Friday, December 12, 2008

Laying Low for a While

I used to think I was interesting. But the last dozen or more classes, business meetings, and social gatherings I've attended have tried to convince me otherwise. You see, there are always two questions asked in those settings: what is your name and what are your hobbies. Last summer, I went to a job interview where my hobbies were questioned before my job skill set.

Typically, when asked to list my hobbies, I can only think of the negatives:

I am not a scrapbooker.

I do not sew, crochet or knit.

I do not play sports.

I do not travel.

I do not have a gym membership.

I do not make jewelry.

So what is my hobby?

I read.

But I've learned that response often brings about a blank expression from the question asker, and I usually feel boring and unsuccessful as a hobbiest. Sure, I've given hundreds of hours in volunteer work to my church, to our neighborhood school, to scouts, and I work part-time and spend hundreds of hours each year grading essays. I have four fed and dressed and ready-for-school, sports, music, scouts kids.

But I don't seem to have a hobby many people find exciting.

Then blogging and I found each other. And wonder of wonders: I grabbed hold of my new hobby with all the gusto I possessed. Was it interesting? Absolutely. Did other people think I was kind of interesting? Yes!

And that is where my next problem germinated.

My new blogging hobby has taken over my days, and time which should be spent on daily necessities is now spent in front of the computer chronicling my life and reading about your lives. So how do I reclaim that time?

I decided to quit blogging. Cold turkey. My days would be spent doing what I needed to do. My school work would be caught up, my house would be clean, dinner would be cooked, long-neglected local friends and family would be called, closets organized, time given to other community agencies, and Pepper the puppy better trained. In my free time I would fix the Big 3 automaker mess and find Checkered a new employer and I would also pick up two or three extra jobs to help out.

But can I really walk away from blogging and those of you I've come to "know" and care very much about?

I doubt it.

SO, here's the plan:

I am going to take a hiatus from blogging. Maybe a month's worth to catch up on life. Then, I'll be revived and ready to reconnect with blogging.

In the meanwhile, Merry Christmas and the Lord's blessings on your new year, my blogging buddies.

Okay, gamblers: place your bets. Can I really, truly walk away from my blogging for a month?

We shall see.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

15 Reasons for 15 Years

1. I love the way your hand feels when it touches my face.
2. I love sitting next to you in church.
3. I love how our eyes meet in social situations and we never have to say a word to communicate.
4. I don't understand it, but I love how you get such satisfaction from cleaning out a drawer.
5. I love how you can fix anything.
6. I love how you love our kids.
7. I love how kind you are to my sisters and my parents.
8. I love that you share my passion for all things ice cream.
9. I love how hard you worked to get those degrees.
10. I love how you don't mind indulging my desire to be chauffeured around town.
11.I love how you don't mind if I watch Mystery Diagnosis in bed (okay, you do, but you're nice about it.)
12.I love that you didn't laugh when I wanted to learn to do one chin-up, but bought me a chin-up bar instead.
13. I love that you care enough to fret about how we're going to pay for our kids' college tuition.
14. I love how you make me laugh.
15. I love how you tell me multiple times every single day, "I love you."

Let's have just as much fun during the next 15 years!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We Know We've Been Blessed

Hello, dear boy. I know this post is a day early, but I just couldn't wait to celebrate you. Nine years! Nine years of getting to know you. Nine years of loving you. Nine years of realizing how very much Daddy and I like you. Let's see if I can think back all the way to nine years ago:

0-1: With your blond crazy, crazy curls and your blue eyes, we loved your unique look in this family of straight, dark hair, and even darker eyes. You walked early and many people decided that Daddy had finally gotten payback for his early years - whatever that meant!

1-2: How did you know, even as a one-year old, the joy of eating a donut? You used to crawl under the table and hide so no one would try to share that treat with you.

2-3: A walking, talking dynamo, you were a good sport with all the carseat hours you logged. We took Sissy to preschool, Fritzie to lots and lots of speech, and surprise, you were not only the younger brother but you became an older brother, too. I suppose my memory enhances it, but I think you never complained about the upheaval in your life that year.

3-4: You went to school and discovered your first best friend. You also discovered music. Do you remember how you begged us to help you find a way to make beautiful music? And so we began our music lessons journey. And then there was the soundtrack for Phantom of the Opera. You wore that one out.

4-5: You discovered that not everyone has the same physical strengths and you begged us for leg braces so your buddy wouldn't be the only one wearing them at school.

5-6: Do you remember hearing your teacher swear repeatedly during a phone call? She had no idea there were any students in the room, and she surely was nervous when she found you sitting quietly in your seat. You were scared that you would get in trouble for being in the room, and proud that you finally learned some swear words.
6-7: You asked to be baptized and opted to read your testimony. Daddy and I were nervous because we thought you couldn't read. It turned out that you not only could read, but read very well. First grade. Your first love affair. We didn't even mind that she was 40 years older and already married. It was genuine and mutual.

7-8: We got a straight talking to about your giftedness and our responsibilty in guiding your exceptional mind. Daddy and I have lost some sleep when we think of your potential and all that it implies.

8-9: Your reading level went through the roof, your attitude got mighty big, and your faith became very real to you. And then there was the night you told me, "My mouth slips sometimes and I call you mom, but in my heart, you'll always be my mama."

So now you're headed into year 9-10 with some true adventures behind you. You've made us laugh, made us yell, and made us realize what a true gift God gave us nine years ago. You tell us you are going to be an "only man" (no wife) and be the father of many, many babies someday. You know what? We can't wait! P.S. Your plan to play the flute? That's okay, too.
Happy ninth and love forever, dearest Bubba!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finding a Balance

My friend called at 7 o'clock on Sunday night. She was very, very tired, but had much to accomplish before bed. My call was on that list. We spent a good amount of time analyzing her tiredness. After church, she went home and cooked, served, and then cleaned the kitchen. From there it was on to washing floors, doing multiple loads of laundry, decorating the house for Christmas, planning a party for the church youth group, and getting her entire family ready for Monday. At some point in there, she realized that while she had yet to sit down, her husband had yet to sit up.

She checked and realized that he was not dead, nor was he ill. He simply didn't share her list of things to do, and for that she was beyond annoyed.

In the early days of their marriage, she was a stay at home mom and felt it was her duty to be totally responsible for the house. Her husband went to work every day to provide for my friend and their MANY children. At times, she resented what he did not do at home, but guilt would not allow her to suggest any change.

Then the husband's employment changed drastically and my friend went to work outside the home. But the division of labor within the home did not change.

She made me think about my marriage and how things operate here. Checkered and I certainly have our individual strengths and weaknesses, but at some point in our marriage we reached a tacit agreement that the house, the shopping, the kids and their academic and social commitments, the budgeting of time and money, the lawn and snow removal, and everything else was not HIS responsibility nor was it MY responsibility. All these things were OUR responsibilities. So we juggle, and get frustrated sometimes, and snip, and work together. We're absolutely a team. And by the end of most days, we can still smile at each other.

When each of our children was born, I began to pray for the people they would marry. I pray for Lord's protection and blessing on their emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Now I think I might throw in a little extra prayer. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if that boy and those three girls who will someday love our daughter and sons really understood the concept of partnership, thoughtfulness, and sharing in marriage?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Morning Glory

I've tried to be a morning person. Really tried. I go to bed early. I remind myself of the glory of morning. I even married a morning man and gave birth to a morning girl. But I'm not a morning woman.

Added to those missing morning biorhythms are the grayness that is a Michigan winter and the grayness of panic which threatens to suffocate anyone associated with the Detroit 3.

So there I was last week, packing lunchboxes, arguing with one child, venting frustration at yet another who refused to get dressed, and just plain old feeling sorry for myself. There were five people in this house and five really big attitudes at work. Even Pepper the puppy was indulging in self-pity because we don't heat the backyard for her.

I kept subtracting from my, "We need to be in the car in _____ minutes!!" countdown when my boy interrupted my diatribe.

"MOMMY!!!" Stop for minute and look in the backyard!"

I'm ashamed to admit that I only begrudgingly gave in and looked. But what I saw silenced me enough that within seconds, all four kids were standing next to me -- all of us awed.

It really is good once in a while to look up and be still.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mothers and Daughters: The Missing Logic Saga Continues

While mother and teen-age daughter drive to school, the following conversation evolves:

Daughter: Fritzie (her brother) sure takes a long shower now.
Mother: Yes. He nicely drains the hot water tank every morning.
Daughter: I mean, I didn't even get to go to the bathroom today because he was in there so long.
Mother: You didn't go to the bathroom this morning?
Daughter: It's okay. I'll just go at school. It's like all Fritzie's fault.
Mother: But we have two bathrooms. Why didn't you use the other one?
Daughter: He was in the shower forever!
Mother: But what about the other bathroom?!
Daughter: It's okay. I'll just try to find time to go at school, but it's not like I'll have enough time. I really have to go though.
Mother: But ...
Daughter: Why are you making such a big deal out of this? Just tell Fritzie it's his fault and he can't take such long showers anymore!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stealing is Sometimes Better Than Being Tagged

So I did not get tagged by Mrs. 4444, but I'm not going to let that stop me from playing. (How's that for tenacity?) Here's the Motherload meme:

Rule 1. List the first ten people who have commented on one of your blog posts.
Julie: Campus Crusade for Christ missionary in Hungary. Creative mother. Deep thinker.
Cool Breeze. BHE's guy. Kind interpretor of male speak.
Pam McEwens. Enormous sense of humor. Heart of kindness.
Lady Fi. British teacher living in Sweden. Always teaches me something, and makes me smile, too.
Cairo Typ0. World traveler. Marvelous writer. Always worth the read.
Mental Pause Mama. Razorsharp wit and insight. The type of person I wish lived on my street.
Big Hair Envy. Oh so funny. Oh so pretty. Oh so one of my favorites.
Laura. One of my first blog friends. Survivor. Unpretentious.
Pleasing Procrastinator. MIA blogger. Wife. Mother. Student. And doing it nicely.
Dr. John. Retired pastor. Lover of words and thoughts. Compelling faith sojourner.

Rule 2. The meme questions: 10 Blogs, 15 Questions.

What is your favorite post from #3's blog?
Nicely stated: 8 simple rules for dating/marrying my sons.

Has #10 taken any pictures that have moved you?
Dr. John always has a picture of the day. Through these, I've come to know his family.

Does #6 reply to comments on their blog?
MPM - To know that, I would have to be very organized and good at remembering. So ...

Which part of Blogland is #2 from?
Cool Breeze - Virginia. The part where they burn their trash.

If you could give one piece of advice to #7 what would it be?
BHE - Your life will be immeasureably enriched if you will rethink your refusal to decorate my house.

Have you ever tried something from #9's blog?
PP - I do believe she was the blogger who introduced me to Vintage Thingies Thursdays.

Has #1 blogged something that inspired you?
Julie - Her commitment to her call and faith absolutely inspires me, and has me thinking some pretty deep thoughts about my own life.

How often do you comment on #4's blog?
Lady Fi - Trying to get up to a daily comment.

Do you wait excitedly for #8 to post?
Laura - She's one of my first clicks every day.

How did #5's blog change your life?
Cairo Typ0 - She has genuinely expanded my world view. Seriously.

Do you know any of your 10 bloggers in person?
No, but wish I knew each of them in person.

Do any of your 10 know each other?
Cool Breeze and BHE are married. They know each other and then some.

Out of the 10, which updates more frequently?
Okay, I'm adding #11 here. Jeannelle posts daily and sometimes twice daily. Her posts hooked me with her farm tutorials, and then her honesty and philosophical approach intimidated me. But now? I can't wait to read how she sees life every day.

Which of the 10 keep you laughing?
I do believe that laughter is a constant theme of all 10 11. Some irreverant. Some self-depreciating. Some just silly. All good for the heart.

Which of the 10 made you cry (good or bad) tears?
Laura's story of a terribly bumpy journey to now.

Rule 3. If you are mentioned in this post, you're now it. Then again, since I didn't get officially tagged, maybe you're off the hook?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where Once There Were Thoughts

My muse and I were doing okay. Maybe a little emotionally distant at times, but okay. Then I changed my hair color and things got dicey. I got my teaching assignment for next term, and things got dicier. I read Jojo's blog, and things got ugly.

It appears that her muse left without warning. One day Jojo and her muse were writing away; the next day Jojo was alone, and her muse was off to warmer, sunnier locales.

That's when I got involved. My muse was sitting right here with me, working our way through the Halloween candy, doing a little school work, switching the laundry, eating a little more candy, and WHAMO! We hit Jojo's blog and my muse was gone. Just.Like.That.

I think they got a 2 for 1 fare to Mexico. Jojo has gone in search of her muse. I'm just going to sit here, eat a little more candy, and enjoy my quiet, albeit empty, head.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cheaper Than a Therapist

This site claims to be able to analyze blogs and their writers.  Here's what it had to say about me my blog:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

I am squirming just a bit.  Now, who are you?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting a Peek at Caution's Mind, Continued

My getting there blondness and I sat in that chair and spent NOT ONE SECOND thinking. Not even a nano-second of thought. Not even a stomach premonition that maybe I might want to think at some point in the future.

And when the stylist said,
"So what are we doing today?"
I answered,
"Whatever you want."
And she cleverly distracted me by talking about our state's record unemployment. We talked about how her dad has been out of work for nine months. We talked about how the Big 3 were whimpering and how Checkered might soon be out of work. We talked about how houses are taking two plus years to sell., so how could we ever move out of state to find other work. We talked about all those happy thoughts, and she painted and painted and painted and painted ... my hair.
I talked. She talked. We laughed.
And when I next checked the mirror, I was a redhead.
By the way, all those pink shirts I bought?
Redheads can't wear them.