Friday, November 1, 2013

The Loving and Serious One

Is it okay that I am truly and deeply hurt by being the loving and serious parent? Apparently it's a compliment. Even the fun loving and preferred parent says it's a compliment (of course he does he's the fun loving one).

Colleagues talk about how when the kids are adults it is the loving and serious parent that raised them to be good ones. Blech. My kids are great kids, but they don't enjoy time with me so when they are great adults and hanging out with their fun loving dad I am sure I'll still think it sucks to be the loving and serious one.

I am done being the parent that gets up at 5 so I can pack their lunches and feed their animals and clean their cat's litter box before going to work. I am done being the parent that comes home and makes them do their chores and their homework. Their dad gets to hang out with them in the morning and by the time he comes home their chores and homework are usually done if not in the midst of completion--he never has to hound them to do the "not so fun part of being alive" (other than going to school, but at least he gets some quality one on one time with each of them as he does that).

I am done being the parent that watches the clock to tell them it's time to get off of the computer, time to get ready for bed, time to go to bed...

I am done being the parent that works all day, goes to school at night then comes home at 10 to find out they didn't feed the animals like they are supposed to because I wasn't there to make them do it.

I am done not knowing the answer to, "well, what DO you like to do in your free time..."

I swear I used to know, I used to be someone who was loving AND fun (and, sadly probably also a wee bit serious).

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mishya Takes Trimet: A Blog Post in Texts and Phone Calls

This is a double post, if you are (un)lucky enough to follow multiple blogs I apologize for the sense of "I've already read that, haven't I??" you are experiencing right now.
That said, this fits way too well in both my Clumsy Life and the lives of Keeton and Mishya--well just Mishya, but they don't have their own blogs, I'm overwhelmed with 4 and can't take on a 5th. Although in an interview yesterday it was suggested I start journaling...But I digress.

A brief background:
Keeton out of town.  Mishya in town.  Ask friend to have son ride bus with Mishya to make sure she gets home.  Day 1--smooth. Day 2--reason for this blog post.

3:00 I'm at work 18 miles away from Mishya who should be getting on public transportation with my friend's son, G, in the 'hood if you know what I mean...Josh is on the mountain far far away, skiing.  In his defense he was chaperoning our son's class trip.

3:05 from P (G's mom):  G said that Mishya is riding home with Maestra A today?
3:05 me: Not that I know of--ill call her.  (note the poor use of a lower case i and no apostrophe--obvious signs of distress on my part)
3:05 me calling Mishya's phone--straight to voicemail
3:05 me calling my mother who had been the last family member to communicate with Mishya: Did Mishya say something about riding home with Maestra A?
3:06 my mom: no, she had her bus pass, her keys and money for ice cream when she got off the bus.

pause for you to say, oh how sweet money for ice cream...
back to me now, cause it's my blog...

3:06 me to my mom: I'll call you back.
3:06 me calling Mishya: where are you??
Mishya: on the bus. G got on the bus in front of mine. I saw him as I was walking up to the stop.
me: you're on the bus? with who?
Mishya: I know the driver. I didn't want to stand on the street corner and call you.
me: okay, G thought you were getting a ride home.  Get off the bus at your normal stop and call me. Then walk home and call me when you get there, too.

3:07 from me to P: can you call my cell?

P calling me.  2 moms with 2 kids on 2 separate buses in the aforementioned ' fill in the blanks.  Ends with P deciding G will meet Mishya at the bus stop to walk her home.

3:25 Mishya to me: I'm at the bus stop, Where's G?
me to Mishya: just go get ice cream and wait for him there

Pause for moment of defense. The ice cream shop is next to bus stop, don't think I'm sending her off to wander. Seriously, what do you think of me? That I am some crazy mom who will let her pre-teen daughter ride trimet aimlessly by herself and then go get ice cream?? geesh!

3:30 me to Mishya: I'm proud of you.
3:30 Mishya to me: Why?

Love that kid.

Whole story.  Mishya was late getting back to school from a field trip.  She was riding back to the school in Maestra A's car.  When she saw G she rolled down her window and shouted out (in a moving vehicle as she rode past, mind you...poor G) "I'm getting a ride back to school wait for me" (please add your own fading away sound here...) G heard "I'm getting a ride back to......" he inferred (as all good 6th graders do cause it's a state standard.) using his knowledge that
 1) it was after school, 2) Mishya was in a moving car and 3) that she yelled "I'm getting a ride..."
That Mishya was getting a ride home.  I hear that he wanted to rush back to the ice cream shop to help her out when he got home and P gave him the what for!

I owe P some wine.  I owe G some ice cream.  I owe Mishya my respect.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


When Josh first convinced me to watch Princess Bride (a couple of decades ago now!) I was not so sure.  After all he had also convinced me to watch Army of Darkness not too long before he suggested it.  It probably goes without saying that I love one of those films.  I just didn't know how much it would play out in my own life.

While I am not married to a former pirate and I am certainly not a princess sought after by ill-intended suitors I have now watched my dear love fight off a rodent of unusual size (ROUS for you PB newbies...stop reading this and go watch the film immediately).

At 4 am we heard a terrible racket coming from the backyard and sadly it involved yowls and chicken squawking.  Having recently lost one of our girls to the heat, I was resigned to the inevitable knowledge that now we would lose one to a raccoon.  Defeated, I told Josh- as he jumped up to throw on some outdoor suitable clothing- that there was nothing we could do.   I covered my ears and tried to slide as far under the summer weight blankets as I could.  BUT! No, that man didn't stop, because if there is one thing my amazing partner will not accept it's defeat.

I, in my infinite not brave princesshood, called out through the window to see if he needed anything and his only last request was a pair of shoes, as his flip flops were not possum fighting shoes.  As I raced to his rescue with a pair of running shoes (cause that's what I would want when going head to head with a chicken killing ROUS) he proudly announced that both our chickens were still alive and he had trapped the offending rodent into their hen house.  He stood there with an axe and his flip flops and I am pretty certain in the background I heard swelling music and a subtle aura emanated in the air around him.

Every great possum fighter needs a partner in crime. I have mentioned before just how much we love our neighbors, so of course who shows up with his own super hero music playing in the background, but Zero! With much better shoes might I add.  (Apparently his princess knows something about footwear in ROUS fighting...)

There at 4:15 stood two men and their axe, shovel and yard rake with a possum trapped in the hen house and the hens free ranging the yard a bit confused and certainly not interested in me checking them out.  I must look more like a possum than a princess.  (One girl lost a lot of wing and tail feathers, but it is obvious with the help of her swarthy pirate in shining flip flops she will be fine).

And now here I sit blogging while the two amazing chicken fighters debate over what is best.  Because as the superhero Zero said, sometimes even pirates and superheros aren't equipped to take on a pissed off possum who didn't get his dinner.  Okay, he didn't say it exactly like that, but I imagine he would've if he'd been on stage tonight and not in a dark backyard helping out his neighbors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Death of a Chicken

I don't even know where to start.  My beloved Butterscotch passed away yesterday and I am moved to sadness whenever I think about it.  Of our three "chicas' Butterscotch was by far the friendliest. She loved to be petted and she was always the first to run up and cluck, "hi" when we stepped into the backyard.  Lone Chicken and Flicka are at a loss today without their fearless and humble leader.  They are walking slowly around the yard clucking and chirping while cocking their heads waiting for her reply.  It is such a pitiful and tear inducing sight.

Her passing has also shown me what an amazing family and group of friends I have.  Silly, I know since really she was "just" a chicken.  But if you had been in my kitchen when Josh came in after finding her permanently roosted in her nest box you would have seen what I saw on his face and known that he was the man for me.  My son at nearly 14 years of age openly cried when I told him and spent the better part of the evening in his room saddened.  When I asked him what it would take to keep him out in the living room with the rest of us he simply replied, "An alive Butterscotch."

As for the friends involved, just moments after Josh found her our dear neighbor arrived with beer in hand for a leisurely post work drink.  When he entered and found us in our state of shock, he stayed and helped to make the removal of her body and the cleaning of her box more tenable for Josh while I left to go get our son from practice.  He even stayed as we finished prepping dinner (ironically BBQ chicken caesar salad...of which I couldn't bring myself to eat) and kept the tone in the house light as Josh and I prepped ourselves to tell our daughter.  His wife, one of my dearest friends, even messaged me from her vacation on the East Coast to check in on us and that says a lot because she is not an animal person at all--yet she accepts it of us and knew that it would be an emotional loss in our world.

The friend I called immediately shared her own remembrance of her first lost chicken and talked me through the stages of "I should've could've" that came washing over me in guilt as I wracked my brain for what could've taken our sweet 1.5 year old Butterscotch from us.

Then there is our dear chicken/dog/cat sitter and family like neighbor whom cried with me on the phone when I told her about it.  I dreaded telling her the most because if there is anyone that feels as close to our animals as us, it is her family. 

Ah, sweet Butterscotch, I hope it was quick, painless and peaceful.  You died in your cozy bed atop your last eggs.  There will never be another you--our first, boldest, most social lady! We miss you terribly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I want to be loved like that...

So many beautiful love stories out there and none of them are the mainstream melodramatic novels of modern lore.... true love stories can't be written out of some fantasy or author's imagination.  If we want to see what "true love" is we need to look for what REAL true love does:

check out this man fighting to keep his wife close by:

or this guy who created a work of love that took years for fruition:

I want to be loved like that. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Defeat does as Defeat is allowed to do

I was so excited this past Saturday when I ran an 11:30 mile with my amazing husband. My goal had been to get to a 12 minute mile by our anniversary trip on the 16th of August so that we could lightly jog on the beach....cue romantic music.  BUT!  when I blew that goal out of the water with my practice run this past weekend I was sooooooooo excited (too many o's, I know, but I couldn't delete them as I was truly that excited).
Then Sunday we strolled all over downtown Portland for our actual anniversary,  Josh thinks about 4 miles.  All that to say I took Monday off knowing I'd be back at my pace on Tuesday.
Cue ominous music...Tuesday.  Sigh, sigh. sigh.  I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick," I laced up my running shoes, I stepped out the door and made it precisely 3 sidewalk square lengths when the shin splints shot straight up both legs and I writhed in agonizing pain.  But stoically (also read stupidly, but hey this is my post...) I limped and cried and writhed in agonizing pain for 1.66 miles cringing with every step, tears streaming down my clenched jaw.  I didn't even get a 17 minute mile out of it.
So I did what any good runner does when they have 1 bad run.  I quit running for good in my head.  I beat the heck out of myself, told myself that Saturday's amazing run had been a fluke (regardless of all the good runs leading up to that one...) I looked in the mirror and I saw a failure.  Told myself I would never run with my best friend and life partner on our fabulous trip.  Got ready to post some asinine comment on google+ and then I saw a picture of an adorable baby gorilla--I kid you not! that actually happened:
( Mitch Wagner) 

And then this happened.  I totally felt better.  I kinda forgot why I was so upset.  And I washed my running clothes instead of throwing them away.  I was going to keep the shoes, cause I got a new pair and they are adorable (yes, and practical cause that is way more important then looking good while you run, but frankly they are rather spunky shoes).
Then today I stretched, I rolled out my muscles with my "stick", I selected a 14 minute mile coaching on my runkeeper app (Shameless plug cause I love that app.  The lady coach is both the most encouraging and the most condescending and either way I pick up my pace when she speaks).  AND Then I blew that goal out of the water with a 12 minute mile.  Followed by buoyed spirits and a 13 minute mile walk with my dog (she had been rather dejected when I took off without her for my run).  
I felt great, I looked in the mirror and I felt I could do it.  I remembered my goal of a 5k on Labor Day.  I felt like running another mile.  Then I laughed (somewhat maniacally until I realized my kids were in the house) at that thought and chowed down a fried egg atop roasted sweet potatoes--man running tastes good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Running to the beat of a different drummer

I took up in I am officially doing things to make running easier on my shins/calves and am tracking my every nanosecond shaved off my time.  I noticed three things this week about my run.

1) having a running coach is very helpful and motivating--even if it's an electronic one.  I get a burst of energy when she tells me I am ahead of my goal pace.  I also get a burst of energy when she says I am behind my goal pace. So either way, I am improving.
2) the music playing on the headset is crucial.  I have a playlist but some songs are just so much more invigorating.  For instance, today my run began with the Teddy Bears remix of Stayin' Alive.  Frankly a perfect beginning because I am running to be healthier and to in fact "stay alive."  This song gets me through the first few minutes with gusto.  A few songs later Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" comes on, this song depresses me, I slow down, I am tired, I feel every step, I must remove this song from my playlist.  Luckily another couple songs in and Aretha Franklin is there to tell me that, "I will Survive."  I love running to this song, I also loved dancing and singing to this song in my preteen angst years but that's another blog post.  I realized today the playlist goes in the same shuffle order, I must fix this...or at the very least figure out just what I need at each .25 mile. The end of my run is always, "YMCA" and it gets me running in bursts of joy...kind of a fun round out of a mile run.

So the short and the long of it.  I set a running goal of 15:30 for my first "official run" this past week with hopes of being at a 12 minute mile in a couple weeks.  Zoe and I have been walking 1.66 miles every day all summer so I knew we could easily "walk" at a 17 minute mile. 
Day one: I took Zoe, she is both a huge help-- when she sees a squirrel we go much faster then I ever thought possible until said squirrel is safely up a tree. Then she is a huge hindrance because I am dragging her forlorn 65lbs along behind me and the drag effect is damaging to my endurance.  BUT we came in at 13:30! I was so excited.  So excited that I left her home on day two for the first mile and managed an 11:30 minute mile on my own.  A striking 4 minutes ahead of my original goal and 30 seconds ahead of my two week goal.  Don't worry about Zoe though, I picked her up for mile two and we walked it in 15:30.  She was a bit confused (heartbroken?) when I left the first time, but happy to see me when I swung around to pick her up.

 1) Coaching is a must. 2) Music is a must.  3) Squirrels are a huge help. I may put some squirrel feeders along my route at strategic mile markers.