Hurricane Marie spins in the Pacific, beyond our sight.

Surfers came to experience the giant waves spun by the hurricane and I did, too, but only from the shore. Instead of a surfboard, I brought a point-and-shoot camera and my iPhone.

I watched men fling themselves into the sea, bob in the distance and then saw a few limp out of the surf, stretching shoulders and bending over to cough out sea water.
The waves in Carlsbad weren’t even as big as the ones farther up the coast.
I found an abandoned pond earlier beach-goers had dug, perfect for perching and watching the foamy waves. And then the foam turned aggressive and not only filled the trough but also splashed me and chased me from my spot.
I lingered long after the sun slid down the sky, noticing the slimmest sliver of moon hanging in the sky above the waves.  You’ll have to trust me on that since it was impossible to really capture it with my inadequate cameras.

And now back to our regularly scheduled lives.



In astronomy, they call the body orbited by a smaller satellite the Primary.

That’s me.  I’m the Primary.

For years now, I have been a fixed point in the universe about which my family orbits.  I stay and they go.  They are the International Space Station and I am Earth.  They are stars and moons and clouds and travelers with carry-on luggage for quick movement.

I am the home base, the number you call in case of emergency.

I am an anchor snagged on the ocean floor.

I will hold your place, hold your purse, hold your hand.  “Hold on, I’ll be right back,” you’ll hear me say.

I am steady and planted in cement and locked with all the padlocks on sale at every Home Depot in America.  If someone wanders away to explore, he or she can follow the trail of breadcrumbs and find me here.  Still sitting, still waiting.

They start calling my name from other rooms in the house as soon as they need me.  “Mom!  Mom!  Mom!’  If I answer when they start calling, our shouts turn into a weird game of Marco Polo.  They adjust as they shout, heading for me.  “Mom!’  “What?” “Mom!’  “What?”  “Mom!” until I am so annoyed that I yell, “STOP MOMMING ME!”  But they follow the sound of my voice anyway, a homing beacon that never fails.

I plan itineraries, buy plane tickets, wrestle the luggage from the garage to the house.  I wash their laundry, pack their clothes, collect miniature toiletries in a quart sized Zip-loc™ bag.  I check them in online and print their boarding passes.  I drop them off at the airport and I pick them up and I ask, “How was your trip?” and while they are gone, I carry on being here.

I am, I said.

To no one there.

(Well, hello, Neil Diamond.  Fancy meeting you here.)

Sometimes I want to be the one waving goodbye.  I want to ride a bicycle for a thousand miles.  I want to drive a car to Maine.  I want to fly over the ocean and land on an island with a runway so short I have to hold my breath while we land.  I want to be alone in the world, just for a moment.  Or two.

Instead of being the vendor holding the cluster of helium balloons, I want to be that one balloon that slips away and floats higher and higher until it’s out of sight.

I want to be in the parade, not saving spots on the curb while everyone else buys cotton candy down the street.

And yet, that’s just part of me, the part that values independence and freedom and adventures, the “me” that yearns to be unshackled and untethered, free to roam and poke around and daydream.  That part of me craves solitude and a ramble with only my thoughts for company.  Sometimes, I want to grab my keys and leave without a trace.  (But in a certain time-travel kind of way that would leave no one missing me.)   (I was that “me” thirty years ago, come to think of it.)

The other part of me signed up for this life.

I have no regrets. Really, I don’t.

When my kids think of “home,” I want them to see my face.  I want them to call me day or night to save them from catastrophe.  I want to be the stability, the dependable one who remembers to buy milk and knows how to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  I want to be easily found, within earshot, able to hem pants and offer advice and remember the street addresses to all the homes we’ve owned.  I want to be the holder of the family photos and the keeper of the memories, the knower of the timeline of our life together.

I am the Primary and I wouldn’t have it any other way.






“I’m here!”

I’m here.  I’ll always be here.  You can count on it.


And today I did not see a celebrity at Legoland

I keep not writing here because I don’t have time to craft a beautiful blog post, one of those posts that make me feel like a real writer.  I check out the clock on the lower right of my computer screen and it’s already so late (past 1:00 AM) and I know how early I have to get up so I think, tomorrowMaybe tomorrow I will write.

But the problem is that every day is the same, even though it’s different.

So for tonight, I am going to just type awhile before going upstairs to finish the novel I’m currently reading.  (Gone Girl.  Yes, I’m very late to this party.)  I really should not read before sleep but I am so close to the end.  I’ll probably fall asleep turning a page, though.


Today my 11-year old and I went to Legoland after we dropped her 16-year old brother off to work at the employee gate.  One of his job benefits are a bunch of Legoland passes, so we took advantage of that even though a summer day at Legoland is a day full of toddler tantrums and heat and lines and very slow moving people who block pathways.  And did I mention the lines?  (I find toddler tantrums to be adorable, mainly because I no longer have a toddler, so I admire the tantrums without having any obligation to deal with them.)

We first went on the roller-coaster to see my son in action.  Before we got to the front of the line, my daughter chickened out.  She hates roller-coasters.  Then, on to the waterpark–the world’s most adorable waterpark, really–and I started reading while she went in the wave pool.  All too soon she was done and we left the waterpark area and had lunch and wandered through Miniland and then onto the Coast Cruise but then we were so hot.  Back to the waterpark we went.

I ended up sunburned despite my sunscreen.  Which is annoying.  I am developing a well-defined farmer’s tan.

Anyway, while we were eating lunch, I got a text-message from my son who was on his lunch break and it said this:

Mom, Nicholas Cage is here.  He just went on Technic.

What the what?  Technic is the roller-coaster where my son was working.  But he was on his lunch break . . . he noticed this guy with a VIP pass (an “old” guy, he said–Nicholas Cage is one year older than me) who was with a woman and two kids.  And then my son’s supervisor said, “Hey, did you see Nicholas Cage?” and my son realized he HAD seen Nicholas Cage.

So, there’s a Brush with Greatness.


Sunday night, I was working in my downstairs office when I heard a loud crash.  I ran from my office to investigate.  My son told me the noise came from my bedroom, so I opened the door and my husband–who had been asleep for a few hours–sat up and asked, “What happened?”

I thought maybe the pictures I’d hung in our bedroom earlier in the day had fallen.  When I flipped on the light, though, I found this (photo taken at 12:20 AM with my phone, so excuse the quality!):


The 7 foot by 3.5 foot mirror from the master bathroom had simply fallen off the wall.  Eventually, I concluded that the installers had used too little mastic which had failed for no apparent reason.  And there were no clips reinforcing the mastic, though there should have been.  (I have been to Home Depot already to buy clips to reinforce my other mirrors.)

I cannot believe that the mirror fell.

I cannot believe that no one was hurt or . . . worse.

Well, with that, I’m really going to bed.  My husband is out of town, so I have to get up a little earlier than usual to take two of my sons to work before I start my own job.

And today I did not see a celebrity at Legoland

A short and winding path (at the beach)


One of my co-workers lives in the Midwest.  Her home was struck by lightning and her electricity and Internet were out for a few days which meant I had to work some extra hours for a few days.  That explains what I was doing when I last wrote in this blog.

Meanwhile, we had a house-guest who had arrived mid-June and stayed until mid-July.  Even though she was undemanding and easy to be around, a house-guest is still a house-guest.  Extra people exhaust me.  Who am I kidding?  Even the regular number of people exhaust me.

On July 13, my daughter, our house-guest and I went to Imperial Beach (an hour south) to watch a dog surfing contest.

Hilarious and entertaining and just plain fun.  I highly recommend you spend an afternoon watching dogs surf, should the opportunity ever present itself.


Then in the past week, these things occupied my time:

1)  Daughter went to day camp all week, 9 AM to noon;
2)  All three sons went to jobs;
3)  House-guest went home;
4)  My sister arrived for a visit;
5)  My husband left for a business-trip (a denominational annual meeting in Rhode Island);
6)  I worked;
7)  My sister flew back home to Seattle.

I did a lot of driving around, delivering kids to their jobs and activities.  And yes, at some point the kids will drive, but they don’t yet.  (It’s complicated.)

So, that’s why this blog has been neglected.  I’ve had a few thoughts I wanted to share, but I can’t remember what they are.

And now, it’s time to sleep because I have to deliver my youngest son to work by 8:15 AM.  And so it goes.

A short and winding path (at the beach)



Schindler’s List.

I saw the movie in the theater when it released back in 1993 and it remains one of my favorite movies.  I have had the book on my shelf for a long time and just picked it up recently.  I’m a little more than halfway through.  Excellent book, lots to ponder.



I have been an avid fan of Jack Bauer from the very beginning, back in the old days when I didn’t have a DVR and had to watch carefully with devoted attention so I wouldn’t miss anything.  I am loving this new (short!) season.

Big Brother

I can’t help it.  I’m a voyeur and like reality shows like Big Brother and Survivor and The Amazing Race.  I work at my computer 8+ hours a day and have my television on most of the time to keep me company.  Reality television doesn’t demand my full attention and is the perfect accompaniment to my work day and night.


I never listen to music at home.  In the car, I listen to talk radio if I’m alone and a station that plays old (old?!) music from the 80s and 90s.  At home, I listen to the sound of kids discussing pointless topics and the dog barking her fool head off and most days, an electric guitar in a distant bedroom and the other random sounds pollution in my house.


My sister’s visit in a week.  School beginning in a month.  A surf dog competition next weekend.  Supergirl Pro surf contest in August.  My 27th wedding anniversary soon.  More sunsets at the beach.

* * *

And now, since I’ve promised to make my husband pinto beans and cornbread for dinner tomorrow, I have to go sort beans and soak them in a pot.

My life is all sorts of glamour.






More than fair

Today, we went to the fair.  To be honest, I can’t quite remember if it’s called the Del Mar Fair or the San Diego County Fair or something else entirely.

But here’s all you need to know:  While riding on a ferris wheel, you can see the ocean waves just over there.  Not that I rode any rides because I gave all the ride tickets to the teenagers and twenty-somethings with me.  I hung out with my 11-year old and she hates rides, mostly.

Her main goal was to hold a piglet.  Everything else was just a bonus, including watching pigs race and eating chocolate covered bacon.  (Two related and yet completely unrelated situations there, but that did sound kind of weird, right?  And . . . the pigs raced around the course to get an Oreo . . . so chocolate inside and outside of the pigs . . . nevermind.  Let’s stop thinking about eating pigs.)


If I weren’t so exhausted, I would have a clever ending to this post.

The end.

More than fair

And that about sums it up

Today, after driving two of my sons to work, I went to a community garage sale with my daughter.  We wandered around the gated community in the sunshine, peering at items displayed on tables, chatting with friendly sellers.

Then I spotted a replacement Crock-Pot.  I actually own two of these Crock-Pots but one of the lids shattered on my tile floor and the other lid lost its handle.

Anyway.  The new-to-me Crock-Pot was five bucks.  I could not be more thrilled.

Well, I could be more thrilled, because after buying a couple other things, I came across a lush desk chair sitting in someone’s driveway.  “Are you selling the chair?” I called to the woman in the garage and she said, “Yes.”  And that’s how I came to own a La-Z-Boy Horizon High Back Leather Executive Chair for twenty bucks.  (Current retail price is . . . WHAT?  I just looked it up . . . $829.00?  How can this be?)

Anyway, it was an exciting day for me.  A new-to-me Crockpot and a new-to-me desk chair.

Add a lunch with my husband and daughter, an afternoon nap and some time to read and it equals a fine Saturday indeed.

And that about sums it up