Hats and Capes and Striped Socks, Oh My!

Today was the culmination of over two months of “I’m gonna be a…..” and “Do you think we can find a ______ so I can be _______ for Halloween?”

Two months.

And now it’s done.  Tomorrow I will put away my bargain jack o’lanterns and the leftover treats until next year.  (That’s the beauty of the Teal Pumpkin Project and non-food treats–the leftovers keep beautifully!)  The costumes will be washed and hung up or tossed in the dress up bin.

Our Princess knew pretty much from the get go that she wanted to be a witch.  She had a dress that we got last year when she thought she might want to be Bellatrix Lestrange.  Now was all about accessorizing.  Some bright striped socks with WITCH written down the side.  A fun little broom and gloves with long fingernails on them.  She was so excited she got dressed up by 2 pm.  Cooter, on the other hand, has been most indecisive.  This was the year we discovered that we didn’t need to purchase him the one piece whole body suits anymore.  Each one we tried pulled in areas that don’t need pulling.  In the end, it was decided he’d either wear one of his old Star Wars dress up outfits or this one piece Superman top/cape thing or–and this was my favorite–be a Hobbit.  He asked about being one two months ago, and I thought that would be so much fun.  I even found a top for him to wear and planned to cut an old pair of khakis just so, but no.  He was most comfortable wearing a t-shirt and jeans with his Superman top/cape on.

And so it was.

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The magic of hats and capes–so much fun!

There is something so magical about dressing up and becoming someone else for a night, isn’t there?  There must be or else this holiday would have long become nothing but a blip in the history books.  It’s about imaginations and taking on a different form.  I even got into the fun of it this year.

I am so in love with these socks, y'all!  All three of them. *sigh*

I am so in love with these socks, y’all! All three of them. *sigh*

I love Raggedy Ann.  It goes way back.  So when I found a beautiful brand new, unopened Raggedy Ann costume at the GW Boutique, I got it.  I still wasn’t sure if I was going to dress up, but it was too fabulous to leave there.  When I got it home and opened everything up, I was amazed by the detail–the dress and apron, the bloomers, and a hat with red yarn hair.  There were even socks–only, of course, there were THREE and not the proper two because Someone has a sense of humor and knows my frustration with socks who’ve lost their mates.  And so this one came with one what had done just that–lost its mate.  *sigh*

After Mess Cat, Leroy, and Shaker got here to join in the fun, I finally decided that YES, I would dress up.  After all, Halloween is once a year, and a year’s a long time to regret something that would be so easy to make happen.

And so I did.

And I had a blast.

My favorite moments were seeing the very small ones who took in my costume and were in awe and then smiled and waved.  LOVE.  Absolutely precious.  I was like a rock star.  For toddlers.  Not too bad for a GW-on-sale costume.  As for the older ones, they smiled sometimes too.  One even asked, “Are you that girl from Wendy’s?”  Sigh. “No, I’m a doll.”  “Ohhhh, one of those Lalaloopsy’s?”  Umm, no.  Oh well.  Did I mention I rocked it with the younger crowd?

Tonight there were also other special moments.  The little Peter Pan who came up and when I spoke to him, his Mama said, “Oh, he doesn’t talk much.”  Because of compassionate friends who have shared the stories of sweet children who are non-verbal and how they experience Halloween, I was able to talk with him and hopefully ease his parents’ concerns that someone would say “No treat for you until you say the magic words–trick or treat!”  He was so sweet, and his parents deserve an extra hug.

I saw families dressed up together.  The whole Incredible family stopped by.  A barista stopped by who couldn’t have been more than eight.  I LOVED her clever costume.  She said it was her own idea.  There were more than a few folks with those scary skeletal masks paired with a cute costume.  Two young boys wore those really scary masks and walked around slowly, saying nothing.  That was a bit eerie until I heard the voice of a young boy say, “Trick or treat! Happy Halloween!”

No.  All is not as it seems on Halloween.

This guy was a little--okay, a lot--scary until he reached in his basket and offered some treats.

This guy was a little–okay, a lot–scary until he reached in his basket and offered some treats.

As I wrapped up the night and was about to turn off my porch light, a few more young people came.  They were older, and I was happy to see them.  Earlier today at the pumpkin patch a father stood with three children, an older teen and two who were young teens.  They were all about the costumes and pictures and the fun and I wondered if this was their first experience ever with something like this.  I often think about that and wonder if that is the case when a teenager or even young adult comes up on my porch with a jovial, “Trick or Treat!”  Is it that they didn’t get to do this when they were young?  Or are they, like I was this year, enchanted by the magic and the mystery and the fun and just really need to find that inner child for a night?

Either way, treat it is.

My last two visitors were anywhere from 16 to 18. They had on jeans and t-shirts and tiny little witch hats on their heads.  “Could we have just one piece of candy?” one asked, almost apologetically.  The other shared, “I’m sorry we are so late.  We were at the house, giving out candy, and so we didn’t have time for a costume or anything, we’re just out here like this.”

Oh bless.  I think they were adorable.  And they looked like young people cloaked in kindness to me.

And since I didn’t have any candy to share, I gave them a slap bracelet AND a wall ninja.  Because I was really impressed.  (And I felt bad that I didn’t have the one thing they had asked for.)

Tonight I’m thankful for all the little faces I got to see and meet tonight.  Staying home on Halloween and handing out goodies is my favorite part of the whole night. I’m glad that I went ahead and broke my costume in this year.  Aub says Halloween is the only time I should wear it, but it was really comfortable, and I felt pretty awesome in it, and a year’s a long, long time to wait, don’t you think?

Love and magical wishes to all.

the treacherous trek and what lies beyond

some of the most beautifully breathtaking moments in this life
can only be found after a long hike, tiring and full of
rough climbs and treks through treacherous territory
and many times of questioning one’s own sanity

so pack well, invite someone along
who feeds your soul and fills the world
and your path with light
because not going, not seeking–
that’s never an option
for those who truly want to live

your story isn’t over
rest if you must
but then keep going
up the path
and one day the view will make it all worth it

“Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña, LIC Sierras de Santo Domingo y Caballera, Aniés, Huesca, España, 2015-01-06, DD 08-09 PAN” by Diego Delso. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Sunset view of the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña (Hermitage of the Virgin of the Rock), province of Huesca, Spain. The village of Aniés is seen on the left. The oldest parts of the sanctuary date to Roman times, while much was built in the 13th Century. The hermitage is only accessible on foot, via a steep path in the forest and through caves in the mountain.”–The fact that this is known because folks had to make that long and treacherous trek is a beautiful thing to me.  That they wanted to gives me hope.

Living Art and the Day We Had

Today was a day of all the things.

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It actually started last night.  As I sat on the bleachers watching my oldest swim for the last night before the bubble goes up over the pool for the winter, I got a notification on my phone.  The Auvi-Q, our epinephrine auto-injector that could potentially save the life of my child with food allergies, was recalled.  At first only certain lot numbers, and then the word came down–ALL.

For a few moments, I could not breathe.  The leftovers from her meal that she’d barely touched at the restaurant before swim practice were waiting for her after practice.  Everything there was supposedly safe, but now–without our safety net–I was suddenly ill at the thought of letting her eat it.

I called the pharmacy and found out they were not even aware yet.  But the pharmacist was compassionate and took time to look it up on-line and even offered to call our allergist for a prescription for the Epi-pen first thing this morning.

It was the best we could do.

And so it had to be.

Last night was filled with anxiety, fearing all the what ifs, without that safety net.  All of the food in my house–and I am a very careful shopper–suddenly seemed risky.

But we finally got everyone settled and in the bed, and this morning was a new day.  I called the allergist myself and was assured they were on it.  I started to breathe a little easier.

Then our Princess said she didn’t feel very good.  Sure enough, she has run a low-grade fever most of the day.  She just had some sort of weird allergy-related weekend virus two weeks ago.  And here it is, it would seem, back for another visit.

By midday, Cooter was also down for the count with a bad headache that caused stomach problems or vice versa.  In the middle of it, it hardly mattered.  I can get debilitating headaches from time to time, and it broke my heart to see my baby hurting like that.  He spent most of the hours between 3 and 8 sleeping it off, bless him.

In the midst of all of this, our Princess’ best bud, a sweet girl who moved into the neighborhood over the summer, came over with her big blue ball (they all love throwing it around in the cul-de-sac) to see if her friend could play.  When I told her they were both sick, sympathy and compassion was evident in her eyes.  When Miss Sophie heard her voice, she came running to the front door.  Our Princess’ friend J is the pet whisperer.  She promptly sat down on the front porch and started loving on Sophie, who ate it up.  I guess she and her needs had taken a backseat to my sick babies today, bless her.  As J told me about her day and about her favorite dogs of years past, I took a moment and sat down on the floor just inside my front door and listened.  As I sat there looking at her sweet face, this child whom I prayed for–a good friend for our Princess, I felt as though it was a sacred moment.  This young girl was sharing her heart with me.  The joy of having a pet who understood her and the pain of losing her in recent years.  Sweet and funny stories.

I wanted to sit there forever.  That she found me worthy to hear her stories–that put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.  She is such a love.  She is a beautiful soul, and I’m thankful for her in our lives.

Not long after she left, Cooter’s buddy came by with the oyster crackers his sweet Mama had offered to pick up at the store for us.  They are the one thing Cooter will eat after having a stomach bug, and we were all out.  As I took the bag from him, telling him thank you, I felt something cold.  I looked up, puzzled.  “Oh, there’s chicken salad from Shane’s in there,” he said.  He shrugged and smiled that precious smile of his.  BLESS.  Being thought of and cared for like that–well, it took my breath away, and when it returned, I breathed out much of the weight of the day.  Chicken salad.  Being thought of.  Thank you.

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Later this evening, I was closing up the house.  I had opened up the windows, hoping that the fresh air would help get rid of whatever this “mess” is that keeps getting ahold of my young’uns.  Enough is enough.  It was a lovely day to have the windows open too.  As I went to close the window in my bedroom, I looked out.  The sky was the most delicate blend of pink and yellow and the trees in the back were just gorgeous.  I stopped and actually breathed in and out and gave thanks for the painting before my eyes.  Living art–our Creator is good at that.

Tonight I am thankful for replacement epi-pens and the ability to get them quickly. Not all of the allergy Mamas are so fortunate, and I hold them in my heart and in the Light tonight as I am able to rest a little easier than I did last night.  I give thanks for the most wonderful neighbors that anyone could ask for–surprise visits on the front porch in the quiet of the afternoon and surprise gifts of chicken salad, never mind the text messages checking on us and grocery store acquisitions that make our life easier–so lucky to be doing life with these good folks.  Most of all I give thanks for living art–the trees at the beginning of fall, a sunset through the woods, the look of compassion in a young girl’s eyes, and the shrug and grin of a gift offering young fella.  All beautiful, all life-giving.  I am thankful.  And humbled.  So much more than I deserve.

Grace.  I’m thankful for grace.

Love and grace to all.

The One About My Dog’s Business and An Email from Pinterest

A couple of things that happened today–

Miss Sophie is a picky pooper.  I don’t mean to offend, but there’s just no other way to put it.  She will not go in our yard.  And she is very sensitive about where she will go.  It takes quite a bit of sniffing and turning around and sniffing some more and sometimes, even when you think “YES! Finally!” she turns around and walks away from that very spot that once seemed so perfect.

Some days it takes a really long time.

(Yeah, she’s quirky like the rest of the folks around here.  We’ve decided to find it endearing.)

Some time around the middle of the day, I got an email from Pinterest.  From PINTEREST.  Writing to me.  I just knew it was to congratulate me for pinning all the things, and that although my pins were the most fabulous, I had exceeded the limit of pinning without actually attempting to do/make/create one of them.

Thankfully, no.

It was to let me know that they’d had to delete one of my pins.  It had to do with the creator of the picture not wanting it pinned again and again and again.  It was a recipe for a special blend of essential oils to help with injuries.

Eh. *shrugs* Okay.

I was afraid it was one of the one of a kind crochet patterns I pinned that I am sure I will BEGIN WORKING ON TOMORROW forthwith.

The nice thing was how kind the email was.  Pinterest kept assuring me that it had nothing to do with me or anything I’d done.  It was all about the originator deciding they didn’t want their information out there.  But they wanted me to know in no uncertain terms that I had done NOTHING wrong.

Well, that’s a huge relief.

And it really was.  It was so nice to be assured that while something I did had to be affected, it wasn’t my fault.  And they went to such trouble and used such nice words to make sure I knew that.

These two totally unrelated stories have come together for me tonight to remind me of this–

We all have things–anger, impatience, frustration, sadness, pain, anxiety, fear among others–that needs to come out or we will go mad and become ill.  It just has to.  But instead of letting it fall wherever, we need to be deliberate about who we share it with and how.  All of our woes and worries matter, but we don’t need to let them fester to the point of blowing up and out at folks.  Be particular, find a good friend or trusted family member and share your stuff.  Perhaps sharing with a compassionate soul and getting it out in the open will help.  But if it should happen that you carry it too long, and you blow up at someone, take a lesson from Pinterest.  Tell them kindly it had nothing to do with them.  Apologize. And use kind words.  It does a world of wonders, y’all.

We all have messes and issues and troubles and woes.  May we all be as particular as Miss Sophie and as kind as Pinterest when we become overwhelmed by our own troubles and that stuff starts coming out.

Love to all.

Q-Tips, Art, and How the Little Moments Matter

A couple of weeks ago at Evening Prayer we talked about the little moments.  The little moments of kindness, of opening a door, offering a smile, saying hello, picking up a piece of trash and disposing of it, giving a hug, carrying a sack of groceries for someone, calling a friend–all of these little moments add up to one good story.  Sarah Thebarge compared the idea to pointillism–all those little moments create something beautiful.

So to bring the idea home with our folks there that night, we painted.

Pointillism.

My artist friend recommended we use q-tips.  I love q-tips–so versatile and easy to find at the store.  And I love my artist friend for suggesting them, because I had the paints and the canvas, but I hadn’t been able to find the right sort of brushes.

BINGO.

One of my samples--idea from Pinterest

One of my samples–idea from Pinterest

I enjoyed this one. Just colors all over the place.

I enjoyed this one. Just colors all over the place.

This was Aub's somewhat abstract turtles. One of my favorites of the night.

This was Aub’s somewhat abstract turtles. One of my favorites of the night.

And so we painted.  There were all kinds of wonderful variations on the ones that I showed as examples.  (Hello, Pinterest, you are my friend.)  Not one single person complained or threw their hands up in frustration.  There was good conversation and laughter and I heard more than one person say how much fun it was.

Must have been the q-tips.  They do make a party fun.

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I had bought some paper shapes for the children to paint, if they wanted, or if they finished a canvas and wanted to continue creating.  It was Cooter who came over and asked to paint, sitting in my lap.  He is eight, and I know this won’t last much longer.  Sure, buddy, pull up a q-tip.

I pulled out a paper cutout of a person.  He went to town on it.  Painting with many q-tips and all kinds of colors, I think he had finished three people by the time we left.

And since then?  When I can’t find him during our school days or on the weekends, I can usually go to the back porch and find him painting away.

How many characters can you spot?  There's Harry, Fred and George (see their "sweaters"), He Who Must Not Be Named, and SOOOO many others.

How many characters can you spot? There’s Harry, Fred and George (see their “sweaters”), He Who Must Not Be Named, and SOOOO many others.

You see, he’s working on painting all of the characters from the Harry Potter books. I think he’s up to Book 4.

All the characters, y’all.  Some obscure, some not so much.  But for painting with a q-tip, I think he’s doing quite well.  It’s been funny to me that he has yet to ask to use one of the brushes sitting back there, right there with the paints.

This is a child who doesn’t see himself as an artist or artistic at all.  Yet this project has struck a chord with him.  He enjoys it, and I love that it resets his brain–he comes away from painting with paint all over all the things *sigh*, his hands included, and with a smile on his face and a lift in his spirit.

I love that so much.  Who would’ve thought it?

Best purchase ever.  So much so, that yes, when I get back over to that store, we are picking up more of those.

After all, he has three more books to get through.

I’ve told him that I thought we would string them up across his wall or something to display them.  He’s thinking about putting them in a book.  We really haven’t decided, but whatever we do, I hope they always bring a smile to his face as much as they do now.

May we all find something that brings us so much joy.  And may we do all the little things we can to live a good story and paint a lovely picture.

Love to all.

the memories beckon

there is a hole
where she once was
and one for him too
a hole once filled by their love,
their stories, and their spirits
and oh, those smiles and laughter,
music to my soul

quiet now, empty and hollow
and dark
and I miss them

she misses her Love too
the one who once filled her heart
where the gaping hole is now

most of the time
we go through our days
and we are fine and okay

until we are not

then the tears flow and our hearts
break open,
we cannot speak
so we go to stand in the dark
next to these holes in our hearts

we weep in the darkness,
with our arms wrapped around us tight
trying to hold ourselves together

while others walk by
barely noticing the safety pylons
and rope blocking off this area,
because it’s just not safe
for others
who have never known it
to come close
to this kind of pain

but what if it were only made safe
by the presence of others
the ones who would venture near,
build a fire to keep us warm
and pull up a stump to sit with us
for however long it takes
waiting in the silence for the stories
we need to tell
one.more.time.
and the names we need to say,
to shout,
just so the world won’t forget

because we are so afraid they will,
that they will all forget this precious soul
and that one,
whom we loved and who loved
and made the world a brighter place
before they left, leaving these massive holes
in our lives

sit with me in the dark
please
and with her, the one over there
who misses him
and hold us close
until the stories we share
lift the weight a bit and we can walk again
and please say their names,
etch them on your heart

and tell me your stories
about the ones you loved
I will listen and say their names
and we will call out to the stars
for them to remember the ones
whose lights once shone so brightly

and we’ll walk close as we make our path
back into the light
once again

for a while
until the memories beckon us to them again

By F.A. Mac Donald, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By F.A. Mac Donald, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

pink

Pink_Ribbon

Pink
is a lovely color
gentle, like a baby’s breath

it was my girls’ first favorite color
and various shades of it still
bring a light to their eyes

“blush” and “bashful” best described
the color
in that movie that made me cry
it was her “signature” color, after all

and somehow it has become the color
for breast cancer awareness
and I suppose it suits as much as any other
but when it all comes down to it
pink
does
not
cure
cancer

all the pink socks and pens and yogurt cups
I’ve bought in the past with good intentions
did NOTHING
to raise anybody’s awareness
or change anyone’s life
it was just
pink

tomorrow morning
a friend of my Mama and my Aunt
will undergo surgery
for breast cancer
and she won’t be the only one

a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer
every two minutes in this country

that is too many
one is too many

and pink and awareness
are not changing that

I don’t mean to pink ribbon shame
but isn’t it time we do something more?

Isn’t it time we stop going without undergarments
and claiming it raises awareness?
Isn’t it time we stop taking pictures of silly underwires
on dogs and clotheslines
and claiming it’s for the cause?

Isn’t it time we pick up a broom and sweep out the mess
and the misperceptions
and we change it from
breast cancer awareness
to
BREAST CANCER ERADICATION?

please join me in keeping Miss C
and all of the men and women fighting this
monster
in your thoughts
and let’s join them in this fight

stepping in with a hand to hold
a shoulder to lean on
with a toilet brush in one hand
and a casserole dish in the other

and then, when the day is done,
let’s write the ones who make the laws
and who decide on the funding
and let’s demand that we stop saving
body parts
and start saving people

love to all

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A woman I admire and respect, who is a breast cancer survivor and a brilliant advocate for those in this fight, recently shared this article and asked that we contact our Senators and ask them to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. It’s something we can do, y’all. And it’s something that someone who is actually in the fight is asking us to do. The article is here. Thanks for reading.

Cakes, Cookies, and Circling Close

Today was our family’s Fall Hootenanny, and this beauty was waiting to greet me when I walked through the door.

LOVE.  100% Pure Tee Love right there.

                                                  LOVE. 100% Pure Tee Love right there.

That right there is a genuine Ten Layer Chocolate Cake.  My Aunt made it because she was thinking of my Granny, her Mama.  It took her a whole afternoon to make it.  What a gift of love, and I swanee, it fairly melted in my mouth.

Oh yeah.  It was inhaled very quickly.

                                           Oh yeah. It was inhaled very quickly. Because #THATGOOD

Funny, isn’t it, the journey that food takes us on?  I make a coconut cake for our Spring Easter Egg Hunt/Wienie Roast for the same reason–because it makes me think of Granny.  Yesterday I baked my Mama’s Lucia Pepparkakor cookies and used her jack o’lantern cookie cutter, and I could almost see her hands rolling out the dough.  I also made a pound cake with a praline/caramel glaze and thought of my Daddy and his love of caramel cakes.

Mama's Swedish Ginger Snaps

                                                            Mama’s Swedish Ginger Snaps

Food.  Love.  Interchangeable really.

I sat at the table today with my cousin’s three children.  The oldest took a bite of a Mint Chocolate Chip cookie that another cousin usually makes and brings to our family gatherings.  As he began to chew, he closed his eyes and said, “Mmmmm.  It’s even better than I remember. It’s just so good.” He looked up very seriously. “I could eat more than three.”

Oh bless him.  He was so precious.  His memories of our family as he gets older will include these cookies as much as the coconut cake and Ten Layer Chocolate Cake remind me of Granny.  (He also has a theory about eating Rice Krispie treats and enjoying them because they aren’t too filling and there’s more room for the cookies–another year and he’ll have this whole dessert management thing down to a science. And with this family and all of our talented bakers, we need it.)

We also had our annual Turkey Egg Hunt.  Our Princess was shocked to discover, upon enthusiastically telling others what we were going to be doing today, that not every family has a Turkey Egg Hunt.  All I can say is y’all are seriously missing out.  Hunting eggs twice a year is kind of our thing.  Turkeys get equal billing with this crew.

Our Princess chasing down another turkey egg.

                                         Our Princess chasing down another turkey egg.

Today was a day of standing around and telling stories, sitting with folks younger and older and shooting the breeze.  It was about hearing all the love in the voices of those who have known me longest (and they still love me anyway–I don’t take that lightly).  It was about missing the ones who weren’t with us and giving thanks in all kinds of ways for those who were.  It was about old traditions and new beginnings and swapping recipes and making plans for future visits again real soon.  It was a day of open doors and windows and scooching over to make room for more.

Because that’s the love language of my people, y’all.  We’re not the most extroverted bunch, but when it comes to scooching over so someone else can squeeze in, we’re good.  We’ve got that part down.  And if it means we can share a cookie and a smile while we’re sitting there elbow to elbow, then all the more joy for everyone.

Tonight after we got home, the littles and I watched an episode of “Girl Meets World.”  That we love this show and why is a whole ‘nother post.  The main character, Riley, shared these words with a group of friends and family on the episode we watched tonight:

“We think that we are the center of the universe, but the truth is… we need to circle the ones we love for as long as they’re here. We need to hold them close, because no matter how far we travel, they are the ones who hold us in place. It’s gravity, and without it, we’d just all float away from each other.”

That’s what today was about, circling the ones I love and giving thanks that they are here.

And cakes and cookies, and all the stories and memories they can hold.

Y’all go find somebody to circle.  Hold ’em close.  Maybe even share a cookie.

Love to all.

Balls and Bicycles and Make-Believe

This afternoon was a joy-filled one on our street.  The weather was close to perfect, and all the children were out playing.  A favorite pastime seems to be bouncing a large ball back and forth to each other or playing keep away with it.  Some of them have started up two or three person football games.  That’s Cooter’s favorite.  He wasn’t sure about it, until one of his friends told him, “Act like he just called you a name, and then you’ll be mad and you can tackle him.”

Good times. Good times.

At least until someone’s feelings or body parts get hurt.

Even then, this crew seems to get over their bruised arms, legs, and spirits pretty quickly.  It makes my heart glad to see them all out there, coming up with different things to play.  I am really thankful for these friends of my children and their families.  I was so enchanted by it this evening that I put off tackling Mt. Washmore (and it’s not because it’s my friend or anything), and I went out to sit on the front steps.  I took Miss Sophie with me, because she enjoys hanging out there too.

She is a pretty timid creature.  She is buoyant and loves our family people, but when it comes to others, she does this jump forward, jump back thing with her tail wagging that gets even more confusing when she starts barking at the new person.  She means well, she’s just socially awkward sometimes.  Much like the rest of us.

As we sat there and she did what she does best, sniffed everything in sight, our new cat who adopted us came up to say hello.  She is beautiful and is about as social as any cat can be, but she has her moments like all cats.  We have given her the moniker of “Luvvy” as in Mrs. Howell (from Gilligan’s Island, y’all) because she has this “fur muff” around her neck.  Very luxurious.  Miss Sophie finds her fascinating and announces her presence whenever she notices the feline through the window–sitting on the outside windowsill, sunning on the back porch, holding court on the front porch, wherever.

While we were enjoying the evening on the steps, Luvvy came up and walked close enough to get Sophie’s attention.  My fluffy girl tried to sniff certain areas as a way of saying hello, and Luvvy had no part of it.  Instead she walked by, tail high in the air, and climbed up on the cedar tree stump from where I grew up, Blackberry Flats.

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And that cat turned her head.  Away. From. My. Pup.

She knew too.  She knew exactly what she was doing.

And poor Sophie.  She kept wagging her tail and inching closer and even making little sounds of “Hey, notice me!  I’m right here. Will you be my friend?”

Bless her.

Luvvy finally had enough and slowly stood up, stretched, and hopped off and wandered away.

Poor Sophie.

She just wanted a friend.

Tonight I’m thankful for the friendships that have formed between the children on our street.  I’ve gone through a similar roller coaster of emotions I did with Miss Sophie with all of my children, “I just want a friend.  I want somebody to play with me.  I wish I had somebody to hang out with.”  Heartbreaking.

But no more.  I’m thankful for the balls and bicycles and make-believe that fill our afternoons and evenings.  I’m thankful for laughter and tumbling in the front yard and dance steps choreographed and dreams created about rooming together at college and living next door to each other many, many years from now.  These friends are the ones that sustain my crew and bring them all so much joy.

May we all find someone who will welcome us and toss us the ball or sit and giggle with us, just enjoying the time spent together.

Love to all.

for the fun of it, another pup looking for a feline friend–

My Anxiety, Real and Without a Filter

Wednesday is trash pickup day.

It is also “Nightmare on Our Street” for our mail carrier.

A cul-de-sac with empty trash cans all scattered hither and yon.

Yes.  A tee-total mess some weeks.

So yesterday morning as Miss Sophie and I had our morning constitutional, I stopped to move a couple of my neighbors’ trash cans out of the way, so hopefully our mail carrier wouldn’t have to leave her vehicle to deliver the mail.  (Or worse, just not deliver it at all–goodness, that would be catastrophic! Ha.)

When I turned back to my little fluffy girl, I saw her sniffing something on the road with intense concentration.

Oh.

No.

There on the ground were not one, but two peanut shells.  One still had a peanut inside it.

*insert expressive WORD here*

Y’all.

So often in this life and on this blog, I/we–okay–I might downplay things.  Someone asks me, “How do you keep up with what’s safe or not?  How do you keep from worrying yourself sick?  How do you know where to eat that is okay?”  I might brush it off with a “Oh we just do the best we can.” Or “I’ve learned a lot over the years.”  Or “It’s not easy, but we keep on trucking.”

But it’s rarely as peace-filled and self-assured as all that.  The reality isn’t very pretty.

The minute I saw those nuts on the ground, I flipped.  I mean, I flipped out.  I started fuming and talking to myself, to the dog, to the air– “Why?  Why?  I was just moving a trash can, WHY?!”  I wasn’t mad at Sophie, I was mad at the situation.  My brain immediately started spinning.  More than likely her snout and beard had touched the nuts, so she was now contaminated, and I had to take care of that immediately.  As our Princess was sick over the weekend, I had kept the two of them apart for a couple of days, and they were so happy to be able to play together again.  But they couldn’t now.  UGH.  Double UGH.

We went straight to the bathroom just inside our front door.  I tossed off her leash and collar and put her right in the tub.  Water running, I sudsed her up good and thoroughly, her face and her chin especially.

This was Miss Sophie’s second bath in three days, and she was not amused.

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Miss Sophie was not amused with so many baths so close together.  

I hated to do it, but I felt like I had no other choice.  I am sure I got water in places where water was not intended to go, bless her.  She snorted and snorted, so then I started to worry about her.  Had I damaged her?  Hurt her?  Was SHE going to be okay?

After I dried her and cuddled her a minute, all was well.  Then I was back to thinking through everything I needed to do to keep my baby girl safe.

For the rest of the day, I keep them apart.  Which wasn’t easy, as Miss Sophie likes to climb up next to our Princess while she works on her lessons.  She loves to go outside with her and her friends.  If I said “No, you have to get down, Sophie” once yesterday, I said it “eleventy-seven” times, as Cooter used to say.

And that’s a lot.

In the midst of all of this, I meant to go pick up those nuts from the road just a  few feet from our driveway.  I planned it out.  I’d use a bag over my hands like I do with “other” things I pick up from the grass, and I’d quickly dispose of them.

But I didn’t get back to it in time, and I don’t know what happened to them.

Last week was the Fair, and we walked around and had such a wonderful time.  But there were peanut shells on the ground all over the place.  And all kinds of nuts being served and eaten. It was very difficult to feel very comfortable.  Every cough or sniffle or when our Princess got really quiet, I’d pounce on her, “You okay?  You feel all right?” When Mess Cat caught her touching the bottom of her shoe for some reason, I nearly lost my mind. It was a mine field, y’all.  No wonder I was exhausted when we got home.  I try not to let her allergies limit us and what we can do, but it’s not always an easy venture.  So perhaps you can understand why the sight of a Teal Pumpkin brings me so much joy.

It says, “No worries here.”

And, “All are welcome and safe here.”

And, “Solidarity, sister.  I’ve got your back.”

Yes.  Yes.  And YES.

My point is, in this whole drawn out tale, is that quite often all is not as it seems to be.  Folks, for the most part, let you see what they want you to see.  It’s rare that folks are comfortable parading all this anxiety and frustration and discombobulation out in the open.

Because I was so discombobulated, y’all.  Food allergies are nothing to play around with, and for something freaky like this to happen…..it just reset the clock on my overprotective “on guard” status all over again.

Well, there’s good news, says my family.

Some days it just it what it is, and that’s as good as it gets. Yesterday was one of those days.  Today I lifted the ban off my girl and her puppy friend, and they were quite happy.  I still found myself watching closely, and asking that same question I know she gets tired of–“Are you okay?”

I don’t know if I will ever stop asking that one though.

Tonight I’m thankful for baths that clean, for compassionate friends, and for the beginning of a new day.  I’m thankful for the folks who get it, and I long for the day when there will be no more food allergies.

But until then, this is me.  Real and without filter.

Love to all.

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