9.29.2008

the fam



....with the Canon, as my good camera is on the fritz.

9.25.2008

human defecation

Mike found this gem of a book at the gift shop in some science museum in California. One about planets. I love the person in charge of purchasing for the gift shop and wonder about the thought process behind how they decided to stock those shelves. You know: solar system posters, model kits of the planets, a toy space rocket, moon rock candy, astronaut food, and the book called What's Your Poo Telling You?

Someone is SUPER stoked when this book is purchased. Like the shop manager has a bet with him that no one will buy it and then we came along, us suckers for poo, and bought it. Hoorah! 10 points for Purchasing! It's like where's Waldo- let's see who can find the one thing that doesn't belong in this entire museum and see buys it.

So........this book, it's um, pretty much entirely hilarious. Every page makes me laugh out loud at least twice. Zane's favorite part is the one about Rocketship Poo (page 40, also known as Number Three). There is a clever illustration of a man sitting on a toilet with his pants at his ankles blasting off like the toilet is a rocket. My son likes this kind of fodder for bedtime reading. And I read it to him, because that's the kind of family we are. We like to support the interests of our children.

I like the input from the Doctor explaining why certain kinds of poo take the shape they do. Mostly, though, I like the various labels associated with each poo. Here is the table of contents, for example:

Deja Poo
Monster Poo
Poo-phoria
Dunce Cap
Performance-Enhancing Poo
Floaters vs. Sinkers
Braille Poo
The Chinese Star
Rambo Poo
Number Three
The Streak
Sneak Attack
Soft Serve
D.A.D.S. (day after drinking stool. or 'poo of shame'. the guy on the toilet has on a party hat)
The Green Goblin
The Snake

Pebble Poo (synonymns listed in the book: Kibbles 'n' Bits, Splashers, Butt Hail, Blueberries, Buckshot, Meteor Shower, and called Rabbit Poo- which was confusing to Zane because he didn't understand how rabbits flush the toilet)

Log Jam
Gift Poo
Ring of Fire
Camouflage Poo
Hanging Chad
Rotten Poo
The Clean Sweep
Postpartum Poo
The Honeymoon's-Over Poo
The Ritual Poo
The Sit vs. The Squat
Curtain Call


P.S. I will pay someone $25 to read this on the subway every day for a week.

9.24.2008

times and seasons

I had a long conversation with a good friend today about the place we are in as a country economically. Her being more aware of history and the news as of late, she did more of the talking and me more of the listening. I have spoken about it with my husband, who also has more of a broad awareness of what is going on and the impact on the future than I do. I admit there is great concern in my head and the urgency to change personal spending habits it there. Even though we are currently blessed to have a strong income in our household, we are also aware that could change at the blink of an eye. Things can change for any family for any reason at any time. Especially these days.

We had a painter here doing touch-ups the builder arranged for. I asked him about his painting business- how the economy has changed things for him in his life. They were a company of 25 trucks [I imagine 2 painters per truck]. Now the company has 2 trucks. They had to let everyone else go. Where are they working now?

I worked in financial services. I have seen the headcount of how many people comprise each department, dozens of departments, in big businesses. I have spent a lot of my former years preparing severance documents for grown men and women supporting families of several children. Some average salaried parents in addition to salaries well into the 6 digits with a year-end bonus to match that number. That level of income is hard to find again, it takes a long time to replace that kind of dough in a good job market. I can't imagine either kind of employee looking for work right now. I can't imagine the current and pending headcount of jobless both professional and trade work alike.

So what can I do in my little world of changing diapers and mopping the floor? I can plan my discretionary spending better, find cheaper ways of shopping and cooking, I can need less, plan better, and be frugal every possible way and save like the numbers are bleak.

I can research candidates and determine the skill set I think is needed to vote for the person I think will best help us through this recession.

I can offer my advice on interviewing to anyone who wants it (former HR recruiter here!!!). Ask any question in comments any day.

I can shift our focus off the things we think we need for the house and direct them to big-time food storage prep.

I can keep my networking up to date in the event we need for me to generate income at some point.

I can teach my children to appreciate always the luxuries we have living in America. And to be wise about choosing what those are in their own families.

There is a lot I cannot fix all over the place, but I better spend more energy on the things I can change. I am happy to hear more ideas on how to best prepare for this. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

9.23.2008

slices of the day

Today I sat with my baby in the lobby of the hair place while my oldest got a hair cut. It was a rare moment, time alone with my baby of 1 year. He was strapped into a stroller and I enjoyed his babbles along with a friendly stranger who was going gah gah over him. Something I used to be bothered by because it made the older one angry and dealing with that in public is about as fun as trying to fly a lead balloon. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about- strangers going nuts over babies. I used to hurry along and hope they would let me go on my path without too much interruption. But I am starting to get it now. I am starting to see just how fleeting this innocence and purity and easy-to-smile goes. How it's never to return. How this baby's friendly wave goodbye to perfect strangers might even end in a few short months. It's a shame we don't stay that way, easy to exchange smiles and wave to everyone we meet- even perfect strangers.

She was called in for her cut and it was just me and baby. I tickled his toes, talked about the red car in the book, watched him point with eagerness and make new noises with his mouth. A mouth crammed with goldfish crackers, which is also fun to see him devour them like they are the greatest thing on earth. I love watching him sign for 'more' for those things, it's like he can't do it fast enough and his face is so hopeful it will be 5 and not 2. That will end one day too, someday he will be sick of those orange fish I enjoy seeing him love to eat.

I hold him longer at nap times and at night, watching him asleep in my arms a little longer. Tracing the curve of each eye lash and rounded nose with my mind. Memorizing his face. Whispering to him how much mommy loves him, and daddy too. Then praying out loud in a soft, gentle voice for him to have a good night of rest for his growing body, safety in his slumber and to be protected. To have faith that as much as I want to hover over him his entire life, I cannot. But he will still be watched over when we are absent, we are not alone raising him. Not for a single moment.

I am pleased with the way I enjoyed this baby today, the moments of pleasure I took in drinking him in. Making him smile that shy smile filled with teeth. Stopping when he wanted to be held and encouraging him as he climbed on a box, sitting proud as can be and dangling his feet.

Very soon he will be going down for naps and bed time completely awake. I will miss watching him dose off into slumber.

****

I watched my oldest eat lunch. Alone in a chair, little attention these days while I feel the baby little pieces of food or encourage his new spoon skills. I looked at him and remembered how much of me he used to get. How we would wake up each morning to eat, then watch cartoons with him in my lap on the floor. I think it was Little Bear. Then Little Bill. Then Maggie and Ferocious Beast. I liked talking about the lessons we would learn together as they applied to a different part of our day. But most importantly that was how we started every day- snuggling together while we were waking up.

Now he is 4 and there is a lot to do in the morning. I don't know what happened between then and now, I just know we are still a happy family with our new routine. Somehow we are all okay, but that doesn't mean a 4 year old doesn't still need some snuggles worked into the day somehow, still. Because someday really soon he won't want them anymore. 4 so far has been a big year to be a tough boy, suddenly hates anything to do with pink, wants to be cool, and plays rough with dad and friends. Wants to be a big kid, talks about what he will be like when HE is a grown up and yet is still a really little boy learning natural consequences every single day.

Tonight he took waaaaaay too long brushing teeth so no stories, as warned. This was a big disappointment to him to say the least. Tears. Sadness. I took him in my arms and just held him. The way I did when it was just us in the mornings. And he let me, he just sat in my lap and began to relax. I sang him the hymn Did You Think to Pray I used to sing when I would rock him to sleep as a baby, it's been years. Then I tried to switch to a primary song he is learning, but he protested. He wanted the other song again. I wonder if it felt familiar to him. It did to me. I pressed my nose to his hair and tried to think of my son as a baby back then. How I would rock him and wait for Mike's train to come in. How I would have so much new love for that tiny little being and no way to express it well enough. How I would put him to bed and forget every single lullaby, but how that one song always came to my mind so that's what became his goodnight song. And now he is four, saying his own prayers on his knees at the edge of his own bed. No rocking chair. No crib.

***

When you left your room this morning
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior
Did you ask for loving favor
As a shield today?

Oh how praying rests the weary
Prayer will change the night to day
So in sorrow and in gladness
Don’t forget to pray

When you met with great temptation
Did you think to pray?
By His dying love and merit
Did you claim the Holy Spirit
As your guide and stay?

When your heart was filled with anger
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?

9.22.2008

the fam


We have Family Home Evening on Sundays when Mike is home.
This week: riding skateboards while trying to catch West Nile.
Also: meeting neighbors trying their luck at obtaining The Virus.

9.21.2008

golly jeepers

There have been people in my life I wish buckets of lifelong happiness for. It's like I wish I had some magic bags with happy dust in them. It would be a tiny burlap sack tied with twine and it would glow and glitter once opened. Even if I only got a few of them to give away, I would know exactly who I would want to give them to. I would say 'here- something about you makes me want to give you this gift of happiness forever so take good care of it and enjoy!' Some of those people might have just been a one-time chance meeting or perhaps life-long friends or relatives. Wouldn't it be so great if life was really like The Legend of Zelda?

I know for sure my friend Justin would get one of those bags. He's one of my favorite friends from High School. He is freaking hilarious. He was always up for a concert, shopping, skate shop, anything really. He is super easy going and overall enjoyable to hang out with. Everyone likes Justin- he's just an easy person to be around. He was my buddy when I was husband shopping and met almost every candidate. He was around when I was luring Mike and has really been the only one to ever tell me that Mike and I are perfect for each other. He knew me well enough for it to really carry some weight. He helped us unpack and figure out New York wasn't so scary afterall right when we moved there. Although I was thrilled with my new life with my new husband, I was a little sad to be leaving my buddy as we would be living so far away.

It's been some time since I had last seen him. Life does that to friends, doesn't it. So as I waited in the temple for the marriage ceremony to begin I saw a glimpse of his bride in the hallway. I stopped dead in my tracks and lost my breath. SHE IS GORGEOUS. She looked like an angel. She had this peaceful and pleasant countenance about her that I knew I immediately loved her. Then they entered the room together and I got to see them sit, join hands, and look lovingly into each others' eyes in the most holy place on earth. I was overcome with a kind of joy I can't explain. Watching someone else you care about in love and taking on an important commitment in a holy place is a quite a remarkable experience. Watching them together was like seeing a shooting star. She is perfect for him, loves him perfectly. They are going to rock marriage and will have a lot of fun in their lives together.

I always wanted a brother. I don't know what it feels like to have one. Or to watch one go through a fabulous life-changing time. But this must be a little fraction of what it might be like. And I am bursting with joy for him.

9.19.2008

scents of a lifetime

My early years of trying to smell nice didn't go over very well. Navy and Vanilla Fields can only smell oh-so-sweet as a scent being purchased from Walgreens is allowed to. Translation= stinky.



Then I moved on to Bath and Body Works' Sun-Ripened Raspberry.

Then it was Lancome's Tresor. More of a musky scent, a good winter flavor.

Then Lancome's Poeme. It smells like candy and reminds me of a hint of grape bubblegum. This scent will always remind me of dating Mike.

And then in my young career I found a love for Chanel's Chance- so bolt and perfect. Chanel scents tend to trail behind even once you leave the room like a ghost. I like that, like a signature ending with a star.

I am looking for something new and these are the two front runners:

Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle


Juicy Couture's Viva La Juicy

9.17.2008

i miss my sister

I remember when my sister had her first child, it was really my first true exposure to loving a small child. I would visit between college classes or on my days off work to get to know Lindsey. I had no idea how to interact with this child or what to say or do, but my sister would routinely get out the camera, hand me a toy, then somehow I would shake it to try and earn some new baby smiles.

I always knew it was my job to make sure this girl learned some silly from me. I would make goofy faces when my sister left the room and Lindsey would always respond. She would laugh or eventually make silly faces back once she was old enough. I remember when she was discovering her toes I showed her how to clap with her feet while she laid on her back. It was hilarious to me and it had her giggling, too. It was even more funny when my sister caught me teaching her that trick! 'Don't teach her that, you are going to make her wierd!' she playfully scolded and then we laughed about it together. We both knew that me being in her life didn't mean I would be teaching her anything normal. I was Aunt Liz, the one who showed up in the Uncle Buck car with 600 stickers on it and an engine that wanted to explode every time I tried to start the car. I approached the front door in a bright yellow sundress that swept to the floor and tied around my neck; a gem I scored for $3 at the thrift store that had probably been collecting dust since 1976. I might as well have painted my face in clown make-up and smoked a cigar through the entry way. I don't know how that makes any sense, but it seems to express what I want.
*

This week I let Zane pick out a special jar and cool rocks to put in the jar for good behavior moments (earning a toy with 10 total). I totally thought of my sister when I sat on the ground with him and played with his bag of rocks, telling him to lay down so I could make cool patterns on his arms. I was wishing she was here to tell me, as is her role as Aunt Lisa, to take those rocks off of him cos I am making him wierd! I pretty much took this picture for one purpose- so I could post it and she could call me and be like 'what on EARTH are you doing to your son in this picture' and we could laugh together for about 5 minutes.


Man, she really saved me some big time mockery during school years by keeping me from being too wierd or by redirecting my talent show ideas! I could have been seriously made fun of if it wasn't for her clueing me in on reality and joining the rest of the world everyone else seemed to be more aware of than I. Someday I hope we live in the same state again so we can balance the influence on each others' kids. I can bring in the healthy dose of added goofy and she can bring in the big bag of normalcy. I promise, I won't corrupt yours too much.
I love that we are so different. That I get to learn from her experiences as a parent, that I knew how to play the flute before my first lesson at school. That she would give me the run-down of how junior high schedules worked and lockers- all those little details that freak you out unless you get the sister's overview. I always had her to answer my questions (remember that one about the carrot scene in Porky's?! LOL!). That she introduced me to the world of college radio at a young age. That she always gave and shared her knowledge without expecting anything in return. That she would laugh at me when I would try so hard to be funny for so long. That she would sit in my room if I was crying and she would try to guess why for at least an hour. That she found joy in seeing me excited about the Easter Bunny, she didn't ruin for me too soon. That we would turn down the volume on shows and make up our own scripts. That summers were never boring because she always had something interesting in mind to keep us busy. That she brought me to my first true love: Taco Bell: for the first time. That she got me out of the house when I wasn't old enough to get out of the house on my own (Mill Ave, Tower Records, Mall, etc). That we learned together to appreciate every single John Candy movie. over and over and over.
I am grateful that I got to be the little sister,
cos man if I was the older sister- we both would have been screwed!

9.16.2008

back










Scenes from the first back yard. I am even so grateful for our first two weeds.

9.11.2008

pills

Mornings in Brooklyn were lazy for me. I hated getting out of bed. Mike worked at Metrotech, Brooklyn's business center, so his commute was an unbelievable 20 minutes door to door. No one in New York has a commute like that. Since he had the better commute and since I was so selfish, I often begged for a subway drop-off by car because I was always running late. He would be saving me the 15 minute walk. He did it often and never complained.

One morning I asked him to leave me at CVS so I could run in and get my birth control pills. I had already missed a day and wanted to catch up ASAP. He insisted the pharmacy would be closed. I still insisted he drop me off there just in case. We went back and forth several times about how I was wasting more time, but then no I would be right....etc. I marched smugly to the back of the store to find the pharmacy closed. He was right.

Even more late for work than usual, I headed to the subway (F train) for a regular Tuesday. I worked for a bank as a temp in HR in Jersey City, NJ. It was ridiculous how many subway lines it took to travel through Brooklyn, then Manhattan, then under water to get to work each day in another state. But it was a good job with a good company, so I knew it was worth it because it would lead to a permanent job.

Like usual I stared at the subway floor waiting for time to pass. People on, people off. The typical jerking of the train car as it switched tracks and adjusted its gears. It was a warm, sunny day for September. I checked my watch and saw I was running more than my typical chunk of time behind, but not too terrible that I needed to feel stressed about it. We came to my final stop in Manhattan in my journey before transferring, Cortlandt Street. The train car was packed, the doors opened, but no one moved. Someone on the platform said "what was that sound?" I don't know if someone else or that same person said something about a 'boom'. A few people got off, but the doors were staying open. I saw a poof of brown dust and broken glass drop onto the platform from the sidewalk grates in the sidewalk above us. In my mind I thought 'I am not going to suffocate and die in this subway train in the event more smoke were to come in! Get me outta here'.

I nudged past several people, still few were speaking and it was silent in the air. A man going up the steps in front of me hesitated, but I put my hand on his back and voiced my urgency "go!" He sped up. Once I got above ground I saw cars and taxis stopped in the middle of the street with heads poking out car windows and looking up, people standing on the sidewalk and in the street on mobile phones talking about what we were all looking at: smoke streaming out of the world trade center. Downtown Manhattan felt like it was frozen all around this trail of smoke sneaking out of a really tall building. Perfect pieces of paper were floating from the sky like a ticker tape parade. It was like all the filing cabinets got shaken, however no folders or furniture or anything else was on the ground. Just perfect sheets of work paper similar to ones I had waiting for me on my desk. I looked at one work form and almost wanted to keep it, but left it on the ground because I felt sick for thinking of the person who started their morning just like mine, only they might be burning or suffocating from smoke right that moment. She used a felt tip pen on that paper, wrote a name on it, it was in black.

My typical commute would be to cross the street and enter the world trade center building that was not burning then to get into a train that carried me into New Jersey. I decided immediately I wasn't going to work that day. Then I thought bomb. That was all I could think. My feet ran, I was the only one leaving the area for some reason, those feet took me as fast as they could to 1 Chase Plaza a couple blocks away where I knew I could get a subway home. I stopped in the retail part of the bank open to the public to use a phone to call Mike and tell him I was okay- I just used the first phone I could find on a desk. Rules didn't matter. People were walking into the building with grey soot on their heads and they didn't even realize it. Got his voicemail. A woman working there was crying and her coworkers were comforting her, asking which floor and which building he worked on. I think they had her breathing into a paper bag. I then ran down the stairs to the 2/3 subway and the ticket person said it was a plane. I told her it had to be a bomb and wished she would join me on the train and go home, too.

The train was ghostly empty. I was shaking like a leaf, hoping no more 'bombs' would go off above my head. A girl from another train car got off at my station. We walked up the street together with the silence in the air, much smoke pouring from Manhattan's skyline, and dozens of fire engine sirens from far and near sounding in every direction. It made me feel sick, to know they were going where I couldn't get away from fast enough. I had no idea what was happening, I just knew I needed to get far away. And I had no idea how the people in those trucks were going to get those people help in that building so high up there.

I got home and the phone didn't want to work. I should remember who I spoke with first, it might have been my mom or my sister. I just remember my t.v. wouldn't work so she was giving me all these details my head couldn't accept. Planes?! No. I was just standing there, I didn't see any evidence of that. As I tried to think about all the details another plane went down and the buildings collapsed while I was on the phone with my sister. A lot happened during my commute home and it didn't stop happening.

I remember a thin layer of gray ash on the roof of my car. In Brooklyn. Way far away. I remember walking around my small apartment and cleaning just to keep from crying and waiting impatiently for Mike to get home. He walked home. The subways closed down right away. Not sure how I snuck home, everyone else had to cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot. He had seen from his building in Brooklyn on the 11th floor the second plane go in. He was looking out the window when I tried calling him. He saw that second plane go into a building I normally would have been commuting through right about that time had I not gone to the closed pharmacy that morning, giving me an extended delay I will always be grateful for.

When I finally went back to work (1 week later?), it was incredibly hard to trust that everything and everyone in my path would be safe. I wanted to hid under my bed forever, but then they would be winning. And we can't have that. No one talked, no one smiled, no one made eye contact during those first weeks back to work. I think we were all just lost in thought about it. Like a long-term moment of silence. And then everywhere you turned there were photos of people posted "missing". Hopeful loved ones. Weeks those pictures were posted all over of faces that were all done here on earth. And even though I wished they were all just lost and disoriented on a street somewhere to be found, I knew they weren't.

I never wanted to write about this, it was such a dark day it's like tweaking the nerve endings of my guts to speak and write about it. Especially after knowing the survivor stories I have read and heard first hand. I don't have much to say, my experience was so slim and easy. I didn't see body parts, death, nor pass bits of airline seats, or run out of the burning building. I didn't save anyone, comfort anyone, or lose a friend or relative. I was just a really lucky wife and daughter and sister that got to live. And that day I felt so grateful for the breath moving in and out of my chest. I never want to forget that feeling. The gift of being alive.

sw4target

In college I had a poster of Shaun White hanging in my bathroom. Not because I felt he was attractive to look at, he sort of resembles Carrot Top in my mind. Regardless, he is quite a talented young man. He inspired me to work hard at all I was doing at that time in my life. I was happy for his sucess at something he had passion for, even winning Olympic medals in both snowboarding and skateboarding. The poster of him remineded me that I could be good at my interests if I put effort into it. Be it school work, my job, or snowboarding.
I am happy for musicians that get into producing or something else to make a living at when they can't sell so many records anymore. I am likewise happy for Shaun for getting into the clothing industry so that one day when his tired bones aren't so quick at what they call extreme sports he might have something else creative to put his talents into that will allow for him to make a steady income.


In sum, he's got some cool threads at Target for little boys. Check it out.

9.09.2008

could i get any more exciting than this.

yellow=weekly white=daily



Today was a great day. I am getting control of the organizational side of my brain I used to use in, oh.....um....when was it.........2001? Doesn't matter, the point is I am getting a handle on my days again. And instead of making a list each day of 574 things I want to do, I am planning the hours with what I realistically can do. I started the week with a master wish list I keep adding to of things I want + need to get done (admin, errands, cleaning, kid play, scheduled events like school and soccer, etc.). Each day I plug my schdule for the day into an hourly time table and then fill in some of the available space with things from my master list.

[jeez, this sounds so elementary, but it's not naturally how I operate so bear with me]

This is thanks to 1. a friend advising that it seems I am happier when I am more organized (so true Mariah! thank*u*very*much) and 2. a husband who suggested this method for daily planning instead of my monster unrealistic lists and 3. a preschooler always deserves an answer when he asks: what we are going to do next?

I find that without planning my head is like a 32 disc changer constantly spinning and wondering which of the dozens of things I need to and want to do should come next. ALL OF THEM RIGHT NOW is what I think and then I can't focus on the current task nor do I transition into a priority task next (i.e. never got dry cleaning last week!). I normally get so confused and overwhelmed I just sit down and waste some time re-reading the same blogs I read 5 minutes ago. Or listen to my playlist again. Or wipe down the kitchen counters again.

So three cheers for productivity! And to a fabulous day that was not overscheduled and found all things accomplished with a clear mind, happy children, and peace. We didn't have to rush through anything because I knew we were doing exactly what we needed to be doing that hour without clouding my mind with stress about what else I should be doing.

Some of my favorite parts of the day:

*Snuggling Evan to sleep and watching him breathe in my arms.
*Playing Candyland and eating popcorn with Zane while Evan slept.
*Music time with clean kids in jammies (Evan: xylophone/ dancer, Zane: guitar, Liz: drums)
*Dozens of smooches on my baby. Rubbing his growing tummy as it peeked out.
*Reading re-found favorite stories to Zane he loved in CA (Alexander...., Knuffle Bunny, Wocket, Caps for Sale, etc)

Being organized helps me think more clearly, enjoy my kids more, and get productive. I wonder what it would be like for every day of my life to be so smooth?

9.07.2008

missing the chocolate dipped ice cream

I hit Costco pretty late in the week and rather late in the evening with both children. They were hungry, it was busy in there, and I was wiped out. I felt relief as I stood with my goods paid for and crammed into the shopping cart while we were waiting for our 3 slices of delicious pizza. Although we were so close to the exit and being over with this task, my patience was still thin and the boys were getting more and more active.

It was then that I observed two other mothers, one to my right and another to my left. They also had children with them at The Hour of Meltdown. I observed the mother to my right, as she wore a kind smile, gently remind her daughter to return to her with the money so she could pay for the food. They exchanged smiles and paid for their food. Immediately to my left another mother had a child also heading in an undesirable direction. She, however, allowed her voice to snap like venom for her child to return. She turned to her friend and scowled a grumbled about her child. It made me uncomfortable the way she addressed her own child, as if I was in trouble too. It made me feel like I was doing something wrong just by the sound she purged into the air. I wanted to be far away from that mother. I wanted to keep my children away from her.

I, myself, have behaved like each of these mothers.

That evening and several days later I thought about these two mothers. I thought about how they each handled a similar situation so differently. I thought about how each of those children might have felt being addressed the way they were. I thought about my own children and how I want to address them. The mother on my right spoke with peace. She spoke with kindness and love and I wanted to be near her. Her voice was welcoming, inviting, and friendly. It was like Christ was standing next to her. She acted how Christ wants me to act as a mother. Even on nights when I am tired and tested and worn out. She is where I want to continue trying to be as a mother.

Today's lesson in Sunday School was about contention. I was reminded again of these two mothers I observed and the thoughts I have had since then. Although there are more extreme examples of contention in our lives, it's still certainly able to creep into little pockets of our lives if we let it. So here is a list I found I hope to follow more closely:

*show compassionate concern for others

*control the tongue, the pen, and the word processor

*whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Prov. 11:12; see also Prov. 17:28.)

*bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory

*such high mutual regard would then let us respectfully disagree without being disagreeable

* in humble submissiveness, truly love God

9.04.2008

geography's too stubborn

French fries are only worth eating if they are piping hot.
Jelly is like cold, chunky snot. It's no wonder I never wanted my peanut butter to be associated with it.
Shadows are worth admiring often.
Arizona is really brown. Highlights are really yellow. Drivers erratic. Parking ample.

Sun shades on windows are like close-up views of a t.v. screen. I now know what it feels like to be trapped inside of a television.
For no reason at all the word visceral keeps jumping into my mind. I can't seem to create a sentance with it that pleases me. Feel free to give it a go.

9.03.2008

your tongue is like poison

Sheri posted about the topic of your first kiss recently. For some strange reason my awesome comments keep getting erased from her blog by her husband (?). So I thought I would dedicate my own delete-free and donkey loving space to the topic.

My first peckorama was in 1st grade in the bushes at the apartment complex we lived in. We were playing house- my idea of course so he could be the dad and I could be the mom. I totally set it up so I could 'kiss' him goodnight. He was a cute boy (kindergartener) and the only time I went for younger. He had straight brown bowl-cut hair and freckles like me. His family called him 'Bear' for some reason, I never knew his real name. He moved.

I don't recall who came next, but I do remember my first french kiss. 9th grade. He walked me home, Jason, and we held hands the whole time. We both had sweaty palms. He walked me home often, but I would usually rip my hand away and bolt to the door to avoid the kiss. I still wasn't sure I liked him that much, but since he was on the football team it seemed like I was supposed to like him. My friends were all excited to see when it would happen, I was excited to just get it over with so I could say it happened and the rite of passage/ milestone was behind me. Like all other teenage milestones, I seemed to be the last girl my age to experience this one.

I was incredibly delayed blooming in all regard. I don't believe I understood why anyone would want to make-out (let alone sex?!) until I was about 18. Lucky for my parents. Not so lucky for the poor boys who got to have the boring girlfriend that wanted to climb trees and play hop scotch. Although not really sad for them because even without hormones I was pretty awesome.

Back to Jason. The day it finally happened he stalled letting go of my hand in front of my house. Then he went in for it, hard. I felt him press his face into mine and he held me close into him firmly. It solidified what I was uncertain about- I officially decided right then that I didn't like him at all. And I certainly didn't like his fat, wet tongue pushing around in my virgin mouth. It was yucky. He was yucky. I broke away without a word and ran in to tell my sister.

I finally kissed a boy! I finally did it!

"So how was it?" she was all ears waiting for me to bask in the moment. I stop smiling and told her it was actually gross. It wasn't like the movies at all. He didn't take my breath away and there wasn't any magic or stars or anything fantastic about it. But hurrah for being over with it. She was confused, but turned her music back up and went about her homework after dutifully sharing that important sisterhood moment with me. I guess if I could sum it up today, I would say it was basically like a snake eating a mouse.

It's one of those things that torments you in Junior High- waiting for a milestone. You wonder what it's like. You know it will happen one day, you hear about everyone else experiencing it and wonder when your time will come. But I learned from it and I decided I wouldn't do a thing with a boy unless I was good and ready for it. And it would never be more or sooner than I wanted. Even the simple holding of hands was not to be a 'just because-why not' action on my part.

I don't know who was next or when, but the rest of the boys fell into various categories in how they approached the 'first kiss' in the dating scene with me. Some pressed their luck too early and that was no good. If they were too pushy too soon, I was all done. Some talked about it, which I think is romantic and respectful. I think I want to teach my boys to be sure verbally before pulling a Jason that first time. Some waited far too long, but then I would take matters into my own hands. Then it would be interesting to experience who would be shy about moving along at my lead and who would take the reigns and go crazy.

Mike was the latter and I loved it. It was like I gave him a little green light and then he took us into the fast lane I had been waiting for. With him anyway. The flood gates were down. He wanted me and I wanted him. There was no longer a question in either of our minds the moment our lips touched.

That first time was classic. We had been dating and hanging out a lot and for quite some time. He brought over Austin Powers to *watch* on the couch with me, my roommates were gone on their own dates. I think it was one of our first 'indoor' dates. Since we worked together and had a difference of opinion religion-wise I wasn't sure it was smart or productive to fall for him. So I was cautious. But man, was I ever interested in pushing him down to the ground and kissing him hard. Something about that boy drove me wild. It was like all that pent-up and delayed vigor exploded that year. That was much effort to contain for little miss liz. Especially around Mike.

We should just be friends. But man I really hope he kisses me. It would be bad to kiss and then work together like nothing ever happened. DANG he looks so good in his sweater. I know if we kiss it's going to get complicated. We will both want to kiss more and often.

I loved the gentle way his hand turned my chin so we could connect eyes as we snuggled on the couch. I loved the way we tangled up immediately like we were born to make out with each other. How natural it felt as if we were swimming together. I don't know why swimming explains it so well, but it was like we were weightless and magnetically connected at the same time. Even though our clothing was on (I swear!).

I stopped us for a moment for fear of a later broken heart. Or an awkward time at work. Or anything else you freak out about in the newer part of a relationship. But together we threw my concerns across the room and let them shatter. And proceeded swimming. Until one of my roommates unlocked the front door. Then we bolted upright as if we were enjoying the credits rolling up the t.v. screen of a movie we never saw.

9.02.2008

dormant

Every time I watch a Michael Moore film I am struck by how inspired I am. I am impressed that he has found a talent and a successful way of getting his passion expressed in a way/ specific method that reaches so many and in such a powerful way.

It gets me wondering what passions I have, what movements I stand for that I have yet to learn about. What changes will I insist need to happen in my lifetime, there seem to be so many important and urgent causes I feel paralyzed by them all and uncertain where to begin. And what is the beginning. Learning? Reading? Talking to people about their projects that move them into action? Finally folding that laundry pile and getting the kid to school on time? Oh yeah, baby steps.

Upon discussing these feelings with Mike, we found the passion has to come first, then the guts you throw into making something happen comes next. I'm ready to start marching, but I have no idea what goes on my sign.

I guess I feel so dormant waiting to figure out when the season in my life will arrive that I don't feel so maxed out to throw more of myself into another important thing for humanity (in addition to raising children). Or am I below my potential now and just need some of that passion triggered to get myself spread a little more than I am comfy to get going? I know I have what it takes to make something big happen for the right reasons and the dedication to put my all into something. But what? And when? And how?

If nothing else right this moment I know I can move mountains if I feel strongly enough about where they need to be moved to. I'll keep looking for my mountain.
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