Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Girl

Sixteen years ago today I was awakened by contractions and fifteen long hours later gave birth to the most beautiful girl on the planet.

The subsequent years have been an adventure in growing up, for both of us, punctuated by a few tears and a whole lot of laughter.

I am perpetually in awe of this child, who seems to know more, with each passing day, about who she is and what she wants.

There is not much more that I can say on the topic without resorting to clichés about love and pride and the joys of motherhood.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to have been a part of her life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love, Dove

According to my square of dark chocolate, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  Whew.  That is a huge relief, because I WAS starting to wonder if I wasn't completely misplaced.

You know?  You get that feeling that you're just totally completely in the wrong place?  Doing the wrong thing?  With the wrong people?  Hell, sometimes, I'm firmly convinced that I'm not even the right person.  Like there was some sort of birthing mix up and I was really supposed to be someone else.

But no, there it was, in no uncertain terms in shiny silver letters:

"You  are exactly where you are supposed to be."  Love, Dove

Have you noticed how  the objects in our lives are telling us things all the time?  Like the cup my iced tea came in is telling me I need to go to a website to see how this cup impacts greenhouse gasses.  Or how the lid on my juice admonished me the other day that "those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end."  Yikes!  My shopping bag is yelling at me, in large green letters to "RECYCLE ME!"  (or else?)  My grocery receipt would like me to know how valuable my opinion is and that they really need my feedback on my shopping experience.  Sure, I'd be happy to give them feedback, just as soon as I check up on my cup, take a trip to the recycle bin and buy new pants. 

It all gets to be just a bit too much sometimes.  I'm going to call it "directive pollution."

Feel free to add that to your vernacular.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sick of S'mores?

I have a new campfire favorite!

My daughter turned us on to these this weekend....she made them last summer on a sailing trip.

You bake brownies IN a hollowed out orange.  OMG.  So delicious!!!

This photo and directions for preparing this mind blowing treat can be found here:

It turns out there are numerous variations on this theme (including cake mix, muffin mix, etc.)

We went for the full on Ghiradelli dark chocolate brown mix (and I think she added more chocolate chips).

You pre-mix the batter, put it in a ziploc bag, in your cooler.  Bring a bag of oranges, cut the tops off, give everyone a spoon.  They hollow out their oranges, and then you can squeeze the brownie mix out of the bag into the oranges.  They really expand, so half full is plenty.  You can put the top back on the orange, or not, cover in foil, stick in the coals.  Cooking time varies, so it's good to do a "test" brownie first.


I'm afraid of Americans

....said David Bowie.

This has been a big month for perspectivation. We have, staying with us, a teenager from France. We've also spent some time this month with a young man from Peru.

They both have shared (not without significant prompting on my part) their insights about Americans.

"Americans are cold"
"Americans eat at McDonald's every day"
"Americans are loud"

We can, certainly, be all those things. We can also be better things, and worse things, but the whole discourse has been a welcome opportunity to analyze my own prejudices.

It's hard to perspectivate (we made this word up, fyi, but you may certainly adopt it for your own use), however, without having any frame of reference, and I think this is the biggest challenge as we all live in pretty small circles and don't travel nearly as much as the Europeans (or, as it turns out, the Peruvians) do.

Following are your words for the day. Both mean the same thing, "dragonfly," first in French and then in Spanish. I love how they sound.

libellule (lee-bay-lool)
libélula (lee-bay-loola)

This came up in conversation this weekend, as we were camping (with the aforementioned foreign visitors) and we were tubing down a large, beautiful river. There were literally swarms of beautiful many-colored dragonflies around us.

I was prompted to look up the symbolism of the dragonfly (having never given those little guys much thought) and it turns out they are representative of the following:

Defeat of Self Created Illusions

Focus on living in the moment

The opening of one’s eyes

Maturity and Depth of Character

In many regions and as a norm of this day, the dragonfly is considered to be an agent of change and presumably symbolic of a sense of self realization. Self realization from how the dragonfly uses its power to control its movements and so elegantly. And change and evolution is all about the dragonfly’s ability to fly and he way it can be comfortable on water, land as well as in the air.

I just LOVE it when the universe hands me a lesson.

Note....when I pulled up the translation website...there was an ad for McDonalds at the bottom of the page. Food for thought. ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday!

It did not suck to wake up to this .....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Help Wanted

I'm about to post for an administrative position in my office.

After pouring through past employee's job descriptions and performance reviews, I believe I have come up with an accurate itemization of the qualifications that seem to comprise our typical hire.

1. Inability to show up on time or consistently.

2. Intense family problems that can only be negotiated on the phone and only if you do so VERY loudly and insist on the sharing of inappropriate details at inopportune times.

3. Passive aggressive attitude towards being assigned tasks

4. Flailing love life

5. Horrid financial or legal issues

6. Inability to conjugate English verbs, minimal understanding of pronoun usage and predilection for dangling any and all participles.

7. Questionable apparel choices

8.  Constant gum chewing

Can you think of anything I might be missing?  It's hard because, clearly, you  have to be some serious kind of special to swim in the shallow end of OUR pool.

Sh*t my son says

Since I want to present a balanced view of my general craziness.....

Yesterday was middle school graduation.  (Praise be to Buddha!)  Whereas my daughter would have pre-negotiated the entire "what to wear" issue for weeks, my son, (who subscribes to the cover-the-top-cover-the-bottom school of fashion) required a little prompting.

I believe in aiming high so I started here:

"I'd like you to wear khakis and a tie to graduation please"


"Yes, that's what other kids are wearing."

"WHAT??? Why?  Who really cares?  It's not like anyone is going to pay attention to me in that big crowd."

"I care, we're taking pictures, you're crossing the stage...etc, please line up clothes the night before so I know it's done since we won't have much time."


When I woke him up that morning it was my first question.  He waved in the general direction of a subset of the ginormous pile of clothes in his room.

"WHAT?  You can't wear those pants .... they don't even fit!"  And it digressed from there.

Not to belabor the point, but he ended up in an oxford shirt and madras shorts.  I was happy with that middle ground, since I didn't have a tie that matched the shorts anyway.  Shoes, however, became a sticking point.

"You can't wear black loafers with blue plaid shorts."

"Why NOT?" 

"Wear the tan loafers."

"I don't want to wear those they are new."

"That's okay, they're fine to wear to this."

"I don't want to wear those."

"Why not?"

"Mom.  I want to get as much wear out of this pair as I can before I start a brand new pair."

For some reason, I just thought that was hilarious.  Shoes are like toothbrushes for him.   You don't get a new pair until the old pair wear out.  One at a time!  Clearly the complete antithesis of my daughter's and my theory on footwear.  :)

We settled on a neutral pair of Keens instead (a lucky  hand-me-down from a friend who hit puberty first).

As it turned out, my son won an award at graduation and had the honor of walking up on stage, solo, to collect his prize, and his grandmother remarked "Oh!  Doesn't he look so nice up there!"  I just smiled.

See?  You never know when you're going to stand out in the crowd, and when you do, you'd better believe people notice what you're wearing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I'm listening to.....

The list of musical genres that I don't care for is pretty small.  I think it consists of rap, hip hop, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan (yup, sorry, I just can't get there...though as poets I think they're brilliant).  Otherwise, I appreciate a little bit of everything.

This week I've been in a serious bluegrass mood.  These guys I like in particular, and they have the good sense to post their entire discography online so that you can just stream them all day long.  Thanks boys!

 The Infamous Stringdusters


I think I've posted about this woman, Brene Brown, before.  I think she's pretty wise, if only in that "aw shucks, will you just LOOK at how crazy we are.....what a hoot!"  kind of way.

This post ("nesting+play") on her blog hit home with me:

She says, and I quote:  "I'm as sane as my house is organized."

Well, duh!  That's going on my headstone as I clearly will die young(ish) of insanity.

I keep trying to explain this to my husband.  Which brings me to a slight digression:

Why is it when people agree with us too quickly it feels insincere?  I pointed out to him that sometimes, when I tell him something (like my rant on how crucial it is that everyone put the toilet lid down, pick up their dirty underwear and wipe the jelly off the kitchen counter), he has a tendency (because, clearly he's heard this speech before and knows what's coming) to cut me off and just tell me that "he's on it," and instead of making me happy, this irritates me.  I should be happy, right, because he's hearing me and he's responding affirmatively, and yet, because he didn't REALLY hear me all the way OUT, he's undercut the sincerity of his response.

Yes.  I am this complicated.  I am, possibly, a little challenging to live with.  But you know what?  I'm just fine with that, because it's valid. I paid for it, I own it, and I'm not putting it out on a table in front of my house on a Saturday morning with a .50 cent tag on it any time soon.   

Coming back to Brene Brown, however, she makes a valid and not unfamiliar point in her blog post, about balance and the fact that the adage "all work and no play probably turns you into a bitter b*tch at some point" didn't become well known for nothing.

Food for thought my lovelies, food for thought.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie Review

I'd had my eye on the movie Animal Kingdom for a while.  It started with an interview I heard on NPR back when the film came out a year plus ago.  The lead actress, Jackie Weaver, has a cool voice, and I enjoyed trying to imagine what she looked like.  (I was close).  Of course she's huge in Australia, but I'd never heard of her.  The interview with the Director, and what he was trying to achieve with the film was quite compelling.
Neither it, nor any of its actors won Academy Awards, but were nominated, which is significant.

It is finally available on Net Flix (streaming, even) and I would recommend it.

I found it dark and it made me that finger-on-the-pause-button kind of way.

In our age of gratuitous violence, this is fairly tame, but if you're paying attention and not completely desensitized, it is shocking and disturbing and brilliantly done, in my humble opinion.

Would highly recommend and I'll watch it again. 


Friday, June 3, 2011

Driving my daughter

I think I warned you all that I was going to blog about this eventually.  I hate how quicly "eventually" becomes "now" sometimes.

Last night I sat through a two hour, REQUIRED, parent seminar on drivers ed training.  (Required, as in, if I didn't receive a certificate of completion, my daughter could not receive her DL.  They are not fooling around.)

If I wasn't nervous about her getting behind the wheel before, I am scared to EFFING DEATH now!  Seriously, I had to start fanning myself half way through because I was having a full blown panic attack. 

It wasn't just the stories off all the beautiful children who died horrible tragic deaths, the boy who was picked up by 4 of his friends, while he was walking home one afternoon.  The friends, drving a Volvo stationwagon (duh, the safest!), were coming home from a CHURCH YOUTH GROUP, and they saw him walking, so they stopped to get him.  Only, instead of crawling in the back seat and buckling up between the two kids there, he hopped in the cargo area.  You can see this coming....the driver got distracted, ran off the road, hit a tree.  The four belted kids survived, the fifth kid flew forward, through the windshield and died.  And guess what?  His father was a COP and his mom was a DRIVERS ED TEACHER.  I kid you not.  Fairfax County, VA.  (bet you didn't see that last part coming did you?!)

So, if that wasn't enough, he told all these stories about just the dumb mistakes they will make learning, and then had instructions that we parents should do to be good "coaches."  By the end of it, not only do I not want her to drive, ever, but I'm not sure I want to drive again, ever.  SHEEZ.

But seriously, it did make me realize that I need to pay more attention when I drive.  I had already vowed not to talk on the phone and drive, and I'm doing pretty well with that.  (I'd do a whole lot better if my husband would stop calling me all the time while I'm driving....but, one step at a time)  But, just the whole "paying attention" thing could use a little more work.  Probably for all of us.  Just saying.

Did you know that after 10 p.m. 1 in 10 people are driving under the influence?  After midnight it is 1 in 3 people.  HOLY SHITE.  Again, my mother was correct when she pointed out to me in high school that "nothing good ever happens after midnight." 

So.  A word to the wise, that my daughter is about to be behind the wheel.  Only, I'm not sure who needs the all about her.....or her about the rest of you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feelings....ooooh ooooh ooooh FEEEEEELINGS

I follow this lovely woman's blog because she's generally pouring my favorite literary cocktail......a perfect blend of ascerbic wit, insight and self deprecation with a splash of sarcasm.  I'm hooked!

Her post today made me laugh, especially, because I could have written it.

Life would be so easy if we didn't all have these FEELINGS mucking up the works.  Sheez!