the hyphens that define my life

Enjoy the Moments November 8, 2013

My squirrel saga lives on.  My cast is off, my arm is healed, but the squirrel jokes linger. My Facebook friends like to post squirrel videos or squirrel pictures to let me know they’re thinking of me while making fun of me.  That’s cool, I appreciate good squirrel jokes.

My very dear friend posted this photo, not to mock (a sign of a true friend [stick out tongue at all the other “friends”)], but to remind me of a conversation we had on one reason why we wanted to move out of Southern California.

squirrel humor

In Southern California, I felt like every day was a competition, and it was crazy. Competing for parking spaces, driving advantage, time, staying current on trends, while trying to instill values in your kids that it’s better to give than receive while they compete or keep up with their friends.  Competition was compounded just by the sheer numbers of people.  I found it overwhelming and draining.  I haven’t been in a rut, I am just settling into my groove.  My day-to-day groove is just chill.  The funny thing is that a chill groove is so foreign to me that I need to accept and enjoy.  That doesn’t make for exciting, funny, interesting or inspiring blog posts, but it does challenge me to write differently which is a good thing.

Family has not missed the opportunity to poke fun at me on the squirrel theme.  This week my younger sister sent me this t-shirt….

squirrel whisperer

The t-shirt is hysterical enough, please help me, I have a squirrel wardrobe.  Her message sent with the gift is legendary, “I am confident you have earned the dignity and respect  amongst the Spokane Squirrel Squad. ‘She is one tough lady – and smells like delicious nutty baked goods’.”  Spokane Squirrel Squad!  Nutty Treats!  Oh, that part could be true.

My husband and I were out running errands at lunch the other day.  When we returned, we entered through the side door and I noticed my house smelled really good, like chicken soup and homemade cookies.  I said this to my husband.  He replied, “Great, here I thought I married my mother, but I really married my grandmother.”  This was a fist pump moment for me.  I am an aspiring old woman, right on track (maybe slightly ahead of the curve) as I age up.

Just to keep in touch with my silly, young self (I’m certain it’s in here somewhere), I am a co-room mom for my eight year olds third grade class.  Twenty-four eight year olds celebrated with a Harvest Party for an hour today and it was awesome.  The first thing you do with kids is divide them into manageable groups.  With four sets of six kids labeled as apples, owls, scarecrows and pumpkins, we rotated the groups through four centers.  The centers included Funky and Fun Thanksgiving Facts (an interactive and informative Thanksgiving center complete with “Swill” to taste), bobbing for doughnuts (doughnuts tied with string and hung from an overhead wire hanger.  The kids have to eat the doughnut without using their hands), peanut butter and birdseed pine cone bird feeders, and a trail mix bar and apple juice.  I managed the peanut butter and birdseed pine cone bird feeder center.  Messy, gooey, sticky and a great project for eight year olds, we had fun making these bird feeders.  The birds will have stiff competition from the squirrels that will want to eat these yummy treats (gotta look out for my little friends, pyscho beasts we know them to be).

With all this said, I realize that I haven’t been in a rut, I just haven’t taken the time to reflect and appreciate where I’m at in life and enjoy the moments.  I’m thankful for our move and for Spokane.  I’m thankful for my friends, my family, for my children, for being able to see through a child’s eyes, for aging gracefully (despite the wipeouts), and, yes, I’m thankful for squirrels.


October 31 October 18, 2013

Halloween.  October 31st.

Trick or Treating is still scheduled for the 31st, but Spokane schools have decided this is the year to not celebrate Halloween.


I just read the newsletter that came home Wednesday while I was out-of-town.  In response to pressure from many “groups,” Halloween is not celebrated in the classrooms on Halloween.

The Parent-Teacher Group at our school decided to host a Monster Mash on October 25 from 6-8 PM.  The designated “fall holiday” will be celebrated by classrooms on November 8.

My kids are shell-shocked, not fully grasping that they won’t get to wear their costumes in class. I’ve sold them this bill of goods as three fun events instead of one.  They will get to dress up and participate in the Monster Mash, a dance, pumpkin bowling and other great stuff.  Then they will trick or treat in the neighborhood.  The grand finale will be the Harvest Party  in November.

What really grates me is the Monster Mash requires costumes by October 25!  A full week in advance of Halloween.  Apparently the PTG isn’t a group of seamstresses.  Instead of having two weeks to sew, I know have 7 days.  So much for an R & R weekend for me.

Of course, to further complicate matters, my boys haven’t decided what they want to be this year.  They too thought they had more time.

To get us in the mood and inspire us all, tonight the boys carried up from the basement the boxes of Halloween decor and costumes from year’s past. The house is decorated and costumes are strung from one end of the house to the other as the boys sifted and sorted through and tried on costumes trying to decide what to wear, what to “be.”

Lots of ideas, but no firm commitment from any of them on what to be.  I’ve given the hard deadline of 8 AM tomorrow morning to commit to a costume, so I can start my day at the fabric store.

We have awesome costumes in the boxes.  Curses to me for encouraging creativity and originality.  The cactus, the outlaw cactus variation, the vampire, the evil jester, the skeleton, and the super cool Club Penguin Fire Sensei costume have been cast aside as “maybe” (read: if I have to. most likely no way).  Don’t even suggest wearing dad’s letterman jacket circa 1985.

The boys impulsive choices all deal with evil this, death that or some variation that involves weapons. Halloween is barely allowed and you think these costume choices will be permitted?  Think again my friends.

I suggested they go as fox and sing the catchy What Does The Fox Say?  They said no way.  I suggested unicorns and rainbows but that resulted in a fight over who would be the horse’s ass, not what I had envisioned.  Why do “unicorns and rainbows” always incite a riot?

We’ll have to see what they chose in the morning.

Maybe boycotting Halloween this year isn’t a bad idea after all.