California Adventures

Today my 13-year old daughter had a half-day of school, so I picked her up and we drove up the freeway to Anaheim where we spent seven hours and took a million steps to be thrilled and chilled and entertained.

I just love that she finally loves the Tower of Terror, you know?

We have mastered the use of the Single-Rider line which, when coupled with the use of an occasional Fast Pass, on a February afternoon means basically no waiting in line at the Happiest Place on Earth.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled week!


California Adventures

The worst ways to wake up

  1.  A phone call with upsetting news.
  2.  The dog barking her fool head off at people across the street.
  3.  Abruptly because you’re late for an important date.
  4.  The sound of crashing, like a giant mirror shattering at midnight.
  5.  The dog doing that pre-vomit gag noise.
  6.  The dog scratching at the door.
  7.  A work-related text message.
  8.  A smoke detector screeching.
  9.  The yelling of kids who are fighting over nothing that matters.
  10.  A wrong number on the telephone.

I don’t love waking up in the morning anyway but opening my eyes to any of these scenarios is a real bummer.

This morning, I woke up to several of these.

It’s Groundhog Day.  I hope tomorrow is not a repeat of today.

The worst ways to wake up

Hail, February!

The wind blew with such fury last night that I wondered if I’d wake to find a tree crashed through my ceiling.  My kids reported that hail woke them at 3 AM.  Yet this morning the sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining.

A new day.

On Mondays I usually have most of the day off from work (I work an hour in the morning, then my usual night shift at 9 PM).  My husband and I generally have lunch together and then I might run an errand or two.

Today, however, he went to make a hospital visit and I had to take one of our sons to the doctor’s office for a medical procedure.  I took a book and read for the hour I spent in the waiting room.

Then it was time to drop him off at home and–because I’d switched with the other mom–pick up the carpool kids from school.

I finished up the day with errands (to Target) and cooking dinner, reading and a nap.

Now you know why I haven’t written daily for the past few years.  Sometimes daily life is a bore and I’m not thinking many interesting thoughts.  (But I’m experimenting with daily writing, so some days are just like this.)



Hail, February!

Dream a little dream

Lovely rainy day in drought stricken Southern California.

A photo posted by Melodee (@_.melodee._) on

I have a long history of dream-bashing.  My visionary husband christened me a Dream Basher during the early years of our marriage.  I’m good at it.

If you have a dream, I can tell you a thousand different reasons it will fail.  I can pinpoint a hundred flaws in your planning and a dozen reasons why there is no hope.  I can ask ten questions about the specific execution of the dream until you realize that your dream might as well be executed.  Off with its head.

My 13-year old daughter said, “Mom!  Stop killing my dream!  I’d rather have fake hope!”

That’s the difference between us.  I don’t want false hope.  I don’t want to coddle a dream that’s destined to die. “Dream-bashing” is nothing more than analyzing and dissecting and questioning.  And that’s a good thing, I think.

But it’s come to my attention that when I think I’m being helpful, my questions and conversation can feel more like a sledgehammer.  So I’m trying to reel it back.

I don’t want to be remembered as the critical mom who killed every dream.

So, fake hope it is.




Dream a little dream

Up, up and away

I joined a Facebook group called “Buy Nothing” in which members give and receive each other stuff.  So today while I was cleaning up, I looked at the 18 helium balloons from earlier birthday celebrations this week and thought, “Oh hey, maybe I could offer those balloons to someone in that group.”

I took a photo and made a quick post.

Four people asked for some balloons.  I suggested each person text me for the directions.

Two did so and then I realized that I would have to go before the balloon recipients would arrive.  No problem, I thought.  I’ll just leave them outside.  I even labeled each of the four bunches of balloons with the names of the four women who expressed interest.

I tied each bunch of balloons separately near my front door and drove away.

The first woman arrived to see a bunch of balloons flying into the sky.

The second woman arrived to find two bunches of balloons left, but not the one with her name on it.

The third and fourth women did not stop by.  One texted me using transposed numbers, so I obviously did not respond, having not received the text.  The other never got back to me at all.

So, I started with 18 balloons.  Twelve balloons floated away.  I have six balloons left.  Supposedly one of the women will come by in the morning after 8 AM for three balloons.

This reminds me of a Common Core math word problem where it doesn’t matter what number you end up with as long as you can describe what happened.  How many balloons do you have if you start with 18 and then 12 float away and 6 remain?  How many women are annoyed when they drove to your house to get balloons only to find none waiting?  How many women will text you but not show up?  What happened to the 12 floating balloons?  How many balloons did I give away?

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow . . . ?

I have so many questions.


Up, up and away

Fifty-one (Day Two)

Normally, I work split shifts.  I’ve done this for eight years.  Working from 10 AM to 3 PM and then 9 PM to midnight allows me to do the Mom-parts of my life with a fair degree of competency, dirty dishes in the sink notwithstanding.  It’s the best of all worlds and the worst of all worlds.

(How?  Well, consider what it would be like to share your office with laundry baskets and how aggravating it is to have your kids yelling outside your office door or interrupting you while you are doing Work that requires Thought and Concentration. But then think of how amazing it would be to stumble to your desk while still wearing your nightgown and glasses.  Just hypothetically, of course.)

Every once in awhile, though, I cover someone else’s shift and work from 5 PM until 1 AM.  Sitting at my desk for eight straight hours sounds easy-peasy, but it’s kind of grueling in a back-pain, bleary-eyed sort of way.  But it gives me the rare opportunity to be out and about in the world during the daytime which is kind of fun.

And so it was today.  I woke up slowly and read for awhile (Room) and then went to a move (Joy).  After the movie, I stopped by Starbucks for “Birthday Reward” drink (free, but you have to know to ask!).  I went to Trader Joe’s and while I was checking out, the extremely friendly lady bagging my groceries said, “So, how was work today?” and I was momentarily confused.

Did I work today?  Then I remember that I hadn’t worked yet and told them so.

While I drove home, I noticed the cirrus clouds and figured it would be a beautiful sunset that I would miss because I’d be sitting at my desk while that magic happened.

By the time I got home, I had just enough time to put away groceries and give my boys directions for making homemade pizza before starting work.

Now the day is done.  The house is quiet.  My desk is an absolute wreck, covered with piles of unmatched socks and books and sticky notes and empty water bottles.  My knees are kind of achy and my back is stiff and I’m ready to sleep.

A photo posted by Melodee (@_.melodee._) on

(It’s definitely a balancing act, this life of mine.)

Fifty-one (Day Two)


Wait.  Should I not mention my advanced age?  Too late, I guess.

Today, on January 28–which I still consider “today” since I haven’t gone to bed yet–I had my fifty-first birthday.  I find it ludicrous that I’m this old.  I outlived my dad by four years.  When my mom was this age, she was a grandmother.  It stands to reason that I’m more than halfway through my life span, unless I live to be older than 102.  That is a sobering thought.

And while Hollywood celebrities my age (I’m looking at you, Brooke Shields and Sarah Jessica Parker) still manage to look thirty, I don’t, much to my 13-year old daughter’s chagrin.  Getting old is not for the faint of heart.  You can’t “filter” away saggy eyelids.

(I know that everyone older will cluck and say, “Oh, you’re young!” and everyone young will shudder and say, “Oh, you’re so old!”  Life is weird.)

So, here’s how my day went.

I intended to sleep in since I was taking off half the day from work.

The dog barked her fool head off, starting at 8 or so and continuing off and on until 9:30 AM.  Thanks, Dog.

The carpool moms texted me with information about who would be picked up or not this afternoon.  (This happened during the dog’s quiet moments, when I’d drifted back to sleep.)

My college roommate texted me a birthday greeting from another time zone.  Yep, that woke me, too.

I finally got up, made my bed, and had enough time to take a quick shower before taking my son to work.  Meanwhile, my hair dried naturally and so I had lovely puffy hair all day.  Roseanne Roseannadanna, if you know what I mean.

My husband arrived home and we headed off for lunch at the Harbor.  (Birthday coupon, $25 off, yay.)  It was a beautiful day, seventy degrees, sunny.  Perfect.  We drove around to the ocean beach after lunch so I could take a few pictures, including this one:

Pelican taking flight at #Oceanside Harbor.

A photo posted by Melodee (@_.melodee._) on

Then back home where I cleaned up the kitchen until it was time to drive carpool.  I took Grace through Starbucks for a celebratory drink and then it was time to drop off a son at work and hurry back to the beach for the sunset.

Home again in time for dinner . . . then time for relaxing and texting and reading and finally, birthday cake and gifts before work again.

And now, the day’s done.

And the year of fifty-one has begun.


(Rhymes.  Ha ha.)