In lieu of today’s nap

Behind the gate in La Jolla.

A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on

I prefer quiet weeks that feature good books and naps and pajamas at 6:30 PM.

But sometimes, I find myself driving south on I-5 in slow traffic at 5:30 PM, heading to an art museum to hear an author speak.  And after I park, I notice the scrolling shadows behind a gate as I walk to the auditorium and I am so grateful to have an iPhone to capture that image.

Sue Monk Kidd, by the way, was gracious and interesting and had the mildest southern accent.  She had beautiful white hair, in case you wondered, even though all her book jackets and most websites show her with brown hair.  It was like expecting to see a long-lost aunt and finding instead, your grandmother, only a stylish and wise one who speaks about novels.  I sat in the fifth row.

Tomorrow, I’m hosting an Open House at my house for my blog-friend-turned-real-friend, Carrien (She Laughs at the Days).  She lives in Thailand now and since she has a lot of friends here and not much time (she’s in North America for about a month), she invited people to come all at once to see her.  And I volunteered my house.

Which explains why I was at Ralph’s at noon renting a Rug Doctor from the world’s slowest-moving Ralph’s employee.  My dog, Lola, occasionally sneaks into the living room to pee.  I KNOW.  It’s disgusting but mysterious.  I don’t know when she does it.  I don’t know why she does it.  She has access to the outside all the time.  She never, ever pees anywhere else in the house but the formal living room, go figure.  So, I was cleaning the carpet today.

Then, because this is Southern California, and I am a mom, I spent a couple hours picking up kids.  I spend so much time in the car, picking up and delivering kids.

Then after all that, I headed down the freeway to hear Sue Monk Kidd.  The event took place in La Jolla.  I wasn’t sure where to park, so I turned a corner and found a space directly across from a spectacular beach.

(In other news, last Saturday we had a new water heater installed.  Now, there’s a fun thing to spend hundreds of dollars on.  Oh, and last Friday, my daughter got braces on.  Another fun thing to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on.)


In lieu of today’s nap

The wild rumpus

This afternoon as I was driving toward the school to pick up a carload of middle school kids, I realized that it’s May and that soon and very soon it will be June which will bring Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

And then it’s all downhill from there.

My baby boy is a junior in high school and in a blink (and a year), he will be graduating.  For so long, we’ve just been circling around in the same routine but before we know it, some in our circle will exit the orbit and move away from us.  From me.

Right now, I feel disbelief at the ending of an era.  In other words, I am embracing denial.  I am stacking denial up in blocks and hiding behind it.  We will continue in our routines.  I will pad around the house as usual, turn off the lights in empty rooms and wake up the next day to rinse and repeat.  And I will cook dinner, over and over and over again, in the cursed Groundhog Day kind of way.

In the meantime, Summer Solstice approaches.  The countdown to summer break is in the weeks, not months.  The Big One is coming, that quake which will shake us all up and break us apart and scatter us around.  But not too soon.  I’m not quite ready.

(Then there is the other part of me that dreams of an empty nest, who fantasizes about being alone within these walls, uninterrupted as I putter and sort and organize and clean and finally get around to watching the television series I missed because I had kids to put to bed at 8 PM for so many years.  I am not so nostalgic that I don’t want them to ever go–just GO–but change is always unsettling.  And I’m not sentimental much at all.  But to think of my baby boy leaving my house for the thrill of college and the beauty of the big wide world?  I miss him even though he’s just upstairs right now, sleeping.)

In the words of Maurice Sendak, “Oh please don’t go–we’ll eat you up–we love you so!”

The wild rumpus

A recitation of the day’s events

The problem is that I’ve developed somewhat of an unhealthy obsession with a computer game (not even worth mentioning which game because you’ve never heard of it; it’s a game that involves matching tiles and honestly, I’m not sure why I started playing but I am certain that I’ll need to stop cold turkey).

It’s a problem because instead of thinking coherent late-night thoughts and composing them into paragraphs here, I just play that dumb game until I realize how late it is and then I turn off my computer, fold a load of laundry, turn off all the lights downstairs and go to bed.

I had a very dull day.  I drove one son to his college class, came home and worked until it was time to load the dog into the van for a quick trip to the pet store for dog food before we went and picked up the same son from the college.  Said son declined to drive home from college which was somewhat of a relief.  Driving in a vehicle with a beginning driver is a terrifying experience.  Did I already mention that here?  Well, consider it mentioned.  But I really should have encouraged him to drive home since he needs the practice.

I dropped him and the dog off, then hurried off to get gasoline (someone please explain to me why the prices are fluctuating so wildly; yesterday, the price was $3.19 at my favorite station and today, it was $3.32).  Then I sped off to pick up my daughter and her carpool buddies.  It was strangely hot today and we have no air conditioning in the mini-van, so we had the windows down and our hair blew into our faces the whole drive home.

As if my day weren’t already exciting enough, I spent the next two hours cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.

After dinner, I took a two hour nap.

I know.  My life is super glamorous.

Don’t be jealous.


A recitation of the day’s events

I am the unbalanced force *

Occasionally, I confront the reality that my future is limited. You know when you’re young and you think you can be anything at all? Doctor? Ballerina? Rocket Scientist?

I know better now. 

Boy, do I know better now.

I can never, ever, ever be a driving teacher.  Ever.  Never. 

One of my children has begun learning to drive.  He’s paid for three driving lessons, a total of six hours of instruction.  But, of course, he has to practice.  Which is where I come in.

I believe that during every drive he’s made with me in the passenger seat he’s considered murdering me.  That is scary because it would be super easy to kill me by swerving into oncoming traffic, especially when turning left.  Actually, the easier, muss-free way to kill me would be to just GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK!  THE LIGHT IS RED!  STOP STOP STOP STOP!

Listen.  Under the best of circumstances, I am a horrible passenger.  I readily admit this.  My husband has been driving since he was sixteen years old and has never had an accident.  And yet, when I’m riding with him, I assume that he will crash into any car we happen to be following.  I know this is a personality flaw of mine.  I lack trust and possibly accurate depth perception.  But I can’t help it.  I’m a nervous nelly when someone else is driving.  I expect to die.  To crash and then die.  But mostly to crash.

And so, this is a particular problem when a jumpy new driver is behind the wheel.  Today he scolded me for my tone of voice but in my defense, the light was red and we did not seem to be respecting that particular law of physics which insists that an object in motion stays in motion unless the BRAKE IS APPLIED.

Seriously.  I might not survive this part of motherhood.

So if you could all stay off the roads for the next year or two, I’d appreciate it very much.

(I thought about making a sign for the back of the minivan that would say “STUDENT DRIVER * TERRIFIED MOTHER” but I am pretty sure my son would not be amused.)


*Newton’s first law of motion:  An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.


I am the unbalanced force *

Sew coincidental

A few weeks ago I joined a “garage sale” group on Facebook.

A few days ago, I saw a listing for a Singer sewing machine for forty bucks.  I’ve been wishing I had a working sewing machine for awhile now.  I have a machine from 1970 that I broke awhile back trying to sew through some thick denim.  I don’t know if it can be fixed but in the meantime, forty bucks for a working Singer sewing machine seemed like a great idea.

Last night, while trying to view a photo of the machine, I ended up on the seller’s Facebook page.  It was then that I noticed that she and I had a mutual Facebook friend.  In fact, she seemed to be related to that particular friend. 

Remember, she was a complete stranger to me.  Not a “Facebook friend” or anything.  Just someone who listed something on the garage sale group (which has several thousand members).

Today, when I went to pick up the machine from her apartment, I mentioned our mutual friend.  I asked how she’s related to that family, exactly.

It turned out that she was selling me the sewing machine that her aunt used to own.  Her aunt is someone from our former hometown, someone who attended the church my husband pastored.  I’ve been in her aunt’s home.  I know her aunt. 

What are chances?

As I drove home, I just kept thinking how weird the whole situation was.

And then I began to sing, “It’s a Small World after all . . . ”  *


*Not really.  But now you’re singing it in your head, aren’t you?


Sew coincidental


Monday was the last day of Spring Break.  My kids had three separate Spring Breaks here, staggered for the past month.  And now, it’s all over.

Sometimes I can’t even remember what season it is here.  Last week, I literally had to remind myself whether this is Spring or Fall.  It’s a strange climate.  A wonderful but strange climate. 

We went to the beach the first weekend of Spring Break, then last Monday, we went to Disneyland.  (Daughter, me and her friend.)  It was quite possibly the best weather we’ve ever had at Disneyland (not too hot, for once) although after the sun went down, my daughter was cold but that’s because she did not take my advice when I told her how to dress.  I knew it would get a little chilly but she chose not to listen.  Too bad, so sad, sorry you’re cold. 


Today while driving to pick up my son’s guitar from the shop where it was being fixed, I was stopped at a red light.  As I watched, a pick-up truck zoomed through the intersection, even though his light had turned red.  The entire row of cars  with the green light began to accelerate as that pick-up raced through the intersection and then the last car collided with the pick-up.  The entire front bumper of that car fell off.  The pick-up swerved off the road, over the sidewalk and straight up the hillside into an expanse of ivy. 

The car’s driver got out immediately but the pick-up truck driver stayed in his truck. 

And then my light turned green and so I didn’t get to see what happened next.


Someone sat at my desk this afternoon or evening while I was away from my computer.  I noticed the evidence of a water spill first when I saw the curled page of my calendar page for this week.  I found that annoying enough because it’s a brand new week and that page was unsullied and there’s nothing I love quite as much as a clean calendar page, but even more annoying is the fact that the culprit TORE off the opposite page, so Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are missing.  We go straight from April 8 to April 16, as if time isn’t already going by too fast.  The current page is crumpled in my trashcan.  Very sneaky but not sneaky enough, kiddo.  Then when I picked up the calendar book, the entire back was wet.  Seriously, people. 


Tonight, my 12-year old daughter “Koolaided” her hair.  I really despise rainbow-colored hair, unless, of course, it’s on a clown, but I am trying to not be the jerky mom who keeps saying, “Blue hair is only cute if you’re a clown.”  And her hair is now half-pink, so I don’t know.  Maybe it could be worse.  It’s only hair.  It’s only hair.  It’s only hair.

It’s only hair.


Post-Easter Confessions

The fourth kid had hurried out out of the house and I’d taken a few photos of them in their non-Easter finery (the oldest boys looked like Christmas–one in a red polo and one in a forest-green button down shirt; the middle kid wore the short sleeved button-down shirt that has a red pen mark stain near a button and the girl wore the same exact white dress from last Easter).  Half of them had wet hair still. 

We got into the van.  I had the key in the ignition and my sunglasses on and realized I just could not wear the dress I had on.

I think my kids were utterly shocked, but I said, “I have to change clothes!” and then I ran into the house, peeled off my pantyhose and shed my dress and pulled on a pair of white pants and a flowery blouse and hot pink flip-flops.  I would not be surprised if I were voted out of the Pastor’s Wives Association.*

My last-minute costume-change is why we were one minute late for church on this beautiful Easter morning.

We’ve reached the era in our family where we do not dye Easter eggs.  I do not hide plastic eggs in the back yard.  We’ve never had a visit from the Easter bunny–ever–but I do occasionally manage to provide Easter baskets–and this year was a total triumph in that department since I snatched up two baskets from Costco the second I saw them.  (One year I meant to do that closer to Easter but then they were all gone.)  (Only two baskets, though, because my older kids are almost 22 and “too old” for baskets, though they got a chocolate bunny each which I completely expect to find under a bed or tucked on a shelf somewhere in a few months, at which point I will throw it away and wonder at kids who don’t eat chocolate Easter bunnies because some things never change.)

After church, I prepared lunch and we all sat at the table and tried to see each other over the too-tall flowers. 

And then, glory be, a lazy afternoon scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and then napping and reading.


*Not a real thing.  As far as I know.


Post-Easter Confessions