Thursday, April 22, 2010


It's Thursday. I like Thursday. Definitely a good, hopeful day. And it's beautiful outside. Cold, but looks lovely through the windows, all springy. So, it's either write my blog or scrub the tubs. Hard choice, I know.

My wonderful husband, Ronald, is a gardener. He is also 100% Dutch, hence tulips. I love to look out my kitchen window and see the tulips. I have been poking my nose into the different kinds and there is a pink and white variety that smells just like conversation hearts! Probably the nicest thing my husband ever said to me was that he planted all these flower gardens for me. I can live on that forever, just about.

I remember once when I was a kid walking home from school with a couple other little girls. One was named Gobi. I don't remember who else but that was a name I never forgot. I still think of her whenever I see anything about a desert. Anyway, as we were walking we saw some tulips growing along the alley in someone's back yard. The girls began picking them to take to their moms. I didn't pick any. Don't recall why, like if I thought it would be wrong or anything.

To our surprise, a lady came storming out of the house straight at us. She was absolutely furious about having her tulips picked and she definitely let us know. She was explaining, angrily, about how she had planted bulbs and how they only came up once a year, blah blah blah--I didn't understand what she was talking about. I think I was in first or second grade. Then, she marched us up to her house and made us all call our mothers. I really thought she was crazy. My mom wasn't home. But I told her about it when I got there, and she didn't seem to care. I hadn't picked any tulips anyway.

I don't know why I always remember that incident. The tulip lady was an enigma to me. My parents were always so laid back about things. I mean things like material objects. I never remember getting yelled at for breaking anything, or walking in the house with dirty shoes (and we wore our shoes in the house). We had a dog who chewed things up, barfed on things...and I'm sure as kids we must have caused plenty of damage. Like the time I talked my brother into taking a bath in his toybox and the water came pouring down through the ceiling. But I don't think I even got in trouble for that. My parents just didn't seem to care about "stuff" so much.

I mean that in a good way. A very good way. I don't know how I got to be so opposite. I am constantly fretting about my furniture getting wrecked, or the kids tracking in mud. And I do not even consider getting a pet because of the sure damage that would be incurred. Where did I get this attitude towards "stuff" that really isn't important? I mean, yeah, it costs money to replace things, and I guess that's the root of the problem--that old 'love of money' thing.

But I mean, we were taught as kids not to put our feet up on furniture, or to run around in the house, or to touch things that weren't ours. We were taught to behave. We were taught to respect other peoples' property, which was probably why I didn't pick the tulips. My parents did give us good guidelines, which I am very thankful for. I try to teach my kids these same things, and am well pleased when other people teach them to their kids (especially when they're in my house).

So, now I guess I'm the crazy tulip lady, only not so much anymore. I am improving (thanks to God). I am starting to see how much I love these kids in our neighborhood, even when they tromp through the flowers, or break our stuff. Don't get me wrong--I will still definitely say something to them when they're stepping out of line. I try to get them to respect others' (our) property, and I try to explain it in a not-so-crazy way. But you know people are all different. And it's those little things that you sometimes remember forever. Like, "Hey!! These are MY flowers!!!" or, "I planted all these flowers just for you."

Friday, April 16, 2010


I went to the doctor today. It was a great relief to get that out of the way and finally get blood drawn, something put off a long time. Anyway, he seemed pleased with the fact that I've kept my weight down (I'm gathering that's a feat at this age) and I'm thinking, "brother, with the diet I've been on the last four months I should have lost a bunch of weight!" (even though that's not why I'm on it).

I am in a really weird mood. Like kind of mellow but kind of I just don't care. There are so many thoughts streaming through my brain, but they are not cool thoughts. And they don't just cycle around up there either. They kind of fly out into the atmosphere and eventually make their way back into my mind sort of like ghost thoughts. I can't quite put my finger on any of them. Spring is like a drug for me. A good drug. I think.

Cardinals are nesting in my front bushes. We were gone just for a long weekend in Michigan and in that time the female made her choice. I thought our arrival would have spoiled the deal, but they've stayed, in spite of the fact that they're right by the front door next to the walkway. They sing constantly. Cardinals love to sing. Tonight I heard one making a new sound--sort of a trill at the end of a more typical lyric. It was very exciting. I love to watch birds, but am pretty lazy about it. So I watch grackles and starlings and bluejays and cardinals and sparrows and chickadees and juncos and finches and woodpeckers. Once in a while a hummingbird or a hawk, or even an owl.

The other morning a flicker appeared in our back yard. I was very happy I could actually identify it using my little Golden field guide. Then, a couple of nights ago my husband and I went out on a long awaited date. After eating a nice dinner we wandered through a Chinese grocery store and then stopped by a discount book store. They had wall calendars for $1.00--I had been looking for a $1.00 wall calendar for up north. And they had one with birds on it! I like to have lovely wall calendars with birds or flowers or when I got home I was disappointed because it was actually a "birder's" calendar not a bird calendar. The pictures were not scenic, but more along the identification line.

But then, in a spare moment, I decided to flip through the months of illustrations just to see if there was anything interesting, which I doubted. To my surprise and delight, the picture in August was exactly a bird we had seen perhaps two years ago and had never been able to identify--a Green Heron! It was such a strange and awkward looking bird. I recognized it immediately, and there are exactly eight drawings of it on this calendar page, all in different poses, so there can be no mistake. So, that was pretty neat.

So I guess the moral of the story is, "Don't look your $1.00 birder's wall calendar in the mouth."

Friday, April 9, 2010


Spring is finally here and my boys are having a blast tearing around the field behind our house with all the neighborhood kids. It is quite a colorful assortment; we've got blondes, brunettes, a redhead, curly hair, straight hair, boys, girls, big, small, medium, you name it. Every afternoon the minute school lets out it begins. I hear the thumping of the basketball on the court next door. None of these kids actually live there--my neighbors put a paved basketball court in their backyard and now their kids are grown. It's not fenced in so the whole neighborhood traipses in and out, playing pick-up games.

They also play baseball, soccer, football, tag, hide-and-seek, guns, just everything. They play on our swingset and in our sandbox. They run around and scream and laugh and fight. Sometimes they all get quiet, usually in the sandbox. Today one boy needed a bandaid. "Eric's bleeding!" a little girl exclaimed. I went out there to check on the situation, applied a bandage to the tiniest microscopic dot on his little finger...which was a good thing.

As a mom, I don't know how you ever stop wanting more kids. Like, even when it's completely insane. I know firsthand how hard it is to have a baby at 40, and then one at 44. I also know how difficult and frustrating it is to foster. And yet, when I see them, each one, their little faces...I think, "awwwww," and it's just like that crazy moment one time in college when I took home a puppy. Well, no, it's not really exactly like that. For one thing, you can give away a puppy.

But you know how it is getting older (if you are there yet). You don't actually feel older, which is why it's always such a shock to look in the mirror. I mean, you can't see as well, you don't remember things, and you move slower. I used to run everywhere, literally. Like, when I'd get out of the car at the grocery store, I would sprint across the parking lot to the door. I'd do the same thing going to the mailbox. Pretty much I just zipped everywhere. I thought to myself, "I don't see many other grown-up women doing this...this must be immature, this running thing." But I liked to do it anyway, and it saved time. But I wondered, "Will I ever slow down? Will it ever be that I just don't have the energy to go flying around like this anymore?" And of course I can tell you the answer to that now. Yes.

But I am still the same person I always was--the little girl who told her dad confidently that one day she would have sixteen kids of her own. It was so weird when things actually didn't turn out that way. First of all, I delivered my first baby by Cesarean (he was breech) which then set the precedent and I had to have all Cesareans. That limits the number of children you can have. I hadn't thought of that.

And then we were broke. Being young I didn't understand that no matter how many kids we had we would have made do. I get that now but I didn't then. And when we tried to adopt, it wasn't that easy. Fostering was maybe one of the hardest things we ever did. I'll tell you why it was/is so hard (even though we don't foster anymore). Because I chickened out. I mean, it all started out so great, but then as time went on and we had to really make a long-term commitment, I became like Peter on the water with Christ, I looked away from Him and cried, "I can't do this!!!"

Regret is perilously easy. The reality of the day-to-day raising of kids is sobering, to say the least. And some days I just don't really feel like being so serious. But then this silly little kid says something so hilarious like asking, "Mom, does Optimus Prime shoot bombs out of his ears?" and I know I'm in the right business.