Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Bloom Where You're Planted?"

This is what I woke up to this morning:

I know I'm supposed to "bloom where I'm planted" but THIS is what I feel like:

April 30, 2011.  Will the snow ever end?!!?

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Pale green pants with nobody inside them"

Meet Fritz.  He is my 7 month-old American Eskimo.  He is also known as the comic relief in my life. 

This morning, as is my royal duty,  I let Fritz out the back door when he barked.  He bounded out with his usual anticipation of a romp through the wild wilderness (our backyard) that he alone is king of. 

But today, he stopped dead, barely over the threshold.  He began barking ferociously, as if Satan himself was waiting in the backyard to collect our very souls, so I hesitated before I looked out to see what was the matter.  When I dared, Dr. Seuss and I had a good laugh!

"Pale BROWN pants with nobody inside them"

I had forgotten that I had hung some linen pants out to dry in the sunshine yesterday.  I haven't hung clothes out since last summer and Fritz (who wasn't even born yet) has never seen them.  In his mind, an atrocious monster had come into his backyard and he needed to protect us all from certain doom.  He barked and barked.  Attacking those pants long enough for me to grab my camera and snap a photo. 


I was walking in the night
And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid
Of anything. Not very.

Then I was deep within the woods
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of pale green pants
With nobody inside them!

I wasn't scared.
But, yet, I stopped
What could those pants
be there for?

What could a pair of pants at night
Be standing in the air for?"

-Dr. Seuss

Thanks Fritz.  For making me smile.  ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happiness is.......

So when it snowed yet again this week, (it's the end of April in Utah and I miss North Carolina springtime so badly!) I got so depressed that I googled the sentence “How to be Happy.” I was desperate. Truly.

I read several websites. Watched one YouTube video. And then decided I had enough of a checklist to go forward with my proverbial “pursuit of happiness.”

Here's how I set out:

I decided that my kitchen needed to be de-cluttered. De-cluttering your home is #5 on this list of “how to be happy” And since I needed to be in the “flow” of doing something (another web suggestion), I decided to just get started. Not contemplate it for a few days first (my usual modus operandi.)

I started with the potting soil leaning next to the refrigerator. (Doesn't everyone have potting soil leaning next to their fridge?)  I worked my way past the popcorn bowl that doesn't fit in the dishwasher and so has been “waiting on deck” to be washed by hand for about a week and a half. Then I went through the cute ceramic pot I have by the side of the sink that I keep my dish brush and scrubby sponge in. Funny how there were 3 rotten smelly sponges in there and that I hadn't thrown any of them away when they wore out and I got a new one. (my hoarder upbringing still with me.)  I refilled the soap dispenser. And the spare soap dispenser. I don't know why I have a spare soap dispenser. Nor do I know why, for the last 6 months, I have left the original soap dispenser out sitting empty next to the spare one—which I have refilled 3 times since. I put the spare under the cupboard.

Next was the fruit bowl. Does anyone else have trouble with fruit bowls? It seems a simple thought. Have a lovely bowl on your counter and fill it with fresh fruit for your family.   They walk by, pick a piece up and eat it, and you refill it again the next week.

Then why do I end up with fossilized grapefruit and shrunken head apples? The ancient tangerine that was trying to outdo the grapefruit was so hard I could have murdered someone with it. “Mrs. McCall did it. In the kitchen. With the tangerine!”

Boy, was I going to town. I even got out the folding stool and climbed up to wash the window behind the sink. Talk about hard water spots!  Now I could see clearly the snow falling outside. 

A few distractions later, I found that what I really wanted to do was call it a day. One side of the kitchen was definitely clutter-free and clean as a whistle. The rest could wait for another day.

But you are supposed to stay in the “flow” to be happy. That's what the article said.  And I didn't have any other “flow” activities in mind. Certainly not any pleasant outdoor activitiy.  So I turned to face the stack. Or the basket. Or whatever it is supposed to be. The basket that overflowed into a stack next to it.  A stack-sket!  That place where we put “important papers” next to the kitchen phone. That place that was now taking up half my counter space. I didn't want to do it. It looked ominous. Frightening. Deeply disturbing. But I just started. Cause that's what happy people do. It said so on the internet.

Trash can beside me, this is what I found in our ever-so-important papers basket:

-6 Land's End Catalogs
-2 PotteryBarn Teen catalogs
-1 expensive furniture catalog addressed to the previous homeowners.
-137 receipts (not one of which was the receipt for the lawn mower that we need for the warranty, now that it has died after just one season!)
-1 old checkbook
-1 box of new checks.
-1 box of envelopes. Crushed.
-3 important documents regarding my mother's home purchase and a check from her title company (from when I was collecting her mail before she actually moved in across the street. Probably should have given these to her 2 months ago.)
-2 receipts from the vet documenting the dog's rabies vaccinations
-1 document for registering the dog as an AKC purebred (should we even bother?)
-my daughter's lacrosse season schedule (hmm, the season ends next week, this would have been nice to have on the fridge all along)
-9 pens, only 7 of which work
-6 pen lids in various colors. One chewed on.
-1 sharpie black
-1 sharpie blue, dried out.
-1 highlighter pen that looks like the donkey from Shrek
-7 unopened bank statements for my adult son that moved out 12 months ago.
-A $50 bonus coupon for future plumbing needs from the plumber that came on Christmas eve a year and a half ago and did a terrible job. (It expired in November of last year.)
-A graduation card for my niece with the $20 bill still's been a year now. (I wonder if she noticed I never sent it.  Because I told her I had.)
-4 Costco magazines with mouth-watering recipes in them and a hot tub I would like to have.
-3 Costco coupon books
-The entire 37 page receipt packet from the movers documenting every box and furniture item that was moved 1 1/2 years ago.
-The warranty for the mower (but still no receipt to go with it)
-The warranty for the dishwasher
-The warranty for the refrigerator
-The receipt from the air conditioner man
-The receipt from the Christmas eve plumber
-The receipt from the good plumber that came later
-My daughter's report card
-My daughter's report from driver's ed saying she passed
-Christmas cards from various friends. (Oh wow! I never looked at these photos of their cute kids!)
-A Christmas card from our Insurance Agent
-A birthday card from our Insurance Agent.
-7 post it notes with phone numbers of unknown personages
-A small notebook with shopping lists, menu ideas, thoughts, lists of things I want to change in my life, doodles, things I want to fix around the house, budgets, and church assignments in it.
-A cute notepad with owls on it that a nice neighbor gave me when she saw that I collect owls. I've been too afraid to use them because they are so cute.
-A triple A battery
-A 3M hook
-2 screws and 4 nuts
-2 quarters, a dime, 3 pennies.
-2 pencils with broken leads, one with no eraser.

Practically everything went in the trashcan. Maybe 5 important papers were saved. 5. And two pens. And the owl notepad. And the donkey highlighter. ;)

Now my kitchen is de-cluttered.  Do I feel happy?  Why yes, I think I do.  Thanks Google!
My new de-cluttered kitchen corner!

How I Got My Name (A Just So Story)

My name is "LaLa."

It is a name bestowed upon me by my 1 year-old grandson, Charlie. No one knows how the word “grandma” morphed into the lovely name of “LaLa,” but I consider it nothing less than a miracle!
Charlie at the duck pond.
It all started a couple of years ago when my eldest child announced that she was engaged to be married. At the time, we were all excitement and joy! Her fiance was a handsome blonde man who had captured her heart with his gentle, brilliant blue eyes. Their wedding was beautiful. At the reception, my daughter's last dance with her daddy made me cry with tears of joy and pride. It seemed I had successfully raised one of my four little chicks and off I was sending her out of the nest. “Fly! Little Bird, Fly!” And off she flew!
We all looked good in coral.

All seemed right in the world.

Seven months later came the shocking news. News that would alter my life and identity forever. “Mom, guess what?!!?” “We're going to have a baby!”

I didn't quite understand at first. A baby! Well. That's nice. How sweet. Then she continued.


Huh? What? A what?!!?

No. no. no. no. no. no. no. That was NOT in the contract! It was all fine and good that you wanted to get married. You looked beautiful in your wedding dress. I got to be the mother of the bride and have this big party where we invited all our friends. It was great. We all looked good in coral.

But I am NOT ready to be a grandma. can't even SAY the word. I am still young. Very, very young. Friends of mine are still having babies of their own. I am NOT grandma material. I'm just not old enough!

My husband Scott couldn't say his word, either. He called it “the G word.” I think it's possible that elementary children are sent to the principal's office for saying it.

For a while, I thought perhaps another rendition of the word would be better. I tried out every possibility. “Nana?” “Grandmama?” The formal “Grandmother?” A very OLD friend of mine had grandchildren that called her “Honey.” Maybe that would work. But we had a dog named “Honey” when I was a kid. And that memory wasn't helping. “Granny?” “Nanny?” Finally I stated that “Nanny, nanny boo boo” sounded best and fit with how the G word made me feel! How ever was I going to survive?

Well, survive I did. Through the horribly difficult pregnancy, (learning a new term for my daughter's condition, “Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” ) Through the life-threatening birth. (postpartum hemorrhage) Through the sweet young family moving in with us into our basement. Through babysitting while my daughter finished her delayed last semester of college. Through her husband going away for 6 months of military training.  Through postpartum depression.  Hers and mine! (Can I even claim that?)

It was such a trying time that I hardly even noticed people calling me grandma. It just became second nature. And Charlie was such a sweet and darling baby, that it seemed only a small pitance of my self-image to pay for the royal honor of being related so closely to my sweet grandson!
My daughter's graduation day.

Perhaps God was watching. Perhaps He saw my efforts and wanted to reward me. Perhaps Charlie just couldn't hear properly. Maybe he had a developing speech impediment. Or a glitch in his brain. (He is learning all other words without a glitch, though.) Whatever the glorious reason, last month after I was just getting my mother settled in the house across the street, Charlie started calling me “LaLa.” And it sounded like heaven. Truly.

So LaLa is my name.