Friday, September 26, 2008

Smelly memories and caramel sundaes

My earliest childhood memory involves me standing on a patch of grass next to my garage at the house I lived in as a small child on the corner of Madeline Drive and Pasadena Avenue. The lawn next door had just been mowed and it was St. Augustine grass. That particular type of grass has a distinct, clean, "freshy" smell. It's hard to describe, but every time I smell it I'm brought right back to being 2 1/2 years old. I love that smell. Isn't it interesting that a smell would characterize my earliest memory? I still drive by that house from time to time and I always point it out to my girls. "That's the house I lived in when I was a baby!" I tell them. They've heard it a million times, but I'm glad they can see some of my history. Both my parents grew up far from where they raised me, and I never saw my Mom's childhood home. There's this huge part of her life that I can't relate to. I can take my girls past the pre-school I went to, the elementary school I attended, and all of the schools I went to for that matter. I can point to the parks I played at as a child, the store I got my ears pierced at when I was 5, and the restaurant I went to after high school football games - Twoheys. I would order the caramel sundae and it was gooood. Some of those calories, however, are still sitting on my hips! I've taken the girls there a couple of times and they can get a feel for one part of my life that holds good memories-and they get to eat a yummy sundae.(It's tradition - we have to get the caramel sundae! I'll get back on my diet tomorrow...)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"I bet you cry about your nose"

So, I was in the library on Wednesday night dealing with library "issues" (damaged tape, found the "lost" book that I had paid $22 to the library for weeks ago, picked up books I had transferred from elsewhere in the Pasadena library system, etc) and I was making friendly conversation with the librarian who had braided his coarse, black, long beard. He had a mustache and other interesting hair designs on his head and I found myself curious about his creative personality. (He was one of those cool artist types that I admire. He would never say anything silly or rude - like me- because he's too cool. I really admire that.) He was very down-to-earth and friendly, but it was taking awhile for him to write up the paperwork for the damaged tape that my new $25 tape cassette player from Target had eaten up (ugh! That replaced tape will cost me $14!!!)I noticed on the desk a paper that read "Banned Library Patrons" and insructions to call the police, other libraries, security, etc. I started laughing at the thought of crazed library patrons harrassing unsuspecting library goers and staff and I asked Cool Hair Guy about it. As we're talking about it this short, rotund, pleasant-looking lady with a rather nice nose, I might add, comes walking over to me and says very seriously, "I bet you cry 8 days a week about your nose." I quickly replied, "Oh no, I love my nose. " "No," she contended, "you must cry 8 days a week about your nose. You couldn't like your nose. And you have that scratch on your nose..." It was true about the scratch. (Where did that come from?) I replied with great confidence, and rather amused at how rude she was, "I love my nose. God gave me a great nose. It's the perfect nose for my face." Cool Hair Guy intervened at this point and shooed her away. She departed from me and he apologized for her rudeness. I laughed heartily and remarked, "Oh, don't apologize. She must be one of those banned library patrons that list refers to. I'll have a great time retelling this story." According to him, her reputation for harassing innocent, vulnerable (hopefully not vain) library patrons is, in library terms, "well circulated."
On a side note, I think my husband Tim has one of the nicest noses I've ever seen. My daughter Elena has his nose and it is very lovely. It got me thinking about rhinoplasty and you can almost always tell when someone has had a nose job. It's too perfect. Their nose has that slightly pinched look to it. I will notice those perfect noses and begin to wonder what their faces looked like before they got their new nose. It's quite distracting to me, actually. I also wonder about the children they might bear. Their children will expose their real noses if the Gene Pool doles out (most likely) Mommy's nose. How will they feel about this? On the other hand, I once knew this man that had this rather narrow face with a VERY wide nose. It really filled his face up. But it was his nose, it made him unique, and a narrower, more "perfect" nose wouldn't have looked right. I realize this whole topic makes me sound really shallow. I'm not really that shallow - I'm just a very visual person. Who loves her nose.

Opening escrow

Ahhh...Wednesdays...My older girls are gone all day (from 8:15 am till 4:40 pm!) and my middle girls are at school, of course. That leaves me at home with my little girls who are napping right now and I should be, too. I just got off the phone with my realtor/stepbrother's(Brent)assistant to open escrow on our rental property. Amazingly, we found very interested buyers for the property and get to start the mind-numbing process of selling the property with appraisal and inspection "events," loan approval deadlines and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Thankfully, it's a 30 day escrow so hopefully it's just a month of stress and paperwork and then we'll be out of that property. Hopefully, we'll close escrow and come within pennies of having to bring any money to the table to get out of the loan. We lost a LOT of cash on the purchase of that property. I'm trying to think through what I could have done differently to have avoided such a loss...A couple of thoughts come to mind, but nothing concrete. I will ask God to show me what I can take from the whole experience. In the end, it's just money. We still have our house, our health, our family, and our finances are fine. All of our basic material needs are met. In the end, isn't that what really matters? Keep falsehood and lies far from me: give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8-9

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Stream Runs Through It

I feel rather philospohical this morning. I went to the Corner Bakery last night with Julia in her car seat just to get out of the house and read my Bible and think. I got just a soft drink and, like usual, they gave it to me for free. This happens to me all the time there. They know me so well, and I've spent so much money there on food that they figure they'll keep me happy and coming back with free soda. They're right. Now, I don't expect a free soft drink, but they almost always give it to me if that's the ony thing I order. (I brought my own cookies last night because they were good and they were virtually free).
Anyway, while sitting in a booth watching a worker out of the corner of my eye sweeping up their outdoor patio, I got a picture in my head of a stream of water. It seems that pain, in the form of trials, disappointments, etc. is that stream of water, sometimes rushing and sometimes gurgling, that God uses to soften the rocky places in my heart. Where pride, bitterness, selfishness, and ignorance are deeply wedged in the landscape of my heart those trials seem to bring a softening. And that's good. It just hurts. This is not a profound thought. Of course pain and trials hurt! I was reading in the Psalms about God responding to David's cry for deliverance and then about God bringing satisfaction and joy to those who trust him. These thoughts must have resonated in my thinking last night because when I awoke I found myself aware that I've been viewing life rather pessimistically lately. It's been a challenging season these last 10 months - perhaps one of the most challenging seasons of my life. Maybe God will bring it to a close and joy and satisfaction will arrive anew. Maybe that stream of water will have a sweet little boat with a diet Coke and a big chocolate chip cookie (from Carl's Jr. no less)and it will take me to a new place where calmer waters and a more picturesque landscape exist. I believe a better season is ahead where hope and faith in the goodness and mercy of God will take me. We'll see. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moody Monday

I generally like Monday mornings. It can be a bit tough getting the kids out of bed, but then that's true every morning. This Monday I had a hard time getting out of bed. After Julia woke up at round 3 am I fed her and then lay in bed thinking and unable to go back to sleep. The current challenge I'm facing just kept swirling around my brain and a peace about it wouldn't settle in my thinking, and then - wah la!(Is that how you spell that? The thing magicians say when their magic trick has reached its point of, well, magic?)The answer came to me and it was a thought, a realization, a thread of wisdom that will help me sew together a solution for a problem that I'm dealing with. I now need to pray for wisdom and God's provision to see how this solution materializes. Right now, however, my darling Daisy is wearing a turtleneck, a pull-up that smells like it's going to demand some attention, and reading a book to her brown monkey that she's placed in Julia's baby swing. She's just put on my big size-10 tennis shoes and has proceeded to carry the monkey off. Well, I need to go attend to her and then keep working on the numbers for our rental property. It appears we have a potential buyer for our 4-unit property and if this sale goes through then we will be done with a stressful, costly, difficult chapter of our lives. We'll see. I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Sunday in September

It was a lovely, breezy, early Fall day in southern California today. I'm still amazed at how lovely the early Fall days have been lately. Tim went to Don-Don's to help him set up his TIVO. We love TIVO! So does Don-Don! He actually gave us our TIVO box and we have been big fans of it. I can even use it and that's amazing, given my technological imbecility (is that a word?) Well, this blogging thing is new to me. We'll see if I stick with it. My sweet little Julia, 10 weeks old today, is sqwuaking in her crib right now. Oh, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight today! Something to celebrate! I've never gotten 35 pounds off in 10 weeks after having a baby. I think it's happening partly because I'm sleeping better than with my other babies and it's a mental thing, too. I'm done having babies and I'm ready to shed all this baby weight that's accumulated around various body parts. Love handles they call them? (Yeah, I "love" to "handle" chocolate chip cookies from Carl's Jr., apple pie from Marie Callender's, chocolate muffins and scones from Beantown and bagels from Noah's -do you see the high carb theme here?!)Anyway, off to tend to my adorable sqwauking baby!