Kid at heart

Some people spend their "Friday after" knee deep in crazed shoppers trying to get the best price on whatever hits their must-have lists for the holidays. Not me. At least not this year. (I do confess to storming the doors of a particular craft store at 5am one year so I could use a 60% off coupon on a particular wooden train set only to return two hours later to use the 50% off coupon on smiley faced trains for said set.)

No, this year I spent "Black Friday" at a children's museum in upstate NY near the in-laws. We spent last year much the same way and with good cause. The moment we mentioned a potential return visit my now four-year old began to shot off a long list of questions relating to whether the things he remembered (quite accurately) from last year would still be there. Luckily the answer was yes, plus a whole lot more.

I'm not sure which of us enjoyed the visit most - it's a toss up between me and the two people under 4 feet tall that are in my charge. I do know that Logan did not enjoy my favorite excitement as much as Meg and I did. He had this notion that butterflies actually LANDING on you was quite horrific and not nearly as much as fun as knocking over giant chess pieces in the Giant's (of Jack and the Beantalk fame) playroom.

I (as well as the two other adults and the two-year old) found the butterfly garden to be nothing short of amazing. My only disappointment is that those two beautiful bright blue insects did not stay still long enough for a photo. And that's fine. Perhaps I'm just a glutton. I did get photos like this (click to view larger image):


Obligatory Thankful post

We leave tomorrow for the annual pligramage (pun intended of course) to the in-laws'. It'll be...well it'll be. It's a long ride. It's two young children. It's, oh never mind.

I am thankful, however, that I have two children healthy enough and articulate enough to complain on that long ride. I won't enjoy their "are we there yet?" ritual, but I rejoice in their ability to say it. ;)

I am thankful for the inlaws because they mean I have the husband.

I am thankful for my own health. For my family. I am thankful for the chance to sit and take it all in. For the reminder that I need to step back and take a deep breathe long enough to appreciate the things I've been gifted with.

I am thankful for the challenges because they make who I am. I am thankful for the easy roads I've stumbled upon because they give me a rest.

I am thankful for those I've yet to meet for they represent tomorrow's adventure. I am thankful for those I no longer see because their impact is still felt. I am thankful for the things it's sometimes hard to be thankful for because they help me appreciate what *is* easy to be thankful for. They also help me learn and grow.

Happy Thanksgiving.


out shape or old

There's this tree in our back yard that I've hated for a very long time. It's an evergreen - long and scraggly with feathery green fingers instead of pine needles. Late in spring I noticed it wasn't doing well. It had two primary trunks and every branch growing off the back trunk was dead.

No green. Just brown.

And then, as spring passed into summer the brown spread. With fall, came bare branches.

I don't normally nag the spouse but sometimes he just asks for it. This tree was one of those occasions. I asked him to cut it down. I nagged. I reminded. I nagged some more. I gave up. Life just got in the way and when we did have free time, other household and yard tasks demanded our attention. (Did I tell you my subconscience knack for getting rid of things I hate is to break them? The garage door last year, the storm door this year...and then the outside light fixture that I managed to break off the base of a lightbulb in?)

The boy and I headed out back today as the girl napped. I started pulling up the annual flower beds despite the few live bloosoms that clung to them. I stood back and admired the raw earth thinking how sometimes the empty bed in the crisp air felt so clean and fresh - ready and waiting for a new beginning. Then I thought of that dead ugly hated tree. The boy wanted to help - because he thinks he thinks he's much older than he is. His job, easily enough, was to stand a safe distance away and cheer me on.

I retrieved a saw. Then an ax. And hacked away. I sawed away. I worked. I swore silently under my breathe realizing why my dad used to have "under the sink language" when doing various household projects. I slung the ax again. I heard some give. I grabbed hold of a branch about as high up as I could reach while flat footed. I pulled. I changed angles and pulled again. Snap. I got better grip, a new angle and I pulled with all my might. Down came the tree.

I put the tools away in the garage home. The boy hung onto a lower branch and "helped" me drag the monster dead trunk to the front yard. It's up to the husband to discard of the thing. I have no idea what he'll do with it but I'm sure having it in his way will prompt him to do it faster than it took him to cut it down.

I felt good for about 2 minutes.

Then it hit me. I was hot. Very. Very. Hot.

I was winded. At least I was with each swing of the ax.

And my arm is killing me.

Years ago a heavy dose of spreadsheet work for a catalog I was developing started the twinges. The right hand. The repetitive stress injury (rsi). It got bad. It got better. It went a very long time without recurring. I lost the wrist brace. I forgot the way it hurt. But lately it's been back. Perhaps the height of the desk in the new office or the time spent working/playing/emailing/blogging at home. I don't know. What I do know is that using an ax clearly is not 'RSI' friendly.

I'm trying to make myself feel better about this panting for air and nursing the sore arm by believing anyone weilding an ax on an old tree would feel the same - at least anyone with an old 'mouse-related' injury. Yet I'm not sure that being relatively out of shape (despite the regular spin class attendance) or the fact that I'm not 23 any more (which would have been the last time I slung an ax, I think) wasn't a contributing factor. Then again, I'm not sure I care why it hurts. Instead I will take my sore forearm, stop trying to close my fingers into a fist (because I can't at the moment), locate the ibruprophen (nicknamed Vitamin I in our house) and convince the boy child to remain quiet long enough for me to take a hot shower while his sister finishes up her nap.

Wish me luck.


Thanks Stuart Smalley

I've had a few conversations about happiness lately. With different people. Completely independent of each other and always initiated by the other person. How to be happy. Where to find happy. What to do get happy.

Is this a hot topic in anyone else's world?

The talk always lands at the same spot. Me saying gently, "You know what. The *only* way you're ever going to be really happy is when you stop looking outside yourself to find it. Happiness grows inside out."

And then I wonder where my big mirror is so I can turn to it with a huge, loving smile and purr, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."


So much to say

It's been one of those weekends - the kind where you run around a lot and get almost nothing done. Nothing. Almost.

Instead I spent it relishing the final vestiages of warm temperatures mixed with the crisp smells and sounds of dying leaves beneath the feet. I mean really, who can get anything done when you've got this:


And now we remember. . .

The old bossman had a bad habit. He'd toss out a project with a deadline. Very clearly and emphatically let you know that you had best meet that deadline. Then the resulting draft would sit in his inbox for untold lengths of time. Out of the blue one day you'd get an email with multiple puncuation marks. (As in "Where is my draft???????") To which I would usually reply, "Draft is attached. Please refer to my email below dated xx/xx/xxxx for details."

Yeah, because really I can be discretely bitchy. (Or not so discrete perhaps.)

Well yesterday I get another email from the old place. The old bossman is missing a draft. Or more specifically he's fired off an email in the "what happened to this?????" vein. I spend time last night finding it. I send it with a reference to the original draft date.

Are you ready?

I submitted the original draft for editing in April. APRIL! Seven months have gone by from a piece I did (by the deadline) and when it's deemed important enough to review.

At least I get to bill for the search. Not to mention I've been reminded once again why I left in the first place.


I'm back!

The trip was fantastic. The shopping was divine (and prolific!) The bonding time was perfect and the photo taking opportunities to die for.

I have nothing else to say. I'm tired. My poor little shopaholic feet are aching. My "lugged lot of bags around" shoulders are sore and my head yearns for it's pillow.

Here's a sample of the photos I snapped in between bleeding my wallet dry:

The rest of the photos can be viewed here: Lancaster Trip Album


Buy me some quilts and shoo fly pie

Truth? I've never eaten Shoo Fly Pie. The heavy smell of molasses makes it seem so very unappealing to me.

That's not the point however.

The point is that this week marks my 10th annual "girl" weekend. Me. Mom. And inn of our choosing. No house to clean. No children to chase. No dinner to prepare.

Nothing to do but shop and languish in the complete and utter lack of responibility for three days.

For the last 8 years we've been going to the same place - Lancaster, PA. The last 6 years we've stayed at the same Bed and Breakfast. This year we're returning to the Amish land, but we've selected a new inn. . .one we're 'testing' to see if it's "Megan appropriate." Next year she will join us in our girlie bliss. (So much for the 'no children to chase.)

So there you go my bloggity buds. I will not be around to blog hop and commiserate. I will be forking over my cash for crafty things to scatter about my house and a vast array of items purchased at the very, very big outlet mall. I will be wearing real "dress-up" clothes that no one can smear runny nose or remenmants of mac-and-cheese on. I will be sleeping late. I will be having adult conversation that no one can interrupt with "But she took my toy!" I will have someone else clear the table without looking for praise in doing so. (Tip, yes, pack on the spousal back no.)

And then, after two nights and three days I will return home very content and very happy to be wrapped up in three sets of loving arms. I will laugh (not cringe) at the "What did you bring me back?" that all expectant sets of hands will be pulling for. I will settle in amongst my pile of bags and locate the different "I was thinking of you" gifts and I will feel quite loved and estactic to be right back home.

And I will be refreshed.

And then the next day I will begin planning/saving for next year's trip.