Monday, January 15

Birthday Ideas

I've accidentally published this post twice without meaning to because the pads of my hands keep bumping the little track pad on my laptop, tabbing me all over the place, one spot of which seems to be the Publish button. I need a little pad protector to put on it so that I can type without having to worry about my fat hands engaging that pad. (James would say I need to install Linux, which has a two-second delay before the thing activates, or something like that. I am almost there ...)

Anyway, with Em's birthday coming up, I started pestering her for ideas back in August. Because that's how you have to do with the gentle thinkers. You can't just hit them up at Costco the day of and say, "What do you want to do today? Sky's the limit!" They freeze, and you end up buying them an .89 bladder buster and a 30-roll pack of paper towels. I learned this the hard way.

After much mulling and thinking (seriously - it was January before she got back to me on most of this), she decided she'd like to get her ears pierced, get a manicure (she's hoping this will help her not bite her nails), go to lunch with the boys, and redo her room.

So, we started putting a plan in action. She got her ears pierced this weekend.

I've no clue on the manicure, and haven't had the bandwidth to track that down, but I'll do that today. Lunch with the boys will be at the 88. That's where they eat. It's what they do. It's their thing. It's also the only place in town you can get spicy squid, which is Very Important to Jase. (And? All this time, I had no idea they had a website. That's so cool!)

Her room is functional, but it's a mash-up of Stuff Her Brothers Didn't Want, Stuff She's Duct Taped or Sewn, and then things that usually began with, "Oh, crap, you probably need sheets (shelves, hangers, etc.), don't you?" So, it's functional, but other than the constant craft debris littering the floor, you'd never guess anyone lived there on purpose. She wanted to fix that.

She's been going through it, fixing up what she can with what we had on hand (this isn't as sad as it sounds - we have a lot on hand) and making a list of what she'll need. She's been making little changes, such as snagging a mint green sheet from the linen closet to go with her pink bedding, hanging lights above the window shades, adding pastels here and there, hanging drawings on the walls.

She asked if we can paint her bookshelf white with pink, yellow and blue distressed spots. (I said yes before I realized we were actually going to have Winter this year. We have to paint in the garage or outside, so she may be able to do that for Easter. Or Memorial Day. It's not happening on her actual birthday, though.)

Last week, she asked if she could "do something about that sad brown lamp shade". Of course. Good thing she'd asked for "virtually unlimited duct tape" and "gel pens of my very own" for Christmas! It's the gift that keeps on giving.

I only recently realized that what she really asked for for her birthday was to be left alone to craft. LOL! Clever girl. So that's what we shall do for her birthday - give her glue and stay out of the way. It's how she knows she's loved.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Saturday, January 13

You Beautiful People!

This week has been so encouraging.

A friend is applying for a position that would be practically perfect - both for her, and for the organization. I'm so excited and hopeful for her!

The boys have gushed and gushed about their classes and instructors. I'm so appreciative that they talk to me.

One of the boys has demonstrated that he can, in fact, get his shizzle done when a ride is on the line. I'm, um, so glad he can catch on!

A friend has been on fire lately with thoughtful things and being her typical loving, encouraging self.

People all over the place are helping each other out, sharing what they have, doing good things to skew their worlds for the better. That's very encouraging.

Z is making plow discs in his spare time. I love that he's using his creative energies!

We got snow! It was a lame snow, but it was snow. Didn't stick and the roads are clear, so that's like getting a double bonus of appreciation.

What's been encouraging in your world this week?

Be encouraged (or encouraging)!

~ Dy

Friday, January 12

The nice thing about getting old ...

... Is that I can finally get my test results same day as the test. Until then, however, I have to wait a week to hear how it went. Nothing big, just the routine PET scan. If this one's clear, I don't have to go back for two years! If it's not clear, I'll have to take a deep breath and just try again. Either way, we won't know until next week.

Fortunately, the rest of the day was busy enough that I didn't have time to dwell on it.

My favorite part of the day, though, was coming home to find James and Jacob playing Mario Kart together, absolutely howling with laughter. What a fantastic greeting!

It's super late, now, and I'm exhausted-but-wired.

I think I'll take a book and see if I can fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. It's my favorite way to wrap up a day!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Thursday, January 11

Self Care Through the Ages

I kind of miss childhood, when you could go for a week accumulating the dirt and grime of childhood adventures and still go out in public. (This might be why I enjoy backpacking so much.) Believing with all the faith in the world that playing in the creek totally counted as having bathed, and since your friends were just upstream, catching crawdads, they didn't mind. Or notice.

Mmm. Gross. But yeah.

Still, there you have it. Childhood. Adults were tasked with pointing out when it was time for a bath, and that was fine. That was plenty. You ate what someone else prepared. You didn't really have to think about self care much, if at all.

There are other seasons in life that are reflected in various self-care routines:
Adolescence - the first time your body just up and starts doing weird things on its own, and the frantic scramble to get a grip on that before everything mutates beyond recognition.

Young Adulthood - general awareness that nutrition ought to be a thing, but there's booze. And resilience. So a lot of self care at this point goes into recovery, looking good, and sucking it up.

Marriage - sometimes this is a good stage - there's not only bathing, but some thought goes into meals and routines. It's like having a clue. I know I didn't have a strong clue, and I wasn't good at most of it, but at least there was an attempt.

New Motherhood, Mother-of-Toddlers - these last two being very distinct stages identified mainly by the type of food that's stuck to your shirt and speed with which loud sounds will snap you out of a dead sleep. That was a crazy time. A friend is watching a little one this week and she posted from the bathroom, where she was trying pee in peace. It was hilarious and precious, but I got tired just remembering those days. I let my kids stay up late and eat candy as a thank you for not still being two years old. Because dang. It's a miracle everyone got through that without too many scars or staph or who knows what.

Then there's your 30's. Possibly the first time many of us can take a breath and really think about how we care for ourselves since we last got a grip on the acne and hormones of adolescence ... also the first time we're horrified to realize acne is still a thing past adolescence ... But at this point, you're aware that you need to nourish your body, your soul, your mind. There's a lot to do to really take care of one's self. But it's doable. It's pretty cool.

You'd think by the 40's and 50's, we'd have a routine down pat and not have anything left to figure out. But, no. The body, she is a'changing, and will continue to just up and do weird things on its own. So our care often needs to change with it. But how much do we really think about it?

If you're like me, perhaps you think about it, make a kick butt list of Things You Can Do to Improve Your Situation, and then make another cup of coffee and go back to work doing Something Else, entirely. I've got a great list for 2018 (and no coffee this morning, because PET scan). But if you need some encouragement and practical suggestions, go read Melissa's latest post on When Life Gets Off Track. She gets it. And she knows what she's doing.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Wednesday, January 10

New Terms, New Plans

Sometimes, these kids are so my kids. Jacob got on it over Christmas break and did all the school work he didn't get done during the fall. This included reading Aeschylus' trilogy, and getting through two of the three Oedipus plays. He got half way through Antigone, but didn't wrap it up before ballet started back up (so that may not be finished until Easter, now). He even pulled off some great note taking and good discussion. I do get it, and I empathize. But there's a reason I don't have a degree yet. (Aside from the whole, "Oh! I know! Let's have children!" thing.) Now, though, if he could only do that, spread out over the term, I could probably relax and breathe a little. When you're in college, you don't get to complete your work and turn it in after finals week  ... Maybe I should have James take him out for coffee and a little brotherly Come to Jesus about timeliness?

Meanwhile, everyone's new semesters have begun!

John's back at it, and this is going to be a pivotal term for him. In order to qualify for the Paramedic program that starts in the Summer term, he's got to nail this one with a good score, even from the Russian judge. Not just doing what he needs to do to pass the National Registry exam in June, but he's got to pass this Bio 201 class. He had to get a waiver from the Dean and the Dual Enrollment coordinator to take it while still in high school, and he had to promise the Dean that he's not going to try to hold down a job while juggling clinicals and this course. So. No pressure, there. Go get it, kiddo! You can do this!

I hate having so much on the line for a 17yo, but he's braced for it and looking forward to it. It seems ... dumb to discourage a young person from taking on a challenge he's looking forward to, so I'm in Smile-Nod-and-Feed mode. I think he can do it. And if it doesn't work, he'll be better off for the effort and we'll make a Plan B. This is how life works, right? The key is to keep moving, keep learning, and not give up.

James came in the other day and announced he'd added a macroeconomics class to his schedule for the Spring. "It sounded fun." He and I have very different ideas about what a fun semester looks like. But again, he's doing what he loves and braced for the challenge. He wants to graduate as quickly as possible so he can get hired on full time where he is. He's happy, productive, and headed in a good direction. I can't complain. I can get a little queasy, but I can't actually complain.

Now, to convince Jacob to actually do some work between now and Cinderella ... right? Wish me luck!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy