Stories In My Pocket

When memories mix with music, they can create an explosive concoction of emotions. They become a potion to transport us from faded to vivid, from far away to yesterday.

So when I heard the words of this Sarah Masen song, I smelled the worn out cardboard as we packed up the last of our meager belongings, the intrusive scent of bleach as we sanitized the floor at the expense of the skin on our knuckles.

When I heard this melody emerge after years in a dusty case, I felt again the ache of being inconsequential, a binder-stuffer and pallet-mover, the wife of an airman first class. I felt my hopes flickering, falling almost to embers under the stifling judgment based on where we were and not where we might be if only someone would come along to stoke.

Stories in my Pocket
-by Sarah Masen
Monday's got us running to our knees again
It seems we're always waiting on the floor
Our destination Sunday is full of the unknown
But we're building our own bridges to the shore
In hopes for so much more
Silent eyes are watching, we're beginning to explore
But the lights are growing dim because we are poor
Isn't this the place we're practicing belief
Seems we're always looking at the door
In hopes for so much more

And the stories in my pockets are the best I've ever lived

So what if they don't sell sell sell

I'll take you out for coffee and we'll talk about D.C.
And Philly underneath October moons

Fall is walking us into a cold December wind
And maybe we won't last too long.
But maybe we will make it to play a brave new song
Mixing up the failure with the new
In hopes for something true

And the paintings on the walls here are the best we've ever done
An experiment in abstract dreams
And the colors are colliding in strange redemptive hues
What we got here is a good slow burn
What we got here is a good true thing
A good true thing, a good true thing


When I listened to this song again with older ears, I heard it entirely new. I am no longer that windblown waif struggling to find one confident, forward place to plant my foot. I have taken many, many steps since then, and though not always forward, I have moved. As I sang along with Sarah, I stumbled upon a smiling realization. I have stories in my pockets. Lots of 'em. And so what if they don't sell, sell, sell?

I've decided to lend these stories words in hopes they will pay me back in the "redemptive hues" of self-discovery and in the catharsis of remembrance. I owe them that at least, since, did I mention, they're the best I've ever lived?

If you've been around here for a while, you know that I toggle randomly between melodramatic melancholy (the way of the lovely Anne Shirley), self-effacing sarcasm and sappy mommy whimsy. So the fact that I introduced this Stories In My Pocket series Anne-Shirley-style by no means indicates that we'll be all serious and no silly. There will be plenty of cowbell. Trust me.

So here's the plan. I'm going to post stories from my pocket every Saturday (give or take a week). I'll set up Mister Linky so I can look like a loser when no one joins in you can join me in sharing your nostalgic, funny, melancholy, deep, bizarre or silly stories from the days of yore. (Or just of yesterday....Really, as long as it happened already, it fits in this series).

So consider joining me, will you? If you're an aspiring writer, just looking for practice, then join me. If you're a sappy mom, just looking to remember, then join me. If you're a big time blogger, just looking for an underdog to humor, then join me. If you're a lonely soul, just looking for friends, then join me. If you're a rebel without a cause, just looking for a cause, then you better not join me! (Tricked ya, didn't I?) And if you're a sociopath just looking for a way to express your rage, please get help. Free blogging therapy can only get you so far.

So that's it. What do you think? Are you with me? (Please don't answer that, Sociopath Guy. I told you to get help. Now GO!)

Look for our first installment of Stories In My Pocket on Saturday, May 9th, entitled: "Deep in the Armpit of Texas".....

Photo by Alizadeh100


My Powers Know No Word Limits

If randomness could be turned into a superpower, I am quite certain I'd be issued a cape without even signing up.  The Underroos people would be beating down my door with a contract.  Wonder Woman would be so 1978.

The only problem would be coming up with an appropriately awe-inspiring super power name.  So far the only thing I can think of is "Random Joannedumb". Maybe they could call me RJ for short?  

So come with me, as we leap into a ground breaking episode of Random Joannedumb.

19) I guess I'm still a bit insecure that you might not think I'm good enough, smart enough and bizarre enough to warrant a super power name.  I feel like I need to prove my randomness to you by saying that I can't count the number of times I've stifled a laugh during a meeting because I pictured what would happen if I suddenly yelled "Timmaaay!"

4) I want to thank all of you for the encouragement to cheer up (or just for the permission to wallow).  Turns out I found the trusty fly swatter and those sand flies didn't stand a chance.  Tell me, why does it feel so therapeutic to swat the heck of out stuff? 

33) I so wanted to weave in this Jack Handey quote in my last post: "Whenever I need to get away, I just get away in my mind.  I go to my imaginary spot, where the beach is perfect and the water is perfect and the weather is perfect.  The only bad thing there are the flies.  They're terrible!"  I know, that would have totally worked, right??

8) A professor in college told me, "Screen plays are life with the boring parts taken out." I've decided that blogs are exactly the opposite.  They are life with the boring parts left in, minus the special effects and completely unrealistic, incredibly coincidental plot lines.  This might be why, when asked by my dear friends who are extremely skeptical of the blogging phenomenon, "What is Twitter?" and I answer "It's kindof like micro-blogging", that they reply, "WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?"  And I wonder why they don't read blogs (not even MINE!), let alone have their own.

15) We went to the hospital cafeteria the other night to meet up with Daddy while he was on call. Caed finished his dinner before Daddy came down to say hi, so he was rewarded with an ice cream cone.  Upon biting into the cake cone, he remarked,  "This doesn't taste like food."  I have to agree with my four year old foodie on this one.

23) Remember that iPod Meme from a couple posts ago?  My favorite was "What do you think about most often as a Mom?: Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment".  Whiskey Girl (for the morning after a sleepless night) was a close second.  But unlike what my sister commented, it doesn't fit me to a tee.  Because I never start drinking until at least noon, and I'm more of a rum or vodka girl.

98) I have a suggestion for Starbucks.  Perhaps, just PERHAPS if you offered Pumpkin Spice Lattes all year round, you could muster up enough business to move ahead with that store opening you were planning in my town, but then pulled out of at the last minute?  I'm really, really disappointed in you, Starbucks people.  (You can't see me, but I'm giving them the "I've known you since you were a baby barista, and I know you are better than this, and you've really let me down" look).  

I had one more random thing to share, but it's a wee bit serious, and I don't want to mar it by putting in a post in which I've already lost 92% of my fourteen readers.  So you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about that.  (Wow, now I'm random AND suspenseful. More than you ever bargained for....)

Until next time, this is Random Joannedumb, reminding you to never to talk to strangers, (unless they're on Twitter)!

p.s. Did the random numbering totally make you crazy?  Yeah, it bugged me too.  I won't do it again, I promise.  And if you're interested, I hear there is an opening for an anal-retentive superhero, yet to be named.  So you might want to look into that.


On Sand Flies & Cigarettes

"When I feel sad, it hurts on my face. And I just can't stop my sad right now!"

-Caed, Age 4, choking back tears upon seeing his Lego creation wrecked twice in ten minutes by his little sister.


I am what one might call a short-term optimist (not to be confused with the eternal kind). I humor Pollyanna as long as possible, until I just can't take another round of the Glad Game. And then I crash and wallow like there is no tomorrow.

Today was a crash and wallow day. I woke up covered in a dusty film of unarticulated angst. The grime on my proverbial lenses obstructed every view of happiness, to the point I saw nothing of it.

When the sun poured through my windows, I sighed at the sight of dust on my dresser.

When my daughter tugged at my covers, I groaned at the forced waking.

The high pitched demands, the crashing of toys, the mundane and noisy chaos overpowered any whispers of gratitude or softly spoken blessings. I just didn't hear the good stuff today. And I most certainly didn't see it.

At the grocery store, I glanced skeptically at the register. "That bag of apples wasn't on sale?" I questioned, knowing they marked the opposite true. "Well I wouldn't have bought them then...No, that's okay, don't worry about it." Just add it to my bill and my list of offenses against the day.

Uggh. I forgot my earth-friendly grocery bags in the car AGAIN. Why can't I ever remember those?

Once to the car, I discovered the bread and potatoes in the same (earth-hating) plastic bag. And now I was as bitter as baking soda, because the bread was overpriced before it was smushed to half its original height.

I returned home. The internet was still down. Considering my state of mind, I wasn't one to judge. But complaining? That I could do. Lucky for the cable company, all circuits were busy, so they dodged an earful from the angry lady holding a grudge about flattened bread, erroneously priced apples and unreliable internet service.

My husband's plan to work at home was foiled by our no-speed cable line. The hope I'd been leaning on all day--a chance to run away from home during nap time, to clear my head and unleash my temper on the pavement--it disappeared as he headed out to the hospital.

I found myself cooped up, unreasonably angry, inexplicably impatient and heavy hearted.

A few weeks ago, I ran at the beach. Walking up the trail back to the parking lot, I passed a pile of seaweed, swarming with sand flies and littered with cigarette butts. It was the last image I stored from the otherwise glorious morning by the ocean.

I remembered that picture today. Because today I was sitting in that pile of seaweed, among the sand flies and cigarettes, in classic Debbie Downer fashion. There was beauty everywhere but in my pile of pity.

I knew I needed to stand up to see the ocean, to step away from the sand flies, to look further than an inch past my nose. So I went in search of stories being told this week by the Compassion bloggers in India. I read Robin's heart breaking words and found tears of a legitimate cause to cry.

I'm not entirely out of the woods, or the seaweed pile, if you will. As much as I want to wrap this post up in freshly ironed platitudes, I must admit my heart is still heavy and my patience still low.

I guess sometimes we just "can't stop the sad". Whether it's about a toppled tower of legos, a flustered day of fatigue and rumpled, impertinent expectations, or a soul crushing poverty stretching thousands of miles wide and millions of lives deep.


Worth the Weight

I need a bumper sticker for my bike trailer that reads, "I'd rather be driving."

Don't get me wrong. I love being outdoors. I love riding my bike. I love being with the kids. I just don't love all those things happening at the same time. You know, because 75 pounds of extra weight to pull can be a real drag.
Whether I carried my children in a bike trailer, a stroller, a sling or in the womb, the extra weight was never easy to bear. They beat down my arches. They laid on my nerves. They burdened my back. They slowed me down. Considerably.

But there isn't a minute of that slowed up, weighed down journey that I'd change. Because as I slow, the moments once blurry and hurried now line up in standstill focus.

The feather of a gull, the shell of a crab, the sand on a tippy toe, the gleaming eyes, the glittery palms.

The chasing breath, the squeals of pursuit, the holding of hands.

The confident striding, the sidestepping of seaweed, the striking of a playful pose.
I would have raced by all these moments and more, if I remained the lighter version of me.

I might be further up the road, but I'd be circle spinning lost, were it not for these 75 pounds of precious cargo.

I'm linking up again with Emily from Chatting at the Sky in Tuesdays Unwrapped, where she encourages us to "unwrap the small, secret gift of the everyday. " I can't think of a better way to spend our Tuesdays (or every day for that matter) than on the hunt for an ordinary moment in which to delight!


Shuffle It, Just a Little Bit

The lovely Kelly at Love Well tagged me for an ipod meme. Having only recently learned what a "meme" is, I figured it was high time I participated in one. Because nothing says sophisticated and significant like participating in a low stakes game of musical tag, am I right?

(That reminds me, does anyone remember playing "TV Tag" when you were little? Like, if you got tagged you could only be unfrozen if you yelled out, "Punky Brewster!" or "The Muppet Show!" or "Gilligan's Island!". That was fun, wasn't it? )

Before we get started, I have to tell you that there is one answer in here that stands out to me as particularly funny. I'm wondering if you can guess which one? Or if you are feeling rebellious, just tell me which one you liked the best. And if you don't like any of them, well then, aren't you hard to please? Sheesh, it's Friday for goodness sake. Give a poor girl a break (or a comment as the case may be)...

So here we go:
A Meme for your iPod
1. Put your iPod (or MP3 player) on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag some Moms you admire who could use a laugh and a song.


The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes & The Pride of Life (Smalltown Poets)


We Are Not as Strong as we Think We Are (Rich Mullins)


Whiskey Girl (Toby Keith)

Goodbye Blue Sky (Pink Floyd)


Hope to Carry On (Caedmon's Call)

IF SOMEONE SAYS “Can I have a snack?” YOU SAY?

Upside Down (Jack Johnson)

Mrs. Potter's Lullaby (Counting Crows)


Dancing Nancies (Dave Matthews)

Let Go (Frou Frou)


I'm Still Remembering (Cranberries)

Thankful (Caedmon's Call)


Your Personal Penguin
(Davy Jones/Blue Moo)


College Hornpipe (Yo-Yo Ma, Appalachia Waltz)

Some Fantastic (BNL)

Family Affair (Mary J Blige)


Once you've loved somebody (Dixie Chicks)


The Nearness of You (Norah Jones)

Gimme, Gimme Shock Treatment (the Ramones)


Lonestar (Norah Jones)

Bye Bye Love (Simon & Garfunkel)

Tears Like Flowers (Sarah Masen)


Staring at a Bird (The Waiting)


Losing Hope (Jack Johnson)


Absolutely (the Story of a girl) (Nine Days)

Dinosaur, Dinosaur (Darcy Boynton, Philadelphia Chickens)


Moondance (Van Morrison)


Chop Chop (Burlap to Cashmere)

Now, for the tagging part. I know there are some rebellious ones out there (cough Kate cough) who if tagged outright would refuse to participate. But come on, fellow moms, it'll be fun! So please, join in! Once you have your post ready to go, link up with Mister Linky, and don't leave me hanging, mmkay?

Or, if you just can't bring yourself to participate, then remember, you can guess my favorite answer and/or share your own favorite! So there really is something for everyone here. You're totally welcome.

Happy Friday!!


Just a few of our favorite things...

Friday was all sorts of gorgeous.  We spent the morning wandering the trails at Two Lights and breaking in the newly constructed playground with our play group pals.  

The grown-ups gawked at the look-out points as the preschoolers charged ahead and back, ahead and back, exploring the rocky tips of every trail.  We herded with shouts to "stop" and "stay where you can see us!", and when our voices didn't work, we used our stride.  

The whole out of doors was in a grand old mood.  The sun smiled like it was the last day of school, and the wind had a field day with the spraying surf.  The jagged rocks, too mature to lose themselves in whimsy, remained seated as grave and beautiful spectators among the youthful sport of spring.

The blue and the warmth came back to me like old friends, picking up where they left off, as if they were never gone.  And how could I hold a grudge against these two, no matter how long they abandoned me in the gray and tiresome winter?  They were back and that was what mattered.  We have a lot of catching up to do, I whispered, lest my human friends hear and worry that their weird friend was again talking to herself. 

As we made our way home from what was surely the best play group thus far this year, I asked Caed to tell me his favorite part.  Was it seeing the ocean?  Was it exploring the trails?  Was it swinging?  Sliding? Climbing?  Running with his friends?  

His answer:  
"Eating goldfish."

Yesterday it rained, and today it continues.  That's the bad news.
The good news is, we're totally stocked up on goldfish crackers.  So it's bound to be another gorgeous day.  Or, at a minimum, a yummy snack time.


So think back with me to Friday.  Do you remember back that far?  I know, it's tough.  Ok, just think back as far as you can, and stop.  Now tell me, what was your favorite part?  


When life hands you freakishly heavy med school books

There's only one thing to do.... 


Dear Molecular Biology of the Cell, 3rd Edition, you've been judged by your cover (and contents) more than any other.  You've endured the scorn of many a medical student.  No doubt your life in print hasn't been easy.  But today?  Today was your moment to shine.  And shine you did, as the anchor to the bestest ever flimsy fortress. 

And do tell me, what is it about forts that makes the heretofore boring old toys turn into magical must-haves?  The kids literally ransacked their rooms to give every last piece of plastic an opportunity to dwell under the shelter of the 500 thread count shingles.
And the magic didn't stop at the toy rejuvenation.  Caed actually requested that he be allowed TO SLEEP in the fort.  Did you hear that?  My child REQUESTED sleeping time.  It's the same as being offered free chocolate, coffee or babysitting.  The answer is always "YES, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, YES!!!!"

Granted, he was hoping to sleep in the fort at night.  But when I offered a nap in the fort instead of quiet time in his room, he totally went for it.  

"Uhh, yes, I'll take a solid hour of total peace and quiet, for two hundred dollars please, Alex."

And I'm sorry, but I can't resist this exhausted cliche:
Medical school books: $700 dollars (Yep, those bad boys aren't cheap.)
King size sheets: $40
A morning of fort building: Free, and super fun times
An afternoon of fort sleeping (a.k.a. peace and quiet): Priceless!


May the Good Team Win

"Do you want to be a bad guy or a good guy?" Caed inquired as he fashioned legos into fighter planes.  

"I'll be the lunch lady", I said, scraping out the last few helpings of peanut butter.  "You want to eat, don't you?"

"No, you hafta choose a side.  There's no such thing as the lunch lady in this game." He was starting to sound exasperated.  "Come on, Mommy, what are you going to be?"

"Alright then, I'll be the bad guy."  I sided with the outlaws as I spread the last bit of jelly into place, knowing he doesn't like to be called the bad guy, even if just an imaginary one.  

"No, I really think you should be the good guy," he countered.  "We'll just make Dani the bad guy.  Cuz if you are the bad guy, you'll have to fight 'gainst the good guys.  And you would win, and we don't want the bad guys to win.  So you should be a good guy, with me."

(We'll ignore for the time being the part about him enthusiastically assigning his baby sister to a lose-lose situation.)  

I stopped my sandwich making and found his eyes.  He looked up expectantly, offering this reluctant co-pilot a freshly constructed, primary-colored weapon of imaginary destruction.  I couldn't help but smile straight back at my fellow good guy.

While we whirled and whooshed and bombed and blasted, I relished in this:
My son still wants me on his team.  
He thinks whatever side I'm on will win.  
He wants to make sure the good guys win, and he believes I can help.  

And that sure beats being the lunch lady.


Visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her new Tuesdays Unwrapped series...discovering gifts in the midst of the ordinary.


A Summery Look

This afternoon I started obsessing about changing my Blogger format.  I then preceded to waste spend a whole stinkin' hour messing with it.  I wanted something a little less busy, with a more summery feel.  

(On a side note, I'm appalled that spell check recognizes the word "summery" and "springy" and "wintery" but not "autumny".  That's seasonal discrimination if I ever saw it.)

Mind you, this blog overhaul activity was not remotely on my To Do list, so apparently HTML is quite compatible with procrastination.  (Dear laundry, I promise to put you away before the next clean load comes in, but keep in mind, that might be awhile.)

I tried without success to change fonts and formatting in my header, because frankly, Times New Roman doesn't do it for me.  Not to mention it isn't the slightest bit summery.  Stuffy, yes.  Summery, no.  

So what do you all think?  Should I have just left well enough alone?  Or is the new way fine by you?  More importantly, is it beach weather yet?  Because yes, I've got SUMMER ON THE BRAIN.  And now, thanks to my coding genius and prefabricated templates, it's on the blog too. 


It's a Dangerous World Out There

Especially if you're part of a doll house family under Dani's care. First the incident with the oven, and now this. And let me tell you, the kids would NEVER let something like this happen to Thomas. If by some horrible mishap, Thomas did end up in the pit of a Playskool toy, you can bet your buffers that they'd send Cranky the Crane in after him lickity split.

But the baby? She wasn't even reported missing.


The Way They See It

She called it a cool breeze.
He called it a harsh wind.
She was lying in the sun.
He was running in the rain.
They were both right.

And yet they both shook their heads in disgust at the other.
How can she be so naive?
How can he be so negative?

It's simple.
When we aren't in the same place, we don't see it the same way.

It's all about perspective.
I often wish I could share the perspective of those I love.

I wish I could know, really know, what it's like and how it feels to wear my husband's white coat as he plods through 25 days straight at work, constantly chasing and never catching up.

I wish I could know, really know, what my friend means and how she feels when she says she doesn't--she just can't--believe anymore.

I wish I could go there, all of me, to the place my sister got lost, and sit with her there for a while in her postpartum despondency. To keep her company in the dark until the worst is over. And to not obsess over where the light switch might be.

I wish I could feel, like it was my own heart in my throat, when my son chokes back tears and gives up on what seems to me like the smallest and silliest task. He's done it before. Why can't he do it now? I want to understand how overwhelmed he must feel instead of fixating on my frustration.

It's not that I want to feel their pain because I don't have enough of my own. I just want to understand, to be in the same place long enough to say, "Oh, I see it too!". Because I love them. Because I want to share in life where they are living it, to share their perspective. So they aren't so lonely. So we're not so far apart.

I'm stubborn and strong willed and selfish enough that I haven't the slightest worry of actually losing myself in the pursuit of another perspective. I don't worry about being a doormat so much as I worry about being on the other side of the door, unavailable, unyielding, without empathy.

So I sit here in the cool breeze and harsh wind, and I pray for grace, the kind so freely poured on me by the One who is able to perfectly empathize with my weakness. I ask for extra helpings of grace to be heaped upon my plate, and for the wisdom not to hoard it.

I want to gather up the grace in my arms like a clean load of laundry, piled so high I can barely see beyond it. And I want to spread it out and sort through it, and divide it among the people I love. So that even when I can't see life the same way they do, I can be there, on the right side of the door, with something to offer.


I admit I'm not much of a photographer.

I'm especially not a portrait photographer.
And I'm really truly not a children's portrait photographer.

Because what was supposed to be sweet little Easter pictures of the cousins (L to R: Glory, Sheridan, Caed, Grace) turned out looking like a strange interpretation of the Macarena:

Or maybe this could be a "He is Risen!" proclamation? Yep, let's go with that one.

Hey Robin, you there? Hi!! I miss you already. And yes, all you need to know is two parts sweet and sour, two parts tequila, one part triple sec. You're totally welcome.

And because blogging is the sincerest form of randomness, I can unapologetically share some left field stuff my sis and I found laughable:

1) What we'd like to know is, when did a pregnancy test become an impulse item? Dollar Store Display People, you crack us up.

2) Robs and I ran out to do a few errands without the kids (Uncle Stym, you are a saint!), and we stopped first at the pharmacy. They had this foaming antibacterial sanitizer by the counter, and we both thought, hmm, this is nice. Robin put some on, and then came my turn. I pushed the pump down, and it projected foam in a line drive right onto my face. I'm not kidding. I was literally foaming at the mouth. Robin was too busy laughing at me to take a picture. And I was too busy trying to say, "Can someone find me a tissue" without actually opening my mouth. Considering the anti-ish nature of the stuff, it wasn't as disgusting to taste as it sounded. But it wasn't exactly Easter basket material either.

So if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm back home. It seems Monday disappeared somewhere along the stretches of I-90. So tomorrow will seem like Monday and actually be Tuesday. But the visit with my dear family was worth the drive, the missing Monday and then some.

Over and out.


Because there's no "my" in "Family". Oh wait, there is. Oh well.

Q: Why did the lady with two preschoolers, a springer spaniel and a trunk full of baby clothes cross the road? Or more specifically, why did she detour off the toll road, make two U-turns and a few last-minute lane changes?

A: To get to the drive through Starbucks, of course!

Q: And why did the two kids put up with the coffee break and the seven hour road trip?
A: Because this caffeine crazed Mom bought their silence with McBribery. Oh yes I did. And you better believe I played the Play Place card for the first 200 miles.

We arrived at Robin's house just after sunset in relatively good condition, full-bellied, eyes heavy yet wide. We survived the road trip without any major accidents (road or potty variety), and even incidents and arguments were limited. (Thank you again, Ronald McDee. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.)

We did have one minor dispute about whose kin was whose. Caed insisted my sister's three precious girls were HIS cousins. And Dani, despite having no earthly idea what a cousin was, insisted they were HER cousins. After a couple minutes of hearing, "No, they are MY cousins!", I broke up the verbal ping-pong and delivered a speech about brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.

By the time we reached our destination, Caed was on board and correcting Dani, "No, these are OUR cousins." Dani still didn't get the cousins concept, let alone the sharing concept. Shocker, I know.

So we're here, and we're having a blast. I could go on and on, but nap time doesn't last long in a house with five under five. And there's that thing about wanting to spend quality time with my little sis that I never get to see.

And I know this is random, but how gorgeous is this barn? We had just detoured (on purpose) off the freeway and caught this scene as the sun was going down:
And if these pictures aren't darling, then I don't know what darling is:
And goodness gracious, would you look at the jowels on my neice? Those are some serious pinching cheeks. I'm tempted, really I am. But I don't want to get labeled as "that crazy old Aunt who pinches cheeks", so I'm refraining. For now.


My Yellow Hat's Gotta Be Around Here Somewhere

My friend was in mid-sentence when it dawned on me. Something was wrong. I could actually hear her voice on the other end of the phone. I wasn't mumbling, "Excuse me" and then bellowing, "Do NOT hit your brother with the axe!" or "Stop your screaming!" or "No, it does not matter that you are just pretending the dinosaurs are fighting. It is still screaming, and I am on the phone, and that is rude!"

Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, it was quiet. Perilously so.

The trustworthy one was supposedly downstairs picking up his toys. But where was his sister? (Notice how I'm starting to sound like a Curious George book? "But where was George?" And we all know how that usually ends.) 

It seemed like only seconds ago Sheridan was underfoot, inspecting the freshly folded laundry and flinging it on the floor like a drill sergeant,  "You call THIS folded? You call THIS clean? Try again, Soldier, and GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME!"  

Somewhere between modeling jeans on her head and turning the socks into rhythmic gymnastics ribbons, she had gone AWOL.  So I left the scattered shirts to wrinkle and went in search of Sergeant Mischief.

I made it to the top of the stairs before I heard, "OH NO, Dani, why did you do that?"

My friend was still on the phone.  She heard me utter a few words dangerously close to profanity and excused me from the conversation with a knowing, "Uh oh, well, call me later..."

By now, I had reached the bottom of the stairs.  

"Mommy, look what I made for you!" Caed offered preemptively, holding up a piece of construction paper adorned with glue, glitter and stickers, and lovingly signed in the darkest colored marker.

It was a freakin' art project.  Um, yeah.  Not to sound ungrateful, kid, but what on earth gave you the idea it was okay to unpack the entire stash of art supplies and get creative all over the carpet?

"What's going on here?" I hollered, sizing up the damages.  "You were supposed to be cleaning up!" 

And there she was, Sgt. Mischief, sparkling like the fourth of July, surrounded by uncapped markers, four vials of glitter, including one recently emptied, a glue stick in one hand and a paint brush in the other.  

Caed explained, "Well, Dani dumped out the whole thing of glitter and I told her that wasn't a good idea.  But then we fixed it because I had a plan!  We used our glue sticks and our paint brushes to put the glitter back away!"

"But, actually" he continued, "It isn't workin' too well.  There was a lot of glitter."  

Ya think?

I will spare you the glittery details of the lecture and the clean up that followed.  I know I should have turned this impromptu episode of carpet creativity into a golden teaching opportunity, but I didn't.  I just hollered and vacuumed and found a new hiding place for the art supplies.  My clothes sparkled, and my spirit seethed. 

I finished cleaning up and returned upstairs, this time with Dani safely secured on my left hip.  I'd like to see her try to get into mischief now.  I noticed my half-open, nearly empty bottle of facial lotion sitting on the counter and remembered I had brought it with me on my hunt for George Dani.  I'd forgotten it in the midst of my morning multi-tasking.  (Yes, it was only 8:00 a.m. at this point.)

I picked up the age-defying lotion with my free hand and tried to no avail to apply a few drops to my freckled face. 

But wait! Could George Dani help?  What would happen if she grabbed the bottle and threw it on the floor?  Why yes, the lotion DID come out that way! George Dani had done it!  She had figured out a way to empty the lotion!  Hurrah for George Dani!

And that was the last of my lotion.  And possibly the last of my sanity, splattered metaphorically all over the hard woods.

On the bright side, my floors now look fifteen years younger.


Because Running Is a Good Way to Stay Warm

I'll spare you the dramatics this time and simply say, "I went for a run.  It was awesome."

Today I tackled the first road race of the season with Kate, my friend and fellow runner.  Neither of us were really "feeling it" this morning, but we managed to keep up a respectable pace in the 5K, no thanks to the wind, cold, and a defective Shuffle.  

Okay, it wasn't really defective. It just ran out of juice halfway through the race.  So I guess that makes the person in charge of charging it the defective one.  

I was tempted to run out of battery power myself, especially when my music stopped blaring, but thankfully I was running next to the Energizer Bunny.  So she shouted a little All the Single Ladies for me, and we "oh oh ohhed" our way up the hill.  
I even passed a few people, including an elderly couple, who, let me just tell you, were motoring like you wouldn't believe.  Seriously, this was the kind of motoring that the 75+ crowd typically only do in an RV.  I was proud of them.  And proud of me too, for passing them.  

So if you care to see more photos of the lovely event, check out Kate's place.  She and Ryan have a wicked sweet camera now, and they captured some nice shots.  Yet somehow I don't look like the glamourous Sporty Spice I fancied myself to be as I passed Granny & Grampy.  Oh well, must be a defective camera....


"I Do It Myselt!": Images of Independence

"Mr. Fear?  No, I don't believe we've ever met.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go freak my mom out with my sweet balancing moves."
And what she is actually saying in the picture above: "NO HE'P!  GO AWAY MOMMY!"

And then presto-chango, she adorns this cute and cuddly look, her method of choice for manipulating her unwitting subjects. 

And see her pointing her finger, bossing me around, in the picture below?  That is normal. And the next picture where she poses sweetly?  Not normal.  Emphasis on the word "poses".  

And holy stilettos, would you look at those red shoes?  If you're wondering how Sheridan manages to be consistently more fashionable than her mother (not that this is a huge feat or anything), you should know she has her very own fashion benefactor.  Thank you Sayre & Kate!  

(And should anyone like to jump in and become MY fashion benefactor, I would not be too proud to turn you away.  Just so you know.)

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