Hello, good-bye

My mom had been here since November 11. Today, I dropped her off at the airport so she could return home to Seattle just in time for a giant soggy storm. We will miss her.

While she was here, we went to the beach as often as we could. Today, on the way to the airport we detoured to Cabrillo National Monument where I happened to snap a photo of this hawk. I definitely want to go back another time to explore the park and lighthouses and shoreline. As it was, today we were rushing to get to the airport on time. To complicate matters, at some point I noticed I had enough gas to drive only 16 miles. By the time I rolled into the gas station it’s quite likely I was coasting along on fumes and prayer.


The other night, the sun set in glorious fashion. A rosy haze seemed to cover the entire world for a time.  My mom and I stayed until the sky was lit only by a thin strip of dark pink on the horizon. The holiness of the moment was ruined by my family calling me on my cell phone asking what was for dinner. (See? They want dinner. Every night. It’s so boring.)


This afternoon at the Hotel Del Coronado, as we walked back toward our parking spot, I snapped this photo. I could have spent an entire day photographing the beach and surrounding area. The beach is very wide in the is particular place, so we were far from the shore but the waves were amazingly tall and crashed with beautiful force. Again, I wish I could have hurried across the sand for a closer look. But we had a flight waiting!


In only two weeks Christmas! Let the panic commence.

Hello, good-bye

The little things


It’s the little things that tell my story.  For instance, see these rocks and shells?  I gathered them during low tide on a cloudy day at the beginning of November.  I love the white stones, but more than that, I love that shell with a hole drilled into it by a vicious snail or some other sea creature.  And the little shell on the left?   I love its faint lavender color and its swirly shape.

But the story is not in the gathering of the shells.

No.  The story here is the fact that these shells–and a few others plucked from the beach on another day–sit in a jumble on my dresser, surrounded by a smattering of sand.  I see them every morning and yet, I just haven’t made time to put them in a glass jar or . . . some place.

It’s silly, isn’t it?  I am collecting shells a few at a time when I live so near the beach.  But I can’t resist a perfect shell or a unique shape or color.  A brilliant white stone catches my eye.  How can I not pick it up and stick it into my pocket?

My whole life and house is a depository for little things that caught my attention or need my attention or slipped my attention.

Meanwhile, the urgent big things demand my immediate action.  Chores demand my time because for some reason, everyone wants to wear clean pants every day.  And they want dinner!  Oh, how they want dinner every single day!  I manage my life on a macro level–we are all clothed and fed–but the rest of life?  The details?

If you cannot clamor, you get ignored around here.  I’m talking to you, craft projects and unfinished novel and broken sewing machine and messy laundry room and coat closet containing coats we never wear because who wears coats in southern California?

Oh, I don’t know.  Am I just rambling?

I guess the point here is that I’m not juggling things as much as I’m shuffling them around, ignoring them and rushing through them, depending on their level of importance.  And the little things are abandoned more often than not.  I don’t like that but I have faith and hope that one day, I’ll move those shells and clean up the sand and find inspiration to write a Christmas letter and put that beach towel away and put the Christmas bows by the Christmas wrapping paper and find a frame for that photo of my grandma and sort through my digital pictures and print out the best ones and paint all those picture frames in the garage black and sort through this stack of papers on my desk and you know.  Get it together.

In the meantime, tomorrow I’m seeing a doctor about my foot.  I think I damaged my Achilles tendon (walking on the beach, of all things!).  And I have a cold.  (But I’m going to the doctor because of my foot, not the cold.  I find walking to be sort of a requirement of my daily life.)

And really, all I want to do is lie in bed and read Unbroken (oh my goodness, the Kindle version is only $2.99–you will want to buy that, if you have a Kindle and you haven’t read the book already–the movie will be released on Christmas Day and you’ll want to read the book before then!).

It’s the little things that make life worth living, right?  Which is why I collect shells and read books.

The little things

Four things

I saw this survey on Kristin’s blog (Running with the Runnergirl) and thought it was the perfect thing for a quick blog post.

But first, a photo for fun (four palm trees?):


Four names that people call me other than my own

Four jobs that I have had
Planting and picking strawberries (first W-2 when I was 13!)
Law office secretary
Retail clerk at an office supply store

Four movies that I have watched more than once
Dirty Dancing
When Harry Met Sally
Shrek (and countless Disney and Pixar movies I watched with my kids when they were little!)

Four books I’d recommend
The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
Circle of Quiet (Madeleine L’Engle)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

NOTE: These are four that came to mind quickly–I love many many many other books.  This is just the beginning.)

Four places I have been
British Columbia, Canada
Almost every state in the United States

Four places I’d rather be right now
The beach
Mt. Rainier
New York City

(Note:  Actually, I’d rather be in bed, asleep, right this moment!)

Four things I don’t eat
Raw tomatoes
Exotic bits of meat
Anything coffee-flavored

Four of my favorite foods
Homemade cookies
Roasted cauliflower

Four TV shows I watch
The Middle
Real Housewives of Orange County (Beverly Hills, New York, etc.)
The Amazing Race

Four things I am looking forward to
Wild (the movie) opening soon!
Christmas brunch
Sight-seeing with my mom
Sleeping in

Four things I am always saying
I am SO tired
Close the door!
Did anyone feed the dog? I have no idea.  (This is in answer to the perennial question:  “What’s for dinner.”)

Four things

Catching up

Well, time flies. That is a persistent truth I keep bumping up against. How has a week gone by without a post?

Here are things on my mind:

  • My heel pain. My self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis has morphed into Achilles tendon pain (again). I am limping and riveted by this pain. Ouch.
  • I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. I need to plan a menu and buy some food.
  • The weather has cooled down and it’s lovely. I was hot since May, so it’s nice to be chilly.
  • My mom came for a visit but has detoured to Palm Springs to stay with my aunt for a few days.
  • My son’s high school play has two more performances and then it’s over. It’s been a long two months of rehearsals and preparation. Next week he has a whole week off school for Thanksgiving break and is scheduled to work 30 hours at Legoland.
  • Did I mention that my heel hurts up the back of my leg?
  • Last week, I saw the sunset at the beach five times, I think.  It was glorious.  It never gets old for me, seeing the sky at the beach as the sun slides beyond the horizon.
  • I dropped my iPhone 4 about a month ago and cracked the screen. My replacement phone is due to arrive on Friday and I am beyond excited. It’s a bigger, better iPhone and I am looking forward to no longer running out of room when I take three hundred photos of the same sunset and stuff like this:
  • DSC08510

Catching up

Boys, boys, boys

I have decided to try to post every day this month . . . I realize I missed yesterday and it’s very late tonight and I’d really rather just go to bed.

But here we go. A quick little something.

Because of Veteran’s Day, my kids had no school and my husband was home from work. At about 7:20 AM, the dog went nuts because the doorbell rang. One of my 16-year old’s friends arrived to spend the day. As the day wore on, more teenagers arrived until I had a table full of teen boys. It was like old times when we used to have a steady stream of kids show up in our house.

I remember one time saying to a boy in my kitchen, “Oh. Hi. Who are you?” He’d wandered into my house, following the crowd, I guess, during a snowstorm. I had never seen him before.

(You should know that I started this post last night at 1:10 AM, but then my mom walked into my office–she’s staying for a while–and we started talking and before I knew it, it was 2:15 AM and I had to go to bed, do not pass Go, do not collect $100.)

Anyway, having a house full of boys reminded me of the “old” days.

So, I guess that’s it for now. I am still working–taking a quick break to get this posted–and then heading to bed sooner rather than later.

Boys, boys, boys

The gray afternoon

This afternoon, I took my son, his girlfriend and my daughter to the beach.

The tide was low and finally, I knew where to find tide pools.  When in doubt, ask another mom who has lived in the area for years.


Yesterday, when I didn’t have time to stay, the sky was mostly clear.  Tonight, the marine layer moved in, obscuring the sunset.  But it was still beautiful.  So many people were out and about on the sand and sea.


And then these egrets appeared and seemed to dance.  (One was chasing another, I think.)


I left with a pocket full of white rocks and a few shells and sand.  Always, always, sand everywhere, in our pockets and pant cuffs and between our toes when we leave the beach.

The gray afternoon

Reading, watching, listening, driving

What I’m reading:

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

I checked this book out from the library after reading Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett.  Lucy and Ann were friends as they began their writing careers.

I also started reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home, but I got distracted and put it aside.

Next up:  I’m thinking of reading Unbroken in preparation for the movie coming out in December.

What I’m watching:

I saw Interstellar today in a full theater at 11 AM.  The movie lasts almost three hours which is a long time to sit right next to a stranger (the theater was almost full, so I had no choice) .  But it was a big movie with mind-bending ideas and big actors doing big stuff.  I liked it.  (My 16-year old son declared it the Best Movie Ever.)

On television I’m watching my usual mix of reality television:  The Amazing Race, Survivor, The Real Housewives of ________________ (whatever’s showing), and Jimmy Fallon at night.  Beverly Hills 90210 has been showing on Tuesdays and I have to admit that I’ve been really enjoying watching old episodes.  I’m a little worried about how much I like the hairstyles from the 90s and wonder sometimes if I just got stuck in the 90s in terms of my expectations for hairstyles.

What I’m listening to:

Taylor Swift’s new music, 1989.  I bought the CD for my daughter and got hooked on it.  I like the “bonus” tracks at the end where the talks about her songwriting process, giving us a peek at the beginning stages of three of the songs.

Where I’m driving:

Around in circles.  Half an hour north to pick up my son.  Half an hour south to pick up my girl.  Ten minutes here, ten minutes back to deliver a son to work.  Twenty minutes to church, twenty minutes back.  I have never driven around so much in my life.  At least gas prices have gone down and I’m “only” paying $3.25 as gallon.  Since my husband’s been out of town again (since Wednesday), I have spent more time than usual in the car, including a 7:15 AM departure each morning.  This is the single hardest thing for me because I work very late and getting less than six hours of sleep is among my Least Favorite Things.  (Ah, now there’s a post idea!)

The End.



Reading, watching, listening, driving