Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No, please, not the SLIPPERS!

I'm just going to come right out and say it. Pajamas should not be worn at the grocery store. I'm really just tired of it.

Now I am not in any way saying that you need to be in full hair and make-up to purchase your groceries. I am frequently straight from the gym sweaty, so I will apologize for any possible stinkyness. I do always put on a clean dry shirt, not the nasty thermal top with the grungy cuffs that I have been wearing to sleep in, as well as actual running tights or yoga pants not the pink plaid flannel with the filthy hems where they have been dragging on the ground, and shoes.

Yes, shoes I say, shoes with soles on them that are designed to be worn outside. I know our society has gotten overly casual as far as clothing and shoes are concerned, but please, I'm actually pleading now, begging.  I am tired of seeing everyones' slippers at the grocery store!

I will admit to germaphobic tendencies, but nothing incapacitating. I do believe however that some things should stay at home and once out of the home can no longer serve in their previously assigned position.

Slippers should be worn in your own residence, or packed in your suitcase for a trip and worn in other peoples residences, once they have gone to the store, work, school, the airport, Target their work as slippers is over. They can now live in the garage for taking out garbage and getting the mail, or they can go to slipper heaven. (The garbage can)

Similarly, pajamas should be worn in your home and in your bed, or packed in your suitcase for a trip and worn elsewhere mostly surrounding the bedtime hour possibly to watch TV, a movie, eat some dessert on the couch, play cards or a board game, you get the idea.  Again once the pajamas have gone to the grocery store, the mall, the post office, Starbucks, school, work they have lost their pajama status and should no longer be worn to bed.

But really I think the issue is a total lack of pride.  Have some pride people! Is that hard to pull on some yoga pants (I'm being generous here, I really wanted to say jeans, but I know some of you are not 'jean' people) and a tee shirt.  Put your hair in a messy bun (they are in now), or a ball cap, a pony, a stocking hat, anything. Lastly some SHOES.  I will even go so far as to say athletic slides or flip flops, just please for the love of God, not the slippers.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Am I crazy or is it just me?

Last winter we were having one of those evenings where homework and/or sports practices were done before the dinner hour and if all the stars were aligned we could get home and have dinner together. One of those evenings where you just want to get home and hunker down for the night, slippers, pjs, maybe a blanket on the couch.  The kids had even gone so far as to be in pjs at the table.  Now when it comes to pajamas, we are a flannel bottoms, any kind of long sleeve tee on top family and as far as I am concerned if everyone is wearing a bottom and top I'm good.  So what if the kids have their shirts inside out?  They are just pajamas right?  Apparently this is a hot button topic for my husband, undiscovered by me in the last 23 years of marriage. We sat down to eat, something warm on a cold night I think, baked pasta or chili, who knows it's not really the point. He looks around the table, two kids have wet hair from the shower. Now this in and of itself is not a deal breaker, the problem was the hair is not combed, so as the hygiene lecture insued he then realized that one had their shirt on backwards, the other completely inside out. With that we were off to the races with the kids and I looking bewildered, my husband looking at us like we were bordering on the insane.

After dinner was over and cleared away, I finally got around to getting into my own pjs.  My husband was going to head out to the gym. We met in the kitchen for a debrief of the next day since I was headed to bed.  I started the rundown of who had to be where and when, when I realized he was silently staring at me. "What?" I said.  "REALLY?" he said. I was stumped. "What?" "YOUR SHIRT IS ON INSIDE OUT!" As I started to laugh hysterically, tears running down my face, he said, "Sometimes I really think I am the ONLY sane person in this family!"

Fast forward to this morning as I am trying to leave the house.  I need to leave by 6am to get a coffee and get to work. Now I can leave at 630, but subjecting the general population to me at 7am without the benefit of coffee is not all together a good idea. As I prepared to be on my way my car keys were no where to be found. I knew I had put them in my purse with my phone after walking the dog the night before. Now the panic is setting in, can't find the keys, the possibility of coffee is rapidly diminishing, my husband and oldest boy are headed out of town, I need to go to WORK! People need to got to school the day must begin.  With a household search in progress the 10 year old admits he had gone out to the car the night before.

#1 He went in my purse. Off limits for everyone.
#2 He let us all run around searching for a good 20 minutes before coming up with that revelation.
#3 He does not know where the keys are! AAaaahhhhhhh!

Long story short the keys were in the living room on the coffee table.  No I did not leave them there!
As I explained to the kids they may enjoy running around the house in the morning like their hair is on fire, looking for things that their father and I have repeatedly asked them to set out for the next day. I however do not enjoy starting the day that way. It tends to make me cranky. I am doing just fine going crazy on my own time line.  I really don't need extra help with that!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

In a Timely Manner

I know this may be shocking to you, but I am having to impart quite a bit of wisdom - well what I consider to be wisdom - to my 14 year old daughter.  This weeks learning target?

Be where you are supposed to be when you say you will be there.

We are lucky enough to have a third driver in the family now so we are not always needed to pick her up but when we do we do not relish the idea of sitting in the parking lot while she does whatever it is she is doing inside the building.

We know the practice times 3:00 to 6:30.  But if we arrive at 6:30 the soonest we see the whites of her eyes is usually 6:45. Unless of course we leave the house around 6:35 (it takes 5 min to get to the school) then she is shooting off texts like she has been waiting for HOURS.

The other night my husband and I were crossing paths him on the way home, me heading out and the third driver? Well he was working.  I know! Who said he could get all grown up and responsible and stuff? The word on the street from the girl was, 'Practice is 3:00 to 6:00, but we might get done early.'
Herein lies the problem, 'might be done early' is code for, I will just call you whenever and then you can drop whatever it is that you are doing and come get me.

After some discussion with my husband we agreed that there was about a 45 min time period when he would not yet be available and I would have to be headed to my meeting.  I texted the daughter.

'If you r not done by 5 you will have to wait til 6 for a ride from dad we are crossing paths.'

I myself thought it was pretty clear. At 5:02 pm I received the following text, 'Im done'.
Ummmm, really?!

Now I know there are some of you out there that are saying to yourselves, 'Surely she went and got her. It was only 2 minutes after 5.' I really thought you knew me better than that.

5:03 'Sorry have to wait for dad at 6 text him if you get a ride'.
5:24 'Did you get a ride'
5:43 'Yes'
5:43 'Did you let dad know where you r'
5:57 'Yes'

I will say that there are people and activities going on at that school all day long and into the evening.  All the girls on the colorguard team live in a 5 mile radius of the school and the upper classmen drive.  I was not worried at all about her either getting a ride home or being safe if she had to wait for an hour. Worst case scenario, horror of horrors, on a lovely fall evening when it's sunny and not raining in November, she could walk the 3/4 of a mile to the house.

Time is a tricky thing. It's best to learn to use it to your advantage and you are never too young to learn.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm falling for Fall

We are so lucky living in the Northwest, I know people say that a lot, but really this year the weather has been stellar! The air is clear and clean and this lingering Summer is just indescribable. I was able to run outside all year long. That can get kind of sketchy in the winter, because I am a bit of a weather wiener. I mean if it is raining and its a race, well there is no help for it, but to voluntarily go out when its pouring down rain....... well that's another story all together.

Yesterday was the best day yet this year for a run.  I mean it!  I have to admit I am normally a summer runner.  I love to be up just as the sun rises, when there is a cool breeze, but the air is warm and you know that as soon as the sun comes over the horizon you will be able to feel the heat on your skin.

But yesterday, was gorgeous.  Cool, but still warm enough for short sleeves and no gloves yet! I didn't go out until 11 or so, had to get the groceries purchased and put away, I hate it when daily chores get in the way of my run. :-) (I did get some pumpkin biscotti and pumpkin cinnamon rolls by the way.)

Anyway, by then the fog had burned off, it was sunny and breezy, but not too windy.  Every corner I turned had glorious leaves drifting down. They were made even more colorful by the still warm fall sun. I just kept finding myself thinking, 'It is so beautiful out!'

I do love this time of year, the change and the mystery. Things hunkering down and putting themselves to bed for the winter, yet going out in a blaze of glory with crimson leaves and russet mums.  All the crisp, crunchy apples, and the rich, smooth squash.  Piles of pumpkins, squash and gourds bright and inviting outside all the grocery stores and weekend markets.

It may all be coming to an end with the rain setting in.  The wind and wet downing the leaves into slick, slippery piles, but yesterday, it was the best.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Is there such a thing as too much pumpkin? NO, I say!

So I will admit that I am a Trader Joes junkie.  I mean, I do most of my weekly shopping there, so it's not some sort of creepy stalker situation, but I am turning into one of those people who knows when the seasonal items show up.

In the spring there are Irish Bangers.  The best sausages, EVER. My family went crazy for them.  Available around St. Patrick's, duh.  In November the peppermint Jo-Jos show up. Now if you are a chocolate and mint person and you have not had these cookies, mark your calendars!  The usual Jo-Jo chocolate sandwich cookies, with crushed up candy cane bits in the filling. OMG!  The peppermint truffle chocolates, dark chocolate peppermint bark, dark chocolate stars-shortbread cookies, mini iced gingerbread men, and the piece de resistance, dark chocolate covered peppermint Jo-Jos.  Enough said I think.

So it is with much anticipation that I await October when the pumpkin items hit the store.  Pumpkin Greek yogurt, country spice pumpkin granola, cranberry pumpkin scone mix, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread and muffin mix, pumpkin cornbread mix, pumpkin spice coffee-0h, yes-, and last but not least the ginger snap pumpkin mini ice cream sandwiches. Heaven! So as my daughter was helping me unload my pumpkin laden groceries she said in her best snarky teen voice, 'Mom, clearly you have a problem'. Whatever, I gave here my patented eye roll.

Two days later when my husband took the dog in for his haircut, he got the Halloween special. Uh-oh. Yep, he came home with a jack-o-lantern tag on his collar, a jack-o-lantern bandanna and you guessed it, smelling like pumpkin spice! 'MOTHER!' my daughter said giving me the, clearly you are insane look. I tried to tell her it was not me this time, she was not buying it.

So this week as I had my sample of pumpkin spice coffee with a bite of pumpkin cereal bar while shopping, I put the pumpkin toaster pastries, cranberry pumpkin scone mix and some pumpkin yogurt in the cart.  I resisted the pumpkin Os cereal, I was proud of myself!  After all there are only 4 weeks in October and then like The Great Pumpkin it will all be gone for another year.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I didn't get my dinners.

It has recently come to my attention that for about 2 weeks after you have a baby all your friends and family are supposed to gleefully line themselves up to make nightly dinners for you.

What the heck? I did not get that memo! It's really quite upsetting. Maybe its the peri-menopause that's kicking in, but I'm feeling a little bit slighted. By my conservative calculations after 3 kids I should have roughly 56 dinners coming my way.

Friends, family and co-workers, I know it's been 16 years, but I think maybe the statute of limitations will still hold out. So, just let me know what you'll be bringing and when.  I'll make sure someone is home to receive your gracious gift of time and food.

The anticipation is killing me!

Monday, September 8, 2014

How old is OLD?

I seem to be having some sort of existential crisis. I am feeling suddenly caught between my parents who are suddenly OLD and my kids who are suddenly TEENS. Here's the thing, maybe it's just that I can't believe that I'm getting older, and now I am having to constantly revise my definition of OLD.

Working in critical care I take care of sick adults of all ages. We do have some young ones, but primarily they are people who have lived full lives. So when do you start saying, 'What are we doing here?, this guy's had a long full life, why are we doing all these things to him?' The number used to be 70 for me, then with time marching on as it does my Dad turned 70 and he did not seem old in any way. 'Well', I thought, 'maybe 70 isn't that old after all.' Then I thought 80 might be the number, but now my Dad is 77 and my Mom will be 70 this year - What the heck?!

Last weekend when I worked most of my patients over my 4 days of work were in their mid to upper 80's, their children - older than me -  seemed surprised at the frailty of their parents. I guess I finally get it. I'm lucky. My parents are healthy, independent and still together. The problem is most days, I still feel 25ish and so since I see myself and my parents moving along in this little time warp together that would make my dad 55 and my mom 48. Now do you get where I'm coming from? They can't possibly be 70 and 77! And what's up with my kids getting older? One of them driving now! College in 2 years! Help!!

So today while I was in the midst of my own personal mini meltdown, after my morning run, dropping off the 10 year old and getting groceries, before lunch duty at school, I saw my Dad's truck at the bagel place where he has coffee with his buddies after church.

I whipped into a parking spot with Shakira blasting and the dog hanging out the passenger window, ran in kissed my Dad and told him, 'I'm glad you're healthy, love you, it was a long weekend.'

Because frankly can you ever hug and kiss your parents enough? I don't want to be one of those people who are surprised when their parents are no longer on the top of their game, you know? And I bet for that moment, my Dad was 35 and I was 4 and it was just another kiss from his little girl, closely followed by the thought, 'How could the girl who just learned to ride her bike be 46?!'

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mother/Son Overshare

Is it wrong that I just told my 15 year old that wearing his compression shorts all the time, instead of giving the boys a little room in some boxers or briefs could decrease his sperm count? I did start the conversation with, 'This might be a little bit of an overshare, but....'

I figure his future wife might thank me. Just sayin'.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kids Cook Thursday

A few weeks ago, over drinks, my friends and I were talking about our long lists of things we'd like to do over the Summer.  Not just the usual, work in the yard more, organize the kitchen cabinets, file all the paperwork, get the dogs teeth cleaned and power wash the driveway kind of stuff, but some fun things like go into the city for ice cream at Salt and Straw, go for a hike in the gorge, pick blueberries, have dinner with husbands, without kids.

One of my friends said, "We've decided to have the girls make dinner once a week". Her girls are a Freshman and Sophomore. She told them to give her a list for the shopping and plan the family meal. Brilliant! I have a Freshman, Junior and 5th grader, surely they should be able to pull off one dinner a week. Right?

At dinner a few days later we were having our usual family meeting forum. What did you do today?, what's on for tomorrow?, the long term plans coming up are................. so I broke it to them. One meal a week, they needed to get together and decide on a menu and get their grocery list to me by Monday, grocery shopping day. They must include a vegetable and a salad - groans and eye rolling, oh well that was to be expected. I informed them that Thursdays would be their night.

Thursday is the only night of the week my husband and I both work. Our other days are staggered because that still works the best with kids transportation etc. So both of us arriving home simultaneously and the kids clamoring, 'What's for dinner'? when they have been home all day, not doing the list of chores that was left for them, while the dog dances around underfoot in the kitchen hoping to be fed is not always a Norman Rockwell worthy scene.

Yesterday was the inaugural 'Kids Cook Thursday'.  They had chosen a pasta that my daughter had assisted with before so they were familiar with the prep and process.  Whole wheat fettuccine with a lemon pepper Alfredo sauce. They had also decided on some green beans, bratwurst and artisan rolls from Trader Joe's.  Most exciting of all while shopping at Trader Joe's the sample was a spinach salad with blue cheese, pecans, dried cranberries and a raspberry vinaigrette. They actually liked it!  Despite continual complaints when I try to put some spinach in the salad! Best of all it was a salad kit and they could do it themselves! Score!

So, yesterday after work I came home and the kids were milling around in the kitchen gathering their stuff. I sidled up the the breakfast bar with my computer and some work to do so I was able to direct and supervise a little.  The older two have a tendency to try and have the 5th grader do all the work so a bit of delegation was in order.  I have to say watching your 10 year old wield a sharp knife to prep the green beans when he is already sporting a band aid on his finger from God - knows - what is a little nerve racking.  Was I able to sit back with my feet up and have a cocktail? No, but I was not in charge of the meal, they were open to advice, enjoying using the stove, oven and Lord help us, cutlery.

No fingers were lost, the meal was good right down to the 'trying new things' salad. My husband and I did not feel like we had to race home and rush around.  We all came to the table relaxed and ready to eat. All in all a success!

We may miss the simplicity of not having teenagers and a tween, but it is great to see them move into new more responsible roles as individuals as well as members of our family.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sneaky People

So my husband's mom always said, 'I don't like sneaky people', to her kids in an attempt to encourage them to be more honest, well maybe just less deceitful. Anyway, we joke about this a lot, because as parents I think it is a major requirement, being sneaky that is.  I have certainly become an expert on covertly inserting or leaving out  ingredients during food preparation in order to increase the nutritional value of the meal.  I would even say this sometimes applies to my husband. It's not always only the kids that need to eat better. And besides I figure if your trusting one person to purchase and prepare all your food, you kind of get what you get. Now I'm not saying my husband doesn't cook, but for the most part I'm the meal planner and prep person.  I enjoy it a lot.  It really is a part of my daily routine and I feel like it is a good way to start winding down at the end of the day.  You can do a lot of thinking, planning, reflection while cutting vegetables, boiling pasta and grilling something yummy outside.

I am nothing if not creative.  You know cutting the sugar in half in all my baking.  Honestly they never realize!!! They like it, the other kids at school like it, people where we both work love it. I also omit the salt from the baking. You'll never miss it, oh and make sure to use unsalted butter too, if you bake with the real thing.  Lasagna is made with some tofu, shredded carrots and zucchini mixed in with the Ricotta.  Yum!, more protein and extra veggies. Ground flax and chia seeds in the muffins.  Let's hear it for Omega 3s! I have totally switched to whole wheat flour and whole wheat pasta. I never heard one peep from the masses. Sometimes I even make brown rice and quinoa pasta.  It always gets eaten! I've recently started using almond milk with the baking it really is nice.

Tonight I was whipping up a batch of banana muffins, low sugar, flax, chia and almond milk included. I only hope they don't notice the accidental dash of red chili flakes that went in instead of cloves. Ooopps!  I tried to scoop them all out, but you never know! I did put in the cloves and a little extra cinnamon, so I think it will be ok.  I mean there are health benefits from the capsicum in the chili flakes, but if their mouths are on fire at 0630 as they eat their breakfast in a zombie like trance it might not go so well.

Good thing I'll be long gone to work before anyone wakes up. :-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

First World Running

Last weekend I crossed another thing off my to do list.  I have been wanting to run the Hippie Chick 1/2 marathon for a few years now. Working every other weekend really puts a dent in my race schedule but this year the stars were in alignment and I had the weekend off.  Coincidentally also Mother's Day weekend.

My friend and running partner agreed to join me, she would do the 1/4 marathon. The day was partly cloudy, but no rain and that is the best part. It was a great course fairly flat and scenic this time of year. I felt good like I was keeping a pretty good pace.

I wear a watch and hit start when I cross the timing pad but I don't watch my time when I run.  Maybe I should, I can't decide if it would inspire me to run faster, or make me feel like I should just give it up. I guess that's a discussion for another day.

At any rate it was a 1/2 marathon PR for me.  Let me just say first that my goal was to do it in 2 hrs or less.  I REALLY wanted to do it in 2 or less! So when I crossed the timing pad, hit stop on my watch the time was 2:01:43! AAARRRGGGG!!!  So even though it was a PR for me, at least 3 minutes off my previous time this is my first world problem, I missed it by 1:43, well 1:34 according to the official race time, but still soooooooo cranky about it!

I know, I know get over myself already!  I did say it was a first world problem.  I am grateful that I have a life that allows me to indulge in this challenging pass time. Besides the next half marathon is just around the corner, Oregon is running country, especially this time of year.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ocho de Mayo

Ok, so I am not of Latin descent in any way, shape or form, but I did live in the central valley of California until I was nine and I was one of  two Caucasian  girls in my kindergarten in Reedley, CA, so I can appreciate a good tamale when I have one and I am certainly a Margarita connoisseur.  I love any excuse to go out for Mexican food.  Not just any Mexican food, but good Mexican food.

What better reason than Cinco de Mayo?  This year I was feeling thoroughly ripped off in the fiesta department when I had to spend my evening shuttling back and forth between two baseball games and not a taco pescado or rocks margarita to be found.  Feeling like the Karmic forces were conspiring against me and just cranky in general a singularly Oregon weather flashback of rain and 50 degrees today was not helping at all.

Picking up my 9 year old after school in the rain blowing sideways, he was not enthusiastic about attending track practice and I could not blame him in the least! Then came the news that changed our lives.  The baseball game of the oldest was rained out, everyone's homework was done, it was before 6pm, we had no plans, the planets were in alignment, it called for a serious celebration!

Ocho de Mayo! We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Pepita's in Beaverton, sat right down in a booth, ordered drinks and our fav menu items and had the best dinner ever!

There was thoughtful, insightful conversation, a little bit of snarky gossip, and the usual cranky school, homework, teacher talk all in all a perfect evening.

Topics covered: Does everyone see the 'same' colors or does everyone see a different color that they interpret as, for example, green even though if I saw your 'green' it would be different than mine and further more what about the color blind people (we have some of those in the family).

Do people blind from birth dream in color? and how would you describe a color to someone who couldn't see, and if their sight was restored would the colors they then saw match their definition of that color.

Cochlear implants yes or no? Discussion revolved around the two schools of thought in the deaf community, no, be proud of who you are as a deaf person, yes, why not take advantage of technology to have hearing if possible.  Is is better to have the procedure done before a certain age? Like when people are younger? Do non hearing people who are adults who have a cochlear implant find the hearing world overwhelmingly loud?

Should you pursue an IB diploma for high school, or simply take IB and AP classes, but not test for the diploma?

Why do you have to use an elective to do student government? Why can't it be an extracurricular?

Does my daughter really dislike science and math or is it just not cool to like it?

How do we fit in all the sports, classes and activities we want to do? There is simply not enough time!!

It was fantastic! I didn't even have time to wonder, 'Who are these people, and what have they done with my children'?

I can see now that the time will come, soon enough, even though the day to day squabbling can really wear a mother down, there will a be a time sooner than I can imagine that they will be up, out and on their own and I will wonder why I didn't cherish them more.

Does this mean I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing? That all the worry and doubt will be for naught?  Am I really raising some insightful, thoughtful, caring people that can go out in the world and make a difference?

Sometimes it's hard to see through the socks on the floor, coats and backpacks dropped where they stopped, dishes in the sink even though the dishwasher is empty and wet towels on the foot of the bed, but sometimes you get a window, a glimpse in the form of a spontaneous dinner out.

I never think of the future - it comes soon enough. 
~Albert Einstein

Sounds like good advice, I should probably take it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Hi, Mom!"

You know when the camera is on the sports player and they make the big play and then they smile and wave and say, "Hi, Mom!" My husband always grumbles, 'What about Dad?'  Well I may have figured it out, well, I probably already knew, but now I have definitive evidence.

Last week when the JV baseball team had a tournament in the middle of nowhere Oregon, about an hour and 20 min drive, I packed up the other kids on the first day and we prepared to spend the day at the ball park, which we did.  It was sunny and 60s, a rare treat for the first day of spring break in Oregon.

The second day the two kids not playing baseball gave me the, "Are you kidding me?" look as I asked them if they wanted to come along.  Pouring rain, wind, 40 degrees.  So off I went, dressed like I was headed to the mountain to ski, wearing more clothes than anyone should have to this time of year.  I tried hard not to have unkind thoughts about my friends in Mexico, Palm Springs and other sunny climes.

By the end of the first game during which there was a complete downpour and hurricane force winds I was frozen and wet.  My helpful husband was texting me minute by minute weather radar updates as to when the next downpour would occur.  He is so kind!

There was a break in the games so everyone went their separate ways for lunch.  When we returned at the prescribed time the game we were to follow was in the 9th inning, high school usually plays 7, and the score was 1 to 1.  The field was a mud pit and the rain was coming down in sheets.  When the winning run was scored the rain let up slightly.  They prepped the field for our game.

Since I had been sitting in the warm and toasty van, knitting away as I waited for the start, I put all of my winter apparel back on, got my umbrella and this time even added a blanket to the ensemble.  My husband texted the next weather update, 'all yellow and red on the radar', if you aren't up on the weather radar lingo, that's not good!

The parents headed toward the ball field like lemmings trying to find a spot out of the wind while waiting for the, 'Play Ball!' to be called. Then a true miracle occurred! Who says praying doesn't help? They called the game! Silent rejoicing among the adults.  Shuffling back to the van in my fashionable attire my 15 year old caught me up, "Thanks for coming." he said and kissed me on the cheek regardless of who would see. One more wave as he climbed in the car with his friends.

"Hi, Mom!" question answered.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tales of the most embarrassing mother

I have two teenagers now and I am acutely aware of the whole, parents are horribly embarrassing no matter what they do, wear or say, phenomenon.  I do try not to be too noticeable when with them in public, however I do reserve the right to publicly humiliate them in the name of appropriate behavioral expectations.

I do not care if they are with friends or not.  I have friends, I don't need more.  I will call them out if they are not performing up to the standards to which I am accustomed. We've been together for 14 and 15 years now, we should all have it down.

When these incidents occur the 10 yr old usually looks on amused and silent, taking notes on how not to get publicly humiliated.  Being #3 he is really good at this activity.  #1 and #2 prefer to attempt to campaign and negotiate themselves into a punishment far worse than the one I had originally planned on.  Now in my next life when I am queen of the universe we will be equipped with referee whistles for these kinds of interactions so everyone is abundantly clear when the discussion is over.  For now I give them 'the look'.  It has a 75%, well maybe 50% success rate.

It is becoming clear to me lately though that I am on the receiving end of my own array of 'looks'.  Almost all of them are to be interpreted as, 'OMG! Mother, you are killing me and any chance I will ever have to appear semi-normal to people outside our immediate family'.

Now as I was saying I'm aware of the acute anxiety they have, so I try not to dress like a total mom, but not too much like them either.  I attempt to be appropriately groomed if we are going to be in the same state together in swimsuits.  I try not to dance in public (it's hard sometimes) and I do try not to always listen the the 70s or 80s channels on the radio. Last week though new heights were reached in the area of teen aged parent induced embarrassment.

I have come to believe that the neighbors watch us leave the house in the morning for the sheer entertainment value.  I feel compelled to say that these are people that don't have children yet or have children all under the age of 10.  Their time will come.  On this morning the three kids and I were flying out the door.  All of us laden with the necessities of the day; lunches, sports bags, backpacks, water bottles and for me my uneaten oatmeal in a to-go container.

We set out to drop the oldest at the high school with his gigantic baseball bag.  Half way there, "Damn!" I exclaimed. "What?" the three chimed, "Oh, I forgot my oatmeal."  Then as I slowed for the stop light, a growing revelation that I hadn't forgotten the oatmeal, it was on the roof of the van!, complete with a spoon.  "I think it's on top of the van" I said.  "NO it's not!" the oldest stated, terror creeping across his face.  As if saying it definitively would make it so.  "I think it is.  I haven't seen it fall off in the rear views." - Yes I really use them.

We have now entered the drive at the front of the high school. He is horrified that there may be a container of oatmeal on the top of the van.  Stepping out he leaned back in the open door, "It's still there." he mumbled shut the door and went to retrieve his equipment from the back.  I leaned out and snatched it, spoon and all.  "Yay! It's still warm." I'm easy to please.

Extreme eye rolling and pretending not to know the obviously mentally ill woman driving the red van, as he entered the school. "Really, Mom?" was the only response from the 14 year old, who seems to be getting a PhD in sarcasm with minors in eye rolling, huffy breathing and looking indignant.  This I believe is a correspondence course given by the 15 year old.  "It's like a science experiment!" exclaimed the 10 year old.  "It is!" I cheered.  Since there had been a heavy dew overnight the moisture had formed some sort of suction with the bottom of the oatmeal container.  Eye rolling from the 14 year old - she is a great student.

But in the eyes of the 10 year old I am some sort of scientific super mom, able to perform experiments on the way to school, while driving.  Only three short years until I am horrifying him on a daily basis.  Life is short.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing with a family

People ask me, 'How do you get everything done?' 'When do you find time to write and everything else?'  The honest answer is, I really don't know.  I guess sometimes it really is like that saying, 'God only gives you what you can handle.' or maybe it is just the usual three ring circus of all families. There are millions more things I would love to do, learn, try, but you have to draw the line somewhere right?  So I continue to sew which I have been doing since I was 9 or so, needle work like cross stitch and embroidery, stamp cards and gift tags, knitting (couldn't stop if I tried), running and working out, cooking dinner for my family and friends when I make time to make sure the bathrooms are clean and then just the general everyday running of the house and family.  School, practices (there are too many to name!), dental and dr appts, volunteering at school and in the community, groceries, laundry, bills, dog walking, well you get the idea and you know how it is the list truly never ends.

Getting it done sometimes goes like this.  After all three children had returned from play practice and baseball for both boys, dinner was cleaned up, the dishwasher running and a load of laundry started, my husband and I both had a moment to sit down.

So while the 15 year old worked on a research paper in the family room, the 14 year old walked the dog and the nine year old shot baskets in his room (don't ask) the two of us retired to the living room. My husband is currently working on short story/ screen play which requires him to do some research on i tunes, specifically John Tesh (again, don't ask).  I'm kind of old school with my writing, so many times there is a hand written work that I have scribbled down on the fly, at swimming lessons, a baseball game, colorguard competition that needs to be transcribed.  My plan for this moment of calm was to transcribe a humorous essay I had written last weekend, reformat a short story I had written a few weeks ago to possibly enter it in a writing contest and catch up on the DVR.

Yes I watch TV, I admit it.  I have no lofty morals about the evils of the small screen.  We all need to escape sometimes, but if you remember I have rules about things. TV watching occurs while folding laundry, catching up on emails, knitting, crafting or multitasking in some other way.

I settled on the sofa, fired up the laptop, hit play on my favorite cop show and started typing.  In the background (use your imagination here) John Tesh played while my husband laughed to himself, typing away, the basketball repeatedly clunked and slammed into the backboard as the dining room ceiling sounded as it was going to come crashing down, the washer beeped, the dryer tumbled, all backed up by the shushing sound of the dishwasher.

Now I know that they say if you are going to write, to be a writer you need a dedicated space.  You need to set aside time and be be regimented in your schedule so that you write everyday in your most inspiring and productive space.  Well I guess my dedicated space is anywhere that my life is currently opening up a window of opportunity to get the words down, whether they're hand written or on the computer you can't stop the ideas from coming and when they arrive you just have to get them down.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Good News!

After texting my friends that I was now officially old because my 15 year old had just gone on his first date I received this response.

"You're not officially old until he drives you to one of your doctors appointments. This is my newly lowered expectation".

My response was, 'Nice! I'll take it'. I guess it's all about perspective.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

From PDX to FAT

On Saturday I found myself at Gate A7 at PDX which is something akin to the far flung departure gates of the Phuket airport in Thailand, or Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The exception would be that when departing from these destinations it is the end of a tropical dream, the wake up call that you are returning to the real world so your surroundings are appropriately reality provoking.

The A gates in the farthest reaches of PDX are the place where all the old airport furniture goes to die. With the large adhesive carpet squares, usually reserved for day cares and libraries, and some sort of after market outlets added onto the stainless and vinyl rows of connected chairs so you can charge your devices.

They threw a Starbucks and a Laurelwood Brewing down here to make us feel like we're not waiting for a Greyhound bus. To be fair, I haven't been to the bus station lately, maybe things have improved, somehow I doubt it.  The Starbucks system was down, so they wouldn't take my Starbucks card. Hey, if I'm not getting a 'star' for my purchase so I can earn a free coffee I'll go for the other NW tradition, Coffee People-Aero Mocha and the non-fat Velvet Hammer. Yum!

Granted I was waiting to go to Fresno so no glam and glitz there, but good friends and fun times ahead. Really, do they have to make us feel as though we're with Good Will travel services. A little piped in Muzak, maybe a fresh coat of paint, come on throw us a bone down here!

We'll just have to live the dream all on our own, pumping ourselves up for the trip. It may not be Paris, D.C., or Chicago, but we are getting away and isn't that the most important thing? To see the ones you love and pretending to be carefree and unencumbered.  It' still a good thing even if you're departing from gate A7.

Bright and early this morning we headed to the Fresno Air Terminal, now Fresno Yosemite International airport, still FAT. Great news! An unannounced delay of 3 hours because the plane can't get out of San Diego. Huh? What could possibly be going on down there? Couldn't get the flight crew back from last nights trip to Tijuana? Missed high tide this morning so surfing went late? Really?

After wandering around and trying to read my book they announced they were generously providing meal vouchers. Yippee. Heading towards the only place to eat, other than Starbucks brought me to an area where I did finally get wifi. Turns out if you aren't in the bowels of FAT at the Alaska terminal (why are they always at the edge of no where?) and you venture upstairs to the Delta gates there is free wifi. Ahhhhhhhhh (enter celestial music here). 

So now I'm living large with my $12 meal voucher, do they check the menu so you can't actually get anything for less than $13.49(+ tax-foreign concept to all us Oregonians trapped here in the Central Valley) before deciding on how much to give you? 

Original departure time 10:35am. Most recent update, 2:34 pm. Now they are requesting names and email addresses (shouldn't they already have these in their system?!?) so they can send some 'certificates' for our inconvenience. Well at least I had some time for a blog post.

Languishing in the fruit and nut capital-

Sunday, February 2, 2014

He smiled and laughed; I fell

The Willamette Writers group had a call out for a "six word love story" in honor of February and Valentine's Day. I must have skimmed that email quickly because somehow I thought it was a "six line love story". I also must have glanced over it before going to bed because when I woke up some time around 3 am there were three sentences in my brain fully formed and trying desperately to get out.

Now I'm not up every night in the small hours to go to the bathroom, but if I am it's not a big deal, so far. I can get up, do what I need to do without turning on any lights, lay back down and go to sleep - no insomnia here.

This night the dog lept up as I swung my legs over the side of the bed and began prancing around saying, "Wow, I did not know that 3 am was our new wake up time, but I am ready!" He is a very accommodating dog. Unfortunately a dogs bladder once presented with the thought and promise of a trip outside is not easily persuaded otherwise.  So I shuffled downstairs zombie like trying to maintain the sleep zone, trying to remember the three sentences as the dog pranced along happily his tail high and toenails clicking on the hard wood.

Out he raced into the darkness and right back again, turned two circles on the rug, effectively 'wiping his feet' and waited for the cookie he so richly deserved. I had resorted to mumbling the three sentences over and over until we got back upstairs so I could write them down on the paper I keep near the bed.

As the dog launched himself up onto the bed my loving husband grumbling and turning said, " What are you doing"?! "Just writing something down before I forget it". I didn't need any lights to feel the colossal eye roll being sent my way as he flopped over and the heavy breathing ensued.

In the morning as I reviewed, I had sentence 1, 5, and some combination of 2 and 3.

She knew it would happen as soon as she felt the toe of her new sandal catch. As she moved in slow motion, unable to stop she could see herself falling with things scattering everywhere. While she tried to brace for the impact, to minimize the damage of tender skin coming to an abrupt stop against unforgiving concrete she thought. "It would be awful to know what was going to happen all the time; to always anticipate the fall". He knew it would happen as soon as he saw her, overloaded with packages, her sandal catching on the uneven pavement. As he dove to catch her he thought; "I wonder"?

As it turns out I missed the deadline for turning in. I also didn't have six words, but still, I think six lines might be the way to go next year. Maybe I'll suggest it. To be on the safe side, I did use six words for the title.

Always keep some paper and a pen by the bed, or maybe in the bathroom.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spoiler Alert!

If you are currently following Downton Abbey and have not elected to purchase the whole season and watch ahead, you will know that last night was episode 4. I love the anticipation of waiting until Sunday night every week and getting myself all settled in to watch. It's like a piece of chocolate waiting there for me to savor.  I don't understand the concept of watching ahead, it's like reading the last page of the book first, craziness!

As much as I have been enjoying the whole Downton experience, this season I am finding myself having some irritation with some of the characters. Shocking, I know. So if you have not seen episode 4 this season, its time to stop reading.

Here we go.

More purple?!  I'm glad that Mary is out of black, but the whole purple as a signature color thing is really getting to be a bit much.

What's up with those funky red sofas in the library?

The sous chef at the Ritz seems to bare a striking resemblance to the nasty chef in Ratatouille.

Edith going to the doctor! Never saw that coming!

Does Thomas really have to be so awful?

Potential Laverne and Shirley situation between the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Crawley.

Mr Molesley is making me cranky.  There seems to be a lot of whining going on there.  Maybe we should just call him Eeyore.

Would Dr. Clarkson tell Mrs. Crawley that he's in love with her already?

That's all I've got, for now.  Anyone else agree, disagree, sympathize, empathize, anything?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year End and New Beginnings

The purple Air Pegasus have run the last 7 miles of the year and of their 355.8 mile, 6 month life span. My year long experiment of recording my running mileage ended with a 58.39 mile total for December and 607 miles for the year! Surprising and exciting.

The grey Air Pegasus (yes I'm a one shoe kinda girl) are waiting to fulfill their 2014 destiny.

Yesterday I heard an interview on 'The Take Away' with Todd Zwillich. The guest was the distinguished professor of public health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Barry Popkin.  His tips for getting healthier in the new year were short and to the point.

1. Exercise
2. Stop drinking beverages with calories in them
3. Cut down on snacking

Sounds like a great place to start.  Happy New Year!