Stormy Season

quinalt

We’ve had a few storms blow over the West Coast this weekend.  I heard it was remnants of a typhoon, which sounded very exotic. Nothing happened like the Columbus Day storm of 1962, as originally predicted. The closer you lived to the sea, the more damage you sustained. But here…no need for water jugs or generators. Locally, A few tree branches knocked out fences. Some experienced short power outages. And rain, as in about 10 inches. I took a walk this afternoon to survey the neighborhood damage.

The rain had paused. But everything dripped. Red, gold, green and brown leaves – tree currency – littered the ground. Some stuck to the pavement from the damp adhesive. Nearly translucent, they clung with tenacity, like stamps to envelopes. Squirrels scurried up trees. Their gray poufy tails twitched as they gathered acorns. Birds chirped and hopped about, catching up on socializing. The hazel-eyed creek, swollen with runoff, curled and swirled around downtown with swiftness.

I breathed in the fresh scrubbed air. The relentless rain makes me restless. It creates a sort of barrier with its wet silver curtain. Nobody wants to go outside, or go anywhere, really. We all hibernate, dashing out into the damp to gather groceries or pump gas. It’s the season for getting lost in a book and drinking hot beverages.

I packed up my summer wardrobe yesterday as the rain drummed down. I boxed up all my sandals, shorts, lightweight dresses and capri pants. So long, summer. This year, it’s taken me awhile to get around to doing it. Oh, I had a couple of pieces on standby as the weather turned cooler. But I couldn’t quite surrender. Usually we have a last-ditch effort on the part of the dry season. A couple of freak hot days sneak onto the calendar and we all flip back to sleeveless mode. But summer is truly gone now.

I pulled out my knee-length boots and corduroys. I folded the sweaters and placed them on the shelf. I hung up skirts and blouses. I unpacked long-sleeved pajamas and fleece pants. I even dusted off the clown pants. Hey, you never know.

So I’m ready. Seasons change. I can’t hold onto summer like those soaked leaves stuck to the sidewalk. There’s a natural progression to the seasons and to this life. More storms will come, I’m sure. It’s time to move on.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”– Genesis 8:22

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Run On

runner

(source)

I haven’t written much lately. I tweaked my shoulder and have had a lot on my mind.

Like…I entered a race. I’ve thought about it all summer. This nice weather we have and by nice, I mean “not raining”(that’s Pacific Northwest lingo for you), should not be wasted. If you live in this area, you know that from June to September, every weekend gets jam packed with festivals, parades, carnivals and the like. Why? Because it’s sunny. Or at least trying to be. We give points for that, too. Everyone wants to be out and about in the vitamin D.

This is my convoluted way of saying I wanted to capitalize on my earlier running streak and take advantage of the good weather, too. All too soon, come November, nobody will want to be outside. The scenery will be shades of gray upon gray with a hint of brown for lively accent.

But there’s a bonus this year. Jonathon, eternal candidate for husband of the year, wants to run the 5K at the same time. Huzzah! Wouldn’t it be great if he fell in love with running, too? I’m trying not to get too excited and freak him out. It’s difficult.

I downloaded a Hal Higdon training schedule, free off the interwebs. I purposefully picked the Novice 2 level. Of course, this is my 6th half marathon. I have learned a thing or two. But I also know myself. No sense killing myself to get to the desired result. I plan to keep the 2 kettlebell workouts a week in the mix and get one rest day instead of two. I’ve jacked the plan all around to make it work for me. And, if it doesn’t work, I’ll change it again. Yes, Virginia, I can be flexible.

This is my latest adventure. I’m wiping the slate clean of old disappointments and injuries and expectations. I want to have fun and get stronger. Care to join me?

 

Beginning at the End

End of school year 2016

We took the kids out to Olive Garden last night to celebrate the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Ruby ordered a plate full of mussels in red sauce. She took two bites and decided she didn’t like them. Zac ordered the shrimp Alfredo and got a plate full of spaghetti with sausage. The waitress, bless her heart, took back the mussels and got them cleared off our bill. She brought out Zac’s original choice and Ruby nibbled the spaghetti. Win-win.

We talked about stuff going on. Working on the house. Work stuff for Jonathon and me. Church stuff. Ruby did the kids menu word search and puzzles. Zac wowed us with random facts about portion sizes at restaurants (30% larger than what we eat at home).

On the way home, we listened to Zac’s music. He likes dub step and trap music, as I’ve mentioned before. He talked about some of it being “old”, like almost 10 years old. He likes a lot of different sounds. Some of the songs had real instruments in them, trumpets and the like.

On the way home, stuffed and loaded down with take-home boxes, I asked the kids a question.

“What was the best thing that happened at school this year?”

“Definitely the note,” Ruby piped up from the back seat. Her teacher, new to Evergreen this year, typed her a personal note. She praised Ruby’s unconventional thinking, sense of humor and quirky style. She said Ruby could always jog her out of a bad mood. She loved her stories and writing and encouraged her to keep it up, even including her email so Ruby could send them along. It encouraged Ruby.

Zac had a different answer.

“I think the Smarter Balance test. I got 100% on it. It made me realize I have good essay skills.”

Yes, you do, my boy. The problem with being a 5-talent person is that someday you have to choose what to do with your life. Zac excels at English, science, writing, math…Choices, choices.

Later that night, Zac and I talked some more.

“You know, Mom, the sad thing is that this is the first year I actually *tried* at school.”

His face held a mixture of wistful longing and excitement. He’s not the little boy he was. The lines and planes of his face continue to emerge as he passes into adulthood. Yet for a moment, I glimpsed the blonde round-eyed child who used to wear blue blanket capes and jump off the furniture, hoping to fly. He would crouch on the couch cushion fort he made, spread his arms and leap. His smile lit up the room as he soared through the air.

“I know,” I said. “Think of what you can do next year. You’ll have tougher classes (who does that their senior year?!). You’ll need to grind it out, from the very beginning. Get a rhythm and keep it going all year.”

Zac has one more year of high school. Look out, son, I thought. The world hasn’t seen the best of you yet.

 

 

Boiling Monday

lobster in pot

(source)

Our preternatural summer continues. Jonathon filled the hot tub with the garden hose – dubbed the cold tub for now – which proved a great boon for us. Us Northwesterners have thick blood. These blistering days make us melt like slugs on the sidewalk. We’re more pleasant if we can cool our core body temperature.

With another hot day in the works, mornings are the best time to knock out a few. I ran 3 miles this morning. The hazy sunrise glowed pink and yellow on the horizon. A cool breeze blew out of the north. A few cars passed me. Other than that, all was quiet. It felt good to move.

I learned a few things this weekend. Thought I’d share them with you.

  • Getting your son into the SAT is not as easy as it sounds. One, you need to preregister online. Then you need to take a head shot and print out an entry ticket with the picture. The page will get cut off, printing either landscape or portrait. It’ll take the monster skills of your doctoral husband to beat it into submission. Secondly, they need another form of I.D. If your son has no driver’s license or permit, pray he has a student body card. Otherwise, it means a trip to the DOL and $54 to get an ID card to show he’s a real, live person. Oh, and he has to leave his phone at check in. He’ll have ruffled feathers about that.
  • You might learn a new song for worship and volunteer to play the shaker while you sing alto, to add some much-needed flavor to the song. Unbeknownst to you, this will prove harder than you think. Shaking a plastic rattle and singing a song you barely know, simultaneously, will strain your little gray cells. You might need a nap afterwards, like for two hours. Not that I’d know anything about that personally.
  • Despite all odds, one scorching day your kid and her pals will want to set up a blue tarp homemade slip ‘n’ slide on the asphalt driveway. When you say no, you’ll be labeled a bad momma.

They say you should learn something new every day. What did you learn this weekend?

 

 

 

Monday Morning Musings

A reminder.  Image by ryanmarciniak.com

A reminder. Image by ryanmarciniak.com

We have cooler air in Shelton today. A few hesitant clouds linger in the sky.  They seem unsure about whether to stick around or drift away. After a streak of 90+ degree days, it’s refreshing.  With a burn ban on in western Washington, our local 4th of July contained no fireworks.  The silence made me a little uneasy. A far cry from last year’s war zone.   Never mind that the air didn’t cool down anyway until after midnight.

Saturday, I did my first run/walk back since the calf injury.  I walked a mile, then ran a mile in spurts.  That is, I would walk a little, then run a couple of blocks.  I stuck to the flat part of town.  I wanted to go farther.  But I exercised restraint.  This time.

I’ve been thinking about trust lately. It’s a recurrent theme with me.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.Psalm 37:3-4

I have some items on my mental prayer list that haven’t come to pass yet. Circumstances get murky and onerous and I wonder about God’s plan in all of it.  I think if I can focus on trusting the Lord and doing good to those around me, it helps.  I want to delight in the Lord whenever I get the chance.  I want to see Him all day, even in the little things. This fresh breeze blowing over me, the sun sparkling in the tree tops, the colorful flowers blooming everywhere, remind me of the Lord’s goodness back to me.  I will keep hanging on and hanging in.

Ruby Bloom

Photo by hdwpics.com

                                             Photo by hdwpics.com

Ruby sat at the table, She slouched over her cereal bowl.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked.

“I don’t have any friends.  I’m the only neighborhood kid left.  All my other friends have moved away for the summer,” she said, brown eyes sad.

I know this.  It makes me sad, too.  Growing up, I can’t ever remember not having kids to play with wherever I lived.  In Portland, it was the next-door neighbors.  In Clackamas, it was a friend across the street.  Sure, they took vacations and went away for awhile. But they didn’t move.

“Have you prayed about it? Jesus said we don’t have because we don’t ask.” A lot of times we whine and complain instead of seeking God about stuff.  Not you, of course. Just hypothetically.

She nodded.

“Lots of times,” she said. She slurped up another sludgy bite of cereal.

“Have you gotten an answer?” I asked

She shook her head.

“Are you mad at God about that?”

“Yes,” she admitted.

Well, that was easy. Now what?

“Sometimes we don’t get what we want right away.  Remember when I told you about how your dad and I wanted a baby?”

“Yeah,” she said, bored. “You prayed about it and poof! there was Zac, then poof! I came along,” she said.

It took a little more than poof, mind you, but that’s the general idea.

“God didn’t deny us children.  He just waited for the right babies to come along.  Sometimes when our prayers don’t get answered right away, it isn’t no.  It’s not yet.”

She looked at me. She didn’t like that suggestion.

“How about we pray about it?  The Bible says where two or more are gathered together, God is in the midst of them.  You and I are two.  Chloe makes three,” I said, petting the muppet-cat at our feet.

I took her small hand. We prayed.  We asked for little girls Ruby’s age, 8-10, with nice families, to move into our neck of the woods.

Now, we wait.  What to do in the meantime?  Make the most of what we have.  In Ruby’s case, that means writing stories, making up songs, playing in our “cool” tub (the unconnected hot tub), planting flowers, building with legos, drawing, riding her bike and enjoying the sunny freedom of summer. It’s time to get to know her dad and Zac better, maybe even learn to make jam. We can bloom where we’re planted even as we wait for the good things God has for us.

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20

Summer Break

It’s the kids’ last day of school.  They will sit in classrooms for 1.5 hours.  When I get home for lunch hour, they’ll be back already.

Why? Good question.

Something to do with seat time.  We had no snow days this year – no snow at all, really – so this is the end of the year from the original 2014-2015 calendar. It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma, with tartar sauce on the side.

Zac is no longer a sophomore and Ruby isn’t a third-grader anymore.  Where does the time go? I’d post photos, yet they slumber on. Besides, Zac would kill me.

The good thing about summer is that I’ll get to see them both kids more. Ruby will attend a few camps here and there.  But most of the time she’ll be underfoot, filling water balloons and jumping on her friend’s trampoline next door. Zac will be one with his computer, taking breaks to crack terrible puns and pester his little sister.

I wish regular jobs had summer breaks.  Sure, I’ve got vacation days scattered throughout.  Nothing of any duration, though.  I’ll take my vacation where I can find it, spending time with family and friends. We’ll barbecue and picnic outside.  Might even throw in a little karaoke for good measure, enjoying the sunshine. It’s going to be a great summer, folks.  Don’t miss it.