06/01/2013

Re-imagining history Balance Stories

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“You walk very fast.” I hear the words at the same time a wet nose bumps my calves. I turn to find an older woman walking on the trail next to me. I had slowed down to text a friend briefly when she unexpectedly popped in to my path during my walk. She smiles, “I wasn’t able to catch you until now. It’s why I said something. Usually I’m way ahead of everyone but you walk as quickly as I do.”

We enjoy a nice chat as I pace along side her. I explain that I used to run but now walk because of my bad knees. She confesses she used to run marathons and was unsure about this walking business but really enjoys it. We both agree we can’t run to save our lives now and not ironically, that’s when she asks if I’ve seen the coyotes. We both agree perhaps we should carry pepper spray.

It’s about ten minutes, my time with her, this older woman in her late fifties? Early sixties? She has amazing legs and a warm, kind, lovely face. I think she never wore makeup and I identify with this. I ponder myself at her age, if I would still be walking on this trail. Would I let myself be natural and light and would I still talk lightly to another woman, a stranger?

She graciously explains she has dinner guests coming soon so she must turn here but he will keep a look out for me in the future. She tells me her name and I tell her mine. We wave as we part.

Something about her strikes me. Lately I’ve been so flustered at work. I feel so tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed. There are both wonderful, and challenging, parts of life right now and desperation consumes the harder times and a flood of light fill the good ones.

06/01/2013

Shoot, dribble, or pass Travel

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Many many years ago, in a small, reasonably priced apartment in Bellingham, my before-husband told me a story from his childhood about decision making. He played basketball at the church league up the street from his house during his Elementary and Jr. High years. Being a somewhat shy kid, he never had the confidence on the court that could allow him to succeed among other sweaty 10 year olds. The pressure of the ball being tossed at him was sometimes too much and he’d freeze, or just take off running like Forest Gump, forgetting all main facets of the game; namely that you have to bounce the ball whilst running and throw it at a high hoop thingy. I don’t know the details of the rules, really. I wasn’t there.

His dad used to coach the team and would watch incredulously as his eldest son choked every time the ball was passed to him. “Look, son,” he said with a coach tone and fatherly wisdom, “don’t think too much. You just gotta shoot, dribble, or pass.”

This story was relayed to me a month before I moved back to Texas in 1998 which alternated the course of my life forever. The decision had been a laborious one and on that night I repeated, “You gotta shoot, dribble or pass” to myself a hundred times until I stopped thinking and decided to move.

Green Park

Fifteen years later, while strolling along the Queen’s walk in London this afternoon, I’m listening to Bossypants by Tina Fey (henceforth known as my new BFF “TF” because we’re tight like that) and she relays a similar lesson from her past.

08/09/2012

50 Shades of Seattle Travel

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“Oh, you’re from Seattle? You’re so lucky!”

This is coming from the Delta ticketing agent in Detroit. It’s been raining for weeks and it’s the end of June.

“Yes, I suppose, why?”

“Have you ever read fifty shades of Gray? Christian is from Seattle!”

I roll my eyes and try to be patient when I explain, in very slow words, “He.  Is.  Not.  Real.”

03/09/2012

The stars at night are big and bright Travel

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I’m a native Texan. That is to say, my mother went through 48 hellish hours of labor (thanks, Mom!) so that I could be born in to this world, and the place she endured said pain is Texas City, Texas. She told me, when I was little, she choose that particular place for me to be born because it was easy to remember. Also because she had flown from a town very difficult to say correctly (Bayrouth, Germany) and it made a lot more sense, what with my dad loving Texas and all.  I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in between those tall tales and the one where my Grandmother happened to live near a hospital in Texas City, Texas, at the time and my mother and father needed a place to stay after returning to the states from many years over seas. I come from a long line of story tellers

I am sitting now under the starry night looking directly at Orion’s belt. I am drinking German beer, not because I found it at the local World Market, but because it came from the (supermarket) two blocks from where I sit. There is a church tower around the corner that dates from 1591. I am in Nuremberg. Or Nürnberg, if you’re a local. I hear the Germans on the street below and I am surrounded by the fresh smell of my laundry, the only hint of home that wafts in the dark in the breeze.

water

I am oddly home.

I have a sense of nostalgia here. It’s as if I’ve lived this life here, or one very similar, in other times. I am lost, in present day, unable to fully communicate except with broken pieces of German. It’s comical, really, when someone walks up to me and I say, “Hallo!” and they say, “Hallo,” and I exchange light talk, “Gruße Grote!” They begin to ask a question and I shake my head, “um.. uh.. er… uh, do you know English?” They laugh kindly, either nodding yes or no, and we smile awkwardly as I admit I am not really from here however much I sometimes forget that fact.

Celebrating Life this Holiday Season

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“Everything changes in third grade, Bud.” My wise eight year old is schooling her five year old brother. “You don’t get a Big Buddy anymore at school. YOU ARE the Big Buddy.”

These words hit something in my memory. I flash to a month after my Grandmother’s death (something I’ve talked about before) and I remember my mom saying to me, “It’s so weird to not have a mom. Now I *am* the mom.”

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She passed away this month, too, but I try not to think of that date. Instead, when I think of my grandmother, I do so on this day, her LIFE day.

It wasn’t until my early twenties, after my Grandfather passed that I came to know her better and it wasn’t until after her death I realized how alike we are. My Grandmother was a traveler, a writer, a hard worker. She enjoyed the company of girlfriends and her family. She struggled with depression and a need to please everyone. She wore class and kindness the way some women wear pearls.

That last bit, I’m still working toward.

09/07/2012

Live in the Pause Travel

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Hello! Salutations! How are you, anyhow?

It’s been a while and I’ve missed you all.

I’m in England this week. It’s funny, in a “I guess you had to be there” sort of way, but I spoke up to the Taxi Driver this morning in a British accent without realizing it. In fact, I accidentally spelled REALISING it just now until spell check let me know I’m a bloody american.

Acclimation is my middle name.

The forgotten ones Parenting

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“Don’t let them see me!” “Does the door lock?” “Don’t let anyone in.”

buddy

My son has yelled this in anxiety during many many wardrobe changes. He wears a rash guard in the pool so nobody can see his “boobies.” He hides his tummy from close friends because, “They will laugh at me.”

I do not know where he gets this stuff.

No, really.

Endings and Beginnings

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Friday was our last day at the pre-school we’ve been attending for five years. No, our child hasn’t failed pre-school four years running. This school provide pre-K from 3-5 and Kindergarten for 6 yr olds. Both of our children have been at this school.

There are other families in the same boat and I see them at the little concerts and plays. They watch their children with a camera and compare the same production to the previous four. There are four of us families, no, five, and our children have grown up together. And Friday was the very last day we will go to this school.

I picked this school one day, which I remember vividly, when my daughter was two. We were looking at options because I was going to drive her to Canada and drop her off to live with a flock of geese and she was going to write terrible poetry about me to her therapist in a few years if we didn’t find a solution to our “situation.”

That “situation” was that I thought I could do the whole “stay at home” good mom thing and turns out, at six months pregnant with my second, I was deep in to “no way in hellfire.” It turns out I probably could have stuck it out and managed somewhat (as this video proved) but I had already reached out to this preschool on that dreadful day of desperation.

I won’t tell you the details of the tens of schools we visited, but I will tell you that this one school we went, set in a small farm house, was “the one.” They always say you’ll just know and we both knew. The teacher was my savior that day. The school was a perfect fit. The acre of outdoor play would possibly fulfill my daughter’s energy requirements after living in our tiny condo.

Perception is Reality

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“I’m mad at Miss Teacher. She always makes me come in from the rain last.”

I look at my young son. He turns five in a month. F-I-V-E. He is timeless like my sister, always thousands of years younger than reality. He has ideas now. He has opinions. He is wrong a lot.

“I don’t think that sounds right, Buddy.” I look at him in the rear view mirror. “No! It is! I was upset because my best friend gets to come in and shut the door and I have to stand out in the rain. Miss Teacher said that I have to be last and I have to stand in the rain before I come in.”

Obviously I know this is not right. It can’t be. This same teacher he is speaking of is the one who soothes my young son when I don’t meet his unrealistic expectations of picking him up every day right after lunch. She’s the one who tells him I am at work, I still love him, but I will come as soon as I possibly can. She’s been in our lives for five years now: two children through preschool. She knows us. We know her.

She’d never make my son stand in the rain last.

04/07/2012

Based On A True Story. Or Not. Stories

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I’m sure you’ve read this story. Like a lot of the trends in the world I tend to be one of the last to catch up. So when I saw the picture of the black lab sleeping on a sofa with a heart felt story attached, I read it.

reggie

I’m a sucker like that.

I read the entire post*. I teared up at the end. It was a lovely story, I had to share this. I clicked “Share” when I realized I should check my facts first.

One google search and I found out this wasn’t a true story at all.