Saturday, July 15, 2017

no smiling selfie in the world can cover that up

And here is the obligatory sharing of the vacation photos.  And I know that totally conjures up memories of times when your grandma made you sit and watch slides of her trip to see her cousin that she hadn't seen in half of forever.  And right now you're thinking that this could be the post to definitely skip.  But hold on there, pardner..... you know there's gonna be some stories to go with the photos.  

Know how you see all those photos where everyone's smiling and there's a really good chance that there are baked goods or someplace exotic in the background? 

Sometimes those make me bananas.  Not all, of course.  But some... And I hate bananas and hope I'm never stranded on an island, just me and a banana tree.  But aren't all the pictures wonderful anyway?  They sure as heck are.  Really really really.  So keep sharing and posting.  Please.  

But it makes me sad/mad .... mad/sad to think of all that I have to go through every dang time I want to get a good family photo and why can't the Walters just cooperate and act like we're having the time of our lives on every trip?  Or every day of eternity?  But the truth always shows somewhere in the photo  - the real story lies in how you got there and how long it took and all the events that preceded and followed.  

So here's a 4 day trip to the Texas Hill Country with Kristi and David.  In summary, just in case you still want to exit now... I drove into the vacation with one hellacious headache, and left being mad at my husband.  But we did some things in between so, ....

Sunday morning I dropped the boys off at church for their week long youth camp in Arkansas.

I didn't take this photo, but I was there at 5:30 in the morning along with the friend that did.  Man that was early and Kid 1 was mad at Kid 3 for eating his breakfast sandwich.  So not off to the best Christian minded attitude that day, but I'm sure it improved after our quick stop in the 7-11.  Thank heaven for 7-11, right?  

And y'all, a hundred kids and about 10 leaders and I couldn't be happier about all that was waiting for my boys in the coming days.  My prayer for them was that they leave their other worlds behind and see that there are promises out there that they can't even imagine yet.  And there are no adults that I trust more with the hearts of my children than the ones who committed their week to play and teach and guard the hopes of the young people in their care.  Thanks be to God for all that this week brought and all that it will bring even into the future.  

Then I went home and got back in bed until Fireman Dave made me get up and get going on our own adventure.  Our first stop, not including bathroom visits, was Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, Texas.  Which we cannot in any way afford, so we simply ate some expensive lunch there and took selfies of ourselves looking like we were real resort guests.  I think I took at least two over doses of decongestant headache medicine about then trying to head off the migraine at the pass.  My head can predict a rain storm hours, sometimes even days in advance. 

Then we made it through the rain - (just like the Barry Manilow song says because you know I love him SOOO much in a strong and dedicated Fanilow way) - to Fredericksburg, Texas.  Small town charm capital of the state, I would dare to say.  

Here was our house for the week.  Ummmmm... CUTE.  Can I stay here please and someone else go home and check on my dog? 

But here is the flight of stairs I had to climb every time I had to go to the bathroom in the night.  And with each step I tried to hang on and remind myself that I need these legs for my job.  

And here is my fashion shoot for the trip... reminding hot women everywhere that just because it really is egg boiling weather outside, there are plenty of options for looking like we're at least trying to appear like we're not about to die.  Fireman Dave, take the picture fast.  I'm starting to sweat. 

And we shopped.  Of course.   I even spent an entire day of shopping while Dave went to the Pacific War Museum.  I was totally museum'ed out from the day before when we went to the Lyndon B Johnson Ranch and took a tour of the Texas White House.  Once I saw the view from the porch of that place I decided I could definitely be First Lady if I could live there a lot of the time.   

Here we are on the LBJ Ranch park property on a working re-creation of a Texas farm.  Hello cute cow that had a very life like cow-versation with me.  I will always remember our visit.  We also toured the farm house and of course this porch swing, y'all..... on the neighbor's farm of Lyndon B. Johnson when he was a kid.  We also visited the Junction School, LBJ's one room school house where he returned as President of the United States to sign into effect the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; .... providing funding for schools, but even more, emphasizing equal access to education for all - setting standards high for all, no matter where you learn.  As a former public school teacher, let me just say Yes to all of that going on.  (My dad grew up attending a one room school house in Texas, too so I always like to see those still around.)

This is at the Picker's circle in Luckenbach.  Love it.  But this time I sat next to a drunk man named Wilbur who goes there every day.  I didn't have to ask how long he stays every day because his pink rimmed beer eyes told me all I needed to know.  But I liked Wilbur and in so many ways, pink beer eyes included, he made me think of my dad.  

And on day 3, we climbed a mountain.  Allow me to quote Wikipedia:  Enchanted Rock rises approximately 425 feet (130 m) above the surrounding terrain to elevation of 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level. It is the largest such pink granite monadnock in the United States. I have no idea what a monadnock is but its not easy to climb.

Some people would call it a rock, but when its 900 degrees outside, call it what you will, this girl was sweating.  I also now have a really tan left arm from our time there.  Like a truck driver, but in a bandeau style mini dress.  

Fireman Dave and I have climbed Enchanted Rock before with the boys and the first time I actually did it in a dress to prove to them that girls - even their old mom - can do anything boys can do.  This time, though, I climbed it in some bright purple running tights so in case of emergency, good Samaritans could just tell the park ranger to look for the splash of purple stuck on the side of a cliff.  

And the view from the top.  Does this altitude make my hair look orange?  

Seriously, you can see for miles and miles and even more miles from up there. 

And along the way, each time we've done it, we've passed people who have gotten stuck or stopped before they reached the top.  And I'm not bragging about how easily I can just leap mountains.  Because I took some stops in the shade myself.  And this is the truth... along with some conversations with Fireman Dave on occasion to let him know that I was still in the game,  I had a couple of short convos with God.  Mostly I asked him from that point, where all was quiet and I could see so much more than what I could from the bottom, I asked him what he wants me to know.  And you know what he said?  

Nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing.  

I didn't hear a voice or see a sign or notice anything giant that was a signal to be interpreted as a message.  Didn't Bible people love to climb mountains to hear God?  I heard nothing but the wind and my own heavy breathing. 

And all I could think about was how I feel like I've been on an endless climb of my own of late.  The climb of getting older and all that brings in its tacky ass ol' suitcase.  The climb of seeing my boys make decisions that I may or may not agree with.  And the climb of this relationship with my husband that has been uphill and downhill for almost 18 years.  Because remember what I said about pictures?  They only tell part of the story.  Look deep in the eyes and expressions of each and see what news there is being told all around.  I guarantee you there's something.  

We sat at the top for a while.  I needed to make it down before the sunset because aint no one gonna see even these purple pants in the dark in the event of emergency.  I could've stayed a lot longer up there.  I wonder if being up there is what God feels and sees from his window on the world?  I'd like to think so since he can see all the pieces fitting together from there.  

Then on Thursday we headed home and I had to take this picture of the old jail in Llano, Texas, where even the deer have to do time for unlawful behavior.  We also paid to become Friends of the Llano Public Library so we could go in and use their clean bathroom instead of the public ones out by the jail.   Best money ever spent. 

And of course we drove through Waco and visited Magnolia and the silos and all that touristy stuff.....

And y'all, we ended the trip in silence.  That's all any of us know or need to know.  We did lots of talking on our trip about things going on and how things move from one point to another -  and sometimes conversations just get hard.  And no smiling selfie in the world can cover that up.

I think I just need to remember to climb.  When I'm stuck, climb higher so I can see better from up there. I might need a couple of rest stops along the way though. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

I hate that dress and it makes you look like my mother

Seems that I've been wearing a lounge dress around the house that Fireman Dave hates.  And he got up the nerve to tell me about it when we were pulling into the gas station and he knew I had nowhere to run.

I always think its funny how men choose to tell women their bad news. 

I'm leaving you should always be said somewhere like church because the quiet will be soothing.  And it might keep the girl from causing too big of a scene.

I am ill and might die should always be said after a good meal and when the kitchen is cleaned up.  Because the wife may be too distraught to empty the dishwasher after the news.

And the old, I hate that dress and it makes you look like my mother should always be said in the car on the way to the gas station.  No particular reason for this one other than that's just what happened.  Yesterday, actually.  And no, Fireman Dave and I are not one of those couples that have to go to the gas station and everywhere together.  Just happened that way this time, and I do like to remind him to fill up the tank while we're still in the car or else I'll go out to work the next morning and the low fuel alarm will beep just backing down the driveway.  I speak from experience.

This week has been pretty uneventful.  Which in the full theme of summer time is a really good thing.  I did have an almost flat tire.  But not quite and I made it home just fine, just wishing that I didn't almost have a flat tire on a day that was already long and weary.  Which day is that you say?  Most of them.  

I also now have that familiar hole in my shower wall AND only a cold water handle on my bathroom sink.  It's falling apart piece by piece, y'all.  And that aint no lie.   

The leak started as a small drip that lasted long enough to fill an entire bathtub because we got used to the sound and started ignoring it.  But then last week as I got dressed for work, the drip turned into a stream.   Then the stream turned into a flow and I took a video of it and sent it to the fire station.  Not the 911 fire station, but to Fireman Dave at the fire station.  Of course he told me to turn off the water under the sink but all my years of strength training combined were no match for the 60 year old pipes so he declared that he was rushing to the rescue.

Then he texted back and said no he couldn't rush to the rescue because he didn't have a car to drive home in.  Kid 1 had taken the shared Dad and Kid 1 car, dropped off dad at work at the break of dawn and set out to go running with Princess C.  And there is no leak in the land that can come between Kid 1 and his lady so don't even try.  Love wins and we almost had a flooded bathroom.  Fireman Dave ended up getting ride home with someone leaving for the day and got dropped off here not knowing how he might make it back to work to do his real job, not his on call plumber job.  

Anyway, it all worked out somehow and now I only have a cold water handle on the sink until further notice.  When I get my bathroom all fixed up maybe I'll invite you over to take a shower and use the hot water.   

Oh, I did have someone ask me at work the other day how long I see myself doing my job.  Hmmmm... how to respond to that one.....

I see myself doing this job till I fall out right here in front of you because I'm obviously 1000 years old and how can I possibly Zumba this many times a day and not die?

Why do people say such people things?  You know exactly what I mean.  You know you do.

Anyway, all things I can handle.  And I'm kind of happy to have such short and non threatening posts for a while.  That means not a whole lot of shakin going on with the Walters.  Again, a good summer time theme for all concerned. 

I tend to find myself stuck in the spot of not writing a lot when things are just normal and still.  Or if I don't have a lesson to share or even a way to tie all my events together into a big finale.  But gosh, really?  Aren't normal and still the things that I most ask God for when things are something else?  Do we ever just want what we have?  

I need to work on that.  And I need to read more.  And cook more.  And look at how beautiful my house is even with the holes and such.  I'm beginning to feel a little partial to the rustic nature of how we've grown into this space.

Maybe I've become a little bit like that about myself, too.  Give or take a few parts.  And that's not a bad thing, I think.  

Y'all, I hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing this summer.  I don't promise to write weekly for a bit, but I promise to write when I have something to tell you.  Remember you can get all posts via email if you subscribe in that little box that says Follow by email.  Its good stuff and you don't even have to work for it.  You can also subscribe via Bloglovin by clicking the little heart icon, but they tend to send some unwanted emails in the mix.  You can simply unsubscribe from their unsolicited emails and it will still keep you blog loving me.

The end.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

There are zero carbs in birthdays

It's summer and there are dishes everywhere.  And food.  And cheese wrappers by the dozen, found in chair cushions and under things and just wherever someone decided to eat some cheese.  I never knew there were so many cheese eating choices.

And Fireman Dave and I are trekking along our low carb eating plan, still, and I seem to get more resentful every day about people who can eat bread.  I think, no... I'm sure....  I gave a mean look to one of my instructor friends the other day because she was wearing some really cute and tiny white shorts.  Because in the blink of an eye, my sugar starved body experienced both jealousy and rage.  And THAT was my reaction toward someone I actually like and think is adorable.  I also fussed at a gym member for raising the window shades in the group ex classroom.  That could also be blamed on hunger and deprivation, or simply the fact that sometimes I can be mean. 

But Y'all, here's the rundown of summer so far.  No trips or vacations yet.  But we've got a little something planned soon.  Kids 1 and 2 both got jobs as lifeguards this summer, maybe I already told you that - and their schedules combined with mine and that of a fireman that works his own set of crazy hours plus some exhausting overtime  - coupled with everyone sharing cars is proving to be the summer challenge of a lifetime.  As we speak Kid 1 is not so happy because he's trying to get to a friend's house and probably considering hitchhiking instead of waiting our turn for the car.   

We've managed a few trips to the pool already and that's really one of my favorite places.  Give me a lawn chair and some dappled sunlight and I'm set for the afternoon.

We also discovered that the Dallas Arboretum is open late on Wednesdays and its not crowded.  Did you hear that part?  It's not crowded - so you should definitely go for a picnic.  

We did,  and all three boys went with us.  Or should I say men?  I took this picture walking in.  I love pictures taken when they don't know about it.  And I love when I can get them all in the same place at the same time without beating up on each other.  

They ended up playing an aggressive game of catch with a dinner roll until it was pretty much only crumbs.  That's what happens when parents make teens go on picnics in order to get fed their dinner.  Desperate times and all.... 

And I haven't written for any publication in weeks, even my own.  Seems that I am completely devoid of thought.  Except for the fact that I have been searching for an opportunity to use the word devoid in a correct sentence.  I even emailed my church yesterday and told them I was lacking in wisdom so count me out of writing for a while.  I blame carb depletion.  Or maybe I just need time to soak up some rest and relaxation and inspiration from someone else. 

And I hope that may be a little girl in Uganda named Loyce.  She is my new pen pal and she's adorable.  I know I'll never meet her.  And I know that writing letters is just writing letters.  But I also know that reaching out beyond myself is the best way to move from this stuck spot that I've been in for a while.  You know.... I've never been one for sitting still for long.  So I'm hoping to step outside my recent set of confines and shower this little doll with letters of love, encouragement, and some lessons about a different culture.  (And a care package or two -let me know if you want to add anything to the box.  Or even give me some ideas of what a 10 or 11 year old girl might like). 

I can't wait to find out more about her.   This picture was taken just a few days ago, right before the sun was setting in a village outside Kempala, Uganda, as she was taking water back to her home.  I heard that jug of water was pretty heavy so it's easier to just leave it up on her head for a photo op rather than having to lower and lift it again.  She knows the drill. 

Hello sweet Loyce!  Watch for the mailman soon.  

Insert blog post PAUSE button here.  

Y'all, I wrote the above words yesterday.  Then today happened and I think I waved my white surrender flag at least three times.  I guess I was frustrated that it was Kid 1's birthday, and I love that part.  I really really really do.  But that he couldn't muster up enough energy to speak a full sentence to us at his birthday lunch, I find those things hard.  True confessions of an emotional mom.  

But as Fireman Dave said, it could be worse.  Because the kid's actually on the exact path we prayed for him 17 years ago - that he not be on drugs.  Check.  That he not be in jail.  Check.  And that he be living the full promise of his life as God would have, not that we would have.  Can't decide whether to check this box or not yet.  Lord help Kristi as she tries to pretend that her kids are still little and that they give a darn about what she wants for their lives. 

So please be patient with me again in this writing as I deal with the fact that maybe I'm the one who is not on the path I'm supposed to be on.  Maybe watching 17 years fly by so fast got me all confused about how I'm supposed to feel about these successes and separations.  And maybe he is supposed to be totally overwhelmed with love with Princess You Know Who, and planning all the what's nexts with her and not us.  

Maybe.  Maybe not.  

My mom instinct is betting on the maybe not.  But the me that loves that boy with more love than a heart can hold knows that I need to encourage and lead by example, not words.  And maybe that means taking the boy out to a birthday lunch, even in some very pronounced and uncomfortable silence;  and gifting him not only with what's in that gift wrapped box, but with my patience and understanding.  I'm trying, though I honestly admit to giving up time and again in private.... and in some fairly dramatic one act plays with Fireman Dave.  

I've decided that my heart can't really deal with the full reality of what I see right now.  Not at his age.  But my mind can.  Because I was 17 once as well.  And I'm trying to give him the grace that I never got.  Trying and doing turn out to be two totally different things in my world.  

I think I'll start by fueling up with a piece of chocolate birthday cake and see where it goes.  There are zero carbs in birthdays, I heard. 

Y'all, that's it for now.  Happy summer. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Well slap with me with some perspective and understanding....

Well Hello there and welcome to summer - where my house is already filthy, the dog isn't feeling so well and I've got to find more stuff for the boys to do.  I did, however,  finally get a new dishwasher and that may be just enough reason to throw a party.  

I think I may skip all the technical and creative writing lessons of my youth on this one and just go with some bullet points.  Then I'll make it a world class Kristi challenge to see if I can tie all that interesting stuff together into a lesson for the week.  I hope I'll win a prize if I can do it.  

1.  If I were to write about someone or something that I've been banned from discussing in public anymore, I might to do it like this.  You'll probably have to draw from your knowledge of back issues of the blog and some sleuthing skills to get it, but I have faith in you.... 

So if I were a top CIA operative and I was trying to find out some key, yet harmless, info about a young person that someone I know very well spends way too much time with, I would probably first go straight to the source.  I wouldn't even put on a trench coat and dark glasses.  I would just ask, Hey, unnamed young person that hangs out with someone I know very well?  What's your new info that I need but can't say out loud on the blog?  Simply for the records, of course, not for spying because I'm just an Operative, not a Spy.  I collect the necessary info and then file it away to do something or other with it as needed later.  

But let's say that asking for the needed intel didn't work because apparently it is considered top secret....  then I would have to go somewhere else to find out that info and that may or may not be to the higher level manager of the person in question.  Sort of like a MOM, but I can't really say that because, well, we're talking spy language here.  

And then let's say I get that nugget of info from the higher up manager but then the lower level person of interest now holds an even larger amount of animosity toward me because I have so many darn tricks up my CIA Operative sleeve.  

Anyway, this all happened this week.  And if you didn't understand a word I said, see me in private and let's talk.  

2.  Then in the middle of the week I got fussed at very aggressively by an older naked lady in the locker room of the gym.  Because of some missing shoes.  Shoes that made her so very angry that her choice of profanity got me all confused about which to pay attention to the most - or least - her language or her naked.  Both were extreme and quite disturbing.  

Short version of the shoe drama.... one lady said her shoes were missing, so she left a note on the locker room mirror about how the person who took them should be ashamed and fearful - as she has a very contagious foot skin condition.  She claims.  So then all the other locker room ladies were alarmed and refused to get into the pool after they found out that missing shoe lady is a participant in my aqua class.  Then they all ganged up on me when I least expected it and when they were all scantily clad in tiny towels that were never meant to cover the bosoms that I just saw - and told me that I was pretty much to blame for missing shoes, starving children and all lack of civility in our society.  It was weird and I was longing for the good old days of when we gave out larger sized towels at the gym.

3.  Then I shared a post on The TODAY Show Parenting site, and it got picked up and added to the list of essays to be voted on to be moved up in the reader ranks.  I hate popularity publishing.  Let me just say in my very mature way, that its just stupid.  But here's the link that I shared and that I am now pandering for votes to move it up the ladder of posts to get it more widely read.  It's about my dad.  And I would love for you to read it and get to know Bill.  I actually never called him Bill till after he died, but now I do on occasion because I think I see him a lot better now for the multi dimensional person that he was, more than I ever did when he was alive.  Drink a beer to that one up in Heaven, Daddy. 

4.  And finally, after I read my post about my dad again, I realized that the Bible verse that I shared in it has a whole lot more to do with me now than maybe it did with him.  Here it is...

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

Y'all, people love to quote the very last line of this passage.  And they love to quote it all kinds of wrong.  

It's not about how God gives us power or privilege or even honor over anything or anyone.  It's all about those first lines leading up to that famously overused last verse.  It's about learning to accept your now.  And accepting it to the point to where it becomes ok.  And then it goes on to talk about how we (the writer) will see both times of trouble and times of awesomeness, but that no matter the circumstance, it's not the circumstance that feeds our attitudes and perceptions.  It's about knowing that contentment comes from relationship with God and THAT is the strength that gets us through the day.  Y'all.  Boom.  Bible lingo for Just shut the heck up and deal with your circumstance.  

I'm guilty.  Oh. So. Guilty.  

I've been overly sensitive and overly worried about circumstance of late.  Whether that be about my latest CIA Operative situation or how many thousands of times lately I've been feeling sorry for myself because of this or that. 

Then I got the big remind that I don't get to choose the situations to be happy or sad.  It's actually gently encouraging me in this passage to be content despite the situation.  And should I remind us all?  This passage was written by a man in prison.  Well slap with me with some perspective and understanding....  

You know, I can't promise to get my attitude all 100% fixed up on such short notice. But I can promise this week to give it a try.  On Monday.  Then again on Tuesday.  I'll see how that goes first.  

post script - typos and misspellings brought to you courtesy of the summer noise and mess in my home.