"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Monday Affirmation

On this Monday let's pause and take a deep breath. Now think about some good stuff - something that makes you happy happy. 

Here's a couple for me: 

The sun's shiny golden loveliness makes everything else beautiful and small at the same time:

The fleeting beauty of a lily - so fragile and temporary.

Some of the most beautiful things in life are ephemeral. I think the trick is to savor every single one of the sweet moments you have. Just jump in and bask in the GOOD. Revel in it.

Don't waste what precious time you have in anger, doubt or distrust. No good can come of it. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shakespeare in the shower

Summer. I get to sleep in a wee bit later and it's fantastic. I snoozed until 7:20 this morning and noticed when I was getting up that my hubby was stirring a bit as well. I took my time in the shower, lost in the lather of the moment, trying to wake up and face the day. (You know how you get into the shower and the white noise keeps you lost in your thoughts? Sometimes I can't even remember if I shampooed already or not.) Today, though, I was busy lathering and planning my world domination when I was pulled out of my thoughts by my husband's voice in the next room. 

I paused. I listened. I heard . . . . Shakespeare?


Yes, Shakespeare. Oberon. Or possibly Theseus. From A Midsummer Night's Dream (hereafter known simply as "Midsummer"). It is the soundtrack of my days. I hear "dost thee," "hast thou," "couldst" and "fare thee" every hour of my time with my husband. In the kitchen, in the car, while grilling, and doing laundry, doing the dishes, during commercial breaks on TV, and in the bloody bathroom. The boys are asked, "Hast thou gone pee?" and I'm told, "Fare thee well, nymph," when I leave the room. It certainly makes things interesting.

Have I told you about my husband? He's an actor, you see. Well, really he's a writer for hire. (HIRE HIM, por favor). But about five years ago when he started acting in community theater it TOOK OVER HIS SOUL. I may be exaggerating just a teensy, weensy bit. Maybe not. When he's in a role it is his life until the show is over. No lie. For reals. 

For about three years he participated primarily in a somewhat traditional musical theater company where he played in well known shows like Miss Saigon, Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and, his favorite, Jesus Christ Superstar. He was Jesus. He loved it.

He loves being on stage and performing in front of an audience. He loves the applause and kudos he receives when he does it. He LOVES singing and he does it quite well - and quite loudly. My husband and performing for people were MFEO. (If you don't know that reference then go watch Sleepless in Seattle right now. I'll wait here.)
Injun Joe from Tom Sawyer - Theater Show. He was a mean SOB.
Then he branched out. He started working for a company that provides entertainment on an old train that runs up the mountain and back. He does dinner theater murder mysteries and wild west type shows, primarily, and some seasonal trains around Christmas. He has participated for two years in a short film festival where, one year, the movie short he was in won first place and he won Best Actor. Awesome. (I'd post a link to the full movie if I could find it. Which I can't. Fail.)

WAIT! It's been found! Hallelujah! It's 13 minutes long but really ridiculously funny: Beneath a Western Skyscraper
"Best Actor" cowboy from the movie short. He turned into an emo urban cowboy. Hilarious.
The Mad Hatter - Train Show. Best Mad Hatter ever. (Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity please ask him to do Jabberwocky for you. You will not be disappointed).
The train show thing - with a few other things that pop up once in a while - is so much better for us as a family. He's not gone every day to rehearsal. We can plan things and do them together. Novel concept. I like it.

BUT . . . a few weeks ago he was presented with an opportunity to do Shakespeare for the first time. SHAKESPEARE. The Bard. The Man. The Legend. (Did I mention that my husband and I were both English Lit majors in school? Yeah, that).

The problem? It's a traditional theater show again.This time, though, with a different company. He emailed me the schedule. He said, "Honey, it's SHAKESPEARE." He waited. He emailed again and said, "I told them I won't do it if it's not okay with you. But, honey, it's SHAKESPEARE. And the rehearsal schedule isn't that bad. We can still go on vacation." Good, because I've got non-refundable tickets and my name is already on a pool lounger. 

So what's a wife to do? I said yes. Of course I said yes. What I have always told him was simply this, "Who am I to stand in the way of your dreams?" I may be his wife and life partner, but I'm not going to hurt, hamper or detract from his personal growth if I can help it. Provided that fulfilling his dreams don't negatively impact the well-being of our family, of course. In this case, his dream is to play Oberon and Theseus in Midsummer. So be it.

Which brings us back to today. I was in the shower and I heard Shakespeare.

So, first it was this:
O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.
That's Theseus - the king. I hear this line all the time now. That poor old moon is blamed for so much. Tragic.

Then it was Oberon, the Fairy King, speaking to Puck:
That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
To which I said, "that's some love-shaft!" *giggle, snort* My apologies. Poor taste. Still funny though.

Life could be boring. Thank goodness it's not. 

Fare thee well, my dear friends. Time is apace and my thoughts are much in the bosom of my home. I leave you with dear Puck's parting words: 
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Edited to add the movie short URL. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

A spoonful of sugar

Friends, I'm writing with a heavy heart. Someone I love very much is hurting and I can't help her. But I can sympathize. And, even more importantly, I can empathize

Babydoll, I've been there. 

I have SO been there, more than once, and I've looked down at the depths of my despair, sprawled out in front of me, and I have crawled back up out of that pit. More than once. The thing is - it gets easier because the 2nd time, and the 3rd and the 4th, you recognize the path better. You see the signs and don't let yourself get quite so far down that it's harder to come back up. Oh, my girl, I have been there. 

But I'm okay right now. My little family unit - we are okay right now. Like, literally, at this moment. But tomorrow could change. And yesterday may not have been as good as today. 

Marriage & divorce, sickness & health, babies & kids, money (lack of) and bills, time and energy leeches, housecleaning, cars, pets, grocery shopping, dentist & doctors appointments, lack of sleep, lack of motivation, fear, worry, resentment, anger, and, finally, hopelessness and despair.

Show of hands: who has been there? Yes, no?

If any of you said no than, please, walk away right now. This blog, today, isn't for you. Much love to you - but get the hell outta here and come back when you can say, "Oh yeah, I've visited that big-fat-monkey-ball-sucking-place and I have your back."

Here's my hand. Way, way up high.

I have lived, for long, long periods of time, with nary two pennies to my name. When I have maybe paid *some* of my bills and had 10 days until my next paycheck, $20 in my bank account, and four mouths to feed, two cars needing gas (to take us to daycare and work everyday), and somehow we all survived. I would make myself sick with worry (sometimes that still happens, but I try to let it go). I thought if I didn't pay my bills by the due date something awful would happen. Or, at the very least, my power company, or credit card company, or whatever, would judge me and I didn't want to be one of "those people" who didn't pay their bills. 

You know what I've learned? Eff that. Life is too short to let something stupid like money dictate my happiness. I try, more than ever, to live in the moment these days. To enjoy the time I'm with my kids and not spend that time worrying about something that, at that moment, I'm powerless to fix. 


But what if, just for arguments sake, that you're broke and barely getting by on one paycheck. Your kids seem determined to throw every elbow they can at you - including getting diagnosed ADD, or Autistic, or OCD - and rant and rampage and say every mean thing they can to tear down your already fragile confidence. You know, you really do, that they aren't doing it to be mean but because they are scared and confused and don't know how to express it so they are lashing out at you - their rock - because they simply CAN and they know you'll still be there. Because you are their MOM and you live your life for THEM. That, coupled with your guilt, all-consuming, mind-imploding, never-ending, wrack-your-body-until-you-are-sick GUILT for making the hard, hard decisions you have made that, yes, may sometimes seem to be a mistake but in moments of great clarity you KNOW, in your very heart, that it was absolutely the right decision - for you and for your little angels. But what if you just don't have that clarity all the time and the guilt, and the arguing, and the signs of mental anguish you see in your kids, and the lack of money, and the all-consuming oh-dear-god-I'm-just-going-to-die feeling doesn't go away. What if it doesn't go away? And they still need you to be their rock? 

I'm not a psychologist and I don't have any fancy answers . . . but I say: go to your happy place. Sound cliche? It is. Totally. But this is how you crawl out of that pit. This is how you shrug off the despair. You find your happy place. Your happy thoughts. Your silver lining. The brightness in an otherwise dark and dreadful sky. 

Let me ask you this: What is good in your life RIGHT NOW? Name one thing. Then, tomorrow morning, name two things. Then, tomorrow before bed, name three things. Before you know it you will have climbed out of that pit and, damn, if the world isn't much, much brighter. 

Will your troubles be gone? Nope, not at all. They don't just disappear. (I'm not delusional, after all). It's all about perspective, honey-child. You know that old saying that you can catch more flies with honey? The same is true for walking through a quagmire of problems. Be confident and optimistic and things tend to work out a little better. Or at least you feel better about it and that's the part that matters, right? YOU choose how you deal with problems. You, or me - we - are humans with thinking brains and, hopefully, above-average reasoning skills (my readers, you see) and we can conquer the negativity that threatens our healthy perspective. Ooh, I like that. Let's say it again, shouting, in all caps:


Can you parent effectively if you are simultaneously wading through a deep, dark pit of despair? No, right? Are you taking good care of yourself then? No, right? Then let's turn on our thinking caps and dial into the healthy perspective channel. Then we can parent with love, compassion and understanding rather than guilt, fear and anger.

Choose to be happy. Choose acceptance - in your lot, in your kid's foibles, and in the consequences of your decisions - and let.it.go. Let it all go. Choose to honor the decisions you made with faith in yourself. 

I love you, my dear girl. You are not alone. You are smart and beautiful and kind and devoted. Please don't, any of you, forget that ever. Bring yourself back from that pit. Love yourself. Do what you need to to understand that. You deserve it and you need it. To be the best mom, person, employee and just the YOU in you.

Gentle readers - holla back if you've been there, por favor. Let's build up one of our sisters. Mwah.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I'm thankful for PTO

PTO?? Paid Time OFF. Thank heaven, Allah, Gaia, the sun, and Maude (whoever she is) for paid time off. Time off? And my bills still get paid? Awesome. 

What makes PTO so awesome? Let's see:

Because of PTO, on a Thursday, I slept in until 7:45 this morning.

Because of PTO I get to stay home with my little guy on his first 2 days of summer break.

Because of PTO I have a couple extra days to think through some work stuff that's got me all discombobulated.

Because of PTO I sat down and played the new Lego Pirates of the Caribbean video game with my son this afternoon. And I might go take a soak in a bath. On a Thursday afternoon. All because of PTO. 

Because of PTO, on a Thursday afternoon, I'm writing a blog post and watching my boy ride his bike outside my office window. 

What is that saying? You have to relax to reload? I'm going to relax. Today, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

Off to take my bubble bath now. Thank you, PTO, thankyouveryveryverymuch.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not quite Wordless Wednesday: Peonies, and some unfortunate euphemisms

Do you say Pee - uh - nee or Pe - OH - nee? We've been discussing this at my house and the hubby says one thing and I say the other. Well, I looked it up today and this is what I read:
Pronunciation of "Peony" Plants and Word Origin:
The standard pronunciation is pee'-uh-nee (accent on the first syllable). However, many people place the accent on the second syllable: pee-oh'-nee. As is often the case with anglicized versions of Latin words, rulings on what should be the standard pronunciation seem rather arbitrary. The word derives from the Latin genus name, Paeonia, which, in turn, derives from a figure in Greek mythology, Paeon (see below). If you want to be safe, stick with the standard pronunciation: pee'-uh-nee.
So, I would say that both are acceptable, right? I don't think I can teach myself to change the way I say it so it shall be acceptable (so sayeth me).

Here's the original:

I had to hold the stem up because the Peonies are so heavy they droop. (Like a couple other things I know and have to hold up sometimes as well. You know, sometimes you have to be big to be glorious. The heavier they are the more impact they make. The bigger the better. Size is impressive. I could go on. What? Sheesh).

Peonies. Peonies. Peonies. It's fun to say either way.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Slacky McSlackerton here

Hi, it's me. Remember me? I used to try to post a couple times a week but lately not so much and I feel badly about it. There is life happening here, you see. And life takes precedence over blogging. It must otherwise I wouldn't have anything to blog about, right? 

It's after midnight on a school/work night and I'm going to have to make this brief. And full of pics. Instagram, to be more specific. Because I can't find my real camera again. For reals. I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME. *sigh* Moving on. 

So these things have been happening:

We had a mini-twister hit our backyard. It was the weirdest thing. Knocked one tree down, and lifted and twisted a small tree nearly off its stump. And killed a duck. Sad. So this is the big tree that fell:

It leaned like that for a week before we got a tree service out to chop it down. For mucho moolah, might I add. Grr. But they left the rounds for us so we can use them as firewood next year. Can I just say that's some pretty dang expensive firewood?

Since the weather has finally started to get Spring/Summer-like we've also been doing a lot of work in the yard. We've planted a few plants and have just been cleaning up some of the beds. I love that my kids get involved now so much more than they used to. I took this 2 days ago and the light was just perfect (you can see our oldest sweeping on the right):

We've also had a lot of this going on:

But this Saturday was the first time he actually made it home during a game so it was monumental. He has batted last in his previous two games, but on yesterday's game he batted first. He's doing great and getting better each game/practice we have:

I love that pic. Great light. But, because of that light I developed a sunburn. Unexpected and weird. I was wearing a cap and v-neck t-shirt so I have half a face sunburn and v-shaped redness on my chest. Weird. (I won't torture you with that pic.)

After that game was over yesterday the rest of the weekend was about getting ready for my sister's visit. My (step)sister from Australia, to be more specific.

She's awesome. I first met her in '98 and I've seen her maybe 2 or 3 times since then. The funny thing is, she went to my high school 5 years ahead of me but I never knew her. I didn't meet her until after her mom & my dad had been together for quite some time because she had moved to Australia. She met an Aussie in SLO in the early 90's and followed him back to AU and stayed. I like her a lot and we get along great. I wish I had known her a long time ago. Not that I wish my parents had split earlier than they did, but it would have been cool to have an older sister like her. She has a pretty awesome husband and two kids as well. Every time the kids speak I think they are going to sound like Americans and then they sound totally Australian and it's too freakin' cute.

So, interesting side note, my sister worked at the Australia Zoo with The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and his wife, Terri. Terri is an American - she's from Oregon - and she and my sister became friends. My sister has always been an animal NUT and the Zoo was an ideal place for her to work. Don't believe me? BAM!:

That's my sister feeding Harriet - a 166 year old tortoise.

So the cool thing about their visit tonight is that our husbands never met before and we hadn't met their son (though my sister and her daughter were here a couple years ago). I was excited.

I got up Sunday morning and did a few things in the yard and then started the food prep for 10 of us. We were going to BBQ, but my husband has had performances (he's an actor) both afternoons this weekend so a lot of the prep was left in my hands and it was a LOT of freakin' work. I started the food prep about noon and didn't finish until 4 pm. At which point I still needed to clean the house and shower before they got here at 6:30. I started to PANIC. Then I died. No, not really. Just felt like I might.

Food prep consisted of marinating both chicken & beef for kebabs, cutting up and marinating all the vegetables, making a greek spinach, feta & pasta salad with a homemade dressing, making a fruit salad and strawberry cheese fruit dip, and making cookies. 4 flippin' hours, people, with nary a break - except to make lunch for the kids and occasionally play referee to their bickering:

But, thankfully, it all turned out lovely and oh so yummy:

And my boys got to play with their Australian boy cousin for the first time - as only boys do:

Once the wrestling stopped we got the older girl cousin to sit down with the stinky boys and we clicked a few pics of them:

Love it! Love them. Great night with fun people. Now I'm utterly exhausted and apparently I have to go to work tomorrow. Really? Because I feel like I've been working all bloody weekend. I guess it's not the same. 

Off to la-la-land for me. G'day, mate!