Showing posts from September, 2012

How to stay happy

I recently had a happy day.  A really happy day.  A zip-a-de-doo-da day.  It was so great I wouldn’t have blinked if a cartoon rabbit went hopping by and Uncle Remus himself was sitting on my front porch with a bluebird on his shoulder. There wasn’t anything super special about the day.  Nothing really monumental had taken place and I didn’t have any huge upcoming plans.  Part of me wondered if somewhere in the great galaxy, the fourth moon of Jupiter had aligned with the magnetic pole at noon in China, causing this elated mood.  Another part of me wondered what I had eaten to change the chemicals in my brain—those levels of dopamine and serotonin and adrenaline and other things I can barely pronounce.  But the rest of me didn’t care because, hey, I was having a good day!  Life is good, the world is good, and I was floating on top of it all. But as sadly expected, that fourth moon must have shifted or something and two days later I lost that feeling of shivery warmth that was t

Hot sauce and birthdays

I know this photo has nothing to do with hot sauce. It's just a matter of showing off my sweet 'stache. I recently had yet another birthday, despite my best efforts at turning the calendar page one day before it was time.  Another year older isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just feel like it makes me feel like I have to work all that much harder to remain young.  So when it comes to my inevitable big day, I have no problem soaking up the love and letting my youngest daughter call me “queen” all day, which was totally her idea.  I swear. This year for my birthday we happened to be traveling and staying with my husband’s aunt and uncle, who are just about the world’s best hosts.  They are also the world’s best chefs, and so I had no problem laying out a complete menu for them on by special day.  For lunch I asked to be taken to a Thai restaurant for a big bowl of spicy green curry.  For dinner, I politely begged for our uncle’s famous shrimp and grits, one of my many sec

Needs and wants and dirty feet

There are few things as humorous as trying to explain the difference between “needs” and “wants” to a group of young children.  For reasons our adult brains cannot understand, they honestly believe they need certain things to survive, including the newest plastic doll, video game, or the latest in absurd fashion crazes.   I remember this feeling quite well, trying to convince my parents in the early 1980’s that I needed parachute pants or else life would just not go on. In my attempt to avoid having to enlighten my own kids, I find that nothing better puts life into perspective than a good ol’ family camping trip.  And I’m not talking about loading up an RV and driving to campground where you plug in your satellite dish and the dangly Christmas-type lights from your instant front porch.  I’m talking about the sort of camping that involves a tent, a fire, the hum of a Coleman lantern, and walking a half a mile to use the bathroom. It’s a beautiful thing, really. With the lim

Back to school routine

Hooray!  Boo hoo!  Ugh!  Waa!  Cheers!   The first day of school brings on many emotions for members of the family.  Kids may be apprehensive or nervous about a new school year, parents may have their heart strings pulled a bit as they watch their child embark on another older year of academics.  There are also the children who sprint away from their crazy mothers who have done nothing but yell at them for the past month, and the mothers who kick them onto the bus so that for once they can sit down and listen to the peace and quiet. Thankfully I fall somewhere in the middle.  Having endured a long and fun-packed summer of sun, my family was more than ready for school to start.  By mid-August we all were vacation zombies, not able to function without running to the next bit of summer that we had to squeeze in before the first day of school.  No sleep, meals that consisted of cleaning out bags of potato chips and a scoop of peanut butter, and general brain mush had turned us into a

20 miles and the tent giggles

We had been planning it for nearly four years, but because of babies and children, we were never able to sneak away for just two days until this summer.  There we were, two moms escaping the rigors of daily life in exchange for nearly 60 pounds of gear strapped to our backs and a daunting trail ahead of us. Boots snuggly tied on, we headed out for our first backpacking trip in what seemed like forever. This sort of backpacking is like camping on steroids, and not to be confused with the lofty dreams of a graduate hoping to tour Europe via trains and hostels and find the meaning of life with a camera and some quick-drying clothes.  This is the sort of backpacking that takes you deep into the woods, miles away from other humans and cars and basic conveniences of life.  Minimalist doesn’t even begin to describe this sort of hobby. But backpacking is something special.  It brings out the absolute rawness of a person, and I’m not talking about the rawness that is the giant pack ru