and no one asked me for juice even once

2013-04-20 14.24.43 If you had to name the one thing that your kids do that makes you most likely to want to rip your own face off, what would it be? For me, it’s the daily morning whine for juice. And I have never once denied these people juice! Why fuss when there is no history of deprivation? I really, truly, deeply-in-my-bones despise juice.

(Or maybe it’s the whining. Maybe the whining about juice. I was never big on juice and now I don’t even like the word “juice” anymore. It’s just all of it. Mystery solved.)

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My sister and I do a get-away every spring, just the two of us. It’s our Mother's Day gift to ourselves. No one makes me laugh as much as she does. Especially at stuff no one else understands or thinks is funny. The laughing often happens in places where hysterical laughter is either relatively uncommon (Home Depot) or entirely frowned-upon (a wake). But we’re never embarrassed which I think makes us completely normal. Or not. Who really knows. (And let it be known that we’ve never actually lost our composure at a wake, just always share the lurking potential of laughing inappropriately. That being said, we probably shouldn’t go to wakes together. Which is difficult to avoid when you’re in the same family...)

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Anyway, every May, we rent a beach cottage for a weekend together and this is our favorite place—this beach, this town, this cottage.

Every year, we each bring along heavily stuffed bags of lofty goals. And yoga mats. (We’ve never once unrolled them.) It seems that 48 hours away from our little guys simply cannot be squandered and must be utilized fully. Those 48 hours swell in my mind as I imagine the multitude of tasks I will be able to accomplish in all that free time.

To realize the unimportance of time is the gate to wisdom. Bertrand Russell

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But then the sun is always shining and the sky so blue and the ocean calls, the sand fine under our feet.

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We relished the quiet and the freedom and got nothing done but some pleasure reading and (of course) a nearly endless stream of uninterrupted conversation. Thai food and several movies from start to finish. Many long walks on the beach. This year we made a list of home improvements she wants to tackle at her house, then we went to Home Depot to find some pretty paint chips.

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Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Marthe Troly-Curtin

It was so delightfully indulgent to watch the time pass slowly and amply. Especially since I usually think of time as my nemesis. A thing of which there is never enough, that passes much too quickly, that gets devoured by the demands of home and children. And this is my biggest problem with the shape of time: it constantly evades me.

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one. George Harrison

But I know that all we can do is keep on with the business of life and the work of our hearts and make friends with the idea of time—even we never figure it all out.

(We won’t.)

As happens every year, the sisters’ weekend was over too soon. Inevitably, the following weekend as we washed clothes, made snacks and got back to business each in our own homes, one of us texted the other (we were too busy to make a phone call), “Wish I were doing this weekend what I was doing last weekend!”

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Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
Mother Teresa

But we know our work is good and grounding and important. Work of the heart. It was another wonderful sisters’ weekend and now my sister and I possess more lovely shared memories. And she never once asked me for juice and she was really well-behaved in Home Depot. (At least as far as I’m concerned which most likely shouldn’t be trusted. Either way, she did not ask me for juice. Which is real love.)

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There is no one with whom I’d rather waste time. I consider myself very lucky to have someone with whom time spent is never wasted.

a walk in the woods

2013-04-14 15.29.41When you can’t plan and you can’t make lists and the future is too hazy for comfort, go for a walk in the woods. 2013-04-14 14.55.46 2013-04-14 14.58.34 When all the stuff of life is too much, do something that requires only presence. 2013-04-14 14.54.19 Go for a walk in the woods with the ones you love most. 2013-04-14 15.04.37 If you don’t like the woods, do the thing you like. 2013-04-14 15.00.42 (Even if you think you should stay home and worry some more.) 2013-04-14 15.00.55 Go for a walk in the woods. 2013-04-14 15.35.45 You will never be sorry you did. 2013-04-14 15.49.16

a stranger said my house stinks

Does one really need to empty out the bottom of the toaster oven? In theory, won’t it all eventually simply burn away? I would bet that lots of crumbs have already burned away without my explicit knowledge. It’s sort of a perfect system. toaster_oven_crumbs I never clean it. This is not an act of will—more like unintentional neglect. Now and again, when I am toasting something (usually toast) Steve will holler from somewhere in the house, “Is something burning?”

“Just the 2 year old bread crumbs, honey!”

I think it smells pretty.

(Although apparently not everyone does...)

We had an open house the other day and one of the parties that came through said my house is smelly. (It is NOT.) This was the quote from their agent: The buyer really liked the area, the house showed pretty well, but it had a very strong odor, and that was a real turn off.


Was the odor akin to Fritos or raw sewage? Paint or athlete’s foot? A little specificity would be most appreciated. And I made mini muffins for these freakin’ people. With tiny and adorable mini chocolate chips.

disinfectant_wipes Additionally, random people coming through my house is totally freaking me out. They are touching everything with their germiness and who all knows what. It has prompted us to wipe down the whole place with disinfectant wipes after every showing. Luckily Steve is crazy in many of the same ways I am which normalizes us. (I think.) We hide this activity from the kids just in case it’s actually crazy.

dish_rack And I have to put away my dish rack every time we have a showing to make the counters appear more spacious and it’s a pain. I like my dish rack because it makes my life easier and all these shenanigans are not making my life easier.

(I’m a little fussy right now.)

Also, all this uncertainty is giving me a stomachache.

That, I suspect, is the root of the problem. I am no good with not knowing.

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. Chuang Tzu

I bumped into that quote in Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything by Laura Grace Weldon. I love this book—its perspective is so refreshing and right-on. It’s helping me solidify my own homeschooling philosophy, which has evolved into more of a life-learning philosophy. Meaning we don’t think of learning or “education” as separate from life itself. We (meaning all people, not just my brood) are always learning—you just try to stop us! Case in point, this Chuang Tzu quote. Just when I was feeling as though the unknown were about to engulf me, this quote stops me in my tracks with its freakin’ logic and wisdom. How dare you, Chuang Tzu. Of course I don’t know what’s going to happen! No one ever knows what’s going to happen and any sense of that idea is an illusion. But I embrace that illusion! That is my happy illusion!

I think it’s funny how often little gems such as this fall into your path just when you need them. Or maybe we notice them more when they pertain to what’s happening in our lives. Who knows. Either way, it made me smile. And breathe.

livelaughlove_vases Apparently this was my lesson for the day. Thank you, Chuang Tzu. I will try to stay centered and I will work on acceptance.

I will not accept, however, that my house is smelly. And if it is, it’s my stench and that of my most beloved. But I will consider cleaning out the bottom of the toaster oven—just in case.

it’s not an 80’s metal video, people—it’s a baptism


My new red sparkly shoes. They glitter like Dorothy's!

When did it happen that women’s dress shoes started being produced only with heels that topple out at 6 inches?


I attended a baptism this weekend, with the honor of being made godmother to my friend’s son. And I needed some freakin’ shoes to go with the pretty dress Steve gave me for Christmas. The dress is navy with white polka dots and totally adorable.

I simply wanted a basic black pump with a normal sized heel. 6” heels are not so much in order when you are in the moment of becoming a godmother. I’m neither a prude nor a particularly good Catholic, but when you’re in church, you gotta at least look like a godmother and not Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video. (Yes, I did just watch every Whitesnake video available on youtube. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.) Also, I seriously doubt I could walk in those things without looking like a badly produced CGI character. Jar Jar Binks comes to mind.

I did find some cute red pumps and they looked even cuter than black would have. But they were the one pair of shoes I found that did not render me the tallest person in the room. Apparently I am grossly out of the loop on current fashion trends. If you could see what I normally wear—plain long-sleeve shirts, yoga pants and cardigan sweaters—you would most likely not be surprised.


Don’t my sparkly red shoes look pretty with the the socks I happen to have on today? You can’t tell, but I’m wearing a plain long-sleeve shirt, yoga pants and a cardigan sweater. But these shoes do dress things up. Think I’ll go roll around on the hood of the car.

Anyway, my kids had a stomach bug about a 6 weeks ago and then sort of a weird mini-nausea experience the week before last. Didn’t result in barf, just a barfish-feeling. Enough to entirely freak out one of my little girls. It’s been 10 days and she is still carrying around the barf bucket, to which she refers as “the frow-up bucket.” She keeps it close and insists on a towel in her bed at night. She is eating as much as ever—where this little 40 pound kid puts it, I do not know—and is clearly a-okay, yet the bucket persists. She is also suddenly preoccupied with the idea of death. The other night after all the bedtime stories and songs and hijinks and ensuing parental threats of what might befall if they didn’t just GO TO SLEEP, she called me up to inquire, “When am I gonna die?”

Seriously? snow_lily2_2_26

The ever-present bucket.

I recently read Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am well-acquainted with fear myself, most often referred to as “worry” by us grown-ups. The book talked a lot about not fighting fear, but rather embracing it tenderly. When you rail against it, it only gains power. Thich Nhat Hanh—a Buddhist monk—also reminds us to be mindful and present. This is hard work—harder than almost anything, really. At least for me.

Right now, there is a black void of time sort of stretching out in front of me. A long stretch of the unknown. I can picture my life in July—by then we most likely will have moved and I can see us at the beach. Often. (We really like the beach.) But it’s only early March and we have this house to sell and my husband’s employment situation is in flux and therefore our income and I’m not exactly sure when we’ll move or even how I will get everything done that needs to get done in order to place the house on the market and so many things—big and little—are just entirely uncertain right now. It’s all very dark and I can’t even wedge a narrow beam of light in there to get a glimpse of what I might expect. Being present is difficult.

I heard about this thing called “Schrödinger's cat.” I am no physicist—but I watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory from time to time and they talked about Schrödinger's cat on an episode I watched the other day. In a nutshell—with my very shaky understanding of physics—Schrödinger's cat refers to a thought experiment in which you imagine a live cat in a closed box. Now, there is a vial of poison (or something like that) in the box with the cat and at some unknown point in time the poison will have been released, or not. So, until you open the box, you can presume that the cat is both alive and dead since you have no knowledge of whether or not the poison vial is intact or broken. (At least this is what I gleaned from Sheldon’s explanation.)

So, here’s what I think. Life is like Schrödinger's cat. Could be one thing, could be another. Sometimes there is darkness and sometimes there is light and you simply put one foot in front of the other, you breathe in the moment (thank you for the wisdom, Thich Nhat Hanh), you dream your dreams and you smile at your fear.

My little girl and I are going to make it—we’ll navigate our own black corridors. I’ll help her out, since that’s what mamas do, and we’ll travel with the bucket for as long as we must. We all need our talismans, our lucky charms, that which brings magic to our lives. Maybe I’ll wear my red sparkly shoes, dare to dream, and hope those dreams really do come true. (Click, click.)

Hey, so if you haven’t yet had a chance to read any of the short story I have been serializing, I would love it if you did and appreciate your opinion. Here’s what has published so far:

“A Cool Dry Place”—part 1 “A Cool Dry Place”—part 2

Many thanks to you for coming here!