Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fridge Smelled Like Poo

It all started with our fridge smelling like poo or a dead rodent or broccoli... starting on Friday night - right after I went to the store.  Every time we opened the fridge a new, horribly overpowering wave of stink filled the kitchen.  Greg was practically gagging by Sunday while I assured him it was the super fresh, bright green broccoli I had just purchased because sometimes it's just like that, and it is fine.
So I roasted it for dinner. 
And it did not help.
We threw away a few things, but nothing was terribly very old or rotten.

"I think it might be this really fresh chicken I just bought."
Greg (gagging) "If that's our chicken, I don't think we should eat it."

Whatever.  I got that chicken for $2.71 on clearance on the "sell by" date, and I had a plan for that chicken.  So I told Greg how sometimes fresh chicken with skin on is just like that, and it's just fine.

Tonight I drowned the chicken in teriyaki sauce to alleviate the offensiveness and prepare for tomorrow night's dinner.  The kitchen aroma was almost making our eyes water.  "See, it IS the chicken, but now it's in teriyaki sauce and it'll be better."

Then my hubby had the nerve to look up what rotten egg raw chicken stink might mean on the internet.  While I am getting Grace to bed, he calls up "I'm reading some about what chicken that smells like that means, and I don't think we should eat it."

"Honey, I bought it on the sell-by date and that was just a couple of days ago - it's fine. Sometimes chicken is just like that (I kept saying this but I had no actual research to back it up other than how the raw chicken package makes the trash smell the day after we throw it away)."

"OK, well you can see what you think - but I think you should read a little about it."

Pretty much all the research agrees with Greg. 
It's in the driveway trash can marinating in teriyaki now.

In other news, I am reading my first Jen Hatmaker book, and I don't know where she has been my whole life. I love her gritty, put it all out there writing style.  I am devouring her book Interrupted-When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity and just met her blog tonight. I appreciate her authenticity as a woman who has been in some difficult places and also her gift of sarcasm (maybe especially this...)

And in other other news - we are in the middle of a very DIY kitchen redo, and my husband is awesome at that stuff so it'll be amazing but also a process. We finished our island this weekend, and I LOVE it so much I had to make scones on it.

And the letters on the chalkboard in the background are supposed to say "create" at the top and "learn" at the bottom, but Grace feels like this is entirely too boring and constantly changes them to different words that are usually not words.

I miss Abby and Emma, but they are thriving where they are. Grace was at 5th grade camp for 3 days last week which made me miss her too and feel weird and like I must be at least 57 with all of my children in different places... until date night with Greg which made it all better and will definitely be a perk of empty nesting.

Friday, May 16, 2014

I suppose it's time for a true confession

By Friday evening, I'm usually having troubles and sometimes I don't realize it.  Like too many early mornings in a row causing absent-minded fuzzy brain and an urge to cry at around 5:09 for no reason at all.  I am more tired than I feel, so I try to do things and sometimes, it's a bad idea.

Such as trying to buy something at Target.  Grace needed a birthday present for a party tomorrow, so we ran to Target after work and school.  We found a gift fairly easily and proceeded to check out.  Everything was fine and smooth until my debit card asked if I wanted cash back.

I puzzled over it for a moment and pressed YES because the girls need allowance - easy-peasey.  My $13.71 bill now became $23.71.  No problem.

"Do I want my entire amount on my debit card?" the machine asked.  "Nope," I said.  "I only want $13.71 on my card, and I want the rest in cash."  I panicked a little because when I pressed "no" on the machine, everything kind of fell apart.

So I explained my predicament again to the checker.  "Do you understand what I'm saying?  I only want to pay the amount for my bill, $13.71, with my card, and then I need the other $10 in cash."   I think I repeated a different version of this about 3 times with people waiting in line pretty close behind me.

She had NO response to that,  She was NOT helping me at all.  This was kind of hard, and I felt confused and a little angry.

And then it hit me.

And it was one of those moments you absolutely can't fix.  Inside, I was screaming, "I am a smart person.  I just got a 97.3 in a college statistics class.  I have daughters who scored REALLY high on their SATs..."

But I just quietly said, "I'm really sorry."  And I kind of whispered, "yes, I want all $23.71 on the card and then you'll give me $10 back."  Like I just had to play along with my Friday alter ego and talk this through to let this poor girl see that indeed, I had connected my own dots.  Everything was ok, because now I understood this difficult thing.

She smiled one of the most relieved smiles I've seen in a long time and sweetly said, "I really like to help people when they have questions, because I want to do everything I can to help people, but I just didn't know how to help you."

There was nothing I could do.  I grabbed my bag, forcing a genuine-looking appreciative grin...
"Thank you," I mumbled on my race out of there, "it's just that it's Friday."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Growing Grit and My First Rodeo

We are on the home stretch of the school year and in the throes of planning and attending graduation events and taking major (as in 4 intense hours per test) AP exams.  OK, that's just Abby with 3 last week and 4 coming up this week and Emma with one this week.  I just completed a Statistics course through a community college, because I am hoping to apply for a graduate program in Speech Pathology that would start next May.  The American Speech and Hearing Association recently listed some extra pre-requisites necessary before starting graduate work in the field.  I awesomely timed my statistics course to happen while Abby has been taking AP Stat, and she was perfectly trained to come running to my side at the computer whenever she heard a grown-up, stressed-out and slightly whiney voice calling her name.

Emma has finished all of her One Act Play competitions for the year and has two more Speech tournaments to go.  Grace finished her "state testing" and has thrived in fourth grade this year.  Three official weeks of school left...

And then glorious summer and everything gets weird.  I can't figure out if we're all ready for what is to come.  I just know that's where we're headed - toward what is to come.  My prayer is that we will jump into the unknown with hope in the One who brought us there and grit to stay the course He directs us toward.

That probably should be on a motivational poster.

And while I hate sounding trite or cheesy, this really is my prayer, and I am so grateful I am dependent on Another who can handle what is ahead.

Which brings me to running...  Stay with me - it makes sense in my head.  There was a time I believed deep down in an unspoken place that the Lord would not lead me into a place that really felt too hard for me; that if I was supposed to be there it would feel like it, even if it was too hard for other people.

I lacked grit.  I maybe had a little, but not very much.  If something felt genuinely too hard for me, my default was (and still is) to look for an escape or at least a way to make it easier, because something must be wrong.  I must be in the wrong place.

Then I started running.  And running was hard; it did NOT feel good.  As I continued to run and moved a little past the "O my gosh, how do people do this?  I CANNOT breathe!" phase, I realized how great it felt to finish something that felt hard the whole way.  I was growing grit.

This is partly why I keep running.  I love it for many reasons, and I am not fast or great at it, but I am keenly aware that I am doing this hard thing and that I keep doing it.
We have been through some difficult things and in some difficult places that I know the Lord led us into and through knowing we would struggle and fail.  I have told people that He hurt my feelings by doing that, and He did, but He has also grown me.  He is growing me in a willingness to try hard things without a promise of them being anything other than hard.  While this is not my default and probably never will be, I keep running and hope my aging joints will allow me to continue to grow grit.

Not much to report about the rodeo really, except that it really was my first one.  Since I'm needing to keep my Texas card I won't say much about not really being a rodeo gal, but it was great fun to be there with Grace for her 4th grade field trip.  And I only grabbed the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me (who I just met) one time when a crazy man fell off and underneath an angry bull and was temporarily smushed against the arena wall.
Mostly I thought it went well with "growing grit," so I threw it in the title.

By the end of this summer, Greg says I will run 9.3 miles around White Rock Lake (because he knows it's a dream of mine).  Last weekend, I got up to 6.2 miles for a training run.  Next Saturday I'm running in a 5K that my mom is also running in - her first official 5k, because she has only taken up running in the last couple of months after recovering from surgery, chemo, and radiation for breast cancer.  That's what I'm working on... hope and grit.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wait, What?

Why am I bothering, you ask (or not)?

Not sure... but so much is going on, and I have been recently challenged toward greater authenticity and vulnerability, and my subtitle about the whole working mom thing shows that I'm obviously not keeping up with that plus this blog - although that was the idea behind starting this - to chronicle what it's really like, at least for me.  Which actually speaks volumes, I guess.

About the tyranny of the urgent
And good ideas falling short of their potential
And dull thoughts leading to having little to say
And lack of inspiration
And maybe lack of vulnerability (but probably not)
And a little bit of fear

And stage of life - which is the best excuse ever for anyone, because we're all in one ALL THE TIME.

Quick update, so I can hopefully jump into the craziness of all that's coming up with a little more frequency and vulnerability and less necessary background information, because what is coming is something vastly different for us.


Two children (not twins, so a bit unexpected) going off to college in the fall.  Abby is heading to Texas Tech as a scholarship recipient and Mechanical Engineering major and National Merit Scholar.  Emma is heading to the University of North Texas as a Texas Academy of Math and Science (early college entrance) scholarship recipient... which all makes us ridiculously proud, especially because people automatically assume Greg and I passed on the smart genes and are also "that way".  We actually scored the same terribly unimpressive middle of the road score on our SAT, but keep that to yourself, and I think we're getting smarter anyway.

Grace will be going to "The Intermediate School" next year as a 5th grader and definitely staying home.

And well, I'm ordering raincoats in the middle of the night on Amazon so Abby and Emma will be able to walk to class in the rain because I'm having little panic attacks like that.  And Greg couldn't sleep one night, because all he could think about was how we needed an external hard drive to back up all of our pictures of the girls in case the computer crashed that night, and was there any kind of emergency 24 hour Best Buy for such things?

And as we head into prom and graduation and all of the unknown beyond, I hope to be a little more present and real here... maybe.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beautiful Friday

Good Friday. Every year I'm caught off-guard again by this title - no surprise there, I know. But it's true.

I had today off, which was definitely good. I went for an invigorating run this morning, also good. Woke up with a headache - not so good, but coffee and ibuprofen worked - good. Apple muffins were already made - good. Just realized I left wet clothes in the washer almost all day, not good. Ate Pei Wei for dinner - good.

"Good" according to a few definitions from good ol' Webster: "of a favorable character or tendency, profitable, fit, advantageous, suitable, agreeable..."

Good Friday: Christ's sacrifice = suitable and fit substitute payment for what I owe, thus "good" in my Heavenly Father's eyes.
Good Friday: Christ's sacrifice = advantageous, profitable, and life-giving for me based on nothing I've done or deserve, thus very "good" for me.
Good Friday: Christ's sacrifice = horrible agony and pain willingly and unfairly suffered by perfect Jesus, thus what for Him?

I don't know.

I ran this morning through the most beautiful version creation gives me of Good Friday. It was my favorite kind of outside moment - the gorgeous deep, billowy dark blue-gray, stormy sky with golden-bright sun shimmering through like spotlights on trees, houses, landscape. That fleeting, wonderfulness where the illuminated spring green of the trees against the deep purple backdrop is fiction-esquely beautiful but very real... because I'm running smack into it, weaving in and out and through it, breathing it in...

Breathing in the oppressively gray sky, heavy with grief and pain and death. Breathing in the glorious golden beams of hope and life shimmering in brilliantly stark contrast. Each opposing and complementing the other in a beautiful tension.

And I know that knowing how the story ends makes all the difference, and I know that this day is beautiful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One cool thing.

The holidays have been a whirlwind, of course, just like for you...

BUT - in the midst of the whirlwind as I, in a dazed and confused holiday whirlwind-induced stupor, stood at the front of the checkout line at Target, a moment happened.

It was the day after Christmas, I think. I navigated the familiar and wonderful Super Target like a pro, albeit a dazed one, zombie-like, making no eye contact with a single human being. I almost forgot there were others of those in the store.

Grabbing my bags of purchased goods, there was a lone box of Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain and Wild Rice Fast Cook version that I realized never made it onto the belt. It was not bagged, and it was what would turn leftover smoked turkey into Chicken and Wild Rice Soup for dinner (except with smoked turkey).

The next guest was now being served, so I finally made eye contact with the cashier and asked if I might be allowed to quickly purchase my main ingredient after the current guest was through. Yes, I could.

Waiting in my continued dazed state, I began to surmise my surroundings. A family of four with two small boys was behind me - all with such a joyful countenance. I wondered at their joy, being at Target on the day after Christmas with the rest of the city and two small boys. Then I was alerted to the fact that the cashier was trying to get my attention.

She smiled and said I could go. I looked up and noticed the couple was looking at me and smiling. They bought my rice.

I was abruptly shaken out of my dazed state and realized that this couple saw me. They didn't just accidentally notice me or vaguely take a glance about - they SAW me.

And I knew the source of their joy, and I felt ashamed that I had forgotten. I walked to my car with a goofy, unstoppable grin on my face.

May I have eyes that see in 2013.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Believe in Looking at the Sky Everyday

In trying to develop any semblance of thought resembling a "This I Believe Essay," I just decided to start somewhere. My previous try took me toward describing my tea bag instead, so here is actually why I think the sky is so important...

I believe in looking at the sky everyday. By "day" I mean a 24 hour period. There are places I have lived, like rural Kansas, where this statement as a concept is absurd. How can you help it when "the sky" makes up 90% of the landscape directly in front of you at any given time? The only way to miss the sky is to make a conscious decision not to look anywhere. I believe, however, that most of us who lived there missed it - yep, missed the sky - as a direct consequences of not looking at it on purpose.

Now I live in Dallas as one tiny piece of a progressive and bustling sky-obstructing landscape. The sky is not in front of you, it is actually above you in bits like an elusive, rare bird occasionally singing, daring you to spot it. If you don't even try, you won't.

I believe in stratus, cirrus, and cumulus, in stars and galaxies, in the moon and setting and rising sun - and that every moment of every day is a brilliant new work of art (albeit sometimes various shades of gray) on a huge canvas completely accessible to every living being on this planet. It is abstract Impressionism, minimalism, realism - powerful beauty and mystery available to the wealthy and those in poverty, to every age, gender, village and neighborhood.

I believe the simple act of purposefully looking up lifts me out of my myopic, self-absorbed, familiar universe and transports me to mystery and beauty and a vastness that grounds me... One that reminds me of who else is in this gallery with me while simultaneously filling me with a throat-clenching gratitude that this is all here for me -
because I'm looking.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad