Shades of things to come?

Mom? Hey, Mom? You think I’m so cute, but I’m practicing my eye-roll now, just to make sure I get it perfect. Someday I’ll lay this baby on ya and you’ll long for my almost-three-year-old feistyness!


Also this one. I like to call it “Your words are painful to my ears. I think I will stop listening now.”


Wait until you get this one. It’s known as “Are you gone yet?”


My arsenal of looks totally rocks. But I’ve got your number, Mom. I know the look that will get me what I want 99.99% of the time. And I’m not afraid to use it.


Witness “The Charmer”


Yeah. I’m good.

I’m Awfully Glad I Don’t Have to Have This Much Fun More Than Once A Year

It’s exhausting, this “turning 40” and “celebrating one’s birthday”.


I’d be liable to just call the whole thing off if not for certain…perks. 


Like special meals shared with favorite people…




(with candles, even!)



And, okay…cake…(compliments of daughter Miriam)



Wait? How’d this interloper find his way in here? Oh…I forgot…it’s his birthday too…




(I love sharing my birthday with you, hunnybunny)

(Please notice the amazingly lovely WilliamSonoma tablecloth…one of forty…yes, I said FORTY…presents send by a certain little sister-in-law of mine…I am spoiled, yes, spoiled stinky rotten)


(And no, my beloved is not, in fact, three. See, I got four candles on my cake for “forty” and he got three candles on his to represent, well…”three”. Because I am forty, and he is forty-three. Yes, I realize it makes no sense. Who asked you?)


As I was saying…there are perks to having to engage in such exhausting celebrations…


wishes are my favorite part…




Can you feel the power of my wishyness? It’s positively radiating out of my head, isn’t it?




The view from up here is pretty swell. My little red wagon is cresting the hill…teetering on the brink…about to plunge forward for the wild ride down the other side. And I’m cinching my helmet a little tighter and feeling immensely grateful for all the companions I’ve crammed in here with me along the way. Yee-HAW!

I Have Survived Four Decades of Life on Planet Earth

Honestly, sometimes that feels like Quite The Accomplishment.


I’ve always liked birthdays. Never minded growing older. You can ask anybody…I’m the one who clapped her hands with glee over turning 30. And now that I’ve hit 40, I’m counting down to 50.



Why is this, you ask? I honestly don’t know. Except that I am a freak. That seems to explain a lot of things about me.


I know a lot of people subscribe to that whole “you’re only as old as you feel!” piece of cheery positive thinking, but that doesn’t exactly explain my positive outlook on aging, since if that were true, I would be 826 years old most days.


Whatever the case, I’m happy to be here. Happy to be having a birthday. Happy to be spending a day with My Beloved in a bit of BIG CITY (read: Tulsa) shopping and dining. Happy to have my chillens to fete me with homemade cards. Happy. Just happy.


In closing, let me leave you with this, possibly the greatest piece of musical/choreographical/costumeological achievement every found on YouTube. I felt they were singing especially for me. I was deeply disturbed moved.



(edited to add) I don’t really expect anyone to watch this video all the way through. I mean, seriously. But if someone could actually explain it to me, I’d be grateful. At this point I’m guessing acid-trip-gone-awry.


For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face…



Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.*



The higher the swing climbs, the harder I must grip those smelly ferrous-chains. Yet in the end it is not what I am grasping, but Who is holding me. Can I trust Him? Can I take the lion’s roar along with the lamb’s nuzzle as one and the same Person?


One day I will let go of the chains and fly straight into His arms. The mirror will clear, the view will be undiminished by faulty example, human failing…and I will see face to face. Not even as Moses saw, hidden in the cleft of the rock, God passing by, His back enough to transform Moses into something terrifyingly beautiful. But face to face: unhindered, unshielded, unfathomable.


He fashioned me, in all my dusty frailty. No question surprises Him. No struggle leaves Him speechless. He does not flinch from my flailing. I do not hurt Him when I beat upon His chest in anger, when I throw grenades of doubt and fear. Yet they have a way of blowing up in my own face, the shrapnel cutting deep into my heart.


When I am still and spent, He comes and binds up those wounds. He says He loves me, and I want to believe it. But my belief is dim, like the mirror, and prone to fading. I don’t know how to grasp this love of His, how to touch it, beyond a dip of my finger in the reflection. But someday…someday I’m going to wallow in it.


*1 Corinthians 13:12

The Mat Doesn’t Taste Very Good

Back in the days when Dinah Shore ruled the talk shows and a peculiar obsession with Bobby Goldsboro throbbed in my strange little five-year-old heart, I learned to swing in the playground of Alief Elementary School. Shunning the picnic my mother brought for us to have that sweltering Houston afternoon, I reveled in the wind in my hair, the sun on my shoulders, and the thrilling surge in my stomach each time I reached the zenith of my arc.


Later my shoulders blistered into a spectacular display of proof that Just Because You’re Moving Doesn’t Mean The Sun’s Rays Can’t Burn You, but my elation at the discovery that I could propel myself on the swing with just a little pistoning effort was undaunted. I was hooked. Nowadays playgrounds are massive creations of steel and plastic, bedecked with an array of goodies to tempt even the most sedentary child, but give me the swingsets of my youth and I’ll be happy.


Impossibly simple, they stood alone to minimize possible swinger-pedestrian collisions, and also to maximize the amount of air time possible for those brave souls who chose to take the sensation to the next level, leaping from their strip of rubber on the off chance that this time they just might sprout wings and shun the earth forever. Were the swingsets higher then, or was it just that I was smaller? The distance one could achieve from the ground was glorious and terrifying, hands gripping chain, mind wondering…really…what would it be like to loop the loop?


The chains always left my hands smelling ferrous and salty, two scents that still speak to me of summer and freedom, the blue sky above and the green earth below.


There is another swing that I found myself on many years ago; a far less wholesome sort, composed of hormones and circumstances, too much sugar and too little sleep. The pendulum swings wildly day by day and sometimes even hour by hour until I feel sickened by the motion. From dizzying heights it careens downward, spiralling for good measure, until it hits the sludge waiting at the bottom of the curve. From there it grinds almost to a halt, inching forward through the muck until, gasping, I emerge on the other side and begin the ascent once again.


The swing is labelled ALL OR NOTHING, and in both the trauma and the triumph I find a dazzling array of ever-changing labels as I pass through.
















This all-or-nothing mentality governs my life, yet half the time I fail to realize that I have once again climbed through the ropes and entered the ring with it before it is standing over me with my blood all over its gloves. KO’ed again, I wonder why I can’t just lay face down and give up the fight once and for all.


I know the Truth. I credit Him with the fact that the sludge doesn’t consume me entirely. But I’d like to think that one day I might sucker-punch the bastard devil dancing over me and win the heavyweight championship title of RATIONALITY.


It’s such a pretty belt. I just know it would look great on me.


Even here in blogdom I find the reigning champion lurking over me and dangling ultimatums in my face. If I can’t blog every day, why bother? I’ll just shut the damn thing down. Post whenever I get a chance, just for the joy of writing? haha! That would be far too reasonable.


There are days when I doubt my every conviction, wonder if I’ve ever heard the Lord speak, and stagger under the weight of my choices. I don’t know how to be more than a conquerer. I don’t know how to walk this road. I don’t know how to end this post. 


I begged the Lord to make me stronger so I could live and fight another day. Yet I heard Him whisper something about boasting in my weakness…so I cling to the anchor of my soul, trusting, if nothing else, that He will not let me go flying off into empty space. 

Dude, I Am So Toiled Out

I am so sorry for the dearth of material here at Ye Olde One Thingge. I’m still alive, I promise! I’m just…so…sapped. I figure most people are in the same boat, what with school either already started or else looming on the horizon like a hungry hungry hippo. Oh yeah. He eats marbles, all right.


At any rate, I am very happy to declare us all pox-free. Even most of the scabs are gone. Not that I had anything to do with their hastier-than-normal disappearance.




The other day at Wal Mart, I saw a sight that gave me pause. I saw a man who had what I swear was the bottom of a sweat-pant-leg…on his head. Like a stovepipe hat.


I tried not to stare. I really did. But honestly, if you are going to cut the bottom of your perfectly good sweatpant leg off and put it on your head, don’t you really want to be stared at? Isn’t that pretty much your goal? And so I did one better. I took a picture of him.


No, he didn’t know it! I was in full stealth mode!


I very casually took a picture of my teen son who was with me, making sure that Mr. Sweatpant-Stovepipe was in the background. I’m sure it wasn’t obvious at all. Because really, who does’t take a picture of their teen son in the dairy section of Wal Mart? I’m sure it is a daily occurance.


So now I have photographic evidence of this phenomenon, only I don’t know how to get pictures off my phone and onto my computer. I have a manual, but reading it would be stepping waaay outside my M.O. of wheedling My Beloved unitl he figures it out for me. I gotta be me, people.


Speaking of my phone, it’s new. It’s the first phone I’ve had that comes with photographic capabilities. It also does lots of other stuff that I will never, in a gazillion years, figure out. I’m techy like that. We walked into the cell-phone store and I immediately spotted the phone that I wanted. It had big buttons. It unfolded to a size large enough to where I didn’t feel that I had to move my hand up and down the length of my face as I spoke and subsequently listened.


The cell-phone-store-facilitator nodded benignly as I extolled these virtues.


“Yes” she smiled. “That is our most popular phone for children and the elderly.”

So pass the geritol.


But I didn’t, actually, wind up with the BabyGrandma phone. I let the salesperson talk me one level up, and I guess it’s okay. Except for that pesky manual thing. There aren’t enough pictures in it. Lots of scary words instead.


In closing, let me just thank you guys for voting for me at the summer fun photo contest, if you did. Someone, and I won’t mention who, has expressed the not-bitter-at-all-nor-calculated-to-ruin-my-day-and-make-me-cry opinion that it’s only a popularity contest at this point. But I prefer to think of it as me, sending some traffic over to 5 Minutes for Mom, so that more people can vote for the best pic, whatever they might think it is!


There are some great pics up over there, so if you haven’t checked them out, go right now! It looks like I’m a contender alongside a professional photographer with a camera that would probably sneer at my own and kick sand in its poor, tired, $400, 5-year-old face. I’d like to carry it off the field amidst chants of Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!


Popularity be damned. But you guys really ARE the best, that much is true, even if you DON’T vote for the little girl in the swing.

Pass The Smelling Salts, Quick!

Oh my stars and garters am I excited. I have been chosen as a finalist in the 5 Minutes for Mom photo contest!!!! I feel faint. Seriously, excuse me while I compost compose myself.

~~~~fanning fevered brow~~~~~

Okay, I'm better now. A little. But WOW AM I EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you get that idea?

After this week, this week of chicken-pox-recovery-and-starting-homeschool, whoa nellie I needed the boost. So THANK YOU to the powers-that-be at 5 Minues for Mom for picking me from over 400 entries (!!) and now I can die a happy woman.

Well, I'd rather not, but you know, if I had to.

So do you know what I'm going to do next? Shamelessly beg, plead, wheedle, and coax you to go over to the contest site and VOTE!

Obviously, you must vote your conscience. You must! Vote for the picture you think best sums up sum-sum-summertime.

But please make it mine.


I have some stiff competition. I honestly don't know how it's all gonna come out in the wash. I'm just thrilled to be in running. Voting ends on August 29th, so spread the word!

My Brain Is A Dial Tone

Since chicken pox continues to fry my brain cells (the baby has it. The BABY has it. Clearly my antibodies are defective), I humbly submit a letter, written by my eldest daughter, to my new grandbaby. I thought it was too sweet not to share.

Grandbaby. Heh.



Dear Baby,

You are the size of a small pea, or so they tell me. Your impact upon my life, however, is gargantuan, and continues to increase exponentially each day.

My whole body shook from head to toe the day I discovered you were there, hiding somewhere deep inside me. Tears sprang up as I staggered to find your Daddy, to share with him the two pink lines that boldly announced your existence. Shock and Awe were soon joined by Joy and Wonder, who immediately began to dance with great excitement and sing praises and thanks to your great Creator; effectively squashing Fear's cries of doubt and worry and leaving him to sulk in the corner and bite his nails in solitude.

Now I find that my body shakes from the simple effort of moving from a horizontal position to standing, while I search desperately for the water I must drink constantly in an attempt to keep my churning stomach from catapulting its contents forcibly from my throat. Tears leak from my eyes at the slightest invitation, and continue in floods even when they have been told they are not welcome at all. Yes, I was a weepy person before anyway. But come on. This is ridiculous!

Perfectly good food smells more revolting than I ever could have imagined food smelling. This dismays me, as I have always had a certain…fondness…for good food that seems to have completely fled the scene. I want to eat healthy things for you, to help you grow big and strong. Alas, I'm afraid that recently I've had to resort to eating not-so-healthy things simply because they don't make me gag, whereas the mere thought of anything else induces instant nausea. I haven't vomited yet and I really don't want to. So I choose not-puking over healthier sustenance. Does that make me a bad Mommy?

All in all, dear Baby, I don't feel so good. But I'm taking it as a good sign, and I hope that you're comfy in there, as I am decidedly not. Don't think I'm complaining, though! Okay, maybe a little. But I will gladly give up my own comfort as long as you promise to keep working hard, growing that sweet little nose and all that really important stuff like kidneys and lungs and whatnot. And don't forget the dimples for that dear chubby face that I instructed Daddy to give you.

I love you, sweetheart, so very much. Never forget that, even when you think I'm a terribly cruel and unfair big meanie poopy headed Mommy. I'll love you forever. And ever.

I Have Been Extremely Itchy Busy

A roster of my days:

  1. Run oatmeal bath for frantic child #1
  2. Apply Caladryl for somewhat-calmer child #1
  3. Run oatmeal bath for frantic child #2
  4. Apply Caladryl for somewhat-calmer child #2
  5. Assure children that Pox Will Not, In Fact (and Would I Lie To You?) Last Forever
  6. Run oatmeal bath for frantic child #3
  7. Exort child #4 to not scratch
  8. Give up exorting
  9. Assure children that they Will Not, In Fact, Die From Chicken Pox. They will only want to die.
  10. Start to itch in sympathy
  11. Run oatmeal bath
  12. Apply Caladryl
  13. Repeat #11 and #12
  14. Do everything else

“Everything else” here means schooling, cleaning, laundering, and cooking. And shopping for oatmeal. And wishing I had bought stock in oatmeal.



Gabriel’s throwing up turned out to be the onset of the second wave of pox around these parts. I forgot that could be part of it. My 8, 6, 4, and 2 year olds look positively…medieval. I keep expecting the village Rector to come and nail the quarantine notice to my door. The two year old has it copiously in his diaper area (yes…there. How uncomfortable must that be??) The 8 year old has it on her palms. Now that’s just weird.



The 4 year old (Gabriel) has turned out to be the worst patient yet. When the first pox appeared and I informed him of what it was, he proceeded to wail for a full ten minutes simply from the thought of it. His first reaction to my attempts to help is anger. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAKE A BATH! NO I DON’T WANT THE LOTION! JUST PASS THE SACKCLOTH AND LEAVE ME HERE IN MY ASH HEAP TO DIE!

But we soldier on.



Did you know that Caladryl lotion is now clear? Back in my day (insert old-lady voice here), Caladryl was a particularly nauseating shade of pink that I assume was meant to blend with the average caucasion epidermis, since, in my day, no one else existed. I shudder to think of who, exactly, they used as a test case to come up with such a color. Pepto-bismal, however, is still pink, and that’s a good thing. I would hate for it to clash with my guts.



I know there’s some extremely humorous and clever opportunity here to write about this experience, but when my 2 year old said “Wassat? ‘Nother pock?” In his quavery little-man voice, I think my creativity neurons just up and fried themselves with the heat of my sympathy.



Wait! There is a funny I want to share with you from our schooling. When asked last Thursday “How are people different from animals?” my 8 year old responded “They wipe their butts.”



(click here for punch-line rimshot)


And on that note, I’m off to…well, check the roster.