Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I Love It: Seattle Symphony

 © Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

For his birthday present, I gave Adam tickets to the Seattle Symphony.  It was either that or the Seattle Sounders (our soccer team) which he also would have enjoyed.

Since I wanted to go with him and I prefer the Symphony (by about 100 times) I made my choice.

See, I'm selfless like that.

I also love that I'm married to a man that was excited about Symphony tickets.

We almost always slide into events/concerts/plays at the last second and I'm frazzled by Late Anxiety.  Saturday was no different.  Adam had spent long hours working in our yard, then I cut his hair and by the time we were on the road to Seattle, our dinner plans were fading.

Adam is always a fly by the seat of his pants superhero and he saved the day.  We parked across the street from Benaroya Hall in a parking garage.  We (gasp) paid for parking.  Who are you and what have you done with my husband?  Adam goes to great lengths (literally...he'll walk quite a ways) to avoid paying to park.  But we paid for parking and had a gloriously sumptuous and speedy dinner at The Third Door which is the downstairs lounge associated with Wild Ginger restaurant. 

It was a little rude that the guy at the door wished us a good evening and didn't ask to see our ID.  Officially old.

I can't adequately describe the symphony except we loved it.

The first piece was Witold Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 4.  He's Polish, Ciocia.  (and by Ciocia I mean's a long story) I'm sure you would have met him if he hadn't died in 1994.

It was fascinating but none too melodic.

Next was Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor.  It was amazing.  I loved the pianist.

Adam and I are pretty novice at this sort of thing though.  At one point, Adam whispered in my ear, "How do we know when to clap?"

My expert advice, whispered back, "When everyone else does."

During the intermission I told Adam I wanted a treat like we saw other people eating.  (Sometimes I remind me of our children...or the other way around.)  We had no cash to buy a treat so he promised me a milkshake from Jack in the Box later (if I would stop whining...again, like our children).  We debated whether "the really big woman" he pointed out to me was a man or a woman.  It was a man.  Forget the make-up and painted fingernails and dress.  It. Was. A. Man.  And not a very attractive one.  I told Adam I recognize my own kind.  And that was not it.

We also looked out the huge windows at the Seattle view.

Our favorite part of the concert followed: Sibelius.  He's a Finnish composer whose music Adam introduced me to.  He composed the Finnish national anthem, Finlandia, which is also the music to the hymn, "Be Still My Soul."  The Symphony played his Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major.

I have no words.

In the program (which I'm obviously using as I write this post to spell everything correctly) I read it is "some of the most ecstatic music in Sibelius's symphonic output."

We came home and bought a recording from iTunes straightaway (after the Oreo cookie milkshake at Jack in the Box of course).


There's the rain and the traffic and the gray skies.

But there's the Symphony.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weird Al, Motorcycle Maintenance, and My Cell Phone

Because of my children, I know the lyrics to Weird Al songs.  They're in my head and what's more, I can identify with some of them.  Like this from "Amish Paradise".

But we ain't really quaint, so please don't point and stare
We're just technologically impaired

I am technologically impaired.

I purposefully have the simplest cell phone I could find.  And it is a complete mystery to me.  It does what it wants and I have to just hope for the best.

The other night we were at the Village Theater, enjoying a great production of Lost in Yonkers.  Since our kids were home alone (can I tell you how much better my life has become since I have a live in babysitter?), I had my cell phone on in case they needed us.  It was on silent mode in my jacket pocket.  I get fidgety and as I was recrossing my legs and leaning on Adam's shoulder (because why wouldn't I?) I accidentally bumped my phone.

It started talking to me.  "Say a voice command..."  My voice command is,  "Be quiet, phone."

I handed the phone to Adam and he made it behave and handed it back to me but I was wary.  

My phone has a mind of its own.

I was considering my technological impairment and it reminded me of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I read it in college, when I was home for the summer.  I remember reading it on my parents front porch in the blessed dry heat of a Nevada summer.  I remember thinking I might be going slightly insane while I read it because it's kind of a rambling crazy book.  I remember one part that resonated with me though.

Something about technology being dehumanizing and downright scary.  (I can't remember exactly what the book said, maybe it was the lazy heat, maybe I really was going crazy.)

But technology.

I don't really get it.

I have a tenuous relationship with my computer.

I can blog, I can check my email, I can do google searches, I can put books on hold at the library, I can navigate our school curriculum that is online, I can place orders.

And that's it.

If something goes wrong, I have no recourse but to turn to Adam.  He tries to explain it to teach a girl to fish... and my hands fly over my ears so I can't hear him and my eyes glaze over.

More than once, in frustration, when Adam's explained things to me over and over he'll say, "You're as smart as I am."  In other words, figure it out already.

Well, first of all, I'm NOT as smart as him.  Kicking his trash at Boggle doesn't mean much.

Secondly, I don't want to know.  There's the real problem.

My cell phone sometimes goes to speaker mode because I accidentally push something.  (or just because it wants to)  The other day I was tossing my phone in my bag and it took a picture of my hand.  I have no idea what I did to make it take a picture.  Sometimes I can make it take pictures...if Mark shows me how.

I am dazzled by people that can text on their phones.  It's one thing when teenagers text.  They can also play Mario Kart; they're superstars.  But there are a whole lot of other people that can text too (like every other person in America).

Just not me.

My phone came with a user's manual.

It's still in the plastic cover.

Because I don't want to know.

And because it's bigger than the phone.

Also it may or may not be in Spanish.  I don't know.  Because I haven't opened it.

I am not proud (or convenienced) by any of this but I take a little comfort that it's not my fault, really.
(I love it when I can blame something genes...for my failings.)

My dad who built the house I grew up in, creates art every day of his life, can fix anything and will build a tool if he needs to, is staggered by computers too.

And he calls me for tech support sometimes which is at once a heady and frightening feeling.

And Marianne.  Marianne my wonder sister who can pretty much do everything in the world and do it with panache may or may not know how to work a DVD player.

I feel OK in this kind of company.

And happily, Emma did not inherit my flaw.

For her birthday she got an ipod.

I told her (obviously) we'd wait for Dad to get home before we opened the package and put songs on it and whatever other voodoo is required for music.

Emma gave me a strange look and read the owner's manual and before long had it charged up and full of songs and pumping music into her little ears.

Every mother's dream is to raise a daughter better than herself.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Just when I was about to get cynical waking up to another rainy day, it's been a day of miracles.

1)  Emma woke up "not feeling well".  This is code for I-don't-want-to-get-up-or-have-school.  It's tricky to decipher if she's really sick or not.  Then Grandma Geri called and invited her to go see Diary of a Wimpy Kid with her cousins.

Miracle One.  A complete cure for Emma Jayne.

2) Geri called later to see if Braeden wanted to go too...when she realized he was going to be the only grandchild that hadn't seen it.  I told her that I had already promised to take Braeden Thursday and I thought we'd just stick with that plan.  Then Braeden found out.

Miracle Two.  Braeden would rather go to the movie with his grandma and cousins than his mother.  (OK, I wasn't really surprised.  But still.  And by the way, can I just apologize to my mom right now because I'm sure I was an ungrateful little twerp once upon a time too.)

3)  Mark was the only one left to do errands with me (he saw the movie with the triplets a week ago).  We were driving along and Mark said, "Mom, did you know if you pull something purple or pink out of your nose and suddenly forget something it's because you pulled out part of your brain?"

Miracle Three.  You can learn something new every day.  Because, no, I didn't know that.

4)  Mark and I went to JoAnn Fabrics, America's Best Contact and Lenses, Staples, the post office, the library and Fred Meyer.

Miracle 4.  We survived.

Sunday Drive

Every spring when the tulips in front of my house begin to open up, I know it's time to head north to Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival.  It was actually early...the tulips will be fabulous in about a week...but in a week, we're busy.

It was a case of making hay while the sun shines.

Or driving north in torrential rain (as it turned out).

We can't always stay home when it rains though.  We'd never go anywhere.

And when we got to Mount Vernon, the rain stopped.  But it was cold.

Every year I am delighted down to my toes by fields of vibrant color.  There are houses perched on the edges of the fields and I can't imagine how delirious I would get living in those fields when they're in bloom.

If I was going to be a farmer, I would be a tulip farmer.

We took Grandma Geri with us which makes everything more fun:

What is it about pretty flowers that prompts this in some children?

But we have sweet Emma to pose for docile pictures:

To review, this child:

And then this one:

I'll keep all three little tulips though.

Even when they definitely look like they're plotting something.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today I Woke Up Happy

The sun is shining-ish.

My bathwater was deliciously scalding and deep.

Friday is the easiest day in our school week.

I saw the program from the play Adam and I went to last night and remembered how much I loved it.

I'm going to lunch with Janet.

Adam's mom, Geri, is coming over for dinner tonight and game playing.

And I keep cracking up when I remember my SIL Whitney's narrow escape of death by suffocation.

Whitney and Kelly's friend Jamie was in the hospital.  She'd had surgery, then complications which turned serious.

One night Whitney sent Jamie's husband home to sleep and she stayed with Jamie, sleeping on a little loveseat in the room.

She was awakened by someone placing a towel over her face.  It was the nurse covering her face with hands and a towel.

Whitney said, "What are you doing?!"

The nurse answered, "We were going to insert a catheter in your friend and didn't want you to have to watch."

Whitney said, "I was asleep."  (Besides that she is capable of turning her head if need be.)

I've heard a lot of people saying we need to fix the broken health care system.

Let's start with that nurse.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Drama at Play Practice

A few months ago, I heard about an opportunity for my kids.  A local children performing arts studio was putting on a homeschoolers production.  The practices would be in the afternoon.

My kids love being in plays so we signed up. I thought it would be fun for them and a good social opportunity as well.

The ages were 9-14 so it was just Emma and Braeden, not Mark.

On the way to the class/rehearsal the first day, Emma could hardly contain herself in the front seat of the van.  She was excited.

I think Mark was equally excited that he was going to spend the next two hours doing errands with me...although he didn't express that sentiment.

I walked in with Emma and Braeden to pay the fee.  The receptionist said, "I'm not going to have you pay yet.  We'll see if we get enough kids to do the play."

I said, "How many do you have?"

She said, "Three."

And two of them were mine.

She said, "We need at least 4-5 minimum."

I went shopping with Mark (which isn't as much fun as it sounds) and worried about the play.  My children would be so disappointed if the play didn't happen.  And I thought of Emma's shining eyes as we had driven to the studio.  She asks for so little and how I love it when she has shiny eyes.

I decided that when we returned to pick them up, I'd offer Mark to them.  He's seven, not nine, but he's big.  Does that count?

Apparently it does.

No one besides the three had shown up and they were happy to get Mark (and collect his fee).   I said, "He's only seven..."

They said, "Well I'm SURE he's a good reader."

I said, "He's a first grader..."

But they wanted him and our money so Emma could continue with the shining eyes.

I asked my kids about it on the way home.  They'd loved it.  They'd played some improv games and were thrilled.  I asked about the other boy.  They thought he was a little strange.  (I said, "Yeah those homeschooled kids are weird."  My kids said, "Ha ha, very funny.")

Braeden said, "He thinks he's Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

As the weeks passed and they spent more time with "Greg", their opinions of him didn't seem to improve.  They told me most days he had to go sit in the hall for awhile to calm down before he could go back to practice.

One day when I picked them up, Emma was mad.  She said the "Greg" was ruining the play.  In addition to ripping up his script, he had ripped Mark's.  And she said he often hit and kicked all three of them.


"Greg" is 11 but no bigger than Mark.  And he was hitting and kicking my three big kids?

But (unlike my siblings and me..heaven help "Greg" if my kids had dispositions like Tabor...or Olivia), my kids aren't really ones to hit each other.  I remember Olivia and me pulling each other to the floor, pulling each other's hair.  I can't imagine my kids acting like that.  And not because of anything I've done.  When I used to babysit my little brothers, my mode of handling them was a smack here and there...until one day when Enoch stopped my hand mid-flight.  That kind of ended my smacking career.

Maybe our children got their peace loving ways from Adam.

But that doesn't mean a pint sized bully was going to hit and kick them.

I was slightly tempted to tell Emma to just flatten the kid but I mustered my good mother persona and realized there were valuable social skills to be learned.  The world is full of bullies.

I told them under no circumstances were they to hit or kick young "Greg" back and that they weren't even to be mean or yell at him. 

"Just look him straight in the eye if he hits you and say firmly, 'Don't do that.'"

I knew that "Greg" would back down.  I mean Braeden and Emma towered over the kid.  I said, "If he hits or kicks Mark, both of you look him in the eye.  He'll stop."

And he did.

When Ammon and Melanee were here, it was the big event:  the performance.

Some pictures of my kids in action:

The play was The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf.  The version where the wolf is innocently trying to borrow a cup of sugar for his dear old granny's birthday cake and the pigs won't share.  Braeden played the wolf.  Here he is sneezing and therefore accidentally knocking down a pig's house.

Mark was the first little pig:

Perhaps my favorite part of the play was when Mark returned as an angel pig after being eaten by the wolf.

Or maybe it was Emma, the second pig's, lecture to the wolf on why sugar is bad for you and he shouldn't be borrowing it in the first place:

I'm the mother and so of course I thought my kids were brilliant. 

It's part of the job description. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As Bizarre as High School

Thumper was a year younger than me in school.  I knew him all through elementary and high school.  I never knew why he was nicknamed Thumper.

In high school, my senior year, we ended up in the same yearbook class.

Here's the class:

What can I say?  It was 1991 but the 80s died hard in our hamlet.  Thumper's the one on the left.

He teased me.  A lot.  He called me the Cattle Baroness because of the overly modest dress I wore to a formal dance.  He teased me and my friend about being nerds with our physics and calculus classes.  He'd pick me up and pretend to throw me against the lockers in the hallway.  He'd simultaneously kick the lockers so it sounded like I was being pummeled.  Sometimes I thought he'd really smack me into the lockers...and it would be the end of Thelma.

We were as different as any two people could be but bound by geography and parallel childhoods, we were friends.

For one thing, he was very very funny and I've always been easily amused.

After my freshman year of college, we both worked at The Burger Express.  He still teased me and mocked my driving and anything else he could possibly think of but he made me spectacular hamburgers when I asked him to and he made the depressing business of working in a fast food restaurant more bearable.

The next summer, I was putting gas in my car in a neighboring town.  I heard a deep voice calling my name.  I looked around but didn't see anyone I recognized.

I kept hearing a voice calling my name though.

And I kept looking around...feeling like an idiot.

Then I heard a laugh I recognized and Thumper was in a huge black pickup truck with tinted windows.  The window was cracked enough for him to call my name and to laugh at my confusion.  We briefly said hello and I haven't seen him since.

Then not too long ago he friended me on facebook.

I'd forgotten all about Thumper.

I haven't really caught up on his life though because his updates were so peppered with obscenities that I've hidden him from my view.  (I am after all the girl with the overly modest dress.)

He wished me happy birthday though.  And suddenly facebook became as bizarre in its connections as high school was.

Without those thrown-together-in-a-small-town ties, I never would have been friends with many of the people I went to school with.  I think I was enriched by my assorted friends in high school though.  And staying in (sort of) touch with them on facebook is good too.

I had to smile remembering Thumper.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday too.

(contrary to how this picture looks, we weren't on an awkward first date and I wasn't armless)

For 18 years, Adam and I have been celebrating our birthdays together (except for when he was in Finland...then we were apart).

In this (faded) picture, I'm delighted with my gift and Adam thinks I'm crazy--not for the last time.  I wonder what he would have thought if someone told him "someday you'll marry that crazy person".

We aren't very efficient when planning how to celebrate.

What do you want to do for your birthday?

It's your birthday too.  What do YOU want to do?

is it just me or do I have three legs in this picture?

Do you want to go out to dinner?

Do YOU?  It's your birthday too.

Where should we go?

Where do YOU want to go?

It's your birthday too.

 One of our friends, Robbie, has a birthday the day before ours.

Should we go to a movie?

Do YOU want to go to a movie?

It's your birthday.

Well, it's yours too.

What kind of cake?

(Do you see what I mean?)

On the morning of one of our birthdays in college, Adam knocked on my apartment door early in the morning with the ingredients to make me french toast, which is my favorite breakfast.

Last night he went to the store (after I was asleep) and bought all the things needed so our kids could make us french toast.  It had been Mark's idea.

There's no one I'd rather celebrate my birthday with than Adam.

No one.

Yesterday I made a series of mistakes related to my inability to effectively read instructions and then some related to the computer.  I'm impatient and impetuous and dive into things without really knowing what I'm doing.

It was demoralizing.

Adam nudged me into our room and put his arms around me.  "I'm an idiot," I said, into his chest.

"No," he said, "You are brave.  You try things that are out of your comfort zone."

Do celebrities with scandals know about Adam?

Because he's good at putting a positive spin on stupidity.

Early this morning, our insomnia overlapped at 3:00 a.m.  We started talking about birthdays and getting older.   

I told him that maybe getting older doesn't bother you when you're happy.

I don't mind getting older right along with Adam.

Because I'm happy.

And he's why.

This was taken last year on our birthday:  at Disneyland.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And Then It Was Over



And then I had to say good-bye to this little man:

(I "selflessly" offered to hold him while his parents were getting ready to leave.)

And I had to say good-bye to my dear brother:

(I love these two.)

I would have taken a parting shot of Melanee who I had a great time getting to know better all week but she was busy packing (such is the lot of the mother).

Incidentally, Melanee made cream cheese brownies (a.k.a. Why Ammon Married Her) for us while here.  I know Ammon had many other reasons to marry her but really.  Those brownies would have been reason enough.  She kindly bequeathed me with the secret family recipe which trust I will hold very sacred.

They had to leave though and I cried when I said good-bye.

Emma hugged me and said that maybe we should build a summer house in Nevada so I could live closer to my family.

I told her it was a great, but expensive, idea. 

She said, "We could wait a year or two."

Then she offered to raise money for the enterprise by crocheting items and selling them.  She said Braeden could mow lawns to earn money.  Braeden asked Emma if she knew how to crochet.

She said, "Well, I'd have to remind myself..."

It's sad that I miss my family when so far away, but I have Emma.

And that's a good compensation...whether or not she's able to remind herself how to crochet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

You Think You Know A Guy

I know Ammon fairly well.  Yes, he was eight when I left home and he considers me to be from a very dark period in our nation's history:  the 80s.

But I know him.

I know he was sick his very first Christmas when he was about 6 months old and we were all dying for him to get up and see his present which happened to be a pink Carebear elephant.

(To my parents, I have to say:  I know he was your 6th child and you probably didn't care anymore about Christmas gifts and gender identity at that point, but really?  Of any stuffed animal on the planet you went with a pink elephant?)

He loved the elephant though.  He called it Pink El-phunt and there was no lasting damage.

I know Ammon used to shoot baskets when he was very small.  He'd climb on an upside down 5 gallon bucket for the extra height.

I knew he was very concerned about skin cancer when he was about 6 and wore long sleeved shirts and a hat daily.

I know he's always been a builder.

I know he was always always cute until he turned into handsome.

I know that I have never ever seen him angry (but then, neither has his wife...or anyone).

I know that he was a superstar in high school track and then in college but you had to drag his record breaking results out of him because he's not one to brag.  (I know, how did he end up in the same family as the rest of us?)

I know that he always did really well in school and would absently answer questions my mom asked Tabor when they were being homeschooled together.

I know he's a great husband and loving and proud father.

I know all of these things about my brother.

But until you see someone lay tile in your bathroom until 12:30 a.m., you really don't know a person.

Ammon cut the tile in our garage.  There are twenty five stairs between our bathroom and the garage (I counted) and Ammon laid over 100 tiles.  He sometimes had to re-cut them.  Because it is perfect.

Ammon hummed amiably most of the time.  And last night when I was sitting by the fire, reading a book and he was running up and down the stairs, he apologized to me and said he appreciated how patient I was being with him.

He apologized to me.

And he's doing my slave labor.

And I thought I knew what a spectacular brother I had.

My mom said it took 6 tries to get a perfect one.

She wasn't kidding.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Under Construction

yes that is our toilet

yes it is currently in the bathtub

yes I'm glad we have more than one bathroom

(things would be getting pretty serious around here otherwise)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

 If this looks like a-family-reunion-in-Nevada it's because it's from last summer.  Ammon's asleep right now so I had to dig into my "archives" so you could see his handsome mug.

My little (6-and-a-half-foot-tall) brother is 10 years younger than me.

I raised him.  (and by that I mean that I gave my opinion on things and played with him when he was cute and happy and left the room when he wasn't)

So I think I'm entitled to certain things.

Like showing his wife pictures of him as a naked one year old looking cute and (dangerously skinny) in a bathtub. 

Also, I'm entitled to mock him when he's playing on the Wii. 

Because I'm the sister.

Because he's the brother, he's going to rip out the carpet in our master bathroom (who puts carpet in a bathroom?  in the Pacific Northwest? where nothing is ever truly dry?) and install tile.

Maybe I got the better deal in the whole brother/sister relationship.

I raised him pretty well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Once, years ago, when Braeden was first taking baby step forays into reading, he started crying because just when he had a sound figured out, there would be a variation.  A different rule.  An exception. 

"Why do we have to speak English?  Why?"

I didn't have a good answer (except for besides pig latin, it's the only language that I know).

English though.  Sheesh. 

Today Mark was learning about the soft g sound /j/.  I told him that the rule (that only applies some of the time...much like the no talking on the cell phone while driving rule--it depends on if I need to talk on the cell phone or not) is that if there's an e, i or y following a g, it makes the /j/ sound.

We read words like got, gun, game.  /g/ sound!

We read gem, gym, large.  /j/ sound!

Hurray!  Mark had it figured out!

Then he said, "Now I have one for YOU."

He wrote "get" on his dry erase board.

He said, "Read it."

I said, "Get."

He looked askew.  "No, Mom, jet."


"This one, Mark, doesn't follow the rule."

Mark lay his head down on his desk, in mock despair.


It's not for sissies.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happily With Guests

I love having house guests.  We've had a good day.

This morning after a little bit of playing with Cormac, he and his mother napped and we had school (to the chagrin of the children).  After lunch and Costco, Melanee and I did yoga (and she didn't even laugh at me) and we went to Mukilteo beach. 

The boys climbed.

Emma read.

And I took pictures of Cormac and Melanee.

It was a lovely way to spend the day.

After our working men came home, we tried to go to the Tin Fish which had the audacity to be closed on a Monday. Instead, we drowned our sorrows at a Mexican restaurant (which isn't a bad way to go) and home for ice cream.

And this I know:


He lives up to his billing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Springing Forward

It was bound to happen eventually.  We forgot to spring forward and were late for church (and we would have been early if the time hadn't changed!).  I was walking around changing clocks and Mark wanted to know what it was all about.

I explained it to him.

He stopped in the middle of the room and stared at me as he is wont to do when puzzled.

I explained it again.

"So time speeded up?"

I explained it again.

"So we are living in the future?"

I gave up explaining and let him go with that.

Mark said, "We are living in the future!  Braeden, come here!  We're in the future and I want to see if you have a mustache."

For Mark, the future is one of facial hair.  Which is a little puzzling.

Unless you remember who his uncles are.

I have no good explanation...

I guess contemplating future mustaches is valid.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What I Don't Like About My Nieces and Nephews

They live too far away.

I miss out on their birthdays, milestones and growing taller.  I don't get to be a part of their daily lives.

And I'm tired of it.

What makes me exquisitely happy is that this charming little man, Cormac, is coming to visit me in a few days:

Can you believe those eyelashes?

(He didn't inherit them from me.)

I have a box of soft chewy toys all ready for Cormac.  I intend to play with him and cuddle him and stare into those brown brown eyes.

(If any of my other nieces or nephews want to follow Cormac's stellar example, I have lots of boxes of toys.)

Although I haven't even met Cormac yet, I already know I love him. 

(For one thing, he's bringing his parents with him.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Someone Somewhere

This afternoon it was raining lightly outside but inside our house real storms were brewing. 

For one thing, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I'm sufficiently better that I should stop whining but I still feel like whining.  Because I'm not all the way better.

Then there was the clutter.

My children leave the books they're reading (Braeden) and writing (Emma) everywhere.  Then I saw the book I'm reading on the table and Adam's scriptures too.  We're all a mess.

Then the shoes.  I reprimanded my kids for their shoes that were flung hither and yon by the front door then I hoped they wouldn't notice my shoes that weren't put away either.

It's really hard to get your kids to be perfect when you're not.

But I still try.

And I don't even want to go into the piano books or Legos.

I was increasingly cranky and increasingly telling children with my hoarse voice to pick that up!  Now pick that up!

Then the phone rang and it was my sister's voice, chipper and buoyant.  She was calling me from a beach in Mexico.

She said, "How ARE you?"

I said, "Cranky.  And Miserable."

She said, "Maybe I don't want to talk to you."

I said, "Probably not."  But she was undeterred and soon enough had me cheered up because you can't be uncheered by an Olivia.  I was pulling laundry out of the dryer while we chatted and one of my sheets was in shreds.  Shreds.  The inside of my dryer doesn't have fangs or claws.  I checked.  I don't know what happened to my sheets.

But I started grumbling all over again as I tried to untangle and make sense of the twisted mess of laundry.

Olivia said, "This isn't your day."

I said, "No.  But you're on a beach in Mexico."  She'd told me all about taking a glorious nap on the beach and of the magnificent shrimp she'd eaten...the best of her life.

I said, "I'm glad that someone somewhere is having a wonderful day."

And I really meant it.  Because there are wonderful days in the world and just because for me, today wasn't one of them, I know that one will come back around.

They always do.

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations.  They presented him the words:  "And this, too, shall pass away."  How much it expresses!  How chastening in the hour of pride.  How consoling in the depths of affliction.
Abraham Lincoln

True Grit

John Wayne movies were part of the scenery when I was growing up.  And that kind of scenery has a way of seeping into your psyche whether you like it or not.

For this reason, I know a lot of quotes from John Wayne movies.

I don't know as many as some of my family members though.  My dad and Tabor will banter back and forth and then it will finally dawn on me that they're quoting a movie.

And usually it's True Grit.

Yesterday Adam told me that the Coen brothers, who I rather like as movie makers, are remaking True Grit.

If I knew their address I would write a letter to humbly advise them that I know two people that would be naturals in the movie.

Mattie Ross: They say he has grit. I wanted a man with grit.

Rooster Cogburn: Well if I had a big horse pistol like that I wouldn't be scared of no "boogerman".

Mattie Ross: Trust you to buy another tall horse.

Rooster Cogburn: Baby sister, I was born game and I intend to go out that way.   

Rooster Cogburn: Well, sister, the time has come for me to ride hard and fast.

Rooster Cogburn:  Young fella, if you're looking for trouble, I'll accommodate you. Otherwise, leave it alone.

It seems the cast is already set for the True Grit remake but these two will always be the stars of my show.


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