Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Lap of Luxury

So, Petunia and I went to the Women's Expo last week and entered to win about a bajillion things. Everything from food storage to shoes to scrapbooking supplies.

And I won.

A four hour spa visit. Manicure, pedicure, facial and massage. An hour each. Whenever I want.

Lovely, you say. And I answer yes.

I decided to break it into small installments. Spread out the decadence over time.

On Saturday, I went for the facial. It was amazing, sheer indulgence.

Within two hours, I began to itch. By evening I had hives all over my neck. By morning they had spread further. Nothing stopped them, not Benadryl, not ice packs, nada.

This morning, seventy two hours in, I called the doctor.

Apparently, I'm allergic to luxury.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oma's Book List or Homework #4- A Week Late

Books You Read Long Ago and It Is Now Time To Reread (In No Particular Order)

(I just picked these off my own bookshelves- I'm sure there are a hundred I will think of later...)

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"One of the strange things about the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and forever and forever..."

2. Peter Pan by James Barrie
"You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I just read this five months ago but I'm sure it's time.)
"Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!"

4. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
" 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.' "

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
(No quote but I took turns imagining myself as every one of them at some time or another.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oma's Homework #3

Oma asked today what job you would be willing to do for free. I especially liked ~j's response which you can see if you click on the last blog on my sidebar. (And I also like that I knew that that was exactly what her response would be.)

I, not being as noble as my sweet friend, was thinking in a more "outside of the home" sort-of-way. And I am extraordinarily happy to be able to say that I would do the job I work at currently without any pay. In fact, I have often told my co-workers this.

"What do you do?" you might be wondering.

I am a paraeducator, a teacher's aide, at the local high school and I work with children who have a wide variety of disabilities.

I fell into the job by accident four years ago and I wasn't really sure how it was going to work out. But on the day I interviewed, another para told me, "I go home happy every day."

It has been four years and I can say the same thing. Still.

I smile...Every. Single. Day.

Those kids are wonderful. And funny.

Some days I cry.

But I still go home happy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Homework #2- Books

Two days in and I'm already behind on my homework.

And the thing is, these are actually assignments I like. Especially this one. Because it's about books. And reading.

I have read for as long as I can remember. And I have reread for as long as I can remember. I have identified with more books than I can think of and have more quotes floating around on sticky notes than I will ever find. (I have a hard time desecrating a book with ink-or even pencil.) I have followed Elizabeth Bennett, Harry Potter, and Mary, Colin and Dickon far more closely than I ever followed The Brady Bunch, ER, or the exploits of The West Wing.

When I looked at Oma's assignment and saw Scout's smiling face my heart leapt. Somehow, through all my years of junior high, high school and the four plus years it took me to bring home a degree in, of all things, English literature, I had never read this masterpiece. I only discovered it this past spring and...well, words simply fail me. Suffice it to say, I think it should be passed out as a parenting manual with every new baby born. ("Car seat? Check. Diapers? Check. Copy of To Kill A Mockingbird?) We would all be better human beings if Atticus had been a part of our lives. (No disrespect intended to your parents or mine.)

But to narrow it down to just ONE book?


Can't be done.

I started instead, to think of books that I turn to for, well, I guess they could be called comfort books. You know, like comfort food...for the heart. And two leapt to mind...

Having Our Say
The Delaney Sisters First Hundred Years by Sarah and Elizabeth Delaney


A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Having had a few unconventional older women influence who I am, I find something deeply satisfying in my soul is filled when I read these books.

I won't say anymore. I don't want to ruin the experience for you.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009



I haven't had homework in a long time and to be frank, I don't miss it. At all.

But ~j suggested on her blog that we check out this blog- travelinoma.blogspot.com for an interesting thing to do. So I did. (Had my crash course in blogging been a bit more comprehensive I would know how to make that into a link but, alas..)

Back on topic...I was...intrigued.

And now I have homework.

Today one was supposed to plan a magnificent trip. Anywhere. And Oma describes how she does it. The woman has it down. But I have decided that I am not a planner. I freely admit this. It just doesn't hold my attention. And I'm okay with that. I am the first to admit that I miss a lot. And I'm okay with that too. What I do see though, I really see. And I see it for as long as it takes because my itinerary doesn't tell me that I have to be somewhere else in forty five minutes.

When I read the assignment I thought, "Hey, I have just come back from the proverbial 'tripofalifetime'! I believe I will write about that instead."

And so, let me tell you about my recent trip to New Zealand.

I tried to plan. I really did. But it is a whole COUNTRY and we had two weeks. And so, when we got off the plane I really and truly had no gameplan.

And so we winged it. Wung it? Let the winds blow us where they would? You get the picture.

And then it was over. And I needed (for some unknown and inexplicable reason-probably because people keep asking me) to be able to account for how I'd spent this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

No, I did not see Hobbiton. But I saw hills that looked a lot like it in the same part of the country where they filmed it. And I met an amazing "solo" mom with one of the most gorgeous children I have ever seen. I sat on her couch and we talked about how her life had changed in the past several months and I made a new friend.

I did not see the beach where they filmed "Narnia" or "Whale Rider" but I did ride in a boat deep in a cave on the other side of the world with my husband's arm around my waist while a million little glowworms shone above us. It was magical.

I went nowhere near the South Island reported to be the really "beautiful" part of New Zealand. But I held my husband's hand in one of the most beautiful zoos I have ever been in and I handfed a tropical bird. We went everywhere together on our first trip ever alone together. Twenty two years into our marriage. (You see, we walked home from our honeymoon. Another story for another time.)

I saw museums, botanical gardens, islands, lots and lots of cafes, and people from all over the world.

I saw the strangest bathroom I have ever seen in a place called Kawakawa.

I saw a sign in a window that read, "Morality, like art, begins by drawing a line somewhere. " It was flanked by two adult entertainment stores.

I saw the haka performed and I went to a Maori "unveiling" for a man I had never met but would have liked to have known.

I saw a young man whom I hadn't seen in two years climb out of a car in the pouring rain and run across a parking lot to embrace his father and me. Then I saw it again because his sweet companions were kind enough to film it for us.

I met person after person who opened their homes and hearts to us and told us about how our son had turned into the man he has become. How the message he had brought about the Gospel had changed their lives. How much they loved him. And how sorry they were to see him go. And it made giving him up for two years suddenly worth it.

I met the kindest, funniest, and most amazing man who had looked after and loved my son for those two years and I heard him sing "Moon River" and call Dobbie his "huckleberry friend."

Not planning seems to work for me.