Selfcare 101 and long, lovely lashes

I am so grateful for the moments I can steal away to pamper myself with a little self care. I’m famous for slipping away to the beach for a few hours before work. I treat myself to beautiful lashes that soften my tired eyes through long shifts at night. I take glorious naps. I mean, I take truly magnificent naps. Breathtaking and impressive ones. The kind of naps you dream about when you’re not actually napping.

Sometimes I just stand in my yard in a swimsuit, watering my garden and staring at my chickens and ducks and turkeys because they make me smile and the sun feels wonderful on my skin.

I’m pushy when it comes to making sure those around me take time to take care too. Ask any coworker and they’ll tell you I’m relentless. If you work with me,  you’re going to take your whole damn break no matter how busy it is. I’ll strong arm you off the unit if I have to. Stepping away from anything for a breather is like the oxygen mask on an airplane. Its essential to your well-being. Breathe deeply, babe, we’ve all got a ways to go yet. Take that break.

You’re also going to schedule the appointments you’ve been putting off, start planning that trip, start that pinterest board of diy project ideas you’ve been eagerly telling me about, and your going to laugh as much as possible because I won’t stop until you do and you’re going to put yourself on your calendar because it’s easier to appease me than to endure my hounding and nagging you to engage in selfcare.

Life has never been crazier than it has been for all of us everywhere all over the world right now. It’s important to feed yourself,  to water your spirit,  to nurture your soul. Whatever you do that makes you feel refreshed, do it. Put yourself on your calendar each week.

Protect that appointment with yourself like you would your own child’s.  Take a walk, take a drive, take a nap.  Read a book, play your favorite music, putter. Be mindful,  be mindless. Take a break. Whatever you do,  take care. You only get one you. Oh, and wear a damn mask. I’m relentless about that too.

Bossy

I’m “bossy, emotional, outspoken”. I “raise my voice”, I’m “scattered, just a mom”,and I cry. I’m “pushy” because I stand up for myself and for others.

I don’t care.

I dont need validation or approval.

Im confident, informed, creative, focused on my goals, a leader, a listener a hard worker, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and yes, a mom. I lift others up. I accept help when I need it because that is also a sign of strength and wisdom. To give help and to seek help when needed.

“Well behaved women seldom make history”

Make history.

womensupportingwomen

banbossy

strongwomen

misbehave

A royal flush

A royal flush

Today’s doctor’s visit ended with orders for a mammogram to get my boobs squashed, orders to see my Rheumatologist to get poked and a glow in the dark MRI, orders to see my spine guy to get shot in the back four times, and lastly an order for a colonoscopy to round out the hand. Im calling this my royal flush. Get it? Because it ends with a camera up my butt.

buttofthejoke

growingoldgracefully

mysexylife

Strange birds

Never once did I imagine I would be standing naked on my back porch, showering with the hose, sheilded from public view by a couple of pallets and a shower curtain while three dogs, several ducks, two turkeys, four goats and thirty odd chickens catcalled me. We are definitely stranger birds. I feel for our neighbors, I really do.

I work in a hospital and have an immunocompromised loved one at home so I’m not allowed in the house after work until I’ve put myself through the decontamination chamber. I’m dying to crawl in bed but that comes after I pass the white glove test.

This is not to be confused with the rubber glove test which is an entirely different thing and reserved for sexy time. Obviously I’m kidding. The rubber glove test is fun any time, not just sexy time. Again, I’m kidding. I’m not about to blog about sexy time no matter how great a good rubber glove joke fits in there. My kids read this stuff.

I guess I lead a stranger life these days, along with the rest of you. Oh sure, you may not be naked in your yard, and you may not have livestock watching your progress intently, but you have your own freak show going on and we both know it. One day I’d like details.

We have become increasingly mindful over the past months of conserving our resources, repurposing materials to build what we need, and growing our own food. Ok you got me. Maybe 5% of our own food, but that’s 5% more than we did before the word blew apart so I’m putting this in the win column.

I have put up bird houses all around my yard that have a steady tenancy I adore. I can’t have too many bird houses, that just not a thing to me, and so bits and parts of old projects have yielded some rather odd looking structures for our feathered friends. I love them almost more because their haphazard, pieced together oddness seems akin to life itself. A combination of accidental and deliberate. Unexpected happenings and moments where your heart dips and takes flight. Strange birds indeed.

Mirroring me


I remember quite clearly the day my mother laughed recalling passing a mirror in the house while she was cleaning. Without really thinking about it she glanced up when her reflected movement caught her eye.

Her immediate thought was “who is that woman staring at me?” and then realized almost instantly that the stranger staring back at her wasn’t some older woman peering in at her through the window, but herself in the glass.

My mother didn’t recognize herself in that instant because she had been swept up in what she was doing, singing or humming, zipping along, only as old as she felt.

If you have ever had the immense pleasure of meeting my mother, you will know that she is always a vibrant, lively, and engaging companion. I have more pictures of my mom grinning wildly, up in trees along with my children than I can shake a stick at. My father’s heart has been caught in his throat more times over her scaling trees and ladders, when a more sensible person might have hired a handyman to do the job.

She is so young at heart, so unsinkable in spirit that she is the perennial tween, always caught up in the passion of the moment before sense and age weigh in to meter her level of physical investment. I adore her. I hope I am half the woman she is. 

When she looked at the older face of the woman in the mirror, etched with laugh lines and worry lines from living so well, she was surprised to see that her outward appearance seemed at odds with her inner youth. 

After years of never needing to wear glasses myself (although my children would argue my driving suggests I’ve needed them for quite some time) I find myself bespectacled.

I have been constantly amazed at how sharply things are in focus now, that I no longer need to stretch out my arms and squint at books and papers and instructions on medicine bottles!

I found myself enraptured with the details now visible to my eyes, thinking “How did I put this fabulously improved vision off for so long? How have I been getting around? How have I not poisoned my family yet?” 

Then it happened. I passed a mirror the other day while cleaning in my house and stopped to lean in to fix a wayward strand of hair.

She was staring at me. A stranger. An older version of myself with lines on her forehead, creases around her eyes, and grey hairs. Where did that woman come from? Who let her in? And it hit me. I was the stranger in the glass.

Somehow, in the business of my life, in the energy and music of my days, I had changed outwardly while inwardly still climbing trees.

When had this happened? How did I not notice I was getting older? I decided I wasn’t so sure getting glasses had been a good idea, bringing into focus more than simply books and words. I was sharply in focus too.

Yet, the woman looking back at me had kind eyes that sparkled with humor and more than a little devilment. She looked like trouble, and I like trouble. She’s older than I’d like but I’ve decided she’s someone I want to get to know better. She seems like the kind of friend I want to be. And I bet she’s just the type who’s willing share a jail cell with you just to have a good time. I can tell just by looking at her that we’re going to be good friends.

#closertocrazy
#mylifeinwords
#agingwell

Your future is here

Today was supposed to be your day. I remember entering this day on our family calendar back in March of 2019 when the school board approved it.  I can remember feeling my stomach drop, my throat tighten a bit, and tears well up knowing my baby, my youngest, my sweet, brilliant and only girl would be graduating from high school and moving on.

It seemed surreal to me. Like breathing only air through decades of children at home with me, attending school open houses,  field days, rehearsals, concerts, plays, practices, games, rallies, field trips, parent teacher conferences, I would now need to grow gills and learn how to start breathing water. There hadn’t been a year that wasn’t immersed in something  school related.

Yet there it was, that date. Your high school graduation date. It was on the calendar.  It was real.

You have accomplished so much. You have faced and overcome so much. You havs shined. You do shine.

The world turned upside down. A pandemic blew us all out if the water and sent us home. You had to finish what you began 13 years ago in this very same town in kindergarten, but remotely in zoom classes and online from the kitchen, the living room,  your bedroom, anywhere you could find a spot to work along with your brothers suddenly home from college trying to do the very same thing.

You wrote papers and took exams with the sounds of saxophone, euphonium, piano, and drums sounding different songs and rhythms from the basement, the game room, and the dining room. You pieced together the rest of the quilt you made from tshirts that held special memories for you and presented it to your class using your phone.

You picked up your last few things at a table outside of the school wearing your mask, one student only at a time, paid your senior obligations, and came home with a bag. Tucked inside were your cap and gown, your awards, your gold rope and an envelope with your diploma. And you were excited about it. I wanted to cry, and you were already pulling your gown out of its plastic wraper and pulling it over your head. We even dressed up and took pictures to celebrate.

Grit. Thats what they call that. Noted psychologist Angela Duckworth described it as

“passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals”

It is the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. That’s what you did. Its what you do. You rose to each challenge.  You learned to make the best of it. You found ways to stay close with your school friends here at home while making new friends in a college you’re preparing to go to. A college you might have to attend from our kitchen and living room and even your bedroom again until its safe to gather together even as our nation roils with anger and injustice and racial inequality.

You’re excited about your future in spite of everything going on in the world. You’re already engaged in the world. You want to help to build a better one, and you aren’t waiting for your future to start. You’re already doing it. I’m more proud of you than you can ever imagine.  I love you more than you could possibly know. 

Congratulations babybear, this is your day. This is one of many days that will be yours. I’m so glad this world has you in it. We need you.

**I asked to reverse her collar for this picture so the school emblem could be visible, to show gratitude to a town and school that gave my five children the gift of amazing educators for the 20 years that spanned my oldest to my youngest time there. Thank you for guiding, shaping and challenging them to grow their gifts and to use them.

You have to be the storm

You have to be the storm.  You have  to bring that disquieting change, the wind that bends tall trees, that uproots  the ones that should have fallen long ago.

You have to be the thunder sounding loud and rolling for miles, bellow, growl, howl and wail and roar. You have to be heard.

You have to be electric and light up everything around you so that the truth, the truth of everything around you cant be unseen, can’t be ignored any longer.

You have to be the deluge, the downpour, the flood, the torrent that sweeps in and inundates, engulfs and overwhelms them with the truth.

You have to be the storm. This world, our world, your world demands it of you. Truth crawls through the dessert,  dying under a knee pressed against a neck.

Don’t be compliant, 
acquiescent,  and agreeable. Dont
softy surrender to the comfort of  conformity, the dessert, the pinch and scarcity of equality too many have died from for too long.

You have to be the storm.

#socialjustice #humanrights #justice #equality  #blacklivesmatter  #racialjustice  #freedom #racism  #socialchange  #antiracism

My grandmothers vine

The first grapeleaves are the sweetest, unfurling delicately all along the thick, knarled vine in my garden. I love this time of year. I love watching nature explode into color and texture after so much grey.

Every day something new breaks the surface of the earth, send shoots and tendrils, opening like a smile spreading across a face. 

This vine is so special to my heart. The original vine was my grandmothers and grew lush and vast across her back yard. I took clippings from it each time I went to take care of her that last year, hoping to be able to keep some piece of her and of our family’s traditions.

I loved the smells of her kitchen. Always something cooking just like my mom’s kitchen. My mom is a warm, vibrant and passionate woman, forever rushing to welcome and feed people.

  I remember feeling increasingly anxious with each failed attempt at transplanting as if I might run out of time before she left us. Her hospital stays increased even as her time home between them decreased.

I stuck bits of vine in water, in soil, in every conceivable combination of location and light and season. Eventually some took root and I carefully planted them and nurtured them like a new mother hovering too much, filled with joy and pride and relief as my baby vines thrived.

I learned to cook at her side and my mothers. I learned to prepare the stuffed grapeleaves as a child, first running to her backyard to pick the number of leaves needed for dinner, carefully selecting the ones large enough to hold the stuffing, and still small enough to be tender and sweet.

Hospitality is sacred in our culture.  You can’t refuse food that is offered to you anymore than you can forget to feed any guest who appears at your door. I see the faces of everyone I love in those vines, and the ones I have yet to meet. Those unexpected guests. The ones that send you racing to the garden to pick as many leaves as you’ll need for the feast. Suh’tein❤

#lebanesegirl
#lebanesefood
#familyvine
#suhtein

Mother’s day

My heart broke wide open and became the universe, infinite, thrilling, exquisite and unknown the moment I became a mom.❤

❤Happy mother’s day to all “moms” the world over, the tummy mummies, the foster mummies, the adopted mummies, the step mums, the heavenly mums, and the dads who are “moms” too. Many blessings, much love, and great strength for your journeys.❤

mothersday

thegreatestgift

motherhood

blessed

Two tents and too tense

Two tents and too tense

If the ice storm taught our family one thing the hard way, it was to have a generator on hand and to make sure it’s in working condition before we need it each year. 

All hubby had to hear was me swearing a blue streak in the kitchen as the power went out mid dinner prep, and he was up and out the door.

With “two tents” in the yard to potentially be banished to, and a “too tense” wife cursing the dark in the kitchen, it was a safe and smart decision to drag the beast from the shed and fire it up.

It is a wise man who heeds the words “happy wife, happy life”, lest he live the words “angry spouse, sleep outside the house” – Ellie 5:9-end of quarantine

#powerplay
#marriedlife
#keepherhappy