Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

I like to keep some of my personal life private on this blog. I don't name names generally. There are few family secrets that I will reveal. I do respect the privacy of those actually in my real life. They could get really mad if I cross certain boundaries. And there's that whole piece where I still don't fully trust what's out on the web and don't necessarily like to think about some of the folks who might be on the other side of these posts. Most of you are fine...but there are some that we should all be worried about. So in the spirit of privacy protection and personal boundaries, I want to give some nicknames to the people in my life so that when I do need to talk about them, you will have a better but still vague idea of who they are. This post is devoted to my first born.

Let's call him Leonardo. One of his heroes is Leonardo DaVinci. Most of us think of art and the Mona Lisa when we think Da Vinci but really he was an inventor, scientist, mathematician, botanist, and so much more. He was unbelievably ahead of his time. I learned all about him from my Leonardo. My Leonardo is the smartest kid I know. And I am not saying that because I am his mother and I have to. He really is super smart. But not in the conventional, rock the 3rd grade, cruise through school kind of smart. He doesn't fit the mold of a model student who gets the high grades on everything in effortless fashion. He only tolerates school. He does get good grades, but he struggles with alot of it. His teachers don't view him as exceptional (in the positive sense) within the public school framework. But this kid knows so much more about anything scientific than most adults will ever know in their lives. Any topic: dinosaurs, the periodic table, fossils, space, space travel, electricity, you name it. And not just knowledge on the kid level. He can explain to you the chemical difference between water and hydrogen peroxide (now that I know that one, it's easy to remember, but the point is my 8 year old had to tell me). And the best part is...he loves all this stuff. He truly has a gift for scientific knowledge and understanding which I believe will take him very far. Set aside all his struggles in conventional education and he will knock the scientific socks (or thermal foot protectors, as he might say) off all of us one day. I wait patiently to see where Leonardo takes us.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Mornings

I love early mornings. I get up and have a few minutes alone. I assess the weather. Smell the coffee. Feed the cats. Think about the day to come. And ready myself.

When do you steal moments for yourself?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's Your Friday Funny

Too Funny Friday is a little late today. But the weekend hasn't really started yet has it? Anyway, help me name this photo...give me your comments please! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eating My Words with Relish

I have accumulated a long list of accomplishments in my life. Not a list filled with amazing feats. There are no mountain summits that I have conquered. My list is filled with the normal adult milestones: career, marriage, kids and the like, and is peppered with a few impressive feats, relatively speaking. My list probably looks a lot like yours and most of the people you know. What is remarkable about my list is the number of items on it that were previously on my other list - my "To Never Do" list. I didn't even know I had a list like this. But as I thought about some of the wonderful things in my life, my husband, my kids, my situation, and pondered how I actually got to this point, a recurring soundbite kept surfacing. "I will never...insert just about anything."
This apparently was my mantra for a period of time. I said it frequently. I said it about a lot of things. Those of you who have known me for any length of time probably heard me say it. You might even hear me say it again (I will, as they say, never say never again).

Why was I so sure of what I would not do only to walk right up and sign up for those personal taboos, one right after another? My answer: I clearly had no idea what I was talking about. Put them all in the category of NEI (Not Enough Information). The hubris of youth had the better of me. How do I know that my negative proclamations were uninformed and naive? Simply, I have no regrets about failing to maintain the Never List items. I am so happy I dated him again; how else would we have married and created these two wonderful boys? How else would I have the ability to channel my mother's and her mother's words of wisdom that somehow spew out of me without my conscious approval? How else would all of this be happening if my path had not been diverted, refined even, by my failure to remain the same? Thank God things change.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hey! You Get Off of My Cloud!

Shutter Sisters brought the clouds to my attention this morning. I don't usually pay much mind to them unless they have been around too long and in too great of numbers. Here are few shots that did catch my eye. I will be looking at clouds more often now.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too Funny Friday

Welcome to the inaugural posting of "Too Funny Friday". In creating this weekly, humor-themed posting, I am attempting to add some structure and routine, albeit, unpredictable and hopefully surprising. So login each Friday and see what funnies come your way.

And YOU have an active role in this...help me name my photos each week. Leave a comment with your best title for this shot. Let's start off the weekend with a good laugh! I can't wait for you to make me laugh too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Take a leap

To answer my own question of a few posts ago: No, I am not comfortable. I have pushed myself on something farther than I realized and now it's getting tough. Now is when the real work begins. I thought I had already done the hard stuff, but I was wrong. Or maybe my intuition is telling me that the path I am on is not the right one for me right now. I feel out of balance and I need restoration. I'll work it out by listening to my gut. What feels right? Whichever path I choose, I must make a move, take a leap, rev my engine and go...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Artful Life

Life is art and art is everywhere in life. Just look. Just shoot.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are you comfortable?

I am nine weeks into my sixteen week training for the half-marathon that I will run in May. I ran the same race last year but did not really train. My preparation last year consisted of about twelve weeks of consistent running about 3 times a week, slowing increasing my weekly mileage to a point where I could run 10-12 miles in one go. I think I had run 14 miles once before the race last year. I did this with the support of a great friend who ran all those miles alongside me. She ran these slow, sometimes painful miles with me even though she is a much more experienced runner and could easily run faster, longer and harder than I was capable of. She likes to help people and has a gift of quiet encouragement. Thanks, LP!

Now LP and I, along with another great friend, KB, are training, really training for the same race. I say really training for a few reasons. One, we are actually following an established half-marathon training regimen. Two, we each have set time goals. Three, I either am running, thinking about running, planning a run, or talking about running most of the time.

This training is all encompassing but I have made it that way because I am loving it! I am amazed almost every run these days with what I am able to do. Now, don't think I am in any way an elite athlete. Let's lay out the facts:
I am a 40-something mother of 2 children.
I have never been athletic in my life.
My legs are so short that they propel me at all is a feat of physics.
I never liked to run.
I don't like to get sweaty because that just leads to the need for showering again which is an issue for me due to my thick, coarse, unruly hair that doesn't agree with daily washings.

So you see the odds are stacked against me being an elite athlete. But in my own little world of running, I am Pheidippides. I run like the wind. I am my own butterfly effect, changing forever the notion of what my body is capable of.

All this may sound over the top and even a bit nauseating to many of you, but you runners will understand. For the rest, if you've ever committed to something that was hard and took as much out of you as it gave back and if you've finally seen results and wanted to try harder just to get more and if you doubted your abilities only to prove yourself wrong and if you've pushed yourself past your comfort zone to then realize that those comfort boundaries were placed too close from the start, you understand too.

What are you doing to reset your comfort boundaries?

The Dichotomy That is My Sons

My sons are polar opposites to one another. Their personalities are so different. These differences don't necessarily pop out at you during the normal course of the day. They share similar interests: Legos, riding bikes, playing anything StarWars, Nintendo and the like. But when things get tough (or even a little bit out of the ordinary), their true selves are more exposed. Take yesterday for example. My husband has been working longer hours lately and many mornings is out of the house before the guys wake up. After several days of this, the first words out of Son 1's mouth was "Is Dad still here?" Upon hearing the disappointing answer, he begins his morning of woe. Moaning, pouting, the "headache" and the "I don't want to go to school" mantra begin, etc. This child likes his people around him, not where he can't see them and know they are safe. Son 2 basically paid no attention to anyone in (or out of) the house and set to rebuilding his Lego from the night before.

After breakfast and the other morning preparations, Son 1 was still distraught about Dad's absence. So we talked. We talked about being supportive and strong during this time at Dad's work. We talked about how it is okay to miss our loved ones when they are not around, but we still must function. They want us to. We talked about many things. So Son 1, pulls it together, decides all is well, and that he will go to school, but he will take with him a "squeezy, stress ball" to assist if needed. Life can proceed as normal now.

Son 2, hearing this, decides to take some stress relievers with him as well. His pockets are then crammed to capacity with random Legos and other objects within his arm's reach. As he stuffs a rock in his pocket, he pats his thigh and proclaims, "Good, I've got my rock in case anybody dies today." Now, I am not sure how the rock would be used in response to an unexpected death, but my five-year-old clearly had a purpose in mind.

As if in slow motion, I look from Son 2 to Son 1 and see Son 1's face change from a calm face of resolve to a strickened look of mortal fear. I could almost read his thoughts: "I'm going to need more than my squeezy, stress ball today." So again, we talked. And, we got back to our happy place.

On the way to school in an effort to keep us in the happy place, I started a challenge to name all the good things in our lives. In order of their delivery, here's the short list of how things in the boys' lives shake out:
Son 1: Coming home from school
Son 2: Going to school
Son 1: Being home
Son 2: Being at school
You get the idea. At drop-off, both boys exited the car, in different degrees of contentment: one knowing that he only had 6.5 hours of torture to endure and the other knowing he had 6.5 hours of rapture to enjoy. And I drove away to live my 6.5 hours of both.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I have blogger's block. Is that a thing? I think so. I don't have much to say so I'll just post some more images and let them do the talking. These are images I took about 15 years ago. I found them, in the 35mm slide format, and scanned them tonight.
Watching planes at dusk
Ready and waiting
Going up
Spinning Wheel
Red Wall
Hitching Post

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Saturday

Kids are funny... and even funnier when you morph their sweet little faces with your camera.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Self-Portrait Tag

Shutter Sisters started a game of tag. The rules are easy:

1. Sit down.
2. Take a picture of yourself right now. don't primp, just snap one!
3. Upload it.
That's all!

When you're done posting it to your blog or wherever, share the link in my comments. Would love to see you.

This is me at midnight...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Try to Be Brief

I am shamelessly stealing an idea from another blog. I read recently on The LPM Blog the exercise of summing up your life in six words or fewer. Apparently, this was trend at some point for writers to make meaning of their existence with a half dozen well chosen words. Now that's a challenge! My personal justifications usually become run-on sentences that leave even me bored and still no clearer on my meaning. So I thought I should give this test a try. Here are my first attempts at explaining what I have been doing for the last 40-some years:
"Late bloomer learning more each day"
"Finding humor where it's not expected"
"Enchanted living with my three guys"

These were the first ones that came to mind so I guess I have to stick with them. Go with your intuition, right? Now I switched gears a bit and what came to mind next was a song lyric and amazingly it has six words. At first this didn't hit me as the best summary of me. But after saying it a few times to myself, I kind of liked it. It's wide open to interpretation and is much more mysterious than I really am. So it sticks too. From the wisdom of Led Zeppelin, here I am (and you maybe?) boiled down to a six word roux:
"Livin', lovin', she's just a woman"

Now the rest of that songs' lyrics are not flattering, so don't go there. But the chorus is fine if we uplift the interpretation of the word "just". Oops, there I go again with a run-on...

So I challenge you to share your six word soliloquy. What do you have to say, shortly and sweetly, about who you are, where you've been, where you are going? I can't wait to see what you come up with!