Friday, June 24, 2016

A Porch in Progress

Way back in last year, we were waiting. The house was coming along, so very slowly, and it was still basically just a pile of cement and sticks.

Then we went to the place where we picked out finishes and we pored over paint, tile, carpeting, woodwork, brick colors, stone choices, door styles—it was like living in an episode of something on HGTV, and it made it all so much more real. We were allotted an hour so make our decisions before we were charged a fee for going over time, so we made our choices quickly and decisively. This is not my standard operating procedure, I usually prefer to agonize over decisions.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

6-23 On This Day

There are so many things that need to get done today but all I can focus on is the dead spider in this tissue.

My daughter screamed bloody murder—this is not unusual, she's almost 12—and I went to her room to find a spider sitting on her bed. Big enough that I could see it from across the room, small enough that I couldn't tell exactly what type.

I calmly [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] grabbed a tissue [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] and pounced on it until I heard that little telltale pop [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] that let me know this was now a former spider. I squashed the abdomen gingerly enough that the cephalothorax (yes I just googled that) was intact and I could closely inspect it [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] where I found the little fiddle shape [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] and confirmed it was poisonous [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE].

I calmly [SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE] instructed my daughter to clean the clutter in her room and called the pest control people.

I'm not a fan of spiders and living in Oklahoma (aka spider central) has forced me to embrace a little arachnid education. I mean, I'm really okay with spiders in general—I long ago made a pact with them that goes a little like this:
If I see you outside, I will leave you be. If you come in my house and I can reach you, it's over. If you come in my house and I can't reach you and you're poisonous, it's over. If you come in my house and I can't reach you and you're not poisonous, we can live in peace, as long as you stay out of reach. You come within reach, I kill you. Personal space.
Right now my house feels like the house in Poltergeist, except I built mine on top of poisonous spider personal space. So maybe I brought this on myself?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

6-22 On This Day

Working at my desk while the kids sleep. Should be working, but instead I'm trying to snap pictures of the bluejays rocking the bird feeder out front. They're way too big but they try. Land on the tiny perch and send the whole thing spinning. Grab some seeds (I assume) and head to a nearby branch. But when I stand at the window, ready with my camera, they hop into the leaves. They're smart birds. I'm sure there's a lesson there.

Breakfast of champions: overnight oats & giant coffee
I'm obsessed with these Quaker Overnight Oats recipes. Such an easy breakfast idea and healthy, too (oatmeal is still healthy, right?). Half a cup of oats (not quick cook), half a cup of milk, teaspoon of chia seeds is what I used for my base. Here's what I've tried so far:
  • Oats + 1/2 c frozen berries = a little too liquidy (from the fruit thawing) and needed some honey
  • Oats + 1/2 c diced fresh strawberries + few slices of banana = tasty
  • Oats + 1/2 banana, sliced + 1/4 c dark chocolate chips = YES, MORE PLEASE
All of these have been good but the banana chocolate chip was the winner by far. Going to try it again with chopped nuts for texture and also going to try some almond milk for variety.

The best part of this? You can make it in jars. I make a few at a time and keep them in the fridge, they were good for a day or two but I can't speak for beyond that. The kids even like it. Might need to get more jars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

6-21 On This Day

The good news is that there were no late-night wakeups to clean out the dog cage.

The bad news is that my brain was on point for said wakeups so sleep, while it did thankfully happen, came in fits and starts.

But she's had her breakfast and her medicine and is now playing with her toys. This brings me back, reminds me of going through this with my children when they were little, they were sick, they didn't get much sleep or eat very much but they'd have those short moments of play time where you knew they were on the mend.

A few minutes was enough for her. She left me to my breakfast, walked to my office and curled up on the floor. It's her favorite room, too. She's one of my favorite office mates (okay, she's my favorite but only because she's not very chatty).

Looks like we're back to our regularly scheduled summer break programming—just in time for summer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

6:20 On This Day

Spent the day looking for silver linings.

Spent the day walking around like a zombie from lack of sleep. Cleaning up after a sick puppy. Taking said sick puppy to the vet. Running to two separate stores to find the food that the puppy's belly doesn't violently reject.

To be clear, in human years, the puppy is 16 years old, but our babies are always our babies, right?

And my silver lining today was that those errands were run on roads like this one. Beautiful, hilly, rural back roads lined with trees and hobby farms and neighborhoods and not much of anything. So unlike what I've become used to in Oklahoma and it's been waiting here for me all along.

Now, the sun is setting and it's almost safe to sit on the porch. The dog is sleeping, medicine doing its trick to settle her belly. My eyes are glassy from working through the tired, long day. Soon, it'll be bedtime, possibly before the sun actually sets (see my reference to the previous night's lack of sleep) and I'm just grateful to have blessings to count.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Six Flags, Four Farthings: Road Trip, Part 3

This is the last of 3 parts in a 3 part series. You can read part 2 (the time we went to the Gateway Arch) here and part 1 (the time we went to the 100th running of the Indy 500) here.

We went all the way to Indiana on our road trip, and our final stop was a bit closer to home. We'd passed by Six Flags St. Louis every time we drove from Oklahoma to Wisconsin, and that happened a lot over the years.

We never stopped. Yes, the kids have oohed and aahed over the roller-coaster studded roadside attraction as much as I've oohed and aahed over the sign for Bourbon, but it wasn't until this year we stopped. And I think it was my favorite part of the trip!


Thursday, June 16, 2016


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I worked in a factory. We had a PA/Intercom system that we used to request various things, such as a supervisor or assistance or maintenance. My supervisor would love to irk his workers by calling for "main-tain-ents" when he would page maintenance--which never failed to irritate me (and as a young woman, I could not allow an irritating occurrence pass me by without letting others know that I was irritated by said occurrence. During this era, I earned the title of "Buck of the Night" because I was very "bucky." It came with a carefully crafted plaque made from duct tape, clear plastic sheets and Sharpie markers and I may or may not still have.) and to this day when I think of maintenance, I hear "main-tain-ents" in my head.

And apparently, I'm not too far removed from letting it be known that I'm irritated by something because, well... here I am.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On This Day: 6-15

Some days, morning breaks gently over the land, teasing me out of bed with a smile.

However, most days, morning falls on my head like a ton of bricks, reminding me that I have allergies and an aging, creaking body. Any guesses on which one today was?

But I've talked my daughter, who wants to join the track team, into coming for walks with me in the morning. I'd like to say "before it gets hot" at this point, but that's so not the case. It's a hot summer this year. And since she's raring to go with me and I know that since she's also almost 12, these moments when she's raring to go with me will soon be few & far between, I'm taking advantage of it.

I started a new couch to 5K program and recruited my daughter to go with me. She's been asking to run with me but my recent attempts at running have been more painful than productive. So I'm taking it slowly. She moves faster than I do, so I'm trying to keep up. And I told her I'm not stressing the process; if we miss a day, we make up for it because I am not the person to go for a run in the rain. My goal is to run a 5K maybe later in the fall and a half-marathon by 2020. Her goal is to get ready for track.

We talk about all the things—well, I talk about all the things. About writing, about posture and how to use your muscles so you don't get tired. About focus. She tells me about the books she's writing or reading and I want her to know that this is a safe place for her to talk (what happens on the walk stays on the walk) in hopes that someday she'll talk about other things. Less fictional things.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6-14: On This Day

The day started cloudy. Storm warnings. Postponed my morning walk and I found myself standing in the office, taking a deep breath but feeling unsettled. Needing change. I get restless and I change something and it calms me.

My table/desk has been slowly drifting since I put it in the room. First it faced one wall... then the other. Then the door, but these never were the right orientation.

Because I would always crane my neck to see out the window.

The window that has the view of the porch, which is the best place of all. Now I can see the colorful chairs and planter, the flowers that despite my best efforts to kill them, live on, the hummingbird feeder waiting on its first customer, the copper feeder that's too small for the blue jays but apparently just right for all the neighborhood squirrels.

I broke a sweat, moving around the furniture, the office ephemera that filled the space. I found myself standing there again, taking a deep breath and smiling.

And look at that; even the sun came out.

Monday, June 13, 2016

6-13 On This Day

It's overwhelming. Another shooting. Another day of the flood of emotions, blame, hate speech, questions that can't be answered.

And stories of people who rushed toward the thing that they ran from, trying to help. And lines around the block at blood donation centers.

And reminders that "... love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love ..." which restore hope.

Voices like this one that drown out the hate speech and the fear-mongering.

I'm sending my love to Orlando.