Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tire Changing 102

I would call it tire changing 101 but this is my second time changing a tire. The first time was a long, hot, drawn-out affair on a tiny gravel mountain road at Girl Scout Camp with my Dad's old Ford pick-up truck. The parts were big, heavy, and rusted into place. I never did get it all the way done on my own. The ranch manager drove up to help after a few hours and said that it was hard - even for him. So maybe I could've done it myself if it had happened on a different car or in a different place, somewhere more conducive to changing a tire.

I will admit right up front... I didn't change the tire this time either. I did even less of the work myself. Grandpa Racinez is here so he did most of it. I was out there though... in my pajamas and jacket reading the instruction book and offering advice and second opinions. Turns out we had picked up a nail. Probably from all the house demolition on our street. The good news is that we were home when it happened. And since the car is much newer (only 2 years old!) the parts weren't rusted into place. And the tools were smaller and therefore easier to handle as well.

So 4 hours start to finish, including having the tire repaired. Grandpa does good work. (And I do a great job reading the instructions!) I'm sure I could do it myself if I ever had to.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This Day in the Life of Me...

0808 - I'm already behind... I forgot it is my designated "This Day" day. So let's review... starting at Midnight on March 27, 2007... I woke up sometime just after midnight because Felisa was squirming and whining. She had to go potty so I got up to take her. Something about going potty made her cry. I sent her back to bed and took my turn. Collected my water bottle from where I had left it on the counter and went back to bed. My throat still really hurts. The rest of the night is fitful sleep full of strange dreams, a side-effect of taking Sudafed before bed. My ear has been hurting along with my throat and after two eardrum ruptures in the last 3 years, I am very sensitive to the possibility of a repeat and take sudafed at the slightest twinge. I got up at about 0745. Came downstairs to find Ryan and Bella watching TV. Decide to give the home-cure for strep throat a try. Gargle (then swallow) apple cider vinegar mixed with honey. I was planning ahead and did it over the kitchen sink. That way when I had to gag and spit it out in a hurry, I didn't make a mess. Maybe I better check the recipe again - that was more awful than I imagined it would be. It burned and it tasted disgusting. All on an empty stomach. Ewww... flashbacks of morning sickness while pregnant with Bella right at this very same sink. Next step is to get breakfast for the kids then find my camera. Not in my purse. Not in the empty camera bag on the steps. Oh yes - now I remember. I left it hooked to the computer when I downloaded pictures on Saturday.

0837 - potty break for Felisa

0841 - Grandma Duffield stops by to say good morning after her morning jog. Reads a story to the girls.

0845 - Shani is here to drop off Corey and pick up Bella for school.

0851 - Change the time stamp on my camera. Apparently it doesn't know about the early shift from daylight savings time. Of course it may change itself next weekend when it was originally slated to be the time change. Hopefully I will remember when I go back to do my scrapbook pages on this day that the time stamp is wrong on the first 10 pictures!

0855 - See, only took me an hour to get caught up. All while helping kids and husbands get ready for work and school. Now I need to get a shower for myself or at least get dressed and put my contacts in. I hate wearing glasses.

0857 - Felisa wants to go outside. Corey doesn't. Felisa is asking for ChocoCrunch ALREADY. I don't think so... you just ate breakfast! Well, Corey needs breakfast is her response. I inform her that he ate breakfast already before he came over.

0900 - Corey has changed his mind. Put on his shoes, throw away the gome he found (that's Japanese for garbage - see how bilingual I have become since meeting Shani!), and out he goes. Bailey decides to join them. I warn her not to bark at Alex and Josh (though I know she will anyway if they are outside). Notice that Alexis has workers at her house again today (hardly an unusual occurence!)

0910 - I have been sucked back into the email zone... I read all the new messages so now maybe I can break away long enough to go get dressed.

0920 - Come back downstairs. Notice the guys across the street are pulling the off shingles today. I wonder how long it will take them to complete the demolition by hand. Took the guy in the big "Bob Truck" only one day to destroy and clear the house from the lot next to this one. They are recycling everything through Habitat For Humanity so that makes me feel better about the knock-down and rebuild. Come to the back door to check on the monsters. See Felisa holding a bag of cereal and Corey sitting at the table waiting. Because, really, they both must be starving. After all, it has been a whole hour since they last ate. Get two bowls so they can split the snack. Fiddle with my seedlings and my latest attempt at sprouting... I decided the big plastic box that the spinach came in would be the perfect size for a greenhouse for my two seedlings-to-be. The garlic has been holding strong (but then it was already sprouting in the fridge!). My seed order was shipped yesterday so soon I can attempt even more seedling sprouts. I tried a couple years ago and it didn't go well. I do a little better with direct planting. And have no problems when I buy starter plants at the Farmers' Market! I like the ease of the started plants but would like more variety/availability of the veggies I will actually eat.

0939 - Found the cider vinegar cure and tried it again. Diluted it with water this time so it was a little better. Still disgusting but less burn. Of course, less burn could be a bad thing since that could mean it is killing less germs. We shall see... Can't hurt, right? Right?

0945 - Decide to ponder what's for dinner... While I'm thinking, I was off the kids' table. Discover under all the old macaroni noodles and milk dribbles that there are spirolator pen marks all over the table. Grr... clearly the original Spirograph is a better product than this pen (it was a gift of course). Now I have to figure out where to hide the pen (maybe in the donations box?!?) and how to get ink from the tabletop. Speaking of hiding things... maybe now would be a good time to start photographing then clearing the accumulated school artwork and projects. No one is here to see me do it... the two little monsters are occupied outside...

0949 - Here's a question for the universe... how long does it take to redistribute 50 lbs of sand from the sand box to EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE YARD and WHY must they do it? The answer to the first question is "not very long" and the second question I may never find the answer to.

1015 - I have cleared the most miniscule of schoolwork piles... the freshest layer if you will... from the big table. I discovered in this pile a note to send $5 for Ryan's class picnic. The money was due by March 17 (yes, that was 10 days ago!). So now it is in an envelope to go to school tomorrow. Maybe the Tuesday folders will come home today and I can send the money back with that (like I should have 2 Tuesday's ago!). The monkeys are still playing outside. I have decided on grilled pork chops for dinner so I must remember to brine them later today. I am also hoping that the spare grill gas tank in the shed really is full as Ron said it is. (I don't doubt Ron - I doubt my luck at having things go as planned.) And now I will see about getting Bella and Felisa into a swim class. I was able to register Ryan on Saturday but was having trouble with the class registration for the girls. Operator error, I'm sure (as Ron would say).

1035 - Okay, not operator error but rather stupid system! Because there are people on the waitlist (even though the class isn't full yet) I can't register them. Whatever. I put them on the waitlist and hope they will get in. If Ryan gets a class and they don't, it won't be pretty. I'd love to find someone who could give private family lessons. It would probably cost the same and it would be much easier than shuttling everyone to separate lesson times. In other news... the Starvin' Marvins are back. They came inside and asked for bagels with cream cheese. And chocolate milk. And juice.

1038 - And cupcakes? I don't think so. The bagels were good enough - go play!

1044 - I'm tired. My throat hurts (though ever so slightly less). I have a headache. I have general malaise (but no fever). I'm hungry. And I just want to go back to bed. But I can't. My house is a disaster area. Don't believe me? Just look. And I haven't finished my taxes yet. And I have a scrapbook project to do for a client. And the weather is gorgeous so I should be outside working in the yard. Those 15 bags of mulch aren't going to spread themselves, you know.

1129 - I've been searching online for different compost bin options. The bin I have is nice but I think I need a second bin. That way one can "Cook" while the other is collecting trash. Then when the first is finished cooking, I can use the compost then start filling it while letting the second bin cook. Apparently your pile will never be ready until you stop adding new material. I tried to just let it sit for a couple months, hoping the new compost would settle to the bottom. Then I could move the bin, move the stuff on top, and get some compost from the bottom. But, it's not going to work so well that way. Which means, I need another bin. It has to be an enclosed system so that the rodents won't get into it. I researched stacking bins and turning bins and think the best thing may just be to get a second bin like I already have and rotate between them. Here it is, a year after getting my first bin and I still have NO compost! :( Talk about learning the hard way. But... now I know.

1139 - Change Corey. Guess we waited too long for a potty break. Oh well.

1143 - Grandma Duffield stops by with the kittens in their stroller. Corey loves them! And the mail is here - with my seeds.

1149 - Go close the gate. Must have been left open when Ron was out with the kids last night. Decide to stay out front with the kids since Shani will be here soon with Bella. Look at my seed order. Tell the monsters to "Keep the dirt in the box" for the millionth time.

12:08 - Bella is home. Wants hot dogs for lunch. Convince her to eat a banana while she's waiting. Felisa chooses an orange.

12:45 - Lunch is over and the girls are arguing over who gets to use which bag to carry their animals. I'm thinking about going to the library and to the store to buy plastic eggs for the Easter parties at school.

12:58 - Felisa wants me to carry her so I bring her upstairs and lie down. She wants to watch TV so I turn on Backyardigans. Bella brings her school work upstairs to show me. She has a note that she needs hard-boiled eggs for her party. Which means I have to boil and dye eggs for one and buy plastic eggs for the other or just do all plastic. Because I'm really not a fan of the messy egg-dying process.

1:29 - Show is over. Bella wants a pop-tart for dessert from lunch. Which means I have to get up and go downstairs to get it for her. Maybe we won't go to the store or the library after all. I just feel crappy and all I want to do is hide in my bed.

1:35 - Try the cider vinegar gargle again. This concoction really makes me gag. But if it helps, then I guess I can suffer through it. Maybe.

1:39 - Girls are arguing over how to play the toy drum. Oh and now we have the recorder screeching along. Calgon, take me away!

2:30 - The girls have been playing while I have been hiding in the bedroom. Grandma Duffield came to rescue me. Takes Bella for a bike ride.

2:50 - Waiting for Bella to come back pick up Felisa to go to Grandma's. My throat is feeling a wee bit better but I feel more awful all over. Took my temp - up to 99.4

So... Grandma came back to get Felisa. I picked up Ryan from school. Got him a snack and got him started on his homework then went back upstairs to bed. Ron came home around 5:30. Went for a bike ride. The girls came home around 7. Felisa came to bed with me and went to sleep right away. When Ron got back around 7:20 he showered then took Ryan and Bella out to pick up sandwiches and fries. I ate my sandwich upstairs and then officially went to bed.

This wasn't what I had intended to offer up on my This Day entry but it is a true reflection of what happens when the mom gets sick. The world inside the house slows to a crawl while life outside continues on as usual. Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon because I'm feeling pretty awful right now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What type of English do You speak?

Your Linguistic Profile:
70% General American English
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern

Just a little bit of Friday afternoon goofing off... That's what Friday afternoons are for, right?

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Comforting Constellation

As I was taking out the trash tonight, a quick glance up into the night sky found Orion. I remember seeing this same constellation (though at a slightly different angle) at my parents' house in Colorado. Walking from the house out to the dog run, it seemed to always be right there, waiting for me. And now, seeing the same constellation in the sky, waiting for me each and every time, brings a bit of comfort to me, a faint sense of home and happiness here in this place far from home. This place that is now my new home is in a way connected to the past. It's like a little hug from the stars. Why, I don't know. It just is. And so I will acknowledge it and enjoy it for all it's worth, each and every time Orion greets me from above.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It can't be helped

I saw this in a post over at Frugal Veggie Mama and thought I should share it here... A more grown-up version of my teen attitude "Oh well" and a good mantra to keep in mind.

Last week at yoga, I said, "Hi Barbara, how are you?" to the owner of the
yoga studio. She responded that, "Not well, actually." When I said, "I'm sorry
to hear that." She responded, "It can't be helped." Later in the evening I
overheard her say, "Next week will be better."

It can't be helped. And next [week] will be better. Good positive thinking without getting all riled up. Fits me I think. Now I just need to remember it and remind myself from time to time. Because it couldn't be helped and it is better today. And I'm sure next time won't be any different.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lenten Reflections

First a quote from a book, Confessions of Super Mom by Melanie Lynn Hauser...

"It never occurred to me that my children would worry about me. I
worried about them so much, so completely. I gave and I gave, and yet they
wanted to give too. And I rarely let them."

Here I sit... straddling the fence. A mother and a child. I can see both sides of it. And I must try to remember this as my children get older. Sometimes they just might want to give a little back. And to not let them really isn't fair. Are you listening, Mom?

So at mass today I found my mind wandering (not unusual for me, unfortunately). I decided though that perhaps I should embrace the wanderings... follow along and see where I end up. So I did. Hopefully that was the right decision and God won't be mad at me for not paying attention. I was paying attention a little bit... Fr. Pat said that in this season of Lent, we should be praying and reflecting, turning away from sin and turning towards God, living in his image.

For me, this has been an unusual Lent. Not that I've had a lot of them, being new to "The Club" and all, but still. So, an unusual Lent. I didn't give up anything. I haven't been faithful to my added activity (that lasted all of a week, maybe). Yet it has been an intensely emotional time. Internal strife over whether or not to actively be looking to help or if it is better to concentrate on just being myself. If helping someone is meant to be, then the situation will present itself. Right? I should be trusting that my family and friends know that I am ready and willing to help in any way that I can. Accepting that they may not need or want my help. Believing that they will ask when the need is there, when the time is right, when God's time is right. My feelings of sadness and loneliness of late... my last post about God's perfect timing... seem to conflict with each other. This is not a new feeling for me. This need that I feel to want to help others and to want others to share with me what is going on, whether I can help or not, has been present since at least college. This need is what led me to be a Psych major. (Not that I've ever used it but that's another story entirely!) So the need is not new. The feelings are not new. And I'm not sure if my answers to these questions are new or not. I am, after all, a different person than I was 15 years ago. My life is different than it was 15 years ago.

So for now I suppose I will turn in to my house, in to my family. I will continue to try to live each day just being the best me I can be. And pray for myself, and my family, and my friends, and for the world. There's nothing else I can do. Probably nothing else I should do.

Just be. (And hope that's the right answer.)

DISCLAIMER: This post is not about anyone in particular but rather I statement of how I feel right now so please don't read any more into it than there is to read.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Spring Weather, God, and Flag Therapy

Today was our first taste of spring. Warm, sunny weather... Ahhhh... Most of the February snow and ice has melted and most of the puddles are gone. The school kids were full of energy and the high that comes from good weather on a Friday afternoon. Walking home, there was a group of 5 boys standing along the sidewalk begging the passing cars to splash them with the puddle.

A story to share of God's actions that could easily be dismissed as coincidence if one weren't paying attention... The weather being what it was, I decided it would be a perfect day to walk Bailey down to pick up Ryan. A neighbor came home as I was leaving so after a brief conversation about the Frat Boys moving out, I was running a little late. I saw Clint drive past as I neared the school so figured he would collect Ryan from the door and meet me somewhere along the sidewalk or in the parking lot. As it turned out, Clint was waiting for Zoe in the parking lot so Ryan went to look for me in the lobby. And he forgot his lunchbox. So by the time we met up at the back door, and Ryan went back to say good-bye to Owen's mom (she had been waiting with him to see if he needed a ride) and collect his lunch box, we were later than usual heading back home. As we neared Parkwood, a little boy (probably kindergarten) was crying and two boys came over asking for help. Apparently the boy had fallen on some thorns. His older sister asked to borrow my phone and called her dad for a ride. So... if I hadn't thought to bring my phone (I put it in my pocket at the last minute in case I got a call from Zoe's parents that they were running late) and if I hadn't been running late and if Ryan hadn't had to go back inside the school, we would not have been in the right place at the right time to help the boy. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I choose to believe it was God's hand.

Now for my Flag Therapy... I went up to the Grossmans to bring Ryan home from his playdate. He wasn't ready to come home yet (they were waiting for their jello to set) so I left to come home without him. As I was leaving, there in the corner of the garage, was Melissa's purple guard practice flag, just calling my name. I'm all alone (I don't like to twirl in front of the kids because then they will want to do it also and that is most definitely a recipe for disaster!) and not in a hurry... So I pulled it out and spent about 5 minutes just spinning and twirling and tossing (only dropped it once!). Something about the sound of the flag whipping through the air and the (minor) exertion and the repetitiveness of spinning the flag is very relaxing to me.

So that's all I have to offer for today. The extreme sadness of the other day has mostly dissipated and I continue on with the business of living. Getting through each day the best that I can.