Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess

Dearest Daughter,

How can it be that you turn 20 today? Our little fairy tale Princess has grown into a lovely young woman. It sounds cliché to say, but the time has flown by so fast. It seems like yesterday that you were a wee one, pushing your own stroller around and learning to walk. Saying “doogie, doogie, doogie” as you puttered around the house. Everyone thought we let you watch reruns of Doogie Houser MD, but no. That was just how you warmed up your vocabulary building.

If I am to follow suit with your brother’s birthday post, I would detail your birth story here. Instead, just the highlights. One, because your birth was 19 hours. Two, I had unwittingly hired a douche bag for an obstetrician, and, let’s just say we are both lucky to have survived him. A few years after he did everything to botch your birth and scar me physically and emotionally, he did far worse to someone else, was sued, and had his medical license taken away. So. We are both survivors.
You were in a hurry to get here. I was not due for another month and when my contractions started I thought they were stomach cramps. I had one day left of work before my maternity leave and was really looking forward to that last month off.
However, when we got to the hospital, my water broke and you seemed determined to make it into this world on that day. I should have realized your anxiousness was a wonderful sign, as you were and are someone who embraces life fully.
When you were born you were only five pounds six ounces. Then, you had the gall to lose two more ounces before we left the hospital. You were so tiny and fragile looking that your father and I thought ourselves completely inadequate to take care of you. But, the hospital sent us on our way.
We called you peanut and put you in the crease of a chiropractic pillow next to me in bed.
The first couple of months were a little dicey. You cried. A lot. It was summer in Hawaii, and I remember sweating bullets, bouncing you, walking you. The pediatrician said you were colicky, but didn’t seem to know what that meant. Let’s just say he did not explain it very well and certainly had not the greatest suggestions for getting rid of the colic. No one did. You let us know eventually what it was that was pissing you off.
At a little after two months of age, we figured out you did not like to be “swaddled.” It did not make you more secure, like I had been told. It did not make you sleep better. It made you hot. As soon as you were allowed to sleep in a diaper and a tiny, thin t-shirt, you slept straight through the night.
The world, and our family, was a better place for it.
From an early age you had a phenomenal imagination and a gift for seeing things that others could not. You and I had a lot of fun with this. The hedge around the house we lived in for the first four years of your life was the home to a lot of imaginary pets. Mostly Winnie the Pooh and his friends. I thought your imagination a wonderful thing and thoroughly enjoyed encouraging you.

I was a little surprised to learn that not everyone shared my view. There was that time in your “moms time out” program. I had enrolled you so you could socialize with other kids (since I was the first of my friends to embark on this parenting journey). It was a co-op program, where the moms rotated as teacher aides. Once, when I was helping, all ten of you two year olds had been taken out to the park by the school. The hedge around the park made the one at our house look like a Japanese dwarf garden. About eight feet tall and three feet wide, the hedge was like a jungle.

I followed you as you meandered. If Winnie the Pooh and friends lived in the dwarf version, what would you find here?

“Ohhh. Mommie look. This is where the hippopotamus sleeps.”

“I see. Are there giraffes too little miss?”

“Yes, there are. Come I’ll show you.”

Slowly the other children heard you and peered inside the hedge from where they were playing on the grass.

“Where’s the giraffe?” said one little girl as she peeked her head inside.

“N says it’s in here,” replied a tiny boy with glasses who was already following you around. “She says there are hippos and elephants and bears. Come.”

I thought I was the best mom’s helper ever, encouraging the other two year olds to take part in your fanciful world. Then I heard the teacher’s voice.

“Everyone come out from there right now. Out I say.”

A little one peeped his head out while I was waiting in the wings of the shrubbery, feeling a bit like a two year old myself.

“Miss J. N sees zoo animals in here. She is showing them to us. Can we please play in here?”
Once we emerged out of the hedge, it was explained to me that there could be glass or all kinds of unforeseen dangers in there, not to mention it made it difficult for the teacher to keep count of the ten two year olds. At the time the preschool teacher made me feel like I might not make it as a mom, but in retrospect, I’m glad we let you be your imaginative little self.
You have a lot more courage than people give you credit for. You are not a big risk taker in the same ways as your brother. About some things, you are downright cautious. But both your brother and I remember the time you read the Sunday paper at the age of six and noticed the open call for to Kill a Mockingbird. Then talked me into taking you down to the audition. I was the opposite of a stage mom and knew nothing about the theatre. The only preparation you had was me renting the movie for you.
The auditorium at the audition must have had 100 people in there. When they called you up to read, your brother (three at the time) and I shrank down in our seats with our stage fright for you. But you nailed it. Southern accent and all. You were also one of the only six year olds who could read fluently.
You didn’t get the part but you never quit. Here you are, 13 years later, majoring in music and working it out in community theatre.
You are an old soul. You have always been kind beyond your age group and pretty much the rest of the world. You are forgiving. You are loving and fun-loving.
You’re a little too nice. But your brother, your dad, and I are watching out for you. In case someone tries to take advantage of that niceness before you get your fierce game on.
Happy birthday to a beautiful young woman.

Look out world.


For more spins on kids, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weekend Stuff

I won a contest over at Oz Girl’s blog. She sent me a box with cool stuff. Look how pretty.
And I learned something. Oz girl made these stamps from her own photography at zazzle! Now there is something else on the internet I want to go fiddle with. You can go to this site and use one of your own photgraphs and make your own postage stamp.
The juice book should really help with my healthy intentions too. If any of you readers haven’t visited, go and check her out. Her full blog title is City Gal Moves to Oz Land. Her blog is down to earth, a lot of fun, and Oz Girl also has a photo blog with beautiful pictures.

Thank-you Oz Girl!

On another note…

Jane at Gaston Studio’s has passed on an award to little ol’ me. Jane is one of the best story tellers out there, and my goodness she does she have some stories to tell. From Savannah to Bahrain to Egypt, Jane has led quite an interesting life.

Here’s what Jane had to say about the award:

The Renee Award, I’m told, is one of the most meaningful awards in blogland because it honors someone who is incredibly inspirational in his or her intelligent and witty writing.This award further celebrates a person’s smart, strong and inspirational spirit and it honors those who spread joy and love like an acorn, a small package growing into a tall and sturdy oak tree which spawns more acorns.
Thank-you Jane! This is such an honor coming from you with the stories that you tell.

I’d like to pass this award on to these blogs whose stories I come back for time and time again.

All these bloggers are wonderful storytellers and inspirational as well. Grab yourself a weekend beverage and check them out. I think Mo Mad Dog is on vacation. He forgot to tell me where he was going. Despite this slight, I'm passing it to him, but he better pop up soon. I'm just saying.

Me? I need to go back to organizing the office and filing six months worth of crap. Apparently, it is a three day summer project. The computer being in the same room as a big chore can be a little distracting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Media Assholes: Back the Fuck Off

Knobhill Drive in Sherman Oaks Summer of 1970. I was 12, going to be 13 in November, and was between 7th and 8th grade. The home belonged to my Uncle, my dad’s older brother, who had never married and made a home for their mother,my grandmother, my Bahquine.

Sanctuary. My Bahquine and Uncle Kent were for me those two adults who cared and who cultivated my resilience. My sisters and I grew up spending occasional weekends during the school year and a couple weeks every summer at Bahquine and Uncle Kent’s. The connection I felt with them and that home have stayed with me until this day.

They always put a card table up in the living room during our visits and we would spend hours playing card games and board games, something my parents never did with us. My Bahquine saved old dish soap bottles, pin tins, and cookie cutters and when we were younger we would play in the rose garden making and decorating mud pies. After they dried in the sun, we would take them over to where Bahquine was sitting in the shade, mending or knitting, and she would pretend to nibble our concoctions and tell us how delicious they were.

I was never anxious my world might explode when I stayed on Knobhill.

In the Summer of 1970, I had discovered music and pop radio. My parents were not big music people (or picture taking camera people) and they did not own many record albums. A radio was never on in our house, I’m not sure if we even owned one. But in my Uncle Kent’s bedroom, he had a big leather chair next to a table with an antique radio on it. I had crush on a boy, and probably boys in general that summer, and my favorite song was Michel Jackson’s I’ll Be There.

On weekdays, while my uncle was off working as a special effects cameraman at Universal Studios, I would lounge around in his leather chair by the hours, fidgeting with the radio dial, until I found my favorite song. Then I’d sing along. At the top of my lungs, no holding back. It was such a popular song that summer I could find it no problem at least three or four times an hour.

Those lazy summer days where I morphed from childhood and embraced adolescence are symbolized for me by that song in that house.

Billy Bean, Beat It, and so many of Michael’s songs are more than a stitch in the fabric of my youth. His music is woven through my early years and is connected to some of my best memories.

My husband called me from his work yesterday to tell me about Michael Jackson’s sudden death. He asked me to turn on the news and find out what happened. I watched CNN for an hour and then MSNBC. Neither of these cable news networks spent much time on his early life, on his music successes. It was all about his trials, his financial problems, and his addiction to plastic surgery. Don’t ask me why I did not try watching FOX, if you’ve read me for any amount of time you would know I don’t support the bullhorn for Rupert Murdoch.


I don’t think focusing millions of people on the negative aspects of Michael Jackson’s life is the right way to go, and so I turned off my TV. Michael’s demons were his demons and not mine to judge. I will, however, judge the fuckers who air such crap, and yes, I also judge those who support it.

Michael Jackson Rest in Peace. Thank-you for the joy and memories your music and your talent added to my own life.

Flurrious has the video of The Jackson Five on the Ed Sullivan Show. I might have used it had I not read her post before I wrote my own.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spin Cycle: Jealousy

Jealous: Definitions according to Encarta Dictionary: English (Microsoft Word)

Demanding loyalty: demanding exclusive loyalty or adherence. a jealous god.

Watchful: possessively watchful of something. Keeps a jealous watch on his research.

Suspicious of rivals: feeling suspicious about a rival's or competitor's influence, especially in regard to a loved one.

Envious: feeling bitter and unhappy because of another's advantages, possessions, or luck.

Never really been jealous. My husband has my complete trust and is deserving of it. However, my boyfriend before I met my husband also had my complete trust and was completely undeserving. When I found that out, I felt betrayed. But it didn’t taint me. My husband can go out after work with his friends, come home at any time, and I’m still not suspicious or jealous.

I confuse envy with jealousy, envy is more difficult to overcome. Oh, not the material things.

I’m fine with living simple. But when I looked up the definitions, it was that last word that stuck with me.

Luck. Good fortune.

I admit it.

I wish I had more good luck.

I also envy people who take things in stride better than I do, who do not seem to get anxious. Or live with moody, anxiety inflicted loved ones.

I envy my friends who get to travel more than I do. I realize how lucky I am to live where I do, but I get rock fever horrendously, especially during the summer, especially when I miss my family in the Mainland. I admit it. Even while I am happy for them, I envy those who can afford to travel.

On a side note, I’ve been following conversations at Smart Mouth’s and Oz Girl’s on particulars of commenting. Since I will be home all day today working on a home project, I will try and be present in the comment thread today.

On that note, which of the above definitions is your biggest barracuda? How do you deal with it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #17

Well, not quite wordless this week. Remember last week's WW photo? I was walking out on the sea wall at sunset in Waikiki with my kids. Son walked out ahead and I snapped that photo of him, shooting directly into the sunset. When I turned around, with the sun on my back, I took this picture of the girls, Daughter and kalabash cousin.
For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

In Ohio Today..

My sweet young writer friend Kristan Hoffman asked me to guest post while she's away at a workshop. So please come on over and visit me in Ohio.

Also, Braja has a link to help Joanie. Joanie has a lot on her plate right now and she could use some help.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Birthday G-Man

Happy birthday son. Today you turn 17; you are 6’1 ½ “and 138 pounds.

17 years ago today you were lying next to me in a hospital bed, all swaddled up. We called you butterscotch boy because everything about you was golden and caramel colored. Dad still calls you his golden boy, but only partly because of your complexion. Mostly because everything you touch seems to come easy for you. Good grades, math, sports, having fun, knowing what you want and not being afraid to go after it.
You know your birth story, but this year I’ve got this new thing going – you know about the blog - I haven’t really used it too much to chronicle you and your sister’s lives. But that’s what this is about today.
On the night you were born, you came into this world with the same speed and lack of fear of the unknown that you possess to this day. It was Friday, June 19th, and your father was working. I had been on maternity leave for two weeks and was enjoying being off my feet and eating my way through the house. I had just called your dad at work and asked him to stop by the store on the way home. On this night I asked for sour cream and onion potato chips and clam dip. While I waited for him to bring my snacks I got ready to watch a TV program that I had slotted in for 11 PM.

As I was positioning myself on the bed, you positioned yourself too. Athletic and impulsive even in the womb, you moved so abruptly you kicked me really hard. So hard I stood up to take a deep breath and it turns out you’d kicked me so hard you broke my water.
Since your sister took 19 hours of labor to bring into this world, I figured I had more than enough time. I got dressed, packed a bag, and when your dad got home told him he had time to take a shower.
The water breaking had started my contractions. But unlike your sister, this time around things went fairly fast. Maybe it was you. Maybe it was the holistic heath regime I had going through my pregnancy the second time around. I’ve personally always thought the raspberry leaf tea I drank daily might have come through like the literature said it would. At any rate, I had to holler to your dad to hurry it on up.
By the time we got to the hospital, a little after midnight, the contractions were really close together. Auntie D showed up to be my second coach, and she’d figured it would be like the first time too, bringing a basket of all sorts of stuff she felt might come in handy.
Meanwhile, the doctor said everything was good to go and I should start pushing. I had not been in the room for more than 10 minutes.
You were born a little after 1 AM. Your dad was exhausted. He’d come from a full shift at work. Auntie D stayed for awhile. After that, it was just you and I and I did not fall asleep until after 3 because I could not stop staring at you.
You still take my breath away. Oh, I know we have our days. You are tenacious and impulsive and thinking before you open your mouth is certainly not your strong suit. But your dad and I have always been in awe of your fearlessness, your single mindedness towards a goal, and your incredible sense of humor. You bring a lot of laughter to the world and to our family.
You also have a huge heart. Beneath all that bravado is a good soul. A kind soul.

I know that the things that may seem like challenges as you grow are the very same qualities that, once you learn to be on top of them, will work in your favor. I’ve always believed that and anyone who has ever tried to break your spirit has been my enemy as well as yours.
I love you and I have your back.

Happy Birthday big guy…

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spin Cycle: Honeyman State Park, 1970

She wakes up while the sky is grey and hued with the first hints of blue. She is a morning person and always has been in a home where everyone else sleeps late. The mornings are a peaceful and quiet time, filled with anticipation of the day to come.

She lies in her cot and takes in her surroundings. The mist and fog floating through the trees, the air pungent with pine, damp grass, fertile soil. She closes her eyes and is listening to the quiet when she hears her dad moving around inside the tent trailer. Remembering he was to get up early, walk down to the park office, and catch a ride to Florence where their station wagon is getting its transmission rebuilt, she feigns sleep. The tomboy in a family of girls, she is usually the one to take trips to hardware stores and such with her father. But she has no interest in going to the mechanics garage today, watching her father hang out, talk story, and generally make sure no one takes advantage of the vacationing family from LA, stuck for a week where they had planned to only spend two nights.

As much as she loves road trips, she sometimes wishes they could stay in a place long enough for her to get the feel of it. Honeyman State Park is one such place. They had blasted through last year on their family camping trip, staying only one night. Barely enough time to set up and break down camp. And although two nights would have given them a day here, she knows that day would have been planned and executed down to the last detail.

But the transmission has totally broken down, the smallish Oregon town did not have all the parts needed and had to send out for them, and here they are for a week. A week had meant walking upstream and morning fishing with her dad. Frying up fresh fish for breakfast. It meant idle card games with her younger sister and lying around reading books in the lazy afternoon. It meant relaxing into the natural rhythm that the park had to offer.

The campground was two miles from the ocean. Two miles of sand dunes. Each day she yearned for the trek, but could talk no one into going with her. However, she had convinced her family into renting horses at a nearby stable and riding through the dunes with other tourists and a guide. She and her sister, who both had horses they boarded back home, had enjoyed immensely being better riders than their parents. She couldn’t count the times she or her sister had galloped their rented steeds past their mother’s horse. Each time that their mom whooped with surprise and fear was better than a birthday party.

Their mom had begged their dad to make them stop. He’d look at them and say half-heartedly, “Girls, stop that now.” But both she and her sister saw that when their mom bobbed like a car dash bobble and grabbed the horn of the saddle, all the while their dad and his horse maintaining their composure, their dad would smile slightly. Whether it was from pride for himself, or amusement at their mother’s expense, Pseudo wasn’t quite sure.

A little before, but greatly since that ride, Pseudo had been craving to walk across the dunes to the beach. Her instinct told her she needed to walk it on her own, that the journey across the dunes offered something mystical and magical. Out of courtesy, she did go through the motions of inviting her mom and dad and sister. They all claimed she was crazy. Inwardly she was relieved because she wanted to go alone. She longed for the silence along with the adventure. She wanted to stain her feet with the heat from the sand, to fill her lungs with deep breaths of exertion, to christen herself with a rewarding plunge into the ocean at the end of the long journey.

It never occurs to her that two miles of isolated sand dunes might not be a great place for a thirteen year old girl to go alone. Home is an isolated mobile home park in Malibu across from a state campground. Her parents allow her to hike by herself in that campground all the time. Since she was eleven. For hours, whole days sometimes.

She keeps her eyes closed as her dad comes out of the tent trailer. She can feel him hesitate by her cot and she regulates her breathing to simulate sleep. After a few seconds she hears his footsteps walking away and she squints her eyes like slits to watch her father walk down the campground road, khaki pants and short-sleeved cotton shirt slowly becoming smaller as he nears the curve in the road and then disappears from sight.

She waits a few minutes longer, just in case he suddenly reappears, having forgotten something. Perhaps his wallet. Or a receipt. Maybe a juice for the ride. But when she feels it’s safe, she slides out of her sleeping bag, her heart already beating with the anticipation of her adventure. She jots down a quick note to her mom, “Hiking to the beach over the dunes, will be back by lunch or so.” She takes the lantern and uses it to weight down the note on the picnic table, and then she leaves while her mom and sister are sleeping. She figures it’s about 7 AM; her mom will probably not wake to see the note for at least two hours.
About an hour or two later and she’s having second thoughts. The soft mountains of sand suck at her feet like a clinging monster lives below and is trying to pull her down there with him. Each step is an effort of stinging lungs and hard won sweat. At each dune’s peak she expects to see a view of the ocean, but so far has been disappointed. The dunes go on and on endlessly. At one point, she wonders if it is possible to get turned around and that the reason it is taking so long is because she is actually walking parallel to the ocean.

But she’s got an excellent sense of direction and the sun overhead tells her that although she might not be walking a perfectly straight as the crow flies route, she is definitely headed west.

So she stops at the top of a large dune to catch her breath and regain her ambition.

Pseudo has always used walks and hikes to deal. At home in Malibu she hikes to get out of a house with a father who continually works late and is absent more and more often. To get away from a mother who is an emotional wreck and constantly threatening suicide; a mother who has attempted to kill herself twice already.

Lately, Pseudo misses her older sister. This is their first vacation without her and Pseudo still aches from the loss. Her sister was barely 17 when she left home; she still had one more year of high school left. Her parents blamed her rebellious older sister for the fighting in the marriage, but it actually got worse after her sister left.

It is more than the communing with nature that causes Pseudo to prefer sleeping outside the tent trailer.

Despite her second thoughts, she sticks with her plan and keeps heading across the dunes towards the ocean.
Eventually she is rewarded for her perseverance.

When she finally steps onto the beach, she takes a few minutes to absorb her surroundings. There are surfers in full wet suits catching waves. There are families scattered along the beach, having used four wheel drive vehicles to get there.
As she makes her way from the dunes towards the ocean, a State Park Ranger in a jeep drives along the shore in her direction. He’s tan and handsome and wearing mirror shades.
Is it her imagination or is he driving up to her? He’s looking right at her. He slows down and pulls up alongside her, stopping his jeep.
By the time he opens his mouth to speak to her, Pseudo has imagined every possible conversation that might take place. She wonders if perhaps she looks more like 16 or 17. The Ranger looks to be in his early 20’s….
“Hi,” she says shyly but thinking she is perhaps flirting.
“Hey. Is your name Pseudo Girl?”
Her brain cannot think fast enough to decipher this scenario. How is this possible?
“Yeah. That’s my name…”
“Your mom reported you missing. She’s got every available ranger out looking for you. Said you were probably lost in the sand dunes.”
Pseudo wonders how one can go from nearly grown up flirting to complete and utter embarrassment in three seconds.
“Do I look lost?” Pseudo asks sarcastically.
“I guess not. What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to go to the beach. I was about to go swimming.”
The ranger smiles. He’s so cute that Pseudo almost forgets that she is embarrassed.
“I’m supposed to take you back,” the ranger tells her. “But if you’re OK, I can call and just have someone tell your mom that you’re fine.”
On the one hand Pseudo is tempted. She wasn’t actually looking forward to the long haul back over the dunes, back over the suffocating heat. Plus, she would really love the ride back in the open jeep with the cute ranger and some cooling breezes.
But the way he handed the offer to her, it felt too much like calling uncle, like saying she’d bitten off more than she could handle.
If he’d insisted, told her she didn’t have a choice, that might have worked.
“I’m fine. I came all the way here and I’m not ready to go back. I’m hot and I want to go swimming.”
She stuck around a moment while the ranger called it in on his walkie talkie.
After he pulled away and flipped a U-turn in the sand, she peeled off her sweaty shorts and t-shirt. Thinking the ranger might be watching, she didn’t wade in slowly but showed off her southern California beach girl abilities by timing it so that she raced in and dove under a large breaker.
She should have noticed that the families on the beach all stayed up on the sand.
Or that the surfers all wore full body wet suits that included gloves and booties.
Because the water was so unbelievably icy cold that she thought it might stop her heart.
Or make her swallow her tongue.
And as she came running out of the surf, she could see the ranger parked in his jeep watching her.
Laughing his ass off.
For more Memories Spins, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #16

Click on picture to enlarge and see in detail.
Click here for more Wordless Wednesdays.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You Know You Are On Break When…

Finished two books in the first five days. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve. A friend had passed it on to me months ago, but all these last few months I had barely been able to finish the monthly book club selection. Actually, there were a couple of times I went to book club without reading the book. Yeah, I was THAT person. Nothing to add to the conversation, but went anyways just to hear the sound of my friends’ voices and to enjoy the company. Oh, and the wine.

I enjoyed the book; I’ve read a couple others by Shreve. But the book was deceptive, seemingly light but oddly depressing. I think one of my favorite things about this novel was the setting - a beach house. The same beach house from Shreve's book The Pilot's Wife.

I also read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini (my book club’s selection for this month), finishing it last night. I could not read it straight through over the weekend. Had to take breaks. Beautifully written, but heartbreaking. To get under the burqa of the two women who are the main characters and see the hardships of life that is “endured.”

See that badge in my sidebar? Women for Women International? After reading A Thousand Splendid Suns I felt like the thirty dollars I give monthly to that organization to help women in war torn countries is the proverbial drop in the bucket.

To balance out the heaviness of my reading, I had the TV on all day yesterday while I folded laundry and putzed around the house. These days with grown and driving teens and a husband who works weekends, I find myself occasionally stranded at home without a car. It might get old later, but so far I love it.

I watched the Oxygen marathon of America’s Next Top Model, season eight. Never had interest in this reality show before, but caught last Sunday’s marathon, maybe the last two episodes.

Yesterday I actually found myself turning the TV on at 8:30 in the morning. Hushing my husband when he came home from work at 2:30. Only intermittently watching the NBA playoff game with him, while I jogged upstairs to the TV in our room.The judges on America's Next Top Model are way more entertaining than most reality shows, especially Miss J.
He’s got a book coming out in November, Follow the Model: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power.

The two girls that made the finals would not have been my picks, but hey, what do I know?

Any other irreverent TV series I should check on reruns?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday Foto: And The Winner is...

Lucky#17: True Random Number Generator Min:1 Max:82 Result: 17 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Comment number 17 happens to be Smart Mouth from Words of Wisdom from a Smart Mouthed Broad. Her blog says she's gone fishing for the weekend. Hmpf.

Well, I set off shopping for exotic prizes for her package on a sunny Saturday mid-morning. Only for the love of blogging or out of town guest do I brave the swap meet.
Baskets made into purses? Maybe...
Da slippah no wear sign?
Who does not need more beach towels in the summer?
Or who wouldn't want a lovely bongo drum?
Local snacks....
I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable buying anyone a Brazilian bikini....
There were a lot of choices out there at the swap meet.
Next, I hit the local market with a huge Asian selection. I know SMB likes to cook and thought a few odd ingredients might be fun for summer cooking.
You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them, but the grocery items are fun to take a gander.
Hot sauces?

Well, I can't post what I ended up buying for the Hawaii goodie box cause I want SMB to be surprised.
Thanks everyone who played and celebrated my 200th post along with me.
For more Friday Fotos, head on over to Candid Carrie's.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Body Knows..

Wednesday, first day of break, had a perfect beach day on the North Shore with hubs and BC.

Woke up yesterday with a migraine and pinched neck and stayed in bed all day.

Taking it easy, so I've got nothing much.

Go here and read this. One of the best posts I've ever read. Cristin at Tiptoeing Through the Tulips is one of my favorite writers. I especially enjoy her Fuck You Fridays. But this post just hit it out of the ballpark for me.

Am still running the contest. You have through tonight to enter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spin Cycle: Summer Plans

Don’t forget to enter the 200th post Hawaii goodie box giveaway.

Ahhh Summer…. What teacher does not love summer? Those other breaks are just a chance to catch up on grading and lesson plans. It’s really hard to feel like you are on vacation when you have over 150 names on your class rosters.

This song reminds me of my childhood summers. Play it while you read the post to set the mood if you like.

I remember the summer this song was popular, I was eleven and we had just moved from the San Fernando Valley to the Surf and Sand Mobile Home Park in Malibu. I went back to the Valley and stayed for a week at my best friend's house for her annual birthday party sleepover in July. We had the radio playing outside and were jumping over a rope into the ivy in her front yard. Landing on it like it was a pad for the high jump and laughing like crazy. This song was playing, we were young, and life was good. Afterwards, her mom broke all the girls up into groups and we went around her neighborhood on a scavenger hunt. Does anyone do that anymore in this day and time? It was so much fun; kind of sad that the world has changed and neighborhood kids don't come knocking at your door asking for eclectic items. Hyperventilating with excitement and glancing across the street to see if the other girls are racing back to the house with a completed scavenger list.

I’ve always loved summer. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. Summer cook outs, camp outs and road trips. Beach days and hiking days. The smell of freshly cut grass, salty air, and balmy nights. Summer movies and summer sunsets. Picnics and plain just eating outside at every chance you get. The chance to reinvent oneself. To make lifestyle changes and have enough time to see if these changes become a part of a new you.

Top ten plans I have for this summer…

10. Sleep more and take more naps.

9. Exercise and mix it up so nothing feels routine. Walks to my favorite park and yoga on the pier some days, and long walks on the North Shore beaches other days. Body boarding and snorkeling. Hiking on the ridges. Living room work outs with my hip hop buddy, Shaun T.

8. Meditate. Or should I say try to meditate. I have never been able to conquer the jabbering and endless list making that goes on in my head, but when I was on chemo I was able to focus on mantras at least. Giving it another shot in the arm this summer. That time slot got preempted by blogging during the school year.

7. Write. Write. Write.

6. Blog. Blog. Blog.

5. Lesson plans. I could leave it off the list, but the truth is, teachers worth their salt work over the summer. Summers between school years where I switched teaching lines I worked a lot. Next year will be my third year in sophomore English, so I won’t have to work too much. There is a new unit I am planning as well as a project. I also have notes and reflections from last year that I need to go through and use to tweak the units that I will be repeating.

4. Help my mom. Details of which could be another post or ten.

3. Read. Read. Read. Tackle that stack of books on my nightstand. Read the books for the new unit I am planning for my students.

2. Home projects. I never get to all the great project ideas I have, usually because of budget constraints, but sometimes just because of all the other things on the list. This summer my big idea is to plant a vegetable garden. We’ll see how that goes.

1. “Staycation” days. This is what we call it over here when you have no money to travel so you make it a point to enjoy some days on the island as if you were a tourist. At least once a week I hope to have a great day doing something fabulous. The particulars will depend on petty cash availability and the company I’m keeping on said day.

I know where I’ll be at the end of summer, long after I’ve gone back to work. My girlfriends annual Laborless Labor Day.
For more spins on summer plans, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.