Mother’s Day and other adventures

So, thinking I would treat myself to a little face to face with my son, I flew to Denver yesterday. It’s not often that I get one-on-one time with my kids, and when I have a window of opportunity, I figure I should take advantage.

I reserved a car so I wouldn’t disrupt Alex’s work day with the need for an airport pick up. Since I’m by myself, I reserved a compact size. Imagine my surprise when I checked in at Hertz and was told they had a Ram pick up for me! Now, I’ve driven mini-vans, and I’ve driven a Suburban, and I even drove our Class C RV for a stretch of about 10 miles one time…my first and last time to do that. (I had a standing plan that if anything happened to Rob while he was driving it…death or stroke or any little thing that took him out of the driver’s seat, I would put a for sale sign out and abandon it on the spot. I am not comfortable driving 30 ft vehicles. :) )

The customer service agent assured me that I would like driving the truck…you’re up high, he said. You’ll have a better view, he said. I said it would be fine as long as it was an automatic. My upbringing did not include learning to drive a standard transmission. I was not going to admit to the rep that I would prefer a nice comfortable compact when I could get higher and better for the same price. No, no, I have my pride.

Well I was up high, all right. I’m short, and I had to do a little climbing to get in the thing. You know those running boards are not just cosmetic. I was a little insecure driving something that long. (This is a full size 2 ton truck…at least I think it’s 2 ton. Maybe it’s 1 1/2 ton. I’ve heard of those too. But what do I know? Vehicles with numbers are largely over my head.) But it’s true, I had a great view.  I think the other drivers I passed just wanted to stay out of my way.

I proceeded cautiously to the interstate. Now keep in mind, I live in VERY SMALL TOWN Alaska, so I’m not used to driving in heavy traffic these days. I used to be pretty fearless, but now that I don’t do it that often…well, I’m a little intimidated. I can do it, but I prefer to maneuver with a vehicle that’s more my size. I felt like I was in a semi, barreling down the road, peering over the steering wheel.

I don’t have blue hair, and I don’t think anyone would call me a little old lady. But I’ll be ready when the time comes. I know what that feels like now.

I made it to the hotel, and I parked. Alex lives about half a block away, so he’s able to do the driving for the weekend in his car. I’m just glad I don’t have to get in the beast again until Monday, when I go back to the airport. Good thing it was a great rate. Cheaper than a cab or shuttle as it turned out!

And oh yes, the customer service rep mentioned the truck would be good in the snow. Snow? I didn’t expect snow this weekend! I did not pack for a Rocky Mountain spring storm. Guess it’s a shopping opportunity for a sleeve or two. Wonder what else is coming my way?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who wear that title and love, nurture, and parent. It’s not a task for the faint of heart. But it’s one of the best jobs around. And I’m glad to celebrate this one with Alex, even if it means driving a big truck. I’m funny that way…I’ll do anything to see my kids!

That son of mine

That son of mine

My ride for the weekend

My ride for the weekend

Generations: My mom, my daughter, my granddaughter

Generations: My mom, my daughter, my granddaughter

The Jack & Riley show

The Jack & Riley show

Riley girl

Riley girl

Little Jack

Little Jack

About these ads

The luxury of time

I could spend some time here!

I could spend some time here!

 

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

What is the luxury of time? My own definition…no rushing, no scurrying about. Time to linger over coffee, or a decadent dessert, or a long conversation, sitting in my rocking chair, looking out over the water. Time to be. The luxury of time is not a treat of the every day. I sometimes encounter it on a Saturday morning, or evenings, after dinner is done and my day is settling about me.

Luxury is usually associated with possessions and money. A study I read suggested that beyond a basic level of comfort, more money, more stuff, doesn’t really create more happiness.

But time. Now there’s a luxury that money can’t buy. Or sometimes it can, but often it doesn’t. Often, more money means less time.

 

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~ Carl Sandburg

 

I come from a long line of doers. I am hard-wired to make lists, to find pleasure in things done. Stillness has been an acquired taste. Because the value of stillness isn’t to be found in items neatly checked off, I was once suspicious of it. Was I wasting time if I produced nothing visible? But I learned. I learned that I can rush getting errands done, or chores finished. But I can’t rush being.

Dreaming and planning and creativity require time. Time to think, and time to produce. But more than that, bountiful time is a state of mind. I find when I match my pace to the rhythm of intention, I’m more at ease. I find my stride with the day’s demands. The best way to have more time is to be thoughtful about  the spending of it. Like any resource, time can be depleted, wasted, frittered away. Carving out opportunity to replenish myself requires careful planning. I plan and organize time so I can be frivolous with it elsewhere in my week.

The reward of the hustle-bustle is the slow and easy.

I’ll admit…a little luxury goes a long way, and I can enjoy that pleasure in almost any form: luxury of place, or of food, or beautiful views. But luxury of time…now that’s the real thing.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ~ Bill Watterson 

In the thick of it

I sit between two rug rats (Rob’s term of endearment): a 2 3/4 year-old, and the two-month-old infant, in the back seat of my daughter’s SUV. Two car seats with me in between. I’m holding a bottle for the baby, and searching for the sippy cup for the toddler with my other hand. As we drive, Riley, the two year old, is getting grumpier. She’s mercurial, sometimes fun and sunny, but in typical toddler fashion, when tired, pretty awful. At this moment, she’s awful. Rob is in the front with Stephanie. Did I mention I’m in the back, between two car seats?

We’re trying to change the mood. Pep up the two-year-old. Rob begins to be a two-year-old; now he’s on her level. He’s distracting her, making her smile as he mimics her words, her grumpiness. Slowly she’s coming around. Stephanie hears the change in her voice, and she begins to ask Riley…”did you crack?” She means her smile, which Riley’s trying to hide. She wants to smile, but she wants to maintain her mood…impossible to do both. Before she knows it, she’s charmed right out of herself.

Sad Riley

Sad Riley

Bribery and a little clever humor work wonders. She’s laughing, and peace is restored, at least for the moment. We don’t kid ourselves that it will be lasting. The most we’re hoping for is the garage. Just pull in with no crying, no screaming. Just unload and begin to comfort, change diapers, find snacks, distract. That’s the job of the parent, or parent-stand-in, sometimes known as a grandparent.

I watch Stephanie and Matt, trying to hold their own against the needs and demands of the two small people they birthed. They’ll never make it, any more than we did. It’s a losing battle. A small human can overwhelm an adult with hands tied…not even a fair contest! The best you can hope for is survival, and growth. They do grow, and part of the process is they grow on you. As much as survival, the other key is falling in love. You get so caught by the spell these little beings weave that you become a willing prisoner to their smiles, their moods, their needs. And by the time you realize it, their work is done, and you’re hooked, body and soul. Well, maybe it has to be that way. Who would sign up for the craziness if they understood the commitment up front?

Jack

Jack

 

Stephanie sees me smiling at the scene after dinner, a little crazy, a little chaotic. She says I’m laughing at them, and I say no, just laughing. Not at them…just appreciating the scene, in all its joy, at this very moment in time.

This is just the age-old ah-ha that all parents experience. Only now, I’m experiencing from the second row of seats. Let me tell you, the view is pretty good from where I sit. I’m close enough to lean down and be in the game, but just far enough that most of the sticky bits miss me.

“We never give up wanting things for ourselves, but there comes a day when what we want for ourselves is someone else’s happiness.” ~ Robert Brault

These I like

These are a few random quotes that caught my eye for their cleverness, humor, or absolute clarity of thought ~

I don’t know why “wanty” sounds better than “needy,” but it does!

Ahh, my southern roots!

Clarabell, the Christmas Cow

For a heartwarming story that has the perfect elements of Christmas…a child, animals, Santa…check out this link to Clarabell, the Christmas Cow.

For many years, my father-in-law read this story at Christmas family gatherings. We are not always with extended family at this stage in our lives. Some years the most we can do is attempt to get together with our kids. So now Rob reads this story for our little group.

If you’ve never heard of Clarabell, take a few minutes and get to know her. She’s quite a character, and more importantly, she has character. This is a story that teaches the meaning of selfless giving, and the reward of doing the right thing.

Happy reading, and Merry Christmas!

And the award goes to…

20111002-183918.jpg I recently received a “Versatile Blogger Award,” (well, if you count September 20 as recent) and though I thanked my fellow blogger, Jeff, for this honor at that time, I’m only just now getting around to fulfilling the requirements that come with the award. I know, bad form on my part! But I tend to agonize a bit over this type of thing, and I put this off feeling that I haven’t had time to do this post justice. But enough delay, and on with the passing of the award!

First, thank you to Jeff who writes about his faith and posts a daily Bible study. I’m awed that he is able to be so consistent with his posts. And these are not short and sweet, but well thought out, well developed commentaries on the Bible passage of the day. He obviously makes this a priority in his life. This reminds me that I need to be vigilant about my own daily walk. Jeff nominated me for this award and I am happy to finally pass this award on to some great bloggers, listed here in no particular order. By award rules, I am supposed to choose 15 blogs to highlight.

So, here goes.

~ If you’re looking for creative, you’ll find this fun:
Marilyn Griffin posts at My First Blog of 2011 and I love the way she writes about her personal life and family and often includes a section about the special needs kids she works with, sprinkling images throughout.

~ Mandi is a crafter and teacher of English as a Second Language (ESI). She currently lives in Korea with her husband, but sounds like they will be in the US soon. She is funny and knows how to crochet. Check out Mandi’s posts at Whimsical Witch.

~ For a great photo blog…well, there are words too, but the photos are amazing…visit Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Jessie writes about returning home to a ranch in western North Dakota and the plans she and her husband have for making a home there. She is a modern day pioneer. You’ll be mesmerized by the scenery.

~ My husband actually found this blog and I always enjoy the read. Jenny is an attorney and writes from Atlanta. She is witty, sharp, a devoted wife and mom…well, I’m sure she’s many things, not least of which is a great blogger. Check out Jenny Mac at Let’s have a cocktail.

~ Kate blogs at Joyous Joys. She is an optimist and a bright spark of encouragement, celebrating joy where she finds it as she experiences life in New York.

~ For a fun pet blog, written from pet perspective, visit Rumpydog. You’ll gain some new insight to human life, and see some cute photos too.

~ I link to this site on my page. If you haven’t stopped by The Burning House you should see what people are posting as the items they would save if their house was on fire. Some choices are puzzling and some are inspiring. I don’t know exactly what I would attempt to save from fire, but I’m sure I would be challenged to fit it into one photo.

~ Amy Lee Bell blogs about homeschooling, relationships, faith, and writing at Full Circle Homeschooling. She writes from the heart. Look her up!

~ Tinkerbelle (no relation to Amy Bell, above, I’m quite sure) is a young writer from the UK who seems to pour humor from her keyboard. She’s only 25, so not sure what drew her to my blog. I found her site because she came across mine. I like her self-deprecating style and the window into a completely.different.life.

~ Stop by An attempt at humor for some laugh out loud reading. Some people got an extra funny bone or three in their makeup, and this blogger is one of those lucky writers. She was Freshly Pressed a few months ago, see this for a little relief when it comes to stepping on the scales.

~ Melody Godfred is an attorney and professional writer using her blog to generate work and to post about great writing everywhere. You might find a use for her services, here.

~ I found this site through Freshly Pressed, and have gone to it for writing ideas and guidance. This blog is maintained by a group of writers, so you get a different flavor/voice depending on who is writing on a given day. I think it’s a great resource, and of course, free!

~ Ok, you know I can’t pass up the opportunity to include a recipe blog! Tina Butler shares down home Southern goodness at Mommy’s Kitchen. A mom of three, she posts family and budget friendly recipes with an eye to tradition and comfort. Yum, yum!

~ For adventure, look no further than Lesley Carter. This amazing woman has traveled and experienced all sorts of adventures of a lifetime. You can find inspiration for a fantasy trip and check out her bucket list (I call this a life list!)

~ For a really different reading experience, visit Cider Press. There are some interesting images on this site. I have to admit, some of the writing goes right over my head. Maybe that’s a function of the fact that a lot of my time to read blogs comes at the end of my work day. But you’ll find some thought-provoking entries for sure.

Third in my list of duties for receiving this award is to share seven things about myself…I can’t recall on the spot what I may have revealed along the way as I’ve blogged the past year…so of any of this is a repeat…well, I’ve been known to repeat myself on occasion!

~ In random order…

1. I’m hopelessly sentimental about children, holidays, pets and memories.

2. I’m learning to be unsentimental about stuff.

3. I spent part of my childhood in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, where my parents were engaged in mission work.

4. I spent two years living in the Arctic of Alaska. Great people, very harsh climate!

5. I used to hand smock for my children, probably the most creative thing I’ve ever done. I am not really artistic by nature…my brother got those genes.

6. I love to cook but don’t really follow recipes except when I bake. Baking requires measuring, in my experience!

7. I’m an accidental adventurer, living in Alaska because I was in quest of an empty nest adventure. But I’m finding ways to make it work for me!

So there you go! Happy reading and exploring, and I’ll be back soon with more great blog picks. I have two more award posts I’m due to write!

Number 200!

I realized when I was looking at the dashboard for my blog that this will be post two hundred I’ve published since last October. I don’t post every day…only about 165 short of that mark! But still, two hundred posts…that’s a lot of words.

I want this blog to be a lens for viewing the positive and uplifting moments in life. I also celebrate humor, comfort, joy…all things wise and wonderful. The best things that have come from blogging in the past year?

  • Exercising my creativity
  • Finding the discipline to work on this project
  • Learning new skills and technology
  • Meeting new friends via WordPress and reconnecting with others
  • Finding all sorts of resources for whatever I’m writing about – the Internet never ceases to surprise me!
  • Being inspired, amused, touched, challenged, amazed by others – there are so many wise, clever, and incredibly funny people in the blogosphere.

So for this little milestone I’m sharing some of my favorite new quotes…oh, there’s a never-ending supply! These are a nice sampling of wisdom, humor, and cleverness. (All images from Pinterest.)

Enjoy!

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20111020-231624.jpg                                         20111020-231642.jpg

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Has this ever happened to you?

Yesterday I got my teeth cleaned. Nothing exciting about it, just a routine dental appointment. My first plan for the time during the cleaning was to take a nap. That may not be an activity you would consider during your dental cleanings, but the hygienist at this office is so gentle I have almost been able to doze off in her chair.

I closed my eyes as she was doing her thing, and just as I was getting comfy, I thought about a funny thing I read recently, and it started. I felt the urge to smile, then giggle, and then I suddenly had a case of the giggles. You know, like when you were a kid and for no particular reason got the giggles at bedtime, or sitting in church, or pretty much anywhere that laughter was inappropriate, and impossible to suppress. The more you tried, the more you couldn’t stop.

I was almost at this point yesterday, almost at the point of embarrassing myself. It didn’t quite reach the annoying stage with the hygienist, but I think I was on the verge. I tried to think of sad things, boring things, anything that would wipe the smile right off of my face. Do you know how hard it is to have hands in your mouth when you have to giggle?

And the trigger? I was giggling about…giggling.

“I laughed so hard the tears ran down my leg!”

Saw that recently…I’ll be honest, I have laughed this hard. I only wish it was tears that ran down my leg! Let me tell you, when you suddenly develop a dark streak down the leg of your jeans, it’s hard to explain away! But if it ever happens again, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. That’s right, those are tears!

Thank goodness it was only giggles in the dentist’s office…don’t know if I could have survived the embarrassment if I had tears running down my leg yesterday. The giggling was bad enough. But I made it through without creating an incident that would haunt me for the rest of my life. No need for a change of clothes! And I got a star on my chart for great brushing! How’s that for a successful trip to the dentist?