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Monday, November 29, 2010

Pocket-call protocol

You know those calls you get when someone sits on their phone or leans against their purse and accidentally dials your number? Some people call them pocket calls or butt dialing. I think I must get more of those than most people. With a name that begins with "Ba," my name must be near the top of the alphabetical list on most of my friends, family and acquaintances phone directory.

I don't mind getting random calls. In fact, when I get them as a phone message, I can't help but listen to most, if not all of the message. For some reason I think I might actually hear some juicy bit of information that wasn't meant for my ears. Like maybe the person calling will reveal how they really feel about me...or I'll hear some other sort of sordid detail that they want to keep hidden from the world. I'm like a rubbernecker passing a four-car pileup on the highway. I can't stop myself from listening to the whole muffled, jumbled and indiscernible message. Why can't I just hear the first few seconds and hit delete?

One day, my sister pocket dialed me about five times in a row. I stopped answering after the third one. What's the protocol here? Do I send her a text and tell her to lock her keypad? Do I call her back and leave a message that she needs to not lean on her phone so hard? Well...what do you do?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flip Friday: Baby steps

My baby is now one and she's just learning how to move around on her feet. Sometimes you push chairs around before you learn to walk...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Success = Doing things that scare the @#&! out of you

Visibly scared, pre-race at XTERRA
This summer I competed in three triathlons. I'm hooked. But, that's no surprise. I'm fiercely competitive. Sometimes I wish I weren't so competitive. I have to beat my own time when I run, swim, or bike...but, I also have to not let too many people pass me.

I learned, however, when you're too competitive, you make dumb mistakes because you're too focused on the end result and not the experience. You also can thwart your own success because you're not being patient enough to master the particular skill in which you're competing.

Learning how to mountain bike, a new skill for me, only a month before my last triathlon of the season (an off-road tri called XTERRA), taught me how to slow down, take the competition out of the experience, and enjoy. The first time I tried mountain biking, I was terrified. Going downhill was the scariest thing I've done in a long time. That fear resulted in a barely controlled descent down a rocky mountain trail and a skidding sideways crash which taught me to grip my brakes more gently. A scraped up knee and arm and a dinner-plate-size bruise on my keister were sharp reminders that becoming competitive in a new sport is more patience and hard work than dumb luck and speed.

I wasn't dumb enough to think I'd never get hurt again as I worked on getting better at mountain biking. In fact, part of me (the bruised part) wanted nothing more than to do the sports I knew I was good at over the ones that could maim or potentially kill me. I didn't die, though. I forged on. Still scared, moving deliberately.

XTERRA race day came. I was ready. I knew I had to go slow and I knew I wasn't skilled enough yet to navigate the wooden steps on the trail. So, I stopped and lifted my bike over and around the large obstacles in the path. It took so much longer to finish that race than any other race I've ever done. But, I finished. And I didn't get hurt.

Next on my list of things that scare me: climbing. I'm terrified of heights.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grateful for this...

I could list all the things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving season (like family, health, and friends), but I think what I'm most grateful for at this moment is beauty. When I see a sunset with all the brilliant colors God painted it with, I feel totally awed. When I see a piece of art or read an amazingly inspired book, every cell in my body is engulfed in sweet wonder.

Photo by Rennett Stowe
Simple things, like this poem by Dixie Wilson, bring me joy.

I like the fall the mist and all
I like the night owls lonely call
And waiting sound of wind around
I like the gray November day
and dead bare boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane
I like the rain
I like to sit and laugh at it
And then tend my cozy fire a bit
I like the fall 
The mist and all

That's what I'm grateful for right now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The guy with a one-track mind

Some people have told my husband that they think he leads the most exciting life with all of the things he does and has done. Oh, the stories this guy can tell. Here's proof that he's only thinking about one thing, though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The daytime drama

From a very young age, the tendency toward the theatric is second nature for my second daughter. As a three-year-old, she would be found wandering the house growling, "Where's my damn blankie!" or when she had to pay for something out of her piggy bank she'd wail, "I'm not a rich girl!"

I thought maybe that would end as she got older. Wrong.

Usually once a week she talks about how horrible her life is and how no one likes her and how things are "so not fair!" The unfair complaint is pretty typical for kids with siblings, I've heard (and know from experience). But, she doesn't draw the line there.

The other day I was helping her get ready for school, by making her lunch. She was in her typical tumultuous rush. She was in a dark mood; nothing was going right, apparently. I called out to her from the kitchen and the scene went something like this:

Me: What do you want for your sandwich?

Goose: Nothing!

Me: Nothing?

Goose: Yeah! Nothing.

Me: How come? You know you're going to be hungry.

Goose: (controlled scream) I'm fasting!

Me: (nonchalantly) Oh yeah? What for?

Goose: (practically in tears, now) That the Lord will take away my life!

Me: Hmm. Interesting. 

Then the thought, "I wonder if I should tell her that there are quicker ways to get results?"


These are the days of my life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thick skin. What makes a good mother?

I ask myself this question a lot lately. When I was in my twenties and had only two little ones, I thought I knew. Good mothers were perfect in every way. Thier children were always well groomed and tidy, their homes were spotless and hyper-organized, they scrapbooked every detail of their precious children's lives, they were patient yet firm and, most of all, they took their kids on endless outings and did endless craft projects with them. I think I maybe achieved one of those things in the first eight years I was a mother — and only for a small window of time.

Now that I have four children and I'm well into my thirties with a demanding career, I've learned that a good mother is one who tries hard to love her children with patience and consistency.

Those "piercings" are merely magnets. Nice, huh?
As my kids have gotten older, I realize that my skin has, out of necessity, become thicker. Some of things are difficult to hear from kids no matter how thick your skin is or how much you've worked on being self assured. Here are just a few:

  • I hate you. (What kid hasn't uttered those words out of anger?)
  • All my friends feel sorry for me because you're so strict. (This one still makes me beam with pride)
  • You're a horrible mother. (yeah, I know)
  • I wish you were different, then I could tell you stuff. (Maybe if I were more like a teenager?)
  • You'd be so much skinnier if you got a tummy tuck (Ouch!  That hurts almost as much as pushing you out after carrying you inside my body for nine months while packing on 70 pounds.)
I'm still the parent. I have a responsibility to respond in a reasonable, mature way.  But, the thought that one woman I met last summer said keeps returning: You're really not a woman until something comes out of your body and steps on your dreams.

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