Random Thoughts While Cleaning Bathrooms: Why Being A Parent Is Love

Our home is usually very healthy. Sometimes a small cold here and there, but nothing overwhelming.

The past few weeks we each have taken turns running fevers and developing head colds.  Fortunately, it really isn’t that bad. It’s just a cold, it isn’t projectile vomiting or staying up all night with humidifiers, Vicks and on-call nursing staff.  It’s a cold…it’s just the neverending cold.  So I’m home from church with some of the girls, making homemade pizzas for lunch and using the free time to sanitize the house.

There is nothing like repetative tasks like scrubbing toilets that gets your mind wandering on weird things.

Like Frozen.

(perhaps the neverending movie?)

 

Remember a few days after Frozen came out, all of a sudden everyone was snarky about Elsa’s parents?  “They were actually horrible parents because they locked their poor daughter in a room, and she was incapable of living without them!  For shame.”

That has always bothered me, but I never understood why.  Well, now I have the time to figure it out!

 

First off, the desecrating of heroes has always bothered me.  They are heroes, but they are also human (for the most part..depending on your story).  I have a huge problem with how comfortable people are with hating others; it just drives me crazy.  I have listened to rants about why Abraham Lincoln was, actually, the “worst President evar.”  To which I say, “Wasn’t that over 150 years ago…so who cares??”  Mother Theresa was actually some monster in India.  Thomas Jefferson was a Theist, Winston Churchill was racist, Gandhi was evil, and Martin Luther was a leprechaun (citation needed).

There are good people in the world.  These good people are each individuals fighting their own fight, traveling their own travels, enjoying their own joys.  These people see the good in others and look to do good for others.

 

POSTER-GOOD-PEOPLE-MED

 

Okay, so this is totally a 1990s motivational poster kind of feel…but it’s true!  Good people will make you feel good.  Ben is a good person, and he makes me feel great.  My kids are good people, and they make me feel happy.  I am a good person, and I look to make them all feel loved and happy.  I mean, that is kinda the whole point of this life thing….there were 10 Commandments in the Old Testament.  What was Jesus’ New Commandment?

 

NDM5_700No, that’s not it.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

(John 13:34-35 ESV)

 

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The new commandment is to love.  When we demonize people, including heroes, it isn’t loving.  It’s judging.  It is saying, “oh sure, they might have done this one good thing, but that doesn’t make them a good person.”  One: yes it does.  Two: it doesn’t make you a good person tearing them down.  So knock it off.

Being loving means we care about each other.  We are concerned about each other.  We delight in our successes and we are bummed out when things don’t work the way we thought they would.

 

Even though the parents in Frozen were fictional, the backlash against them was very real.  It was real, and it stung, and I finally figured out why it bothered me.  Here is why:

 

They were special needs parents.  They didn’t have schools or doctors to help them learn how to support their daughter.  No one had ever seen powers like Elsa’s before, and they were doing the best they could with the complete lack of resources they had available.  They gave her tips on how to control her emotions.  They gave her love and support throughout her childhood.  They left the castle in her care when they did leave and assured her that she could do it.  They didn’t have a cure for it.  They didn’t have a support group to help them.  They didn’t have any idea of where it came from or what it meant for their child’s future: and they still kept positive and loving, to the end.

Those are good parents.

Just like every other parent with a special needs child, they struggled on their own.  They could see how hard life was going to be for their daughter, and it tore them up inside…but they found solutions and strength for their child.  They knew how different Elsa felt, and they made sure to love her unconditionally.

When you see a family with a special needs child, you are seeing 5 minutes of their day.  You aren’t spending the countless hours of taking care of their children, the hours/years of research trying to find better ways to help them, the endless nights telling yourself it will be okay.  Because you know it will be okay.  When you are the parent of a special needs child, no one else on earth loves that child more than you do…and you will fight to the death to do everything possible for them.

The backlash against Elsa’s parents always bothered me because they were parents of a special needs child.  If anything, watching Frozen should have made us think, “My goodness, those parents had it rough.  They did it all on their own!  I wonder if there are any parents of children with special needs around me who I could help.”

 

We should not be tearing parents down.  We should learn from this, and lift each other up.

 

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Being a parent doesn’t mean you find all the answers.  I doubt it means you find most of the answers!

But it means you do it together.  That is love.

It’s Like Competing With Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret”

I am sorrowful.

I was looking through the thesaurus to find out exactly what it was I was feeling: it wasn’t sad, it wasn’t chagrined or disappointed.  It was sorrowful.

 

A month or so ago I found the Walt Whitman Poetry contest, which definitely sounded like it was up my alley.  I do love Whitman’s poetry, and it was great to have a goal (and a deadline) to work towards.  It is certainly forcing me to write constantly, which is…hard, but good.  My poetry has matured significantly just in the very short time I have been working on it (is this poetic hubris, I wonder?).

The judge of the Walt Whitman Poetry contest is Tracy K. Smith.  And, naturally, the best way to understand the poet is to understand the poetry.  So I bought her book:  Life on Mars

Born in Massachusetts, Tracy K. Smith earned her BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.Tracy-K-Smith-448From 1997 to 1999 she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University. Smith is the author of three books of poetry: The Body’s Question(2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; and Life on Mars (2011), which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship.

Smith teaches creative writing at Princeton University and lives in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

Every day, since I first received her book, Life on Mars, I have carried it with me.  It has been thrown into my backpack (carefully), I have studied it while the kids were in their Martial Arts’ class, I take it to my nightstand before I sleep…this book has been attached to my hip for a month.

I have studied her words, her phrases, tried to understand what she was saying and how she was saying it.  I have eat, slept and breathed Life on Mars.  I am enamored with the words.  I feel a personal connection with the poetry.  I am in love with this book.

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What is love?  According to TED speaker, Brad Troeger, “Love is potentially the most intense thing that has been thought of for all of history.”  And that’s true.  Love has been dissected, resected, bisected and had autopsies performed on it in order to figure out what it is.

Good love is a vulnerable relationship between people.  I am vulnerable with Ben because I trust him with my love.  I love my children with a vulnerable, motherly love that manifests itself in our relationship.  Love is a very delicate and well balanced thing: it takes two sides to make a relationship, and a relationship can form love.

When a poet puts their words onto paper, they begin the relationship with the reader.  The reader, then, will read it and either respond to the poem with understanding, or not respond to the poet and walk away.  A truly good relationship will form lasting bonds that will stay the course of a lifetime: those are the poems you remember years after you read them because they touched something inside you.  And you fell in love with the poem.

I have fallen in love with the poetry in Life on Mars.  I have invested a part of me into studying Smith’s works in very sincere ways.  Her poetry is beyond ethereal, and she speaks in broad strokes, as well as finishing lines, and now that I cannot submit my work into the Walt Whitman  poetry contest…I am feeling grief because I am not able to send my poetry to Tracy K. Smith.

 

Today I found out I can’t actually submit my work to the contest, because it is for “first book” submissions:  and I already have a poetry book with an ISBN #.

 

BLAST!!  BLAST IT ALL TO MARS!!

 

This is so disappointing.  Sorrowfully disappointing.

 

 

 

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Entertainment Weekly

 

Emma Stone is going to play Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway.

This is insane.

 

Liza Minnelli killed it with her performance in Cabaret.  I am not even a “musical” person, but her performances were some of the most amazing numbers I have ever seen.  Maybe the most amazing numbers, because I can’t think of any that outshine her.

 

Emma Stone has devoted her entire life to her singing and acting, and now she is playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret.  This is so outstandingly exciting for her, I am thrilled!!

It gives me hope for myself.  Some day, after I have put in more hours and more sleepless nights fretting over allusions and phrasings…some day maybe I can follow in Tracy K. Smith’s footsteps.  Maybe one day my poetry will inspire people to fall in love with poetry.

Love is definitely worth writing for.

 

Thank You, Tracy K. Smith.

 

BY TRACY K. SMITH

          1.
After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span
Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like
Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman
Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see.
And what would we do, you and I, if we could know for sure
That someone was there squinting through the dust,
Saying nothing is lost, that everything lives on waiting only
To be wanted back badly enough? Would you go then,
Even for a few nights, into that other life where you
And that first she loved, blind to the future once, and happy?
Would I put on my coat and return to the kitchen where my
Mother and father sit waiting, dinner keeping warm on the stove?
Bowie will never die. Nothing will come for him in his sleep
Or charging through his veins. And he’ll never grow old,
Just like the woman you lost, who will always be dark-haired
And flush-faced, running toward an electronic screen
That clocks the minutes, the miles left to go. Just like the life
In which I’m forever a child looking out my window at the night sky
Thinking one day I’ll touch the world with bare hands
Even if it burns.

DailyPost: Daily Prompt – “Welcome, Stranger!”

 

Screenshot 2014-10-15 13.12.32link!

 

I didn’t even know this happened…but cool!  I submitted a prompt a while ago, but I never remembered to check up on it.

 

Where we live might say something striking about us, or it might say something striking that isn’t about us!  I have moved around so much in my life, it amazes me to meet people who delivered their children in the same hospital in which they were born.  They shop at the same stores they bought gum in when they were 10.  Their kids are going to the same schools they went to.

I went to 2 elementary schools, 2 Jr. Highs and 2 High Schools…which might sound fractured, but I loved the variety of it!  I’m a rolling stone, my friend. I just keep on rollin’.

 

So I am always interested in hearing about people’s hometowns: what are the local flairs of your city that make it unique?

If You Want To Connect With Your Daughter, Make Meatballs

We picked up a bug a few weeks ago, and it isn’t entirely going away as quickly or as quietly as I would have liked.

First kid#3 , #5, #1 and #4 had a little fever.  It went away within a few days, so I thought that was it.  But then kid#3 and kid#5 got it back with a vengance for a few days. Then we woke up feeling a little off…and the next day I had a fever, and I’m still feeling run down.  #3 finally got it yesterday, plus he has completely lost his voice, which is hilarious for me since I have lost my voice every single time I even get the tiniest sore throat throughout my entire life.

So, we’re  all recovering slowly.  Fortunately we don’t have the flu or anything…just a cold hard enough to knock us off our feet.

 

The thing about colds, or just feeling under the weather for any reason, is that you can get cranky.

Hey, you got a fever there.

Just ask Ben. I may, or may not, have been unreasonably cranky on Sunday night.

Thankfully, Monday morning came around and I at least felt a little bit better and apologized profusely for it, and he was fine.  Granted, it was his turn that afternoon to run the cranky mill, so I got to give him the same grace he gave me.  You have to take care of each other through cold season.

But with kids, they don’t have the experience to know they are cranky when they are sick.  They just know they aren’t feeling well, and they think the world is falling apart because you put their orange cup in the dishwasher and they have to wait for it to finish washing in order to get it back, and they wanted water in that orange cup.

Really, these things matter when kids are sick.  You can’t anticipate everything that is going to bug them, and I don’t condone catering to their every whim…but everyone needs some grace when they’re sick.  Especially kids.

 

So, kid#1 was just feeling a little crabby this morning while we were reading Jane Eyre, which is kind of understandable because chapter 4 is like, a million pages long.  It is interesting to me, but the kids are zoning out halfway through.  By the end of the chapter, I noticed that kid#1 is starting to retreat a little…which is what I do when I don’t feel well.

 

 

tumblr_lnvmr8W2cF1qg9ny9o1_400Retreat!

What I did once I saw this was I told her to go take a break. Get some water and some lunch.  Meanwhile, I got all some ingredients out.

All of us girls put on our aprons (the boys took a break with Minecraft) and we got to work on making meatballs!  This got us working together, talking and making something that we could enjoy later.  She felt significantly better after we connected, and we’re back to normal.

You don’t need to do something really big in order to connect with your kids, and it doesn’t take much to make it matter.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal like taking them to Disneyland.  All these little times are going to be the ones they remember the most.  They are going to say, “Remember that afternoon when we made pineapple meatballs?  Those were great!”

IMG_9279–>  Recipe! <–

Cold season is coming up.  Have a few of these little tricks under your belt for when you need them 🙂

Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

  • Make chicken homemade noodle soup together
  • Make drop biscuits and eat with pumpkin butter
  • Make sugar cookies
  • Make a giant pot of tea with their choice of tea
  • Make pudding together
  • Bake a loaf of banana bread
  • If you really want to be crazy, share a can of sardines and sweet potato crackers with them…that’ll spice up the day 😉

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For the record, kid#1 and kid#2 finished the can for me…it was that awesome.

The Date Night When I Wore A Purple Wig

cowboy

 

10404500_10204884453973167_6121312052279610165_nThis is me in a purple wig, going on date night with my husband of 15 years.

Let me explain.

I really do live a very domestic life.  My days are spent largely at home teaching homeschool, doing 3 loads of dishes a day, a few loads of laundry, picking up toys, cheerios and bagel dog wrappers, and writing.  It’s pretty normal, all in all.

This was me a few hours earlier at a firehouse during a pancake breakfast with Ben and the kids:

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I think I’m pretty normal.  Granted, <1% of people who know me will agree with this…but statistically, I’m very normal.

So purple wigs are kinda crazy.  Especially just for the heck of it.

But you know?  You only have this life to live.

 

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

I say, if you want to wear a purple wig, and wear leather jackets, and drink dusty bottles of bourbon in North Beach with your husband…why not?  Who is in your head telling you you can’t do stuff like this?

Go have fun. Especially with your husband 🙂

 

(I can’t end it there…we saw some crazy stuff that night!  Here are some things we found!!)

 

IMG_9251Inflatable Mounted Unicorn Heads


IMG_9255Individual Inflatable Unicorn Horns

IMG_9257Electronic Yodelling Pickles

IMG_9258Finger Tentacles…which I didn’t buy. But I’m pining for.

IMG_9259This might be a Christmas present for some people…

But the one thing we saw that I loved the most was the lit books.  These were books (or bookbulbs?) hanging from wires over an intersection, and they would flash in patterns every once in a while.  Being in such a literary area, it was a wonderful exhibit for the neighborhood 🙂  I looked like an idiot standing under them and holding my phone up waiting for them to start flashing though…

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Ranty McRant: Why Are These Things…Things??

I’ve been idle today, which is just a bad idea.  I start to get opinions about stupid, petty things when I am not busy.

However: I have not been busy today, so you get to hear my petty gripes!

Here we go!

 

1) “Butter in Your Food Storage, lasts 3 years–so cool, I’ve been wondering how to get butter to store”

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Why is this a thing??

Okay, so butter is about $3.00/lbs, on the high side.  Roughly.  We’re just going to say $3 average.

I mean, I am all for canning.  It’s fun and it is nice to can things that you have in abundance.  Like peaches.  Canned peaches absolutely prolong the seasonal fruit, and you have far less waste.  We are still eating canned peaches here…and it’s awesome!

But butter?  I just don’t see the need to can butter.  Butter doesn’t go out of season.  I’m not seeing this one.

 

2) Listen, I’m just going to say it: No one loves cauliflower this much.

2ede9d78cfba8f0db4769efe0ad4d948I’m all for healthy eating…I just bought a book about smoothies.  Smoothies.  I hate smoothies.  I’m the only white girl in North America who hates smoothies, but I do.  You aren’t chewing anything.  If you are drinking your meals through a straw, you are 99 with no teeth left and you keep pinching the dog’s butt because you think she is your cute nurse.  That’s what I think of when I think of smoothies.

But, apparently, I am on a collision course with diabetes 2…and that isn’t happening.  Not on my watch.

So, I got some pounds to drop before I hit 40.  And that means I’m drinking smoothies.

However: just because you want to eat healthy doesn’t mean you need to pretend you enjoy cauliflower this much.  I tried the cauliflower pure` thing, and I actually gagged from the texture.  I don’t see the point of having a really nice white cheddar…and ruining it with overboiled cauliflower.  Blech.

3) Dog Carriers.

 

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“As a bipedal person, I feel it is my duty to buy carriers for my 4 legged friend so they don’t have to actually do anything.”

I just don’t see the point.  If you have a dog that can’t make it around the block…then don’t take them!  Let them get their exercise by walking into the living room quickly.  But if you want to take them on your 26 mile power walk:  They have 4 legs…let them walk for crying out loud!

 

4) Fabric Wrapped Water Bottles

 

fabric wrapped water bottles Tikkido (2 of 3)

I might be skirting the edge on this one, but it’s a flimsy, $.50 disposable water bottle.  You don’t have to live vicariously through it by dressing it up with pretty fabric that you spent a whole weekend crafting.

I can see making snugglies for coffee cups…they’re hot, and the snugglie thing actually helps distribute the heat.  But this is a thin, plastic, ugly water bottle that you are going to throw into the thin, plastic, ugly recycling bin.  I just don’t see the point.

That’s all I have to say.

 

5) Teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy treats.

donutbos cakes cakesslice

They are very cute.

Call me obtuse, but I don’t get it.

 

 

I Have Printed Out 9 Poems

Oh no, not another poetry post!

My darlings, you just have to let the poetry flow through you.tumblr_m543mb59NN1rqrz8n

 

BTW, did you know Benedict has a movie coming out about Allan Turing?  Ben showed me the trailer last night.  It is so completely unfair.  Benedict.  Playing the man who invented computers.

It comes out on November 21st.  You better believe I’m going.  I have a thing for geeks.

Okay, so poetry.

I have been reading Tracy K. Smith’s book “Life on Mars,” as well as continuing to take the “Art of Poetry” class by Robert Pinsky, and doing a little writing to get the gears going.

It’s tough.

For two reasons: 1) It is tough reading Pulitzer Prize winning poetry and the poetry from a Poet Laurette, and thinking, “oh yes, I can do this.” 2) My inner critic is at full tilt.

What I decided I had to do was go through the notebook I have been writing in, and actually print out the poems I think are pretty good.  So, I have 9 poems total that I think are pretty okay.

I’m sharing one I wrote years ago, and then sharing one I wrote recently to show you the progress and changes in direction I’m making.  Because it’s interesting!

1)  Written in 2004

My Pot

The angel said to the women:

Do not be afraid, for

I know you are looking for Jesus.

Like shovels of soil thrown into my pot,

my troubles have overwhelmed me,

and I cannot see.

My courage leaves me, and I hold

still in the soil.

I am  depleted and tender,

but though I face fear in my

sodden solitude,

I put my bulb of trust in the Lord.

I am hurt, and He thinks of me.

I reach my eager, green fingers

through the dirt, and I search;

I hear,

the noise of the world, and the

noisome tales on the air.

I see

secular stories of my world,

of His world.

I seek

books searching for meaning

where I do find volumes of drivel.

Through all the mud and muck

I climb through

sifting and sorting, on

my search for truth:

on the air, in the world, through absurdity –

and when my green leaves

burst through the potted soil,

and grab the Lord’s warm rays –

I raise my white lily head

and proudly reclaim the pot as

my own, sifted in righteousness.

I heard him say when I was below:

Do not be afraid,

I know you are looking for Jesus.

I was looking,

and my rapturous spirit has arisen with Him

on this Easter day.

 

2)  Written the other day

 

The Buffalo In The Room

Sometime, in between, the beats of torn petals

we meet in the parlor, sharing

a mint mocha called a Snuggler

and scrape the soft, slightly melty chocolate chips

out of the nook at the bottom of the tall

glass, garage sale, cafe` cup.

Somewhere in between little chuckles and

bullish smiles, quickly hidden by a napkin,

we stare at our fingers.

Sequentially, beating the dance of our parents

on the timeworn wooden table, shuffling silverware

shoulder shaking the hustle to the rhythm of our screed.

A lifesize buffalo head looms over our table

as our spirit animal.  He remembers the days

of indulgent opportunity, the long days on the long American veldt

spent in slow ambulate with his tribe.

Minding the calves and entertaining the satisfied ladies.

With a glassy stare he could almost see the valley

filled with long shadows, thrown in billows over the tributary

leading to the Missouri River,

whose waters dried up after Jesse James was shot in 1882.

We All Wanted to Escape In The 80s

Friday, October 10, 2014
Tell us your favourite crunchy thing to eat.

 

In the 80s, we all wanted to escape.

Maybe it was the seductive fascination of James Bond who drove us across Europe on the back of his motorcycle with a warm marine wind in our (perfect) hair that led us to believe that the Mediterranean was the place to be.  Peaceful, blooming vineyards in the spring, winding roads through the mountains in the fall, skiing on perfect white snow in the winter, and bikinis that don’t fall down (or creep up) in the summer.

We didn’t have to worry about Japan buying all of our car plants if we were water skiing in Spain.  We didn’t have to worry about the recession of 1982 and the record bankruptcies that infected American businesses if we were drinking coffee in France.  And the only thing that would be “trickling down” would be the Italian gelato we held in our carefree hands.

The 80s was a decade of changing times, transitioning from the free spirited 70s into new technology and economic turmoil of the 80s, and it was a time of believing in the dream of escape.  However, the dream was being sold to the middle and lower class who couldn’t afford international travel: so, instead, it was brought to our homes.

Maxwell House’s International Coffees were the ultimate escape food in your kitchen, back then.  Through these tins, you could imagine yourself anywhere else in the world, other than in your kitchen.  You could be drinking…

f480Viennese Coffee51EzQ4dy7KL._SX425AA425_PIbundle-6,TopRight,0,0_AA425_SH20_Suisse Mocha Coffee
f6369French Vanilla Nut Coffee51n-g8YobkL._SX425SX425_SY331_CR,0,0,425,331_PIbundle-6,TopRight,0,0_SX425_SY331_CR,0,0,425,331_SH20_French Vanilla Cafe` Coffee, for when you want to sit in a French cafe` instead of hiding in the bathroom, pretending someone didn’t actually spill the entire box of Cheerios on the couch.

There is a song by Rupert Holmes called “Escape” that really shows this need for international escape at the time:

Pina Coladas, Viennese coffee, French cafe`s…there was something alluring about leaving our comfort zones and enjoying desserts from other lands.

Which brings me to my favorite crunchy food of all time: Viennetta.

 Viennetta was the delicacy of Kings.

It was served in martini glasses with linen napkins.  And you could have it in your own home!

I remember when I was younger and we got Viennetta a couple times.  It was, indeed, a delicacy.  We ate it in olive green tupperware bowls, but the feeling was the same.  Rich, creamy vanilla ice cream. Thin, crunchy chocolate sheets.  Wavy layers that looked like fine lace to my young eyes.  It was exciting, it was exotic and it was fun.  That was the best part: it was fun to eat.  You weren’t just getting spooned scoops of ice cream in your bowl, you were indulging in a luxury.  An affordable luxury.  A little slice of escape.

The Taste of Smug

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Is there any fall flavour that turns your stomach?

 

When I was growing up, I was the most pretentious person I have ever met. I only read obscure books and watched obscure movies and only listened to obscure music.

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There was a friend I had years ago whom I got along with pretty well, all in all.

We had things in common, enjoyed talking about similar subjects, were on a pretty similar life path.  It was nice for a while because we could have frank conversations about things, like theology or philosophy, which was a refreshing change from small talk about furniture or chili recipes.

Yet, after a while I started to notice that I was dreading their visits.  I began to get nervous if they called and said they were on the way over: I spent the entire time before they arrived going around the house looking for anything they could criticize: the state of my kitchen, the merit of (“real”) health foods I had, the dinginess of my carpets, the crumbs under the cushions of my couch.

Their friendship was becoming a royal pain in the neck because of the smug comments they brought with them.

How I disciplined my children?  “When I have kids, I am learning from your obvious mistakes. It would be nice if they could behave themselves for once.

My college degrees? “I wasn’t an idiot and wasted thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that doesn’t matter. Was it really worth it?

My clothes? “At some point you want to dress like a woman. I have thought about auditioning for the model reality show, because I could make it.  Easily.  

My weight? “I think a pack of dogs could feed on you for a week, easily.  I work out for 2 hours a day.

These were comments that really stick with you.

I used to love talking with them about ideas, but their opinions of me, personally, were harsh; and they just escalated over time.  There was nothing I could do that they left alone, and they brought their smugness as a permanent carry-on.

Honestly, I can handle harsh truths: they are hard to take, but if they are true then you really do benefit from a little humble pie once in a while.

I can even handle people being jerks.  You learn how to tune them out after a while, since what they are saying doesn’t actually matter.

But the smugness…I just can’t handle.

It says that they are better than I am.  That they could raise my kids better.  That I am less of a person because of what they say.  In the end, you have two options: You can suck it up and deal with it, politely reminding them that you are a capable person and none of it was their business in the first place.  Or you can burn that bridge.

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Yeaaaahhhhh….I tried talking to them about a couple things (like telling a woman on facebook that she was a danger to her kids and my friend would “gladly take her kids while she got treatment”), and they were pretty certain they were right.

The holidays can be tough because you are getting together for holidays, holiday parties and general holiday events.  That is a lot of people-time, and people bring a lot of things to the table.

Hands down, the taste I hate the most is SMUG.

Correspondence From Costa Rica: Letters From Anna – Garlic Teeth Edition

Well folks, Anna and Dreutch have been in Costa Rica for about a month, and she has been sending me crazy  pictures.  Here are a few that blew me away, and a letter from Anna at the bottom!

The flowers and trees, alone, are just incredible:

10660202_10102648793483454_654179597120639940_n 1377051_10102643824097144_1708307286424419911_n 10501843_10102643824047244_7086409391296649891_n 10698397_10102648793328764_5496081023036752035_n

The things that live in the flowers and trees:

10447622_10102645291910634_4310434388081579314_nLocusts the size of kittens.

10614217_10102628785913784_3282319332302024081_nHowler monkeys instead of squirrels outside their bathroom window.

Outside the rainforest:

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10625010_10102627830428584_5342061697665336663_nAmazing beaches.

10687018_10102648793558304_4402855499927090132_nCostco….there is a Costco in San Jose, CR
…??  Apparently!  And they have a gluten free section in the store!

There have also been some pretty familiar stuff, as well, like

10703560_10102651417185534_7706642304311772048_nPlaygrounds,

10552487_10102651416781344_5776214473624670602_nLego stores,

10704055_10102651417544814_8411244995921938152_nBarbie stores,

1907451_10102634119580074_4293705097965446623_nand boxed wine. How is this a universal thing?

Tamarah,

I grew up in Michigan and Colorado, doing things one generally does in a happy childhood… imagining myself in the adventures of any book I was reading from riding dragons to Little Women. I enjoyed writing, playing sports, playing piano, riding horses and reading. After high school I left for the beaches of California to study at UC San Diego and play volleyball. I answered the “what do you want to do when you grow up?” question with broad brushstrokes “a lawyer, a translator or international development”. I loved my classes for my Political Science/International Relations major. I transferred to Westmont College my junior year and then spent a semester at San Francisco City college as well as interning for the Public Defender’s office in San Francisco. I dabbled in a bit of painting, trail running, bikram yoga, poetry, and a lot of volleyball during these years.

I decided that I did not want to go to law school, graduated, worked in sales for a cell phone company and then in administration for a financial services company. My husband and I met through volleyball (go figure) and have been married for 2 years! I currently enjoy reading (almost anything) art, poetry, musicals, working out, going on dates and cooking.

On September 12th we moved to Costa Rica. Our friends picked us up from the airport and made us a special dinner with steak and whiskey (which goes for a premium here). What a great help it has been to know people who know the area. For example, there is a particular little store where you can buy good cheddar cheese. It’s the Italian store – and only sells Italian food. Also, for chicken, while you can buy it from the grocery store… you can get a great deal if you hunt down the chicken delivery guy on his way to all the restaurants. One of the challenges was that it took us 3 weeks for us to install Internet in our home. We thought that it was going to be difficult and did way too much research on how to get it. It was important for us for work. 3 weeks in I finally asked the neighbor. His response was “Oh, you just go over to the Cabletica store in Plaza Conchal and sign up”. So we went, the next day, and they only require a passport and will install in 2 days! Or in my case, call you on Saturday morning at 10am and ask if you will be home in 10 minute because they are waiting outside. Seriously!? Well, that’s how you learn.

Highs – The sense of accomplishment that I am getting out of the fact that I am here. I doubted that I would be brave enough to live overseas. BOOYA FEAR! I enjoy learning Spanish, living by the beach, finding great workout partners, getting involved in the local church and discovering new foods!

Lows: Being an emotional roller coaster at first. I quite often needed to apologize to Dreutch who had to live with me.   

Favorite Spanish word: diente de ajo – literally means a tooth of garlic in Spanish. In English it is a clove of garlic. BUT THEY TOTALLY LOOK LIKE TEETH! That discovery merited all capital letters.

Goal: Learn how to drive manual – I currently can’t drive my car. Although there are benefits to chauffer service (via your husband)…

This was a beautifully written note that I wanted to share. I am so thankful for all of the people we love who encourage us!

  

“Look high. Look to the sky. Don’t look back. See the flowers, the bugs, and the sea. Find the interesting people. They are there. Whatever you do –  DON’T stay inside that awesome apartment for long. Guard your spirit with a determined effort to grow as a person. Focus on the good. Even being in a marriage… focus on the best attributes – compliment and encourage.”