Friday, September 12, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Meditation.  Even if my cats find my stillness a challenge.  They rub on me, try to sit on my lap and purr in my face.

The concept of response versus reaction.  I'm working toward being more mindful of not only what I say and do, but also how I feel.

The recent changes in my relationship with my Dad.  We have always been close, but something has shifted and now I feel that our relationship is more authentic.

A belated birthday lunch with Candace.  I really cherish our friendship and feel so lucky to have her in my life because she is the real deal.  Real and true.

Lily has adjusted seamlessly to middle school.  She is up earlier every morning and enthusiastic about her day.  She is organized and on top of things too.  Last night I noticed that she was completing a task her reading teacher had not yet assigned.  When I asked her about it she told me, "Well, it's written on the board." That's my girl!

I had the opportunity to visit all of her teachers last night and I know she is in good hands.  The fifth grade team is absolutely stellar...not a weak link in the lot of them.

T. Bone is weathering a rather tough week thanks to a sore mouth as he preps for braces round II, a nagging cold and very little free time because of football. Ice cream, cold meds and hopes for a good game tomorrow are helping.

Quesadilla cheese.  It melts perfectly and is so so creamy.

The boys survived a trip to the vet.  It was their first in 3 years.  They each gained 2 pounds and now they are on a diet.  I tried to tell Dr. Frank that they are just big boned. They both also had a case of the stink eye.

Miss Bit had her first riding lesson today.  She was a little looking forward to this all day.  Heck, all week!  It was even more than she had hoped for.  I took like 500 pictures so stay tuned.  Oh and she'll be riding until December so I apologize in advance for the 5000 more I've yet to take.

And she is more excited for swimming too now that she found out a friend has joined the club.  Amen to that!

Fall theatre line ups at area high schools.  Miss Bit and I love to spend a Sunday afternoon at a show.

We survived the first full week.  The boys are out celebrating and strategizing over pizza and beverages with the football team.  Miss Bit and I are cozy at home with our girl's choice supreme pizza with extra onions. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Reading Rob Lowe's Love Life, which is a bit like deja vu after reading his first memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I'm not liking it or him quite as much the second time around.

Wondering if 9/11 will come and go without an attack on U.S. soil. The last couple years, the date was somber in memoriam, but this year the fear and worry have returned front and center.

Noticing during my walk last week that some of the trees along the parkway have started to change colors.  The maples are always the first to start the seasonal transition, and I both love them and hate them for that.  It is such a slippery slope.

Watching Orange is the New Black.  I watched almost the whole season during one pity party of a day, but now I am much less obsessed. Also The Great Food Truck Race which is good for the whole family.  We recently saw and loved The Hundred Foot Journey. This summer movie season didn't offer much.  I'm anticipating numerous fall releases.

Listening to 80s pop radio.  I turned it on accidentally and then couldn't turn it off because every song is like a boomerang to a specific memory in my teenage past.  Jack and Diane used to be Jack and Kristin...I fantasized that John Mellencamp wrote the little ditty just for us.  Everybody Wants to Rule The World takes me back to Sara's garage where we would spend days and nights hanging out the Betties and the Buddies.  Lucky Star comes on and I'm in Utah. I'm on my Grandma's couch in the middle of a sleepless summer night.  I found MTV and I was addicted.

Eating the first apples that taste like anything since last fall and sautéed baby broccoli that tastes so much tastier than steamed regular broccoli.  I'm in a bit of a rut in the kitchen.  I'm burnt out by Wednesday because I've basically been a short order cook all summer, and with T. Bone's football appetite I could be feeding him full time.  I think packing school lunches put me over the brink. I'm gearing up for fall fare like soups and stews though.  I love that kind of cooking.  Groceries have gotten so expensive and shopping has become such a chore.  I have 5 stores on my rotation, and now I am serious about adding a small-town butcher too.  The meat we bought from him on a recent stop was so fresh and good.  It has forever soured me on grocery store meat, which is basically rotten by the time we buy it.

Drinking coffee, water and wine.  Tis' the season to substitute a mug off tea for my second cup of coffee.

Dreaming about having all the answers so I could stop waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.  Even a few of the answers would be welcome.  Helpful.  Liberating.

Feeling jittery and anxious.  Change does that to me even when I look forward to what is in the pipeline.  It's just the way I'm wired, but I'm working on that.

Wanting peace.  Inner, world.  I want to keep the peace, make peace and be at peace.

Wearing flip flops on my feet and a braid in my hair for as long as I can.

Hoping that I can stick to this meditation plan, which right now is to sit for 5 minutes a day.  I keep telling myself that I can do almost anything for 5 minutes, but it's getting harder not easier.  I think it's because I feel like I'm not making progress fast enough even while I know that is counterintuitive to the whole exercise.  Today I had a sneeze attack in the middle and that ended it for me.

Thinking that the very pursuit of happiness is the origin of our unhappiness because we seek satisfaction at the expense of the goodness right before us.  And also about enough.  Is it possible?  What does it even mean?

Enjoying the sound of the rain falling outside my open windows, the solitude of an almost empty house, sleeping with the windows open and a cool breeze on my bare skin, more time to myself in the mornings, being present in ordinary moments and tasks throughout the day.

Loving this piece by Dani Shapiro, this Meghan Trainor song, and this 5 minutes of latenight t.v.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2 day pass

this weekend was:
2 days off after 4 days on.
off, but not lazy.
rather full.
full of goodness like friday happy hour on the patio
and football saturday.
a first game victory for t. bone, and 2 quarters as quarterback.
followed by 18 holes of golf with uncle b. bone and
 a bat mitzvah celebration with friends.
my brother joined us for a brat fry saturday evening.
the starters were homemade salsa 2 ways and backgammon.
the finisher was brownies hot out of the oven...
and lots of laughs over burnt cork twin mustaches and you tube videos.
we met grandpa at the ballpark to cheer on our brewers sunday afternoon.
the game was a bit disappointing, but we enjoyed the beautiful day, company and concessions.
we all came down with a bit of the sunday blues as the day faded.
the days are getting shorter and the mornings and evenings not just cool, but chilly.
we're adjusting to back to school and the onset of fall.
or trying to.

Monday, September 8, 2014

On My Mind Monday

Many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment.

Ekhart Tolle

I finally finished 10% Happier.  The third time was a charm, and I ended up finding some value in Harris' journey to find more peace of mind.  I am intrigued to learn more about meditation from more credible practicers...more practiced pratitioners if you will.  Today was only day two for me.  I was looking forward to starting my day and week sitting, but I had an even more difficult time keeping my thoughts from roaming than the first time.  Five minutes felt like two though so I am hopeful that this is something that I can incorporate with great benefit into my daily routine.  Being mindfully is of utmost importance to me even as I struggle to do so continuously, and I have hope that meditation will be an outlet to help me better be. here. now. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...
Beginnings and endings.  This week marked the end of a pretty sweet summer and the beginning of the new school year.  Some of us were ready and some of us not just quite yet. T. Bone told my Dad that he just needed one more month.  I can relate to his sentiment even if I fall more in the ready camp.
I was wide awake at 4:30 a.m. on the first day of school.  Perhaps, I didn't have the jitters, but I did have a monkey of a mind.  I decided to head to the lake to watch the sunrise.  It's another entry on my list of 45, and it was a mostly clear morning.  The timing seemed serendipitous as I like to honor beginnings and endings.  The first day of school is both and a biggie.
I was the only one at the beach for long enough to feel my smallness and aloneness in the great expanse of this world.  I'm not talking about insignificance or loneliness here, but rather brevity and solitude.  It was peaceful and I have to say it...a little bit holy.  Divine.
I didn't cry, but I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.  I'll let these pictures serve as evidence of what a show I saw.  Hopefully, they'll inspire you to get up before the sun some morning and watch her come up over the horizon because believe you iphone does little justice to what I experienced with my own two eyes. There is something absolutely humbling about witnessing the creation of a brand new day.

I had to abandon my pierside perch before the sun was high in the sky so I could make a special breakfast and see off my new 5th and 8th graders.  This is a year of starting and ending points for my two.  It is her first year of middle school and she is all OMG!  It's his last year, and he is all ho hum.  I am pretty confident that the photographs below adequately portray said emotions, or lack thereof.  About the crepes though...he was ecstatic.

I'd forgotten how fast the school day goes, and also how I almost never get as much done as I hope and plan.  All that matters is that I got to the important things like library, walk and pedicure.  They both had stellar days and were in conversational moods when I picked them up.  Teddy had football practice, and Lily and I had plans to head to the beach for our annual after the first day of school swim.  Aunt Jess joined us even though neither of us was able to get very far in to the 58 degree freezing expanse.  Oh how I wanted to though.  Miss Bit finally summoned the fortitude.  She ran in, dove under, came up shrieking and ran out shivering.  It was even too cold for her and that is saying something.  I was both proud and envious that she took the plunge.

It struck me how evenfall is noticeably earlier every day, how the water is palpably colder every week, and how the waves have reclaimed more of the shore in the days since I'd last visited this spot of ours.  We are perched on the very cusp of fall.  I cannot shake this feeling that I want to stop time right here...right now...with so much goodness in our purview.  Seeing as how that is not possible, I will just commit to continuing to show up with an open mind, open eyes and an open heart.  I will gratefully be. here. now. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

2 day pass

after a week of much togetherness, coach and i enjoyed friday to ourselves.
we traveled north to port washington
where we walked along the water, shopped a little and had a nice dockside lunch.
the rainy forecast was errant...
it was a bright and breezy day.

lil returned from her waterpark birthday party
and the three of us went for happy hour at a local biergarten.
it was very family friendly -
there were more kids and dogs than beer drinkers.
we enjoyed sitting beneath the tall trees and beside the river at this quaint spot.
and also a couple games of spot it, and a giant pretzel too.

saturday this beauty had a back to school salon visit.
all the swimming this summer had taken a toll on her locks.
she's just happy that her hair is still long.

 we did some shopping at our favorite east side shops
to stock up on sciortino's rolls, glorioso's pizza fixings and whole foods homemade tortilla chips.
the chips accompanied miss bit's guacamole and my choriqueso, which we took to a badger party that eve.
we made sandwiches for the beach the next day on the rolls.
our neighbor declared his turkey sandwich a-m-a-z-i-n-g and wanted me to give his mom the recipe.
that is the second of ted's friends to say such a thing.
we woke to a sky of haze on sunday morning and worried that it wasn't the kind of day that screamed beach.
but a little fog and a few clouds do not deter this crew so we headed north to the sheboygan lake michigan shore.
the beach looked otherworldly ensconced in low lying clouds.
the grey blue sky melted into the grey blue water in the most magical of ways.
the water was numbingly freezing, but before too long we were all declaring it r-e-f-r-e-s-h-i-n-g!
we stayed long enough for the fog to lift, the sky to brighten and then the fog to return.

after all that swimming, we worked up quite an appetite.
while the dough rose for pizzas and the fire smoldered for smores, we chilled on the patio.
coach spotted this arachnid (spider just does not do him justice) in a beautiful web, peanut spotted a wee toad and i spotted a very fearless hummingbird moth.
our neighbors stopped by to get their son, and stayed until monday morning.
now they want to invest in coach's pizza palace.

today we woke to rain.
a few sprinkles cannot keep teddy off the course - he and a friend are golfing as i type.
miss bit is worrying about what she will wear to school tomorrow and when i will get off the computer so she can get on.
it will be a relaxing day spent close to home.
at the end of it, we will enjoy the last family dinner of the summer:
strawberry cream crepes for them and chicken marsala for us.
we'll say goodbye to summer vacation a tad begrudgingly, and hello to a new school year with a hint of excitement.
it's been real.
it's been fun.
it's been real fun.