Wednesday, July 29, 2009


In the midst of very real concern about how to possibly meet all of the commitments and responsibilities coming together to steal away the final weeks of summer vacation, there came a rare treat. While out walking with Walking Buddy today, there was a small sacred moment. A gift which cannot be given was received. A dragonfly flew into our path, and I wondered aloud if it might sit on my hand. I held out a hand to the erratic creature in utterly unrealistic hope. It settled onto my outstretched palm. And I saw a reminder of how to hold on to the gifts one receives. With an open hand that does not grasp or crush.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I've been neglecting this blog a bit. I've been occupied with assorted tasks and juggling a crazy schedule. Just to catch up on the sorts of supremely important factors drawing my attention away from writing in the past few weeks, I submit the following entirely true tidbit:
There is a sound similar to the sound of the letter "m" if it were a growl accompanied by a single raised index finger, raised eyebrows, and followed by a "phh" sound. This is Mommy's universal "Cut-it-out-right-this-minute!" Sometimes, it requires repetition, but all three lovies know this particular display of sound and motion. They also know that it is followed by loss of privileges and quite possibly grief should it be ignored. Especially if the person ignoring the warnings is explaining (a.k.a. making excuses for) something that rates an "ohbutno". And if Mommy escalates from the "mmm" sound to an "nnn" sound, then one should probably just hide. Now. Because a line of some sort has been crossed. Uh-oh. And if Mommy's eye seems to be twitching? Flee. Flee before the wrath of Almighty Mom the Grounder of All, wee miscreant!
Especially after this very Mommy has paid $95 to the plumber (Yes, the very one who once fished your toddler squirty bath toy from the very same bathroom a decade ago!) who has been called forth to remove what turns out to be an entire roll of paper towels from the potty. (No, you are not too old for me to call it a potty when you are still feeding it oddball objects. Perhaps it was the cat you say? Or maybe the paper towels just attempted to suicide by drowning. "Mmph....nnph...") In light of our $95 roll of soaking wet, contaminated paper towels, it would be good if Mommy went for a walk. All by herself. Until her eyes quit this spontaneous rolling.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Spy

The mister requested a couple of days off from both jobs, and we opted to take the children to Fair Park in Dallas to visit the "Science of Spying" exhibit. Highly interactive in nature, the explorationm of spy technique and gadgetry included everything from safe cracking to hacking. The rooms throughout the exhibition thoroughly occupied (even entertained the typically bored and annoyed twelve year old *gasp*) our party aged eight to thirty-something.
One of the favorite activities included dumpster diving into a metal waste basket for panels with photos of pieces of garbage which were then scanned into a computer. The computer let the user choose four pieces of trash to send to the "lab" for analysis. The goal was to select items that would provide specifically requested information which would assist later in the adventure.

Our next stop was a facial recognition camera that would help us in our spy chase. Our "badges" were loaded with our faces so we could later be identified while sneaking into the company serving as a cover for our spy in his attempt to take over the world. We listened in on conversations, discovered that devices can capture key strokes on computer keyboards to steal information, and then we entered a dimly lit room straight out of the Spy Kids movies where we swiped our badges and then attempted to hack into Fictional Cover Company's (FCC) touch-screen enabled computer to discover details of Spy's plot while seated in the palms of hand-shaped chairs.
Armed with our newly attained knowledge, we presented ourselves and our badges for entry into the FCC's offices. After successfully negotiating our entry, a series of activities from peeping to button-pushing that appeared fairly pointless occupied us. Eventually we discovered a curtained area which led us back the way we had come. With a twist. We were now on the back side of the FCC's offices looking out onto those visitors walking through the offices. We could respond to their button-pushing and surprise them by their peeping by looking back out at them! The oddly bland portion of the exhibit was now entirely entertaining.

All said and done, the exhibit took about an hour to explore with some activities and displays glossed over while others were repeated. The lovies asked the very next day when we will go back. The mister, in his infinite wisdom, chose a family membership to the museum allowing for return trips to "The Science of Spying", entry into all the other exhibits, and a fair discount on IMAX movies. Taking along a picnic lunch to share on the grounds allows for an unhurried visit to include any or all of the activities that can extend from morning into afternoon without the dreaded whining (which unfailingly prompts Mommy to ask if one would like glass with that...) about hunger and thirst.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This morning Walking Buddy and I made our four mile loop from my house to Starbuck's and back home. (Now exercise is both social and caffeinated. Woo-Hoo!) We were a little hurried because Middle Child had an eye doctor appointment to be fitted for contact lenses, and those appointments are only available at 10:00 a.m. At Starbucks, we ran into G. enjoying a morning treat with her children, so we stopped to chat for a bit before the clock pressed us forward. As we passed the middle school, a car stopped and out stepped The Boy's structured teach instructor/mentor P. for a quick "hello". Stopping for that brief chat pushed the clock further on toward "late".
As we sped up the street toward the house, I saw something purple in the street by Buddy's mom-mobile. Unlike the sightings of G. and P., this particular surprise was both odd and entirely unwelcome. Somehow, my, ahem, under garment had made it into the middle of the street. Crumpled in a pile on the cement rested my striped purple drawers for all the world to see. I scooped the escapee up and tucked it into my pocket while explaining that those were not the pair I was wearing this morning... Really! And then beat a fairly hasty retreat into the house for a good laugh while ushering the girls out the garage door. We drove off to the eye appointment trying to figure out just exactly how Mom's panties might have ended up in the street this morning.

Monday, July 20, 2009


With absolute expectation, I pray. I know God is not a slot machine waiting to pay off should the 7's line up. Still, sometimes I am disappointed when my prayers are not met with the answer I wish for in my heart of hearts. Questioning myself following such a disappointment, I arrived at the fig tree of Matthew 21 which withered after Jesus found it without fruit. At that time, He told the disciples, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. 22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing you will receive."
Mmm-hmm. That's a powerful statement. Now, either Christ really had it in for that particular fig tree, or there is a mandate here that we should be faith-filled, and that our prayers are an outflow of the expectation that the God of the Universe is listening and active. This morning, the action-oriented parable of the fig tree drew me after reading again of Abraham bargaining with God for fifty... forty?... No! Wait... ten righteous men for whom a whole city could be saved.
In my mind, "God grants our requests," plays over and over. Yes. And no. God's answers can sometimes be simply the turning of our wants and hopes toward his Will. We can ask for whatever we might desire, but His response will only be according to what He deems right. Sometimes that's the "yes," so often called "answered prayer". Sometimes that's the "wait," or "no," that are every bit as much an answer.
Yet, even with the surety that God already knows our heart's desires, we are to ask. Even though He already knows the answers that will be given, we are to ask. Because there is humility in the need to ask and the acknowledgement of God's sovereignty. Faith is expressed in the acceptance of "no," and "maybe." The surety that God is in control and that His authority is always good despite my limited view and perceptions of "good". Yet, in the simple act of "asking" that very power is granted to the petitioner. Out of faith will grow the sought after fruit.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Writers' Workshop

It is the summer of our children's stupidity, but also of our own periodically surfacing discontent. Perhaps the occasional discontent of the mommies has to do with the foolishness of some of our offspring, or perhaps it is our own responses to those actions combining in an incomplete fusion reaction with the hundred degree-plus temperatures of the past weeks? Tempers, desires, and dreams flare only to fizzle out like defective 4th of July sparklers. Into this occasionally heated situation comes the Writers' Workshop of discussions gleaned from the desire to develop a craft, share the knowledge and ideas culled from books, classes, and web content, and to have others' input into works in progress.
Bored already with the S.O.S, despite the passage of only half the days intervening between one school year and the next, we meet over kitchen tables, in coffee shops, and while walking across miles of super-heated concrete to discuss and consider character development, dialogue, and plot ideas. I have none of the above to offer at the moment because fantasy fails to hold my attention these days, but am entirely entertained by the offerings presented. Asked about my research, I respond that I am writing from experience and imagining. If the world described in print is cut wholly from the warp and weave of my own fantastical cloth, there is nowhere but the recesses of my own imagination to research the strands defining it. If the world in print is my own, or a version of it, then it is known with an intimacy no researcher can define or describe.
The topics for my own summer writings are of the sort that lead to infrequent publication. The words pour out only to be shredded, crumpled, deleted, or otherwise disposed once translated into expressive form. The characters shift and shimmer without clearly defined protagonist, antagonist, ingenue... The chimera recognized and named will be relegated outside the pages of the main story line. This is no myth, but a modern tale of stark reality. There is no need to develop meaning in the fable, but merely straight news reporting with the most important details coming first and those mattering least to follow. Except those dry reports fail to convey the frequent bouts of laughter, the sorrows and disappointments of broken people, or the hope of potential. Neither labels marked "tragedy" nor "comedy", but rather more of the "dramedy" genre seems to fit the spine of this particular volume.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Middle Child frequently offers the suggestion that a tattoo of a ring on the left hand would improve the odds of one staying in place. The first one placed on the extended finger of a trembling bride's hand had to be cut off in the E.R. during the pre-eclamptic stage of our first pregnancy. The resulting mangled metal was made into a wider band containing the stone from the original engagement solitaire. That one was lost, but later found in the tub where Baby had been bathed only after it was replaced with a simple band. The three-quarter carat marquis diamond that seemed so lovely until I discovered that it would forever snag every knit within ten feet eventually fell out as I followed The Boy's meandering progress while pushing Infant Middle Child in a cart through a large book store. There was a lengthy search upon the realization at the checkout that the setting on my finger was a gaping pit of prongs devoid of its sparkly inhabitant.
In the vain hope that three 's a charm, the mister and I treated one another to new gold bands for our anniversary in year five. He still has his a decade later, but mine disappeared somewhere in our old church. I took it off in a preschool classroom so it would not have to be cut off as I experienced more of the pregnancy swelling so detrimental to ring no. 1. It was probably swallowed by either a vacumn cleaner or a three-year-old. So ends the chapter on gold wedding rings.
It turns out that I am allergic to gold--- which probably explains much of my fidgeting with those 14K+ bands. (Who knew?!) In the bright, new millenium, we began to replace my wedding rings with silver bands that were a match to the mister's gold one since the jeweler in question creates almost all of his pieces in both gold and silver. The first one I lost somewhere. (It was not notable enough at this point for me to remember the circumstances.) The second one apparently fled my finger when I took out the trash, but the oopsie went unnoticed until the bin had been emptied and the truck was long gone. The third one attempted to follow in the grand tradition of its immediate predecessor. Over the course of a week, I repeatedly looked down to discover a ring finger naked except for tan lines indicating the regular wear of a 1/2" wide band. The locations where the ring relocated included the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, and the shower. Because it was simply too big after the weight loss of the past months to stay put when soap and water come together.
Rather than visit a tattoo parlor, the girls and I opted for a stop at the most recent James Avery location to open in our neck of the woods. Where I was rather pleased to discover that I have lost a full ring size in this year's weigh down, and to find that the jeweler allowed the return of my battered too-large ring for 25% credit toward its shiny replacement. And that the 88 year-old designer will be in the store to celebrate its grand opening next week with a drawing for a piece from his collection. I think the girls and I will drop by to enter the drawing and meet the man who has designed the bits of shiny metal that have marked many occasions in our lives.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Oh, my. The Local Market offers some killer cooking classes. The girls have been attending classes with a friend. Today's class was "Herbs and Spices: The Essence of Flavor". I picked up a pair of giddy girls proudly carrying their very own Basil plants which will likely be ready for harvesting to produce Herbed Cheese Bread in about five weeks. Until then, we will have to settle for the bunches of store-bought stuff or the dried bits in a jar.
It was amusing to discover that despite my lack of ability to produce my own homegrown food here in the 'burbs, my daughter was thrilled to be able to crow that her mommy grew some of our herbs in the yard. Which went a long way toward letting me feel a little less inept in my provisioning of our household pantry after reading Green Girl's post which rather inspires me to look for creative ways to cut down on mass-produced munchies. It is heartening that my kids were not shocked by the news that herbs are grown, and do not magically sprout in little jars from the megamart aisles. I have to admit there was even a small frisson of glee in noting that I am at least producing something that we eat. Not all of our edibles come packaged in a clam shell or plastic bag. It's not much, but it will do here in the burbs with a postage stamp yard.
Tomorrow, I will take Middle Child over to the nursery to add mint and sweet basil to our current bumper crop of rosemary and hardy basil. If we don't manage to kill those off in the midst of a Texas heatwave ("Feels like 112", are dirty words for tender plants and heat-sensitive people alike!), then savory, oregano, and thyme will be our next additions to the herb garden. Herb-growing greatness here we come!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Once the worst of the afternoon heat abated, Kate, Erin, and I piled into a friend's mom-mobile with yet a third mommy to head north for Girls' Night Out. In a GNO first, both my daughters and husband were present. Don was playing bass as part of the trio at the restaurant where we had dinner. The daughters were along because they needed dinner, and they wanted to catch Daddy's set. Odd, but entirely enjoyable.
Having intended a Picture Post, I took along my camera. Unfortunately, I failed to take along the battery. It was a lovely evening of good friends, culinary adventure (Note: Do not order calamari in a restaurant situated in a strip mall. It will taste like french fries.), and talented musicians. While it would be lovely to have photos of the evening, I would have been less present with the camera's lens to excuse me from full participation. The sacrifice of captured images is a small enough price to pay for the enjoyment of an evening.

Friday, July 10, 2009


While driving Middle Child to a friend's home this afternoon, she was trying to plan out what they might possibly talk about all afternoon. Heh? Two tween girls are going to be sitting in silence all afternoon. Riiight. Instead of "Riiiight." dripping with requisite sarcasm, Good Mom responded to MC's concerns with the neutral, "Why don't you talk about all the cool stuff you've been doing?" (Internal cringe for use of uncool word, "cool" in a sentence.) My precious girl responded, in a tone that failed to find neutrality, with, "Yeah. Awesome, Mom... I'll talk about sleeping and playing on the computer." Good Mom's neutrality is slipping. "Well, let's see... there was the week of musical camp, the days spent on Mission McKinney painting, redoing your room, the trip to Texarkana, your cooking classes, swimming..."
"Oh! Yeah! The paddle boats, all the stuff at church, the Summer reading assignment... Wow. We have been really busy. Wow. I don't know even know where to start. How am I ever going to fit all the stuff we've been doing into just one afternoon's conversation?"
I am so glad not to be twelve.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My roots are deep enough that I can stand despite strong storms and winds without toppling. Drought parches, but there is an extensive underpinning to absorb each precious drop of life-sustaining water. In flood, those same roots may be the very thing that prevents tender shoots from washing away rather than holding firm. These thoughts expand out into further examples beginning with the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8 this morning. This familiar passage called to me in response to thoughts preoccupied with roots in relation to parent/child relationships.
The preschool years passed in a blur of "please", "thank you", "uh-oh", "share". The elementary years expanded on the teachings intended to impart faith, integrity, responsibility, and perhaps even good manners to our offspring. Middle school brought new challenges as the continued teaching and training of our children began the natural transition toward guidance as we begin the time-honored process of slowly easing back while our precious children gain increasing independence. As parents, every effort has been made to plant good seeds in the fertile hearts and minds of our lovies.
Having sown to the best of our ability, we are stepping back to see what will be reaped in time. The beginning of high school brings the greatest challenges yet faced in gracefully giving our children the freedom to become the young men and women in whom we hope to delight. The soil has been prepared for them, and we will seek to give them the emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational equivalents of water, clean air, nutrients, and sunlight in which to grow. The mister and I have sown good seeds, but it is up to them to bloom where they are planted upon transplantation from the home garden.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Public Domain

My writing has not ceased, but the "publish post" button has received less of a workout over the past weeks than had become habitual in the preceding months. This is what a friend referred to as the "Summer of Stupid" as various people in our lives have made stellar bad choices that left whole families reeling and trying to navigate unfathomable waters. The SOS has been somewhat consuming, and while there's been no shortage of words to describe the crapfest, not all of those words are fit for print or meant to be public domain.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


We managed to dot the i's and cross the t's of a "traditional" 4th of July without any travel or particular fuss. We swam, played in the sand, enjoyed meals of barbecue, watermelon, and s'mores. The afternoon heat passed by while we lounged indoors watching "Fireproof". The day's finale brought fireworks observed from a parking lot with friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Flattened this week by the latest rendition of the Creeping Crud, I submitted to a batch of prescriptions that included a round of steroids. Ugh. The advent of Prednisone heralded skipped coffee because those nasty little pills can make one mean, jumpy, hungry... and (seeing the clock register 3:30 at the base of my screen...) sleepless. Not that it mattered. In one of those forehead-smacking, little, V8 Juice moments, I discover that the coffee would not have mattered because I remain wide awake at this ridiculous hour anyway. Which makes it likely that liberal, perhaps even copious quantities of coffee will be poured down Mommy's gullet in the a.m. enabling wakefulness in the daylight hours for one doubly jittery Mommy.