Eleven years ago, as I was fixing my boys frozen pizza for lunch before our planned Labor Day excursion to the pool, I noticed I was having contractions.

How strange, I thought.  Which is strange since I was nine months pregnant.  My due date was September 5 but I fully intended to have my baby on September 10.  I figured that would be a much more convenient time since school was due to start on September 3.

However, my uterus had other ideas.

When I review my thoughts and actions of that day, I have to laugh.  I sent my husband and the kids to the pool without me, telling him I’d join him in a couple of hours after getting some rest.  I planned to make my contractions go away.

After they left, I called my midwife “just in case,” and took a bath and waited for my contractions to subside.

Except they did not.  When I got out of the tub, the contractions were more regular.  I started tracking them in a notebook and noticed that they came every two minutes.

I thought that was strange, so I decided to check my pregnancy book to see if the length of the contractions mattered more than the intervals between them.

As I sat on my birthing ball, alone in my house, paging through my book, I started to cry.  I didn’t mean to cry but I couldn’t help it.

I called my midwife again and left her a message.  When she called me back, I couldn’t speak because my contraction was so strong.  I think that’s why she told me she’d come and check me.

I thought I’d go downstairs and wash the lunch dishes.  On the way, I noticed my boys’ bedroom was messy.  I straightened it up, stopping to breathe through contractions.  I vacuumed and made their bed.  Once downstairs, I saw a mess in the living room.  I vacuumed, kicked toys to the center of the floor and picked them up.  Every two minutes, I stopped and leaned over and breathed hard during contractions.

By the time I reached the kitchen, I realized I could not possibly stand at the kitchen sink and wash dishes.  Instead I got a bottle of water and went upstairs to wait.

The midwife arrived at about 5 PM.  I informed her I changed my mind and didn’t want to have a baby.

I telephoned my friends and told them I was in labor but not to come quite yet, that it would be awhile.  When my husband called, I told him to stay at the pool with the boys.

This, my friends, is a story of denial.

Despite that denial, less than two hours after the midwife arrived, my baby girl was born.  My husband came home ten minutes later.  My sister and my friends arrived even later.

I will never stop being amused by the fact that I was in labor on Labor Day.

And I will never stop being thankful for the daughter God gave me.


Happy birthday to my Labor Day baby!



Something happened and I thought to myself, “Self, that would make a good anecdote for that blog you write.”

And so here I am.

The major problem, however, is that I can’t remember what that incident might have been.  I’m not sure who I pity more: me or you.

Around here, things are busy.  We’re having friends stop by for an overnight visit tomorrow.  They’re from North Carolina, traveling to Mexico and so we are a handy pit-stop on their journey across time zones.  All of this means that I spent hours today trying to deal with the Dog Hair Situation and the Laundry Situation.  And for the first time in a long, long time, I don’t have baskets of clean folded laundry cluttering up my office.

The Dog Hair Situation seems  under control, but only for minutes because Lola the Dog is the fuzziest, most shedding dog that God ever created.  Fine black dog hair drifts into my eyeballs and onto my tongue.  It’s the secret ingredient in everything I cook.  (Oh, now it’s not secret.  Please, don’t tell anyone.)

Anyway, tomorrow I will use the handy-dandy Swiffer in a quick and pretty much hopeless effort to eliminate the floating dog hairs before our guests arrive.

Today’s efforts also included a Magic Eraser, Windex, a rag and a lot of sweat and trips to the recycling bin.

In other news, my kids are finishing up their second week of school.  I am finishing up my seventy-hundred-fifty-billionth week of work.  Actually, I just had my six-year anniversary at my company.  I KNOW.  Six years!

I wish I could remember what it was I was going to tell you.

Well, since I can’t, I will spare you from further wanderings through my addled brain.

I’ll be back.  And I’ll try to bring my clever anecdote with me.


On wastefulness

I wasted this whole day.

When you grow up in the soggy Pacific Northwest you learn to never, ever waste a sunny day.  When the sun comes out and the skies are blue, you find a reason to get outside and to soak up the sunshine.  What if the sun doesn’t emerge again for a month?  That is what you think when you live there.

I doubt that impulse will disappear even though pretty much every day here in San Diego County, the sun smiles and if you miss it, you can assume that tomorrow will be Groundhog Day.  Another chance to get it right.


I feel like I wasted the day by staying inside reading most of the afternoon.  I didn’t see the sky as the sun set.  I missed everything.

I slept late and then took the dog for a sweaty walk.  Then, while I was still sweaty, I took the dog and my daughter to the pet store so we could wash the dog.

The dog does not appreciate being washed.  These days, she will walk right up into the tub, but once secured, she is not happy.  She sits down firmly, trying to avoid the spray.  I scrub her, then rinse and rinse and rinse and eventually, she tries to jump out and then she howls and then she sits again so I can’t rinse her tail and then she shakes so that I am covered in dog-shampoo scented water droplets. My plastic apron always falls off and fuzzy dog fur tickles my nose.

I brushed her before we left with my patented Smear Peanut Butter on the Side of the Refrigerator technique, so after the bath, I did my best to blot her dry with a towel and then we hurried out of the pet store.

I dropped my daughter off at a friend’s house–she’d asked if she could go once she realized I had nothing exciting planned for the day–and when I got home, I showered and then took a nap.  A NAP.  It was only 2:30 PM which is ridiculous unless you are eighty-five years old but I was tired. And I will be eighty-five in . . . well, thirty-seven years which is just the blink of an eye.  I’m tired just thinking about that.

When my husband returned home at 3:30 PM I pretended to be wide awake.  Then I read for the rest of the day, breaking only to cook and eat dinner.

So, I missed everything outdoors.  I did not hike to the top of a mountain like someone posted on Facebook.  I did not go bowling like someone posted on Facebook.  I did not explore tide pools like someone posted on Facebook.  I did not go to my high school reunion (thirty years!) like someone posted on Facebook.  I did not take my kids anywhere, see anything exciting, enjoy the weather, explore my surroundings or make today count.

But my dog smells great.


On wastefulness

I am Lucy

I wrote last on this blog a week ago for those who are keeping score at home.

As usual, the clock’s moving at the speed of time, leaving me exhausted and wondering why we are going so fast.  For instance, on Monday my son starts his sophomore year of high school.  How can it be back-to-school time when summer just barely started?  Especially since my Baby Boy is five years old in my mind.


Last weekend, my 10-year old daughter had a soccer tournament.  This involved crawling out of bed super early on a Saturday morning and devoting the whole day to shin guards and soccer balls.  Before the first game, the referee (who I heard is a high-powered “bulldog” attorney in real life) insisted that my daughter remove her earrings before she could play.  Normally, girls with newly pierced ears just put Band-aids over their earrings, but we hadn’t remembered to do that and so she came running across the field to me, giving me a fright because of the upset panic all over her face.

She told me she had to remove them–which was a gigantic deal because she hadn’t removed them since getting them pierced awhile back.  I said in my calm mom-voice, “It’s okay.  I can take them out.”  And then I yanked them out as gently as I could and sent her back to the field.

The tournament lasted two days and the girls almost won first place.  (They lost the championship game against a team they’d beat the day before–and the final goal was scored by a girl who made a personal foul against the coach’s daughter, a foul which was overlooked by the referee.  It was tragic.)

Saturday night, we joined some families from church at the beach where they were having a giant camping trip.  That was exciting in its own way when my daughter disappeared from the campsite . . . we found her swimming in the ocean with two friends without any adult supervision.  At least she had the good sense to be sorry when she realized she forgot to ask permission. We stayed for three hours–long enough to eat dinner and watch the sunset–and I may or may not have semi-promised my daughter that next year we’ll try to spend the night, too.  In a tent.  And sleeping bags.  Have I mentioned that I am not the camping-type?)

This week has been busy with school preparation and a weird work schedule since I’m covering for another employee and working odd hours while my husband has taken the week off (mostly).  He’s spending time with each of our kids.

Today, a friend and I took my daughter to the jewelry store where she originally got her ears pierced.  The lady there thought it was impossible that the holes had closed so quickly, so she tried to wiggle the earrings in and finally used her piercing gun to get them back in place.  My poor daughter only cried a little and reported afterward that they didn’t really hurt after the fact.  (That is a relief since the original piercing hurt her a lot for a couple of days.)

Afterward, we had a hurried brunch before I had to return to work.

This weekend we have another soccer tournament and you can bet that we will be hypervigilant about covering those earrings with Band-aids.

I just wish we didn’t have to be at the soccer field at 7:15 AM.

And then Monday morning and the first day of school.

My life is pretty much a conveyor belt speeding up while I’m shoving chocolates in my shirt and my hat and my face as fast as I can.

I am Lucy

From crisis to serendipity

Wednesday night at about 6:30 PM I was lying in bed, preparing to continue reading The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. Then my phone rang.

At first, no one replied to my “hello.”  I pressed the phone to my ear, repeating my greeting. The caller was identified by my iPhone as the mother of my daughter’s friend where she was spending the night.  I half-expected the voice to be my daughter’s.

Finally, though, the mom’s voice came over the line.  “We’re at the beach,” she said, and then she added the phrase, “Um, first of all, she’s okay.”

Why, when you hear those words, do you picture a dismemberment or maybe an explosion?  You don’t?  Oh, maybe that’s just me.  I did not find comfort in “she’s okay.”  I wondered why she was calling to tell me my daughter was okay . . . and what was all the noise in the background?

Then she told me that my 10-year old was stung by a stingray.  A stingray!  Hello?  A stingray killed the Crocodile Hunter!  But . . . my daughter was okay.  Or so she said.

And then, she said they were with lifeguards and could she call me back?

As soon as we disconnected, I told my husband what happened and then I did a Google search and found these scary instructions:

1. Bathe Wound in Seawater

  • While still in water, irrigate wound to remove fragments of spine and tissue.
  • Get the person out of the water.

2. Stop Bleeding

  • Apply pressure above the wound if it is bleeding.

3. Soak Wound in Hot Water Until Bleeding Stops

  • Hot water inactivates any remaining venom and may relieve pain.
  • Apply a hot pack if the wound is still bleeding.
  • Gently remove obvious pieces of spine. Do not remove pieces of spine from the neck, chest, or abdomen.

4. Scrub Wound

  • Clean with soap and water.
  • Apply dressing. Do not tape it closed.

5. Go to a Hospital Emergency Room

6. Follow Up

  • At the hospital, the barb and remnants of stingray spine will be removed.
  • X-rays may be done.
  • A tetanus shot may be administered, if necessary.
  • An antibiotic and pain reliever may be prescribed.

So I found my shoes and prepared to drive to the beach so I could rush my daughter to a clinic for medical care.  Meanwhile, my husband called a doctor friend to ask his advice.  I drove to the beach, expecting the phone to ring any second.  I reached the beach and still hadn’t heard back, so I called my friend to see where exactly they were.

She gave me more details and put me on speaker phone with the lifeguard while she asked him questions.  Everyone sounded remarkably calm, nonchalant, even.  He said that she was fine and there was little chance a barb was still stuck in her.  She was stung on the hand and it had already been treated, cleaned, and bandaged.  I talked to my daughter and she sounded cheerful and perfectly okay.  She also sounded horrified that I planned to take her to the Urgent Care Clinic.  She wanted to spend the night with her friend as planned.

So, with assurance from her, the lifeguard and the mom, I relented.  I dropped off the extra clothes I’d brought at their house (they were not yet home from the beach) and began driving toward home.

Then I noticed the sky.

I checked the clock.  It was about 7:10 PM.  A quick check of a phone app showed me that the sunset would be at 7:44 PM.

I called my husband, told him I’d decided to stay for the sunset.

And so I detoured into a parking lot, walked across the sand and got a front-row seat.  The beach was nearly abandoned.  I guess most tourists have headed home since school’s starting soon.


I only had my iPhone with me but at least I had it so I could snap photos.

As for my daughter, she declared she never plans to go to THAT beach again.

Today, she wore gauze wrapped around her two fingers.  When I suggested that band-aids might be adequate for the two small cuts, she said, “But Mom, that would not be dramatic enough!  I want people to ask me what happened!”  (She also told me today that she quite enjoyed having the lifeguard truck with its sirens and lights drive down the shore to transport her to the lifeguard headquarters for treatment.)

So, truly, all’s well that ends well.

And it ended very well.

From crisis to serendipity

My Summer Vacation (only it was actually just a Summer Saturday) in Pictures

Last Saturday, I set my alarm to wake up at 6:30 AM.  Getting up at such an hour is painful when you’ve gone to sleep only five hours earlier.  However, a sacrifice had to be made.

This is where I went with my daughter and our friend.  Notice the oh-so-cool surfer van at the bottom of the picture.

We arrived at the beach around 7:30 AM.  SEVEN THIRTY IN THE MORNING.  Oh my.  We found a parking place easily and walked down the stairs toward the beach.  And then we practically bumped into Bethany Hamilton, the surfer we’d come to see.  She had apparently finished warming up and was showering in the outdoor shower.  A man approached her to ask for her autograph as she finished her shower and headed toward us and I heard her say, “I can’t do that right now.”

My daughter and our friend and I looked at each other, mouths open.  “Did you see that?  That was HER!”  We were kind of star-struck, I admit.

Do you know who Bethany Hamilton is?  She’s the Hawaiian surfer who had her left arm bitten off by a gigantic shark while surfing when she was 13-years old. In the ten years since then, she’s continued her professional surfing career and been the subject of both a documentary and a major motion picture.

We set up our chairs and began watching the first heat of surfers.  Four surfers at a time had 25 minutes in each heat to surf as many waves as they could.  I’m not entirely sure how points are scored, but it was fun watching them catch the waves.

Then, as we sat waiting for Bethany’s heat, I turned my head in response to some commotion and saw her jogging in my direction.  I grabbed my camera just in time to snap her picture.

I couldn’t have planned that picture if I’d asked her to please jog past my chair in slow motion.

We had the best day.  In addition to watching the surfing, we had our hair braided and got free stuff and had lunch at Dairy Queen before watching more surfing.  More and more people joined us on the beach as the marine layer burned off and the hours passed.

All in all, it was a pretty great day. (I love the shirts the surfers wore – this was the Supergirl Pro Surf competition.)


This is one of the professional surfers, preparing to surf.

And this is Bethany Hamilton, surfing while we all cheered and took pictures from shore.

And then she had to contend with the crowds when the heat ended.  I think she was lingering in the waves, waiting for the other three surfers to make their way through the crowd first.  All the surfers were mobbed for their autographs, but Bethany actually needed security to escort her through the crowds.  She was scheduled to sign autographs at 4 PM but we didn’t even attempt that since the line started forming by about 1 PM.  We heard that the day before she signed autographs in another town and some moms and their daughters waited in line for four and a half hours, only to be cut off when she stopped signing at the appointed time.

At any rate, we had an excellent time.  How much do I love living in a beach town?  (Answer:  A whole lot.)

My Summer Vacation (only it was actually just a Summer Saturday) in Pictures

Friends are not friends forever despite what Michael W. Smith says

While driving to soccer practice, my 10-year old daughter chatters non-stop.  One day she mentioned that she and a teammate want to have a playdate.  I suggested the waterpark or the beach and then she said, “It’s weird.  Whenever I go someplace like that I always meet someone and make a friend.  And then I never see them again.”

I said, “Yes, they are just friends for a day, huh?”

I hate the idea of a friend for a day.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the occasional conversation you have with a stranger you meet in random circumstances:  in the airport or the beach or while walking your dog down the street on a balmy Southern California morning.  I like a temporary intersection with an acquaintance or the getting-to-know you exchange of information and ideas with a potential friend, even if nothing really comes of it.

But what I hate is the abandonment of old friends, dear friends, those friends who have toured the inside of your heart and seen you cry.  I hate it and I don’t understand it.

Maybe I am that kind of person, the kind of person who walks away and forgets her friends, the kind of woman who drifts away on the currents of busyness, the loser who plain-out abandons her friends.  But I don’t want to be like that.  I don’t think I am like that.  I spend a lot of time wondering if I am.  Is it me?

Admittedly, I am an introvert, one of those weirdos who would choose reading over partying.  I am never the life of the party, like some people I know.  I don’t gather people to me like a magnet.  I like solitude and peace and quiet.

But when I find a friend, when I connect with someone on a deeper level, when I find someone who laughs at my jokes  and makes me laugh, who “gets” me, I treasure that person.  Over the years, I’ve had some of the most amazing friends.  We have walked parallel paths as we became wives and mothers.  We’ve shared our lives, our sorrows, our gripes, our dreams, our fears.  We have history together.

But at some point, silence has crept in.  Distance both geographical and emotional has turned from space into a wall, an impenetrable wall without a gate.  I’m alone.  I don’t know why.

I don’t have forty-seven other friends tucked away in a banquet room.  I have loved these few friends with devotion and faithfulness.  I have saved every letter these friends have ever sent yet I feel like my actual friendship has been shredded and tossed out in the recycling bin.  (I know.  Real letters with handwriting and postage stamps and everything!  So old-fashioned.)

Sure, this could just be life, that time in the life-cycle of an American female human being when she only sees her children and her husband and her job and her to-do-list, but I have a hole where those friends used to be.

I can’t stop probing the hollow space.


p.s.  I already know that some friends are “for a season” and some are “for a reason” and all that trite stuff.  I just feel a sense of abandonment and it’s probably me, not you.  I don’t need advice or comfort.  I just wanted to stay what I’ve been thinking because it helps me think better and sort through things.  (I almost didn’t post this but I can’t seem to post anything else until this post stops blocking the traffic in my head.)

Friends are not friends forever despite what Michael W. Smith says