This afternoon I utterly and completely forgot one of the most basic things about myself. I forgot how old I was. Now I suppose this is understandable as I just had a birthday about a week or so ago, so it's a new number to remember. You know, just like how we are never able to remember to write the correct year on checks after New Year's Day...back when we used to write checks, that is. But not only could I not remember how old I currently am, I couldn't even remember how old I was before my birthday. I was actually running numbers in my head that were even in the wrong decade (I'm SO on the after side of the thirties! Dunno what I was thinking.). Anyway, I got through the sweet little conversation I was having without looking like any more of a dumb blond than I usually do. Whew!
...for the record, I'm 46 now...and by "record" I mean I may be referring to this blog in case I forget again.
So there I was, sitting all innocently in my car waiting in the middle school parking lot for my little guy to be dismissed from band sectionals. And I sat, and I sat, and I sat. Until...I caught a glimpse of the little dude rounding the corner and heading toward my car. He got closer and closer, and then he suddenly changed his trajectory, rounding behind my car and along the driver's side. He slowed his pace, assumed his scariest zombie-arms-in-the-air-accompanied-by-a-hideous-face look he could muster. He got right to my window and I put my arms up, put on my scariest face, and, yes...I scared the living crud outa the kid. Oh, yes I did!!!
Little guy: As he got in the car, post terrifying moment, "You're stupid, mom."
Yeah, well, mama's feeling mighty smart and clever right about now, darlin'!
I'm fashion challenged. Of this there is absolutely no doubt, I'm sure. Well, tonight I stepped out of my comfort range. Mind you, this means I didn't wear jeans/boots/lady cut T-shirt or cutoffs/tank top/flip flops. My comfort range is quite tiny, indeed.
Anyway, I wore a maxi dress with BIG flowers all over it. I'm sure it's out of style because I picked it up at a thrift shop and then let it sit in my closet for a year. And, to complicate things, this particular maxi dress had built in boobs. Yup, fake chi-chis. While I thought, "Hey, great!" when I got it, the actual implementation of said chi-chis was somewhat awkward...particularly as I invited them to join me at a party I attended all afternoon. And they were not particularly good guests...always complaining when I bumped them into things, always wondering if they were passing as "real", and sometimes even threatening to fold in upon themselves.
Yeesh! Thinking this dress (and its appendages) may be finding its way back to a thrift store....
You know how you know when your husband's supportive of your eating habits? Well, I sure do. All it takes is reading one of his emails to a friend of his. Something along the lines of "Kali eats like a bird. She's easier to please food-wise than I am. Usually I just put her out in the back yard for a while and she comes back in full."
Did I sneak a peek at his computer when he wasn't looking? No way! Nope, that guy proudly read the email to me...I mean seriously proudly...beaming and such. "That's some funny stuff!!" he proclaimed.
And, well, darn it, the dude has me there. It is funny. And true. And, by golly, that dandelion in the corner by the gate sure looks yummy!
Mosquito season is officially here. How do I know? Well, there was one all the way in the school, all the way in the teacher workroom, and then all the way in the staff bathroom. That's a lot of traveling for a little bugger.
Anyway, I went into the bathroom and spied that little blood sucker right away. I raised my hands in my "smack the crud out of it" position and...for just a moment...just the tiniest of seconds...and the next couple of minutes played like a movie in my head. You see, the thing is, I never, EVER, manage to smack a mosquito on my first try. Rarely even on my second, or third, or fourth...but I am persistent, so I pretty much always do eventually get it.
So, here's how my couple minute movie went.
Kali enters the teacher bathroom.
Many other teachers and staff all of a sudden feel the need to go to the teacher workroom for a myriad of reasons.
A long series of claps can be heard from the bathroom.
Kali walks out to see a room full of co-workers staring at her...now officially known as "that teacher who applauds when she pees."
Yup, it would so happen!
...and that particular mosquito lived to see another day.
Last night I was startled awake by Dave's snoring. He denies that he does it, but, by golly, the dude is a serious snorer from time to time. And last night was one such time. Now, I certainly don't hold it against him. I know that when someone is asleep they're totally not responsible for things their bodies do. I remind Dave of this every time he complains about what I...um...er...do in my sleep.
So, while yes, I was startled awake, I had not a hint of anger or grumpiness. I figured this was my chance to catch those elusive Zs on tape. Or film. Or whatever my iPhone has in it. Anyway, I stealthfully reached for my phone, pulled it under the covers, turned it to silent, got the video mode set, slowly moved it out from under the quilt, prepared to press "record"...and the freakin' snoring stopped!!! Yeesh! OK, now I was a little grumpy. But not much.
I've been seeing the articles lately. Folks commenting on how today's children (or most of them in this country, anyway), will never know their parents' undivided attention. That they will always be fighting a cell phone or some other device for eye contact, praise, or just a simple moment of togetherness. And gosh, it's so true! I'm filled with gratitude that my children were born before these silly devices became so prevalent.
But, I must say, it does not just go one way. Now-a-days I'm hard-pressed to get undivided attention from my children. They, like most adults, seem to always have their noses in their phones or computers. Yet somehow we've managed to make it work for us. In an odd way it's actually enhanced our communication. I remember that I, as a fourteen or seventeen year old, rarely dialoged with my parents. Conversations revolved around chores and homework, and...yes...their disappointment in me and my appearance (you know, shaved head, tattoo, piercings). And my head was buried in a book, hanging listlessly whilst I spent time in my bedroom listening to moody broody music, or I was AWOL.
My dialogues with my kiddos? Well, yes, they're often digital, but they're also plentiful and, get this, reciprocal! There are countless "I love you"s in our texts, a lot of honesty about feelings, timely information about where they are, and seriously lovely moments of just checking in with each other because we popped into each other's minds (by the way, hungry = mom, so I pop into their heads A LOT!).
So, my plan is this. If I'm on my phone or using my computer, I want to take time to really gaze into my family's eyes when they're seeking me out. I want them to know that they, not my gadget, are my priority. Their plan? Well, I dunno. Perhaps I can lead by example. Perhaps I can specifically request a moment of their undivided time. And hopefully, hopefully, they'll continue to lavish me with hugs when I text them that I'd really like one.
My husband...he's a bit of a sadist. Not in a really mean way or anything like that. Just in a "he's torturing me for moments at a time every single day" kind of way.
Now don't go and call protective services or anything like that. I find that I rather like it. Hmmmmmm...I suppose that makes me just a bit of a masochist, eh?
Here's the deal. Ever since Dave and I considered that maybe we'll be moving away from these parts (no time soon!), he's been pulling up the most amazing houses online...in our price range...and making me look at them. What happens is this.
Dave: "You gotta come see this!"
Me: "OK," for the nth time that day.
Click, click, click....
Dave/Me: "Oh. Oh, gosh! That's cool! Let's go now!!!"
And then we come back down to earth...and I go back to whatever I was doing...and Dave keeps clicking and looking....
Dave: "You gotta come see this!"
This piece is composed of some of my favorite things paint.
Had the pleasure of driving around with my little guy again. And, as is not uncommon, the dude was...well...gassy. There, I've said it! So, as we drove down the highway and he lifted his cheek again, here's how it went.
Me: "Really, dude?!?!"
I opened his window. Strategy I've learned. If you open their window it sucks the smell out on their side. Open your window and the smell has to cross right by ya. You're welcome.
My little guy leaned toward me.
Me: "Now what are you doing?"
Little guy: "I'm avoiding the wind."
Me: "You can avoid that by not breaking wind."
Little guy: "Nah...it's worth it."
And now you know why my car no longer has that "new car" smell. Well, that and the fact that it's six years old. I still blame my lovable, beautiful little guy. Now where is he? Pretty sure he needs a big mama hug.
This wacky little dinosaur is part of my "blob" painting series.
We seriously love our dogs...we really, really do. But dang if they don't over bark when barking comes up. Actually it's much more Scout than Hazel, but jeepers! Kind of reminds me of when I used to live under the flight path and conversations couldn't be held until the deafening noise passed. Well, the other day I found a solution. It was kind of accidental, kind of impulsive, and utterly and completely awesome.
You see, the mailman was approaching our house. The dogs started going nuts barking. I tried my usual, "HUSH!" to no avail, and then I grabbed the nearest thing I could find and hurled it in their direction. Being that it was my shoe and my throwing arm ain't what she used to be, it didn't even get near them. That and I would never actually throw something at them with the intention of actually hitting them. So, I grabbed the next nearest object, a container of generic Ibuprofen. I assumed my most graceful bowling stance, took a couple of steps, and rolled that sucker at the dogs.
"RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE, BONK!!!!!"
Scout stopped barking immediately and Hazel ran out of the room and sat in the hallway, quiet as a mouse. It was so great!
As they're apt to bark as often as they are loud, I've been given multiple opportunities to reinforce the pairing of the Ibuprofen bottle and the concept of "quiet". And, by golly, now all I have to do is pick up the bottle, give it a shake or two, and silence returns. Ahhhhhh....
We're super big on fruit 'round these parts. We've always got a wide selection available...much of it living on our bar. Well, a couple of days ago we started noticing a few little bitty flies buzzing around. That then turned into what feels like hundreds! So of course I went to Google to find some way of handling this in a non-toxic way. Now I know I'm totally one of those catch and release kind of people...well, I've decided that applies to all insects except flies, cockroaches, and now fruit flies. Oh, and all insect/arachnid types should be aware that if they strike first and bite or sting me I consider them fair game, too.
Funny thing, most search results involved beer or wine, so as non-drinkers, I was out of luck there. But there was one idea that involved apple cider vinegar (you bet I have that!) so I was ready to rock my fruit fly hunting cap. One glass filled with the vinegar, a few apple chunks tossed in, a paper funnel tucked into the top, and I was in business. Oh, and so my family didn't think it was just yet another one of "Kali's weird food concoctions," I wrote "Fruit Fly Trap" in big letters on the funnel. And off to work I went.
Bet you're wondering if it worked, aren't ya? In fact it did do a couple of things. First it made my house smell stinky. I love vinegar, but I don't love its aroma. Second, the cup looks like it's hosting a fruit fly convention.
Objects across the table are larger than they appear. That object? Well, it's me. I was sitting at the kitchen table all innocent like (as always) and suddenly I had three guys griping at me, making observations, pointing fingers.
Dave: "You're the smallest person in the house but you take up the most room."
The boys had similar observations.
The thing is, pretty much no one ever eats at our table. Sad, I suppose, but it's true. No one, I should say, except me. I actually eat all of my meals here. So, I've settled into making the kitchen table mine...all mine!!!!! (insert maniacal laughter)
There I was, happily stretched across one entire side of the table, my polished off plate and bowl, my jar of jalapeños, my computer, my phone, and some ribbon from a project I worked on a couple of days ago.
Little guy: "Stand up."
I stood. He moved my computer over. The big guy took my dishes to the sink. My jar of jalapeños were shoved in my general direction, and I was told to sit back down in a different seat.
Me: "This chair is cold. I don't like it."
Three "likes"...one "don't like"...yeah, I settled in, defeated, slowly warming up the seat, and started typing this very blog post.
The little guy has been picking up chicks...you know, workin' the ladies. OK, I so lied. Sorta. It's partly true. It really is! The little guy did come up to my classroom today and he did pick up chicks. Course they were the sweet little fuzzy feathery type and all.
Magic is so very alive to the young. The mystery and delight of it all is pure bliss to witness. My sweet niece was recently in town and I had the great pleasure of introducing her to a little Austin fairy magic. I took her to see the wonder of Fairy Alley and the adjacent Casa Wonderlandia. She stooped low to take in the tiniest of tea sets that the fairies surely used when we weren't around; she looked high in the trees taking in the swirling of mirrors and crystals casting reflected light and rainbows about; she climbed the small hill to look deep within the hole where the fairies' toad happily spent his days; and her eyes grew to double their size when I let her in on a little secret...that the fairies here know the tooth fairy that visits her house many states away.
It's an interesting thing when your oldest kid has basically flown the coop, yet he still lives at home. My big guy is still the sweetest, cuddliest, most loving kid ever...except when he's not. And so we ride this wave with him as he figures out if he's the boss, we're the boss, or something in between.
Me: "Where are you going?"
Big guy: "You're so annoying, mom."
Me: "It's OK, go back to bed." When he wakes up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday and finds me already up.
Big guy: "Will you come snuggle me?"
Ah, growth. It's a most irritating beautiful thing.
My lovely husband, Dave, rarely horns in on my blogging. It's pretty amazing given that he's one of my most favorite blog topics. But today the dude actually got pushy. You see, when I brag about his cleverness it rather goes to his very handsome head and, well, frankly, it encourages him. So...as I was going about doing laundry this weekend...freakin' six or seven loads worth, I lost count...he remarked that I'd been doing tons of laundry...that I was a "Washing Machine!" You know, like a "Dancing Machine" or a "Love Machine" only much, much less sexy and glamorous. Anyway, I promised him I'd tell you all about his most recent cleverness.
And, lucky you, he didn't even bother to copyright this one, so use freely, claim it as your own, enjoy!
It's one of the assortment of tricks our dogs can do. Makes us proud so we make them do it...a lot. So, this morning when they were obligingly doing the "down," Dave came up with one of his cleverer than clever quotes.
Dave: "Those dogs are down with going down."
Me: "Oh, uh-huh."
Dave: "Copyright! You can use it if you want to."
So, there ya go. Feel free to use Dave's copyrighted awesomeness, but please remember to give him credit. Deal?
You know how it is when you're sitting around with your husband talking about moving out of this state and into another...you know, when we retire and all...and your husband says, "When we're walking our dogs down to the beach...," well, that pretty much seals the deal on the whole staying together forever thing. Nice to be with someone who envisions the same future as I do.
Seems I have the pleasure of calling 911 more often than I'd like. I'm one of those folks who calls if a Christmas tree has fallen off of vehicle and is blocking a lane on the highway, if a mentally ill lady barges into my house (it's happened), or if I'm just concerned about someone's safety. That's what happened last night as the little guy and I were heading home from the grocery store. We turned onto a street right near my house and there was a gentleman, must've been in his late twenties or early thirties, standing right in the middle of the lane. He had such a look of confusion and angst that it broke my heart. And I'd seen him before on multiple occasions in the area. He stumbled out of my way and I kept going, but had my kid dial 911 for me so I could report what had happened. I'm all about stopping and helping someone myself when I don't think I'll come up against anyone/anything dangerous, but this didn't have that danger-free vibe.
Anyway, I made the call, reported what I had seen, and that was it.
When we got home my little guy and I just sat in the car. I think we were both reflecting on what we'd just experienced.
Me: "I always err on the side of calling 911. If I don't I know I'll feel guilt and regret not doing it."
Little guy: "Yeah."
Me: "I also feel such compassion for people like that guy. You know we're only one or two brain clicks away from being just like that...just one or two harsh life experiences and we could be them."
Little guy: "I know, mom."
Left me wondering if that fella's mom or dad were still with us out there somewhere and wondering if their kid was OK. And then I hugged my kid.
I suppose I'm an "OK" mom overall. But I most definitely stink in the "family meal" department. You see, my diet is pretty wacky...compared to the rest of my family. But, every once in a while I actually put the effort in and prepare a family pleasin' home-cooked meal. Tonight? Well, it was chicken thighs, carrots, and potatoes, all seasoned and cooked to perfection. How was it received?
Dave: "I'm not hungry." In his defense he had let me know he'd already eaten before I began my culinary adventure.
Big guy: "Awesome, mom!!!" He took his plate back to his bedroom.
Little guy: Well, he wasn't actually home. I'd told him to be home by now, but he "forgot". So, I texted him a photo of the meal. "Meanie!"
Me: These days I'm only eating raw veggies and such, so I'm not eating it either.
I'm still happy because in my heart I know I totally rocked it as a mom tonight...regardless of the meal's reception and whether or not we actually had a sit down dinner. Yup, yay me!
...only got twenty dollars in our pocket. OK, confession, we had twenty dollars in each of our pockets.
The little guy and I finally did our thrift shop challenge tonight. We took three garbage bags of goods to drop off, received our twenty percent off coupon in exchange, and then we went in.
Mind you, the trip to the thrift shop almost didn't happen. You see, it turns out that when you go in your kids' rooms singing, "Let's go pop some tags..." it isn't necessarily received in the spirit it's sung.
Little guy: "Mom, you're only making it worse."
Big guy: "I would've said 'yes' if you hadn't done that."
Well, the little guy did leave his objections behind and went with me. Our total bill? $34.11
On the way home we had a little talk, the little guy and I.
Me: "That was fun!"
Little guy: "Why do you always see everything as 'fun'?"
My dogs are spoiled...pretty rotten, in fact. Not in the "carry your dog around in an expensive handbag" kind of way. Decidedly not. And not even in the dress your dog up in outfits kind of way...OK, yes, I admit to the occasional tie dye T-shirt, but that's only when they're really cold, OK? No, my dogs are dietarily spoiled. And I only have myself to blame.
You see, I make them food out of ground turkey and oatmeal. And they LOVE IT! How do I know? Well, when I mix it with their kibble they gobble it all down in seconds flat. When I've been too busy to cook their food they simply look at their bowls of dry, plain, boring kibble, turn their noses snouts up, and walk away.
So now, as I'm cooking up a big pot o' the stuff, the dogs...they are hovering. I'm pretending they're hanging out with me because they love me so very much. Yeah, that's it.
My brother and his beautiful family have been in town for a week. I just got back from the airport...sniff, sniff...their trip had come to its end. Between us we have four amazing (if I do say so myself) children, ages four, six, fourteen, and seventeen. Despite their range in age, they played so beautifully with one another. Cards, ball, trains, pretend store, pretend a ton of other things, riding scooters and trikes, swinging on swings, doing gymnastics in the grass, and just plain hanging out.
On a few occasions I happened to be at the right place at the right time to receive the gift of witnessing these cousins doing the simplest sign of affection, the most basic sweet and trusting touch...they were holding hands.
The first one I happened to see was my little guy holding hands with my niece. We were in a parking lot and the two of them reached for each others' hand. She for safety, he to protect.
The second one happened on the side of a pond. I came upon my little guy and my nephew already holding hands, so I don't know its origins, but I'm sure it was grounded in the purest of love.
The third happened outside of a restaurant we had just been in. We were all standing out front talking. My nephew approached my big guy, took his hand, and snuggled in to rub his sweet little cheek on the soft back of my son's hand. My big guy looked a little puzzled at first, but took that sweet little hand in his own and happily received and returned the love.
Yes, I know, so precious...it's hard to even bear, right?
Well, I'm about to give you some sweet comic relief. My big guy and my brother bear a tremendous resemblance. Their faces are similar. Their body type is pretty much the same. And, on this particular night, they were both wearing blue jeans and nearly identical loafers.
So...back to my sweet and wonderful third example. While we were all melting from the sweetness of my nephew's affection toward my big guy, we were also all thinking, "Wait for it...wait for it...." And then it happened. My nephew looked at the crowd of us standing around him, saw his dad, looked up at the person who was holding his hand, realized that it was not his dad, dropped my big guy's hand and ran to my brother. It was truly the funniest, sweetest, most adorable thing ever.
My take-away from this third example? My big guy absolutely loves his little cousin, and he absolutely has a great sense of humor. And, my brother is, without a doubt, an amazing and loving father who is absolutely, positively, always available for hand-holding and cheek rubbing.
I have no doubt that my own children will someday be just as available for such things with their own children.
I’ve managed to build my life around rarely being in traffic…a
bit of a feat in this crazy booming town of ours.But…with my brother and his lovely family visiting I’ve made
many cross-town trips for four days in a row now.It has brought back sweet memories of one of my first
students ever.He tended to arrive
late to school on a regular basis and I always enjoyed talking to him about
were you late today?”
were idiots on the road.”
Ya, I’ve had a moment or two of feeling just that.Worth every irritation to hang with
family, though…without a doubt.
Took my little guy to one of the town's funkiest toy stores today. We scoured every inch of the place. I picked tiny unicorns up and delicately turned them around in my hand. He picked balls up and saw how high they'd bounce. I picked fairy puppets up, slid them on my fingers, and pretended that they were talking to each other. He slid very long tentacles on his fingers and used them to seriously muss my hair.
In the car on the way back...
Me: "You had a hard time controlling yourself in there, huh?"
Little guy: "We were in a TOY STORE!"
I suppose he's got a point...I guess...anyway, does my hair look OK?
You know you've hit that emotional time of the month when you find yourself at Costco looking at the back of the conditioner bottle and the words "NO ANIMAL TESTING" make you cry just a little bit. I was just so darn happy to see it on there...if you know me, you get it.
Clearly my emotions were running high, and I did my best to calm myself as I went about the rest of my shopping. As I approached the checkout lanes there was just one that had only two people waiting and I snagged my spot behind a woman. She put her items on the conveyor, got one of those grocery divider things and put it out behind her stuff. How nice! I love when people do that!
Then her phone rang. She chatted a bit and then it was her turn at the register. She pulled out her membership card and handed it to this lovely, sweet-faced gentleman who began to ring up her items.
Lady: She ignored him.
Checker: "Did you find everything you needed?"
Lady: She ignored him.
Checker: "Your total is...."
Lady: She held out her credit card in his general direction...and said nothing.
Checker: "Thank you." He handed her receipt.
Lady: She walked away never giving the checker a glance, all the while talking on her phone.
Well, with my empathy in top gear, I was determined to be his best, most attentive customer...ever!
"I did, I found everything I was looking for!"
"Thank you! Have a great day!"
...and then I got proof that smiles are contagious.
It was back to the dentist day for me this morning. Temporary crown pulled off...check. Cold water swishing that I really didn't like...check. Permanent crown installed...check. Asked the dentist if I could keep the temporary crown for my kid who collects such things...check. Dentist says "yes" with the disclaimer that it's likely stinky from bacteria...check.
So, I leave there happy with my likely stinky temporary crown, just knowing that my kid will be thrilled. Yup, my awesome mama status is in tact!
Me: "I got something for you today."
Little guy: "What?"
Me: "My temporary crown."
Little guy: "That's disgusting, mom."
This from the kid who has a collection of all things injury related: family toenails that have fallen off, every cast any of us has had, a pile of x-rays from all his broken bones, hair from major haircuts, etc.
I guess my little guy is growing up!
...now, what to do with that potentially stinky temporary crown....
I love a storm! The more severe...to a point...the better. I'm sitting here at our kitchen table, looking out the window, one eye on the approaching storm, one eye on the radar on my computer. The vibe is electric and I'm excited!
I've adored storms as long as I can remember. Proof? My favorite song when I was fifteen and sixteen and needed an emo groove was "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors. When I was seventeen it was "Black Sabbath" by, well, Black Sabbath. I'd spend hours sitting in my car in front of my house listening to the songs over and over wishing for a downpour.
When the power went/goes out it's only a bonus. Bring on the candles and I'm blissed out.
And now, my friends, it's hailing and pouring really hard...I must go and pay homage to the fabulous tempest gods!
P.S. Hail and really heavy rain on our metal roof is purely awesome...and loud beyond belief.
P.P.S. My brother is here from California and the thing he misses most about living here are the thunderstorms. This one's for you, bro!!
I've been obsessing on avocados and guacamole for months now. Pretty sure I haven't gone but a day or three without in all that time. I love them and my only wish is that the seed was smaller and allowed more room for the good stuff. Sigh....
Anyway, as I was eating my daily avocado this evening I remembered that my kids had their own way of saying it. So I went where I always go for such things...one of my greatest treasures on this earth...my journal of cute stuff my kids have said/done in their childhoods.
Here's what I found:
avocado = "avabacado"
guacamole = "melted avocado"
And that makes me love avocado and guacamole even more!