Sunday, July 8, 2018


My favorite hooligan and I turned 34 a couple of weeks ago.  He sometimes looks like a stylish hobo
but I love him anyway.  Seriously, he was my human security blanket for many years, and he's still one of my favorite people.  This hobo has a special place in my heart that isn't quite like anyone else's.  I *sorta* went on an ambulance call with him last month, and seeing him interact with one of his "regulars" was a good reminder why I love him so much, and why most other people do, too.

For 14 years now, my brothers and a few of their friends have been spending the last week of June camping at Twin Lakes.  The event just sort of keeps growing with more family, more friends, and as the kids get bigger, they do a lot more on their own and some of the toys get bigger. We were only able to be there for about 24 hours this year, but there was lots of kayaking and canoeing
 (Keilana and Kylie in Yaya's kayak)

 (Dylan the lake patrol in Yaya's kayak, with Aodhan--on the little yellow board--yelled "I'm texting! I'm texting and speeding!")
(Keilana trying to catch Gwen and her girls)
and plenty of frogs and fish (fish not pictured)

There was badminton and lots of chess, and campfire food, and lots of hanging out around the games or the fire visiting and laughing

It was a quick trip, but our plans for the rest of the week had changed quite a bit a couple weeks earlier, so we had to shorten it up a bit.  Hopefully next year we can stay longer.

Sunday night the kids and I stayed at Mom's house, had dinner and visited with her. I love having my whole big family all right here, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. But once in a while I remember that the silver lining to living so far away when when we were in California is that when Yaya came, we got her all to ourselves. Its still fun to have that once in a while.

Camping is good for the soul. There are few things I love more than hanging out around a campfire with people I care about.  The smell of wood smoke and pine trees and lake water puts me at ease pretty much instantly. I'd probably be a nicer person if I made more time for that.

And I decided that 34 is pretty good. Because of the quick nature of our trip, I didn't load up much gear: the little girls slept in the tent, and Dylan and I just crashed in the Expedition for our one night up there. So I slept on the hard, flat surface of the back end of the vehicle, and I woke up easily the next morning, and nothing hurt or was sore. I need to start taking better care of myself so that that lasts as long as possible. Other than my electrical-neurological abnormalities, I'm pretty healthy, and as long as I take my relatively side-effect-free med, I don't really have to think about that problem much.  I've been absurdly healthy and blessed.

Even more than the physical health, though, I'm grateful for the rest of my life. I have four amazing kids, who are healthy and happy and smart and funny. I have a home that--crazy terrorist airedale and long, long, major to-do list notwithstanding--I love. I have a job that I love, and am getting the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills, and coworkers who are dear friends that make going to work a genuine pleasure. My husband is finding his stride in his new business, and some sort of long term vision is starting to take shape. There is so very much to be grateful for.

The last few years have not been easy.  We have a lot of challenges, both self-inflicted and externally imposed, and to say that we've been rising to the occasion would probably not be true.  I've spent more time feeling drained, overwhelmed, self-pitying, or defeated (or all of the above) than is comfortable for me to acknowledge. But the last couple of weeks have been some of the best I've had in literally years.  There have been multiple times where I thought to myself that something was perfect.  I've had a lot of joy and love in my life the last few years, but in the past few weeks, I've began to find a more durable and thorough peace than I've had in quite some time.

In getting older, I feel like I'm becoming myself again.  And hopefully I'm learning a few things and improving on myself, too.