I love family. Yep, nothing like inheriting things like lumpy thighs, bunions, and straight eyelashes from all those funky relatives. And while those are all lovely things to share with your ancestors, today's favorite is my sore bum.
Like JD, today's post is gonna be all about how I do things so that you don't have to. And don't be bailing on me now, I need all the sympathy I can get.
Okay, maybe it's a little TMI, but I have a sore butt so you don't have to. And it's sore. Really sore. Like I can't sit down sore. Which makes working at a computer in an office a little, uh, uncomfortable to say the least.
I searched "sore butt" on Google and was convinced I am dying and that I don't have long left in this world. I would have sat on the couch and cried but it just hurts to much to sit. If I'm gonna die, apparently I'm gonna have to do it standing up.
I researched "colon cancer", "colorectal cancer", "rectum pain", "sore butt", "tender butt", "it hurts to sit"--among other creative combinations. I wasn't finding anything that really covered my sore bum problem, so I did what I do--I asked a couple of friends. Well, they all seem to think it is hemorrhoids, but I didn't believe it--it hurts wayyyy too much. I've seen those commercials for Preparation H, but they didn't say how much they hurt.
And then I called mom and she calmly told me that it's one of those great family inheritances. "Just sit in a hot bath and soak," she says like a sore butt is an every day occurrence, "and get some of those suppositories--they work wonders". And she went on telling me all about who had them in our family history, and when, and all that other hereditary crap.
Great. Why couldn't my family bequeath me something great and useful like a giant wad of cash or a mansion, or even a summer cottage on a solitary beach? Nope. They give me things like a painful bumps on my feet and hemorrhoids. That is my lot in life.
And to add insult to injury, I made an appointment with my doctor just to have this checked out (just in case I really am dying) and they tell me I have to go to the surgeon--the very handsome and witty surgeon that did my hernia surgery. Crud. Now I have to deal with McDreamy looking up my bum.
In the rocks by the pond. What were you thinking???
I love violas and their ability to bloom in the coolest of weather. They are the first ones up in the spring and the last ones giving up the ghost in late fall. Gotta love that. Okay, so they droop a bit in the heat of summer--so do I. I'm with them on not liking it too hot.
We're off to a concert this evening and dinner out with friends. Ted, the Wonder Kid, is playing with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and we're going to cheer him on. Nothing like a wicked piccolo solo to pack the car with G'ma Phyl, Ted's mom, Joe, me, the kids, and their pally, Linnea.
So, while we are chilling to some great tunes and snarfing down Mexican food, I hope you find some time for relaxation for yourself. Remember to breathe deep, my friends. Go see if there is a flower in your crack too. Those violas may surprise you.
Mrs. Dean's fourth grade class had nuthin' on my seventh grade class. Now that I look at it, I'm wondering what I did wrong to be sent to Thugs-R-Us Middle School. This is one scary class photo.
Let's start at the top, won't we:
Row 1: - Rockin' 7th grade teacher, Mr. O'Halloran. Who didn't have a crush on this dude? Brought his guitar to class and sang "Stairway to Heaven" nearly every day of my 7th grade year. Sigh. I heard he was busted for drugs years later. Wouldn't doubt it.
- Right next to him (arrgghh) was my friend, Barb. She was like the only other normal kid in this homeroom. I clung to her like a life preserver.
- Last girl in the row is Amy Kampka. Geesh, this girl was a BEYOTCH. Don't even ask me about the camping trip we took with her family--it was one step beyond hell. I heard she's dead now. But not from the camping trip.
Row 2: - Nothin' to say, these are just your everyday dorkamundos.
Row 3: - We're startin' out strong with cute me and my "shag" haircut. Snappy 'do, eh?
- We head towards the middle with Rob Lauciello (the little chub-ball) and end with Dave Wingo. He has an arm coming out of his head.
Row 4: - What is with the "Pat" in the middle? Who the hell is that??! Criminy, I don't remember him/her being in my class. That is one scary kid
- And I don't remember the last girl's name, but I remember her being very weird. She was embarrassed that she had to wear a bra, so she would put a t-shirt over her bra under her clothes. I only know this because the mean girls would point and laugh at her in the locker room at gym. And she also did the unthinkable -- she wore crew socks. Gasp! (Why do I remember this about her?) It was either knee socks or anklets back in the day, nobody wore crew socks--well, except her.
Row 5: - Check out the black dude in the middle! Yikes. Was that guy like 15 or what?? And he's so black, he hardly shows up. I remember his name was Dwayne and he was a fun guy. I just feel bad that they couldn't do a little Photoshop on 'ol Dwayne to adjust the contrast.
- Oh, right before Dwaye is Wendy Fox. She walked on her toes all the time.
Isn't it weird the stuff that you remember? I mean, I haven't seen this photo in years, but all these funky stories about these kids just come flooding back like it was yesterday. For some reason, I don't remember the names as much as in the earlier years, but I remember the weird stuff they did.
Sometimes, I like to lay in the grass with Hobbes, noticing big important things like ants and tiny flying bugs. Sometimes it's nice to just see how very white his whiskers are or how pink his nose is.
I like his perspective from this vantage point--it's all.... slower and makes the rest of the world seem less important. And that is good.
Hey, join me over at CardioGirl's place today, I'm the guest guru and Idiot Savant. For some reason, she thought I'd be a good go-to gal for answers to life's questions. Silly CardioGirl.
Hey, Hobbes fans.... There's a new blog for all of you who just love Stripey Goodness--it's called The Red Cat Society! It's all stripey, all the time. Who doesn't love that??
Anna (from Anna's Adornments) and I have bridged that wide ocean and combined forces to bring all the orange stripey kitties together in one blog. So, if you have an orange stripey, please join us, won't you?? You can email me or leave us a comment on the blog to let us know you are interested.
Helene, A.Marie, CardioGirl--here's your chance to overdose on Stripey Goodness!
There's another post today too---go scroll down....
Okay, so Post-it Note day is supposed to be Tuesday in the blog world, but I just got around to it on Wednesday. Is that a problem? I hope not because I've got a lot to say. Well, as much as I can squeeze onto a Post-It note anyway.
Not making that up, either.
You can tell it's spring when the shenanigans start.
Yep. Cool, eh?
Ahhhh, I feel better already. Thanks for letting me unload.
I was thinking that I probably should do my annual explain-what-the-heck-the-name-of-this-blog-is post one of these days. So I did--today. If you already know what it means, you can take the day off, but I figure some folks have no idea and might be wondering. Or not.
This was originally posted in January 2009 when I did a blog re-hab. I guess I'm due for that again one of these days, but I sorta like the look. Is there a moratorium on blog layouts? Gees, I hope not.
The True Story of Duck and Wheel With String
I've had a couple of people wonder recently what the heck the name of this blog is supposed to mean. I never really thought that readers would care, more or less ask, so it kind of caught me off guard. I explained for the first time the other day to Diana because she is going to design a new look for this place, and she thought it funny, so I guess I'll share. Prepare for boredom now.
I lovingly refer to the town I live in as "Weirdville". There are weird street names, weird houses, really weird additions to said houses that couldn't have possibly passed an inspection of any kind, and WEIRD people. Lots of them. There are weird mayors, weird trustees, weird politicians, weird firemen, and WEIRD policemen--one lives next door. Everything about Weirdville is weird, but it is relatively easy to live here (financially), so my coping mechanism is to maintain my sense of humor. And to hide out in my fenced-in yard and write this blog.
One of the weirdest thing about homes in Weirdville are the weird yards. I love to walk around the neighborhood looking at the weird sh*t (sorry, that's the only word I can use here) that residents put in their yards. There are giant 3-foot butterflies on trees, flocks and flocks of fake geese, a conastoga wagon on a 50 x 100 lot, garden gnomes by the millions, herds of fake deer, and flying pig wind socks. There are some really creative uni-bush (you know, the 10 bushes that have grown into one big bush) arrangements, odd landscaping, lack of landscaping, and plenty of cars on blocks in the driveway. There are cars parked on lawns, vegatables growing by the front door, and old tire flower gardens. I think you understand where the name "Weirdville" comes from.
One particular favorite yard is at the end of my street. I probably wouldn't notice it beyond all of the other weird yards except that there is a stop sign there, and I am forced to actually stop and look in that direction whenever I leave the subdivision. You can't help but see the yard sh*t. It's like I can't avoid it--it's the eye-magnet of junk.
But there it is--a small garden, marked off with timbers in a 4 x 4 square on the corner. In the back is a metal wagon wheel sunk into the ground about 4 inches. To the right of the wheel, just a tad in front, stands a white plastic duck with it's neck outstretched, looking for a way out, I think. In front of all of this loveliness are miscellaneous plantings--spring flowers, fall mums, "wildflowers" (aka: weeds) and some sticker bushes grown to distorted beauty. It is four season loveliness, as the colors change on the weeds/plants throughout the year. I never knew sticker bushes could possibly grow so tall, but thanks to these botanical gardens, I am offered new insight on the grow pattern of such weeds.
My typical sarcastic self just has to comment on this sight often, pointing out the vision lovingly referred to as "Duck and Wheel". "Ooooh, Duck and Wheel is in full bloom this morning" or "Uh oh, Duck and Wheel needs some rain today" or "Fall is coming, Duck and Wheel is starting to change colors".
The kids start chiming in, usually Em more than Col, because she is just like Mom--but sometimes better. "Wow. Look at Duck and Wheel in the snow, Mom!" she blurts out in passing. "Hey! You can hardly see Duck today, he's camouflaged by the weeds!" --it goes on and on.
One particular day, Em and I are driving by and she lets out an audible gasp. "Mom! It's PERFECT!" She's screaming now. A long piece of string had apparently been blowing around the 'hood and got wrapped around the wagon wheel. There it was, blowing in the wind--a perfect vision of yard sh*t heaven. It could not have looked worse, but there it was. From then on, that corner display was referred to "Duck and Wheel With String".
But what does that have to do with this blog, you ask? Why on earth would you use such a long-winded wacky name for your blog when you have to type that in a cabillion places in a single day? Well, other than the fact that I was told to pick something that nobody else would use (check), I think this blog is sorta like that garden. It's a place where anything can show up. It might be lovely, it might be icky, it might be ugly--who knows. Whatever is blowing by is fair game. Yeah, there might be weeds, but you know what, if you look close enough, there might be a couple of pretty flowers there too. I am, but the duck, standing proud amongst the junk--the queen of the little garden plot known as "the blog". It is a conglomeration of whatever happens to be that day, and like the corner "garden", beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
No, I don't have a photo of Duck and Wheel With String, but it's not for the lack of trying. I did try to snap a photo or two driving by, but I always felt guilty about it. What if they saw me and thought I was some weirdo (like there aren't enough of those around here)? I couldn't possibly walk down there with my camera--that would be just too obvious. I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings, I would rather just snicker behind their backs.
Duck and Wheel With String is gone now. It has been replaced by "Flower Bed", which is a metal headboard and footboard sunk over Wheel. There are dried up old mums in the middle to form the "bed" portion. Peeps are going literal now with their yard art. Duck has been moved over by the cement stairs next to "Duck With Flowers in the Hole in it's Back". I'm hoping for ducklings in the spring.
The other day, Em said to me that she felt we always gave Colin more attention. Okay, so that gig is older than the hills, but it still caught me off-guard.
"Really??" I asked her, "How so?"
"Well, I would lay in bed and feel bad when you would read 'Harry Potter' to Colin out loud in his room."
"Yeah, but I sent dad in to read 'Little House on the Prairie' to you--you were only 5 or 6 at the time. You were a little young for Harry Potter."
"Yeah, but I had Dad reading 'Little House on the Prairie'--not quite the same thing."
"Oh." I couldn't argue on that one.
Is there not a child who doesn't have these feelings at least once in their lives? I know I did and sometimes still do. My mom actually voiced this same feeling the other day--and she's....well....a grandma.
I always felt that the greatest gift to a child is a sibling. I mean, where else do you learn that you are not the center of the universe? There's lots of good and bad to having brothers and sisters, but I'm not sure anyone ever really gets over that competing for the attention of your parents. What is with that?
The other morning, Grace sat on my lap while I ate my breakfast. She was never allowed on the table and she just knew better than to ever put her back legs anywhere near the tabletop. Okay, she sat on there when I wasn't home--she just followed the rules and never went there when we were home.
After we lost our kitty Ruth and then our beloved Henry, things like sitting on the table just didn't matter anymore. Hobbes can sit on the kitchen counters, in the sink, and on the table and nobody blinks an eye. Life is just too short for things like that we've realized.
I moved Grace over to fill my coffee cup, and when I turned around, I saw that she had gotten brave enough to crawl up on the table. She sat there, blinking, wondering if she was gonna get it for being on the table.
"What do you think you are doing?" I asked her in a silly way.
To which she flopped down on her side and rolled all around the tablecloth. She somehow knew that if Hobbes was allowed, then so was she. She was no longer the "good" child--she was getting what she deserved--a good sit on the table. It took her 12 years to demand her rights.
I let her stay on the table. Ah, hell, it wasn't going to hurt anything. And I swear that cat was smiling.
While I am all excited that the weather is getting warmer and spring is coming and all, I still have to face this when I go out on the patio:
Yeah......no. Not so lovely this time of year, eh? Don't they sell this stuff at Panera to drink??
It will be a few weeks before we put the pump back in and get the waterfall flowing again--if I can wait that long. Although ponds are lovely and fun and all that stuff, they do require a bit of work and maintenance. We'll have to get the heater out, get the pump installed to move the water along, and add some bacteria to fight the algae bloom. It isn't until the water is well over 63 degrees before the fish go back in.
It's amazing how it can go from that to this in a matter of weeks.
I can't wait though. Once the pond is going, it is officially spring at our place.
Kitties are known for loving the sun. If there is a warm sunbeam anywhere in my house, I guarantee you, one of my two goofs is sitting in it. They wouldn't share it, of course, that would mean that they like each other-- and we can't have that.
So, like every other cat on this good green earth, Hobbes has a penchant for toasting his belly and soaking up some Vitamin D. And now that the temps have risen to a balmy 65 degrees, homeboy is getting his rays out in the garden.
But can he do it like a normal cat?
I mean, really. I looked out in the yard to check on him and found this at the perimeter:
CardioGirl's phone message app on her sidebar. It's pretty nifty and I thought about posting one myself until I heard the chicky on there saying they are canceling it come 3/31. The hell?! And oh, not only am I on there, but the kitties are as well. Go check out Grace making crank calls on CG's answering machine.
The idiot who nearly ran into me in the McDonaldland drive-thru a week or so ago--he was a tad distracted because he was trying to drive, make a phone call, AND eat an ice cream cone while he was turning into the busy street.
The racing stripes 'o scabs Grace has on her back leg. Apparently girlfriend is stressed out about something and has licked the back of her leg clean of any fur. Yeah, nice look.
The 4 hour trip to the National Cemetery for the military funeral. Okay, so the place was normally a 30 minute trip--add in that we are only allowed to go 45 mph behind a hearse and that makes the trip luggage-worthy.
Joe and I cracking up in the funeral procession on Monday. Yeah, it was embarrassing, but we were actually giggling about the funeral stickers flying off the Prius in front of us. I'm just thankful it was in front of us and not in back of us in light of things these days with Toyotas.
"Bountychrisemen"-- Which is Joe's way of wrapping up dinner prayers when he's really, really hungry. And you've got to see the kids' faces when he says this in all seriousness.
The miracle of bluetooth technology that has hit the Kautz house. Yeah, we are simple to entertain. We drive around in the new car, calling whoever is home, just so we can access that technology. We are officially losers.
A few years back we took a family vacation to Washington DC--one of my favorite trips. I think that this should be a requirement for every single American citizen, as your patriotism soars when you are there. You can't help it--it is hard not to feel pride for your country when you see the monuments dedicated to our soldiers, presidents and those who gave so much for our country. Here is the capitol of our country--how can you go there and not be proud?
And Arlington National Cemetery--geesh, that is just something. The Tomb of the Unknown, the changing of the guards, the rows and rows of graves--it is so absolutely beautiful, it is hard to describe. Pageantry and honor were the words of the day. Caring for our dead and celebrating their service was first and foremost, letting the world know what these men and women have done for our country.
My friend, George, was buried yesterday in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois. He was given the most incredible send off by the military that I was honored to be there. I didn't cry at the funeral or at the memorial service--it was the ceremony and the honoring of a veteran that did me in.
We drove up to a pavilion where 5 armed, uniformed veterans waited in attention. Two marines greeted the casket and saluted it as it was pushed to the front of the path. We were warmly welcomed and the ceremony began.
As the two marines flanked the flag-covered casket, George was given a 15-gun salute. Taps was then played by a honest-to-goodness bugler, to which I lost it. The beauty of that song and the pageantry was just too much--I was a goner. I could hardly see the casket and the saluting marines past my shriveled up kleenex.
As the song finished, the two marines saluted the casket again and slowly, methodically folded the flag that covered the casket. Such care was taken with that flag, and those two marines moved in unison without looking at the other. They folded and tucked--crisping the edges, making sure it was perfectly folded and then handed to one marine. He then walked over to George's wife, knelt down and presented her with the flag and 3 shell casings from the salute. He told her that the United States Government was grateful for his service and gave her the flag.
There wasn't a dry eye as the two marines saluted his casket for a final time as it was pushed from the pavilion.
Gees, it was lovely. It was an incredible service for a great guy--something that I don't think he knew he had coming. And if there is one regret, it is that George couldn't be there to see it. I was moved to tears by the pageantry and the honor in which they treated him.
I get in trouble--a lot. Or I should say, my mouth gets me in trouble a lot. Why does it feel the need to say everything that comes to my head? Or that that these thoughts even come to my head? And why did god give me that extra sarcasm gene to go along with that out-of-control mouth?? Gees, it's a dangerous combination.
I figured out today that I need a secret blog. One that doesn't show my picture or have my name. One that I can write the truly wicked thoughts I have about the wacky people I come across. I want to write freely without hurting feelings. I want to tell silly stories of the goofiness I witness and of the weird process of thinking some folks have. You know, all that stuff that is different from me that I think is bizarre, but truth be told, I think you'd find bizarre too.
I'm holding back today, I just want you to know. I've got some wackiness in that there brain of mine, going 'round like a Tilt-o-Whirl of madness. But I'm keeping that mouth and those fingers in check.
There are dirty jobs and then there are DIRTY jobs.
Uh, is there a way to notify all frogs that sneaking into the skimmer isn't such a great idea??
I noticed that there weren't many frogs coming to the surface this week of warm weather. When I don't see more than just one pair of beady eyes breaking the water's surface, I tend to get a little suspicious that there was a party going on in the skimmer again--and that party got a little out of hand. I had to do a skimmer check yesterday to be sure.
Seems like one crazy frog snuck into the pond skimmer this fall and that never ends good. Even though we close it off, I had one frog pally who thought he would outwit us and sneak back in for a good winter's sleep. Yeah.....no. The water freezes in there, pallies. Frozen water = death for froggies. And death for froggies = one icky job for me come spring.
Yeah, I was the lucky winner of the "Who died in the skimmer?" contest yesterday and because some people went to work (Joe), other people stayed home (me), I had to fish a carcass out of the skimmer. Ick. Ewwww. Ack. Double ack. Gag.
Frog count is officially at 3--one dead, tongue-sticking-out-of-his-mouth, smelly frog and two happy-to-have-spent-the-winter-in-the-deep-water-and-now-I-live-to-see-another-spring frogs enjoying the warm air.
I think I'm still missing two if I remember correctly. I'm hoping I don't find any more treasures lurking in that green murky water. Or maybe I'll just wait until Joe is home to check further.
The temperatures rose to 60 degrees yesterday and guess where that brings Hobbes? Yep, outside. That stripey boy loves nothing better than the freedom the cat door brings and the smell of spring in the breeze.
My friend George passed early Wednesday morning--in peace, with his family around him, and minutes into his birthday. I am not sad for his leaving, but instead enjoying my memories of him today.
The sun is shining, the air is warm, and the kitties are out in the grass. Life is good. Celebrate it.
It's been a crazy week at work this week because 1) it was a National Holiday on Monday--Irene's birthday and 2) performance reviews are due.
There are few people over the age of 10 who view their birthdays as National Holidays, and Irene is one of them. I'm glad it was her birthday and actually bought her a little gift to acknowledge it, but I didn't plan on an all day honoring of the occasion. Gees. Everyone was fussing and running over to hug her, while I had to sit there and smile, pretending that I wasn't jealous of all her attention. I hate when she's the favorite.
Well, you have to understand that on my birthday, they had the special cake and party on the day when I was off. Not kidding. Okay, so I work part-time and they didn't know when I'd be in, but couldn't they have asked me?? Ouch.
So, yeah, Monday was It's-Irene's-freaking-birthday-let's-celebrate-it-all-day Day. Ugh. I'm glad I only work to 2:00 each day, otherwise it would have been really irritating. Well, that and they had two different yummy cakes to celebrate her birthday, which made the whole event a little easier to swallow--no pun intended. I kinda forgave her after that.
Now that we got that out of the way, the performance reviews have been rolling into my email, which is always entertaining.
I help out with special projects in the HR department at work and one of my annual jobs is the collection of the performance reviews of the salaried employees. I keep track of whose we have received and are missing, if they are completed, and how well their goals have been achieved for bonus calculation. It is a ton of paperwork and I flip through them all without really paying any attention to anything more than the names, locations, and percentage amounts. Rarely do I read anything that is written because I just have to process so many.
Every so often, I do catch a glimpse of some odd things and then I giggle. I'm not even aware that I'm even reading these things or that I'm giggling to some of the comments. Irene lets me know that I'm chuckling out loud because I hear this:
"What's so funny?" I hear her over the cube wall.
"Self-esteem." I tell her. And I go on to explain how some over-confident nameless employee actually rated him/herself a Five X (XXXXX) in the "exceeds expectations" box. I mean, one X wasn't enough? You've actually got the nerve to do five X's??? I wonder if their boss agrees?
"Oh, I think I'm gonna use that next year" Irene says laughing.
"Yeah. Except you wouldn't be exaggerating, Irene. You are a XXXXX." I chuckle back.
I found the best one today, though--it read "I'm a pleasure to work with". I love that. Can you even imagine thinking that, more or less writing that about yourself on your review?? For your boss to read? Seriously. And is he/she truly a pleasure to work with?? I'm guessing he/she is the biggest pain in the ass in the office.
"Irene?" I call over.
"I am a pleasure to work with" I read it to her, cracking up.
"Yes. Yes, you are." She says back.
I love Irene. Have I mentioned that she is a XXXXX?
My friend is dying. He lies motionless and breathes slowly this very moment, waiting for God to take him home. I visited him for the last time last night, knowing that his time here is limited.
He fights death, wanting to go on his own terms and at his own time. He lies there, unconscious, but listening to his beloved cooking shows on TV. Somehow, I think Paula Deen is gonna see my good friend out of this earthly world, which makes me laugh--that is probably how he would want it anyway.
His faithful companion, Snickers, lies at his side, fighting death in her old age as well. Funny how we joked years ago that she would outlive us all, never knowing that it would come true for George. I whispered to George to take Snick with him--that he'd be doing her a favor to guide her past the Rainbow Bridge together. I wonder if he will.
I'm sad to see my friend die, but anxious to see him out of the misery has lived with for the past year or so. A kinder soul there couldn't have been. He was a determined gardener that planted 100 or more tomato plants that took over his minuscule suburban backyard one summer. He was a man who served his country proudly. He was a good man. And he had a lot of frozen tomatoes.
I'd like to think that the light that guides him home looks like this. Wouldn't it be nice to meet Jesus with sand between your toes? I think so. If anyone deserves it, George does.
And if he can take anything with him.......I'm hoping its those damn frozen tomatoes.
Hanging out in the yard with Hobbes always ends up with me grabbing the net and digging around the pond. I love Hobbes because when the rest of the family bails on this one, Hobbes is right there with me, nose to the water, checking out what wonders I find.
It's a lovely phosphorus green these days, as winter brings about some funky chemistry that breaks down debris and creates a mega algae bloom. Once the waterfall is fired up and some good bacteria is added, that bad boy should go back to being clear again. Should is the key word there. Like everything else that is life, we can't control if the water in the pond is going to be clear or not--it just sort of does its own thing.
One of my fish died this week, apparently he couldn't hold on for spring and decided to bail to the Rainbow Bridge. I quit naming them for this reason--fish die a lot and I'm weary of that. If I don't name them, I disconnect and they are not "pets". Yes, I felt bad, said a prayer, and held services, but I drew the line at digging into frozen ground for the funeral. He had what I refer to as a Hefty funeral and I think you know what that means. I think it still counts though, doesn't it?
So, as I fished around the depths of murkiness, I did a quick assessment of the State of the Pond. I found the following:
One pale minnow--healthy and alive.
One snail--trapdoor shut, which means it survived the winter alive. This is sort of a miracle so I did a happy dance on that note.
One gigantor minnow that is the big-ass daddy of all minnows. That sucker was like 3 1/2 inches long! Yes, I called the family to come look at that bad boy. They were somewhat impressed. Me--I was giddy.
Frog slough. This is skin that healthy frogs shed periodically. Since I haven't seen any frogs popping up, this is a good sign. I don't think they shed when they are dead.
One little frog--who I had apparently awoken from his nap. He zipped across the water and then hid again. Well, at least I know they are alive.
We typically fire up the waterfall come April. If we have some 60 or 70 degree days, I can convince Joe to put the pump in and we are good to go. It is then that spring officially arrives at our place. I can't wait.
I'm taking today off. Yep, calling in sick or spring, or whatever you want to call it.
I don't feel like writing. I don't feel like trying to find a cute picture or come up with a good story from the week. Nope.
I'm going outside where the temps are a balmy 43 degrees and the sun is shining. I'm going to walk out in the mushy grass and wish the remaining snow away. I'm going to look out in the pond and hope the frogs poke their heads up one of these days. I'm gonna look for life coming up through the mulch in the garden. And I'm gonna relax.
C'mon, do the same, won't you? Come join me in ditching the world and it's calling and just breathe. And let's wait for spring together.
I've mixed up my morning ride to work these past few weeks and I'm taking a less stressful route. It's much more "neighborhood" than the busy thoroughfare that boasts nothing but strip malls and fast food restaurants that encourages a ton of zig-zagging in and out of the lanes. It's typically a white-knuckle kind of ride to work and home, so it's much better on the nerves to start the day with this route instead.
I noticed on my drive one particular house that has a bus sitting in front of it, waiting for some kid to come out everyday. And while I drive by, I catch a glimpse of the door opening, mom in her robe, holding the door for her son who meanders to the bus. Every single day, this mom watches as her son walks to the bus and then she shuts the door, happily convinced he's okay on his way to school.
This wouldn't be such an odd sight except the kid is probably in high school--or he's just one of those gigantor middle-schoolers that they make nowadays. I crack up because this woman is still worried about him getting on that bus safely, even though he's probably taller than she.
So, when I first started watching these two, I wondered at what point do you stop worrying about your kids? Is it in middle school? God knows a lot of parents check out at that point. Is it high school? College? When they are married and have kids?
Maybe some of us are just never gonna stop worrying and making sure our kids are okay. And then when they get married and have kids of their own, I'm gonna have to worry about them too. Gees, this parenthood stuff is tough--I do a lot of worrying and checking. But apparently I'm not alone--I've got Robe Lady with me on this ride.
These past couple of years have been difficult ones for me as my kids have grown up and don't need me as much anymore. My job as a stay-at-home-mom has been downsized and I wasn't quite ready for that. Oh, I've managed well enough--got a job, and let them go on their own, but it wasn't easy. I did a bit of boo-hooing in the process and lots of writing about it.
My problem with them getting older hasn't been about them leaving me, it was mostly about who am I now? What is my role? What do I do? So, as the high school years flew by, I didn't have a problem with Colin getting closer to graduation. I didn't cry at his last home football game or his last marching band performance. I didn't feel sad for some reason--I liked that he was moving on and growing up. So while the other moms were boo-hooing, I was stoic, because I didn't feel sad about any of it.
Well, until Wednesday night.
Colin and a few other bandmates were chosen for the South Suburban Conference Band concert. It is a day where some of the best band students from the schools in our conference come together, rehearse, and then perform for an audience that night. He was excited to be included in such an elite group of performers and we were very proud to see him included as well.
The concert was magnificent and the music incredible--it was hard to believe that this group had only one day to rehearse the difficult music. And I'm not sure who chose this music, but gees, it was powerful. It was very emotional music and then they added some dramatic readings to go along with each song, so I think they were setting me up.
I was fine until the last song. Okay, so I switched seats so that I could get a better view of Col on that crowded stage and maybe that's what put me over the edge. As the music swelled, so did my eyes. My heart suddenly broke with the thought that this was it--the last time that he would play with the band and how absolutely wonderful this whole band stuff was for the last 4 years. And now it was over. Well, almost anyway.
I was a goner. I sobbed. And it was a good sob. My shoulders shook, tears poured down my cheeks and I couldn't catch my breath. Thank god my mom was there with her crunchy bag of Kleenex or Row 17 would have been flooded. I guess all those feelings were there, but were just lying dormant and it just took this incredible music to bring it all to a head.
I think of Robe Lady and me, and even though we may live very different lives, we have this connecting thread--this strange thing called "motherhood". This weird force within that makes us worry, watch our kid walk to the bus, and to cry at band concerts. I'm not sure when this happened to me or why, but my life has become those two kids, and it is very hard to give that up.
As tired as I am of snow, I just love this photo. I like the light and shadow of my 47 pounds of Orange Stripeness playing in the snow.
We'll be outside today, but instead of jumping in the snow, we'll be enjoying warm sunshine and balmy 40 degree temps. Amazing how low our standards of warmth are when you are just pulling out of winter and subzero thermometer readings.
You know spring is coming when the tennis team starts practicing. Okay, so it's March and yes, snow is still on the courts, but you've got to start training early in high school sports. So, they shovel the courts and brave the cold to start hitting again. And no, gloves are not allowed---something about flying rackets as trajectories not being a good idea.
I'm not only hoping for spring, but for a warm spring. Last year, Joe and I sat through the whole season in winter coats, hats, gloves and blankets. Nothing like bundling up like Nanook of the North to cheer your kid on. Ugh. Is it too much to ask for a bit of warmth in spring?
So, Col is on the tennis team--in the cold--while Em chooses a climate-controlled sport this spring-----badminton. This is her freshman year on the team, so we have a lot to learn about this sport, coach, and team. Will she like it? Will she be any good at it? I don't know. Only one word keeps coming to mind--"indoors".
The other day, my mom brought me a huge envelope loaded with photos of me from when I was young. Oh, we had quite a few belly laughs over wacky school photos and the bare-bottomed baby-me shots--you can be sure I'll be sharing these treasures with you in due time. Sheesh, there is some funny stuff in that envelope that is definitely blog fodder.
But I wasn't the only one that was goofy. There was this one of Joe:
Which just reminded me of ....
I just keep asking him "What the hell were you doing????". And he can't answer me. He just asks me in return "Why were you taking my picture??!" Let me know if you can figure out what my idiot husband was doing in the woods walking around like a freaking Sasquatch.
I just think life is more fun if we notice the little stuff and laugh...a LOT. I'm lucky to live with a family who humors me, joins in the fun and tolerates me most days.
I have a wee house and yard, but it is loaded with adventures. There isn't a backyard pond owner out there who has more stories about her frogs, snails, fish than me. And I don't even make this stuff up!
I'm glad you are here to laugh with me. Welcome, pallies!