Thursday, December 31, 2015

A love letter for the New Year

It’s 9:12pm New Years Eve Night.  My husband is watching football in his office.  My parents are upstairs watching what they watch.  Dick Clark maybe.  Isn’t he dead?  Hopefully not.

Ellie is asleep, miraculously, through the fireworks the neighbors are setting off.  I don’t know what it is about Texans and loud, gawd-awful noises but they love them.  Anything that makes a loud BOOM makes them all very happy.  BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.  Ugh.

I went outside thinking, I’m being bombarded by explosions I might as well enjoy the show.  So I take Ellie’s monitor and my phone, slip into my rain boots and step outside.  It has warmed up considerably and is actually warmer now at 9pm than it was even a few hours earlier.  I’m standing in the cool night, the rain not falling exactly but kind of misting on my skin.  

I see Toby coming up the driveway from the street.  Poor Toby did we leave him outside!?  Not Toby, Toby is back in the house snuggled under a blanket, probably already asleep.  The way it moves I think no, it must be a large, fat cat.  It gets closer.  Coming right toward me so I think it must be scared and lost and wants to come inside where it’s quieter and where there’s food.

It isn’t a dog or a cat I realize as it gets closer, it’s a fox.  A small, scared fox.  She (he?) seems to see me standing there and veers off into the brush beside the driveway.  Fireworks must be scaring every small animal within 500 miles.  And then I think…what other  animals might it be scaring out of hiding and toward me in the rainy night?  I hear other rustling in the brush and think I see the tan hide of a deer.  Or a coyote?  And….it’s back inside for this city dweller.

Still, the moment is mine.  One special moment where I shared the rainy night with another scared, wild animal.  Or possibly several.  

Those special moments we share, unexpectedly, with some of nature’s closest children seem to transcend us.  Take us out of ourselves.  Reminds us there is a whole world out there we are interconnected with and that we are affecting whether we are aware of it or not.

Tomorrow is next year.   What do we hope for ourselves for the coming year?  I hope I can make my way through this year softly.  I hope the disturbance my life stirs up in the ocean of the world is a positive one, and I leave love in my wake.  #holyhippiehoo-ha?  Maybe.  It is my sincere desire to reach beyond my own insecurities and faults to make the world a better place.  Or at least, to make it shiny in the corner where I am.  

Mother Theresa said ‘There are no great acts, only small acts done in great love.’  

I hope I can remember to love even when I feel like I need more of it myself, to reach out and help when I feel like I need it more, and to have the courage to live my best life.

And to everyone else I love, Happy New Year and happiness, health, healing, and humor to you all.  Be safe, and if you can’t be safe, have fun.  If you can’t be safe OR have fun…well, I can’t help you there.  Go hug a puppy or something.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Friendly Bubonic Plague, Messy Breakfasts, The Sunshine of Ellie-Belle

Having mom and dad here for Christmas has been AWESOME.  

Someone to talk to in the morning who isn’t in a bad mood when they wake up?  SUBLIME.  

I wake up wishing Ellie would sleep in a little longer but otherwise excited to get the day started.  I don’t know why.  Each day is more of the same since I’m not working, each day a cookie cutter cut-out like the last and yet…I wake up singing.  

There may be something wrong with me that only serious drugs and surgery can fix.  Since I am firmly of the belief drugs and unnecessary hacking only lead to other problems, I guess the world is stuck with me how I am.  

Well, not the world really because they can take me or leave me but BILL is stuck with me how I am.  Mom and dad are too but they raised me so they’ve given up expecting me to suddenly sprout ‘normal’ horns and move about my day.  I don’t know what ‘normal’ horns are.  I may be delirious from the Bubonic Plague dad picked up at the airport and gave to everyone but mom.  (You go mom!  Rah rah rah!)

Maybe if dad weren’t so friendly he wouldn’t have picked up said Bubonic Plague but we’ll never know for sure.  DAD I DO NOT BLAME YOU.  He was the sickest of us all in fact he’s still not feeling well despite the hot ginger tea I’m pushing on him like a heroin dealer with a gambling problem.  (Ginger helps boost your immune system).  True.  Google it.  Doooooo it.  Ack I'm doing it again, sorry, sorry.  (But seriously it DOES help.)

Ellie is finally getting better and I didn’t get very sick myself.  I credit my ‘I’m not sick’ mantra.  Whenever I’m sick I convince myself I’m not really sick, I’m just FIGHTING a cold.  Which I am.  And which I will win.  

Moving about my day in pretty much the same way I would if I weren’t fighting a cold with the exception of drinking lots of hot liquids, getting extra sleep when I can and taking a decongestant to keep things moving.  Also, incorporating a few immune building poses in my daily yoga practice.  Yes I have a daily yoga practice.  Ba ba baaaaa.  Maybe ‘practice’ is misleading.  More like…daily…TASTE of yoga.  A few poses, usually Cat/Cow and a few twists, maybe some downward dog or back bends.  Ten to fifteen easy peasy minutes and then about 10 mins of meditation at the end of the day.  

Doable even for a mom of a sick 19 month old.  It’s just part of my ‘bedtime’ routine like brushing my teeth and checking for monsters under my bed.  Texans call them cockroaches but I prefer to call them brown beetles.  It makes my skin crawl slightly less when I think of them that way.  Slightly.

ANYWHO.  Back to being excited over having someone (mom) up with me in the morning who smiles when I smile and laughs at my (very laughable) morning antics.  I couldn’t get a smile out of Bill in the kitchen in the morning if I had Jerry Seinfield, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert AND Tina Fey all jockeying for ‘funniest person ever’.  Truly. 

He’s in a good mood when he first wakes up but by the time he gets to the kitchen and starts to cook himself breakfast he’s sunk into quite a cranky funk.  Maybe it’s the shock of a messy kitchen?  

After so many years living by himself, having the kitchen be in the same state of sterile, obsessive cleanliness when he gets up in the morning as when he went to bed the night before, it must be quite a shock to come out and witness the carnage Ellie and I can create in mere moments of half-wakefulness.  Breakfast is messy business around here.  There's waffles to make, blueberries to wash, apples to peel and cook, strawberries to wash and cut up for Ellie.  Breakfast is serious business 'round here.  Hence, messy.

ANYWHO.  I’m grateful mom and dad are here.  And focusing on gratefulness, I’m grateful that no matter what mood Bill is in, taking care of Ellie always, always, ALWAYS cheers him up.  It never ceases to amaze me how that little girl can make him light up just by smiling, or picking her nose, or doing 'old man lip.'  Life isn’t perfect but it sure is lovely.  And weird.  Mostly lovely.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Taking a Look at Ange’s Sparkly Bits

Christmas is nothing if not a big ball ‘o sparkly, shiny, sappy awesomeness.  Unless you’re completely alone this time of year in which case…it’s more like a small nugget of potential sparkly, shiny, sappy awesomeness.  Which may be the best kind of sparkliness there is, let’s be honest.

I do tend to get my hopes high at Christmas time.  Or any time really but the big pressure is at Christmas.  I'm trying to let it go.  Let it go....let it gooooooooo.  Letting it gooooo is really haaaarrrddd.....

I'm experimenting, trying to see what would happen if I held my ideal of the perfect Christmas in my head, gave it a little mental hug, cozy down in it for a minute, then...let it go.  Totally letting go of my expectations of what this holiday should be.  I'm letting it float up, up, up and away like a big, bright yellow balloon.  As Ellie says...bye bye....

What if we all took a good look around at our imperfect houses and imperfect families and looked for all the bright sparkly bits around us, right here, right now?  

Well, I’m glad you asked.  Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of Ange’s Bright Sparkly Bits for 2015 and forever, really:

  1. That first sip of hot tea on a cold December morning 
  2. Christmas music playing on my IPOD
  3. The rattle of dishes being put away as mom empties the dishwasher for me  
  4. The clink of toys in Ellie’s playroom as Bill helps her build a tower of blocks  
  5. The warm glow of Christmas lights all around the house (Sure I wish my tree didn’t look like a Charlie Brown Runner-Up)...but that’s not a Bright Sparkly Bit.  Nothing I want, nothing I wish, nothing I had are Bright Sparkly Bits.  Only what I have right here, right now can qualify as a Bright Sparkly Bit.

So.  The warm glow of Christmas lights I have scattered all around the house?  Sparkly Bit.

Ellie in a good mood and singing?  Sparkly Bit.

Me and everyone I love healthy and happy?  Sparkly Bit.

Toby’s wet kisses?  Sparkly.  Leftover apple pie for breakfast?  Sparkly.  Presents under the tree?  Sparkly, sparkly, sparkly!

SPARKLY BITS!  So don’t just take a look at MY sparkly bits, take a good look at some of your own.  Jeepers.

Write ‘em down even.  Throw them in a drawer.  A few weeks, or a few months later you will stumble across it and by that time you will have forgotten that Aunt Ida asked if you were six months pregnant (and you just lost ten pounds) and the dog ate part of the turkey (and you cut it off and didn’t tell anyone) and you DID eat that whole bag of Godiva chocolates in a stress-induced eating frenzy…you WILL remember with fondness the Sparkly Bits.  (Aunt Ida slipped on a banana peel).  (Your teenaged daughter looked up from her phone long enough to make eye contact and smile after she opened her first present).  These are the things we should be focusing on.

And if you are having a hard time finding those Sparkly Bits just remember, there’s always leftover apple pie for breakfast.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mack Trucks, Toilet Cycling, Good Things

I’m late with my entry today.  I wasn’t hit by a Mack truck Saturday night but it sure felt like it.  You see, my sweet Ellie-belle had the flu Thursday.  She was better so quick, eating normally by supper-time Thursday that I doubted it was the flu at all but maybe her canines coming in.  

All doubt was erased at 10pm when I found myself cradling the toilet bowl and wishing I hadn’t eaten pizza, garlic bread with garlic butter and chocolate cake for dinner earlier that night.  I wished that harder than I’d wished for anything in quite some time.

I spent the next six hours cycling between the bed and the toilet bowl.  Ellie had a rough night too, probably because I’m not a demure throw-upper.  (It was loud.)  Bill was super helpful - the first time I yakked he asked if he could get me anything.  (Like…more chocolate cake?  What could I possibly need right now except for the PUKING TO STOP?!).  

I’m not a happy puker.  

Then he promptly went to the living room and feel asleep on the couch.  He did eventually come to bed after I came out and told him I was worried my EXTREME PUKING may wake up Ellie.

Bill was redeemed as Ellie was up about as much as I was Saturday night, and he had to take care of her each time.  And then all day.  I spent Sunday in bed, sleeping, wondering if the plain macaroni I ate for lunch would stay where it was supposed to.  (It did.)

I’m back to ‘normal’ now but yesterday I couldn’t even pick Ellie up.  She was SO HEAVY.  While I was going through the worst of it I was reminded of what I used to do when I was really sick from chemo, or having a hard time with pain.  

I’d imagine a flame flickering or water running and I’d say the word I most needed over and over and over again.  Kind of like a mantra or a prayer I guess.  Last night it was ‘sleep.’  Or, ‘still’.  It actually helps.  It’s not like it totally pulls me out of my body and the suffering but it does move me aside for a bit.  Not out of the pain but above it for awhile because of my focus on something else, I guess.  

Don’t worry, I know that sounds totally nut-job crazy.  I did it for the first time when I was 15, having a bone marrow test for the first time and the word I used was ‘off’ as in, pain please turn off!   Sometimes it’s a phrase and sometimes it’s just a word. 

It is a skill born of desperation and an extreme need to flee the body I was in that allowed me to do it for the first time, that and a really good imagination.  Anyway, it’s a tool I have in my arsenal for when life ISN’T blooming daisies and happy butterflies fluttering. 

Anyhoo…life IS blooming daisies and butterflies aren’t fluttering but they ARE getting more beautiful inside their little cocoons today.  

The sun is shining in my living room window, I love how it looks shining through the white shear curtains I have.  It looks like a Disney movie outside my back windows with the leaves lit up in the morning sun.  The birds are swooping low, enjoying the water bath the recent rain has turned the dips in my backyard into.

There’s a doe resting by the tree stump by my garden.  

Squirrels are scheming to get into the bird feeders.  

Sweet Ellie is napping.  Sweet-ish Bill is working.  Toby is napping, not next to me like he used to, but in our room so he’s closer to Ellie while she’s napping.  Even my DOG is sweet.

And lastly, Mom and dad will be here THIS WEEK!!  So excited to show them around my ‘new’ town.  We’ll go to the Zoo, to NASA, Market Street, of course, Galveston maybe and Austin.  

And it’s almost CHRISTMAS!!  Wheeee!  

I love having my family here for Christmas, it’s too bad I couldn’t fly down Dylan and Kait too.  My heart is full of good things.  

Not like my toilet Saturday night.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Socrates is Kind of a Jerk and Congress is full of Zombies

Socrates said:  My advice to you is to get married: if you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.  

Ouch.  One of history’s first really good burns.  Because he WAS married.  Her name was Xanthippe and she was quite a bit younger than our Philosopher King.  

We don’t know that much about her.  (Hardly surprising since all the history books were being written by men).  An ancient historian had listed her as ‘undesirable’ and Socrates was obviously not ‘happy’.  She gave him three sons.  And he wasn’t happy?  Isn't that what every ancient Greek man wanted?  A stout woman to bear him sons?  Socrates might have been wise but he was kind of a jerk too.  Yeah.  I said that.

What did you imagine when you imagined being married?  (I’m assuming not just having a stout woman to bear you sons).  Although, no judgement in this space….

I imagined having someone you not only love to spend your life with (doesn’t love wax and wane?) but someone you really, actually, genuinely, warts and all LIKE.  

Someone who makes you laugh.  Someone you wouldn’t mind being stuck on a deserted island with.  When I imagined being married I imagined lots of wonderful and silly things that have come true, and some we’re still working on.  

For the most part I was enjoying having a partner, an equal who I could have interesting conversations with over dinner.  Well, that part is definitely true.  Turns out those ‘interesting conversations’ are more like the presidential candidate debates with no sides declaring a clear winner.  (Except in my head, I am always the winner…!)  

We argue about everything from Obamacare to gun laws to the best way to cut the lettuce for the dinner salad.  (That is not an exaggeration.  He likes it cut lengthwise and in thin ribbons.  I prefer to tear it apart in large, chunky pieces.  I realize the lettuce issue is a microcosm of our entire relationship…)

Anywhoo….I know when I’ve had a particularly convincing argument when, days later, long after the fire from the debate has cooled, I find myself fighting from his previous position.  Yes.

I have no idea how this happens.  

Except, maybe because after a few days I concede his point maybe had a modicum of credibility and that’s when he switches sides and argues my previous point for me.  Usually better than I did.

I’d like to blame it all on HIM, he’s so argumentative!  And he is, for sure.  But I seem to remember a certain little girl who loved to argue anyone, anytime, about anything.  

Poor Ellie.  Well, she’ll always hear both sides of the story with us, usually twice.   

In an effort to mend the fences (arguing ALL the time is exhausting and annoying.  Sometimes you just want someone to take your side!) I’ve decided to get us a gift certificate at the gun range down the street.  I figure together, we can learn how to properly imagine the other’s face on a target and shoot it safely.  I think we can bond over firearms.  (Already I’m questioning the sanity of this idea…)

This may surprise some of you.  I am after all the organic-tofu-eating yoga-addicted waaaaaay-far-left-mother-earth-diva kinda lady.  I literally will not hurt a fly.  

Let’s be clear - I don’t want guns ANYWHERE NEAR MY HOUSE.  I’m scared I’m not cutting Ellie's GRAPES small enough and I’d let a DEATH MACHINE in my house?  No.

BUT you can rent the guns at this range and learn how to shoot and I think it might give us a chance to both do something we have no idea how to do together.  I think learning how to shoot a gun will be good for our relationship.  (Again, I’m starting to question the sanity of this idea….)

All that to say this:  I don’t have anything against guns.  But this country is SICK IN THE HEAD if it thinks 353 mass shootings (four or more people killed at one time) in 340 days time is ANYTHING close to normal.  Or SANE.  If this country were a person he’d be labeled a psychotic and locked far, far away from civilized society.  It isn’t that the US has more guns than people that alarms me.  It IS part of this culture after all, for better or worse (lately, worse).  

What alarms me is the complete inability to pass any sort of gun safety laws in this country.  These laws aren’t in place to take guns away from people.  They’re there to ensure the wrong people don’t get their hands on them in the first place.  Every time I hear someone say ‘criminals don’t pay attention to laws’ I want to cry.  You just have to look at Canada, or Australia, or ANY OTHER FIRST WORLD COUNTRY to see that they DO work.  It makes me want to cry because there’s no thought or effort behind that sort of comment.  It’s a deflection.  And a stalling tactic.  It’s just plain not true and it’s literally costing lives.  Every day.

We.  Need.  Better.  Gun.  Laws.

For those interested, this is a quick recap of the main gun regulations in Canada:

A license is required to own or possess firearms. 

Federal government safety course required before applying for a license. 

To be authorized to carry a handgun or restricted long gun for a lawful occupational purpose, such as trapping or working in a wilderness area, an individual must be a Canadian resident, have a firearms license with restricted privileges and obtain an Authorization to Transport permit.

Semi automatic firearms have size restricted magazines (rimfire rifles excluded) 

Automatic firearms not permitted.

These laws are common sense, practical, and they work.  I won’t demonize the NRA - they are what they are.  

The real problem is us.  

We’re not mad enough about the issue to try and make any real changes.  Well, I’m mad.  I don’t want to wait until I hear a phone call from Ellie, hiding under her desk because someone is there trying to kill as many people as they can before they die.  

THIS is the use automatic weapons were MADE FOR.  To kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible.  Surely even in Texas we can agree we don’t need an automatic weapon to hunt, and what skill does it take to hit a target with a semi-automatic rifle?  

What other argument is there?  If you’re stockpiling for the zombie apocalypse rest assured it’s already happened.  What other explanation is there for the lack of movement on this issue in Congress except that they’re all already dead inside?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seth Seems to Say don't Stay in your Stagnant Size Small Sac

Seth MacFarlane IS the next Frank Sinatra.  I’m listening to his new album, No One Ever Tells You and let me tell YOU, old blue eyes is in for some competition.  Yeah.  I just said that.

And yes, the guy behind ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Ted’.  I KNOW, I know.  His humor may be lewd and crude but it’s smart too.  

Know why I really like this guy?  Besides his super dreamy singing voice that makes me want to swing on lamp posts and accidentally bump into him on a street corner in Paris?  “Oh!  Mr MacFarlane, I’m so sorry!  What?  Would I like to sit at a small cafe on the corner and sip expresso and stare at you dreamily while you sing me the blues?  Yes, yes I would.”  

Uh, what was I saying?  Oh!  Why I really like this guy.

He’s smart.  But mostly that he refuses to stay in his little box.  I LOVE that this guy created Family Guy and Ted and a bunch of other stuff but that he started as an animator, doodling on scrap pieces of paper and now he just flipped out a totally surprising and amazing album.  

He reminds me that we don’t have to be just ‘one’ thing.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to pitch the idea.  “Like, you want to sing like a joke right?  Like it’s so bad it’s funny?  What?  You don’t want to sing jokes?  We could make it into a cartoon?  Aren’t you the guy who created the talking teddy bear movie?”

Labels are for LOSERS I tell you. 

I’m a stay at home mom.  LABEL.  Icky, sticky, limiting label.  I’m a WRITER.  (Label) And a comedian.  Comedianne?  Canadian, for sure.  I’m a POET.  And a baker.  An amateur surfer and scuba-diver.  Yogi.  

Label, label, label, label.  

They don’t say anything about me.  They’re all me and none of them are me.  How I love to read and mountain bike.  How I love Taylor Swift and Jai-Jagdeesh.  Just because I’m one thing doesn’t mean I can’t be other, seemingly conflicting, things too.  

Life is ACTIVE.  It isn’t passive.  It isn’t stagnant.  It’s change.  It’s growth.  We may all have a purpose here on earth, something specific we’re meant for but for sure we’re all meant to GROW.  To learn.  To adapt.  To learn new things.  To try new outlets for our creativity.  To stretch our fingers and our wings and just JUMP.

I’ve met people who can’t do this anymore.  They’re stuck and miserable.  They want to try ball room dancing but they’re afraid someone will make fun of them.  Or they can’t give that to themselves unless there’s a practical outcome.  Unless it makes money or serves to make them skinnier or more attractive.  

They have this hidden yearning for something more but they can’t allow themselves to take it.  They can’t just let themselves have that experience just for the sake of enjoying it.  Taking a cooking class or trying Krav Maga.  Attending church service with your mom.  If it feeds your soul I think it’s your responsibility to follow those bread crumbs where they lead.  Even if it’s not to fatten the wallet or thin the tummy if it gives you even a moment of joy and peace it behooves us to allow more of that into our lives.

The world is a beautiful place that needs fulfilled people in it, seeking to serve.  

So go hug a teddy bear.  And buy that book on how to pickle asparagus already.  The world needs you.  And Seth, dear sweetly singing Seth…I’m a married woman and so completely off the table I’m sorry.  But we’ll always have Paris.
Oh and if you're shopping on Amazon anyway, if you shop at the AmazonSmile link below they'll donate $3.00 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the first purchase.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunshine Farms, a bright spot in organic, sustainable gardening in Texas.

Did you know donkeys can keep deer away?  

It’s true.  We just visited Sunshine Farms out on Jackson Road in Montgomery and let me tell you that was a very interesting place.  It’s run by a sweet older couple, Jim and Lisa Jenkins.

It was what I THINK I want for our family, at least on a smaller scale.  They didn’t need any fences for their gardens because apparently the donkeys keep the deer away!  And raccoons and other pesky animals who like to eat our plants.  I turned to Bill and said PEEERFECT.  All we need is goats to eat the weeds and brush, donkeys to keep the deer away and chickens to give us fresh eggs!  Easy Peasy.  Maybe not cheaper than an eight foot high fence but…waaaaay more fun.

We talked mainly to Jim who showed us around the farm from the organic herbs (did you know Rosemary gets BIG.  Like, good for a hedge big?!) to his compost and water conservation techniques to his new project, the fish-fed aquaponics shed.  

Um, RIDICULOUS cool.  

He uses rainwater collected and filtered through rocks in large bins with CATFISH INSIDE who eat the bacteria and flotsam etc that get filtered through the rocks.  Then the catfish oblige by pooping a lot.  Ewwww.  But no, poop is GOOD in this case.  He filters it through and pumps it up to the shed and it will feed the plants he has suspended in a rock mesh cage above the water.  The roots just lap up that nitrate and nitrite rich water and because they don’t have soil to have to push through they grow about 30% faster.  Very cool.  He had romaine lettuce growing there and basil and different kinds of cabbage.  We can try that with a fish tank and some cabbage, easy peasy.  

Ellie chased chickens, goats, the dog, a kitten (Who I SOOO wanted to take home but Bill went all logical-reasoning argument on me and as usual I lost).  Apparently cuddling the kitten and appealing to his emotional side by saying ‘but she’s sooo cuuute….’ doesn’t win any arguments with this guy.  The real argument was over the who-poo question.  I said I’d do it but if we get lucky and have a Yeh #2 sometime soon, I won’t be able to empty the litter box.  Boooooo.  Anyhoo…

His wife Lisa has a whole shop on the farm full of artisan skin care and home care products made from the organic herbs they have growing outside.  We bought organic soaps and loofahs (yes she grows her OWN loofah!)  I KNOW I also thought loofah’s grew in Walmart bins.  Who knew they were A PLANT!!?  

So I’m trying that loofah-soap blend she created herself (out of her very own BRAIN!) and I bought the all natural dryer spray.  Side note - I stopped using fabric softener and bounce about 4 months ago because of all the chemicals in it.  

Did you know dyer sheets COAT your clothing in a chemical barrier, that’s what keeps them soft!? 

Do I want Ellie’s clothes coated in a  chemical so that they feel softer?  No.  Baby can rough it out.  And, it isn’t even rough.  I’ve got two dryer balls and now with the spray I bought from Lisa I can have them sell nice again too.  Instead of just awesome and clean, which is what they smell like with no softener and no bounce.  Terrible right?  I digress.

Anyway, I was SUPER excited to find this place.  They grow peppers and kale and onions and garlic and tons of different kinds of lettuce and just about every herb you can imagine.  And all organically using sustainable methods for compost and irrigation.  Amazing.  And all this just minutes from our house.  

To be perfectly honest I’m shocked to find something like this south of Virginia.  I mean, to find people FROM TEXAS who not only knew what Kale was but were GROWING it.  And organically!  I’m dumbfounded.  I’m flabbergasted.  I’m relieved.  

I may be in the meat eating, gun packing, yoga-what-what capital of the universe but that doesn’t mean there aren’t like-minded people about.  And sweet ‘ole Lisa and Jim MAY BE exclusively meat-eating, gun packing, yoga what-what people but if they’re working hard to be self-sustained and environmentally clean - we’re at least speaking the same language.  

To be honest what they’re doing out there is so impressive even if Jim had met us out in the yard with a sawed off shot-gun, a piece of goat foot hanging from his mouth and a picture of a yoga mat with a big red line through it, I still would have appreciated what they’ve accomplished.    

It takes a special person to run a farm.  And to run it without the ease of pesticides and big-business irrigation, that’s commendable.  I hope to find more families and places like what we found today here in Texas - but I have a feeling Sunshine Farms is a progressive bright spot in an otherwise dim farm-scape.

Anyway, so donkeys chase deer away.  The real question is…who’s cleaning the donkey poo?  (Not it, not it, not it!)

Monday, November 16, 2015


Ever feel like your life is a roller coaster ride and you’re suspended at the top right before the big plunge?  You have time to take a deep breath, wonder why you’ve agreed to come on this ride in the first place and then your butt drops but your heart stays in your throat?  It’s exhilarating and terrifying and the view is spectacular.  Eventually your heart resumes it’s usual place in your chest and you’re reminded how you were convinced to park your butt in this grimy, plastic thrill bucket after all.  Because it’s fun.  Even when it’s NOT fun it’s rarely boring.  

Sometimes I feel like that’s my life.  

Most of the time my life feels like a Woody Allen screwball comedy where nothing much happens except a lot of fumbling and mumbling and sometimes, sometimes, some interesting chatter.

Lately I feel like my life is slowly picking up speed and I am clatter, clatter, clattering slowly to the top.  Part of the sensation is coming from the two colds I’ve had pretty much back to back lately and my inability to be able to stop and take care of myself.  Like the commercial says, mom’s don’t have sick days.  Being sick always makes me feel a little uneasy, for good reason. But, like a champ, my body took those icky germs my sweet bundle of joy passed to me and beat ‘em back like the hulk in a bad mood.  Yeah immune system!

There’s been a lot going on lately and this time of year always feels like ‘go’ time because of the holidays.  In Canada Thanksgiving is in October which is manageable but here it’s the last week of November, then Christmas 3 weeks later.  It’s a mad house in this country from Oct 30 to Jan 4 and I’m feeling the buzz.  I just read an article saying coffee is good for us again.  So I started drinking coffee again.  I’m a little twitchy.  My shoulders aren’t supposed to be up around my ears, right?  I’m supposed to have a neck, right?

I know my anxiety level is getting a little high when I start to worry about things in the middle of the night I thought of during the day but didn’t bother getting around to.  Last night I woke up at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep until I totally emptied my night stand.  

Three times.  

I was looking for the left ear plug I had in there from when Bill was snoring so loudly.  (Have I not complained about that yet?)  Ugh...whatapainthatwas!!

Anyhoo....I had taken the right one out and put it on the dresser where Ellie couldn't get it but I couldn’t find the right one.  All day I thought about it but figured if I couldn’t find it right away then neither could Ellie.  (She can reach into my nightstand drawer) Then, at one in the morning, I suddenly KNEW that she had found the other one and had EATEN it when I wasn’t looking.  So.  Now I NEEDED to find that right ear plug or I’d lay awake all night worrying about her tiny colon.  

I emptied the drawer once, twice, finally turned on the light and emptied it all out again carefully.  I found it!  Stuck to the bottom of my dream journal (don’t be impressed it has two entries in it from two years ago..)  So happy!  So I put it on the dresser where the other one was.  And…..


At this point I recognized this for what it was…I was anxious in general and when I don’t take care of that anxiety during the day, it keeps me up at night.  I wasn’t REALLY worried about the ear plug.  The true test is when you wake up the next day, are you as worried?  

Does whatever was keeping you up need your attention right away in the morning?  If not, that wasn’t really what you’re worried about.  It’s just something your brain attached to for whatever reason.  Some deep breathing, some meditating or reading a calming (re: boring) book will do just as much good as ‘dealing’ with that issue at 1am.


I’m a little twitchy.


Angela’s remedies?  Coffee isn’t that good for me.  I’m cutting back.  I’m also going to listen to my body and my heart.  I need some alone time.  I need some yoga.  I’ve cleared the way to do a class a week.  I’m not going to feel bad about asking for some time for me.  Bill doesn’t feel bad about asking for time for himself on the weekend, and he gets 9 hours of adult time every day all week!  I’m at a bit of a disadvantage without close family nearby and I’m not perfect.  I need to acknowledge that.  And, I don’t have to be.  I’m not required to be.  Ellie doesn’t need Mom of the Year, she just needs Mom of the Here.  As in, I’m right here with you in this moment because I made sure I was fulfilled, replenished.  I can give you attention, love, patience, affection, and compassion because I also give those things to myself.  We need to remember even though we're Super Mom's, we're still human.

Namaste everyone and remember to be compassionate to yourself so you can give that compassion to the people you love.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

SuperGirl Wanna-Be

I like to play.  We just got a basketball net and I could’ve stayed out there for hours shooting hoops with Bill, stopping to let Ellie roll it around from time to time.  I like to pray and meditate too.  I like to watch movies in my pajama’s. I like to read and write and paint.  I like to do puzzles.  I like to talk.  Mostly about myself and what I’m going through…hence the blog.  I get to talk all blog and I don’t have to remind myself to be as interested in someone else’s point of view as my own.  I may have just gotten a shade too honest there…la la la.  I’m a little self-absorbed there’s no denying that.  

There ARE times though when something miraculous occurs - in speaking with someone truly interesting I’ve forgotten completely about myself.  It’s on par with blue moons and free cupcake giveaways.  You suddenly find yourself in unusual conversational territory, a twist and a turn and suddenly you’re thinking about big things.  Philosophy. Religion.  Poetry.  The future of mankind.  I get tired of using my head to plan meals when what I really want to be doing is planning how to ensure I’m living my best life.  That I’m using my potential to help make the world a brighter, warmer, (not literally you understand) safer place to be.  That I’m a fulfilled, happy person because how can that not benefit the people around me? 

So I watched SuperGirl a couple nights ago.  Of COURSE I loved it.  I'm a SuperGirl wanna-be.  If I couldn't be Diana Troy running around the Star Trek Universe I wanted to be SuperGirl.  Or, I would have been if I'd been allowed to read those trashy DC comics....Archie and Friends were the sauciest comics I could read.  Lord of the Rings I could read but a comic book featuring a girl who ran around in a mini skirt saving National City that was too much.  (Why am I poking at my parents, they're the only ones that read this regularly?)  My audience to two is shrinking.  Anyhoo.

I used to watch what’s-her-face (Calista Flockhart) in Ally McBeal and I liked that show a lot.  She doesn’t seem to have any eyebrows anymore but she’s still too skinny so there’s that.  Anyhoo.

In the show SuperGirl, (Melissa Benoist) is explaining to her sister how she has all these incredible powers and she feels like she needs to use them for good.  You know where this is headed.  She needs to test her own potential, to push the limits of her powers and help people.  She totally screws it all up and there’s this one scene that seems much more profound than a CBS show is capable of being.  She asks Ally McBeal (her boss) if SHE were SuperGirl, how would she stop making so many mistakes.  I’m paraphrasing here..’Girl needs to CALM DOWN.  You think I got hired twenty years ago and they put me in charge of a major media company?  No.  I started small, I worked my way up.  I fought every step of the way.’

I don’t normally take cues on how to live my life from a Rom-Com but, that seems like pretty good advice.  Start small.  Instead of stopping a robbery or rescuing a pet from a tree I can hold the door for a harried mom.  Pick up a candy wrapper that wasn’t mine and throw it out.  Let someone with less items go in front of me at the grocery store.  Keeping myself open to learning new things, trying new foods, experiencing new situations.  Meditating or praying regularly.  I’ve learned that trying to be MY best self affects others positively too.  It’s a chain reaction of good stuff.  

FYI Deepak and Oprah have these free 21 day meditation challenges from time to time, there’s one right now you can register for and catch the last 14 days.  Ok you made me do math so now you have to at least THINK about checking it out.  

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with an important Ellie update - she’s still ridiculously adorable.  And her top two canine’s are almost all the way through.  Know what that means?  I’ll be gaining my sanity back soon!  Yippie!!  Oh what good things I’ll be able to do once I’m not totally bonkers!! Sky’s the limit people.  (Up, up, and away!)  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dobs of Poo. Or, VOTE ELLIE 2045!!!

She’s crying again, tomp tomp tomp tomp tomp go her tiny feet, her fine black hair standing up in the breeze she’s creating as she’s running.  I kneel down and open my arms.  She runs into them with her own tiny arms open wide.  She snuggles down into the crook of my neck.  I pick her up and rub her back.  She stops crying a little but looks at me with her mouth turned down.  Her teeth are hurting, or she has a tummy ache, or she stubbed her toe.  Pre-verbal expression it’s anyone’s guess and if there are mom’s out there who instinctively know I’m happy for them but that isn’t me.  Right now I’m assuming she’s teething - both because it’s swollen where her eye teeth should be and because the Dr said they were coming in at her 18 month check-up last week.  

She’s miserable all afternoon.  

The tylenol I gave her at 4pm doesn’t seem to be helping much.  She also missed her nap today, Bill and I went to a Buffalo Wings to watch the Saints-Giants game.  (Saints won, Saints won!)  Texan and Titan game was also playing so we were in the minority with our Giant/Saint jerseys on.  We didn’t mind, since we moved here we’ve often felt just a liiiitle out of step with the rest of Texas.  We’ll adjust.  Or they will.  Someone will.

So she’s miserable all afternoon.  

I finally get her some supper (rice, broccoli and salmon.  She loooooves salmon so supper was easy at least).  But then I undressed her beside the tub for her bath and when the diaper dropped a small dob of poo came out with it.  A bonus.  Just for me.  So I scooped it up with the diaper and threw it in her trash and after it hit the can I saw THERE WAS NO BAG IN THE TRASH CAN.  I’d emptied it the other night when I should have been sleeping and forgot to replace the bag.  Ew.  I tried to wipe her off with a wet piece of toilet paper and place it carefully on top of the diaper so it doesn’t touch the sides of the can and then get her in the tub.  Immediately four or five pieces of poop float out from her bottom where I missed them and settled to the bottom of the tub.  I just realized now I bleached the tub when she was done and the toy she had in there and totally forgot to disinfect the floor where the dob of poo fell.

Just a second while I do that…

Ok.  Done.  

Ok you know I didn’t just do it.  But I will, I will.  I PROBABLY won’t forget again.  

So we’re trying to wean her from the pacey too which is not helping her mood.  Pacey’s are now only for nap and bedtime.  They stay in the crib.  The problem?  Nap time when she doesn’t nap and doesn’t understand why mom is taking out the pacey all of a sudden.  Changing the rules on babies SUCKS.  Ugh.

We need to wean her from the nighttime bottle too but momma isn’t ready for that drama yet.  She’s going to be 18 and still need that bottle before bed.  And the psychiatrist will want to speak to me about my inability to let her experience anything negative ever.  I’ll want to speak to me about it too.  Luckily I won’t be far away, I’ll be paying for the psychiatrist myself and be waiting in the waiting room with crackers and a juice box in case she gets hungry or thirsty.  

I can’t imagine a time I won’t be RIGHT THERE ALL THE TIME, waiting to give her what she needs.  This is how crazy-smothering-the-child-with-love-mom starts.  I know it.  I can feel it.  Those wild-eyed beings who sacrifice their whole being in service of their offspring.  And because they love their moms, they don’t spread their wings and fly.  They stay close and let mom cover them with her wings.  Shade from the sun, protection from the rain, shelter from the storm.  A wall between the blue sky and their own wings, a limit to their own dreams, a stopper in the throat of their own song.  I won’t do that.  

But it will be an effort not to.  It will be a conscious decision, every day.  This momma bear roars loud and loves hard but she’s trying to be wise, too.  I know I can’t protect her from everything, all the time.  I’m going to blink and she’s going to be in school and I won’t be there to pick her up if she stumbles.  I won’t be there with open arms to soothe her when she’s upset or hurt.  The best I can hope for is that Bill and I raise her to trust in herself.  To pick herself back up when she falls.  To be confident in her own self, to know she’s never really alone.  That’s she’s loved and protected, shielded and guided even when she can’t see us.  That we trust the world is basically a good and happy place and most people are doing their best with what they’ve been given.  And when they’re not, they’re just giving you a chance to learn how good it feels to let it go, to forgive, and to give second chances.  And if we’re all really lucky, someday thirty years from now, Ellie will be cleaning dobs of poo herself.  While she runs the country as President of the United States of America.  Or Prime Minister of Canada.  Or the first North American Prime-President.  VOTE ELLIE 2045!!!!

The Brothers Cuomo

Recently Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that New York state is a microcosm of America. They’ve got the big city of New York, but also rur...