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.”

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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

Goodbye sleep. Welcome Daylight Savings Time.

I started wearing my Fitbit again.  It tells me how little I walk (about 4,000 steps a day–I keep meaning to start walking for exercise but please tell me when I’m supposed to do that?) and it tells me how much I’m sleeping.  Last night, I slept for five hours and 2 minutes.  (That’s not enough and not my norm.  I usually get closer to seven.)

So today, I was tired. I had an obligation this morning, beginning at 8:30 AM and remarkably enough, I was perfectly on time. I was back home, napping by 4:30 PM.

And now it’s time to get to bed because we will be robbed of an hour of sleep tonight.  The start of Daylight Savings Time always reminds me of that time in college when Diane and I went to Sunday School, only to have it dismissed minutes after our arrival.  It was then that we realized we had forgotten about Daylight Savings Time.

Well, this is a particularly boring way to resume blogging after a month of blog silence.

I’ve been willing time to move faster so my daughter will be finished with middle school which she seems to be enjoying less and less.  (Does anyone enjoy middle school?)  She was accepted into the high school of her choice.  And she got her braces off.  So, time is dragging and racing all at the same time.

So anyway, we’ll give this regular blogging-thing another shot.

And I will rejoice because the sun will set late enough for me to get to the beach after dinner.  Hooray.

Goodbye sleep. Welcome Daylight Savings Time.

Stranger than fiction

That’s my dog and my cat who thinks you can’t see her

I was driving up my street one late afternoon with my daughter in the car. She could easily walk home from school but I pick her up one street over so she doesn’t have to trudge uphill to our house.  I hope she remembers my compassion and generosity when she looks back on her life some day.

Anyway, we were a couple of houses from our own house and I noticed a man walking a dog.  I noticed mainly because the dog looked like my dog, a Bernese Mountain dog.  I said to my daughter, “Hey, that looks like my dog!” and she said after a pause, “Um, Mom.  That’s Dad!”  (Frankly, she sounded kind of judgmental, as if she’s never mistaken her loved one for a total stranger.  Whatevs, man. Fourteen year olds think they know it all.)

And sure enough, I gaped as I drove past the man and the dog and it WAS my husband (of almost 30 years) and it was my dog.

I kind of recognized my dog but I did not recognize my husband.  At all.  I guess I forgot he’s mostly bald and gray.  That’s not how I see him.

*

Today we ran out of toilet paper.  Completely.  We have three bathrooms in our house and when I used the last of the toilet paper in my master bathroom, I checked the closet where I keep the extra rolls.  There were no extra rolls, much to my surprise.  This was shocking because I have toilet paper automatically delivered to my house by Amazon.  It’s the best thing ever.  But my system went awry, somehow.

So I thought I’d check the main (kids’) bathroom upstairs.  Last I knew, I stacked six rolls in there.  Today, there was a ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS sitting on the counter next to the toilet.

I . . . just . . . what?  So I took that away and came back with a box of tissues because we are not barbarians!  Then I checked the downstairs bathroom and . . . well, I already spoiled this story by telling you we completely ran out of toilet paper today.

The weird thing here is twofold:  1)  No one mentioned that we had no toilet paper; and 2) Someone thought a roll of paper towels was a good solution.

Please do not worry about us.  I drove right to Target and bought 48 rolls of toilet paper.

*

I continually buy hairbands.  Because I have ridiculous hair and also, hello, menopause?  So I’m hot.  No, I’m cold . . . wait, now I’m sweaty.  But I’m cold, I mean hot.  So, I constantly put my hair up, then take it down, then put it up, ET CETERA.  All day long.  And occasionally–like right now–I look in my desk drawer and all around my office and find no hairbands.  And I’m hot.  But I have inadvertently transferred all the hairbands to my bedroom and my car.  This would be why I have a pen stuck in my hair, holding it off my neck.

Does this happen to anyone else?

*

Finally, I had a bit of a busy morning today.  I had to take my car to get an oil change and when I came back home, I had a couple of hours and decided to putter.  At some point, I remembered that I wanted to put peanut butter in the mousetraps I put in the garage a awhile back.  I’d found evidence of a mouse and so I bought traps and put them behind the garage couch.  Weeks and weeks had passed, but my traps remained empty.

So I came armed with a knife full of peanut butter and shoved the couch out of the way to access the traps and found . . . two empty traps and one trap with a dead mouse.

I immediately turned squeamish and went upstairs to ask my 18-year old if he’d like to practice “being a man” and he said, “Sure!”and then when I told him why, he pulled a blanket over his head and said, “Oh no!  I thought you wanted me to do taxes or something!”

I ended up fishing the mousetrap from behind the couch with a long metal thing and put it in a trash bag and into the trash.  And then I filled the remaining traps with peanut butter because you never know.  (At least I didn’t use glue traps again.)

Stranger than fiction

Mom’s Search for Meaning

The problem is that I don’t want to let go.

She’s all too eager to move on while I’m clinging to memories.  Remember four years ago when we went whale watching?  Remember when you lost your first tooth?  Remember that pink hat you loved?  Remember when we bought these clothes?  Remember?

She doesn’t want to dwell in the past.  She wants to get her driver’s license and her freedom and long acrylic nails.  She’s 14 and has no patience for my questions or memories.

Nothing like this concerned me when my boys were growing up and growing older.  Maybe because I always had her, my little cohort, the one who was always ready to go to the beach or to the store or anywhere, really.  Now, she just wants a ride to her friend’s house or she wants to stay home and watch Netflix while I go alone.

However, I am no idiot.  It’s absolutely developmentally appropriate that she ventures farther and farther away from me, that she separates from me.

But it’s hard for me.

And last night, her guinea pig–which had become my guinea pig–died.  So not only do I have a giant basket of her cast-off clothes here in my office, ready to be discarded somehow, I also have the empty guinea pig cage, another sign of the times.

*

Last week, I took her to Barnes & Noble to buy a book she wanted. While we waited to pay, I sniffed the candles displayed for sale.  I found one that smelled amazing: gardenia, tuberose and jasmine and thought I would buy it for myself as a belated birthday gift.  But it cost $19.99 and I just couldn’t do it.

When we got home, I emptied the curbside mailbox–I am terrible about remembering to get the mail each day–and found a package from my mom.  She’d mentioned she was sending something for my birthday.

I opened it and unwound the tissue paper from a wrapped item to reveal a metal tin containing a candle . . . a candle scented with the fragrance of gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine.  It was in a metal tin instead of the round glass contained I’d seen at the store, but it was the exact same brand and the exact same scent that I wanted at the bookstore.

This little candle felt like a small miracle, a little reminder of love and family and dreams come true.

*

I just read (for the first time) Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.  I wish I’d read it before.  If you haven’t read it, you should.

Mom’s Search for Meaning

The day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded

Here’s a little known fact.  The day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I turned 21.  I was attending Bible College in Missouri and had limited access to television and radio, so I had little awareness of the horror of the tragedy and loss of life.  Instead, some random college boy took me to dinner at Red Lobster.

Only in the subsequent years have I become aware of the disaster that happened the same day I turned 21, mainly because on my birthday every year, they play footage of that ill-fated flight.

So, January 28 (today if you’re me, typing this but yesterday if you’re the one reading this) was my birthday.  This year, it also happened to be the Chinese New Year, which I found out when I had a pedicure in a virtually empty nail salon where all the Asian ladies were wearing dressier than usual clothing and speaking excitedly in their native language.  They slid my Birkenstocks back on my feet, rushed me out the door then taped a “CLOSED” sign on the door.

Earlier in the day, I spent an hour going to a pharmacy and picking up a prescription for one of my kids.  As soon as I got home, my husband and I went to lunch at a restaurant that sits on the shore of the Pacific.  From my seat I could watch surfers bobbing on the waves and a couple of wind surfers in the distance.  After a rainy month, not a cloud was in the sky.  And best of all, due to a combination of a half-used gift card, a rewards card and a $10 bonus card, our entire bill for the fancy lunch was $2.70.  Getting a deal is one of the chief delights in my life, so I felt pleased by this turn of events.  (We tipped generously and had to pay for valet parking, just in case you wondered.  We are not barbarians.)

After lunch, I relaxed for a minute, than went to Costco by way of the nail salon.  Costco was busy as it always was, but I found a parking spot by the door because it’s my birthday!  I don’t want to walk a half a mile across the parking lot!  I packed the back of my Fiat 500 with groceries and picked up my son at work.  Upon our return home, I promptly took a nap for an hour.

When I woke, it was time to pick up my daughter.  On the way home, my brother called and we talked about a bunch of people we knew of from way back when.  By the time I got home, I had less than an hour before work at 9 PM.

And now I’m ready for sleep.

By the way, I’d like to note that twice in the last month my husband has said to me, “Maybe you facing ageism,” and I’ve said doubtfully, “Really?” because even though I might seem like a dowdy housewife to you, I am not old!  True, I do like a good nap and I couldn’t care less about wearing uncomfortable shoes even if they are cute and I don’t get the thing about eyebrows, but I like to think I’m au courant.

Though I imagine the fact that the phrase au courant popped into my aging brain means I’m an old fogey after all.

Whatever.

(One of my favorite things to do is to figure out how old I’ll be when my kids are a particular age.  So, when my daughter is my age, I’ll be 93.  Now, there’s a fun fact.)

The day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded