Saturday, May 25, 2013

Turning 39

Today is my 39th birthday. It started off with some back and hip pain I woke up to (ah, getting old) but it was made better when hubby wished me a happy birthday with hugs and kisses before I left the bedroom with Jesse at my feet. I got to sleep in this morning, though I usually sleep in on Saturdays, and that was nice. Also got some time to read this morning while Jesse played. Also nice.

I was also happy to see such a beautiful sunshiney morning. I opened the blinds to allow the sunshine to pour through the windows and into the rooms.

I had doughnuts and bacon for breakfast this morning. Yummy! And to make the morning even better, I spent some time texting with my best friend to talk about birthday stuff. I was touched she remembered my birthday. (I’ve known her since high school!)

But today was NOT going to be a day of relaxation. I had plans!

One thing I had to do was give the dog his bath. He doesn't like baths but I bet he was happy to be all cleaned up and smelling pretty afterwards. I also took care of the laundry and tidied up the house a bit.

Another thing I wanted to get done today is clean out the one desk drawer I use for all my writing stuff. There were a lot of files in there for books already done as well as papers I didn’t need anymore. So cleared all that out and got the drawer back in order.

One other thing was to get the car washed but hubby ended up doing that for me.

We also went out to lunch at Marie Callender’s. I was happy and sad to have lunch there. Happy because it’s such a beautiful restaurant and their food is so good, but sad because they are closing down that branch here in Eugene. Tomorrow is the last day! So I really wanted to have lunch there because who knows when we could get out to eat at the one in Medford.

I was also touched by the many, many birthday wishes I received on Facebook. I even had some early birthday wishes from some people yesterday. Thank you so much, everyone! Love you all! Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after 8 p.m. I could finally get on the computer to respond to them all. But I’m glad I was able to that same day. (It’s so hard to have computer time on the weekends; there’s only one computer the four of us must share!)

To top it off, there was a nice cake and presents. I got a Starbucks card from my sister in the mail today – what perfect timing! (Thanks, Millie!) Jennifer got me the cutest coffee cup. It has a picture of a tough-looking pit bull on it with the message, “You barkin’ at ME?” I joked to Jennifer that that was me in the mornings before I’ve had my coffee. LOL Then after I’ve had my coffee, I turn into a little active and yippy Chihuahua! LOL Jesse got me a Caribbean-scented candle, which was really nice. Not the lavender one I wanted, but I don’t have this scent, either, so I’m happy with it. And, finally, I got another gift card for the bookstore. My second one this month! Oh, boy, I get to buy books! YAY!! 

Ah, coffee, candle and books. What a perfect gift combo! Oh, and let's throw in the completed cover for the first GHOST Group book that I got in the email today. It lookes really good and I am really excited about this book's pending release. Woo-hoo!

It was a really nice birthday today and I really appreciate everyone and everything that was a part of it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Even before today arrived, I knew it was going to be difficult. Today was the first Mother’s Day since my mother passed away last year. So for a few days now, and especially today, I kept thinking about Mother’s Day last year. I tried looking in my journal to see what I’d written on that day, but alas, I hadn’t written anything down. But I remember it so clearly: Last year, on Mother’s Day, I called Mom on the phone. Miraculously, I was able to get through to her – right before she was headed out the door, in fact. I am still so grateful I caught her on the phone when I did. I was also thankful that it was a good day for her: No trip to the hospital, no pain she was complaining about and nothing dramatic going on. Actually, she sounded happy. I was able to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and she wished me one, too. Then she had to go; she was on her way to a Mother’s Day brunch and to have her picture taken.

I thought about that a lot today. I missed Mother’s Day brunches with my mom like we used to have. When we all lived together, my sisters, sister-in-law, myself and my mom all got together for a nice meal. It was always a happy day for all of us mothers gathering together and celebrating motherhood.

Ever since I moved to Oregon, though, that hasn’t happened for me again. I don’t get together with other moms for brunch – or even lunch. I celebrate Mother’s Day with my husband and children.

And even though I did get a little sad today because of how it was the first Mother’s Day since my mother died, it was still a good day. My children brightened my heart when they came bounding onto my bed this morning, tackling me with hugs, smothering me with kisses and wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I hugged those kids extra tight, telling them how much I love them and that if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be a mom!

Also, my husband made breakfast, exactly what I had a hankering for (scrambled eggs and toast) and they gave me their gifts, too. I got a gift card to the bookstore, a plaque Jesse made, cards and a beautiful orchid.

This was my “day off” with hubby doing all the housework and he even made dinner. Had my picture taken with the kids and we sat together on the couch watching TV. It was such a nice day today and I felt so blessed.

I also had some time to relax in bed today as well as have some time to read. I also made sure to wish other moms Happy Mother’s Day on Facebook and through texts. My phone acted iffy today so I was only able to post on so many profiles before it decided it didn’t want me to use Facebook anymore.

Today was not as bad as I thought it would be. It helped to have my children with me for Mother’s Day. And, in a way, I think my mom might’ve been with us today, too. Even just for a little while.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A better National Train Day this year

We love trains – well, Jesse (age 5) and I certainly do – and so last year we were excited about going to National Train Day events going on at the Eugene train station. Unfortunately, we got there too late; everything was over and gone. Actually, the only thing left were some pamphlets and a model train set not yet packed up.

So for this reason, I wanted to get out there for National Train Day as early as possible. This time, it was just Jesse and me going. We got there at a good time; almost everything was still set up. (I guess the mayor left and the music band were gone.) But a lot of the booths and everything were still there, and I was grateful for that.

They had a Chuggington station depot set up for kids and Jesse had fun playing with the Chuggington train set with some other kids. He got a Chuggington toy train, a coloring book, a Chuggington poster and a paper train conductor hat that reads “Junior Conductor.”

We also visited the many booths and checked out a model train set. I even entered a drawing for a chance to win one such model train set. Jesse got a balloon sword, a stuffed toy, a pin, sticker and a whole bunch of other stuff about trains and National Train Day. He even got a free cookie. It was pretty awesome. I joked later on that he made off with some good loot.

It was too bad we did not see an actual train. I had so hoped to take a picture of Jesse wearing that “Future Conductor” hat and standing next to a train. But we had a nice time and everybody was so nice. It was cool to see so many people as excited about trains as we were and there was even a little boy there dressed like a train conductor!

We had such a nice time. Afterward, we got ice cream and then Jesse played with his own train set after we got home. He fell in love with the stuffed toy he got, which of course he named “Amtrak.”

I am glad we had such a great experience for National Train Day this year. We definitely look forward to going back again next year!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A song to be sung

Recently, I was going over a bunch of papers Jennifer brought home from school. I noticed an advertisement for a talent show and asked her if she was going to participate. She shrugged and said she didn’t have any talent to share.

“You do SO have a talent!” I said. “You’re an artist!”

She said that showing off one’s art was not considered “talent” for a talent show.

Remembering how she sang at past talent shows, I asked her, “Well, why don’t you sing?”

She said she didn’t have a song to sing. (She wrote the last two songs that she sang.) Then her eyes widened, she got excited and said, “I know what I can sing!”

“What?” I asked, thinking she was going to remember a song she wrote recently.

But instead, she said a song that I wrote: “Little Hands Left Behind!”

It was my turn to slouch and even cringe a little bit. My smile faded as I recalled this particular song, which is about abandonment, addiction and prostitution. Er, um ... not exactly family-friendly material.

I wasn’t so sure about this one.

“I don’t know, Jen,” I said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

But she was all of a sudden so excited about singing this song. “But I love that song!” she said.

I know she likes this song, but it’s not exactly PG-rated because of the issues it addresses. I shook my head. “I don’t think they’ll allow it.”

She grew disheartened. Then I said, “How about this. I’ll print out the song lyrics and take it to the school. Then if they approve it, you can sing it.” I sat there thinking Fat chance but I didn’t want her to feel so discouraged.

She thought that was a good idea so that’s what I did the next day. Later, I got a message from the school saying they didn’t think the song was appropriate. So I talked to Jen and told her, “You know, I have a lot of other songs and maybe you can look for another one that you might like that the school will be okay with.”

She nodded and decided to do just that.

I have actually written and co-written over 100 song lyrics. Unfortunately, most of them were lost in a move! I have tried to rewrite some of them that I know by memory, but that’s taking a while.

Anyway, I opened up my file containing a bunch of songs and Jennifer sat down to read them. She decided on the song “Let’s Be Friends Forever.” This is one of my favorites. I wrote it in high school for my best friend. And I rewrote it from memory. I’m so glad she picked that song, but at the same time, worried the school might make a fuss over it.

But the school DID NOT make a fuss over it. Today, Jennifer auditioned for the talent show, singing that song. When I picked her up after the audition, I asked her how it went. “Great!” she said.

“And what did they think of the song?” I asked.

She smiled then said/signed, “They thought it was amazing.”

“Awesome!” I cheered. We both cheered as I drove the car out of the parking lot and I had a huge smile on my face. This is SO COOL. A song that I wrote will be sung, put to actual music, by my daughter. HOORAY!! I am so excited and very thrilled. I have had demo tapes of my songs made in the past, but nothing happened with them and only my family heard those songs. Now a song that I wrote will be put to music and heard by a whole audience! I have always dreamed this would happen with one of my songs and now it WILL happen! I am so excited. Hooray!!