Still July

(I was just trying to watch a little television before going to sleep.)

On Saturday, I’m flying on a jet plane to Washington State with my daughter and her friend.  We’re staying with friends in two different towns, determined to vacation our hearts out.  My daughter in particular loves Bellingham and Lake Whatcom, so we’ll be hanging out at the lake a lot.  When we aren’t doing that, we’ll be doing the tourist thing in Seattle and shopping at Value Village as much as possible.  (That thrift store does not exist in our area and I miss it so much, as silly as that sounds.)

I’m working on getting all the laundry done and noting on a list things I need to buy before I go so the household continues to run without my daily attention.  So far, I have written down dog food and laundry detergent.  I’ve already cleaned out the fridge and tidied up my desk.

Of course, the most important thing is that I get out my Christmas cards before July ends.  Wish me Christmas luck and send an elf to help.

School starts up again in about three weeks and my youngest child will be starting high school.  You know that feeling when you’re in a roller-coaster and it’s clicking ever so slowly to the peak and you can feel the grinding of the wheels and you wonder if maybe it’ll roll backwards but then you crest the top before you speed down and scream?

I’m at the clicking slowly part of mothering another high school kid.  I know that in a second we’ll be flying down the other side, whirling and screeching and getting our necks yanked sideways and maybe bumping our heads but then it will be over and we’ll breathe and maybe want to do it again.

But I am really getting too old to ride the roller coasters more than once.  You may or may not relate.

Let’s just say that having a baby at age 38 is a lot more fun than having a 14-year old at age 52.  Ha.



Still July

Christmas in July

My eighty-something in-laws are due to arrive at about noon tomorrow.  They are staying for a couple of nights before they drive home to Texas in their pick-up truck.  I still need to clean out my fridge, run to Costco to buy some food (primarily, a roast for Sunday dinner), wash the sheets and remake the bed, and clean up the kitchen.

I’m procrastinating by staying awake which is dumb.

Speaking of procrastination, I have decided to send out my tardy Christmas cards/letters now that it’s July.  I was going to send them in May or June but then someone pointed out that Christmas in July would be fun (and funny) and I agreed.  So, wish me luck.  I have thirty days to get them in the mail.

With that, I better sign off and get myself to bed.  It’s almost 2 AM and I need to be on the dusty trails, walking for an hour, in about seven hours.

Christmas in July

This will be a great blog post!

For the past couple of days, I’ve been mulling over some ideas for this blog.  Oh yes, I thought to myself.  That will be a great blog post.  (Okay, a “good” blog post.  Or whatever.  A blog post.)

But now?  I have absolutely no idea what I thought I might write about.

I’ve just finished working.  I’ve washed half the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink.  (It’s summer break and my house has filled with college kids who randomly prepare food in my kitchen and leave their dirty dishes for our maid to clean.)  (Note:  We have no maid.) Basically, I’m washing 35 drinking glasses and mugs a day as if I’m a dishwasher making minimum wage at a diner.

Anyway, so I’ve finished working.  I’m done with everything that must be done before I sleep and I thought I’d write something but my brain has melted like a Hershey’s bar left all day in a summer car.

My husband is gone for a couple of weeks.  He drove ten long hours to Oregon to work on his doctorate.  My mom had been here for six weeks, but she’s also gone, back home to Washington.  I’m here, enjoying the luxury of an out-of-kilter schedule, fitting in my 10,000 steps however I can, usually out on a dusty trail.  Working, reading, cooking as little as possible.

Last week, I accidentally climbed to the top of a hill that was created by a volcano, or so the sign said.  I planned to walk along a paved trail, then decided to go around a curve and then spontaneously thought maybe I’d go up a steep path just to see where it went.  Once there, I figured I was halfway to the top, so I meandered and climbed up.

The big problem with going up a hill is the going-down part.  I couldn’t tell exactly where the official path was (I wanted to go down the back side instead of the way I came) and I ended up picking my way down a very steep, rocky path, terrified I’d slip and break a wrist or–even worse–my phone.  I thought about stepping on rattlesnakes and about twisting an ankle and about how silly I must look, gingerly stepping from stone to stone on that washed out path.

I walked about 90 minutes that morning and hit 10,000 steps before I even got back to my car, before noon.


My daughter graduated from eighth grade last Wednesday.  What a relief.  Goodbye, Middle School.  See you never.

On Thursday, I played the piano for a church lady brunch.  I accompanied a singer who had earlier provided me with music.  Unfortunately, the sheet of music for one of the songs was written to conserve space, so first you took Ending One, then the second time, you took Ending Two, but then you went back to the middle and then you finished and went to the beginning and took Ending Three but not before going here, there and everywhere.

I got lost.  I couldn’t figure out where the singer was and I just kept guessing at the chords because I had no idea what I was doing.  I do NOT play by ear.  After the first verse and chorus I was absolutely, one hundred percent lost.  It was mortifying and yet hilarious and I just kept playing, guessing at chords, hoping against hope that the singer would notice my distress and stop the song already!  She sang and sang and sang.

I don’t even know why I agreed to play the piano for that thing.  I’m sure someone else more competent could have done it.

Well, with any luck, tomorrow I’ll think of that amazing topic that eludes me tonight.  But don’t count on it.


This will be a great blog post!

June Gloom

A year ago, my son graduated from high school.  He’s living at home still, working, going to community college and figuring out what it means to be an adult.

Next Wednesday, my daughter graduates from eighth grade.  I find graduations from kindergarten and middle school to be pointless and silly but then again, no one asked me.  I will do my part and buy her roses and carry my own beach chair to sit in the field and watch her walk across the stage to graduate from eighth grade.

It’s not a minute too soon, either.  She switched schools after seventh grade and while she insists it was a good choice, I think it was a terrible decision.  Nevertheless, what’s done is done and now, finally, we can move on to high school.

Meanwhile, my mom’s been staying with us for about a month.  I love having her here.  (Hi, Mom!)  When you have a teenage daughter who is prone to . . . um, disagreeing with you about pretty much everything, it’s nice to have a grown woman in the house who thinks you are awesome and smart and successful–as moms do.

My husband started a doctorate program, so he is busier than ever.  He heads to Oregon in a couple of weeks for the on campus portion of his studies.

In my spare time, I’ve been walking a lot.  I’ve been getting in my 10,000 steps a day for the past eight weeks.  The only downside to this is that when you’re spending an hour a day walking/hiking, you are not spending that hour a day  doing household chores or reading.  I kind of miss that hour but on the other hand, I’m feeling pretty spiffy, so no regrets.

June Gloom refers to the weather in my area during this time of year.  The marine layer moves in and our days are cloudy.  I don’t mind because summer sunshine is coming.

And with that, I’m ending this because I didn’t have anything exciting to say in the first place . . . but I realized I had neglected this blog for too long.

June Gloom

Happy Appendixaversary

A year ago to the day, my son had his appendix out.  We drove to the Urgent Care Clinic only to find it was not open until 2 PM (huh?) and so we drove down the freeway to a different Urgent Cafe Clinic, which turned out to be a good decision since instead of ruling out appendicitis, they ruled it in and wheeled him over to the hospital side and later that night, into surgery.

He handled the entire situation with good humor and cheer–except for the next day when he could barely stand upright and creep to the bathroom.  Then it was less fun.

Anyway, I only really know that today is the appendixaversary because Facebook told me so.  I love that “On This Day” feature of Facebook and not just because it reminds me of the days when my daughter was young and still thought I was The Best Mom Ever.  The picture yesterday was when she was four.  Well, here.  Just look.

In other news, I am working on increasing my fitness and so I started wearing my Fitbit and tracking my steps again.  “They” (the experts) say that we should all be walking 10,000 steps a day.  My baseline, before I started going for walks, was more like 3,000 steps a day.  I added 1,500 steps a week until I reached the magical 10,000 steps per day goal.

I am super mad because after a solid two and a half weeks of hitting 10,000 steps a day, I forgot to get up and pace around the house for a few minutes the other night and at 12:30 AM, I remembered but then it was too late and I had only 9,673 steps for the day.  (I know, this is boring.  But I have a story.)

The story is this.

A couple of days ago, I was walking around my favorite trail.  It loops around a park and has wide paths.  I was about halfway done, so I’d been walking about 20 or 30 minutes and was happily listening to a podcast and suddenly, a kamikaze bee flew into my chin, near my lip and stung me.

I brushed it away from my face in a panic and accidentally yanked my headphones from my ears.

Then I heard it buzzing at the back of my head, so I smacked myself in the head over and over again, trying to kill the bee or at the very least, get it away from me.  I started to freak out, thinking maybe it was caught in my hair.  All I could hear was the buzz, buzz, buzz and soon I was slapping myself in the head with both hands.

And the buzzing continued, so I began running uphill to get away from the bee while continuing to hit myself in the head with both hands.  At some point, my hair came completely loose from its hairband and the buzzing stopped and so I stopped, too, and caught my breath and rued the loss of my hairband because now my hair was in complete disarray, fuzzy and stuck to my sweaty face.

And that, my friend, is what they refer to as “High Intensity Interval Training.”

Happy Appendixaversary

A few words from the Church-Lady after Easter

What an exhausting weekend.

Saturday my twin sons turned 24 years old.  I spent my day shuttling my 14-year old to town so she and a friend could “hang out” while I ran errands.  I returned items to Macy’s (rejected possible outfits for the aforementioned daughter) and then bought clothes for the boys (who really couldn’t care less about clothes, let’s be honest).  (Please note, one of my sons sings on the platform at church every week and he wears the exact same green shirt every Sunday.  I promise he has other clothes!)

Anyway, then on to the fruit market and the grocery store and a cupcake shop and back to pick up the girls.  Then birthday dinner and cupcakes and the requisite birthday photo and then it was time to work.

Then, as fate and the lunar calendar would have it, Easter was the next day (one year, their birthday was actually on Easter).  So I stayed up late prepping food for the next day.  It’s so tricky to cook while you are not in the kitchen, but I  solved this problem by putting ham and potatoes in separate Crockpots.  (God bless the inventor of the Crockpot.)

We arrived at church early which was an Easter miracle.  (Really, you have no idea.  I can’t seem to arrive at church on time most Sundays, proof of my utter failure as a pastor’s wife.)

After church, I finished up dinner preparations and we ate together except for my husband who was still coughing and germy from the cold he had all week.  (This was the worst possible week for him to be sick but he was sick nonetheless.)

Speaking of colds . . . why is it when you catch a cold, you think, “Oh, in three days I’ll be better?” when a cold is never better in three days.  It’s seven days of misery, possible ten.  Why are newly sick people so optimistic?

I realized something about myself this Easter weekend.

My daughter has very specific ideas of what she will and will not wear.  (It’s a lot like when she was three years old, actually.)  We have somewhat different ideas about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.  I admit that I have some overly modest feelings about clothing.  She does not.  (I do not understand why, frankly.)

Anyway, she decided she wanted a “romper” for Easter and for her 8th grade graduation.  I went to Macy’s alone and took photographs of possible outfits, including some cute rompers.  Then I bought a half dozen things and brought them home for her consideration.  I decided this was easier than shopping WITH her because that unfortunately tends to end in frustration for one or both of us.

So she chose a romper with flowing sleeves and a V-neck and I said, “What about shoes?” and she said, “I’ll just wear my checkered Vans.”   (They look like this, only not new.)

Image result for checkered vans

I scowled.  I’m sure of it.  And I said, “They won’t look right at all.  Can’t I just buy you some shoes?” and she said, “No.”

So, Easter morning, she wore the romper and her checkered Vans and I noticed that I cared about this.  I cared a lot.  I cared because I thought other people would look at my daughter and wonder why she was essentially wearing shorts (it was a short romper) and slightly dingy checkered Vans instead of a cute pastor’s daughter dress along with some shiny new shoes.

Sometimes I carry around an imaginary judgmental Church-Lady on my back and hear her imaginary scolding voice in my ears and find myself to be lacking.  The shoes on my daughter’s feet are not about my daughter at all.  It’s about what I think someone else might think and how they will judge me. I know they think I’m a bad mom.

Do these imaginary people think I don’t know how to pick out appropriate clothing?

Do they think I don’t know what shoes should go with what outfits?

Do they think my poor son has only one long-sleeved button-down shirt?

So, once I realized that I was hearing the scolding voice of the piggy-backing imaginary Church-Lady, I deliberately shrugged her off and clamped my mouth shut and did not tell my daughter and my son what She thought about their choices in attire.  I said nothing.  I let my daughter wear the shoes that didn’t match the outfit.

And we went to church.

One of the difficult things about raising children (and now teenagers and young adults) in a pastor’s family is the concern that people are judging them and their behaviors and attitudes and shoes and hair color (she keeps dyeing her hair purple) and feeling like you have somehow dropped the reins, that you are actively failing to live up to other people’s expectations.  For someone who wants to be good and right and perfect, even, this is hard for me.  I want my ducks to line up in a row and waddle after me in perfect obedience.

My emotions are a complex stew of contradictions.

I want to control my kids.  I want them to be themselves.  I will cut anyone who criticizes them, yet I  am critical and see them through the mean eyes of a critic.

I want my kids to be perfect, yet I never want them to feel like they have to be perfect.  (I know perfection is ridiculous, impossible, poisonous.)

I worry, worry, worry even as I  believe completely that God loves them more than I ever could and that He will use everything for good in their lives, even the mistakes, the poor choices, the attitudes that infuriate and cause me to despair.

Not long ago, my daughter came downstairs on a Sunday morning wearing black jeans and a black Led Zeppelin t-shirt and lavender hair.  I kind of rolled my eyes and maybe I said something–I can’t remember but I gave off a faint scent of disapproval, no doubt.

But then at church during the part where you have to shake hands and say hello to those around you one of the men in our church said to her, “Hey, I like your shirt!” and mentioned that he’d seen them in concert (a million years earlier because, hello, Jimmy Page is 73 and Robert Plant is 68).  Anyway, it was just a Led Zeppelin t-shirt.  Not the end of the world.

I’ve got to remember that.

Shake it off.  Let it go.  Stop giving piggy-back rides to that imaginary Church-Lady.  (Oh, but it’s so hard.  She keeps jumping on my back.)

Please tell me I will survive teenagers.




A few words from the Church-Lady after Easter

Bills and Taxes

It’s 1:23 AM.  The house is quiet.  “Southern Charm” plays on my television, keeping me company.  Lola the dog came to nudge my elbow but I told her to go away and lie down because once I start with her, she is relentless and then I’ll have to get up and wash the dog smell off my hands.  (She has a grooming appointment for Thursday.)

I’ve just finished paying bills for the month.  Before that, I did my taxes but I have to find some information I’m missing to put on the finishing touches and actually file.  (I think I left a paper upstairs on a bookshelf.)

So despite the late hour and the cluttery state of my desk, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself.  Tomorrow I’m taking a half-day off work, which is the first time off I’ve had in several months since my job schedule changed in January.  I’m going to use my precious four hours to drive my son into town for an appointment and to do a “mystery shop” at a pizza place and to see my eye doctor.  Kind of boring, really.

A week ago Sunday, I woke up from a nap with a headache by my right eye.  Then I realized that it wasn’t my head aching as much as it was my eyeball.  I checked it out in the mirror and my eye was a little red.  Several hours later, it was extremely red, sensitive to light and still aching.  Uncharacteristically (because I usually believe in the power of time to cure all things rather than the power of modern medicine),  I made a doctor’s appointment the next morning and took my red eyeball to the eye doctor.

He predicted conjunctivitis, but, in fact, it turned out I have iritis which is an inflammation of the iris.  The reason for this particular thing is unclear and may need further investigation via blood tests.

At any rate, he put a bunch of different drops into my eye and gave me a prescription for drops I’ve been using four times a day.  Thus, the follow-up appointment tomorrow.

In my spare time, I’ve been walking more (trying to get my daily “steps” to 10,000).  I’m averaging about 8,500 steps right now but it’s a definite time commitment.  Luckily, the weather has been excellent and there are wildflowers blooming everywhere.  I saw that peacock along the path today.

I’ve been reading a book I last read when I was a teenager:  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  The funny thing is that I was about halfway through it when I realized I had been mixing up the plot with that of Jane Eyre.  And tonight, about 70% through the book (I’m reading it on Kindle, so I have these stats!), I was shocked by a confession I didn’t see coming because I had been so mixed up about plot points.

So, that’s it for tonight.

Easter’s coming.  Summer’s coming.  Christmas is coming.  Blink. Blink. Blink.

Bills and Taxes