Archive for July, 2008

It was a Magical, Unexpected Morning…

July 29th, 2008 at 2:24 pm » Comments (5)

J-Mom had the idea to go walk around a certain local garden.  I love a good garden, and I hadn’t been to this one in awhile.

We were promptly greeted by the cat who lives in the garden, and she served as tour guide. She’s done this before, a service each garden should have, but few do. THe layout of the garden bothers me. Well. No. It bothers me that you come in at the very CENTER of the garden.

Then you have to turn right or left. Which means that then you’d be backtracking to get to the other side. I decided we should walk briskly all the way to the left, looking at nothing on the ground, then make one large left to right sweep.

My mother humored me, and suggested we look at a large red and white tower of some sort, spiking into the sky.

Lest we see a plant.

In a garden.  

We reached the far left side, then were making our way back when we encountered the next volunteer guide. Our faithful cat guide was still at our side, unfazed by the brisk leftward sprint we made. I suspect people must do that all the time.

Our new, human, guide got into a conversation with J-Mom about copper plants and she told us of many of the plants, of previous students who had studied there, of pretty much everything. She’d been weeding when we arrived, but seemed willing to stop and give us her next 45 minutes. She invited us into the greenhouses (I never knew the public could go in them, but she assured us we could), and there she regaled us with the history of many of the plants.

She must have sensed we were the sort who would be receptive to such tales. Receptive? More like invigorated.

I loved how she knew the exact age of each plant, and how it had come to be. She showed us a bougainvillea who had suffered a brutal pruning by a student’s mother who never should have laid a hand on it. That was 3 years past, but you could tell it had been difficult to forgive such a misdeed. The plant had finally recovered.

She showed us an entire table full of small jade plants. They were all descended from her personal jade plant, which she’d received from her father’s friend in Denver in the 1940s. He was a dry cleaner, he sensed he would soon die, and so he passed along his jade plant. Now, 70 years later, that table overflows with baby jades. She picked one up and offhandedly said, “If you ever need a plant for a gift, just come in. We’ll always have jades or others for purchase…”

Each plant had a story, an age, a memory. It was as if she were introducing us to her family members.

She pointed out a plant that had familiar, tiny leaves. Years ago I’d fallen in love with a tiny pencil illustration of the same plant in a very thick Sunset gardening book. I looked in nurseries until I found it, and had been delighted to finally bring it home. It did fairly well, and I’m not sure what happened to it. Maybe it didn’t survive a move. Or a kid. Or maybe I just didn’t take care of it as well as I could have. I don’t remember.

But our greenhouse guide must have seen that this plant – for me – had a significance and a story, she tore off a part of it and told me how to start it at home.

I felt like she’d just handed me a baby.

It made my day.

Then we went back outside, and on our own, J-Mom and I looked at the passion vine, and admired the butterflies and caterpillars our guide had told us to look for. Our cat guide rejoined us.

We left, with me cradling my new cutting of Baby’s Tears. The cat stayed behind, waiting for her next visitors.

What a perfect morning.


July 24th, 2008 at 8:04 pm » Comments (4)

Becky wins this month!  Cute paper thingies tied up with ribbons headed your way, Becky! In the comment section Becky asked what I thought about recent news that doing BSE’s is not necessarily helpful. Great question.

I think it’s always been debated whether all women definitely should or not.  Certainly lots of professionals don’t think so.  I disagree because of personal experience.  The night I found that lump, my whole life came to a stop.  The one nagging question I had – and had no way of answering – was, “how long has this lump been here…?” Doctors asked me at every appointment. I would just shake my head and say I didn’t know. Then they’d ask me again, in a different way. My eyes would well up with tears because I desperately wanted to know what the answer was as well.  

That one question kept me up at night.  I didn’t know the answer because I never did BSEs.  If I should ever find another lump of any sort – I want to be able to say, “Hmm. That’s new. That definitely wasn’t there last month.”

That’s why it’s important for ME to do them every month. I know lots of you have your own, equally personal reasons. Feel free to share them if you’d like.


Party for One

July 20th, 2008 at 3:03 am » Comments (14)

[This is NOT the Winner of Club 17 post.  That'll be in a few more days.] 

I’m wrapping up a very informal, ultra private celebration. What is that, exactly? Well. It’s been fun. I set up a hot pink ipod on a speaker right next to the bathtub and grabbed some little bath gel things in the shape of whales. So cute. Do you know the kind I mean? They’re clear, small, and they dissolve and give the bath a burst of moisturizing stuff. Fun. These were green whales. Which seems odd. They should have been blue whales. But anyway. They were also stubborn, and took over an hour to actually dissolve, and I refused to help them out by squishing them. It was a loooong bath. 

While soaking, I painted my toenails navy. Then one smudged. So I started over, and went with purple. Loooovely.

The playlist for this particular bath included:
Elvis — Are You Lonesome Tonight? (oh yeeees! Gloriously so, Elv, since the kids are gone)
Franki Valli — My Eyes Adored You
Dwight Yoakum — Honky Tonk Man
Oak Ridge Boys — Bobbie Sue (of course there’s an explanation, but it’s not that interesting.)
Eddie Rabbit — I Love a Rainy Night (am i the only one who loved that album cover? it caused me to fall in love with the 5 o clock shadow. it was a short phase.)
Prince — Kiss (yes, of COURSE i pretended to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and air kissed. It was totally that kind of bath)
Metro Station — Kelsey (it’s just funny)
A whole bunch of songs that I downloaded because they have my mother’s name in the title. Now. This is a good idea if you’re giving your mother an ipod, and want to add a few unexpected songs. However. It is VERY important to edit out the songs that make it sound like your mother is evil. Oops. Deleting those soon. Every time one of the evil ones came on, I sunk below the water, bugged my eyes out, and alternated between giggling and gasping at the horror of some of the lyrics. How can those little song previews leave out so much negativity?! Deleting. Deleting. Deleting.
The Mavericks — What a Crying Shame
Willie Nelson — Shotgun Willie (i just like it when he twangs, “shotgun willie sits around in his underwear…”)
Bon Jovi — You Give Love a Bad Name
Black Crowes — Hard to Handle
Eva Cassidy — Over the Rainbow
Lyle Lovett — Long Tall Texan

So how long was that bath? More than 2 1/2 hours. Plenty of time to learn something utterly disgusting about the green whales. After the bath water cools, the moisturizing liquid within the whales actually transforms into a solid. A white solid that sticks to your entire body exactly as if you had shmeared yourself with Crisco. Did you know that? I had no idea. The discovery of being coated in a lardlike substance REALLY takes away all the appeal of those little whales. Never again.

So the purple toenail painting, Crisco wearing bath was a celebration because… my book is out! Julie emailed and told me she saw it on Amazon. I thought she was mistaken. I had no idea. I checked. Surreal.The next day a copy arrived from Capstone (the publisher). It was tied up with a chocolate-y brown ribbon. It’s prettier than I expected.It took less than 5 minutes for me to find a mistake. On the last sentence of the About the Author page, it reads “A Love for Larkspur” is his first novel. Did I write that? Uh, probably. Did I approve that? Definitely. My photo is there on the page. I look like a girl at least. But then there’s a description of all my non-girly hobbies. Mudding. Kickboxing. Etc. And then the ‘his first novel’ phrase.  Well. Apparently I had a trannie moment. That’s what every first time Christian author wants. A trannie moment. In print.

So when an author’s book comes out, there’s a certain expected response.  She (0r he, as the case may be) should publicize.  Ask others to do the same. Etc.   i just caaaan’t.  It’s taken me days to even write this!   

There’s a huge part about writing that I’ve never been comfortable with, but just always assumed I’d get over when the time came.  Except I haven’t.   When you write, a huge amount of yourself ends up on the page.  Flaws, biases, insecurities – all those things I don’t often point out to everyone.  It’s all there.  I know.  I tell y’all most of that stuff anyway.  But it’s in a very deliberate way.  And this is different, somehow.  

So I should tell you to all go and buy one.  To tell your friends to do the same.  But if I’m really being honest with you, I’m quite afraid that this was all some sort of mistake and it – and I – completely stink.  I keep remembering a time in elementary when I was sooo excited about Show and Tell.  I was a VERY shy kid, but for some reason I was excited that day about whatever I’d brought.  And when it was finally my turn, I changed my mind and told myself that what I’d brought really wasn’t that great after all, and that no one would be interested in it. I stayed in my seat and just shook my head no when the teacher asked if I had something to share.   

I’d still really like to just shake my head no and keep it to myself.  It was ages ago that I signed a contract with Capstone saying I’d get out of my chair and share.  The day was coming, of course, when it would arrive in a chocolate-y brown ribbon and a friend would tell me what websites it was listed on…  I thought I’d be ready. Who wouldn’t be ready for that…? This is my proverbial Big Break.  It bothers me to think how ungrateful it must seem to not be playing the role of excited author/marketer.    

I have a friend who likes to say, “It is what it is.” I hate it when he says that.

I sort of thought that by the time I was this age – and published – that I wouldn’t be such a trainwreck of insecurities and would hardly resemble the shy elementary kid I used to be.

I wonder why I thought that…It is what it is.

Club 17, July

July 17th, 2008 at 5:03 am » Comments (8)

I didn’t forget. Really.  The internet simply did not want to cooperate tonight. We’ve been switching from pc to macs, and the transition has been… bumpy.  For some reason tonight we had 5 computers in our bedroom on.  At one point there were THREE laptops in my lap, trying to access internet.  Two of those swayed and swaggered their way closer to computer death.  The other three are new and better not even think of following suit for a long long time.

I got to take my big truck out tonight to ‘mud!’  How fun!!! It’s been raining a lot, which is a requirement, of course. But it’s a little TOO wet.  The puddles are too liquid-y.  The mud just splashes all over the place, and I prefer for it to rain down on me in giant clods.  Well. There’s always tomorrow.In case you were wondering, no. Of course I do not go mudding with my mother. J-Mom is very cool, but in a cautious, poised, elegant sort of way that does not involve reckless behavior.  Although she did DRIVE my big ol’ truck the other night. So cute!  

I used to strive for that same cautious, poised elegant thing she has going on.  Pfft.  Then I realized I am 1) a total klutz 2) weirdly drawn to the Reckless 3) am all about the adrenaline that accompanies lots of things that are simply not elegant. 

Book stuff:  Mmmm. No idea. As usual.  But thanks for asking!  Last I heard it was ‘at the printers.’   How long does that take?  No idea.  I didn’t want to ask.  So I didn’t.   I’m excellent with avoidance like that.  

Other stuff: We roadtripped to welcome my sister to the state, and to drop off J-Mom for awhile.  Met with old friends and I got all silly/social-anxiety-ish.  I do that.  But it was reeeeally great.  There was no reason to get all silly/social-anxiety-ish, but then again, there almost never is, but knowing this never ever manages to prevent it.To Whom It May Concern: Sorry. I haven’t checked email in ages.   

On with the show.  I went shopping at a way cute store for this month’s winner!  Darling little paper thingies tied up with pretty bows, and a bath thing that is too hard to explain, but i tried it today and loved it.  No. I didn’t try the one I’ll send the winner. Ew! I tried one that i’m keeping for me. So to be that lucky winner, just do your monthly self breast exam that of course you should be doing anyway.  Then you leave a comment on this post saying you did.  Done.  That easy.  Yay for you!  

I’ll check back in a few days and announce the winner. All questions can be answered here.  And also?  The really cute little button advertising Club 17 can also be found there.  If you’d like it, it’s yours.

*another technical glitch.  really, this evening could not have been complete without another one.  for some reason i can’t link to the post with all the answers and the buttons.  If you google holymama bse, it will come up first.  if you reeeeeally want it.         

J-Mom is in the House

July 6th, 2008 at 1:25 pm » Comments (5)

1.  I’ve been long gone – haven’t even turned ON a computer in weeks.

2. I’d like to blame my mother for this.

3. Except that it is VERY tacky for a grown woman to blame her mother for her own actions.

4. But ya’ll!  My MOM is here!

5. She lives in Australia, and comes to visit twice a year, and now is one of those times!

6.  The shopping!  The SHOES!  The conversations and dreams she has that revolve primarily around handbags!  LOVE THAT!

7.   Mucho chocolate consumption.

8.  We’re working off the calories with laughter.

9. Yeah, that’s what I’m telling myself.

10. Caden-4yr calls her ‘Fanmother,’  since ‘g’s are hard for him.  I call her J-Mom, and you can too if you’d like.