Vote, I say!

I found myself in a little tiff with a 20-something at the bookstore. He was claiming frustration with the political system and therefore will not vote. I replied, "You are too young to be jaded. You have to live through more than one president to have that right." Ok. Maybe that was harsh. Everyone is jaded, but I liken it too parenting. It's just hard, damn it, but we can't give up the fight. Cast your vote because there are people in this world who don't have that choice. Cast your vote because so many men and women fought for our right to do this. I always think of a time when I heard Dr. Maya Angelou speak. She was addressing young black men in particular when she said, " Your debt has been paid." Her point was that so many people fought so hard to get you the opportunities that you have today. Don't mess it up. Respect it and keep working for better. I know, I know, I know. People rant and rave and drink tea and coffee and call each other names, but in the end if people would just stop....they might be able to listen. The only way I feel I can be heard at this time is by my vote. Good families, good schools, good communities all function when everyone does their part. We all know what we can't do. But there is this one thing, small or large depending on your view, I can do. I will and I hope you will, too.

I can't find a pencil!

Really? I found 126 of them. Apparently they are under the couch, between chair cushions, stuck at the bottom of back packs, and hiding under rugs. I also found 12 erasers, 5 plastic sharpeners, 7 pairs of scissors, and 4 partially chewed rolls of tape. I assume the dog did the chewing, but in this house it could have been anyone. There is also one large green dragon head perched at the head of the table. Nobody seems to be missing him though I wish he would scram. I felt him watching me as I victoriously culled the house for missing school supplies that were exactly where everyone left them. The dragon dude needs a name, I need to examine why I have a life that involves a 4 foot dragon dude, and my kids do not need to ask me for pencils.


Talking about books in front of 30 captive people may not seem like a good time for everyone, but it is for me. We had our fall Book Lover's Night at the store and I made my pitch for a few favorite titles (Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace, The Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore, and Lit by Mary Karr). I also quoted my husband who says this of my favorite genre, memoir, "Most of it is self-indulgent crap". This got big chuckles and a few nods of agreement, but I pressed on with my pitch for Mary Karr who is anything but self-indulgent. In the end there were whoops and claps and I can compare it to a runner's high without the sweat. Why it's so much fun, I can't tell you, but I like it!

Live your best life?

Yeah, the country has been Oprah-fied and there are some great things she does suggest. But the best-life message can be frustrating when there are bills to pay and doors to be fixed and bathrooms to be cleaned. The constant reminder to stay in the moment really just makes me want to float above it. Secretly, my best life is occuring in the hills of Tuscany with a glass of red wine and a big plate of pasta. Why am I not there?


Do you ever go somewhere with the intentions of doing one thing and find yourself somehwhere completely different? Imagine my surprise when we stumbled upon someone seemingly made for my family at an art fair in Red Wing. I did get to look at art, but the highlight of our trip was this guy ( He is responsible for more antics and messes than I care to recount in a 24 hour time period. Doktor Kaboom put on a one hour show of entertaining science experiments and I could see wheels turning in heads of all ages as I looked around the theatre. I am willing to bet there was a spike in garbage can sales late Saturday afternoon in Red Wing, MN. We poor Winonans had to wait until 8:00 a.m. on Sunday to blaze our trail. As grandma said, "No wonder school is boring." The pay off may not be visible now, but Halloween is around the corner.....

Just wondering...

if I could bottle up this sun and let it loose in March when we are hoping desperately for a weak spring smattering of light to lift our winter-heavy hearts?

Relax, Missy.

Recently, my book club read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and it's done wonders for my parenting. In this book, Ms. Walls describes some wild adventures her family embarks upon with an alcoholic father and a schizophrenic mother at the helm. It's not a "poor me" book at all, but more of a,"Hey, this happened. I mean, it did happen, right?" sort of book. The siblings were often left to dumpster diving for the next meal because her artistic mom was following some creative flow and her scheming dad couldn't be bothered with the day-to-day business of kids. In no way am I becoming an advocate for neglect, but my point is this: kids are amazingly resillient. In my brain's daily chatter about doing not enough, too much, right or wrong, I do think now," Well, Jeanette Walls made it out ok." Of course, Ms. Walls is not recommending this wild sort of parenting, and, in fact, has made a conscious choice not to be a parent herself (shocking, right?). But...I could lock myself in my bedroom for three days and sleep through field trips and piano lessons, and I am sure all would be fine. Oh, I might get a few knocks on the door. A few friends would probably stop by, and of course the husband would wonder about the ensuing mess and lack of warm meals. I would become furious that my plan to be left alone has failed miserably. By this point cereal boxes would rattle and computer games would be played, and it's likely no one would get hurt. So my mantra for this week is relax, missy. If my bar gets set a little lower occasionally, chances are it'll be fine.

Home Base

Our kitchen table is an office, a study carrell, a work bench, a science lab, a potting shed, a beauty parlor, a laundry basket, an art space, a meeting room, a confessional, a snack shack, a nursing station, a design center and can be easily converted into a dog house and spy fort. Depending on the hour, it might also appear to be a garbage can. Most recently it can bear witness to the creation of a dragon head out of PVC pipe and paper mache'. It has seen tea parties and dinner parties and birthday parties and ice cream tastings and cake disasters and game nights and book talks and cooking demonstrations and tense negotiations.
Daily (hourly), I grumble about the shuffling I do of all the stuff that is required of something that wears so many hats. Really? I think. I am moving a 4 foot dragon head so we can eat? I am vacuuming glitter so I can see my rug? I am picking up microscopic pieces of Legos so I can pay bills? There are people I know who have a place for everything and everything has it's place. Lucky them. Or maybe not. Life isn't as neat as all that. And really, I think, I wouldn't have it any other way if the way I have it is the way I have always wanted it in the first place.