Friday, June 15, 2018

Ordinary Moments

Ordinary moments. 

"Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down extraordinary."
Brene Brown

I spent yesterday watching the two little ones so Brittany could go into the office. My day was spent very unremarkably compared to society's standards. 

We danced a little to Justin Timberlake, created a refrigerator masterpiece out of stickers earned after a really long nap, chased the dog around the backyard, built a tower or two with blocks, and I either held the youngest or watched him scoot across the floor. 

It was a good day.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brotherly Love

Brotherly love. 

My daughter's spending a few days with us this week while her kitchen cabinets are being painted. When she and my grandsons arrived today they weren't here long before the two year old started asking about the toys. 

One of the perks of being in a house is an extra room with a closet dedicated to grandkids. My oldest grandson knows exactly which toys he wants to get out first, but yesterday he did something quite sweet. 

I have the youngest ones toys in a special section of the closet, and before getting out toys for himself my first grandson came out with a handful of toys for his younger brother. He placed them carefully in his brother's lap while he was still sitting in his car seat. 

It struck me as such a sweet gesture. I knew how excited he was about all the toys for him in the closet, but he wanted to make sure his younger brother was taken care of first. Especially since he had no way of getting the toys on his own. 

After brother was taken care of he pulled out the roadmap rug, along with a set of John Deere tractors, and got busy playing. My daughter and son-in-law are definitely doing something right when it comes to these two. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018



I've never actually visited Montana, but in 1963 I donned a bandana, and joined two of my second grade friends, and sang my heart out in the Third Avenue Elementary School talent show. The song, My Home's in Montana can be found on the internet today. 

What strikes me the most about this memory is that I never once questioned whether I could sing or not, I just did it. My friends and I won fourth place so I'm thinking we must have been pretty good. 

I liked that spunky girl of seven because I never again tried out for a talent show. There is something about that age that makes you feel invincible. Perhaps, that's why I ended my career teaching second graders who always answered with a resounding YES anytime I challenged them with something new. 

That same girl liked to try different ways home from school just for the adventure of something new. My Mapsco type brain even then was working overtime. A few years, and a few moves later I'd be leading my best friend on trips to unknown neighborhoods on our bicycles. I felt very confident in my ability to get us home. 

When we finally moved to Texas I spent way too long playing in the lot next door that I had affectionately named Czechoslovakia. In my eleven year old mind that was about as exotic as it got because I liked the way it rolled off the tongue. 

I once read that, "Girlhood is short as summer," and there is much truth in that statement. For me girlhood was a wonderful time of imagination, adventure and aplomb, and I miss that girl. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Same Sources

Same sources. 

Author and artist Amy Tangerine writes in her new book, Craft a Life You Love, "Artists know that looking at the same sources for inspiration over and over again will actually cause creativity to stagnate."

She then advices, "... to find inspiration in new places."

In an effort to do so I took advantage of the Behind the Book Author Series yesterday to listen to a talk by Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach. Although, I was unfamiliar with her work, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her tell about the process she used to write her latest novel. 

She inspired me to take advantage of those opportunities that present themselves each day. I find that if I don't stretch myself to read, or explore new venues then my writing suffers. The key to writing is ideas, and those don't always come out of thin air. 

Originally, I had crossed the event off my calendar because I had no idea who the author was. Today I find myself looking forward to my next visit to the library in hopes of checking out one of her books. Moreover, her story of her own father peaked my curiosity about my Irish-American roots. 

As she discussed her family of origin I could relate to what apparently seems to be a common thread in the Irish culture. It actually answered some questions I had about  my own upbringing, and to think I almost missed out on a new source of inspiration. 

Monday, June 11, 2018



My second grandson is not even five months old, and he is already on the go scooting across the rug to get to his older brother's tractor. I'm not surprised in the least because from the very beginning he was extremely active. Before he was even born he got my daughter's attention with his in utero acrobatic feats.

In a matter of weeks Grandson Number Two seemed to have unusually good control of his neck, and wanted to be sitting up to observe the world around him. My daughter bought him a little frog chair that resulted in quite a few smiles as he happily watched his older brother run around and play. 

At the same time he kept repeatedly doing crunches each time he was in a reclined position. So much so that even changing his diaper became a challenge. He certainly was a determined little guy, and wasn't giving up easily. If doing twenty crunches a day was what it took to get him in a more upright position then he was up for the task. 

Now he is scooting along the floor pretty effortlessly trying to reach his brother's toys. His incredible strength and determination seems to be propelling him toward crawling ahead of schedule. In fact, the other day when he reached his brother's John Deere tractor he graced it with a little slobber. After being reminded to share by his mother, Grandson Number One quickly wiped off the slobber with his fingers, and proudly proclaimed, "I share."

Friday, June 8, 2018

Living in the Moment

Living in the moment. 

My cat Abby is one who truly lives in the moment. She's either happy or not, but either way she's going to let you know about it. 

As I write she is literally sitting on my chest purring loudly letting me know that she is happy. She steals a lot of moments throughout her day finding a way to be either on Chuck's or my lap. It is there that she seems most content. 

Of course, she might disagree when given the choice between lap time and food. If she's hungry or even if she's not, she's going to let you know about it repeatedly. At that moment you better feed her because she is relentless, and won't give up. 

Abby spends most of her day shuffling between the dining room chair, and the dining room rug. She used to meander between all six chairs until my sister gave me the tip to put a dryer sheet on the chairs that were off limits. Right now she has ownership of a comfy captain's chair covered with a towel. 

In the morning don't even think you are going to get to sleep in. Her majesty will you know that you have forgotten to fill her bowl with a loud wail, that is followed by a sweet meow as soon as you you stumble out of the bedroom to feed her. Abby is a girl who knows what she wants, when she wants it, and she pretty much gets her way most of the time. 

Yes, Abby doesn't waste time worrying about her past or future. She lives in the moment enjoying her life, and allowing us to go along for the ride. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Two Observations

Two observations. 

I was picking up my mail from the post office a couple of days ago as they are not delivering to our neighborhood yet. As I was getting ready to walk out the door a young man on crutches was struggling to get through the door. I was unaware of his plight because I was checking to see if I had the right mail, since the post office seems to be set on giving me my neighbor's mail instead.  

As he pushed the door open, and hobbled a bit he caught my eye, and I realized his dilemma. I immediately pushed the door open for him, and apologized for not paying attention sooner. At the same time a young woman had rushed to his aid as well. She made eye contact with me, and I could tell she was not happy with me not assisting the young man. 

I immediately apologized for not helping him, and as I stepped away I realized that it bothered me that she didn't seem to be happy with my actions. I kept thinking, "Wait, a minute you don't know the whole story." I'm really a very considerate person, it's just that I happened to be checking my mail right at the time he was trying to get in."

Now I came away from this with two observations. The first being that it is easy to pass judgement before you know the whole story. I do this too just by someone's appearance, or by a snippet of information I might have received from social media. 

The other was how concerned I am with strangers' perceived opinions of me. This same kind of thing happened when I didn't fill the boot at an intersection recently. I had just filled it the day before, but I kept think the firefighter was thinking less of me for being cheap. I wanted to yell out the window, "Hey, I contributed yesterday! See I'm a decent person after all."

It bothers me on both accounts. I shouldn't be so quick to pass judgement, and maybe I shouldn't spend so much time making sure everyone likes me.