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More “Wisdom” From This Last Week (Part 2)

August 18, 2014

I  learned so much this week, I decided to break it up into two posts.  If you missed the first one, and you’re curious about what else I learned, click here to read it.

Teaching an almost 12-year-old to be grateful rather than entitled is an exercise in futility…. but I’m stubborn enough to keep at it

I overheard my older son counting his dollars before the birthday cards.  (If we were zoned for chicken coops, perhaps he’d have counted chickens, too.)  I explained that birthday gifts were…well, gifts and shouldn’t be expected.  Money is tight for several family members so I reminded him he needs to be grate regardless of the money he receives.  When I told him I’d invited my best friend to his birthday gathering, he was a little too excited… when I informed him I told her not to bring a gift, the disappointment was apparent.

Sigh.

I.  Won’t.  Give.  Up.

Ever.

I stumbled across the line between atrocious and appalling, and I don’t ever, ever want to go there again

My younger son’s table manners are atrocious.  Despite my constant nagging reminding, he’s just a little piglet.  He drops crumbs everywhere.  He wipes his hands on his shirt (leaving a clean napkin ready to be looked at during our next meal.)  He scatters his empty wrappers on the table – it was bad enough, I threatened to make him eat his Pop-Tart wrapper if he left it on the table again.

Then, on Saturday night, I saw his friend eat fettuccine alfredo.  Oh my.  It was appalling.  I lost my appetite a little bit.  I’m not sure if he used a fork or not, but he had sauce all over his chin.  Finally my younger son said, “Dude, you need to wipe your chin.  Do you need another napkin?”

The irony made me laugh.  So much so that I had to excuse myself from the table to pull myself together.

A commenter on my last post suggested this photo could pictorially represent  the eating habit.  Really, though, the javelina was much neater about mealtime than kids...

A commenter on my last post suggested this photo could pictorially represent the eating habits. Really, though, the javelina was much neater about mealtime than kids…

So, I just thought "happy thoughts" instead.  What could be happier than a gorgeous 6-ft tall Sunflower stalk?

So, I just thought “happy thoughts” instead. What could be happier than a gorgeous 6-ft tall Sunflower stalk?

Boys act brave, until coyotes howl

Each of my kids had a friend spend the night on Saturday night.  I put them all to bed in our pop-up camping trailer.  Around 11 pm, I heard coyotes howling.  I remembered I didn’t send a phone handset out with them, so I decided to leave it with them, if they were still awake.  (ha- if they were still awake…. what was I thinking?)

As I neared the trailer, I heard voices, so I stopped and listened.

Friend #1 – “There’s safety in numbers.  We should stick together.”

Friend #2 – “What if they try to get inside?”

My older son – “The coyotes would have to be like six feet tall to get in here.”

I started laughing, giving my presence away, so I continued to the trailer.  The only child asleep was my younger son.  The other three were huddled together in one bed and boy did their imaginations freak them out!  They were grateful for the phone and I assured them they were safe.

As I walked back to the house, my evil streak surfaced in the form of a temptation to scream in terror.

The thought of the four boys squeezed into MY queen-sized bed nixed the impulse real quick!

Kids are to egos what needles are to balloons (confidence must come from within)

 I got a haircut and, for the first time in months, I liked the result.   It’s longer in the front and cut short around the neckline in the back.   As I type this, I realize it does sound like an odd haircut but it works for me- I feel like I have some hair, but it doesn’t get all bulky and hot around my neck (this is huge in Arizona; especially in the summer!)

Older son:  “You got a haircut.”  (With a look on his face like he caught a whiff of rotting food.)

Me:  “Yes, and I love it!”

Older son:  “Okay… but did you see the back?”

I laughed.  Good thing I didn’t come  home looking for approval from a critical almost-twelve-year-old.  Come to think of it, I don’t even know what my husband thinks of it…. I never ask :)

 And there  it is; all the things that life has taught me over the last week.  I’m sure there’s more, but sometimes this student’s mind wanders.

Have a beautiful Monday!

More “Wisdom” From This Last Week (Part 1)

August 17, 2014

I had fun with my first post of wisdom gained that I did a few weeks ago. I jotted down notes throughout the week so I could share more useless realizations things I’ve learned.   Here goes:

Not all kids think I’m lame- just the ones I gave birth to

My kids’ friends happened to come over when the kids weren’t home.  (They had gone on a bike ride with a neighbor.)  Since I expected them home soon, I let them hang around.  After replacing a Band-Aid that had fallen off, one of the boys commented that I was “like the nicest mom ever.”  Oh, but I didn’t let it go to my head.  See the next bit of wisdom.

Don’t fall for flattery from 11-year-olds (they will eat you out of house and home)

Woody Woodpecker announced a text message on my phone.  When one of the kids identified the voice, I expressed my surprise because it was  “an old cartoon, from my generation.”  He said his mom watched it and she was thirty.  I laughed and said, “oh, I’m much older than that.”  After revealing my age (41) they proceeded to feign shock and assured me I didn’t look that old.  (Seriously, I didn’t buy that load of flattery, but it was a good effort.)

After the kids had played outside for several hours, I had expected them to go home for lunch.  They didn’t, so I fed them.  One of them ate two Velveeta mac and cheese packs and then asked if he could take some home.  I said no because they were for the kids’ lunches.

I have a feeling we’ll have visitors for lunch again soon.  Just a hunch.

This photo doesn't really have anything to do with this post, but I read somewhere that blog posts should have photos.  Since I break all the other "good blogging" rules- especially the "be relevant" one- I figured I should show you our javelina visitor we had last week.

This photo doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, but I read somewhere that blog posts should have photos. Since I break all the other “good blogging” rules- especially the “be relevant” one- I figured I should show you our javelina visitor we had last week.

Sometimes bad housekeeping is a good thing

As we ate dinner on the patio one evening, I kept my eye on a wasp hovering near by.  (This means I had my butt barely balanced on the chair so I could dash into the house.)   It went into a vent cover that was near my husband.  I stared for several minutes but it didn’t come out.  “Oh, there better not be a nest in there!” I said in a near-panic.  When I crept over to the vent and peeked in, I saw the wasp tangled in a web.

Spider webs aren’t just for Halloween…. I’m  happy to have another excuse for leaving them up year-round!

The AZ Motor Vehicle Division operates by computer, not reason

Ah, a government agency.  What could possibly go wrong there, right?  Well, I figured after over a year of living in our new location, I’d get a new driver’s license with the correct address.  When my online attempt failed, I called the MVD.  I explained that the message said I couldn’t get a duplicate license because my photo needed updated in 2011.  I told them how I had done it a couple months prior to the due date after receiving the notice in the mail. Apparently, they put in the computer that it was a duplicate with no indication of a photo being taken.

According to the MVD, my driver’s license photo is from 1998.  If that were the case, I could see my photo being used in an upcoming anti-drug use campaign – as a shocking “after” photo of a 25-year-old who made bad choices.

I knew that hour at the MVD office was one I’d never get back, but I had no idea that, years later, I’d discover it was like it never happened.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Life really stepped up its game in educating me, so tomorrow, I will post a follow up with more things I learned.  What have YOU learned this week?  I’d love to read your observations (funny, frustrating, or anything in between.)

‘Awkward Amy’ (Fiction)

August 14, 2014
Perfect reading tree (in my opinion!)

Perfect reading tree (in my opinion!)

Amy rolled onto her side, the foam inside her vinyl-covered bean bag chair squeaking as she moved. She flipped another page in her book, anxious to find out if the rumor of Tiffany cheating on Brad was true.

“You should be outside, it’s a beautiful day.”

Amy glanced at her mom standing in her doorway.  “No thanks.  This is a really good book.”

“Go play with your friends.  You sit around the house too much.”

“I don’t want to.”  I don’t have friends, and twelve-year-olds don’t play, she wanted to say.

“You’re not going to spend the whole summer inside.”  She motioned toward the front door.  “Go on.”

Amy contemplated arguing, but could see by her mom’s folded arms that it was no use.  “Fine.  I’ll get my bike.”

With a satisfied nod, her mom turned and retreated toward the kitchen.

As soon as her mom’s footsteps faded, she tucked the book into the front of her khaki shorts and pulled her baggy t-shirt over her hips.  “Be back in a while,” she called as she slipped out the front door.  She rolled her bike out of the side gate and thought a little prayer that she would make it to the park without anyone seeing her.  Several streets away, she spotted four blonde heads and knew her luck had run out.

Read more…

Approaching Storms

August 11, 2014

Pressure;

highs and lows-

predictable becomes unstable.

Foreboding;

rumbling on the horizon-

just before atmospheric tension thickens.

DesertStorms

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

I haven’t written much poetry lately (inspiration comes and goes for me on the poetic front.)  On Sunday afternoon, I pondered what to write just as rumbling thunder teased me with the prospect of a monsoon storm.  I remembered this photo from the 4th of July, taken a few hours before rain happened and delayed the fireworks display.  I thought it went well with this poem.

As I wrote this, I had in mind the similarities between weather storms and the emotional storms we encounter in relationships.  Perhaps my crankiness this past week prompted me to go there!  Seriously, last week was stressful with one annoyance after another.  I let it get to me, until I finally was able to let it go (mostly).  My husband was smart and kept his distance.  My kids (older son especially) were not as wise and chose to challenge me.  Next week has to be better!

I missed writing a story last week because my mind just wasn’t there.  It was a creative flat line of sorts, which I haven’t experienced in a while.  I won’t overreact and call it writer’s block- I’ll just chalk it up to being preoccupied with the competing priorities that are life.  I’m hoping to come up with some fiction for later this week.  I really need my mind to rescue me from the “daily grind.”

Have a beautiful week!

Going Underground – Haiku (and more)

August 5, 2014

Arizona sun

relentless for months on end-

we went underground.

Lava Caves

Over the weekend, we went somewhere that forced me to face a few of my fears all at one time.  It wasn’t exactly by choice… I was kind of out-voted, and majority rules.  I don’t know why no one wanted to stay home and clean our tile floors.

We went on an excursion to the Lava River Cave (near Flagstaff, AZ.)   Fears aside, I looked forward to one thing:  40 degree temperatures inside the cave.  It’s been quite warm (okay, hot) in Arizona for a few months, so being cold without standing in front of the wide-open freezer sounded rather nice.

Good news:  I only bumped my head on low ceilings twice (you’d think I’d have learned after the first time, but no,)  and despite my older son’s effort to freak me out with claims of seeing bats, none nested in my hair (I checked.)

My older son led the way and as usual, I was the last of our group.   There is a danger of being left behind when you’re last, but I had insurance:  I packed the snacks in my knapsack.  Yep… that’s one way to make sure they keep me close.

I mentioned in the beginning that this one mile walk would have me encounter several fears.  You might guess that bats is one of those fears.  Now, I’m not afraid of bats per se… just bats deep inside a cave.  This brings me to another fear that I break into a sweat just thinking of:  enclosed spaces.  I only had one near panic attack in area that was about three feet high.  My family was there for me… well, my husband at least- he held my hand and talked me through it while my kids laughed at me.  (Charming little men, they are…)

I am also not a fan of the dark, or rather the things I can’t see because it’s dark.  I had this covered, though.  I carried two flashlights and a baggie with twelve AA batteries.  Hey, when facing fears, I didn’t intend to go down without a light, I mean fight :)

Oh dear, that was terrible. I really should see about writing my posts earlier in the evening!

Do you share any of these fears?  Have you explored caves?

5 Reasons Cats Rule (My House)

August 3, 2014

Last week, my blogging friend, Debbie wrote of some abhorrent cat behavior that led her to write a post entitled “5 Reasons I Hate Cats.” While I don’t think I can change anyone’s mind about felines, I thought it would be fun to share some reasons why I adore cats.

Their “purrs” relax me. 

Some people listen to CDs that play sounds of nature- waves crashing onto the shore, birds chirping, rainfall- you get the idea.  Me?  Nothing is more soothing that a cat snuggled up to me purring.  Some nights, Cybil chooses to sleep on my face head which isn’t the most comfortable.  After some push and pull on positioning, she often ends up curled against my neck and shoulder purring.  This is how I like to fall asleep.

They can grow on non-cat-people (like a fungus)

I first saw this with my mom.  I’ve always been drawn to cats and she was never a fan, but after I adopted every stray cat in the neighborhood, she relented and I got my first kitty.  How disappointed I was to find that cat liked her better than me.  Misty was an indoor/outdoor cat and disappeared.  I was heartbroken.  We got another kitty and that one loved me- she was my cat.  Abby also wormed her way into my mom’s heart.

My husband is a self-proclaimed dog person.  He makes this known regularly.  I smile when he grabs a cat when he goes to bed, but I don’t say anything.  One morning last week, I walked into the bedroom and found Lizzy wrapped around his foot.

No one told Lizzy he's a dog person!

No one told Lizzy he’s a dog person!

Of course, I had to snap this blackmail adorable photo as evidence that he may be just a little bit of a cat person :)

They like company, but they don’t need constant attention

Some say cats are aloof.  Maybe they are; but I think they just need less assurance of my love for them than a dog.  Our dogs need constant ear scratches and head rubs- if we’re sitting on the couch, we must be petting them.  The cats curl up next to me and snooze- they are content just being near me.  I “get” them… I like to have my space, too.

While my son is at school, Sammy is my "desk cat"

While my son is at school, Sammy is my “desk cat”

Oh, and they keep me company while I work, curled up on the other side of my desk.  So cute!

Even when they don’t feel good, cats can strike a pose

Kitties hide their illnesses well, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.  Often, by the time we pick up on something being off, they are really sick.  When Bulwinquel (our Yorkie-Poo dog) was around two years old, we took her to the vet because she wouldn’t walk on one of her legs- she kept lifting it up like it was hurt.  After the second visit for the problem, the vet did an x-ray and confirmed there was no injury.  He told us that if we babied her, she may never walk on it again!

Cybil is sick, but always ready to be admired.

Cybil is sick, but always ready to be admired.

And finally:  they know how to relax!

I don’t think I really need to explain this one – I have so many snoozing cat pics because they sleep… a lot!

Relaxing 101... take notes, and practice!

Relaxing 101… take notes, and practice!

I can sure take come cues from them :)

Here it is – your chance to share your thoughts (nicely.)  Let me know why you like or dislike cats!

Rite of Passage (Fiction)

July 31, 2014
Photo by JF @ Pursuit of Happiness

Photo by JF @ Pursuit of Happiness

The two boys crouched behind overgrown shrubs.

“This is stupid,” Turner whispered to his best friend.  “I can’t feel my legs anymore.”

“If it’s so stupid, why are you here?” Seth kept his gaze on the old house.

Turner didn’t say anything.  Instead, he shifted his weight to his other knee and stifled a groan when an ankle popped.  He thought about why he was there.  Mostly, he wanted to keep Seth from trumpeting down the school hallways that he was chicken.  “Maybe we should head back home.  It’s getting late.”  He glanced up at the moon, wishing the sun hadn’t surrendered to the shadows.

Seth snorted.  “You’re still afraid of the dark!”

“Am not!”

“Just like camp last year when you couldn’t sleep without a nightlight.”

“Shut up.  I was twelve.”

“If it’s not the dark, then you must be afraid of ghosts, or vampires.  Or whatever it is.”

Turner hesitated.  “That stuff’s not for real.”  He didn’t know if he believed in the existence of spirits or vampires, but he didn’t really want to find out.  “How do you know the house is abandoned?”

“Duh.  Have you ever seen anyone around?”

“Well, no, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

“Hey, is the video going?”

Turner glanced at his phone.  “Yeah, but I don’t see why.”

Seth rolled his eyes.  “I’m telling you, something funny is going on.”  He pointed to the railing, a patchwork of peeling sea foam colored paint and rust.  “She glides down the hill toward the lake almost every night.”

“That doesn’t make sense.” Turner scrunched up his face in confusion.

“Supernatural phenomena rarely make sense.”

Turner burst into laughter.  “You’re a doof!”

“Shhhh!”  Seth frowned.  “You’ll scare her away.”

“I think she’d scare us more than–” Turner stopped talking when he felt something grip his shoulder.  He turned to Seth and saw the same wide-eyed look he imagined he wore.

Read more…

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