Monday, July 30, 2007

A Bit of HerStory

I was born in the year of the dog.

According to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (and they would know), people born in the Year of the Dog possess "the best traits of human nature." Why, little ol' me? Aw gee.

"They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people's confidence because they know how to keep secrets." I AM loyal. That wasn't always the case, however.

Well now that didn't come out right. What I'm getting at is I was loyal to my grrrlfriends, but not necessarily my boyfriends. I wasn't a one-boy kinda grrrl. I was honest about it though. When Rob asked if he could call me his grrlfriend after several months of pretty intense courtship, I said... nah. I was a grrrl who liked to keep her options open, was how I reasoned it in my head.

Mostly, it was that I'd get so aggravated when I'd lose best grrlfriends to boys. It really curled my hair when one of my fun grrlfriends would suddenly be unavailable for nights out because she had to go to dinner and a movie with some boy.

I had a lot of energy and there was a lot to do at UW-Madison. "You're going to see a movie? On a Saturday night? But we're all going dancing! Oh, argh..." was my lament. Some guy had to be really amazing for me to choose him over my best grrls. And I hadn't found any yet. They could join US, of course, but if there was any choosing involved, the guy was gonna get the short end of the stick.

"Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric." See, says so right there. I said I'm not giving up my carefree lifestyle and I meant it. "They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money." Or thanks to waitressing, free food and lots of change for parking meters and 25 cent taps. :)

"They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues." Ooh ya, I used to get a big fat kick out of tossing out zingers with my biting wit. In fact, one such night stands out sharply as marking the turning point in my relationship with Rob.

Rob, unlike me, had steady girlfriends all along. If he had a grrrl, he was loyal as a dog (despite being a rooster), and before me his latest long-term (as in four years - egad!) relationship had been with a prima donna. His friends had pretty nearly hated her because she competed with them for Rob's attention. She was very pretty and very spoiled. And word on the street was she wanted to get a good look at me. Check out the new grrrl, that sort of thing.

So, we were out on the town and it was late. Walking down the street we passed the bar where she was known to hang out and I said, "Let's go in." Rob wasn't sure that was such a good idea. But I was feeling confident. Knowing a meeting was inevitable, I figured it'd be better to catch her off-guard than the other way around. So in we went. The ex was pretty surprised but she recovered quickly. The old saving face game began and she started sizing me up. She was deep into a game of darts with her new boyfriend, who stiffly shook Rob's hand. She played pretty well and started telling us she was known as the "Dart Queen." Then she looked at me and pointedly asked, raised eyebrows, slight smile and all, "Wanna play?"

Ah, so it's gonna be the ol' make-the-new-grrl-look-bad routine, show Rob he'd made a horrible, terrible mistake in letting her go. Imagine, he could still be with her, and she was a Dart QUEEN.

I made a bit of a fuss that I hadn't played in a long time, but said I'd give it a try. She was nearly giddy with anticipation and said I could go first. So I did. I looked coyly at Rob, who knew what was coming, and threw my 3 darts - double 16, double 18, triple 20. I clapped my hands together and gave a little shout as the Dart Queen's mouth dropped open. Her boyfriend gave out a "Holy Sh*t, that was amazing!" and she didn't like that one bit.

Lucky break, she thought. She tossed some not-so-bad darts, and it was my turn again.

Double 20, triple 20, bulls-eye.

She was steamed by now and actually said she didn't want to play any more. I said, "Dart Queen, huh?" and someone else said "Look like she's been de-throned!" and we left before it got any nastier.

My previous boyfriend had dart machines in his apartment and he and his friends played constantly. Let's just say I'd had a little practice.

I realized I must really like Rob if I felt the need to protect my territory. From then on I was his grrlfriend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Reunion with Friends

Some of our closest friends moved to California 3 years ago. It really wasn't very nice of them at all, because you see we not only have homeschooling in common, but UUism and whole foods diets and angst about living in the cornfields of IL where we've lived for, like, EVer. It's hard to find kindred spirits 'round these here parts, so I take some mighty high offense when some of my chosen folks go gallivanting off to lawd-knows-where. They forgot to ask our opinion about their move, and have been so ashamed ever since they've taken to sending us real estate information by email. Ya, like I'm going to move from the corn fields. (What's the square footage again?)

They've come back to see us every summer for three years straight now, we're that cool. (Oh, and they drop in on family, too.) So for three years straight we've hosted the reunion here. It's a short visit, but we pick up right where we left off.

Here are some of us in our photo shoot for next month's Martha Stewart Living. Notice there's no tablecloth. Or centerpiece. The next issue is all about keepin' it simple. Actually, I had four tables and only three tablecloths. Who knew the adults would seek out the only unadorned, faraway, sliver-filled table?

Here you see the wily teens nabbed one of the prime seating spots. There's a nice view of the neighbor's horses from there, and a killer view to the southeast. You can see the nuclear towers in a town 25 miles away. That's called ambiance.

Posted by PicasaAnd little Maya heard the chickens and asked to feed them. I love a girl who'll take out my compost. She came back with goodies - farm fresh eggs. Well, maybe we're a farmette. Actually, we're a yuppy-ish house in the middle of a field with a shed. Whatever.

And one of the annual traditions has become the unearthing of the mermaids, seen here with Brit and Kenz. Unbeknownst to me, these two grrls buried one of the mermaids at our first gathering. The mermaids are for identifying your beverage - they perch coyly on the edge of your wine glass, then slide over and bonk you in the nose when you sip. Very ladylike.
Well, during reunion last year, these two grrls asked for a spoon, then a knife, and began digging under the ash tree near my garden. "What in the world?" we all exclaimed, and after lots of scooping and a bit of grass pulling (I handed them work gloves and a wheelbarrow and encouraged them to go crazy), they found her - the mermaid they'd buried the year before. After a little ceremony of sorts (the elements of which are ancient and closely guarded secrets - ok, not really), they buried her again, this time with a mer-friend, and marked the spot with stones. So this year, they unearthed the two mer-grrls, did the moonlight goat-sacri..... er, ritual, and buried the original two plus one new mermaid, who was specially selected by a text message vote that generated over 30,000 voters. (Ok, not really again.)

Summer Reunion with Friends II

Another feature of our annual reunion is the photo shoot. Seeing as Sharon and I are digital camera fanatics who snap photos every chance we get, it's just too obvious that half the gathering will devolve into a photography frenzy, where our inner divas come out and all manner of silliness ensues.

So the teens get a hold of our cameras, and things like this start to happen. There are 100 more just like it. I'm not kidding this time.

Here are the women minus Martha. Yooohoooooo, Marthaaaa.... where'd she go?

Time for the pics of the kids. Last year Brady was shorter than all those teens, who are all older than him - wah! How can 5'2" me have a towering child? Thankfully Jonathan is still a wee nugget. (He loves it when I talk like that, too.)

And after an hour of photos, we girls get silly. Hey, where's Joan? Sheesh, can't we all just stay put? Joaaannnn.......

Posted by Picasa

Summer Reunion with Friends III

And here are our men. Notice the two on the left have designated themselves worthy of the man category. Sniff. Dan and Taylor are missing, so they had to take their places, that's it.

(Left to right - Bryant, Jordan, Chris, Wayne, Rob)

Hey, there's Martha. Now stay put, woman.
(Left to right - Martha, Pat, Joan, Jill, Sharon, me

Joan's still missing and we're starting to get a little loopy.

Posted by Picasa

Summer Reunion with Friends IV

Alright, we're finally all in attendance. Let the fun begin! Or, rather, continue! We're going on 3 hours at this point. Or our loopiness would suggest as much, anyhow.

We had a delightful time (in case you can't tell by all the pictures) and we look forward to next year's gathering already. The food with this group is always divine, the friendships extra special, and it's so very good to be together.

Until next time, my friends... Until next time, Namaste.

Posted by Picasa

Today's Forecast - Partly Cloudy with Possible Storms

I had to do a little deep breathing today. Ok, a lot. I got all pissed off and jacked up about a chore. I don't like it when I get like that, and it's something I've been working on. I used to get all worked up every time I did a major house cleaning, letting my resentment be aired for all to see. It surprised me to feel this way today, and ironic if you consider how I've been spending a lot of time working on a chapter to contribute to an unschooling book.

In unschooling, our attitudes toward all sorts of things are fodder for examination. Especially when something is a trigger - it means we need to take a closer look. Whether it be a dirty basement or a child who can't do long division, why does something send us into a panic? Why do we get angry? Or resentful? Or pitch fits, or stick out our lower lips, or whine to our friends about how bad we have it? Or all of the above? Where do these feelings come from, that seem to rise out of nowhere? Mine breathe fire and have two heads.

My task today was cleaning the house. I could feel my exasperation rising (along with its partner, resentment) after I'd spent all morning picking things up just so I *could* clean. I asked the kids for help, and they kindly obliged. Ok, feeling better. But then I started cleaning the basement.

If I had to rank all the things I hate doing, cleaning the basement would arm wrestle against cleaning the garage - and win. It would trounce mowing the lawn and even throw a knock-out one-two at ol' cleaning the shed, because at least I can be outside for the shed and let the wind carry away the clouds of dust and icky stuff. It trumps laundry and bathroom cleaning and cleaning up dog vomit for the grand prize of "Most hated chore." It really harshes my mellow, man.

It's an all-day event, which means it doesn't get done very often (both a cause AND an effect). But I avoid it like the plague. I will stay out of the basement for weeks at a time because I know if I see it, I'll morph into my evil twin, "Clean Freak Me." Clean Freak Me often can't go outside without suddenly finding herself on hands and needs pulling weeds along the edge of a flower bed (or two, or seven). Or can't pass a countertop without whisking dirty dishes into the sink or taking a quick swipe with a dishcloth. Or put away new groceries without cleaning out the fridge. So she can't enter the basement - at all - unless she's got something like 4-8 hours on her hands and an itch to get jiggy with a dust rag.

But we have overnight guests coming in a few days, so it had to be done. The only guest bedroom is down there and it hadn't been assessed in such a very long time. It helps that the basement is nearly finished now, thanks to the diligence of Rob and Brady. But something about basements... they're just dustier than all get out, damper than damp, and bugs seem to like them. Before it was finished our basement was a giant free-for-all playroom, where every loud, obnoxious, extra-large toy ever given to us was banished. Despite my repeated attempts to separate the storage items from the playthings, my kids would rearrange everything they could find and I'd enter to find a labyrinth of stuff, everything covered with the sort of dust basements seem to belch on a daily basis. I used to warn people to enter at their own risk.

Now that it's morphed into living space, however, it needs to be cleaned. And more often than the toys-and-boxes-labyrinth of before. And that, frankly, really bums me out. Like I don't have enough stuff to clean. (There I go again, getting all poor-me.)

But I was proud of myself today - I didn't allow my simmer to boil over, and I didn't take out my anxieties on my kids as I would've done before. I asked for their help several times, and each time they did what I needed. (And then they'd silently slip away - smart kids.) And I recognized my irrational anger for what it is - a deeply worn habit, a burned neural pathway that'll take some work to overcome. Old habits are indeed hard to break, and I didn't like who I was while I was cleaning the basement and tempted to unleash my venom, but step one is to admit you have a problem and I'm there, baby, I'm so there.

Not too long ago, I was at a different stage in the "chill out" program. I'd begun sighing when frustrated. My sigh was the last calm before the storm and I didn't realize how often I was doing it. One day, both boys were in the kitchen and for some reason I sighed the kind of extra-loud sigh that meant I was growing exasperated, and Brady, probably 8 at the time, recognized the impending danger. He sternly told Jonathan to come with him and he rounded the corner (very sweet of him to save his younger brother, don't you think?). Jonathan, younger and less intuitive, asked why Brady was making him leave. And this is the exchange I overheard:

Brady: Did you hear that noise Mommy just made? That means she's getting frustrated.

Jonathan: Oh. I thought she just had too much air in her mouth.

I doubled over in hysterics, and after I'd wiped away my tears, stretched out my cramps from laughing, and composed myself, I apologized to the boys. And then I took stock of my behavior.

I don't get huffy every time anymore, today was a lapse - a rather bad one. So I bit my tongue, took deep breaths, took a shower, and told Rob I needed some time to myself. He had the slightest curl of a smirk on his face, as he could see my struggle to fight my own inner demons, and we both laughed when I said I was so glad everyone was leaving when they left for a soccer meeting.

This is the mindful work I do. This is how I strive to be better. This is progress. (Believe it or not.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Grrrls Gathering

See these grrrls? They rock. And there's more of 'em, too. And these pictures were taken at our spring retreat. And today I get to leave for our summer retreat. And in October we'll have a fall retreat. And well, you see how it goes. We're kinda spoiled, getting to retreat all the time like this. And we know it. And we love it. And we demand it. And our husbands have finally realized resistance is futile. We're going.

Posted by Picasa

Actually, that's not always the case. We number 11 and only 4-6 manage to make it to any given gathering, but we make it a priority, this grrl time. And the gatherings go on whether 2 or 10 can make it. We all know it's critical that they go on, and those not in attendance are held in spirit and feel content knowing the circle waits for them.

It didn't start out like this. When I originally envisioned a women's group, I dreamt big. I saw a place where women of all stripes and types could gather, feel safe, commune, bond, and share. And I still see that vision. But when I started talking it up with a few close and trusted friends, it became apparent there were several things that needed to be considered. The tighter the circle, the more 'insider' jokes and shared memories and common history. And mixing circles of friends works, if you want things light. Being a bit of a chameleon, I suddenly wasn't sure if a huge group could develop the sort of closeness I was seeking. My vision was purely selfish - I need the strength, wisdom, and energy of my grrrlfriends for my own growth, I need mentors and soul sisters and sounding boards and examples and support systems.

The big group idea will have to wait. I'm cutting my teeth on a small one, first. We came together when an extremely damaging and hurtful series of events occurred, affecting us all. But the universe is generous and the serendipitous result was a deep connection and friendship, sparked first from circumstance, carried on in love. All things happen for a reason, and we can be grateful for the nourishment that comes from composting some parts of our shared past.

We started with monthly evening gatherings, but we craved more. We travel far to be together - an evening is a tempting taste, and we seek fullness. Our weekends together are amazing. We have time to check-in, time to share, time to engage in projects, and time to nap. Our destination is chosen for its proximity, its quiet, and its beauty, and let's be honest, its frugality. Oh, and meals are provided. That's pretty darn important.

Today I'm like a jack rabbit, pouncing around my bookshelves and archives and reaching into the dusty corners of my imagination, selecting proejcts to bring, books to share, and food, always food. This time we have some creative stretching planned, the sort that involves poetry and yoga and planetary alignment influences. Should be a deliciously fun time.

And the men left behind get mindful practice in being alone, something Rob used to avoid with the same passion he harbored when he avoided every first day of every college class, the intro moment when you have to state your name and major in front of a roomful of strangers. As with public speaking, he is growing into this ability to spend large swaths of time alone, without me to whine about a messy countertop or rent the same video that plays on satellite thirteen times a day. He's gonna miss those things (she says with a smirk) but he's come to treasure the time with the boys (I encourage them to do all the things I don't like, most of which revolve around bodily noises and brain-rattling music, loud-loud car rides and opening boxes and calling it dinner), the near-quiet while the kids sleep late, and then of course, there's always the reunion. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, it's said, and what with the amount of grrrl gatherings I've enjoyed lately, we oughtta be reeeeal fond of each other about now. :)

I'm off. Woohoo!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DO THIS: Go Forth and Leave Money

Now here's news I can rally for. In Friday's newspaper (which yes, I just read today) was a snippet about envelopes containing money being found in restrooms all across Japan. Each envelope contained about 10,000 yen - or about $82 - and a note wishing the finder well. I guess it's triggered a nationwide search, as you can well imagine. What a delightful thing - is it possible this is happening with no strings attached? Or no underlying motive? Or no, like, nasty anthrax tossed in for a twisted kick? (And isn't it sad that I can't read a happy article without pessimistic possibilities dancing in my head?)

I've often daydreamed about dropping notes of affirmations into shoppers' bags when I see, for example, that they nurse their babies or treat their children well. But somehow it always feels pretentious, as if I'm the authority on such things and am therefore bestowed with the powers to decide who's doing something 'right'. It was just a thought. I've never actually done it.

So this little news bit had me saying "awww" over my morning tea, pleased as punch to read something positive, and something randomly positive - whoever is leaving those treat packages behind doesn't have to do that. It's an amazing faith in the power of the universe to just leave it for the next unsuspecting passerby rather than deliberately gifting a particular someone (though perhaps they do that as well).

Quirky little acts of kindness and ways of spreading joy are right up my alley. I love the "Where the Hell is Matt?" youtube video, of the guy who dances all around the world. And I also adore the Free Hugs campaign. The first time I saw it, I got weepy. I'm weepy now, playing it again.

Disclaimer - sap fest forthcoming....

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly emotional I DO wish we could all just hug and be better. I'm a big sap, a big puddle of emotional goo, a true liberal in the social sense.

It's the unexpected little compliments or affirmations or outpourings of love that really hit home, precisely because they come when we least expect it, and sometimes when we need it most but don't know it. I remember one time, years ago, a boy stopped me as we passed in a crowded room and told me I had the most beautiful eyes. A come-on perhaps, sure, but it really stopped me in my tracks. (I gushed a thank you, and moved along.) And just a few months ago as I was talking to a new homeschooler about homeschooling issues, she told me, quite out of the blue, I have beautiful eyes. Now, this isn't a brag - these moments were quite profound for me in how giving they were, how unnecessary, but offered as a gift.

So let's all take a nudge from the Japanese money fairy and go forth and leave good tidings in our wake. Start with just one. Give a compliment next time you feel moved. Leave a gift on a bus seat. Help someone with a heavy bag. I'm certain we'll all feel better for it - even you crusty skeptics.

Free Hugs Campaign. (music by Sick Puppies album out April3)

Where the Hell is Matt?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Camping and Music and Jesus, oh my!

So, a little more about this whole 3 days thing, this time about what da boyz were up to....

Rob and the boys spent 3 days at the
Cornerstone Festival where they camped and listened to bands with Uncle Terry and cousins Abbey and Trevor, and as you already know I didn't want to go so I opted to stay back. (And got 3 days ALONE - ok, still excited.)

There are a couple of things that make this trek interesting and a bit out-of-character for us. Cornerstone is a Christian rock festival and no alcohol and drugs are allowed. The drug-free environment helped us decide it'd be a good place for the kids to get their first concert experience. They've gotten more and more into music in the past few years, but knowing how obnoxious concert goers are, and knowing full well what goes on before and during most gigs, we were less than eager to introduce them to the experience. (In fact, I refuse to attend Jimmy Buffet concerts anymore for the sole reason that the entire outdoor venue becomes a giant urinal about halfway into the festivities, and these days I am neither tolerant nor intoxicated enough to be ok with that!) However, the reeeeally interesting thing about attending Cornerstone for us, then, is we're not Christians. There, I've said it. It's out.

What are we? We dunno exactly. We eschew labels and refuse to be placed in small boxes.

Ok, not really.

Unitarian Universalists by membership, if not active participation at the moment. And UUism is the perfect place for a spiritual mutt like myself. The seven principles of UUism speak well to my love for honoring the spiritual search and unique path of each individual, and as with most things in life, I don't believe there is one-true-way.

I'm not anti-Christian - perish the thought! So before you go wondering if you should X us off the ol' holiday list, remember I was raised Catholic and still feel a definite fondness for those roots and our little country church that's just around the bend. But I am inspired by all sorts of people and all the world's religions and I just can't seem to confine myself to only one religion's definition of faith or spirituality. Even UUism, as it gives me the blessing to be on my own spiritual path, somehow doesn't capture it for me - it isn't the 'end all, be all' for me.

I told Rob that if there was a sunrise prayer session or something appealing like that at Cornerstone, they should consider attending. There are parts of Christianity that I firmly reject, but there are parts where I find beauty and peace as well. I would not forbid my children from trying it on for themselves any more than I would require them to don the same spiritual cloak I wear. They did have a prayer moment with a friend, and they enjoyed the experience and the new people.

They were surprised to see the variety of self-expression in the way of piercings and tattoos and unique clothing choices, and this bodes well for the broad spectrum of Christian interpretation, me thinks. These days the definitions of Christianity seem to get more and more narrow, more and more paralyzing, especially what with the pope fussing over
driving rules and whatnot. And I wonder where the religious middle-ground folks are, the ones I knew growing up, who went to church but didn't get all up in my stuff about it.

Our experience has been that we know too many amazing people of various faiths to decide there is one-right-way for all of us. I learn as much from my atheist friends as from my Buddhist friends, my Christian friends as from my humanist friends. And I always love that what I may even learn is what I don't want as much as what I do, what doesn't speak to me as much as what does. Whenever I engage in conversation with someone with radically different beliefs, I either come away with something new to ponder or more content in my chosen path. It's a win-win.

So Rob and the boys enjoyed a lovely weekend with 25,000 Christians, all there to connect, pray, bond, listen to good music, love and be loved. The time spent with Rob's brother and his children was indeed the greatest gift of all, and the spirit of the gathering lifted them up. They came home bubbling with stories about screaming rock stars, Jesus tattoos, gluten-free multi-grain pancakes made on the campfire by 4 kids and a chatty chef, and sleeping on a slope.

Life is good, no matter your flavor, eh?

~Namaste and Amen for good measure~

3 Days Solo

Photo: Private property entices on my hike

I recently spent 3 days alone. Yep, you heard me - 3 DAYS. Hubby and kids left for a 3 day rock concert & camping extravaganza, and I had a 3 day retreat at home. It's a recent development for us to do something without the others (I can hear the feminist groans already), especially for 3 whole days (can you tell I'm jazzed about the 3 days thing?). These days, most social commitments are chosen because we all want to do it. So it's a bit of late-blooming liberation for me to say, simply, I don't want to go.

No particular reason. Other than I'm not much of a concert kinda grrrl. And that I wasn't in the mood for campsite and concert behavior. Oh, and that I'm not much for camping with a big group of strangers. Well, and that I'm not fond of being sweaty and dirty and unkempt in front of 25,000 people. (Hey, it might be a little vain or overly insecure but I'm an 80's child, it's par for the course.) So I guess there were reasons.

And besides... after I'd finally admitted I didn't want to go, a tiny beam of light shone through the crack and I suddenly got a little breathless... I'll be ALONE for 3 DAYS...

I love my boys and all, I really do. And I love the night after night of family time we get, the intimate togetherness of homeschooling, the long hours of quality time in the car en route to the dozens (and dozens) of faraway soccer games, the hiding in the bathroom so I can get a freaking moment to myself - er, oops - see, I think I'm in need of a little alone time. Just a little.

What to do, what to do, I sang, as my imagination ran amok and I pondered all the options in front of me. Nab some grrrlfriends and go to the lake house? Schedule a spa day? Plan short day trips to nearby attractions? Sleep in until noon? What to do can become a burden in itself, when you're so worried you'll squander away the short time and not have anything sweet to show for it.

Just so happens, though, that I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and this proved the perfect inspiration for my 3 Days Solo.

I ate. Not much in the mood to cook, I polished off leftovers, stopped for an avocado-filled burrito at my favorite Mexican spot, and sat in the local pizza joint all alone on a busy Friday night with my laptop and book in a far back corner and ordered the expensive and obnoxiously huge "Tour of Italy," a sampler of menu items. I shared a gorgeous salad trio with friends and we all three spooned from a bowl of kiwi lime soup. I picked fresh raspberries from my very own patch and topped them with organic vanilla yogurt and grape nuts for a crunch. I stopped in on mom and helped her finish off the deeeelish leftover Arroz con Pollo, made by my Panamanian-by-marriage sister Jackie for a gathering of farmers.

I prayed. In my own way, of course. I spent several hours at a local forest preserve. I hiked through a prairie and a forest and honored the spirit of each place. I did yoga in a meadow and took deep breaths of the sweet air and blue skies. I stretched out on a blanket and closed my eyes and gave thanks for the quiet. I built a small obos with stones I'd gathered on my hike, as an offering to the beauty of this place. And I sat, just sat - on my deck, at the park, near a meditation pond, at an intersection, in the booth of the restaurant - each moment sacred.

I loved. I had dinner with my mom. I spent a lovely day with two special friends at the Japanese Gardens, where the best part was sitting on a bench overlooking a meditation pond and chatting for a long while. I missed my boys, all three, really missed their noise and energy and presence as the emptiness of my home reminded me of just how hollow life would be without them. And I nurtured myself and honored my desires for those three days. Which sometimes meant sitting for hours on the porch with tea and a journal, sometimes meant trying on dozens of shoes even though I don't need any more, and sometimes meant pausing for as long as I wanted to gaze upon a field of wildflowers, or watch a squirrel leap from high limb to high limb above me, or enjoy the view from my deck to the east which never fails to stop me in my tracks even though I've gazed that way a zillion times.

The boys beat me home, my outing with grrrlfriends having stretched later into the day than planned. And it was so good to see them. I with rested eyes, they with weary feet, the makings of a sweet reunion.
Life is good.

Photo: Obos