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Just This About That

Blogging like no one will read it.

30 Things I Love Right Now

Inspired by TJ Beitelman and Javacia of See Jane Write. Photo from Craftsy.

30 things I love right now:
1. My YMCA membership.
2. Coffee
3. The My Favorite Murder podcast
4. Atlanta, where my son lives
5. My cell phone (I know, I know)
6. New friends discovered during the recent municipal elections
7. The home stretch of our 18 month kitchen renovation
8. My funny, sweet husband
9. Pedicures
10. @SarcasticRover on Twitter
11. My reading journal
12. My fitbit
13. Smoothies
14. Ideament
15. Elizabeth Kolbert’s books
16. My tattered boyfriend jeans
17. Bryan Stephenson, author of Just Mercy
18. My cat, Zoey
19. Gerbera daisies
20. Fantasy house hunting on Zillow
21. Writing
22. The blogging community
23. Trying new craft beers
24. My sons, the best young men in the world
25. French
26. Having my depression and anxiety under control
27. Paper calendars and planners
28. Yoga
29. My new passport
30. The 3 wonderful kids I babysit

Isms

I have yoga class in a few minutes. I totally don’t want to go. But I will go, and afterwords I’ll be the most self-satisfied person in all the land for going. I’ll probably mention it to no less than ten people. “Yeah, I worked out today. Just a little yoga class, you know….”

Which reminds me of of family saying we have. The -isms. You know those things someone said one time and it was hilarious, and so it gets repeated over and over through the years, completely out of context, and no one outside the family gets it, but the family laughs hysterically?

My niece, Beth, was an absolutely adorable toddler. She drew the attention of everyone. But she was a little fearful of new experiences, which is really funny, since she’s now the Rockin’ Adventure Mom of three boys. Anyway, when it came time for that rite of toddler passage, the first ride on the train at the zoo, Beth didn’t want to participate. She let everyone at the zoo know this quite loudly. And being our family, we* took her on the train anyway. Screaming. She shrieked the entire 5 mph ride around the park. The monkeys went nuts. I believe they thought one of their own had finally made it to freedom.

Well, when it was over and we thankfully got off, the Child Abuse Family, covered in toddler snot, Beth announced to all the assembled folks waiting to get on the train with their non-screaming kids, “I ride de train.”

So proud of herself. “I ride de train.”

“I ride de train.”

She told everyone at the zoo the rest of the afternoon. The cotton candy vendor heard about it. A guy emptying trash. Everyone. They were all so happy for her.

So for the last thirty years, we brag about our accomplishments, even when we had to be dragged kicking and screaming to get them done… “I ride de train.”

“I ride de train.”

Anyway, I’m off to yoga. I probably won’t scream during class. Hopefully. But I’ll be back to brag about it later, definitely.

Birmingham_Zoo_6389235.

*I wasn’t actually there, but I’ve heard the story so many times, it feels like I was.

This Blog Needs an Enema

I don’t think I’ve ever been so writer’s  blocked in my life.

Since I wrote that first line, I’ve gotten up three times. Good grief.

I can’t imagine any topic more dull than someone writing about how much trouble they are having writing.

I have interesting topics. I just can’t write them. One is about my son’s upcoming trip to study this summer in Paris, and how freaked out I am that he is going to travel alone to a huge city where he will have to figure out public transportation, money, getting to the University every day, keeping up with his stuff, and figuring out where to wash his clothes. Continue reading “This Blog Needs an Enema”

Extremely Amateur Woodworking

Yes, the kitchen renovation continues. We changed our minds about the flooring, and so that’s not done yet. We have lovely plywood sub-floor, complete with random splinters. I’m loving the counter tops and the new sink and faucet. We are so close and yet so far from being finished. But, hey, it has only been a year since Gary got up one day and started unexpectedly peeling off the 1990’s wallpaper.

While we’re waiting I guess to get up the courage to go buy the flooring, we started building the new trim work for the windows. We are removing the plain builder’s trim and replacing it with craftsman trim. Going from this:

b66b7734f5c723b00426b6a2fcc72d98

to this:

bab70cd6fe48c3c53a258a3f25fe1fb0

Neither of these pictures is my house. My house looks like this:

window1

We finished the lower sills yesterday and today we will do the rest. Then I will caulk the ever-loving out of it to fill in the cracks where our best efforts at measuring fell short. Interior trim work is not a job for an obsessive perfectionist. Or maybe it is, because I’m learning a lot about creative adjustments to get pieces of wood to fit together, whether they want to or not. And caulk is an amazing thing. It is my friend. I’m also learning to love sandpaper.

There will come a day when we paint the walls, and we move all the food back into the pantry, and put things on the counters and the walls, and this room looks like a usable kitchen again.

That day is not today.

dewrdwe7480r
Nemesis. He’s loud, scary and smells bad.

I tend to get carried away

For Christmas, I bought myself hiking boots. They are lovely boots, comfortable and light, yet sturdy. I wore them around town for several days, getting used to the feel of them and making sure they didn’t have any spots that hurt.

Last Saturday, on one of those rare winter days when the weather is the perfect mix of warm sunshine and brisk breeze, Gary and Ben and I went out to Oak Mountain State Park and hiked part of the yellow trail.

My out-of-shapeness was clear, but the guys were patient.

“You better not be taking pictures of my butt,” she said, hearing the clicking shutter as she bent, hands on knees, sucking in oxygen.

“Nah, I’d have to changes lenses,” he replied, focusing on a hawk in the distance.

“Ha. Ha. Wide angle?”

“Fish eye,” he commented solemnly, adjusting the camera’s settings, and not looking at her.

We only hiked a few miles on a fairly easy trail, but there were streams with bridges, ferns, fallen trees covered with moss, and hawks circling. I am a notoriously indoor person, but it was beautiful and I am hooked.

I want to hike all the trails, and learn about the plants and trees. I want to recognize the hawks, and I want to see the owls that we only heard before.

And I want to sleep out there. I want to backpack in, with a tent and a sleeping bag, and food for our dinner, and sleep out there in the terrifying darkness.

Most of my family are risk-takers. They run marathons, race boats and cars, they ski, they jump off high places into water. My son went to Europe at 13. My other son randomly takes off on road trips with friends, with no worry about where he’s going to sleep. If there’s a sign that says “Danger,” my husband is going to do the very thing that it says not to do.

I am not so much a risk-taker. I am a bookworm, a studier, a dreamer, a learner. I am always the one who knows what foods are a salmonella risk. I carry hand sanitizer. I am the one who has a whistle in my day pack.

But I want to go into the woods, carrying my stuff on my back. And one of these days, I want to do it alone.

So, this is a goal of mine now. I plan to day hike ever increasing distances until I am in better shape. I am going to start collecting the appropriate backpacking gear. And some time this year, I am going to load my stuff on my back and walk into the woods and set up my little campsite and sleep out in the wide, wild world.

I am 58 years old. I figure it’s time to get out of my comfort zone.

 

The direction of my dreams

One of my favorite quotes is: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

I have recently learned that it is a misquote. The entire quotation comes from Thoreau’s Walden, and is: “I learned this, at least, from my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours… In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

Damn, Thoreau.

That is MUCH more deep. And does not fit on a coffee mug. Continue reading “The direction of my dreams”

2016, hello.

This is going to be a different year. My mother passed away on August 4, and the last part of 2015 was spent in a blurry, disoriented state of wondering if I was feeling the right things, doing the right things. I didn’t experience grief so much as numbness. I felt as if I had been thrown out of my comfortable world of house, husband, grown kids, friends, writing – into a totally foreign world of care-taking, decision-making, and difficult, sad loss.

My husband is a wonderful person, simply because he is still here. He is here when I have nothing to give him in return but the love of 26 years, and the promise that no matter what, he is always my person, and I am always his.

So, we begin 2016. Continue reading “2016, hello.”

How to be Popular on Halloween (or not)

I’ve been checking out Pinterest for Halloween ideas and I think I’ve found a way to make our house the go-to of the cul-de-sac. Forget boring candy, kids are unimpressed, and frankly, most of them don’t find it worth coming down our out of the way street for Reese’s Cups and Kit Kats anymore.

So, how about this menu?

pumpkindeviledeggsPumpkin deviled eggs. Yeah?

The filling, actually, is neither egg nor pumpkin, but some hipster concoction involving sriracha mayo and the like. I can just see the little faces now. Continue reading “How to be Popular on Halloween (or not)”

Gingerbread

stockvault-gingerbread-166847I was researching (for another post I’ll get to later) the children’s story about the Gingerbread Man. The Internet being a wondrous thing, I was able to find a photo of the front of the little hard-cover book I had as a child. Continue reading “Gingerbread”

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