Saturday, March 31, 2012

And Now For the Proof!!!

As requested, photos of our artwork! top three by me and bottom three by Nicole.

Doodling . . . on Steroids

I can do it! I can do it!!!!!
Hear that smug tone of voice? That is because Tami is terribly UNartistic. I can make pretty envelopes with stickers . . . I can write 'purty' . . . I used to stitch but I can NOT draw and that has always bothered me. I wanted to be one of those people who could pick up a pencil and draw something that wasn't a stick person. So, I heard about this style of drawing called Zentangle and it was described as "doodling on steroids". I bought the basic supplies and today Nicole and I went to a coffee shop and gave it a try.

I am DELIGHTED to report that it turned out fantastic. Both of us are very pleased with how our first attempts turned out. We made three of the cards each and grew increasingly confident and excited. Now I have returned to the craft store and bought more materials and Nicole and I will be creating presents and other fun stuff together over the next few weeks.

For the very first time EVER, I look at this work and think Hey, maybe I am a little artistic. Good feeling. I'm happy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ping Pong Ball

Yes, I am comparing myself to a ping pong ball, but it is true. Or perhaps more like a ball bearing inside a pinball machine . . . . and the things I am bouncing off of are my kids. :) And life, of course. For example, JUST this morning: we took Nicole to a job interview, took Coryn to go kayaking and then picked him back up when it was cancelled for lousy weather; Caspian got a call that he had been accepted into the Northwest Youth Corps and so will be leaving in 10 days rather than two months; I have been offered two new writing jobs; Nicole is gearing up for her upcoming trip to Australia (not leaving til September, but had to get passport, finances, driver's license and all that arranged first) . . . . . Whew. Tiring just writing it down. So life is hectic and crazy but wonderful and filled with three kids who are the best of friends--and who I enjoy being with for every day they are still around . . . . which isn't long as fast as these guys make plans.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sudden Loss

For the last couple of weeks, I have been operating on not enough sleep and too much stress. In bed this morning I gave myself a real "talking to" and said it was time for an attitude change. I have definitely noticed that in our house the saying, "If momma ain't happy, then ain't anybody happy" is true. If I start to spiral down, it ripples out and affects everyone. So this morning I got up smiling--determined to make this a smooth and stress-free day. My tooth is fixed (and it didn't hurt!) and I am semi caught up on work and spring is coming.
I was greeted with the news that one of my friends just lost her husband of decades last night. On his 60th birthday. He was in the hospital last week and just came home two days ago. Talk about sobering. I have sent her an email, a FB message and a card is in the mail. Moreover, she will be in my heart and mind all day. They have 8 children, the youngest only 12.
My husband turned 60 this year. We have been together for 30 years. He is literally my lifeblood. He loves his children fiercely, and he makes me feel like a beautiful and cherished woman. He is funny and unbearably kind and also just damn sexy and good-looking.
Today I will have that better attitude and focus on the blessings of my life--starting with the man who greets me every morning with a smile, a hug, a kiss and of course, a grope.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Your Face!

Yes, it's true. I must face the inevitable. Tomorrow morning I am going to (insert dramatic, eerie music) the dentist's office. No, I'm not a dental fan. I mean, I think I probably have one of the most gentle, patient, kind dentist on the planet (also one of the most expensive, sadly). He is a man I trust so much I took Caspian there and $4000 and three years of braces later, he has very straight teeth. I have taken Coryn there as well . . . I am, in fact, still paying that bill off and will be for some time to come.

But over the weekend, I broke a tooth. Sigh. I can hear my father in my head right now . . . he seemed to break a tooth every other day and I never thought much of it. Now that it is my mouth and my tooth and my money that has to pay for that tooth, it's all different. So, tomorrow I go in and have someone get in my face and poke me with sharp things and then turn on that hideous drill and then, when the torture is over, they will charge me money. Now, doesn't that just seem wrong somehow? I would just put up with it, except that it has this nasty sharp edge that is determined to slice my tongue every time I talk or try to eat something more solid than yogurt. So . . sigh. I will go in. I will open wide. I will squirm. And then I will pay.

But I won't like it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stalking the Lion

I know I don't mention my oldest child very often on this blog. That isn't because I don't think about her. She is in my heart and mind every single day. I just don't have much contact--any--with her. The other day though, I was recalling a memory about her and thought I would share it.

When she was about 5 or 6, she saw some TV show or movie that made her scared that there was a lion living somewhere in our house. The house we had at the time was HUGE--a gorgeous Victorian house with three floors and a 40 foot long hallway, so heck, a lion COULD have lived in there. Anyway, Jasmine was having trouble sleeping because she was so worried about that lion. She was also very into the Care Bears at the time, so I went out and bought her the Care Bear Lion. Then, I hid it in the house in a closet.

We said to her, "We know you're worried about a lion being in the house, so let's look for it." Joseph got down on all fours and had Jasmine straddle his back as they went out "on safari". They went all the way down that longgggg hallway, but didn't find anything. Just then, I told her, I thought I heard a roar from the bedroom. We explored in there and lo and behold, in the closet, there WAS a lion. But he was a soft, friendly lion. Jasmine was so happy! She held him and loved on him and he became one of her favorite stuffed animals for a long time.

I cling to memories like that one. They make me smile in my heart, ya know? She was a beautiful, funny, smart little girl and now she is a beautiful, funny, smart married woman. I hope somewhere in her memories she remembers stalking the lion with daddy and finding a friend.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I don't get it . . . . . .

All right folks. I am guessing I have a blind spot about something and want to know your thoughts on the matter. Ready to be profound? Here we go.
When I spend time with someone (either by phone, letter or in person), I tend to ask questions. Not intrusive ones. Not ones that are none of my business. Not under the spotlight, give up the top secret info, we have ways of making you talk kind of way. Just Hey, I'm interested in you. Tell me about yourself. Kids? Partner? Job? Interests? If the conversation is still going, merging into favorite authors/tv shows/way to drink coffee/thrift stores and so on. You know . . . a conversation? But lately, I have been absolutely mind boggled at people who willingly answer all of my questions, sometimes at GREAT length and detail and then never, ever, ever ask me a single thing.

That happened today. Joseph and I met a new couple. We asked them about why they had moved here, if they liked it, were they getting connected, how old were their kids, did they enjoy homeschooling, what kind of work did they do, what hobbies they had . . . you know . . . CONVERSATION. Every question was answered and then . . . .silence. Never once did they ask anything about Joseph or I. Believe me, I left them wide open opportunities . . . statements like, "I have been very fortunate that I have found ways to make enough money writing that we can live on a single income." Now, this woman was also a writer who is struggling . . . surely it might occur to her to ask me WHAT I wrote. Nope. Nothing. Not what type, for whom, nothing. I could have said I was a dumpster diver and gotten the same response. Just silence.

I don't get it. They suggested we meet. What was the point? They know nothing about us . . . how could they? They made absolutely no attempt.

I walked out of there bitchin' and whinin' but I know it really was just my way of handling disappointment. I am an interesting person that is worth the effort to get to know and no effort was made. It made me sad.

So, tell me . . . . do people just not ask questions anymore? Do they think that if you want to share the information you will just volunteer it? I tried doing that . . . . and just got a blank stare in return. I ask a bunch of questions in my letters--it keeps conversation going. It shows that I care what the person has to say/write about different topics. It shows that I am interesting. And I just don't understand why people don't do it in return.

To question or not to question . . that is the . . . well, um . . question.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gray Skies are Gonna Clear Up . . . . .

Which translates into Tami trying her best to "put on her happy face". I am not sure if it the time of year, the gray skies, or what, but I am struggling with some serious irritability and depression in recent weeks. I keep thinking I'm fine and then something happens and I tip right over the edge I wasn't aware I was even standing on. You know those things . . . the forgotten payment to send in, the company you thought was coming tomorrow instead of today, the deadline that is close and you're a long way away, the kids who have issues that they need to work out/talk about/figure out/rant about, etc.
THOSE events. Otherwise known as "life".
And normally, those suckers roll right off of my back. I take it in stride and just keep on truckin' (yes, that expression dates me). But for the last couple of weeks, not so much. I cry, I walk outside and take some deep breaths, I snap at someone undeserving and then feel guilty about it, I don't sleep well.
I can come up with excuses, of course. Can't everyone? I deal with a substantial amount of discomfort on a regular basis and fight like hell not to mention it too often. I have long work days and four million details of projects vying for room between my ears. They have to fight ferociously to fit in there with those details of my kids' classes, time, tutoring sessions, social events--and when bills are due, and which people I am supposed to call and for what, and all that "other stuff".
But still--none of that is new--it's just regular life. So why are my coping skills floundering these days? I don't know, but I want them to stop it. I have too many fabulous people in my life, too many goals to accomplish, too many experiences to have to spend this much energy keeping those gray skies from messin' up my happy face.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Little R 'n' R

The Orrs are heading out of town (and for all of you potential house burglars who read that with interest, we left our killer canine in the house, so don't even try it!) for a much needed R'n'R. We are, for the first time since we moved out here, going to the Great Wolf Lodge resort in Grand Mound, Washington. We know lots of people who have gone but we haven't been able to fit open schedules, money and time simultaneously before. This time, we are making it happen though. The kids are so excited about huge water slides, a water rollercoaster--big time fun. Me? I am looking forward to time away from work (although yes, I am taking some with me), time to get caught up on writing letters and to finish the book I am reading, and time to hang out with the people I love the mostest in the world.
A big thank you to my darlin friend who will be watching over our killer canine. (Watch those ankles, Ami.) A big thank you to my husband who managed to get the van back in working order in time for us to go. A big thank you to kids who willingly gave up classes and other commitments in order to go. And hey, why not--a big thank you to me for earning the money to make this little trip possible.
Go, US!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hustle, Mom, Hustle

Happy March. We welcomed it by getting the most snow we've had this winter. Sheeesh.
My kids are keeping me so busy just recently, that I feel like I am just sitting at my desk simply to write down their meetings, plans, activities, and appointments. Schedule Queen Tami is in!

Coryn is taking three community center classes and wants to sign up for a BUNCH more. He just went on a weekend leadership retreat and soon, he will be seeing tutors twice a week. He is joining an exercise spa with his sister.
Caspian is two months through his P90X exercise program (his muscles have muscles) and just got accepted into the Northwest Youth Corps for the summer. He is also seeing a tutor twice a week.
Nicole is teaching community classes, taking driver's ed and preparing for her departure in September for six months in Australia. She has joined an exercise spa as well.
Joseph has been hustling like crazy to keep vehicles running. He just figured out a complicated alternator/battery/starter issue through sheer determination. I cannot imagine how many 100s he saved us by making himself learn this stuff and figure out how to fix it. Of course, today, with all the snow, our wipers quit working. It's always something, right?
Me? I'm writing, for a change. Lots of projects being juggled (just begs for the statement "balls in the air", doesn't it?). Watching for spring to get here. Keeping a heating pad in my chair. Wishing someone would remove my gallbladder cuz I know I would feel better if they did. Writing lots of letters to lots of fantastic people who stop by my mailbox to visit me.
In other words, all is well as mom hustles to keep it that way. Gee, I even remember the steps to "The Hustle" . . . .