Tuesday, May 27, 2008

living in the present

i've always been a list person. usually i have three lists going at once...a must do tomorrow list...a future home projects list...and a stuff for work list. but the lists never get smaller or i lose the lists or the lists gets too messy and i have to rewrite them three times...the lists are wiping me out! as such, i'm way too busy focusing on the future.

i've always been contemplative. usually i have three or more situations or past events that i'm busy examining...did i spend enough time with my daughters last week...i sure hope i didn't hurt my girlfriend's feelings at lunch yesterday...is steven feeling appreciated for his efforts...rehashing those moments over and over again from every possible angle...the thinking exhausts me sometimes! as such, i'm way too consumed with events that are already in the past.

so, i'm trying something new for me. i'm going to make a conscious effort to live in the present. to fully engage when i'm with my girls and others. to attend to my husband, family and friends the best way possible by being present...not far away in either the past or the future. Living in the NOW! I can do it.

(presently, i'm enjoying the collage alissa and i put together yesterday for her wall...isn't it beautiful? most of the pictures we took...at her favorite beach.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

David Graham Campbell

David Graham Campbell. He was my uncle...my father's younger brother...my grandma's second born. He was born on December 26, 1946. Christmas was always so hard for my grandmother. Smiling with his young wife in his wedding photos, he looked so happy and handsome. He will be forever young in my memories. On June 2, 1970 he lost his life in South Vietnam. David Graham Campbell. I remember you, Uncle David, and I thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

about change

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."~Marcus Aurelius
giving birth is the closest a woman can get to heaven on earth. the sensations are indescribable. the love takes your breath away. having the possibility exist...even a billion to one...offered me peace, hope, and youth. that possibility no longer exists...and I'm surprisingly melancholy. i know it will pass...change is inevitable...now I'm searching for the delight.

Friday, May 23, 2008


All my life I have been told I resemble my father. Obviously, we share genetic material so that makes sense. I have always been fascinated by the way in which our mannerisms, voice patterns and physical characteristics are influenced not only by the codes written in our DNA but also by the environments in which we are raised.

My husband gently reminds me that I have dad's tendency to give the impression I'm listening intently...but all the while I'm completely absorbed in my own thoughts. I'm also aware that both my father and I are not at all comfortable expressing our deepest, most intense feelings towards those most important to us face-to-face without extreme personal discomfort...but in writing and sometimes on the phone where there is a semblance of anonymitity or safety...we can let our vulnerabilities be more easily exposed.

He has enthusiastically shared with me his love of music, cinema and reading. And this too has shaped me into the person I am today. Some of my absolute favorite memories from my growing up years revolve around his amazing stereo system and seemingly infinite collection of albums.

I am the culmination of these experiences along with 1/2 of my biology...an absent-minded listener, a lover of obscure movies, British rock, and rhythm and blues, as well as a fair skinned, brown-haired girl. The resemblance is undeniable.


“A ray of sunshine, a balmy breeze are a gift from God above, and He also gives us faithful friends. To warm our hearts with love.”~Anonymous

thank you. my sunshine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

voices in my head

i'm not crazy. on my way to an unexpected appointment this afternoon my cell phone rang. since i was focusing on driving i didn't check to see who was making the call. and, in all honesty, i was slightly distracted. just moments prior to the phone ringing i had contacted my oldest to inform her of my change in afternoon plans. when i heard the familiar voice on the other end, i was certain it was alissa calling back for some unknown reason...she probably needed a ride somewhere. until the voice on the other end excitedly exclaimed that she could see me from her bus window because we were driving alongside one another. realizing my error, i concentrated on the voice more carefully and i could barely tell it was kinsey...at least not the kinsey i'm so used to hearing. my kinsey has a tiny, delicate "little girl" voice on the phone. i absolutely adore her "little girl" voice. i thought she would have her "little girl" voice forever and ever. but it appears i was wrong. i'm just going to have to accept that the sweet childlike voice i associate with my baby is gone. i'm going to have to settle for a memory. somehow i will hold on tightly to those voices in my head.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tidy vs. Messy

Swiffers cloths, Soft Scrub gel with bleach, and Glade's clean linen scented carpet sprinkles are all part of my daily habits. In fact, once I have checked in with the girls after my work day, I follow the same basic routine. Clear and scrub all counters...wash any leftover dishes from breakfast...straighten couch area and pillows...use lint roller if needed to eliminate pesky dog hair...check to see that Steven made the bed...adjust bedspread and throw pillows...tuck in sheets that are visible at bottom...use Swiffer to clean the wood floors of entire house...walk the dogs. It seldom deviates. I am a creature of habit.

My mother was unbelievably fastidious...we spent every Saturday morning of my youth cleaning side by side. My grandmother lovingly maintained the original tile, carpet, and wallpaper in her home for over thirty years...and it looked brand new! So, understandably, the torch of cleanliness was passed quite naturally to me.

Clearly this tidiness gene skipped a generation with the birth of my eldest child. It used to drive me nearly insane. Now I just close the door, shake my head, and even smile. The funny thing is...I kinda like her way better...and I wouldn't change the little slob's messiness (most of the time) for all the Swiffers in the world!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


"Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize. Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks. Borrow. Break. Monopolize the bathroom. Are always underfoot. But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there. Defending you against all comers." ~Pam Brown

When I was expecting Alissa I prayed for a healthy baby. And I was thrilled when she entered this world. I was so grateful to have a daughter to share my life. When I was expecting Kinsey I again prayed for a healthy baby. I was equally thrilled when she entered this world. I was even more grateful that they each had a sister to share their lives.

It's ALWAYS better at the beach!

"I hope you always have a shell in your pocket...and sand in your shoes."~Anonymous

Friday, May 16, 2008


For the most part getting older has not bothered me too much. I mean there really are benefits to aging...wisdom, patience, confidence, insight, discounts at the movies and a lot of other pretty fantastic stuff.

But today..it sucks. I now have to squint to read fine print...but do NOT expect to find me in the drugstore buying those ridiculous reading glasses that fold into themselves...I'll take the wrinkles instead! My skin has decided to take on the resemblance of a sickly giraffe...complete with extra hair and spots! My uterus (sorry if any men are reading this) has chosen to revolt against me...I'm literally to the point where I might just rip it out myself! I need to wear a goofy looking brace to support my weakened pre-arthritic wrist...or walking the stupid dog is excruciating!

Today I feel like I'm falling apart one organ system at a time. I have already met my insurance deductible for the year and it's not even half over! Okay...I'm done...wisdom is kicking in again. Ahhh...I feel better already.

"Age is a high price to pay for maturity." ~Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

world view

"to the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world"~Anonymous

last night listening to the beginning band students on stage...my world was perfect.

freshman year

High school isn't always easy. For many, myself included, it is a LESS than positive experience. Maybe that's why I am soooo glad her first year is behind her. What's more, she survived...relatively unscathed. She even flourished in many ways. (Her mother, on the other hand, is still recovering.)

To be completely honest, there were far more smiles and moments of sheer joy than tears of sorrow or times of frustration. Sure, she detested leaving the house each morning promptly at 6:45 a.m. for her car pool...she will NEVER be a morning person! And she discovered that some teenage girls are just as petty and cliquey in high school as in middle school.

But with unbelievable pride filling my heart over and over again, I knew a confident young woman was emerging when I witnessed how she handled the difficult times. The way she demonstrated leadership and grace when representing her classmates as a student council senator...even though she would have preferred to hold an office. The way she astutely recognized valued traits in her peers and then sought out their friendship...while working hard to remain polite and kind to others that didn't meet her expectations. The way she valiantly maintained her dignity when her heart was unexpectedly saddened...and refused to lose a great friend. The way she selflessly volunteered her time and ideas to various clubs...each and every week...without complaint...even when club numbers dwindled and friends dropped out. The way she generously supported her buddies during countless sporting events or throughout a personal crisis...even when her efforts went unnoticed or unappreciated...because she realized it was the right thing to do.

As a parent...we know that it sometimes takes a bit of angst and strife in order to grow and change for the better. But as a protector who hates to see her beloved daughter struggle for any reason and has a knee jerk reaction to generally rush to rescue her whether she wants my assistance or not...it has been a year of tremendous growth...for both of us. It truly was a pretty great year.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On Giving

“Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away.”~Elbert Hubbard

There are very few life experiences that have completely altered who I am...moments that have profoundly changed me...simply because they occurred. And the metamorphosis each time was instantaneous. These rare moments can only be described as heaven-sent...I relish them even more because they are so few and far between. In fact, I can think of only a handful. Giving my heart voluntarily away to my husband that December night...giving birth to each of my two beautiful daughters along with my life's true purpose...giving my mind and personal resources willingly in order to raise funds and awareness for others in need.

Each time I have given fully...with absolutely no expectation of receiving anything in return...the love that I have felt as a result is utterly indescribable.

I'm anticipating another of those miraculous moments in the near future. No, I'm not getting remarried or having another child...but I am going to start on another journey of giving. I'm scared yet hopeful. Because I will never, ever forget the sight of those cancer survivors in Lake Tahoe just two short years ago cheering me on (along with 1,400 other riders)...children, families, strangers...holding signs thanking me for "saving" their lives. It was so humbling. It was so powerful. And all I did was raise some money and ride my bike. That's nothing compared to the struggle faced by those brave individuals who are undergoing experimental treatments and painful surgeries...unsure if they will be celebrating their next birthday.

I can't wait to give again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Snippets of a Mom

She makes amazing cream puffs and cheese cake from scratch.
She has a terrible sweet tooth that she passed on to her only child.
She has magnificent sky blue eyes that twinkle when she smiles.
She drinks hot tea every single day and reuses the tea bags.
She is a lover of black licorice...especially Allsorts.
She loves to read.
She has a very easy going nature.
She has a beautiful olive complexion that allows her to age gracefully.
She is deeply spiritual.
She is the last woman in our family who can sew.
She is a lifelong friend.
She loves me like I love my own daughters.
She is my mother.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's Only Rock and Roll...but I LIKE it!

“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It's my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”~Elvis Presley

Alissa looked like a hardcore rocker chick...tough but cute! Steven looked like a freaky psycho who forgot to take his meds. They'll both fit riiiiiight in at the concert tonight!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Summer Anticipation

We bought new beach chairs. The girls are signed up for summer camps. Alissa is starting beach volleyball. Steven has finalized the details for our summer vacation. I have a stack of summer reading. The thunderstorms will be back. Digital scrapbooking is calling my name. I can't wait to sleep in. I'm ready.
"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."~Sam Keen

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

confessions of a social phobic

i hate being invited to parties...birthday parties, weddings, baby showers...it doesn't matter. although i always love that i was included on the guest list and i usually adore the people extending the invitation. i am initially excited...even anticipatory. but then it sinks in. the feeling of doom takes over. i become completely consumed with dread as the date gets closer. i usually don't r.s.v.p. as a result. if i r.s.v.p. then i'm committed. there's no backing out. it would be rude to back out at the last minute when you're expected. i don't want to be this way. i even know that these are irrational fears. but the fears can be so strong that i'd rather stay secluded in my safe, comfortable little bubble where i can't be judged for accidentally saying something stupid or exposing my huge pit stains. my avoidance can be interpreted as aloofness or a lack of interest...which is the furthest thing from the truth. i will continue to force myself to face my fears with the help of my own live-in psychologist who has no hesitation when shoving me out the door kicking, screaming and sometimes crying...because he wants what's best for me.

(you have no idea how many times i have come down with a mysterious headache minutes before leaving the house...only to be given two tylenol and a kick in the ass by my husband...love ya stevie...even when i pretend i don't!)

Raspberry Bear

"When a child loves you for a long, long time...REALLY loves you, then you become real. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby, but these things don't matter at all, because once you are real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."-The Velveteen Rabbit

The moment our three-year old baby girl first discovered her newest teddy bear under the Christmas tree that magical morning...she was smitten. Interestingly, like most little girls her age, Kinsey was no stranger to stuffed toys and dolls. In fact, her toy chest and closet were crammed with a variety of stuffed animals...including other adorable teddies. But something about this little bear seemed to entrance her. I can still see her chubby little fingers stroking his then soft, plush fur. I can still hear her itty bitty voice announce his name proudly. Instantly, Raspberry and Kinsey were bonded to one another and were utterly inseparable. Oh, how she loved that little bear.

This love affair has lasted nearly a decade. Sure, she doesn't cart him around to sleepovers with her girlfriends anymore. And she no longer holds him in her lap while watching her favorite cartoons. But, he still sits as a sentinel in her room each night while she sleeps...keeping her safe. And he's a part of her sweet and special heart...always...and that's as real as it gets.

Monday, May 5, 2008


eleven is such a bewildering and unique age...she's not quite a little girl...at least when others are nearby watching...yet she's not exactly a young woman either...she's somewhere in-between.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Without Fail

Yesterday evening as we were turning the corner away from Seagate Beach, we passed by "our" church. And like every other time when we have driven past with the girls in the car, Steven and I blurted out simultaneously..."Hey, there's the chapel where we were married!" Our lovely daughters just rolled their eyes...they've heard this fact about a million different times. But we looked over at one another...remembering. I just love that.

trying forgiveness

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”-Mahatma Gandhi

I rarely drink. I definitely don't smoke. But I do have one vice...Dr. Phil. Somehow by watching the guests on his stage I find consolation in knowing that I am not the only dysfunctional human on the planet. They remind me we all have our own cross to bear.

However, there is yet another powerful motivator behind my addiction to Dr. Phil...I call them the "forgiveness folks." I truly feel like I've hit the talk show jackpot when good old Phil highlights those rare and extraordinary individuals who fully embrace forgiveness. It's not an act...they mean it...and it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up.

Like the two families that appeared just a few weeks ago. An unfortunate mix-up at the scene of a deadly accident altered the course of their lives...yet they had nothing but forgiveness and compassion to share. No anger. No resentment. What struck me as unbearably sad was the interview with the medical examiner who made the mistake. The poor man was a shell of his former self. He was absolutely tortured and consumed with guilt and couldn't forgive himself...even though they did.

I don't intend to live my life that way...devoured slowly by unresolved pain or paralyzed emotionally until I'm numb. Already I am well aware that I devote too much of my precious time ruminating about the mistakes I've made and the misdeeds of others towards me.

With greater clarity than ever before, I see power in forgiveness. I see freedom in forgiveness. I see compassion in forgiveness. I see bravery in forgiveness. And it's beautiful. And I'm going to give it a try...for me...for my girls. Just don't look for me on Dr. Phil.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Seagate Sunset

the beach
Originally uploaded by carielyn67

This is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!

Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails.
-Emily Dickinson

reasons why

"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

...because his daughters go scampering when they hear his car enter the garage
...because he presents me with a handwritten note and my favorite candy bar when I'm having a bad day
...because he works so hard every single day to provide for his family...both financially and emotionally
...because he still makes me feel weak in the knees whenever he walks into a room
...because he holds my secret vulnerabilities ever so gently in the palm of his hand
...because he's an absolutely incredible son who openly adores his parents
...because he tries to grow pineapples on our back porch

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I miss dollhouses

...the oak tree stump that was home to the felt-covered bunny family
...the two-story Victorian designed for the "Loving Family" which was a playroom fixture for years
...the pink "Barbie" bedroom and bathroom with working shower that eventually fell apart from overuse
...the sweet "American Girl" dolls with their amazingly accurate and detailed furnishings and accessories
...the mininscule "Polly Pockets" with their teeny tiny rubber shoes and purses that were sucked up weekly into the vacuum cleaner

But really, I miss glancing over amidst my daily routines to discover my sweet blue-eyed brunette with her then darling little bob thoroughly entranced by the magic she's created...with each of her beloved dollhouses.