A walk in the shade

The computer ate today’s blog post. I don’t possess the mental energy to re-write it at this point, but suffice it to say, I like these trees. You will find them planted in concrete and arranged in twisted lanes along most lakeside walks in Switzerland.  They’re knobbly and wonky in all the right ways, kind of like the people we love. Kind of like the person in the mirror. Don’t forget to love her too.

I won’t go all Ann Voskamp on you, but when all I see is wonky and warty, I need to remember gratitude. A thankful heart helps me see past the bent and the crooked and appreciate the blessing of a walk in the shade. Amen.

I’m curious

Photo courtesy of my boy

The beauty of an online space is the opportunity to talk about one’s self endlessly and when one tires of one’s self, ask others to chime in.

Tell me what you’re doing, reading, listening to, watching, falling in love with, and thinking about amid these halcyon days of summer. And if your days are less halcyon and more ten shades of crazy, then share that too.

I’ll go first. This summer finds me wading knee deep through the genius of JK Rowling as I finish up Book 4 of the Harry Potter series. Sarah Bessey’s blog is my latest online obsession (why is she so smart?), and I am busy filling up my Pinterest boards (kimberlyacoyle if you’re interested) in order to apply this fun new e-book. Two weeks remain before school begins again, and I feel conflicted about returning to the daily order and madness of a regular schedule. My DVR records Hart of Dixie every Monday evening, which I watch while eating a bowl of chips and the strange Swiss version of salsa and dream of my hair looking as good as Rachel Bilson’s. I anxiously await season 3 of Downton Abbey and secretly revel in the fact that it will air here in September. I imagine what my life will look like in one year and I see New Jersey strip malls in my future. Pray for me. Seriously. Every morning I wake up and wonder if God remembers, and then I think about my name inked on the palm of His hand. And I know He remembers and not only that, He sees. He is El Roi.

Your turn.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or use the linky below to share your latest happenings. I’d love to visit you. This is my first attempt at a linky, so let’s give it a whirl and hope for the best.

Summer Stories

We spent a week at the beach and one morning I set the alarm for crazy o’clock, slipped into my favorite sparkly flip flops, and grabbed the camera on the way out. I promised myself to take a break that week from hiding behind lenses and screens, but I wanted to remember the way it looked before breakfast.

I used the wrong lens for morning sun, or so I’m told by people who know about such things. I didn’t believe it until I downloaded the photos and discovered that apparently, the type of lens one uses does matter. I attempted to take photos of fireworks on the fourth, and apparently shutter speed matters too. And aperture, and whether or not you want to be present in the moment or fiddling with a bunch of buttons while your husband says, “What are you doing? You’re missing all the good shots!”
Missing all the good shots. Yes, I suppose I am. I’ve tried to learn how it all works, and God bless the poor souls who’ve tried to teach me. They deserve a cotton candy flavored water ice. But it’s not second nature yet, and I fiddle around and try to get it right and the moment passes, or the sun rises, or a man wearing white socks and sandals taking glamour shots of himself comes into view. 
My life feels like a series of wrong lenses and missed moments right now. I’m trying to see things clearly, and fumbling with the buttons, but the light shifts, and some guy keeps stepping into my view. It’s not perfect. The future looks fuzzy, and it’s crazy o’clock. But the sun still shines, and the path leads forward, and I capture it as best I can. 

The one in which I remember we have a dog

Last night I arrived home from my kids’ Spring Piano Recital around nine pm. It occurred to me that I have a ticket to board a plane today and I hadn’t done a thing to prepare for the trip. Out came the suitcase, and the grabbing of clothes from drawers, and the yelling at children to just bring me the flip-flops already. Once I made a chaotic mess of the bed and floor, the dog pads into the room and stares up at me.

I look at him and I remember.

I remember I have a fourth, furry, four-legged child. I email and then call the kennel. I pray I remembered to book him in for this weekend. I look for evidence in my email. There is none. I pray harder and I think of ways I can explain this to my husband, because clearly my marriage will be over when he finds out I forgot about the dog. Again.

I ask God to grant me this one itty-bitty marriage saving favor, and I email two friends who might take pity on me and don’t want to see me divorced and destitute. Both say yes, they will take the dog if the kennel doesn’t work out. One promises to make her husband sleep on the sofa because last time the dog came to stay he jumped into their bed and growled at the strange man trying to join him there. The other says she’ll try to work him in around their newly adopted cat. God loves me. He gives me good friends who recognize I might be borderline insane, and who still like me. They might like me a little bit less after last night, but they like me.

I decide to use the friend with the sofa sleeping husband as my back up. I plan to use my lack of linguistic skills to my advantage, and show up at the kennel in the morning anyway. The worst they can do is send me away in a flurry of words and stupid American insults I can’t understand anyway. I decide not to tell my husband until much later. Last time things didn’t work out with the dog, it involved the police, a locksmith, some swearing, a pair of scissors, and a mangled cardboard box.

I drive to the kennel first thing this morning. I take my eight year old boy with me for moral support and translation services. We arrive at the gate, I take a deep breath and I shove the dog into the arms of the girl who greets us. She looks at me, hugs the dog, and asks when I will be back to pick him up.

Panic recedes. My son translates dates and times. My marriage is safe. I realize calling myself borderline insane is probably an understatement. I leave and call my friend to tell her she can sleep in the same bed as her husband this weekend. Fortunately, so can I.

A list of sorts

I have a bunch of stuff rattling around in my head, but jet lag isn’t conducive towards putting ideas together in anything other than bullet points. So, here you go:

A List for the New Year

~ On jet lag: It is awful. I liken it to the early days of motherhood when I felt like I would literally die if I didn’t get more sleep, and somehow I didn’t. Die that is, I did get more sleep after about seven years. 
~On kids and jet lag: Do they hate me?
~ On Switzerland: I believe it is safe to say that we will be here for at least another eighteen months. 
~ On movies: Over the holiday break we spent a ridiculous amount of time at the cinema. Bonuses included no subtitles, no bizarrely placed mid-film intermissions, and no annoyed looks when we ate our popcorn loudly. I fell in love with Hugo. I dare say it is one of the best films I have seen, ever. A work of art. I urge you, beg you to see it.
~ On shopping: Oh, dear. I returned home with eleven suitcases, filled to the breaking point. Literally. The handle fell off one of the small cases which carried essentials such as Pop Tarts, new underpants, and a roasting pan. I’m not joking. If customs stopped me, I would have been released on the grounds of mental instability. Who packs five boxes of junk cereal in a suitcase? Apparently, I do.
~ On Facebook: What is up with this new timeline thing? It just gets more confusing. On a side note, would any of you be interested in a Find Time for Tea FB page? I anticipate posting really great stuff, like what I pack in my suitcases and how my kids hate me.
~ On snowboarding: Heaven help me. It’s that time of year, and I dread getting up on the mountain only to spend most of the time on my backside. Lessons start tomorrow. 
~ On photography: I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a photo a day challenge. Except that it’s supposed to be a photo a day from Jan 1st for a total of 365. We’re one week into the year, and a 358 day challenge just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I feel like my desire to do it ‘just right’ is getting in the way of doing something fun. Am I over thinking this? Thoughts?
~ On vulnerability: If you have the time to listen, this TED talk is brilliant. Brene Brown talks about how vulnerability is essential for living a full, whole hearted life. Learning to live and write from a place of vulnerability is something I consistently work towards. It can be ugly and hard and a fearful thing, but life is just that;  the ugly and the hard wrapped around the beauty and the joy. 
~ On writing: I made the decision that this year I would make a serious effort towards submitting my writing for publication (insert giddy excitement at the idea). One of the first emails I received at the start of the new year, day four to be exact? A rejection letter from an editor (insert weeping/crying/gnashing of teeth). 
~ On the New Year: Ironically, in my sleep deprived and sad (see above) state, I’ve chosen the word ‘Awakened’ as my theme for the year. Or rather it chose me. More on that soon.
What’s on your list today? All suggestions, ideas, and minutiae welcome. And do weigh in on the Facebook page in the comments. I’m interested in your thoughts.