Where were you?

Note: I started this post on September 11, 2011, but am just now getting around to finishing it.  The past month has been incredibly busy, to say the least.


Today marks the 10th anniversary of the attack of the Twin Towers and The Pentagon.   I have been listening to the radio all day, hearing services and memorials, and listening to people calling in to tell the story of where they were and what happened when they found out about the terrorist act.  Here is my story.

I was a senior in high school, trying to adjust to being a new mother, and trying to get used to a new high school, which was by far 3 times larger than the school I had come from.  I recall changing classes, going on my way to what we called  “Gepuhl”… It was our pronuncation of GEPL–General Economics and Political Living.   People were talking a lot more than usual in the halls, saying “did you hear?” at lot, and I was wondering what the gossip was all about.   I walked into my class and the teacher had the TV on.  On the screen was an image that seemed unreal.  Two planes had just hit a skyscraper in New York City, and this was determined to be no coincidence.  Black smoke billowed out of the slender structures, while reporters tried to stay calm and communicate as much information as they could get.   I hate to say this, as it is incredibly crude, but I thought it was neat.  Now “my” generation had a story about where we were.  A moment we would remember forever, just as the “old people” had stories about  where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot.   I honestly didn’t realize how many people were dying.  I didn’t feel as if our country were under attack.  It looked like something I had seen in many movies, and my brain didn’t quite connect the dots.   A girl in my class had a stepfather who worked at the pentagon.  She left when the news came out regarding the plane crashing into it, and she didn’t return the next day.  We all were wondering what happened with her family.  As it turns out, he survived, but had major burns over the majority of his body.  He was in the hospital for months.   A childhood friend of mine lived near Washington, D.C., and I knew her husband worked at the pentagon.  As it turns out, the airplane hit directly under his office, but thankfully, he was just fine.  What to do in response of the attack was a hot topic in school discussions and on TV.  Everyone seemed to be angry and unable to agree on the way to respond.  I was very upset that went to war, and while I didn’t want to ignore the attack completely, I didn’t think that blowing up people on the other side of the world would help anything.  The uncertainty of what our world was becoming was unsettling.

It wasn’t really until the year after the attacks that I began to realize how devastating an event it was.  I was a stay at home mom, and the TV was on all day with interviews of people who were directly affected by the tragedy.  Then it seemed “real” and it hit me.  I felt so ashamed for thinking of it as a “neat” event, and I wondered about how much anger the victims had inside of them for losing countless loved ones.  I also realized how lucky I was to have my little family with everyone safe and healthy.  Sometimes we don’t realize how fortunate we are living a normal and uneventful life until something major happens.  I hope nothing of this magnitude happens again, but unfortunately history seems to have a way of repeating itself.  I suppose all I can do is to teach my children to have empathy, tolerance, and a desire to learn about all ways of life, and perhaps someday we will have a more peaceful planet.


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Musings from a higher level

Summer’s end is almost here.  The nights are becoming crisp and quiet.  The days strive to reach the heat of July, but don’t quite get there.  But that’s all right with me.  I am so ready to usher in the fall searson.  To wear a cozy sweater and jeans, to watch the marching band at the high school football games, and to snuggle close on chilly nights.  I may be a little too optimistic about the upcoming months  due to my recent ascent into an aged sugar maple.  That is all.

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Home Improvement

I love my house.   That being said, I am always open to improving it.  Sure—it has many functional attributes, and a good location, but I often find myself adding to our house’s “to do” list.   Anything can be improved upon, right?

Well, I’d say that is true as long as the project doesn’t cause you to take two steps backward.

Last month, I decided to take out one of our upper kitchen cabinets.  It was next to our refrigerator, and it was connected to two smaller cabinets that went over the fridge.  Those had been taken out to accomodate our lovely new fridge, that just happened to be too big for its hole.  Years passed and the cabinet served as a storage place for our kids’ plastic cups as well as the adult-sized glasses.  But you know what?  It was not a very functional cabinet.  Out of the three shelves, one had all the cups/glasses crammed into it, and the other had a mass amount of medications stuffed too full, so they’d spill out when the door was opened.  As for the top shelf—which is “no man’s land” in my vertically challenged world—well, the top shelf had an old container of spackle stuffed in the back where I’d forgotten about it.

So—I did it.  I took out the very unfunctional cabinet and the kitchen instantly looked bigger.  No longer was the eye distracted by this “rogue leftover,” but the line of sight went all the way to the corner of the kitchen, where the fridge currently resides.  “Ha!  That was easy!” I thought to myself.   Well—One step forward, two steps backward, right?   I found rather quickly that behind this cabinet, was leftover glue from ancient gold-speckled formica that graced the backsplash.  And of course, no paint.  When we bought our house, the kichen looked like this:

And when we made it ours, it looked like this:

I wish I had a picture from the same spot as the “before” photo, but I think you get the point.

Well, back to my cabinet.  Behind the cabinet there was no crazy orange with glazing, and I have every paint we used in the house except the kitchen’s orange.  So, I decided to paint the backsplash the same color as the cabinets.  I had to tell myself it’s just temporary in order to do it.  I really don’t like painted backsplashes.  Especially when the drywall/plaster is not very smooth.  Our faux finish helped hide such impurities, but this time I am hoping for the white to reflect the impurities out, just like this newfangled concealer the make-up companies are toting.  Really I want to rip the whole kitchen out and really make it mine, and you know, If I put in my favorite tile for the backsplash, I ought to get that new countertop, and the heavy duty sink…. and so on.   After a few coats of the “cabinet white” I was getting excited–it was starting to come together nicely.  I even moved the refrigerator and painted behind it so my paint didn’t look like an afterthought.

Well, that’s when all my trouble started.  I didn’t realize it for a few days, but everyone started complaining about our lack of ice in the automatic ice maker.  Mr. Man, the greatest home cook ever known to walk the earth, had come up with a delicious sugar free coffee milkshake that requires quite a bit of ice.  Considering our very hot weather, we consumed quite a bit of said concoction during the month of July.  It is a hard thing to make a frozen drink without the freezing agent.   As you may have guessed, I pulled our water line out of the fridge when I painted the wall.  I didn’t realize it until I saw water in our laundry room.  Then I went into my office, which is in the basement, next to our laundry room, and directly under our kitchen.   The drop ceiling tiles that were over my computer desk were swollen with water, and looked like they were about to let lose a fury of water.  I went into panic mode.  My desk was already wet from drips, but I had to wisk everything out of the office just in case the tiles let out more water.  Once everything was out of the way, the tiles were removed and the rest of the water was drained into buckets.  But then I heard “Squish Squish.”   Our floor had soaked up the wetness.  The only way to fix Laminate flooring once it gets wet is to remove it.  One step forward, two steps back, right?


Murphy knows me well.

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Wilderness Ho!

In a few short weeks my family will embark on a camping expedition like none other.  We are planning to stay in the forest for 6 days, the longest we’ve ever stayed out in the wilds.  I am a bit hesitant about the whole thing, as it is hard to plan for the unexpected, and you never know what will happen until it actually happens.  That being said, part of me wants to pack up our whole house, and part of me wants to be minimalistic and force everyone to “just deal with it.”  I stumbled upon this woman the other year, while browsing at our local farm store, and I fell in love with her bed and breakfast.   Unfortunately, I live nowhere near Idaho, so perhaps this camping trip will begin the process to my own permenant camp which is inspired by her retreat in the wilderness.    I suppose feeling this way makes me really 30 years older at heart than I truly am, but tht is just fine with me.  I often have thought I was simply born in the wrong era, as the people that are my peers are lacking something major.    This sums it up well:  to be of use 

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For the Record

I have been doing a no sugar, very low carb diet for about 5 and a half weeks. I had a very hard time at first, but noticeable changes have kept me going.  I have lost 13 pounds, I no longer feel gross, and my mind is no longer “foggy.”   I do still forget things, but it is totally a different feeling.  I thought today was a good day to splurge and eat one of my favorite meals:  Grilled chicken thighs covered in “butter chicken curry” mix with basmati rice and naan.  I thought to myself, “I have been on the cleansing streak, this will be a nice little indulgence.”  It went down well.  Especially with my homemade Mango Lassi drinks… (Did you know they have easy to make smoothie mixes ready to blend in the freezer section?)  I was in heaven.   THIS was the type of meal I have been missing.  This type of meal makes me feel satisfied like no other.
Well….  For about ten minutes at least.
Then it hit me, and I got drunk.  Drunk on carbs.  I feel dizzy, spaced out, and about to vomit.   I feel hotter than normal *temperature* and even my cheeks are flushed.  I suppose this wouldn’t be much of a surprise, as I flush at the onset of any emotional state as well as any amount of exercise.  But eating isn’t exercise, and I didn’t get angry at dinner.    Let me say that YES, I screwed up.   It is too late to go back and change that.  But I am writing this not only to be the laughingstock of the blogging world, but also to remind myself in the future, that I really don’t want to indulge in the foods I once loved.   We just don’t mix so well, and I’d rather feel like myself than feel like I am goofy walking around on that tipsy boat of his.
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A Quick Thought…

I saw this image on the web and I really liked it!  Not only is the image pretty, but the text is full of wisdom! 

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The number ten has been running around my mind lately.  I suppose it wouldn’t be such a big deal if we humans didn’t have five digits on each hand.  Our world is categorized by tens– our lives are described  in  phases of tens–by the 20’s, the 30’s, and so on.  Music is grouped by eras of decades.  The first achievement in  numbers for a small child is learning to count to ten on his/her own.  Ten is more than just a number, it is a symbol of sorts.  And my Big Girl is there already, ten years old.  Being ten means most things are on auto-pilot.  No need to help in the bathroom with potty training, bathing or toothbrushing.  It means a higher level of independence for child, and a bit more space for mom.  But nobody told me how amazed I would be at this seemingly abstract number, a symbol of the years gone by—it symbolizes the development within the child, and between the child and mother, a relationship that lasts forever.  I am constantly taken by surprise by my Big Girl. Her intelligence keeps me on my toes, her beauty takes my breath away, and her empathy for the world breaks my heart.  If all people were more like my daughter, I believe the world really would be a better place.   I am so thankful that I chose to have my first child, amidst uncertainty and chaos, because I have learned so much from her, not only about life, but  also about myself.   Happy Birthday, Big Girl!   I love you.

Spring 2001, only a week oldOnly a few months old, Summer 2001

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A Sigh of Relief

Spring has sprung!  I had to take a picture of my tulips before they were past their prime.  I wish tulips lasted longer than they do.  They are so beautiful yet so delicate.  When my Big Girl was only 4 we had tulips in front of our Tree House, and she said the cutest thing:  “Those are some pretty nice lips, mom.”  She thought they were called “Two Lips”

Moments like that make me glad that I am home to watch my children grow and process the world around them.

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Women’s Intuition

Well, my last post was well over a month ago, and I suppose it foreshadowed a very busy time ahead.  Boy did that hit the target!  My world was turned upside down with many life events, including buying a new car and finding out that I am allergic to yeast, among other things.  I would like to write a review of the new ride, but first I must find a sunny day where I can take pics with good lighting outside.   As for the allergies—I need to drastically change my diet, but I am having a hard time convincing myself that it can be done without starving myself.  I need to “get around to it” and just find some good cookbooks, or even a few recipes regarding a yeast and sugar free diet.   I am interested in seeing the results, if any, that come from this new way of eating, and I would love to use this blog to help track my progress regarding learning new habits and trying new foods.    Along with these subjects, once the weather “breaks” and becomes more dry than wet, I will begin some home improvement projects that I have been scheming and dreaming about all winter long.   Now the trick will be to regularly update this thing.  Stay Tuned.   I’ll be back.

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Marching Along The Way….

When January hits I begin yearning for the month of March, and now that it is here I can’t seem to keep up to what it brings.  March is the spark of light in the darkness; the beginning of the end of the meditative winter season, the time when we compile to-do lists for the coming year.  For me, March is akin to hump day (aka Wednesday) during the week.  It is the point where I’d better get my act together or else Friday (aka SUMMER BREAK) will be here with no sign of productivity for the week.  As a mother, my internal clock runs not on a calendar year, but on the September-June school year, and I am beginning to feel rushed to get some things crossed off of my yearly  “to-do list” before it is too late.  As much as I try to deny it, I am a natural procrastinator, so if I start putting things off until tomorrow, somehow two months will have already passed and then I’ll really be in trouble.

The longer days are giving me hope that the frost on the ground will soon have passed, and flowers will bloom and bring back birdsongs and the sound of rustling leaves in the wind.    This week is Spring Break in our town, and I am not going to do anything extraordinary, and that’s just fine with me.   I Spoke at our gathering place, www.uufcc.com today about what I do instead of going on vacation for Spring Break.  Here is what I said:

As a stay-at-home mother, I am always at my workplace, and my work is never finished.  Often when I have completed a task, such as washing the dishes, I will have more dirty plates needing to be washed after I have drained the sink and started onto another task.  And laundry!  Have you seen the many combinations and fashion statements two girls can create in just one day?  I must admit, at times, the daily “to-do” list can become overwhelming and my mind will wander to the thoughts of exotic destinations and new adventures.  What I have come to realize, though, is that the planned vacation can become more stress than relaxation.  First there is the jotting down of lists, where I pick my brain for anything and everything we might possibly need on our excursion. Then there’s the packing of everything on the lists, and the travelling and the arriving and unpacking everything that had just been packed.  While enjoying our destination, I’ve got to keep a sharp eye so nobody gets lost, and I’ve got to keep an eye on the clock in order to make the most out of our limited time in the new place, so we are able to do everything we’d like.  I usually need a vacation from my own vacation, and that leads me to think I’m doing something terribly wrong!

Instead, I enjoy travelling to new places within the comfort of my own home.  As a part of our bedtime routine,  I read aloud to my children, and sometimes they read aloud to me.  I am sure many believe that reading aloud is too old fashioned and children today are too busy to stop and simply listen to the meter of a poem or the long chapters of a novel.  What’s simple is true, though, and reading is something that can be enjoyed by any level reader. It is a much cheaper escape than an exotic vacation, and proves to be little hassle to snuggle in to some covers and take the time to read and unwind.  In a world that encourages constant multitasking, reading helps us step away from all of the “screens of distraction” that we have become accustomed to.  Taking the time to read can be therapeutic, forcing us to slow down and focus on one thing, which in turn helps us connect to the world around us in a new way.

The list of things that I didn’t get done during the day becomes less important, when I hear giggles of delight from my daughter while she is listening intently to Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”  Reading not only takes us to new places and teaches us new words to expand our vocabulary; it helps connect parent and child in a setting empty of struggle.  It is important for children to interact with their parents in a way that is not always negative.

I am easily frustrated with my kids, and I scold them often, perhaps too often.  But when we read together we become almost like shipmates, sailing on the sea of a book, trekking the course together in friendship. Often times we think we are too busy to bother with reading aloud for pleasure, we make excuses, thinking our kids are too old to want to listen to someone reading to them, but try it!  I have found it makes a world of difference.   Not only does reading connect me to my children, it gives me a new perspective on life.  My children will not always be young.  When they are grown, I doubt they will thank me for keeping the house to hospital standards of cleanliness, or ordering them around so they’ll stay on schedule when we actually do travel to a new place.  But I sincerely hope they treasure the memories of our nightly ritual of reading aloud, and see the possibilities of renewal within a storybook, just as I have learned to see.

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