Thursday, August 28, 2014

Together

I had a meeting with a donor this week and she mentioned how glad she was that her work from home husband finally got some office space away from the house.  I mentioned this to my boss yesterday and he sympathized.  His wife would hate it if he were home and underfoot all the time.

I am amazed by this.  These aren't unhappily married couples.  I've seen both pairs together and they're quite happy.  But every morning that Nick is home and I'm headed off to work, he practically begs me to call in sick.  And trust me I'd REALLY love to!  I love my job.  I REALLY love my job.  I work long hours and take it home at night and on weekends and that's just fine with me.  I obsess over my work in the middle of the night--it's what keeps me up much more than worrying about, well, anything else really.  It's a great job and I wouldn't trade it for any other (maybe a promotion or a raise would be nice but even without them, I'm perfectly happy).  But I would so love to spend all day every day home with my husband.  Or out with him.  Or whatever!

When I was living in Kansas City and he would visit, he would come to work with me and sit in a spare cube all day.  When we lived in San Diego, I often spent entire weekends at Sea World, not riding the rides or seeing the animals, but hanging out by whatever ride he was working.  When he worked at the San Diego airport I would go with him on Saturday AND Sunday nights, sit in the food court (right by the Starbucks) and he'd sit with me in between flights and on his lunch hour.  If we can't stay home together, we'll go to work together.  Of course, this was all before we had kids.  I couldn't spend a weekend at the airport now and definitely couldn't get away with not fully exploring Sea World.  We often joke about finding a job where we can both work from home.  Or maybe one day when the kids are on their own, I'll get a job as a flight attendant and we'll travel the country together on the same flights.  I really can't think of a better way to spend my days than with the one person I enjoy most in life.  I'm absolutely thrilled that he enjoys me as much as I enjoy him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Denver

It was December 2002.  I’d been invited to go on a cruise with my then boyfriend (now husband) and his family for Christmas.  I was booked on a flight from Kanas City to Denver and then on to San Diego.  I was still afraid of flying but the excitement of the trip was outweighing my fears.  Also, I hadn't seen Nick in more than three months and had just spent the better part of the last year working out like a fiend and dropping 27 pounds.  In addition, I’d been spending my mornings in the tanning booth so I was a nice golden brown (I know—it’s really just skin damage but I was young and stupid.).  Yes, I looked GOOD! 

I’d planned my airport attire very carefully, wanting to walk off the plane that evening in such a way as to completely turn the heads of every man but most especially, Nick.  I wore a shockingly short tan skirt, black ¾ sleeve turtleneck (a slim cut) and my knee high black boots (my hooker boots—yes).  My hair was piled high on top of my head and put great effort into walking gracefully, sitting gracefully and just generally exuding utter beauty from every place possible.  This was NOT a practical outfit.

Sitting in the terminal in KCI, we were made aware of bad weather in Chicago.  Chicago—who cares?  Well, as it turns out, I did.  Our plane was coming from Chicago and it wasn’t expected to be on time.  I  walked up to the customer service agent, telling myself not to panic.  I was told more or less that I would probably miss my connection, but not to worry, there was a Frontier flight (I was flying United) that I should arrive in plenty of time for. 

Oh, whew!  Great!  He printed off something for me with lots of numbers and letters and said “Here—you’ll need this.”  I went back to my seat feeling much better.  When our delayed flight finally made it, I boarded with only slight nervousness.  Everything was going to be fine.  I’d make it to San Diego in plenty of time.
Or not.

Getting off the plane, there was a gate agent handing out hotel vouchers.  But I didn’t need a hotel voucher.  I had a ticket on a Frontier flight.  I tried explaining this to him but he didn’t seem to believe me. 

“Well, you can try to get over there.”  I would try.  Heading in some direction, I started looking for Frontier.  I was having no luck and time was short.  It was getting late and most things at the airport were closing.  I found a shoe shine man who was packing up his things.

“Excuse me,” I said.  “Can you tell me how to get to Frontier?”

His smile faded quickly to a look of pity.  “Oh…  Head that way—“ he pointed off to the right and I started to walk away.  “No no, you have to listen to me now.  Head that way, get on the train—“ a TRAIN?  As soon as I heard that I knew I would get lost.  I did my best to remember his directions and took off running—no easy feat in my hooker boots.  On my way to the train, I dug out my cell—nearly dead but I called Nick and left him a message with my new flight details.   I would make it—just keep believing it.
On the train, I finally relaxed.  Mostly because there was no other option.  We were packed in like sardines but I found a place to hold on and stand up.  I tried calling Nick again—no signal on the train.  I checked my watch—I had maybe 25 minutes.

Getting off the train I ran through the terminal, doing my best to remember the shoe shine man’s direction.  Finally I make it.

“Is this for San Diego?” I ask in a heaving breath.

“You just made it!”  The gate agent is taking my bag, my coat, asking for my ID.  I practically strip as they search me for who knows what.  I must have looked a fright—completely disheveled.  I’m sure I looked like a security risk of some kind.  But I’d made it!

Or not.

“Where’s your ticket?”  She asked.  I handed over the piece of paper I’d gotten in Kansas City.  “This isn't a ticket.”

“What?  What do you mean?”  I explained to her what had happened.  She’s typing furiously into her computer, shaking her head.  I started to panic.  Tears welled up and I paid them no mind.  What she’s telling me makes no sense.   I do not, in fact, have a seat on this plane.  I am not reserved.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200. 

I’m crying freely now.  Another gate agent has joined us and is trying to reassure me.  “It’s just one night in Denver.  It’s nice here.”

“I HATE DENVER!” I hissed at her.  I have lost all manners.  I was not polite.  I was not forgiving.  I was making an absolute scene.   Finally, the first gate agent says:

“Well, we can put you on the plane but your bags won’t make it.”

“That’s OK!”  I was suddenly cheerful.  My bags and coat are thrown back at me and the gate agent walked me down the jet way to the plane.  I was so grateful.  I thanked the gate agent over and over in between blubbering sobs. 

As I get on the plane, the flight attendant took my bag from me and pointed to the aisle seat in the first row.  I hurried to get my seat belt on.  They had actually held the plane for me.  I looked around and EVERYONE was staring.  The flight attendant leaned down and whispered to me.  “Do you need a drink?”

I just nodded and continued sobbing.  The internal monologue in my head was berating me for my behavior.
‘Stop it!  Stop crying!  You’re on the plane.  What’s the matter with you?’

But I just couldn’t stop.  I was sitting next to a little boy and his mom and I heard her whisper “Don’t stare!”  But everyone was still staring.  I was still blubbering.  The plane finally took off.  I had been using an airplane drink napkin as a Kleenex and it had long stopped working.  My makeup was completely cried off.  My hair was falling.  My eyes were red and puffy and now I was a snotty mess too.  At least my hooker boots were still on!

After I finally calmed down, a nice elderly lady sitting across the aisle put her hand on my arm.  “Are you ok?”  I relayed the entire incident and realized everyone was listening, even the flight attendant.  They were all so sympathetic!  I would have thought that since they were all now delayed because of me that I’d have gotten annoyed comments or harsh sentiments.  But they were all “Oh, you poor thing!”  Maybe Denver wasn't so bad after all. 

After half an hour or so, I was finally able to calm down and stop my blubbering.   I took out a mirror to try to salvage some of my hard fought outer glam.  It was hopeless.  The makeup was long gone.  Puffy red eyes, every blemish showing.  My hair had fallen from its once perfectly curled pile to dangling stringiness. 
Thankfully, when I got off the plane, none of this mattered to Nick.  He was there—just as I knew he’d be—to hold me and let me cry out the frustration and relief.  Of course, my luggage hadn’t made it.  When we went to his house, I finally got to meet his grandmother—my roommate for the cruise.  She’d said she wanted to go to Sea World the next day—Nick was working there at the time and could get us free tickets.  Would I like to go.  Well, sure!  But…


I had no clothes.  I had no makeup.  I had nothing.  Tossing the impractical outfit I’d worn all day into the wash and borrowing pajamas, I finally was able to rest.  The next morning, I put it all back on (hooker boots included) and spent the day completely inappropriately dressed for Sea World.  At least I’d made it.  My luggage was soon to follow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pedicures for Turkeys

I got a pedicure yesterday (ok, so I was trying to induce labor--it didn't work) so my feet are now pretty and swollen as opposed to just swollen.  I've always found feet to be pretty disgusting.  Just ask my friend Amy who was forever putting her feet on me when we were younger just to annoy me, or my dad who was always trying to find a way to put his foot in my ear (long story).  Feet=gross!  Pedicures are actually hard for me to sit through but that's mostly because my feet are really ticklish.  It's generally a pleasant process interspersed with moments of absolute torture.

This week I'm working my way through yet another Max Lucado book, Grace where he's talking about how good deeds don't get us into Heaven and salvation was paid for by Jesus and a debt we owed but He didn't (same old stuff, different book but always worth hearing).  The part I read this morning told a story of a women who was driving along when suddenly a frozen turkey landed on her car, smashing her windshield and shattering most of the bones in her face.  The teen prankster was eventually caught and prosecuted, but the astonishing part of the story was his punishment.  This woman would never look in the mirror again without seeing the effects of what he had done to her.  She was in incredible pain and forever changed.  Yet this young man got a very light sentence.  Even more astonishing was that despite the public outcry,  the victim was the one who suggested a light sentence.  She forgave him.

Max then went on to talk about the part of the last supper when Jesus washed the disciples feet.  He was basically saying that Jesus was cleaning the ugly stinky parts of his disciples and he went through the list of all of them who were selfish or prideful or some other undesirable character trait at some point.  James and John wanted special treatment, Peter would deny Him, Judas...well, we all know about Judas.  Anyway Max then suggested that we all have turkeys in our lives--a spouse, a boss, a friend, someone who treats us poorly when we don't deserve it.  What should we do about it?  Wash their feet!  This woman had washed the feet of her teen turkey thrower just as Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples, just as we are to wash the feet of the turkeys in our lives.

I have a couple of turkeys who particularly plague me and I'm trying to figure out just how I might go about washing their feet.  It's all symbolic, right?  I'm not actually going to touch ANYONE'S feet.  But doing something nice for them, forgiving them for being stupid (ok ok, so that's NOT exactly the lesson here), something like that.

But then I realized something very different about the disciples--at least in the way they are portrayed in the Bible, they would all agree that they were being turkeys.  Peter cried his eyes out after the rooster crowed.  Judas hanged himself for goodness sake!  I think we can all agree that they are being turkeys. But the turkey's in my life would strongly disagree that they are in fact, turkeys.  In addition, the disciples all agreed that their feet were dirty and needed cleaning.  These turkeys, I think, like their dirty feet.  What do you do when the turkey doesn't want his or her feet washed?

Now, I'm not talking about a turkey who has dirty feet, is willing to let me wash them but then walks right back in the mud.  That's an easy answer--you keep washing the feet.  That's what Jesus would say, right?  No, I'm talking about turkeys who like their feet dirty.  I don't think Christ's message would be the same if he'd had to wrestle the disciples to the ground and forcibly scrub their toes.  Can you imagine?

"Just hold still a minute!  Stop squirming!  Your feet are filthy!"  I say that to my children but I didn't see anything like that described at the Last Supper.  They might have felt unworthy but in the end, all gave up their dirt freely.  These turkeys don't seem to want their feet washed.  For example, I bring in a nice cake and give it to my turkey.  "Thought you'd enjoy this."

"I'm trying not to eat carbs," said the turkey.

I bring in the mail for my turkey, saving him a trip to the mailbox.

"I was trying to keep the clutter off of my desk," said the turkey.

So, what can I do?  How does one respond to the call to love thy neighbor (wash thy neighbor's feet) if that neighbor doesn't want to be loved (or have their feet washed)?  I don't think it would go over well if I to chase my turkeys around with a basin and a wash cloth.  I really think these turkeys would rather I just leave them alone.  All I can think is that if Jesus were here having this chat with me that He would tell me to pray that God would soften their hearts.  So I supposed I'll stop chasing turkeys around, keeping the pedicures for myself for now.  Unless anyone out there has a better idea.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Not Today

I was so hoping to be posting the details of my weekend labor.  Not so much.  I keep telling myself that it's only 39 weeks.  I'm not overdue.  But I FEEL overdue.  I feel like I should be heading to the hospital any day now.

We tried every trick in the book--spicy food, lots of walking, even a bumpy hayride at the peach orchard yesterday.  Nothing.  Today, more walking and more spicy food.  When I went in for my weekly appointment this afternoon I was fully expecting SOMETHING to happen.  Another centimeter (already at 3) more effacement (just 60%) my water breaking during the exam--ANYTHING to tell me that today is the day.

Nothing.

Well, maybe tomorrow.  I have a pedicure planned to help things along.  Keep your fingers (and toes and anything else you can) crossed!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nick and Jane

Jane Austen was someone that my high school creative writing teacher told me that I would love.  He was right.  While I can't say that I've read all of her books, I've read quite a few.  Sense and Sensibility is my favorite.  I loved the movie when it came out and loved the book even more.

Nick loves a good period film and generally all things British.  We've watched every Simon Pegg movie (and I really love Hot Fuzz), Iron Lady, The Queen and dozens of others.  I suggested watching my favorite Austen movie earlier this week.  After World's End last weekend, I could stand for some intelligent film.  I wasn't surprised that he enjoyed it.  After all, it did star Hugh Grant, whom Nick often refers to as "charmingly befuddled".  Indeed he was in this movie.  Now that he's see this movie, I dared to suggest Pride and Prejudice last night.  But, not to push my luck too far, I also said that 2 Guns was also an option (a nice, violent, guy movie).  Much to my surprise and delight, and after very little consideration, he said he'd rather watch Pride and Prejudice.  What?  What wife could ever hope to be so lucky!

He loved Elizabeth Bennet and her quick and witty tongue and we were both charmed by Mr. Darcy and his reluctant esteem for this Miss Bennet.  Both so affable!

It's a rainy day today in Philadelphia so we have no specific plans (other than maybe attempting to induce labor).  We've explored the options on Netflix and both Emma and Mansfield Park are available to watch instantly.  I'm not sure which of the two of us is more excited .

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Uncle Danny

My brother-in-law recently cut his hair.  You might not think that's saying much but until a few days ago, when describing Dan to just about anyone, I would have said that he looks like every picture I've ever seen of Jesus.  Full beard, long (very long) flowing brown hair, blue eyes and tall.  Dan is the only 6'7 person I know where his height isn't necessarily the first thing you notice about him...but then again, he is THE only 6'7 person I know.

Dan is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  It's no surprise that our girls get more excited to see Uncle Danny than they do their own father.  Let's face it--Dad's lots of fun, but Uncle Danny is much more funner.  He does cool things like surf and ride a skate board (Dad can do these things too, but they always seem to forget that).  Uncle Danny has a dog.  We all remember what a disaster it was when WE had a dog.  Uncle Danny (and Aunt Meagan too) buys them really cool presents like marshmallow guns and bunny hats.  No one else does that.

Despite his gentle nature and kind heart, complete strangers might cross the street when they see him coming or at least be a little frightened.  Perhaps that misguided habit might change now that his once three-foot long tresses are down to a mere 12 inches.  It was a big shock for me when I learned that he'd cut his hair.  It's been this long for many years.  I was far less shocked, however, when I learned that he'd donated it to Locks of Love.  Well, of course he did.

Dan, you're a braver person than I.  My one and only Locks of Love donation happened just after Ivy was born.  I gave 12 inches of my own hair and was left with a shoulder length do that my husband proudly proclaimed was the "mom haircut".  (Note to all fathers--do NOT say this to your wife...EVER.).  Nearly eight years ago, this was my last true haircut.  I've gotten the occasional trim since then but my cautionary tales about hairdressers will have to wait for another post.  It's not that I don't like Locks of Love or respect what they do.  It's just that I like my hair a LOT more.  It's a wonderful thing to donate your hair and after all, it WILL grow back.  I just can't bear to part with mine.  I'm sure a lot of people thought the same thing about Dan.  Oh sure, we thought, he'll cut it SOME day, but not anytime soon.  How wrong we were.

Thank you, Dan for being an example of kindness and generosity to others--especially my children who will look up to you (literally and figuratively) for many years to come (until you're stupid like every other adult in their lives will surely be someday!).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sheldon

I have a friend and former coworker named Sheldon.  He reminds me of my grandmother's old boyfriend, Ed (how many people can say THAT!) mostly because they look the same.  He also reminds me a lot of my dad.  That's for the often predictable yet rarely anticipated sarcasm.  I'd say that Sheldon is interesting, but that's just not doing him justice.  Working with Sheldon was NEVER dull.  He'd say things that would have you doubled over laughing in one breath and things that would make you wonder how he's not yet been fired in the next.

Once we became Facebook friends, the real fun started.

It was a lovely day so I post about the weather.
Me:  Sitting outside enjoying the mid 70's.
Sheldon:  I didn't know you were in your 70's.

I'm eating my daily hard boiled eggs and am having trouble peeling them.
Me:  I hate it when my eggs don't peel.
Sheldon:  I didn't know you were ovulating.

Our dog chewed on EVERYTHING so I post.
Me:  Why does my dog eat sticks?
Sheldon:  It helps them bark!

Then I got pre-emptive:

When driving through several states on our way to Montana, I post at every state line.
Me:  Idaho!  Sheldon--don't say what I KNOW you're thinking.
Sheldon:  Hehehehe.

These are just a few examples of how he lights up my Facebook page.  Now that we don't work int he same office, it's the only way we connect.  And I can honestly say that there are things I almost posted but then deleted in anticipation of what he might say.  It could be that I'm giving him too much credit in those unmade remarks.  But I really don't think so.  Yet every time he posts or doesn't post, I find myself laughing. And if he ever stopped commenting on my post in such a fashion, I'd be worried that he was somehow angry with me. Inappropriate?  Sure.  Rude?  Sometimes.  Funny?  ABSOLUTELY!  I hope he never changes...and I wonder what comments he might post about this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Coffeehouse Mysteries

"Why are you reading that?"  Nick asks, looking at my book.
I frown.  His question is completely ridiculous.  "It's about coffee.  Why wouldn't I read it?"

Now, this isn't Howard Schultze and his building of the Starbucks empire, it's Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mystery series.  THIS is my kind of book!  Not at all the dreaded Twilight series or that horrible Husband's Secret.  Don't get me wrong, it's not winning any literary prizes but it combines two of my great loves--coffee and reading.  GREAT!  Sign me up!  I'm working my way through the series via my library and am on book 8, I think:  Espresso Shot. 

The only troubling thing really is that the series's main character, Claire Cosi, seems to find her way into a disturbingly high number of murders.  She's the owner of a coffeehouse (a very famous one in the book--no idea if it's a real-life reference) and yet somehow murder seems to follow her around.  It's a bit like those Patricia Cornwell novels where the medical examiner keeps finding herself the target of a serial murderer.  She seriously needs to get a new job!  Claire isn't quite so unfortunate--she's not usually the target (though it happens more than once that she's in great peril).

In any case, it's the brain candy I like to indulge in every so often and I've definitely appreciated her tips on making the best coffee.  As fall descends upon me I have quite often found myself craving my own cup of joe while sitting outside reading this book.  In fact, I think I may just go do that!

Home Movies

We've been watching old home movies--the girls call them the Ivy and Iris movies.  It's been fun seeing them when they were babies and thinking how we'll get to do all of this again.  We've found absolute treasures mixed in with the holiday and vacation memories.

"Dad, do you want to play throw the catch?"--Ivy

"Oh WAH TAH!" --Iris  Don't ask me what that means, but she used to say it all the time.

An adorable exchange between Ivy and Nick about Great Grandma Olson's trip to Heaven.

We look at them when they were 1 and 2 and 4 and think how it feels like yesterday that they did these cute things.  And yet still it seems like long ago...

Just this morning, Iris saw my bottle of Tums (a.k.a. pregnant candy for those of you who know) and asked if I had "heart broken".  t was a moment for the camera certainly and reminded me that we really need to take more Ivy and Iris movies...and watch them much more often before these days too are gone.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fall is coming!

Nick and I took the girls to Red Robin for dinner last night.  We had to drive about 45 minutes to get there but it was worth it.  Long gone are the days when we go once or twice a week.  It's been nearly a year since we've been.  As we left the restaurant, I was suddenly reminded of a looming crisis.  We were out of coffee.  I had used up the last of it that morning, having every intention of going to the store on my lunch break (what's a lunch break?).

Fortunately, the crisis was easily averted with a stop off at Shoprite on the way home.  Shoprite is currently my favorite grocery store--they have expectant mother parking.  Finding decent decaf is a challenge here so I often settle for mediocre.  But when it comes to coffee cream, there's really only one suitable option:  Coffee Mate.  Perusing the cream options I nearly picked up creme brulee.  But then, I saw it!  The delicious, aromatic, creamy Peppermint Mocha (cue angelic singing).  This was a sign!  A true sign that fall is coming!

As I sit in my living room this morning, the windows are open.  It's August and 53 degrees outside.  (It's 90 in Phoenix, but not yet 4am there.  Getting up to 105.)  If it's one thing I love about Pennsylvania, it's the weather.  It might get up to 81 today but right now, it might as well be October!  Fall is coming!  I'm ready to pull out my sweaters and boots!  Later today we'll be bar-be-queing in the back yard but for now, I'm going to snuggle up under a blanket, drink my peppermint mocha and enjoy the morning breeze.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What a mess!

The world seems to be falling apart.  I can't keep all of these international conflicts straight.  Palestine and Israel (an old fight); Ukraine and Russia (I think?); Iraq and Isis (not sure who exactly that last one is); and last but not least, looters and the city of Ferguson, MO.  What a mess.

And none of it really makes sense to me.  I can't imagine hating anyone so much that I want to eliminate an entire race of people.  I can't imagine thinking that destroying a city will somehow bring justice to a young man who has gone home to God.  But that's just me.  I know I don't understand it all.  Someone somewhere thinks these fights are worth it.  I have to say that I don't.  Killing other people never feels like the right answer for me.

For all of the extremists who hate Americans, I'd really love to sit down and have a chat over a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer) and try to really understand why you think I'm so awful.  I'd really like to know.  Maybe we can work it out like human beings.

But in the midst of all of this mess I find comfort in knowing that none of it was a shock to God.  He knew it would all happen and He knows exactly how and when it will all end.  And it isn't happening as He sits idly by.
I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. (Ezekiel 39:21)
God's not sitting around going "Where are the American's in all of this?  Where is the national guard?  Why haven't they declared marshall law or armed the rebels?" or whatever.   By the way, I love how no one ever says anything like "Where is Norway in all of this?"  Why is it always us?  That's a post for another day...

Anyway, my point is I'm not worried.  He's got things under control and it's all part of a plan.  I might not like the plan or understand the plan but really, it's not up to me.  It's His plan.  And like it or not, He's going to do what's best for all of us.

I feel better already!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Write about a scent

Years ago, when I was living in Kansas, I fell in love with the library.  Every week I went and checked out as many books as I could carry.  Sometimes I finished them, sometimes not.  I found the cooking section, the writing section, the Christian living section and of course worked my way through the fiction.  Among the many treasures I found a book called A Writer's Book of Days.  It's a book of writing prompts--one for each day.  I loved it so much I found the book at a bookstore and bought it.  I've had it ever since and have gone through periods of time where I faithfully write a page per day.  Today's prompt was to write about a scent.  The idea is to grab the first image that comes to you and just write without thinking too much.  Eventually, what you want to say will turn up on the page.

The first image I had was very distinct. About a year after I had move to California, I'd been laid off of my horrible job and was working as a temp at a medical research facility.  I was hoping they'd hire me so I worked my behind off (my first fundraising job).  One of my duties was to walk from our building to the main campus building and pick up the mail.  As I was leaving the mail building one day, I noticed a very strong smell.  It was a clean smell--like laundry soap.  I looked around for flowers or something but only the huge torrey pines grew tall around me.  Those were horrible trees--they dropped this yellow pollen everywhere in the spring and didn't look like pine trees at all.  More like a cruel mix of pine tree and oak tree.

But what was that smell?  It took months to identify it--it was the ocean.  Just across the street, I couldn't even see it from where I was.  Those horrid trees blocked it's view (that and the country clubs) so that I could only smell what I could not see.  It was the kind of smell that made me want to turn my nose into it and gulp in as much as possible--following it until I could find the source and then roll around in that smell so I could take it with me.

Years later I would find a pale blue candle in a Yankee Candle store labeled "Ocean Breeze".  It was the very same smell--they had captured it in a jar and now I can smell it here--all the way across the country.

Nick said just yesterday how he missed the ocean--especially the beach.  But we're so close!  Let's go to the beach!  They Jersey shore is just hours away if that.  In nearly two years we haven't yet gone.

It's not the same, he says.

Well, why not?  And by the way, how do you know?  We've never gone.

Because, he says.  The Beach Boys and the Jersey Boys are not the same.

Surely not.  Perhaps next summer we'll venture to the eastern shore and I'll know if it has the same smell.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The End is Near!

At least I hope it is.  I have just three weeks to go until baby Olson arrives (assuming she's on time) and I can not wait!  On the one hand, I'm very excited to hold my baby and finally give her a name.  I can't wait to snuggle her and love her and put her in all of the adorable clothes we have.  Take a million pictures, introduce her to the world and celebrate her first set of holidays.  All that stuff.

On the other hand, I really just want my body back!  It's so true what they say--you forget all of this stuff after babies are born.  I had vaguely remembered how much I dreaded nights.  The waking every three or four hours to go to the bathroom.  How much it hurts getting in and out of bed.  How much I miss sleeping on my back and just how many pillows I require to even lie down at all.  It sounds counter intuitive but I really want to have this baby so I can get some rest!

I miss my morning runs!  I never really thought I would.  I've been walking but even that now is really hard to do for any length of time.  I absolutely hate how run down I feel.  It sounds stupid but I hate not having all of my usual energy.  I don't like having to slow down.  I don't like that I'm winded after walking up one flight of stairs.

I never would have thought how much I miss being able to eat a hot dog.  It's summer for goodness sake and I can't eat a hot dog!  Heartburn!  Oh the heartburn!  I wake up with it.  Water gives me heartburn.  How is this possible?  I can't complain about weight gain though or swelling.  Those things just haven't happened.  I'm lucky in that sense.

All of this stuff happened with my last pregnancy.  I should have known.  Who am I kidding, I did know! Really it could be over any day now.  I spent most of yesterday in false labor (which is just nature's cruel joke!) and I really hope that at the very lest I got a centimeter or two of dilation out of the whole thing.

Of course, I hope she's early.  I hope she shows up a day or two after Nick gets home and I can relax about all of the scenarios of how do I get to the hospital and what will I do with the girls.  But mostly, I hope she's healthy and I try to take comfort in knowing that the entire labor process has already been worked out and planned and that everything will happen exactly as it should.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I just don't care

I'm reading this book, the Husband's Secret.  The jacket cover was so compelling!  A woman finds a letter addressed to her from her husband that she is to read in the event of his death...but he's still alive! Somehow, this letter affects not only her, but two other women that she barely knows.  Wow!  What a premise!  I have to read this!

Um, no.

Sadly, these characters are completely unsympathetic.  I don't like the woman who's daughter was murdered 20 years before.  I don't like the woman who's husband has left her because he's fallen in love with her cousin.  I don't mind the woman who found the letter but I don't really care about her either.  The only person I can identify with and feel defensive towards is the daughter-in-law.  She's a career woman who has a wonderful opportunity that will move her and her family from Australia to New York.  Her mother-in-law is angry because she's taking the grandson away.  Sorry, lady, I don't feel sorry for you.

Now I have a dilemma.  I'm more than halfway through this book.  I know what the mysterious letter says and I know who killed the daughter.  Do I finish the book?  This far in, I feel like I should.  But I just don't care.  To top it off, the person reading the book (it's an audio version) has a very thick Australian accent and some of the words she pronounces-- I just can't stand it.  Niver.  Nuh-ooh.  Theengs.  UGH!  One of the daughters has a lisp--she sounds like she's baby-talking on purpose and I REALLY hate that.

Sigh.  I suppose I will finish it.  Maybe I'll be shocked with a twist ending!  Here's hoping!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My Dad

My dad’s 58th birthday is coming up.  I had to sit and think about how old my dad will be because in my mind, he’s always about 35.  (Grandma is 42 and I’m just now 26).  But whether he’s 35 or 58 or 110, I have to say I have the coolest dad ever.  I mean, like EVER.  And not just that he’s a great dad (‘cause he is).  But my dad is REALLY cool. 

Growing up, dad was always into music.  He was a drummer and had always had an eclectic musical taste.  He was a station flipper when we were in the car but liked a lot of different stuff.  I remember browsing through his CD’s for some of the stuff that my friends and I were listening to.  He had Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots before I did.  He had Enya before Enya was cool. 

The best present I ever got my dad was tickets to see Stomp.  I remember walking from my dorm room in college down to the Fox Theater to buy the tickets for Christmas.  My older brother and I decided to go in on the gift and as I carried them home, I couldn’t wait to see the look on his face.  I was not disappointed.  We put them in one of those money holder cards and I’m pretty sure he thought they were a gift certificate.  I was absolutely thrilled when I got to go with him to see the show.  And it was REALLY cool.  One of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. 

Dad and I saw a lot of theater together—we saw Phantom of the Opera, Taming of the Shrew and a couple of other shows I don’t remember the names of.  Just the two of us.  Very cool.

But perhaps the coolest thing about my dad is that at age 58, he’s in a band (actually a couple of them).  He’s out most weekend nights playing the blues into the wee hours and even earning a bit of extra cash doing it.  When my family came to visit us here in Philadelphia this past Christmas, Dad borrowed my car and GPS to head to King of Prussia to play the drums with a bunch of guys he only knew from the internet.  He was out wherever they were playing until about 3am. 


By the time most dad’s are 58, they’re starting to slow down.  But my dad—he’s just getting started.  And that’s pretty dang cool.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Our Secret

I was meeting with a prospective donor yesterday and after we had discussed our work business, the conversation turned casual.  My colleague who'd come along with me is engaged.  I'm clearly quite pregnant.  We chatted about such matters and  he revealed that he'd had two failed marriages, one of which resulted in a teenage son.  His son, he said, was getting ready to go off to college.  This man's advice to his son was that no matter what you may think you're feeling, you will NOT discuss getting married to anyone until you're at least 26 and you've lived together for two years.

We shared a laugh and my colleague said that she'd spend enough time with her fiance (they'd dated for more than five years) to be sure that this would work out.  While I respect the opinions of both of them, I could not help but disagree.  Nick and I didn't live together before we got married.  And we never fight.  Both of my companions were shocked at this news.  Our friend the double divorcee wanted to know what our secret was.

I thought for a minute and said that the only thing I could think to say was that we had learned in 13 years, what's worth getting upset over.  Most of the things that upset us aren't worth fighting about.  He's frustrated when I leave my shoes laying around.  I hate it when he doesn't put dirty dishes in the sink.  Is it worth a fight?  Is it worth half an hour of our limited time together?  No.  The big stuff that we disagree on (where to move to next and the best place to store the vacuum) is better discussed over long periods of time.  We're not going anywhere right now and we've both learned that the decision isn't ours to make and that really, it's already been planned out.  We just have to wait for God to reveal it to us.

It's certainly not a secret.  A lot of people would assume that we get along so well because we're never together.  But I don't think that's true.  We have had long stretches of time when we are together and do live in the same world.  We don't fight then either.  No, I think the secret really is that we were carefully chosen for each other.  We both know that and don't want to mess up the greatest gift God has ever given us--each other.  So we take care of it.  It's not hard and it's not work.  It's the best form of worship I can give.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Acts 5

I was reading this chapter of the Bible tonight, working my way through the book.  It starts out with this guy and his wife, Ananias and Sapphira.  They have this farm or some kind of land that they are to sell and give the money to Peter.  They do this but don't give him all of the money.  It seems to be one of those Adam and Eve type situations except that this time, it's him that does the sinning and her that says "yeah, sure I agree with that".

Well, somehow, Peter finds out about this and just goes off on the guy.  He accuses him of lying not to Peter but to God.  What a horrible thing to do!  Don't lie to God!  Everyone knows better than that.  Well, when Ananias hears this, he falls down and dies!  Then Peter lays into Sapphira, accusing her of the same thing and promising her the same fate.  Then she falls down and dies!

Wow!  Don't cross God!  Other people hear about this and are freaking out!  They don't dare lie to God and presumably, are spared from falling down and dying.  Can you imagine?  Being yelled at by someone you were supposed to help and then falling down dead right there?  Then your wife does the same thing!

Sometimes I wish the Bible read more like a novel.  It would be less shocking.  You wouldn't just fall down and die like that--there'd be some description of thought or emotion or even the rumbling of the sky and the dark clouds rolling in.  There'd be wind whipping all around Peter as he made his accusations.  Ananias and Sapphira would be cowering!  Begging for mercy!  Denying the whole thing!  Something!  There'd be some explanation for it all.

But no.  Just falling down dead.  Just like that.  Wow!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Pictures

A couple of years ago our computer crashed.  We had a few moments of panic because ALL of the pictures of our kids were on that computer.  Thankfully it was recoverable but the computer was toast.  Since that happened, we've been determined to diversify our photo portfolio.  As we were looking through a thousand or so pictures of our babies we saw the last nearly eight years scroll by, one scene at a time. 

We saw our first Christmas after we got married.  We saw Chicago and remembered all of the places we took Ivy when she was just weeks old.  We saw Nick's first class of flight students and the last day we saw Jean-Claude.  We saw Iris grow from the baby she was to the little girl she is.  We saw the family trips and the moves from state to state.  We watched are lives go by and even though it feels like a flash, we're so excited to do it all over again with the next baby.  She'll start her life here but who knows where we'll be in another eight years?  That's the exciting part.  We can look back at where we've been but we're looking forward to where we're going.