Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life as Looney Tunes

I'm now living with 2 official teenagers.  No longer man to man's zone defense.  All the way.  My kids are smart.  Even as babies they had strategies to out-wit me, and I fell for most of them.  Teens are smarter still and have a better handle on how to twist my buttons.

Ya know how toddlers are constantly on a mission to hurt themselves, like cartoon characters blindly running off the cliff?  It ISN'T a bit easier with teens.  In fact, i think it's even harder to watch Wile E. Coyote's antics, cuz you know the cliff is there, ya know he's gonna run right off, and you're just waiting for that puff of smoke that appears when he lands.

Sometimes it's like the bus that zips out of no where and wipes them out.  Or that crazy anvil that just drops out of the sky.  Or my personal favorite...when they burn to a crisp and the dust stays in the character shape until it crumbles.

Now I'm remembering how Wile E. in his attempts to lure the roadrunner would leave a pile of bird seed with a sign saying "free food" while he waiting behind the sagebrush.  Cleverly thinking he'll succeed by ambush.

But like the roadrunner...I have to believe my kids won't be fooled by the coyotes of the world.  I'm hoping they have the roadrunner's resilience.  To see the traps life sets out.  To keep their eyes open for the stop sign that could smash them in the face. 

To know life is much bigger than catching the roadrunner. Beep-beep.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My kids are back in town...

If a kid does a good thing in the middle of another city and the mom doesn't witness it, is it still a good thing?

Obviously, yes.

I've really been chewing on this one all week.  Kid 1 and Kid 2 have been serving on mission trips this past week.  I'm glowing.  My kids are out there doing "good things".  Clearly that makes me a good mom.

I'm hoping I'm not the only parent who relies on their kids for an identity boost every once in awhile.  I get to feel a bubble of happiness when they tell me about all of the lives they have changed on their mission trips.  I want to know about all the fun and greatness they stuffed into themselves, while I wasn't watching.

I haven't seen them yet, but i can imagine how the scene will go.  I'll bombard them with a ton of questions...Was it fun?  Did you make new friends? What were your jobs?  Were they hard?  Do you think you made a difference? Would you do this again?

At first...they will look me straight in the eye and shrug their shoulders.  I dunno.  Classic kid response when you're trying to pick details out of them.  And I'm dying.  I'm like a crack addict...looking for my good mom fix.  Tell me how awesome you were so I can get my fix, dammit!!

But good stuff doesn't work that way in kids.  Most of the time.  Their good deeds have an intrinsic value that can't be seen or sucked out by fix thirsty mom.

Their hearts get changed.  Their values shift.  Life decisions become easier.  The world gets a little bit bigger while they get a little bit smaller. And they don't even know it.  Sneaky, eh?

What happens to our kids in the middle of acts of greatness can't be translated into words because it happens so deep and so magically, they don't even realize it.


But if I'm patient...if I'm smart...I'll notice a few subtle changes.  A tighter hug.  An extra snuggle in their soft cozy beds.  An extra appreciative word for a meal I've prepared.  Patience with a sibling.  A little less "gimme" at Target.

And my feel good fixes will get doled out into smaller bites...and I better be paying attention or i might miss them.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Life and times #2

Writing your own profile can be about as fun as looking for a lost earring in a clogged bathroom sink. Right?!  Opening your soul and writing an accurate description about your basic self is much harder than you think.

When writing my own I found myself writing more about the person I wish i was, than who I REALLY am.  Who's really gonna be drawn to a woman that spends far too much time shuffling kids from one activity to another and unwinds with a giant bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream and a Survivor marathon?

Instead I chose to imagine my single self.  The one I'm going to be in the relationship every other week.  I can't frost over the truth,  but i can plop a few roses on the rough spots.  Giving enough freedom, I do enjoy night life and dining out. Nature hikes and bonfires.  Traveling to exotic places.

The site picks a variety of things for you to choose to like. Or not.  I have to admit, in my fishing excursions, the "coffee and conversation" box was a deal breaker. I had more than a few *coffee* first dates when I heard "I really don't like coffee" at the order counter. It took all of my internal strength to not bolt out the door.  Some things really matter.

Then comes the physical description and it gets harder to stretch the truth.  I'm pretty much stuck being the 5'5" brown eyed, curvy brunette social drinker who works in retail with an "I'll tell ya later" income.  Truth.  My picture is posted, so there's no sense in pretending to be a 5'7" blue eyed, blond, moderate drinking technology wizard making over 100K.

Then comes the free form section.  All about you. Or all-about-you-want-to-share-with-strangers.  This is where i don't come clean about my donut obsession.  Instead i cook healthy meals. I go for long walks instead of spending hours lounging with magazines.  And I like to drink beer...that one usually usually scores a few points.

Ya wanna stand out, but not in the blaze orange hiding behind a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree kind of way.  Ya wanna catch the eye of Mr. Normal Enough, while repelling Mr. Booty Call. It's delicate.

Somehow i caught enough dudes to go on 15 first dates last year.  Some were keepers.  Most were release-ers.  And more than a handful I still consider friends.  That's always been my real goal!

Friday, June 6, 2014

School's out for SUMMER!

Does anyone else wonder why Ozzie is the only one to write a decent anthem about the last day of school?  I swear that song was *old* when I was a kid.  Perhaps it seems too overwhelming to try.

Kinda like how i feel about upholding my standard of a *cool* summer for my kids.  With age, gender, and personality variances each one has vastly different expectations.  What's a SuperMom to do?

There's the should do list, including...chores, library visits, quiet reading, arts and crafts, nature hikes...etc.

Then there's the probably more likely to happen list, including...sleeping in,  too much screen time, messy rooms, sunburns...etc.

How do you find a balance?  I've never been the kind of gal who thrives with a schedule.  And I always think we can cram 12 activities into 5 time slots.  I'm a dreamer.

Integrate that nonsense with the list of mission trips, sports camps, and music lessons and I'm pretty flummoxed. Life becomes a juggle...and all I want to do is load everyone up in the van and head to the beach.

Of course it'll work out...and before we know supplies will take over the aisles of Target.  And the missed opportunities for fun will nag me.  It's overwhelming.

So today is a mix of emotions.  Relief. Horror. Excitement. Exhaustion. Expectation. Disappointment. 

I will promise myself and the kids this...we'll get our money's worth out of our Valleyfair passes and I won't feel a smitch of guilt while we scream our crazy heads off on Wild Thing. Or float around the lazy river. Or oooh and ahhhh through the fireworks as we swat the mosquitoes chewing on our legs.  It's good stuff.  And I drive home feeling much less overwhelmed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

LIfe and times of PixieChick

PixieChick.  That's my online dating profile name.  Not so much because of short hair...which i do adore.  More for the reference to the impish sort of fairy who causes a bit of mischief by trying to live by her own set of rules.  She doesn't always follow the lifestyle of the fancy fairies.  She gets in the mud.  Talks sassy.  Kinda flaky.  But the other fairies look out for her and love her for who she is.  Get it??

I love reading online dating profiles. Love it.  I had a mental checklist they have to pass.  Usually by the use of photos they post, but also the written sales pitch.

Today's post will chat about the photos.  The profile photo is a very big deal.  Do they look happy?   Do they have a face i could look at thru an entire meal? Do you look like someone who might be storing dead body in the basement?  It matters.  And please, please dothey can't use a selfie taken in the bathroom.  Nobody looks good in a selfie and this reeks of *I have no friends i trust enough to take a pic of me*.   Withstanding a little ridicule from friends is character building.  Right?!

Then I would look for what i deemed the trinity of male lifestyle.  Dead deer. Motorcycle. Fish.  This basically tells me you like to kill stuff, then ride off into the sunset.  There is nothing wrong with any of these things.  But let me tell you.  There is a large percentage of men who include only these pics.  So he knows how to be a guy's guy.  There is a market for that, but I'm not standing in the checkout lane.

Bonus points would be awarded for pics with Mom.  Shows me that he knows how to have a  relationship with a woman.  Group shot.  Not so much of an introvert that he can't hang out with others.  Something should be thrown in with him and a kid.  Even if it isn't his own.  I have gobs of them and I need to know that they don't make him break out in a rash.  Relaxing with a beer or cup of coffee.  I like both and need to know he can sit still long enough to enjoy either.

Notice nothing in my criteria talks about blue eyes? full head of hair? acceptable height? fashion or lack there of?  It isn't high on the list.  Yes. I swoon for a twinkle in the eye.  Butterflies for a bald head. And I prefer a little meat on 'em for hugging.  But I'm looking for a real person...and that comes in all different sorts of packaging.

I'm sure there's more.  But that will do for now.  Next edition will include the written word portion of perusing. 

Now.  If you think I'm being too picky...let me tell you a story.  Last May I conducted a mini-research project.  Fishing is usually really good in May.  Should apply to my search.  Each day I found 2-3 men that fit my *criteria*.  Really not hard to find.  I'd send a little "hey, how are ya?" kind of note.  Included a comment about something I learned about them in their profile.  Usually a witty crack. And "let me know if you'd like to  chat" closing.

If you're math-y, that totaled a little over 80 notes sent over the course of a month.  80. Eight. Zero.  I had one reply. One.  And it was of the "thanks, but no thanks" variety.  I've never taken online dating super serious, but talk about rejection?! Boy.

So for some reason I didn't match the *criteria* set up by that many men?!  There is a feature where you can see who checked out your profile.  Pretty much all of them did and piled themselves up in the "thanks, but no thanks" pile.

But that wasn't enough to stop me.  I've met some wonderful men through this process.  Wonderful men!  And I kept casting into the pool.  Practicing a little catch and release.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rest in Peace Teddy

Is it possible to learn to un-hate something?  I guess i have to admit i have.  His name was Teddy, the Beagle dog...and he passed away early this morning.

Fourteen years ago I developed a raging case of puppy fever.  All day long (for weeks) I obsessed about owning a puppy.  Conversations, negotiations, and ultimatums ended with the acquisiton of our very own hound dog.

Except...that isn't what I really wanted.  Deep down it was a baby i was yearning for.  Not a teething, howling, hole digging, tow chewing, smell possesed beast.  Oh.  I hated that dog.  Very soon into our relationship.  Maybe two hours.  Big oops.

Beagles are fiercly loyal.  He really tried to please me, but there are basic traits of his that made me crazy.  Mostly his smell.  And his need to smell. And the passion to follow EVERY smell.  He never did anything outside of expected Beagle behavior, but my hating passion only grew.

Finally, we found a co-exsistant relationship.  I'd feed him, let him out and keep the toys off the floor. He was in charge of letting me know of squirrel invaders, eating food crumbs and smiling.  He had a really good smile.  And for about a decade we survived in the same house.

One mysterious day, puppy fever returned.  Black puppy was spied on a pet store visit to replace a dead goldfish.  Hardly close to an even exchange.

"What about Teddy?" was the basic argument against black puppy.
"Who cares?  What about me?" was my response.

It was when black puppy, now known as Kirby, moved in that I learned to appreciate Teddy.  He taught Kirby how to be a dog.  They were buds.  Grass quit growing in the front yard from them tearing around.  It was fun to watch and a little fondness blossomed for Teddy as he loved my Kirby as much as I did. 

Shame on me for holding onto the hatred for a simple dog.  I'm embarressed for all the times i cursed him under my breath.  Appalled by all my research on *how to kill a dog without anyone being suspicious*.

Today Teddy crossed the often discussed Rainbow Bridge.  The place where pets cross over and live without pain or hunger or smells just out of reach.  I bet my Mom checked in on him.  I know he smiled at her.

Suddenly I see.