Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Feel Summer

Today seemed like a turning point.  Up until today I still mostly felt like wearing sweaters, still had my boots at the ready.  But today... today just felt like summer is just around the corner.  My work hours are waning.  It's the end of the fiscal year, and there's not a lot of work during the summer.  I finished up my five hours and it was only 1:30.  The sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, and the patio and my lounge chair were calling me.  So for the next hour I sat in the sun (after slathering sun screen on!), listened to Pandora, and just chilled.  It felt great, and I got a nice little glow.  Maybe my legs will soon take on a more healthy color so I'll be comfortable bringing them out from hiding under tights and long pants.

L and I have been cycling every night.  Because the days are getting longer, it's twilight when we first set out.  The bugs are still out in force.  Tonight I got a knat in the eye, and was bombed by a few June bugs.  We persevered and finally, as it grew darker, I guess the bugs turned in for the night.  I remember being a freshman at BYU and I had a boyfriend who liked to cycle.  He also drove a sweet little Porsche 914 and hailed from San Leandro, CA.  I thought he was amazing.  I thought his car was amazing, but the rides though Provo Canyon and up to ski resorts are stories for another day.  His bike was a Peugeot.  Not a Schwinn.  A PEUGEOT.  How exotic and not-from-my-world...  For a few years after that I wanted a Peugeot bike.  I scoffed at Schwinns.  I spit at Huffys.  I imagined life cycling through the hills of San Francisco suburbs, and driving Porsches.  His dad was a jeweler.  How romantic.

Life, being contrary and smacking of WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU, had other ideas for me.  I grew up... sort of... got married, became a mother, had lots of good years, went through a few bad ones, and then I really grew up.  I became acutely aware of what is important, and what is not.  I met L, and life granted me a second chance.  For years we spent our evenings walking for miles, or going to the gym, until my body kind of fell apart here and there, and I couldn't put in those miles anymore.  Now we ride our bikes in the evenings.  Schwinns.  (Yes, Schwinns.)  And it's incredibly romantic to have this man cycle around and around a couple of local streets with me until we get our 8 miles in.  Not a lot of conversation during our ride, but he's got my back.  He's always watching to make sure I don't get hit by a car, or that I don't ride into random trash cans because I'm looking at the stars.  Now THAT'S romantic.  It's grown-up-lady-now-I-know-what-life's-about romantic.  It's a good life.

Now, taking a quick turn, I should tell you that yesterday was Lexi's 8th birthday.  We weren't there, of course - at least not physically.  But we were there in spirit.  Only two more weeks until we're there in person.  I did speak to her on the phone, and she chattered happily about everything they had done on her special day.  I told her it sounded like she'd had lots of fun, and she replied "I sure did, Mema."  I love me a happy girl...  So yes, only two more weeks until we get to see this little family:

I'm getting more and more excited every day to see them all.  Look how big Travis has gotten! Skylee has turned into a little girl instead of a toddler, Matthew is a big boy all of a sudden, and Lexi... well, she's just turned into a beauty.  I can't wait.

And then a month and a half later, we'll be on our way to Mesa, AZ to see these two:

Er.... actually, these THREE (but the two girls will hog the attention):

Then it will be Mia's turn to turn 8, have a birthday, and be baptized.  Because they'll have just finished a vacation with Zach's family, they'll be in Arizona - how convenient!  So we'll drive there and commence celebrating the special occasion.  

 It's shaping up to be a busy summer after all.  I'm hoping to also squeeze in a visit to the pair in Texas.  Not sure when yet, but soon... It's just been too long.  So get ready Colorado, Arizona, and Texas.  I'll be along shortly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just Being Me

I've been having a hard time posting about life - possibly because life around here has been stupifyingly normal of late.  No cute kids around to post about, no jetting off with the mister to romantic locations, no real accomplishments to make note of.  I've just been... me.

Me, who worries about what to get little girls for their birthdays.  Me, who sits in a chair at a desk by a window for most of the day doing computer work.  The me who wonders why my hair won't grow faster, or why I'm having such a hard time with this last 15 pounds.  Just like most of you.  We work, we do chores, we talk with family on the phone, we do the things we need to do and that we've always done.  We obsess, as we get older, about our health.  L has had another sore shoulder flareup, and I have had sore knees and ankles (and back, and left hand, and neck, and...)  I've become consumed with finding solutions, and I may have come across something, but I feel a little depressed that it's one of the most exciting things I have to write about.

I haven't done one creative thing in I don't know how long.  I used to paint - did you know that?  When I was a child, all I ever wanted to do was draw, paint, create.  Every day.  Where did that little girl go?  When my children were little I started to paint, and I created all kinds of toys and furniture and...things.  I painted anything and everything almost every day.  Cute little kitchen cupboards for Katie, 3 Bears chairs, toys, gifts for friends and family.  I loved to paint.  I suppose it was started from necessity - I could create gifts rather than buy them - but then it grew into something truly passionate.

And then the kids got bigger, we moved, I didn't have a room that I could devote to painting anymore, and slowly... I just stopped.  I'd paint a thing or two here and there, but lately, every time I start to do something I have the hardest time finishing it.  The joy just isn't there anymore, and I'm not sure why.  I've thought of taking a class, getting some instruction, but I don't even make that move.  And then I saw this quote, and it inspired me to believe that all is well.  Just different.

Perhaps it's just that in different phases of life we have different things that pull at us.  Right now, I am pulled by seeking solutions to my chronic condition, helping my aunt, and being there for my parents.  First and foremost is my health.  I had gotten to a point where my knees were so sore I was having a hard time even riding my bike.  And if I can't ride my bike, what else can I do?  It was a real worry.  I've been buying books and doing any reading I can on essential oils.  I've tried this one and that one, and I think I've finally found the combination of oils that works for me.  I was feeling better but I still had a really sore knee.  One night as L was getting some physical therapy from our PT friend at church, Mike happened to mention that he also had RA.  When I asked him what was helping him he told me that he drinks a tart cherry concentrate every night and that it had really helped.  Now, I've tried millions of things that other people swear by, and not much has worked for me (other than essential oils so maybe my luck is turning!) but I bought a bottle of the stuff from iHerb.com at $24 for 16 oz.  And dang if it hasn't helped!  Tender mercies...  I doubled up on the dosage and have been drinking it twice daily (2 oz in 1 C water) for the past week, and slowly, slowly, my knee pain has subsided.  An added bonus is that it helps you sleep GREAT because it has melatonin.  So.Awesome.  A two-fer solution.

That doesn't sound like much, but it has consumed a lot of research time and brain power (for me, anyway).  So my days have been taken up with work, trips back and forth trying to help my aunt (I'm now supervising her meds), reading a lot, and preparing for our little Sunday class of naughty and rambuctious 9 year olds.  These kids are great, but they tire me out so much I usually need a nap after church!  We give points for accomplishments (learning scriptures from the lesson, participation, etc) and points are converted into Skittles.  Yes.  Skittles.  They are the magic bullet with 9 year olds.  On the last Sunday of the month, it's Skittle Sunday, where they reap the rewards of the good they've done during the month in the form of a bag fillied with however many Skittles they've each earned.  I was amazed at how well it works.  Skittles.  Who knew??
Here and there we fit in a movie or dinner out.  We are a little boring.  It's not a life tailor made for sparkling blog posts, but it's a life filled with problems and concerns that everyone has.  Small joys, tiny victories, then back to the grind.

The first of May is my reward: a trip to Colorado for Lexi's 8th birthday and baptism.  I'll send her American Girl doll off next week for her birthday, and on the first weekend in May we'll set sail for the visit.  We got her a silver locket engraved with an "A" for "Alexis" for her baptism.  It arrived yesterday in a Tiffany blue box, all tied with a white bow.  Wait - it's NOT a Tiffany box - it's just the same color.  I WISH I had the means to buy special gifts for special children from Tiffany's but that's not my reality.  Just didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea...  L and I are just regular folks, but we appreciate pretty details like blue boxes with white ribbons.

In couple of weeks is Easter.  We've been invited to my brother's house for dinner and that will be a nice afternoon.  I miss being with the little ones, though.  I am absent for all of the Easter bunny magic and egg hunts.  Oh sure, I hear about it but I'm not there.  It's not the same, but I think I - like many grndparents - am destined to be a long distance grandma so I just do the best I can to work magic from California.  I sent chocolate eggs to one family, and a spring garden (complete with egg carton planter, heirloom seeds, and soil!) to Mia and Hayden because they've been dying to start a garden.  I also received some Easter treats a little early from Katie:

Takes the sting of not being there out a little bit.  (A very little bit.)  It's the same dilemma over and over - how to grandparent and make a difference from 3000 miles away.  Miss Mia will have her birthday in late June.  I was trying to get out of her what she wanted for her birthday but she couldn't think of anything.  Finally, Katie said that she's been wanting to go camping (I mentioned that I'd sent Lexi an American Girl doll, and Mia looked at me like I was nuts... she is not into dolls.  Could two 8 year olds be more different??)  So L and I sent her a 4 man tent complete with a queen size air mattress so they can go camping.  Unconventional?  Yes.  But she's going to love it.  Our Mia just loves being outside.  When I was talking to her today she had to run outside because she thought she saw a bee.  A bee??  Really? - excited about a BEE??  But then I remembered that after a long cold winter, a bee probably looks pretty good.  As do flowers and vegetables poking their heads up through the soil.  We miss that feeling here in California, where every day is beach weather.

And so we work our way through the seasons.  Four seasons of weather and holidays, and the different seasons of our lives.  I miss at times the season of painting and creating and fun with small children.  But I'm in a different season now, and attention needs to be paid to learning different skills.  Perhaps I'll go down the creative path another day.  That would be nice, as I still look down that road with longing.  As I find balance with each of the issues and demands facing me today, I will then have time to turn to other pursuits - perhaps my painting, or my long-neglected piano - and enjoy them once again.  It makes me smile to think of the possibilities.

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