the lesson.

My monkey, before Nick introduced him to chess
Nick continued to teach Nate chess, playing with him several days a week, beating him, letting him win, teaching him strategies. He'd sometimes just play a couple of minutes, if he and Tammy were in a hurry. Other times, he'd play a long game until Nate had to walk to school.  Everyone knew that when Nate needed to walk to school, the coffee and lattes and food had to wait. I would walk him from the coffeeshop across the street and a few feet up, so I could watch him walk into the schoolyard. Over time, Nate and Nick would get so into chess and strategy, that Nick would just walk him across for me, so that Nate could get two or three minutes more of chess. I remember that like yesterday, watching Big Nick and my little bitty Nate walk out of the shop, talking animatedly about the game.

Tammi and Nick bought Nate a chess board for Christmas that year. His very own, solid wood, hand-carved pieces. We still play with that board, six years later. Nate has been given lots of other chess sets, but that is the one that matters. And he learned well from Nick. I manage to beat him every few months, maybe force a stalemate every few weeks.

First chess tourney, Second place in district.
We lost touch with Nick and Tammi as I moved on to a real j-o-b, but I will never forget what a sweet and gentle giant he was with my monkey. Nick taught Nate to be wicked good at chess, but he also taught him that friendship can come from the most unexpected places.

Rest in peace,  Nick Kapusta.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!!

No resolutions. Nope. Not setting myself up for failure. In fact, to avoid resolutions, I put a spoonful of raw sugar and cream in my caffeine this morning. I also checked my email, looked at FB, and intentionally forgot to start training for a marathon.

NO resolutions. But superstitions? Yeah. Guilty. Eat yo' black-eyed peas!!


Less resolution-ing. More being intentional and authentic. More neighbor-ing (and thanks to jenhatmaker.com for the term neighbor-ing, I think it is my new favorite word :)). More celebrations filled with lovies and chaos. Less 'lose the last ten pounds' and more running because I love the way my lungs and hamstrings burn. Less regretting the past and more looking forward to the future.  Less frantic busy-ness and more being present. More petting dogs and playing chess and laughing. Less counting calories/paleo/cleanses and more putting love into cooking and savoring every bite. And more loving the people I love as much as I can, and letting them know it every chance I get.

Cucumberspinachgingerapplelemon juice, intentional and delish.
So, no resolutions. Just words. Being intentional and authentic. I often quote Dr. Seuss to my monkeys, telling them to "be the you-est you that you can be" and I think that is a great one to remember in 2015.

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive is who is you-er than you."

Peace and love, authenticity and being the you-est You, cupcakes. XOXO




Life moves fast

I used to have reservoirs just a few steps from my wee cottage's front door. Full of bears, squirrels, deer, foxes, and a few animals I ...