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


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

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 ...