Random Thursday: Happy Edition

1. A few weeks back, the Wonder Hub and I were driving down some picturesque Colorado backroad, talking about Someday. We don’t know when he will retire from the Air Force, and we don’t know exactly where we would like spend our post-AF years, but we sure like to dream about it. We were doing just that as we rounded a bend in the road and a red barn came into sight. It was trim and bright and pretty as a picture. It made my heart do a little dance.

Me: You know what makes me happy? Red barns.
Him: We’ll get two.

2. I went outside to feed, water, and deadhead plants yesterday morning. I had just spent an hour in the backyard, and I was on a roll. As I settled in on the front porch, I heard a misplaced yet oh-so familiar tinkling sound. I got up, head tilted, and hopped off the porch. Brain going Mach 2, I rounded the shrubs and laid eyes on this:

 

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I can’t be certain, but my best guess is that she’d been out there for two hours, basking in the sunshine and surveying her kingdom. A little girl was riding back and forth, back and forth on a too-big bike while singing a sweet little made-up song, and I’m so happy my girl was there to keep an eye on her.

(I’m also happy that a deer didn’t happen by.)

3. I got up early this morning, slammed a cup of joe, laced up my sneakers, and took my car in for routine maintenance. Then I ran home. Three miles. Uphill. From elevation 5,946 to elevation 6,260. (translation: no oxygen)

So why on earth would this make me happy?
Welllll, let me count the ways:

1. I was happy because it was 65 and not 90 degrees.
2. I was happy because I had sneaked out of the house and could run without waiting around for sniffing and peeing and rabbit-stalking.
3. I was happy because I was DONE.

4. Lists. Somewhere in the recesses of my skittery brain, I remembered writing about lists. I did a search and, among five posts about lists, found this:

Random….Uh, What Day Is It?

Reading it made me happy. Reading the comments made me even happier.

5. When I started thinking about lists, back before I hopped down the list-post bunny trail, this was why.

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This week’s list. On Thursday.

Happy!

(Sure, there are things not listed, and sure, there are things that will be added, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?)

6. Lip balm makes me happy. I’ve never been much of a lipstick girl. I’m not opposed to color, but something about the texture of lipstick makes me feel hemmed in. Buttoned up. It’s too much responsibility. Or something.

Lip balm, on the other hand. It wouldn’t take much to tip me over into the category of lip balm hoarder. Lip Balm addict. My favorite of all time is Origins Lip Tint in Organic Plum, which the organic jerks have quit making. In my hunt to replace it, I have tried all of the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm flavors/colors. I have a Sonia Kashuk lip balm (I can’t tell you the color without reading glasses, and I can tell you that ain’t gonna happen), and a Neutrogena lip balm in Sunny Berry. My color-free favorites include good ‘ol Chapstick, Peppermint Chapstick, a couple from Goat’s Milk Stuff, and a newly purchased and perfectly lovely tube of Portland Bee Balm (also in peppermint).

I may or may not be wearing one or several of them right. now. And you know what? I’m happy!

7. I got a StitchFix package in the mail today. Do you know this StitchFix? It’s pretty fun, and I think I’ve kept one of five items in each of the four packages they’ve sent. Today, the hands-down winner was a geometric print maxi dress in bright, summery colors. I liked it so much that I put it on to run errands with the Monkey. I felt sassy, and for once in my yoga-pant life, put together. A good outfit, it just does something for a girl. It changes the attitude. It lifts the spirits. It causes one to stroll into Starbucks with her head held high (instead of skulking through the drive-through in shaded glasses and a ballcap), smile beamingly at the barista, and turn to graciously accept the compliment of a perfect stranger…

who actually stopped by to let you know the price tags were still attached and hanging there for all to see.

Happy? Good. I aim to please!

 

 

 

Random Thursday: Stop. Mollytime.

1. We all know that Molly Sue is livin’ the life, so I thought I’d paint a little day-in-the-life word-picture (and picture-picture) for you. Ready?

Ready.

2. FIRST THINGS FIRST

When I open my bedroom door at the ungodly (yes.it is.) hour of six, Molly is doing her sphinx impersonation. There is such an urgent look about her that if you didn’t know better, you would think she was desperate for a patch of grass out back. I do know better, so I greet her and assume the position.

The position?

Sumo.

I squat, legs wide and toes angled out, as Molly rolls over on her side. She heaves a trademark sigh and I commence with the early-morning belly rub. I rub and stretch and whisper sweet nothings to my good dog until my inner thighs can take no more.

3. BREAKFAST!

We trot down the stairs side by side and fall into the next phase of our morning routine, which brings to mind my grandfather wandering into my grandmother’s clean kitchen for the pure joy of being chased back out.

Molly sits up.
I give her a “Seriously?” look.
She hangs her head but stands her ground.
She makes me say it. Every single day, she makes me say it.
“Molly, it’s not time yet.”

Head low, she mopes to her bed and flops dramatically. SIGH.

I fumble with the kettle, grind the beans, inhale deeply and decide to live another day. I pivot.

She’s sitting up.
I roll my eyes and shake my head.
She mopes and flops and siiiiighs.

We repeat this until 7:00, when I have to tell her to sit up. She looks at me disbelievingly. I make big eyes and tell her again.

“Sitttt. Up.”

4. HUNTRESS

In Virginia it was squirrels. In Colorado, bunnies.

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5. When the various neighbors catch her stalking bunnies through their yards, we console them with the news that she’s never actually caught one.

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Until, of course, she did.

6. THE ‘W’ WORD

Don’t say it unless you mean it. And by mean it, I mean you’re ready to g-o, shoes on and leash in hand. Otherwise you’re bound to trip over Miss Now?Now?Now?? sixteen times as you gather your shoes and jacket, smear on Chapstick, and search desperately for the infernal keys/leash/doggie bag. Should you accidentally whisper the ‘W’ word before you’re stepping over the threshold, you can tell her to SIT. STAY. but every blessed time you turn around she’ll be sitting and staying in your immediate path and looking for all the world like Oliver Twist begging for gruel.

6. TRAIL DOG

This. This is what makes it all worthwhile.

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7. WHERE’S MY PUP!?

Every now and then I’ll stop and survey the landscape. The real treat is to catch Molly sussing out the bunnies’ hidey holes, because she bounds between shrubs and grasses, grinning all the while. Sometimes, though, I can’t spot her. I put hand to brow like Gilligan and survey the landscape.

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I call out, “Molly Sue!!!”

And again, “Molly SUUUUUUUEEEEEEEE!!!!”

Suddenly, where there was no pup..

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..there’s my happy, happy girl!

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She’s running straight into my arms!

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She loves me so! I am her human, and she is my good dog! Boon companions ever, nothing can keep us apart!

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Until she spots another bunny..

Random Thursday: Rusty Procrastinator Edition

1. So it’s been a few Thursdays since I randomed it up for all y’all. I’m feeling a bit rusty in the writing department. Writing is like exercise: when you’re on, you’re on. Conversely, when you don’t work your muscles, they atrophy. When your muscles atrophy, your butt gets big, I mean, inertia sets in, and so does fear. Both are hard to overcome, but fear might be the more difficult of the two.

I speak from a place of experience.

2. As we all know, I am a Master Procrastinator. It’s true. I used to bemoan my outcast state (name that sonnet), until the day the question was proposed at a writers’ conference and the entire auditorium rose to their feet.

I’d found my people!

Seriously, Google “Are Writers Procrastinators?” and you’ll come up with nearly 9,000,000 hits.

Procrastinators rule!

3. What was my point?

4. In an effort to deal with the exercise inertia (ahem), I agreed to run the BolderBoulder 10k on Memorial Day with Chris. Talk about fear. Talk about an example of procrastination biting you (me!) on the hiney. Talk about decisions that seem insignificant on the life-event scale when you make them, but then cause you to wake repeatedly in a cold sweat…

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5. Procrastination doesn’t always bite me on the hiney. Many times, it works in my favor. Many times, dare I say, the Mother Ship herself provides me with positive reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement (n): the offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future.

Example: Tuesday is garbage day. I knew the very full can needed to be taken out to the curb. But it was cold. And windy like you read about. When I heard the rumble of the garbage truck I raced to the front door only to see it exiting the neighborhood. “You had one job!” I told myself as I slumped against the open door.

And then it happened. No fewer than seven empty garbage cans blew down the street like so much tumbleweed.

Procrastinators rule!

6. Molly has been running with me. We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that borders dedicated Open Space. The established trails on that space form two large loops, which, when combined, equal about 1.5 miles of varied terrain (according to the track coach, but I swear it’s more like 5). Molly and I are daily visitors. I slog up and down hills as she takes every opportunity to sniff, explore, and chase rabbits while periodically doubling back to check that I’m still breathing.

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7. In an effort to deal with the writing inertia, I procrastinated. I procrastinated the writing of several final papers and an extensive treatment plan required to complete the Master Clinical Herbalist program. As a result, I wrote them all in one day, under extreme duress and with exceedingly sweaty armpits. As a result of that, I think I worked the rust out.

See? Procrastinators rule!

Random Thursday

1. It’s Random Thursday 33! Whaaat?

I have a theory. I think that 33 is the number of Randoms with no subtitle. I think that when they have a random subtitle they get classified differently.

I had a subtitle in mind. I started typing it in but then I thought up my theory and had to test it. It wasn’t exactly a double-blind experiment, but for the purposes of this particular theory, I believe that’s okay.

In answer to your question, no. I no longer have any idea what that subtitle might have been.

2. In my wee little brain, there are rattling around numerous unfinished posts. Some of those I need to hold onto, but others are best used here, where they will (at least) get some oxygen, and (at most) entertain you. One of those posts bears the following title:

BLAME IT ON DOWNTON ABBEY

and goes on to detail (although the details are murky, hence the ‘unfinished’) the epidemic use of the word “very.” In my head, this post tells about how every time I read that someone is “so very glad” or “so very sad” or “so very fill-in-the-blank” my reading voice switches immediately to that of Lady Mary.

And I giggle.

3. One of the greatest problems the military wife will ever face is finding a new hairdresser.

Yeah yeah, our husbands deploy. That’s hard and all. But they are still our husband while they’re gone. Our hairdressers, on the other hand, cease being our hairdressers when we relocate.

Oh. My. Heart.

(OMM, puh-lease don’t report me to one of those hateful military spouse-haters Facebook pages. It’s satire, people. Geez.)

But seriously. Hairdresser/hairdresee relationships are not a dime a dozen. They don’t manifest themselves out of the clear flipping blue like…like teenage love in the months leading up to prom. They are rare and magical happenings the likes of which Nicholas Sparks can only dream. They are hard won, and forged in the fire of absolute dependence.

When one must leave her beloved to brave a new path, heart broken and mane amok, she will survey the bleak landscape with nary a hope that there might be another spirit akin to the one from which she has been torn. It can takes weeks, nay, months, to secure a new and satisfactory union.

It is, dare I say, so very trying.

4. I had planned to write this earlier today. Not early, earlier. (Duh)

(Aside) I could write a hundred thousand unique posts on my epic and daily battles with early.

Before I could write, some things had to happen.

A. Coffee
B. This:

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5. And then it was time for the girlie rigamarole so that I could go do this:

(Aside) I could write one single post on how I resent the time that must be spent on the girlie rigamarole.

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This. This is what my heart needed today. A trusted friend from days gone by (Germany 2004) and her precious little tutu girl. When she crawled up on my lap (the tutu girl, not the friend), I understood what happened to the Grinch’s heart. Mine was simultaneously two sizes larger and ten pounds lighter.

This. This is grace.

Happy Birthday Month, Lyndi Sue!

6. See #5 and then see # 3.

I am now in my tenth month of Colorado residency. TEN. MONTHS. I have spent ten long months looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many..hairdressers. My last cut, which took place just days before Thanksgiving, was in South Dakota. It was a good haircut, too. The best I’d had in all the time I’ve been wandering aimlessly through this desert. The one before that had me seriously considering homicide. It was that bad. Now I’m too afraid to get back up on the ol’ horse, so to speak.

Pray for me.

7. When all the boys were home for Christmas, I took my new lens out to photograph a basketball game. I got down in the grass and tried (and tried) to frame the game with the yard flag bearing a red and green wreath surrounding the first letter of the family name. Because how cool would that be? I sat there, and then lay there, in the dead, scratchy grass for forever, trying to get a shot with all four males, the basketball, some action, and the dang yard flag.

I was about to keel over with despair when somebody sensed my pain and wandered over to help me out. My favorite child plopped down right in front of my camera lens, and proceeded to give me her best poses.

 

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Forget the boys, I’ve got this.

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This is my thoughtful pose.

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And this one is shy.

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This is either, “It’s such hard work to be a model” or, “Man, do those boys stink!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thursday

1. -There are five update notices pestering me from the top of this page.
-There are 2,929 comments awaiting my approval. (Most of them for Viagra/Tramadol/Gucci purses.)
-Every Random Thursday post says it’s random-thursday-32.
-The mobile version of this website is ridiculously ridiculous.
-There are 1,529 unread emails in my work account. (Although to be truthful, I mostly keep them there to make the Wonder Hub twitch on the rare occasion he glances over my shoulder and sees them.)

2. In other news, I made this fabulous dairy-free hot chocolate this afternoon. It reminded me of the hot chocolate we had in Milan on Thanksgiving of 2004. It was quite a bit of work, considering I had packets of Swiss Miss in the cupboard, but it was more fun than, say, trying to conquer my various technology woes.

That hot chocolate, the hot chocolate in Milan, was the best hot chocolate in the whole, wide world. This one, the dairy-free hot chocolate, is a fair second.

3. Remember the socks and underwear debacle? Well, since having that little conversation, we have moved. Moving presented the perfect opportunity to readdress the situation. To fix it once and for all. To overcome. (cue Mandisa)

So I stood in front of my dresser and thought it through. After a relatively short period of time, a lightbulb went off. (On?)

Socks. And underwear.

Socks.
Underwear.

Right? It totally makes sense! So now..I’m batting a thousand. I stand in front of my dresser and say to myself, Socks…and underwear before opening that top drawer, and thinking..

Who puts on socks before they’re wearing underwear??*

4. Molly Sue the Timid Rescue Pup has come into her own. Her journey started several years ago with the Foot Stomp, a move during which she would (and will) place herself directly in my line of vision and stomp her left foot periodically, generally meaning, “Take me for a walk!”

Next came the Woof?  I applauded the Woof? because, quite frankly, a dog who will sit patiently outside the sliding glass door, rain or shine, waiting for someone to remember she’s out there, is cause for a lot of guilt.

(Aside) I’m going to talk about guilt in random point number five, so please kindly pretend that Molly-guilt is the segue.

Segue: (n) an uninterrupted transition from one piece of music or film scene to another.

Next came the Dinner Time Stalk, which, while demonstrating growth in the area of self-advocacy, still rates fairly high on the passive-aggressive scale.

Tonight, though. Tonight our girl came full-circle. She’s self-actualized! It’s been a long, hard road, but check out what she did at 6:01pm.

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5. I had a massage today. It was brilliant. It was glorious! It was lovely, in the loveliest possible way.

I also had guilt today (remember: segue), which is ridiculous. Who feels guilty for taking care of herself? Who, when her neck’s mobility is reduced to, say, ten percent, feels actual guilt over doing something to regain the capacity to safely check her car’s blind spot?**

6. I love commas. In my opinion, a sentence can hardly have too many commas. A professor attempted to take me to task for this once, but my retort stopped her in her tracks. She even, dare I say, offered up her grudging approval. It was one of those brilliant moments I will remember forever and always for being one of fewer than a handful of times I came up with the brilliant retort immediately, instead of two hours later.

Do you do this? Do you replay a conversation in your head long after it does you any good to replay the conversation, and do you, at this late hour, come up with the most brilliant responses ever to be never heard by another human?***

7. The response? It went like this:

“Well, Dr. So-and-So, one might say that my writing is somewhat Dickensian.”

Right!? Because who could put together a sentence with more commas than Charles Dickens himself? And more importantly, what British Lit prof worth her salt is going to criticize Mr. Dickens?

 

 

*Rhetorical question, people. Please don’t tell me the order in which you put on your undergarments.

**Not a rhetorical question. Please answer.

***Please say yes.

Random Thursday: Will You Take Five Instead of Seven? Edition

1. Before we left Germany (2005. Wah.), I purchased a set of 12 Coca Cola glasses from Gianni, the purveyor (purveyor? note to self: look up definition of purveyor) of our favorite Italian restaurant. I wanted them because they say “Trink Coca Cola,” and I wanted mementos of every single thing in Europe. Don’t tell the Wonder Hub, but I think they are one of my most favorite mementos from our time there. (note to self: write post about favorite mementos from time in Germany) I think I paid Gianni all of twelve Euro for them.

So the other day, I was drinking my daily glass of water (Ha. But kind of not.) from one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses whilst (note to self: use cool words like whilst more often) tidying the kitchen. I set my glass on top of a hand towel so I could wipe down countertops, and forgot that I had set one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses on top of a hand towel and so grabbed the hand towel to dry the countertops, and then watched in horror as one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses went spinning and flying and shattering to its death.

Did I mention that out of twelve Trink Coca Cola glasses, there were only four remaining?

So yeah. I spent the better part of 30 minutes kicking myself while sweeping and vacuuming and dusting and mopping shards of my poor, beloved, dearly-departed, Trink Coca Cola glass from a three-county radius, and when I stepped back to survey my kingdom, I thought, “Man, am I thirsty,” and spent the better part of five minutes searching for my Trink Coca Cola glass of water.

2. The coffee cup shot. The one from the Birthday Month post? The whole point was to capture the steam coming off the coffee. The problem was this: books, socks discarded midway through the night, random and sundry hoodies strewn about in the background of the picture. I wanted to keep it real and all, so I scooched them out of the frame one by one, until, well, you were given the impression that my bedroom is, uh, something it’s not. And I’m sorry for that. I’m very, very sorry.

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But not as sorry as I was to drink less than scorching-hot coffee.

3. A month or so back I was at my local library. It’s a nice one, with nice librarians. (note to self: write a post about all your libraries/cards/librarians) So I’m there. It’s nearly closing time. I’m racing through the stacks, looking for, a) authors I like, b) titles that speak to my soul, and c) eye-catching book jackets. (note to self: write a post about book jackets) (note to self: write about new book-reading philosophy) When I leave the library, it is with the last librarian, the one with the door key. (note to readers: how cool would it be to have the key to the library???) I have seven books. The last two were grabbed based solely on their pink and green covers, which remind me of leg warmers I had in the very early 80s.

Man, I loved those leg warmers.

Several nights later, I’m in bed and reach for a book. It’s pink. 80s pink. The author is Laura DiSilverio, and the little blurb on the back compares it to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I’m intrigued. I begin, and other than a bewildering capitalization of the word Dumpster (twice!), it’s good enough to keep reading. So I do. The thing I find most interesting is that it is set in Colorado Springs, a city in which I lived for more than ten years of my young-adulthood (note to readers: I had a particularly long young-adulthood), before the Wonder Hub married me and whisked me off to Germany. When the protagonist describes her office, I know precisely where in the city she is. When she takes off to interview witnesses, I know her route, the landscape, the socioeconomic implications of where those witnesses live. It’s fascinating.

But wait. It gets better.

At the end of the workday, Private Investigator Charlie Swift heads home. I’m cruising along with her, brain on autopilot, until she mentions a restaurant that rings a bell. And wait. That road..

Tudor Rd.

I know that road!

PI Swift pulls into her drive on Tudor Road, and before long is sharing a beer (a scotch?) on the back deck with her friend (and possible love interest?) Dan. Father Dan is priest at Saint Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church and lives in the rectory next door to Charlie.

I know that church!

I know that rectory!

I used to live in that rectory!

4. Early in my wayward 20s, my friend Courteney’s wonderful parents took me in. Courteney and I lived with them in the basement of the rectory of St. Mike’s for about a year, during which time I learned the beauty of the Episcopalian liturgy, that Episcopal priests drink (gasp!), and quite a lot about repartee from the members of Courteney’s very witty family.

They were good to me. I am thankful.

5. I think a lot about legacy. I want to leave a good one. I think about legacies that others have left. I think about Frank Sinatra and wonder about, “My Way” as a legacy. I do many things my way, but I’d rather be remembered for the things over which I gave up my way. Things I did for the good of others, especially when it would have been easier (and more fun) to do it my way.

I was thinking about John Newton, who wrote the poem, “Amazing Grace,” and William Walker, who set it to music 56 years later. Talk about a legacy!

“Amazing Grace,” in its original form, is estimated to be sung more than ten million times per year.

Chris Tomlin “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Todd Agnew “Grace Like Rain”

Phil Wickham “This is Amazing Grace”

That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave. No, not one that involves singing (note to self: write about the Klasi Family Singers), and you’re welcome for that. One that encourages. One that lifts up. One that points you toward the source of Amazing Grace.

 

 

 

Random Thursday: Back in the Saddle Edition

1. Well, hello there. It’s been nine months and two days since last we met. Quite a lot has happened in that time.

During my absence, I have:

-left my home in Virginia.

-spent months separated from my beloved WH*.

-spent more than four months in relative homelessness.

-slept in no fewer than 14 different beds.

-laughed and cried, mourned and rejoiced.

-been debilitated by depression, and succumbed to fits of hysterical laughter.

-grown.

-come to a new understanding of John 16:33, and I Peter 1:5-7.

2. Colorado is my new home, and although I have lived here before (and actually, spent more of my adult (term used loosely) years in this state than in any other), it has taken much adjusting. Because of the prolonged bout of homelessness and the myriad difficult circumstances surrounding this move, I did not even begin to grieve for all I left behind until just recently, when the Aspens began turning and my heart ached for the unrivaled beauty of the Virginia landscape in autumn.

(Aside: the unrivaled beauty of the Virginia landscape in autumn is the steadfast Virginian’s reward for surviving the unrivaled misery of a Virginia summer. That, I do not miss.)

My lovely marina. I miss it so.

My lovely marina. I miss it so.

My lovely path, I miss it so.

My lovely path, I miss it so.

 

3. Colorado, though. Colorado has an entirely different kind of beauty.

Vail, seen from Red Sandstone Trail

Vail, seen from Red Sandstone Trail

Pikes Peak, seen from Devil's Head Fire Tower Lookout in the Pike National Forest

Pikes Peak, seen from Devil’s Head Fire Tower Lookout in the Pike National Forest

 

Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail

Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail

 

A Boy and His Dog, on Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail.

A Boy and His Dog, on Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail.

The beauty of this landscape serves to remind me that life is filled with both dark and light, pain and joy, mourning and rejoicing. Life has been hard these last months, so hard that there were times I thought the darkness would swallow me whole. Even in the midst of that, on the dark days when I could clearly hear Job’s wife telling him, “Curse God and die!” there was always light. There were always moments of joy. There was always cause to hope, and therefore, to perservere.

4. When I fell off the face of the planet back in January, I told myself that I just had to get through this.

I thought God would bring me through this, and then I would tell you all about it. You know, like, “Hey! I’ve been through the fire, but now I’m out! Let me tell you what God did!”

(deep breath)

Instead, I’ll be telling you what God is doing in the midst of the fire.

5. Yesterday, He did this:

 

Photo Shoot!

Photo Shoot!

 

6. I want you to know that I’m still fundamentally Karen. Let me demonstrate.

Molly Sue had an appointment with her new vet today, so I threw on some clothing that might fool her (the vet, not the dog) into thinking I am a functioning member of society, and raced out the door. Then I raced back in, grabbed the dog, and headed to where I was absolutely certain the new vet’s office was. Only it wasn’t. So of course we were late, which is the ridiculous and never-ending story of my life. I apologized profusely, and then apologized profusely again when asked for Molly’s medical records, the one thing I had been told to bring. Things went more or less smoothly after that, with the exception of the scale, which seemed to run about five pounds heavy (much like mine at home) and the glare I received as Molly got the shot I promised her she wouldn’t be getting, and the purse I couldn’t find anywhere when it was time to pay the bill.

I headed for home, thinking that no one, no one understands how hard it is to be me.

And then I realized I was wearing just one largish, dangly earring.

7. I do realize I haven’t actually told you anything. I promise I’m not pulling a high school drama queen move on you. It’s just that while I know I want to bring you with me on this journey, I haven’t exactly figured out the right way to do it. The story isn’t all mine to tell, and discretion is the better part of valor, or something like that. I hope you’ll be patient with me. I hope you’ll come along. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when God is involved, it’s bound to be EPIC.

 

 

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

I Peter 1:5-7 “You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (HCSB)

*Separated, as in I moved to CO ahead of him, not separated as in separated.

Random Thursday: I’m Still Random Edition

1. How do you handle socks and underwear? Do yours live in a shared drawer or do they each have their own? Do you fold or stuff?

I need to know.

Since we move fairly often, I’ve had many opportunities for reassessment in the socks and underwear department. Yet, we’ve been in this home for over four years (light years for a military family), and every single day (or, you know, every day that I bothered to shower), I have opened the sock drawer when I wanted the underwear drawer, and vice versa. Last year I got so fed up with the whole deal that I switched the drawers.

In answer to your question: NO.

2. I asked for this for Christmas. Nobody got it for me, so I ordered it myself.

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The categories for any given week are:

Things I have to do but that can wait a day, or two, or three..
Small things I have to do before I can do the big things I have to do
Things I absolutely have to do unless I absolutely don’t want to do them
Things people have been bugging me to do for a really long time

It makes me giggle. It’s pretty much like this Mark Asher person read my mind, and it totally works for me. Which pretty much makes me totally happy.

3. After returning three different pairs of (birthday) boots, this is the pair I finally decided on.

 

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Aren’t they pretty? I really, really, really love them. They are, officially, the highest heel I own…and I might need a wee bit of instruction on how to walk in them.

4. Molly and I were running errands last week.

 

734851_10200229596971738_391979591_nAs we were waiting at the world’s longest stoplight, I looked back and noticed her ears in the rearview window. Seeing her ears made me think of that “God is my co-pilot” bumper sticker, and then of the one that said, “Dog is my co-pilot.” I pretty much cracked myself up thinking about that bumper sticker, so I snapped this picture and posted it on Facebook.

As I am wont to do, I immediately began second-guessed myself, like this: Really, Karen, it’s not like “God is my co-pilot” is scripture. It’s not like I’m twisting the Bible, for Pete’s sake. Besides, it’s funny! Molly is my co-pilot. She is! And seriously, every time I have relegated God to the position of co-pilot, I have crashed and burned. Surely people will get it. Won’t they? Surely they’ll realize how hilarious I am. 

And seriously, why can’t Christians just grow themselves a sense of humor??

And then Fran liked the post, and all was well.

5. I have these designations for foods I will and won’t eat. It’s complicated enough to be its own post, er, book. For example: candy bars. A full-sized Snickers bar? I’m on it. A fun-size Snickers bar? Count me in. One of those dumb little Snickers Miniatures? Fuhgeddaboudit. The ratios are all wrong. I’ve pondered this for some time, and I think there are too many peanuts and not enough chocolate. The result is that even though it’s just that little bite, it’s not worth the calories.

Who’s with me on this?

6. Do you have fat underwear? You know, like fat jeans?

I need to know.

7. My BFF posted a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto yesterday, and the most desperate need came over me.

 

DSC00780I had to make it, and the sooner the better. I started prepping the squash (impatient girl style, subbing butcher knife for veg peeler) with plans to bat my eyelashes at the Wonder Hub while asking him to make an Arborio Rice run. When he walked in the door, the squash and onions were all but done. The house smelled divine. I packed him off quickly, after both texting him the ingredient AND making him look at the spelling. He called ten minutes later. He couldn’t find it anywhere. I talked him through it. Still nothing. I signed off, frustrated. Ten minutes later, he called back. The manager had confirmed that the store has discontinued it.

Jerks.

I didn’t have the heart to make him go to another store, so I surveyed the kitchen. I had…squash, and onions. And a smallish temper tantrum.

For dinner we had Red Baron pizza. (And maybe one more tantrum.)

7.5. Tonight, though. Tonight I made sure I had all the ingredients. Tonight we had this:

 

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(And by we, I mean me, because after my first two bowls, I hid the rest in the back of the fridge.)

Amen.

Random Thursday: Happy New Year Edition

1. For two solid years, I daily hounded the Monkey to practice his saxophone. I threatened, I yelled. I employed other (insane and unproductive), non-Love & Logic-approved parenting tactics. This saxophone, the one he begged us to play, certain that girls would swoon every time he picked it up, became my nemesis. It was a rented saxophone, which in the end, I returned to the music store and paid some outrageous extortionist’s fee for them to take off my hands early. In the end, I think he learned to play all of three notes on that stupid thing.

Even thinking about that saxophone increases my heart rate.

So on the 30th of December, some 1.5 years after the end of Sax Era, out of the wild, random blue, the child in question says this:

“You know why I didn’t ever practice my saxophone? You know that thing, that thing that goes in your mouth? That wooden thing? Every time I put that thing in my mouth, I felt like I was hearing fingernails screech down a chalkboard.” And after a considerable, thoughtful pause, “I don’t know why I never told you that.”

2. Despite my rebellion in regard to New Year postings, I can’t stop thinking about the whole resolution thing. For years, I resolved not to make any. For some time after that, I just cut-and-pasted the same ones. They looked like this:

1) Be nicer (especially to my long-suffering husband).
2) Give my time, I think it’s the greatest gift.
3) Love more. Especially my family and friends. We’re all desperate for it, so why not do my part to fill up those around me?
4) WRITE.
5) Figure out how to get to know God. I have this sense that I’m forever on the edge of something really BIG with Him, but that I hold out because I’m scared or lazy or stuck in my spiritual inertia. He is so huge, so endless, so fascinating, and yet here I sit, content with taking Him in my teeny-tiny comfortable doses.

3. This year, I’ve been wavering between two possible approaches to the whole resolution dilemma. Bobbi’s pastor encouraged her to make a three-pronged resolution, like this:

1) What are you going to keep?

2) What are you going to let go?

3) What are you going to take on?

4. The other idea came from a post over at SheLoves/Magazine. In it, the author talks about what led her to ditch the New Year’s Resolution and grasp just one word that,

“..sums up who I want to be, or a character trait I want to develop, or an attribute I want to intentionally add to my life.”

I just now quit wavering. I’m going to do both these things. As they are very much not random, we will have to revisit them again in a different post. In the meantime, think about whether either (or both) of these hold any value for your life. If so, perhaps you’ll join me.

5. This morning, a friend tweeted a picture of her dog looking out the window. The caption was Looking for Squirrels.

“That’s a great title for a blog post,” I thought. “I wonder if I looked for them (the squirrels, the distractions) if they would be less likely to come into my peripheral vision out of nowhere and set my brain off on a wild squirrel chase?”

Which made me remember what I heard at a writer’s conference once. This author suggested writing down everything, ever-y-thing I needed to do, or think about, or tend to, before sitting down to write. She didn’t recommend actually doing them, but rather transferring them from my brain to a sheet of paper as a way of clearing my mind before beginning to write.

Or maybe it was a He, and it was in a sermon. Maybe it was something to do before I pray, as a way to clear my mind of everything that so (so) easily distracts me from the important business of spending quality time with my God.

Look at that. That, my friends, is what I call two-for-one advice. Either way you look at it, it works!

Don’t say I never taught you anything on a Thursday.

5. Yes, I know it is now Friday. For those of you new to this deal, let me reiterate. Random Thursday does not necessarily happen on Thursday. (See: note on squirrels)

It’s Friday! It’s Friday, and at my house it is Christmas Eve! I can’t wait! Tonight, we will gather together. We will eat our traditional Mexican Fiesta. We will read the Christmas Story. We will open our Christmas Jammies. We will do other things worthy of Capital Letters. We will shake boxes and squeeze packages. We will laugh, and tease, and soak up the moments. The together moments. The, “For God so loved the world” moments.

Have I mentioned that I can’t wait?

I can’t!

7. One of the things I will do this weekend is try to talk the teenagers (and the newly minted young adult, sigh) into recreating this photo from Christmas morning, 2008.

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(Don’t tell me you find it surprising that the date was set incorrectly on my camera.)

Do you think they’ll do it? Let’s take bets. I bet I can get them to do it. Withholding food may be necessary, but I’m not above it.

I would like very much to recreate this photo (circa March, 2009), too.

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(Do you notice anything similar in the two photos?)

Unfortunately, there is zero percent chance of snow (or any precip) over the next several days.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

 

Random Thursday: Last Thursday in 2012 Edition

1. On the first day of December, I couldn’t zip up my favorite jeans. On that day, I lamented having been born in the Eating Month. What I realize now, on this 27th day of December, in the year of our Lord 2012, even as I am struggling to take a full breath while wedged into my largest-sized jeans, is that I was born in the month that is the warm-up to the Eating Month.

It’s been really, really fun. And it’s not even over yet.

2. We are celebrating Christmas (the present-giving/opening part) on the first weekend of January. In a blended family, these things happen. I remember back, waaay back, when we started this whole blended gig, how hard it was to give up the boys–for the weekend, for the summer, for a holiday. I felt cheated. I felt like my life was on hold, my family was torn asunder. I was stingy, and selfish, and ridiculously Karen-centric.

I see things differently now. I see the blessing of their presence in my life. I see, and understand, and acknowledge that they have been given to me for a time, as a gift. I want to soak up the minutes, the hours, the days with them. I want to make them count. Above all, I know (while still requiring the occasional reminder) that it is not about me. Okay, so perhaps a small part of it is about me, but it is largely, overwhelmingly (unfortunately) NOT.

3. The Wonder Hub just called me Karen Sue. He does that when I’m in trouble. Karen Sue is my name, so it’s okay. We call Molly, Molly Sue when she’s in trouble, too. Molly Sue is her name. The Wonder Hub is fond of saying that all the girls in our family are named after the original Sue.

I miss the original Sue.

A LOT.

4. I just realized that the original Sue would get a kick out of me realizing that it’s not all about me. She used to tell me that often when I was a teenager.

Mom: Karen, the world does not revolve around you!
Me: Well if it doesn’t, it should!

Carey attempted to share this little story with Moose one time, but I cut her down with my Evil Death Stare. Like he needs to run around wielding that little bit of information. Sheesh.

5. So I just had this picture of God pulling my mom aside and sharing the big news. “Sue! Get this! Karen has finally realized that the world doesn’t revolve around her!” They’re standing there, shoulder to shoulder, thick as thieves and chuckling to beat the band.

So glad I can provide the entertainment for you two!

6. We went to New York City for a few days over Christmas. The weather was very nice, with the exception of Christmas Eve. We walked to the restaurant in what the Monkey and I dubbed “smush,” a kind of snowy-slushy rain, but while we were waiting for the main course, we were treated to a few short minutes of a beautiful snowfall. I handed the Wonder Hub my phone to snap a pic. He did a nice job, don’t you think?

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7. It all went downhill from there.

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And now in reverse..

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Merry Christmas, y’all!