Thursday, January 29, 2009

another day in paradise

the cold is better.

my really nice neighbor told me about a new recycling place, which i went to and found them to be fast and friendly. and they paid me in cash. if you live near me and want the info, email me. or call. whatever.

the trash people are making me mad again. they leave me nasty notices telling me to not put my trash cans by a mailbox, but come on! we are on a cul-de-sac and there are mailboxes on both sides of my driveway, with no space to park a car even. today they took trash out of the trash can and put it on my fence. SERIOUSLY. it was part of the pool cover - i want to throw it away - and they gave it back. can they do that? where's that phone number . . . . somebody over at the city is getting an earful from me today.

it's windy today. may try to fly a kite. the kids would love that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

the common cold

I am near the end of my cold. I'm coughing today - sounds like a two pack a day smoker trying to clear the lungs - and my voice is almost gone. Yesterday on the playground, the wind was blowing right through me, so today I have pulled out the wool handknits - there are very few days out here that I can wear them all at once, so I'm cheered up a little bit. But I have to go out into the world, when really I want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of hot something and watch four hours of scrubs and other nonsense.

Stuart's cold is mostly gone - his bad days were last week and over the weekend - and the kids have remarkably escaped for now. Sally's got something going on with her stomach, but it comes and goes and is mostly bothering her at night. Sam is healthy and driving all of us sickos a bit crazy with his incessant talking. If he's not talking, it's because he's playing a game. He's all or nothing these days.

I have found a professional to work on our pool, and he's a miracle worker - had everything fixed and the pool restored to a clean blue color in one day!

And I'm caught up on the laundry. For today.

I'm caught up on the kitchen. For five hours.

But I need to take in the recycling. I think we have five or six bags. I haven't done it in a long while. I hate taking in the recycling. Maybe I'll do it today when I'm already feeling blah.

Or maybe I'll do that tomorrow. When I'm feeling better.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Conversations with the Husband

(If you haven't read Twilight, this won't be funny to you at all.)


While watching a preview for some new vampire show

Him: "See? Those are vampires. They don't sparkle."

Me: long blank stare

Him: "Non-sparkly vampries. There. And there."

Me: "He's not even cute!"

Him: long blank stare

Me: "I like my vampires sparkly and cute. And young."

Him: "Sicko."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

plugging along

I sat down to write a new post several times today and just can't think of anything to write. We are plugging along here - lots going on, but nothing to write about. Writing that, though, makes it seem like my days are in a routine that is boring me to tears, which is far from the truth, so I'm going to try to recap for you. The kids are doing great in school - Stuart and I are quite proud of them. Sam is learning to read more every day, and it is a real treat to watch him and help him. We've been doing puzzles together, and today I found out that he got ahold of my sudoku puzzle book and filled some in for me - the advanced section - correctly. (Ok, the 2 was backwards, but still . . . I'm impressed with him.) Sally is becoming very independent, and yesterday at Sam's gymnastics she finished a book she had been reading this week. (She has a tendency to start books alot, but not finish books. I've been working to address this without making her feel bad about not finishing a book - walking a fine line there.) Soccer practice has been hard lately - lots of running - but I think it will really pay off this weekend as Sally's team plays in a tournament. (If it doesn't rain. Heaven help me, soccer is difficult during the rainy season. These SoCal people act like rain is extreme weather. I grew up in Iowa. Rain is easy.) I seem to be behind on several fronts - the laundry and dishes are caught up, but that will last 12-24 hours at most. The Christmas decorations are still in a huge pile in the middle of the garage, and the dog needs a bath badly. But, as I said before, we're plugging along, finding times to laugh at each other, finding moments to be quiet, most of all finding myself grateful for this season of life where the days are very long, but the weeks and months seem to fly right past me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Things

(1) Sorry about the lack of regular posts. It's been a little crazy around here.

(2) Part of the crazy is Sam. He got a camera for Christmas (digital, small, super-duper durable - made for hikers and backpacking) which he filled up with pictures then lost. Hours have been spent in search of the camera. Hours which could have been spent reading or knitting have been instead wasted in taking apart Sam's room and looking high and low for the @#$%& camera. Today, I am happy to announce that I found it. It was in the cushions of the living room couch. (grrrrrr)

(3) We have switched from a satellite tv service to a fiberoptic (at&t) provider. This has involved a four-hour window, which turned into a seven hour thing, and several long, life-draining phone calls, which I am sad to announce are not finished and I have at least two more to go (not counting the calls that I will get from our old provider begging me to come back, which I have already got one of those).

(4) All the drama has caused me to start several knitting projects, and I am so close to being done with a pair of socks, finished one bootie and have one to go, started one glove and am about to start the other one and knit them at the same time (need to be exactly the same, you know) and then on Tuesday I started a sweater for me. It's a strange way to cope, but it works for me. Also, all of those projects are being knit with yarn that I already had (except for the baby booties, but that's a gift and totally worth new yarn) so don't I feel resourceful? (yes, yes I do.)

(5) There are still Christmas pictures on the camera. I just realized that yesterday.

(6) The pool is no longer green.

(7) The dog's birthday was yesterday. He's 12. He had no cake and no presents, but we love him and he knows it.

(8) I have to stop now and go watch kindergartners eat a snack and play on the monkey bars.

Monday, January 12, 2009

IRL

The funniest thing happened to me a few weeks ago. I saw a preview of the movie, Coraline, and got all excited about it and started explaining to Stuart that this movie is not computer generated and that everything in it is hand-made (including tiny knitted sweaters and stuff) and that the people who made the movie boxed up some of the items in really cool wood boxes and sent them out to bloggers as a new way to promote the movie. I know all this because I read about it on Amy's blog. As I was trying to explain all this, I referred to Amy as "my friend Amy", which is really funny to me because I don't know Amy and I'm pretty sure she doesn't know me.

Which got me thinking about this whole internet world. The blogging, the on-line communities, the facebook thing. Most of the people I am connected with on-line I have met in person first. In real life. IRL. But there are some that I haven't - friends of friends, mostly. And then there are the few that I don't KNOW, but I know ABOUT. Like an author, or someone who commented on my blog that I now read their blog, or Amy, who is the editor of the on-line knitting magazine, Knitty, and also writes a blog that I enjoy. So while I know ABOUT Amy, I don't really know Amy. Which is kinda weird that I sometimes think of her as "my friend Amy."

So then I started thinking about God, and how lots of people know ABOUT Him, but few people really KNOW Him. It's a scary thing to me that it is entirely possible to go through life thinking you know God, but only really knowing lots of stuff about Him. It's possible to think that you are a Christian, while the truth is that you do lots of Christian things and know lots of Christian people and practice lots of Christian disciplines, but you are not a true follower of Christ. It's a concept that scares me quite a bit and causes me to seriously look at myself and examine my faith. Is it a real faith?

Real. In real life. We use that term because the cyber community lacks a "real-ness" that face-to-face relationships have. The cyber community, while it is wonderful in many ways - don't get me wrong there -but it has a low risk factor. You can chat with someone on-line when you feel like it, and leave the computer off when you don't. There is a low risk factor when you control everything an on-line friend knows about you. You can put up your favorite (edited) photo on your profile. You can write about the good stuff and leave out the bad stuff. You control everything. But in real life, relationships are very risky and intrusive and sooner or later, your friends will learn the good and the bad stuff about you and they will see you on a bad hair day and they will watch you lose your temper and they will find out about your heartaches. It's very risky and it's hard to control, but it's real. And the real-ness of real relationships is what brings us our greatest joy, our deepest comfort, our life. Real relationships bring us real life. On-line friends can't hold your hand while your cornea gets scraped off. On-line friends don't bring you food when you can't make it on your own. On-line friends won't pick up your kid from school because you are stuck at home with the phone installation guy. On-line friends don't live with you for seventeen years and still like watching movies with you. That's real life, and we all know the difference because we made an acronym for it. IRL.

So here's what I keep thinking: is my relationship with God IRL? Or is it just on Sunday? Or just in front of other people? Or maybe just in our head but not in our heart? Maybe we know about God, but we don't actually know Him. IRL.

Friday, January 09, 2009

For My Sister (several days late)

Happy Birthday Joy! In honor of your birthday this year, I thought I'd share some thoughts.

Joy is my sister. We are the only children in our family, so growing up we were very very close. We fought quite a bit, too. Now that I have my own kids, I realize that we also played really great together and we took care of each other alot, too. Some of my fondest memories from our childhood are of a big big house we lived in, and the two of us shared the top floor. It was a large attic-style room, with sloping low ceilings and strangely shaped closets. One closet was for our parent's storage (Christmas stuff, right?) and the other one we made into our play house, with all of our dolls and things. We played in there for hours. And then we had this tiny little bathroom up there - I'd love to see it now, because I remember it was small when I was small. Remember the day we got locked in there? It must have been during a rainy season, because the door had swelled enough that we couldn't get it open. We stayed in that bathroom for a long time - one of our parents found us when we didn't come down for dinner. So funny. And then there were the mix tapes. We were of the era that didn't have CD's or ipods - we had cassettes, and the blank ones were pretty cheap. We would record songs off of the radio, we would record conversations, we would pretend we were radio announcers and talk about stuff. (Sadly, our father found all those mix cassettes, and instead of throwing them out like we wanted, he loaded them up in his truck and listened to all of our childish silliness. Yikes, huh?)

I've been thinking about what would be my top memory with my sister. There are lots to choose from. In the top ten have to be driving around with the windows down and the heater on, listening to music full blast. Or the camping trip where I spit milk all over my mother. Or the time we turned the fort into a mud slide. Or the houseboat trip we took a few years after I was married, when we slept on the roof in the rain. But I think the top memory is the drive down to Mexico on one of our family vacations. We had this van at the time, and the back seat folded down into a bed. My sister had this radio that had speakers that came off, and we put the speakers right by our heads and laid back there talking, and then we had the greatest idea. We had a fitted sheet with us (too hot for a blanket) and we hooked that thing around our feet and hands, and the little side vent windows let in enough air to blow up the sheet like a bubble. I think we spent the entire trip inside that sheet bubble. It was so fun. I don't know why that memory is so vivid in my mind, but it has taken on a magical, mythical quality. Of all the fun and cool places my parents took us, of all the crazy things we did together, the sheet bubble was the best of times.

Happy Birthday, Joy!

p.s. I'm almost finished with your present - look for it in the mail in about a week :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Welcome, 2009! I'm eager to see what you hold for me. My kids are growing fast, and my job as a mom is changing as they become older and more independent. What do you have planned for me, 2009? On this New Year's Day, as with every year, I feel like something is about to happen, like change is on the other side of the door.

Thank you, 2008. You were a good year to me. You were a year of rest. You were a year of bringing things full circle. You gave me so many good things that I am a little sad to see you go. Most of all, 2008, I'd like to thank you for bringing the right people to our door on the day that we needed their fellowship. Friends, family, new friends, college friends, people in the grocery store, people at church, people who we didn't know would remember us. 2008, I will always remember you as the year of people returning to me. Along with the gift of feeling connected to community, you have also given me the gift of seeing myself through other people's perceptions. I am older, I am wiser, I am different. But I am also the same, the same girl I used to be. I'll hold this gift close to my heart.

Goodbye, 2008. I'll miss you.