Possibly Hard to Follow

Last night, while on the way back from a pep rally, I had a phone conversation which involved making plans for an upcoming evening.  Before I tell you about the chitter chatter, I want to say this.  I am a cheerleader at heart.  I can't help but clap my hands and cheer.  I also want to say I am Class B at heart.  If you are from North Dakota, you get that.  If you aren't, just skip to the next paragraph.  I am forever Class B because I got all chest clamped while at a pep rally in the gym of where I went to high school.  The boys basketball team is going to the state tournament this weekend.  Sister Pister is a senior so naturally she donned a cape and sparkly headband and got after it.  I couldn't help but have another chest clamped moment at seeing her cheer for the boy who used to always invite her to his birthday parties even though she was a girl.  And the other boy who told her things like, "I'm going to be a Schwan Man when I grow up and we are going to get married."  I can't believe she's almost done with the high school thing.  She is supposed to be ten and I'm supposed to be twenty.  Now that's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to get all chest clampy again.  

Alright.  So on the way home from the pep rally last night, I was involved in a phone conversation to make plans for an upcoming evening.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets a slightly panicky feeling at the thought of being locked into something.  I know this is odd considering I love nothing more than a solid plan.  But I also love nothing more than spontaneous fun and often times solid planning gets in the way.  Contradictory.  Yes.  I am.  

So I said this, "That sounds like a winner but we'll keep in contact.  As much as I'm a planner, I never plan in permanent marker."

To which the person laughed and laughed and said, "That was a good one.  Like should be hanging on a wall good."  

To which I said, "It kind of was huh?  Don't let me forget it.  I'm driving so I can't write it down.  And I do my best forgetting in the car."  

To which the person laughed and said, "I do my best forgetting in the car?  You are on a roll."

The conversation ended and I smiled and rubbed my lips together.  I also might have chuckled a bit at myself.  Because I was wearing red lipstick.  I did not wear red lipstick to the pep rally.  No I did not.  But before I started the trip home, I flipped down the mirror and smoothed some on.  It was night.  I was in a car.  By myself.  Why not right?   

I have recently started a love affair with red lipstick.  Because I have felt the instant hear me roar that comes along with the smooth vibrancy.  I highly suggest going to your Target with your best friend named Karen to stand in the lipstick aisle and pick out a few bright shades.  I also highly suggest having a best friend named Karen who will have the decency to look at you and say, "You are one step away from becoming insert name of person."  I also highly suggest saying back to that comment, "As long as I'm still one step away I'm okay with it, but please tell me if I ever actually arrive there.  Like if I start wearing heels with workout clothes, stop me.  Or if I start wearing Native American beaded chokers, stop me."

Here's my one warning about red lipstick.  You will want to wear it all the time.  And then you have yet one more addiction to add to the list.  One more thing you have to tell yourself to save for only special occasions.  Because if you start wearing the hear me roar all the time, it will lose its shine.  You also will run the risk of looking like a clown at work.  Red lipstick while sitting in a black leather chair at book club holding a glass of wine is more than appropriate.  Red lipstick while organizing books for the reading room at school is highly clown-esque.  Don't say I didn't warn you about the addictiveness.  

Speaking of having the must do this right now personality, there was this one time last fall when I called Karen and in a panicky voice said this, "I want to do all the bad things I have cut out of my life!  Help!  I want to call blank.  I want to eat a cookie.  I want to bite my nails.  I want to clean my floor.  I want to drink a glass of wine and it's not night."  

Lord love a duck, I hope you have a friend you can call when your addictive personality is wearing its superman cape and will not quit bugging you.  

Yes, I just used Lord love a duck.  I said it while sitting at Big Apple Bagel last Saturday morning too.  I'm not sure where it came from or even what it actually means, but it came out of my mouth.  Twice.  Well once it came out of my mouth and once it came out of my fingers.  But you know what I mean.  

This is quickly going to the land of random without a return ticket.  

Let me see if I can pull it back around.  

Pep rally, Class B, planning, permanent markers, red lipstick, addictive personalities, Lord loving a duck...

I have nothing.  I can not tie a bow around that.   


Serious Confetti

Last night, I spent some time next to my forever friend Danae.  We sat on wooden bleachers watching her two biggest littles do their gymnastic thing.  There's something about forever friends.  They just know.  They know when the other one is hurting or stressing or feeling off.  Last night, as I sat there sipping my unsweetened iced tea blabbing about things that don't matter, I felt it.  A sense washed over me and I knew my friend who has been there for me every single time I have ever needed her...needed me.  I knew she was tilting off kilter. 

At first, we kept on with the small talk.  The whole time, my wheels spinning about what could be making my friend off and spinning about how to help get to it.  Pretty soon, while watching Emma Bean yell and jump in the castle and be the vivacious spunky sassy two year old she is, it hit me.  I turned to Danae, "Are you starting to feel stressed about her surgeries?"

It was as if the green light had been given.  The green light of I'm your friend and I am feeling what you are feeling.  The green light of let me hear it girl.   

"Yes.  I'm freaking out.  I just want to make sure I do the right thing and I say the right thing and I am the right thing for her at every step along the way of this.  I don't know if I am going to do this right."

There it was.  And it needed out.  

She started to tear up and like all of us girls tend to do, immediately apologized for those tears.  I cut her off, "Cry.  Feel what you are feeling."

And then we kept talking about the logistics of the surgeries and the trips and the after effects and I put the dates in my calendar.  Sure, they aren't technically "my" dates.  But yet, they are.  It matters to me.  It matters to me that that little girl who comes running up to me every single time I see her with a huge smile and an excited scream, "Amy!!!!!" is going to face years of surgeries and not fun things.  It matters to me that the little girl who says things like, "Amy, I love your bracelets!" is going to face years of wondering why.  It matters to me that the little girl who I love like I imagine I would love my own is going to hurt.

It matters to me that my friends are going to be those parents.  The parents who have to be strong even when they don't want to be.  It matters to me that my friends are going to have an ever constant itching wondering if they are tackling it right.  

What I want to say to them is this.  You are handling it right.  You will always handle it right.  Because you are her mom and her dad and you love her more than you love the air you breathe.  You will rise to this and there will be silver linings along with the clouds.  You will find a way to embrace those silver linings and show them to your daughter with your own actions.  What I want to say to them is this.  You got this.  You really do.

In the middle of the comings and goings of the next month for them, Emma Bean's third birthday will arrive.  After we talked about the yuck feelings, Danae continued on about trying to figure out when to have the party and how to fit it all in. 

"I'm going to plan the party.  You know how I feel about birthday parties.  Let me do this."

She looked at me and didn't even need to say yes because I knew.  That forever friend feeling washed over me and I knew I would be doing to the birthday party.  So I kept going, "Confetti!!!  I want to do a confetti theme.  I already have some ideas.  Watercolor confetti and there's this tablecloth I want to make and I'll sew her a shirt with circles of confetti fabric on it and and and and..."

We kept thinking and brainstorming and coming up with confetti plans.  Tutu plans.  Cake plans.  Invitation plans.  We laughed.  Hands were clapped together in excitement.

I added in, "How about I have it at my house?  Then you don't have to worry about cleaning or getting ready or anything.  You guys can just show up and we'll have a party!  And of course I'll take a ton of pictures."

"I love that.  I love the pictures.  And that'd be awesome to have it there.  Thank you."  A small glimmer of relief.  A sense washed over me and I felt it.  I felt a tiny fractional feeling of relief coming from my friend who I love like my own left arm.  Love like a sister.    

I can't take away the fact that Emma Bean was born with a mark.  I can't take away the fact she will have surgeries for years to come.  I can't take away that my forever friends will be the parents who spend enough hours to accumulate to days sitting in waiting rooms.  I can't take away any of that.  But what I can do is plan and throw a birthday party.

I can also ask that each and every one of you think of this little girl in the next month.  Think of her and spunky pigtails and do some praying.  Pray for successful surgeries and healthy healing for her tiny bum and back.  Pray for her parents.  Pray they will feel a peace about how they do this.  Pray they will know, feel it in their hearts know...they got this.


On Job Satisfaction

There has to be some guaranteed job satisfaction when this is your view.  Sunrise.  Mountains.  It has to make loading luggage on a Sunday morning worth it. 

And I sure hope those people who see that view every morning recognize its existence and don't take the beauty for granted.  Because job satisfaction is mostly a choice.  A choice about how we look at things and a choice about how hard we work.  Almost entirely up to us how we decide to handle situations thrown at us.  Enjoy the sunrise and view of the mountains or grumble about working early on a Sunday morning?  The thing I've found with myself is when I choose the negative approach or the negative reaction, the only person it really brings down...is me.  And what good does that do?  None.       

Before I went back to my own work and real life on that Monday morning after my long weekender with Momma Debi, this is what I read while sipping coffee.  It was as if the words were picked out specially for me that morning.  They were exactly what I needed to have go through me.

Happiness is a choice.  So is job satisfaction.  Unless you have a boss that is pinching your cheeks.  Then by all means.  Get out.  Get out now. 


Oh I Love This One!

Yesterday afternoon I baked a cake.  While literally running through my house like a twirling top.  I admire people who can do one thing at one time.  Concentrate fully to the task at hand.  I do not operate on the one thing a time spectrum.  At all.  I'm more of a spinner. 

Pour a cup of coffee.  Transfer pictures to new computer.  Dust the coffee table.  Put the oven on preheat.  Switch the laundry.  Transfer another file of pictures to new computer.  Clean the toilet.  Talk on the phone.  Text on the phone.  Get mixer out of cupboard.  Dust the dining room. Transfer another file of pictures to new computer.  Pour a cup of coffee.  Design new blog look.  Clean the wood floors.  Transfer another file of pictures to new computer.  Get ingredients out for cake.  Realize there is no vegetable oil or canola oil in the cupboards.  Call Momma Debi and say, "I'm making your birthday cake and I have no vegetable oil or canola oil...can I use olive oil?"  After her quick conference with the friend whose house they were staying at for the weekend, "No.  No you can not.  Melt butter instead."  Put ingredients in bowl.  Melt butter.  Melt it too much.  Let it cool.  Switch laundry.  Transfer a file of pictures.  Text on the phone.  Put butter with ingredients.  Whip that cake up.  Pour it in the pans.  Get the camera.

Slow down enough to have a moment.  A moment for the fact that I use my grandma's pans.  A moment for the fact she used those pans to make more birthday cakes than I can even begin to imagine.  A moment to remember the goodness she was in my life and continues to be in her ever little reminders of presence. 

Put the cake in the oven.  Transfer another file of pictures to new computer.  Finish designing blog header.  Glitter it up.  Get ready for the birthday party.  Put Wranglers on.  Don't put mascara on.  Don't do hair.  Put t-shirt on.  Take cake out of the oven.  Get the camera.    

Slow down enough to have a moment.  A moment to marvel I still have the potholders my grandma crocheted.  A moment to imagine her hands making them.   A moment to remember the goodness she was in my life and continues to be in her ever little reminders of presence.      

Let cake cool.  Talk on the phone.  Fold last load of laundry.  Finish the pot of coffee.  Read some from latest book club book.  Organize frosting ingredients.  Make frosting.  

Slow down enough to have a moment.  A moment of knowing that frosting recipe has been used by my family for longer than I have been around.  A moment to know the tradition will continue because now it's me making it.  Stirring it until smooth.  Having the gut feeling of it's ready.      

Frost the cake.  While wearing Wranglers.  Wonder what I have become.  A girl who wears Wranglers on a Sunday while frosting a cake.  A far cry from the city girl I once thought I'd be.     

Accept the fact the plate will also be frosted.  Accept that I can't conquer the ever elusive smooth finish. 

Slow down enough to have a moment.  A moment of truly accepting imperfection and feeling mighty fine about it.  A moment of celebrating how far I've come in learning to let the unimportant go.  A moment of actually enjoying the rustic look.  A moment of the imperfect is good.   

Load cake in the car.  Drive out to my brother and sister-in-laws where they know how to do a party.  Get greeted by four precious munchkin faces who had been in full preparation mode. 

Celebrate Momma Debi's birthday with my entire family.  Laugh with them.  Eat cake off unicorn plates.  Watch a "show" put on by Firecracker and Easy Rider.  Put on a show to Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue" with Sister Pister.  Dance and sing like a fool to show embarrassment isn't an option.  Play Simon Says with the entire family.  Get the feeling of I'm one of the lucky ones.  Literally yell, "Oh I love this one!!" during Momma Debi's teaching of her kindergarten hand rhymes to the littles.  Watch my family laugh at me and my twenty-eight and a half year old self becoming excited about something so juvenile.  Laugh at myself.  Hope I don't ever forget to laugh.     

Be reminded of just how precious the blessings are in my life.  Grandma's cake pans.  A serious case of ping pong get a ridiculous amount of things done.  The family frosting recipe.  My pictures that were backed up.  All of them.  Still here.  My family.  My family.  My family.  Blessings.  I am full.  "Oh I love this one!"     


You Call Me and I'm Way Back

Yesterday, I drove all the way across town in a race against my half an hour lunch break time frame.  Being full aware that lunch wasn't actually going to be lunch because there wouldn't be time to eat.  Knowing full well lunch was going to be a hot coffee from Big Apple Bagel.  Yes, I drove all the way across town for a coffee.  Yes, I didn't eat lunch.  Sometimes when you are happy and the sun is shining and the radio is beckoning and the solitude of your car calls and you are racing against thirty minutes...it doesn't matter.  Life's too short to eat lunch every single day.  Don't ever quote me on that one.  It's not something that needs to get around.  

Anyway, I drove and sang and let the sun shine through the windows.  When I arrived at the Big Apple, I walked right in to two men standing in line in front of me.  

Me:  "Well look what have we here?!  Are you two having the best day ever or what?" 

Chuckling.  Heads down.  Side glances at each other.

Me:  "I'm serious.  Is it the best?"  

Man 1:  "Yeah, it's shaping up to be a pretty good one I guess.  You obviously are having the best day ever."  

Me:  "I always try to.  I mean, really, why not make every day a best day?  I like to throw glitter around.  And...well...I shouldn't probably even ask you this because it's serious...but...do you believe in unicorns?"  

Chuckling.  Heads down.  Side glances at each other.  

Man 1:  "Well I guess.  Maybe.  Yeah.  I guess maybe I do believe in unicorns."


Me:  "So what are you two boys doing?  Big business meeting or what?"  (laptops...they had laptops)

Man 2:  "He is.  He is my boss."

Man 1:  "I'm doing interviews today."

Me:  "Interviews?!  I love interviews!  You probably want me to stay here and help huh?  What are we interviewing for?"

Man 1:  "Oil field.  We're in the oil business.  Baker Hughes.  We're putting up a big ol' place north of town."  

Me:  "Hmmmm, I see.  And you're the boss?  Well here's where I tell you that you are going to want to hire me.  And I'm okayyyyy with getting dirty, but I'd prefer not to.  Like maybe I could be in charge of company morale or something?"


Man 1:  "Like you could keep coffee going and things neat and tidy and organized."  

Me:  "Oh could I ever.  And I'd throw little parties.  For birthdays and stuff.  And decorate.  I love a good theme."  

Man 2:  "I could see you being a company cheerleader."  

Me:  "I have my master's degree.  Which means, you must pay well for my cheerleading skills."  

Man 1:  "I'm sure we could work something out.  But I don't really need anyone to start until the end of May because that's when the building will be done."  

Me:  "Perfect.  I'm not available until the end of May."  


Man 1:  "I really do need a secretary.  A good one at that.  Can you organize and keep track of things?"  

Me:  "Do you know what it means when I say I have a Type A personality?  Don't even get me started."

Man 1:  "Obviously I don't need to ask if you are a people person."  

MAN 2:  SHAKES HIS HEAD.  OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  LAUGHING.  "She talked to us about glitter and unicorns.  While we were standing in line to get bagels.  I think she can talk to strangers."  

Man 1:  "Here's my business card.  You call me.  Baker Hughes.  We'll work out the details.  Don't you go working for anyone else."  

And I'm back.  And boy does it feel good. 

I just couldn't stop there though.  It's like my addiction to ridiculousness was being fed at a rapid rate and I needed just a little more.  One more hit.   

So I crossed my arms real serious like and said to the boss man, "But I have one question.  Do you think there's really oil out there?"

Laughter all around.

"I don't think there's oil there.  I know there's oil."

"But do you think it's going to last a long time?"

"I'm building a house here.  It's here for the long haul."

"So like you think...I mean...you think it will last...three whole months?"

Laughter all around. 

"You are something else."

"Yes.  Sometimes I am.  And just think...you could be around this every day."

"You have my card."

And I'm way back.  And it feels real good. 

Taking a picture of a picture?  Oh yeah, I'm way way back. 

And please, let's just have a moment for the pink and white striped OshKosh bibs.  Those are one fashion statement that came out of the 80s that should be repeated.    


Different Kind of Valentine

So I woke up this morning and said Happy Valentine's Day to myself and then followed it right up with an I love you!  Because I really do believe in that whole mantra about not being able to love another until we love ourselves.  



Yes to both.  

I'm not the originator of that mantra.  Not at all.  There are books about loving yourself first.  There are magazine articles.  Blog posts.  Shoot, there are probably even pamphlets somewhere out there spouting about how to find love.  It's not original thinking to believe you must have a quality relationship with yourself before one with another human could ever possibly work.  It's not original, but right it is.  And here's my two cent take on it.

It simply doesn't make sense to think if we have issues with ourselves that we will ever be able to offer true love and support to another human.  It's like this.  No one else can make you happy.  Happiness is not defined by what happens on the outside around us...happiness is defined by what happens on the inside of us.  Within us.  No one else can fulfill us unless we are already filled to the brim with our own goodness.

Now, that's a whole lot easier to believe and to type than it is to put into motion...but it's an effort I make every single day.  I figure if I keep working on myself and my faults, then when that certain someone comes along, I'll be ready.  Ready to actually be one half of a healthy loving relationship.

Because all that will result from me grasping for someone simply because it's what I think I should have right now is negative, negative, and more negativity.  Settling is not an option for me.  Becoming desperate is not an option for me.  It's silly to even go down those roads.  I have myself.  And I'm pretty dang good company.  When I was running the other day, the song "God Gave Me You" by Blake Shelton came through my earphones and it hit me in a totally different way...God gave me ME for the ups and downs.  If I'm going to be honest, I also thought of the fact that I was given the gift of running somewhere along the way.  Because I'm certain my life would be in a totally different spot had I not taken those first few running steps.

I wonder if Blake thought that while he was writing the lyrics, "God gave me running for the ups and downs."  Hmmm...probably not.  But hopefully we all have something that saves us from ourselves.  Because we really are our harshest critics.        

I have read this letter written by John Steinbeck in several different spots over the last couple weeks.  It keeps showing up in the most random of places as if to say read me, read me!  And it makes sense to me now more than it ever would have before.  Steinbeck wrote it in response to his son Thom writing about his new love, Susan.  And it is beautiful.   

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning.  I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.  

First - if you are in love - that's a good thing - that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone.  Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second - There are several kinds of love.  One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance.  This is the ugly and crippling kind.  The other is an outpouring of everything good in you - of kindness and consideration and respect - not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.  The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.  

You say this is not puppy love.  If you feel so deeply - of course it isn't puppy love. 

But I don't think you were asking me what you feel.  You know better than anyone.  What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it - and that I can tell you. 

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it. 

The object of love is the best and most beautiful.  Try to live up to it.  

If you love someone - there is no possible harm in saying so - only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes they saying must take that shyness into consideration.  

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another - but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.  

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I'm glad you have it.  

We will be glad to meet Susan.  She will be very welcome.  But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to.  She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.  

And don't worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens.  The main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.  


The part that struck me was about his view on two different kinds of love.  I whole heartedly agree.  Love does not always equal good.  Sometimes it's necessary to look past love because you know it's what is necessary for your moral values and necessary for those unchangeable beliefs you have and necessary for the kind of life you want to lead.  Love does not always equal right.  That's worth saying again.  Love does not equal right.  And that is hard.  Really hard.  But apparently, people have been grappling with these thoughts since at least 1958 and I'd dare say since the beginning of time.  And you know what...

"The main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away."  

Steinbeck.  You kind of had it going on didn't you?  

So on this Valentine's Day, I say I love you to myself.  


The Sun Makes Everything Better

Yesterday I started Operation Problem Fix.  I know that to some it may seem a tad dramatic to attack after only a few days of feeling off, but that's simply how I work.  I used to not be that way.  I would let unhealthy habits go and go and go and go always having excuse after excuse after excuse.  But now, I know what it is to be healthy.  To feel healthy.  Both physically and emotionally.  I'll be damned if I'm losing that.  So I'm going with dramatic.  And it felt cleansing to take an honest look at the fact that I wasn't feeling it.  Wasn't feeling anything in the last few days.  Part of why I knew it was time to figure that business out was I didn't want to write.  Until last night, I didn't want to even open my computer.  Like I couldn't formulate a train of thoughts to make sense even in my own brain...much less put them down in a tangible form.  

But now, it's a new day.  And it's early.  Early morning.  My best friend and I are back together.  I have a cup of coffee sitting next to me.  I have a quilt wrapped around me.  I am writing.  Putting words to the last day of the Arizona break.  

Let me tell you this first.  

It feels right.  It feels good to be sitting here.  What I say next might not make sense to you or maybe it will...either way, I'm saying it.  It feels exciting.  For the first time in quite some time, I feel excited.  Looking forward instead of backward.  Feeling the anticipation of things to come.  And this part may really not make sense to you but here goes trying to explain it...

I feel in control.  Yes, I have issues with controlling.  But right now, I'm thinking the control I feel is a healthy one.   


Back to the task at hand.  Saturday in Arizona with Momma Debi.  I went for a run and pushed it hard.  When I got back to the house, my mom had steel cut oats waiting on the stove and a fresh pot of coffee brewing.  Best mom ever.  Plus, she had painted her nails and was showered and all pretty.  I was not at that point.  Sweaty Betty was more like it.  But she has a way of looking past the outer appearance and we enjoyed a breakfast together with the sun slithering in through the blinds.     

I have a tendency to putter around in the morning.  If you have ever traveled with me or stayed in a hotel room with me, you know what I'm talking about.  It takes me forever to get ready.  Not because I'm working on looking perfect, but because I'm fluttering about...not staying on task.  It's truly a flutter.  Momma Debi was not about letting me flutter putter though, she wanted to get going so we could get back and enjoy the sun and the pool.  She sat me down and braided my hair.  And then told me to hurry it up and proceeded to stand in the bathroom doorway so I could not get off task.  She knows me all too well.  

On the agenda was picking up my aunt and heading to Old Town Scottsdale to do a bit of jewelry shopping and lunch.  Since it was our last day in the AZ sun, the afternoon was slated for pool and more pool.  If Momma Debi wouldn't have been the putter police, the plan wouldn't have worked.  But she got me out the door in time.  Our jewelry shopping was unsuccessful; for some reason, I can not buy a ring whose price tag is eleven hundred dollars.  But while standing next to a counter, I did get asked this by two very sweaty people who had numbers pinned on the fronts of their shirts, "Can we take a picture with you?  We are in this amazing race thing and we need a picture with someone wearing cowboy boots and we need to be fast and can we take a picture with you?  Now?!!"

I obliged.  Let the sweaty guy and the sweaty girl put their arms around me while my aunt snapped a picture using their camera.

So somewhere out there is a picture of me.  Wearing cowboy boots.  With two sweaty strangers' arms around me.  In Old Town Scottsdale.   

We gave up on the jewelry and decided it was time to enjoy drinks and eats.  Yummy is all I have to say about that.  

Wait.  I also have to say after the fish taco is when the whole "Do you want me to call this northern Mexico?" conversation went down.  The more I have thought about it, the more I am pretty sure the reason the man started talking to me in the first place was because I sat with my camera pointed to the sky and proceeded to move my head all around to get the right angle of sun flare.  When I'm in the picture moment, I forget I probably look ridiculous.

We made it back to the house just in time for the sun to be in the middle of doing its warming thing.  I have a love affair for the sun and its reflections and its shine.  It truly makes everything prettier.  Even plants.  

My dad is proud of this fruit tree.  I think it's the farmer in him.  The part of him that is about growing and successful harvests.  The grapefruits are the size of small basketballs so I guess his pride is justified.  And Momma Debi can be proud of herself for matching the fruit.  I love when an outfit matches the surroundings.  Remember the cowboy boots and red checked tablecloth?  

I'm going to skip right over how the picture of Momma Debi holding the two grapefruits in her hands could be viewed as mildly inappropriate.  Going to keep my brain out of the gutter.  You should too.  

Have I ever explained I get my photography thing from my mom.  She has an eye for seeing light and different angles.  Her black and white images of my dad and grandpa in a field at harvest time from the late seventies are right up there with my all time favorites.  And she always had a camera on us when were little.  Even when I was doing embarrassing or naughty things.  Like sitting on a picnic bench crying because I had just face planted in the mud.

So when she takes my camera, she does her thing. 

After we had sufficiently captured the sunlight to freeze for later, the pool beckoned.  In a serious way. 

The rest of the afternoon, Momma Debi and I soaked it up with the help of wine out of "non-glass" cups.  This time we followed the rules. 

Floating in that pool visiting with my mom while the sun slowly started saying goodbye, I had yet another of those when did I get to this good stuff moments.  The good stuff of having fun with my mom.  The good stuff of being able to tell her anything.  The good stuff of us actually enjoying each other's company. 

You see, my mom and I have not always been the best of friends.  I was a sassy child and an over the top sassy teenager.  When I look back at some of the ways I behaved, I shudder.  And I'm sure there were many many days and nights when my mom prayed I would turn out alright.  I'm sure there were many many days and nights when my mom prayed for us to someday get along.  

Prayers answered.  

At least I think I turned out alright.  

And I without a doubt know, my mom and I have a steady and fabulous relationship.  One where we are honest and supporting and loving.  

So even if the jury is still out on whether I turned out completely alright or not, I will still say those prayers were answered.

This growing up thing is not all bad.  Growing up gets us to the good stuff because we learn to let go and listen and pay attention and accept.   

When the shadows of evening made their appearance, I couldn't help but to literally jump out of the pool, wrap a towel around me, cram my feet into my mom's too small for me sandals, grab my camera, and run to the front yard.  The side the sun was putting on its show.

Because that's what I do.  I get urges to capture the moments.  To figure out how to have my camera help me remember the way it looked and the way it felt and the way it sounded.  I get urges to see the small.  And it's what makes me ME.  Standing in the cul-de-sac.  In my towel.  Dripping wet.  My feet jammed into too small for me sandals.  Taking pictures.  While I can hear the neighbors through their screened front doors, knowing they see me and not caring one bit.  All of that is what makes me ME.  

Just like sitting here now, in the quiet early morning, with the words rolling from my brain through my fingers is what makes me ME.  The fact that I feel it, whatever it is, right now tells me I'm not slipping.  I've caught myself.  

I will keep catching myself.