Thursday, April 24, 2014

I was made not for the cold but for the heat.

I dreamed of Hawaii last night. I had to go to Oahu realquick and I was so happy. It was just a small, beachy, tourist town and I was running (as in the exercise) up and down every street just thrilled.

I want to go to there.

I digress. This morning I was sweating in my house, so I figured it was hot out. I was going to work out, so I put on shorts and a t-shirt to walk the dog before I went to the gym. With the change in weather, I'm much happier being outside and I enjoy feeling like a good mom and taking the kids to the park or for a walk after school. Today I thought, "I think I'll get the kids and we'll go for a walk at the Laguna after school. It'll be great!"

Alas, it didn't happen. I walked outside, and it was cloudy with a cool breeze. Screw that. I hate being cold. We weren't going to the park.

It was 66 degrees.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not a Word from Your Sponsors

Saturday night, you could see the following type of exchanges happening on facebook for those of us in Santa Rosa:
Does anyone know why [highway] 12 is closed?
I heard there was a big accident.
Yeah, a bad crash with 2 fatalities. (links to local paper's website)
Oh, man. That sucks.  end scene, go on with your night
Sunday morning, those of us at church arrived to find out that those "fatalities" were our friend, Sue Hufford, and her mother-in-law, Sharon. I'm not going to recap the whole thing here, but they were killed (hopefully) instantly when their stopped car was crushed by a truck going 60mph driven by a young man who was high and looking at his phone at the time. Her husband and father-in-law were taken to the hospital with injuries, but they lived.

I cannot claim to have been close to Sue, so my pain is only a fraction of the pain of her many students, mentees, closest friends, and family. But we liked each other a lot. We were co-leaders (called "sherpas" in our church youth group) of a group of 12-21 (depending on the week) high school girls about 4 years ago.
Our silly group, with Sue being the non-redheaded adult there on the left. We made our shirts, which say "HOLLA" big with (lujah) underneath. We thought they were REAL funny. Some of the girls are also making the Michael Nunan stinkface. 
Sue was quiet, especially when you first met her. Her closest friends may have seen her differently, but I always thought she was quiet. It surprised me that she wanted to work with high school girls, and also that she was an elementary school teacher. I felt like she was such a real adult compared to me. She wasn't very silly that year, and I often thought she didn't like me. (We won't discuss the game involving plastic wrap and a furniture dolly which sent her to the hospital that first night of youth group.)

Over the years, Sue and I chatted from time to time about how she and her kids were doing, but it was really after I became a foster parent that I think we connected more. She was always happy to hear about what was going on in our new lives as parents. In this past year, I had a number of really nice but short times with her. I saw her smile more than I'd had call to in the past. At our women's Open Mic night last year, I would have been thrilled if she really had been the one who could cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West in the game of To Tell the Truth that she participated in, and she awed us all with her talent when she played a few songs on the violin. Why were we surprised that a music teacher was so talented?

We sat and talked at her youngest's graduation party, and ran into each other at The Human Race, where she was raising funds for her salary like a sort of missionary of elementary music. Just the week before she was killed, I got to sit with her twice at different events. I sat with her and Jay at the Eagle ceremony for a young man from church. Even though she was wearing an Eagle Scout shirt from when one of her sons had achieved it, we knew each other well enough that I could lean over and mutter, "This is SO not my thing!" and she just laughed and said, "Yeah, it's a bit over the top." When I showed up for the first practice for Easter choir, I was so happy to see that she was there. She sat by me and, again, I was impressed by her talent and was glad to know that I could sit by her each week and be sure I had the right notes since I'm not a good music reader. We weren't close, but she was my friend and I'm just so sad.

There has been a tremendous outpouring of support and love and even outrage expressed over how they were killed. So many people have shared the news stories, even people who never met her, because it was a tragedy that didn't need to happen. This is good. I suppose that's a way that her death won't have been completely pointless: if people will stop texting and driving and be more aware; if other lives can be saved. A lesson can be learned. I know. I know this is important, but it also hurts a little bit. Amid all the "sorry for your loss"es and "can't we put away our phones?" I just want to yell "DON'T YOU GET IT! THIS IS HORRIBLE. MORE HORRIBLE THAN THAT! SHE WAS OUR FRIEND AND NOW SHE'S DEAD! SHE'S MORE THAN YOUR PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!" I'm afraid that her kids will heal hardened instead of tender. I'm afraid that I'll never see Jay smile and cracking a joke like he was every single time I ever saw him before this.

I know. I know. I'm being unreasonable. Maybe all humans are kinesthetic learners: we have to touch something and feel it before we can learn it. Our behavior isn't going to change until something is personal, and I hope that the degrees of separation between these deaths and you are few enough to do that for you. Personally, I have changed my phone behavior in the car, so I'm receiving the message, too. I can't make you cry for my friend, but I will accept that you have been affected by her story and will honor these deaths by changing your behavior and encouraging those around you to do the same. Let's do a better job of taking care of each other, okay?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Keep Christmas With You...

If you now have a sad Sesame Street Christmas song running through your head, you're welcome.

This was my #365grateful picture from yesterday, and I know that may be weird. I noticed my feelings on this when we went to a friend's house and they had their naked Christmas tree on the porch, ready to go away, and it made me happy to see it. It didn't make me sad, but happy. And then, when I saw these trees outside our apartment, leaning against the dumpsters, it still didn't make me sad. Perhaps that's just how much power Christmas & it's traditions have on me: even stripped of decoration and discarded, these trees have the power to make me smile. I love Christmas a lot, and it makes me sad that stores start the season artificially early, so that most people are ready to chuck it all out the door on the 26th. But the 12 Days of Christmas starts on Christmas. Today is Epiphany, when we celebrate the Magi bringing their gifts to baby (or possibly toddler) Jesus. I'm not ready for it to be over, but I'm not sad, either.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Boom boom God God King Boom Boom

Find a word you know how to spell and stick with it.
'Tis the 2nd day of the year and I am grateful. Sleep was no more kind to me last night than the night before, so by this evening I was feeling desperate for something to be thankful for. Not that it wasn't a nice day, because I was outside and walked 4 miles with my kids and one of their friends. That was...pleasant from time to time. Also extremely annoying. But I live somewhere beautiful where it's not too cold to go for a long walk in short-sleeves in January. Huzzah! But being with three 3rd graders for a few hours can make this new mom a bit "Hulk Smash!" at the end of the day. But But But

Thankfully, my kids are adorable. They both wrote songs and performed them for me. H's song had lots of hand movements: that last BOOM really gets thrown at you. It's powerful. B's song had lots of God and maybe two notes. He's a tender little monkey. They're both creative and loving and not shy. It can be a lot of fun.

I almost feel a little barfy/overly touchy-feely by having two days in a row be thankfulness about my kids. Even after 2.5 years, this whole Mom thing hasn't completely settled into my skin yet, but that's what this project is about. I'm taking a look at things in my life and really noticing them. Noticing what makes me happy, how much they're worth, and how I'm being changed.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Grateful for the Year

It's January 1st, and I haven't blogged in months, so of course I'm going for it today. I saw a video about this project called 365grateful, and it moved me. The woman talks about how just looking for one thing every day to be thankful for changed so much: her appreciation of nature, her kids, God, and the way she looked at her husband.

I've tried the daily blogging before, and it worked for a while. I'm not expecting to keep it up every day, but the goal will keep me writing more than without it.

Today has been a rough day. Even though we didn't party last night, we were all up late and we're all tired. There are four days left until the kids go back to school, and I'm nearing the end of my fuse. So seeking out something specific to be grateful for and write about was important to me.

I wanted to go for a very short run, and the kids needed to get some energy out, so we all went across the street to the park. I ran with the dog, and Seth stayed with the kids while they played.

When I came back, they were playing with two boys, running, dragging each other, and throwing a Frisbee. I'm thankful for the energy and spirit of my kids, even on the days when I'm afraid it's going to kill me. I'm thankful for their openness and ease in making friends, even if they never find out their names or follow any sort of manners or adult-recognizable social code in the process.