More of my ponders

Several weeks ago, one of my kids asked me why kids have to take naps.  It got me thinking about the common phenomenon when children and adults are complete opposites.  I mean when children resist naps, and adults would give anything for a chance for a nap, or when you are young all you want to do is grow up, and when you are all grown up, you wish you were young again.  So why is that?

All I can figure is that the phenomenon has something about the zest for life, or lack there of, however you look at it.  When we are young, we are natural scientists, trying to figure out what this life is all about.  When there is so much to be done, so much to learn and explore, why stop and take a nap?  I remember that about being a child.  I really hated to have to stop to go to the bathroom.  Urination was such a hinderance.  There was too much to do instead. 

Trying to grow up fast may be a sign that we can’t wait for what’s in store for us.  What this wonderful thing called the future is all about.  More learning, more fun.  The yearning to become young again may be a sign that we have lost the zest to explore and to learn about life.  We miss this, and wish that we could have such enthusiasm again.

My ponder then became, why do we stay in a stagnant stage, wishing for life to be the way it was? What happened to that yearning, that zest for life?  I am reading a book right now that is contributing to my writer’s block.  It seems to be answering all my life’s ponders, leaving me without anything to write about, hence the long break.   So this book mentions that a happy soul is one that seeks out knowledge all the time.  The world is to it’s disposal to explore and enjoy.  Whether it be traveling and learning about different places, taking college classes at 60, or reading a pile of books a week, whatever. 

It got me thinking.  It wouldn’t hurt to have a happy soul, so how can I get that zest for learning back?  What would I like to learn, what would be on my educational bucket list?  Whatever I decide, I look forward to creating an ever-growing list as I explore and learn with zest, yet again.

What’s in your bucket?

I have been seeing here and there the statement, “that’s on my bucket list”.  I must have missed the popular-saying wagon again, but what I am gathering, the bucket list is what a person wants to do or experience sometime in their lifetime before they die.  I assume the phrase means to visualize an invisible bucket (how’s that for an oxymoron?) that we always carry around and in the bucket are all the great experiences that we have accomplished.  Then there is a list, invisible or tangible of all the experiences that you want to drop into this wonderful bucket. 

This bucket list concept has intrigued me.  I got to thinking.  I wonder how full my bucket is?  I know that a long time ago, when I was a young adult, I wanted to try to ski and experience what it was like to carry a baby for nine months.  I tried skiing, and well, that’s all I am going to do, but I happily dropped it into my bucket with a “done” check on it.  I experienced pregnancy for a whopping 27 months and actually liked most of them, but that is all I am doing, and there are more done, done, done checks on that one.  The top layer, the most recent experiences are more like the spontaneous ones, such as saving a goat (which I really didn’t accomplish, but I got close!) and going to the fossil beds.

So what is on my list? Hmmm.   A bucket list actually excites me.  It’s like someone gave me a huge gift… an invisible piece of paper to write the world on. I do have a bookshelf full of I-am-gonna-read-these-someday books.  I will surely put those on my list.   Maybe I will learn how to create awesome landscapes, a skill that I greatly lack in.  Oh, that would be wonderful if I could figure that out someday.  I have for a long time wanted to write a children’s book, another thing for my list.  I would like to have everything tangible in my life, organized in an orderly fashion and clean.  Oh, that would be glorious!  I would like to have every room in my house  have different colored walls, none of them being white.  Speaking about houses.  I dream of having a cabin-like house nested among trees where it snows frequently.  The cabin in the trees must have a stone fireplace next to huge picture windows looking out to a sea of snow-covered trees, and maybe a pond and a mountain thrown in there too.  Oh, and a walk-in closet and french doors are a must as well.  I would love to have a photography studio to just play in as a hobby.  I would love to find a glass float at the coast, and climb the rocks without getting trapped by the waves.   I want to volunteer at the hospital’s maternity ward and hold and rock premies or sick babies when the parents can’t.  I would like to surprise kennels with donated bags of dog and cat food.  I want to see a ghost without being scared.  And I want to jump on a trampoline again, without meeting my extra tire with my nose. 

Oh, there are a bunch of things on my list I guess, I just didn’t know it until I thought about it.  I am excited to add to my list as I think more about it, but I will spare you all for I fear that it will become boring to you.  I do hope however,  this will get you thinking about what’s in your bucket, and what your list will look like to fill it to the top.

Spring break adventure #4… the final episode.

The weather in the valley was gorgeous during spring break.  It was warm, not too hot, and not too cold.  In fact, we all got a little color, I think from the fun we had outside at the children’s museum.  I wanted to make as much as we could of the nice weather, and my parent’s awesome backyard.  I had such grand plans of a perfect picnic, the kids and I getting to have a fun, relaxing time together, enjoying each other’s company and creating great memories.  I have been around long enough to know that even though such fairy tales do exist, they don’t ever go the way you think they will. 

After carefully packing the leftover pizza and allergen free spaghetti, apple juice, water and leftover chocolate birthday cake for desert, we gleefully walked down the big backyard to find the perfect spot to eat.  My parents are lucky enough to have some eccentric neighbors.  Those neighbors have a mini farm in their backyard.  They have a couple of horses, roosters (I am not sure if there are hens to go with those roosters) goats, and even a billy goat.  I love to watch the billy goat roam the yard.  He looks so royal, as if he owned the place and he reminds me of the story, The Billy Goat Gruff.

I didn’t plan my perfect picnic with visitors in mind.  Despite my plans however, the kids discovered a goat at the fence, trying to reach the grass that was actually greener and I am sure, jucier on the other side (our side).  I was instantly up-staged by a goat!  That was okay.  I decided to go on and find a spot to settle down in while the kids grabbed wads of long, green grass for the visitor’s lunch.  I found a spot and spread out our blanket, and that’s when the kids came rushing over to me frantically saying, “Mom, Mom! the goat is stuck in the fence! It can’t get out!”  Not sure that the goat was really indeed stuck, I convinced them that we could help it out as soon as we were done with our perfect picnic.  I wasn’t in a hurry to help the creature because I wasn’t real crazy about adding a bit of barnyard e-coli as a food garnish. 

We sat down and started to eat.  The goat was still on the kids’ minds, and that’s all they could talk about; how sorry they were for it, and was it ever going to get out?  I tried to convince them that maybe the goat wasn’t really stuck, and just EAT for Heaven sakes!  “Bleeaaaaaaah! bleeeaaaaaah!” the thing kept yelling, which was probably goatese for, “give me some more of that juicy grass!”, but of course the kids were sure those were desperate calls for help.  Oh, man! What happened to the perfect picnic?

The kids rushed through their lunch then dashed for the goat.  “Mom, hurry up! the goat really is stuck! you need to get it out!” they called.  Pleased that they viewed me as the know-all, fix-all Goddess, I gave in and put on my imaginary superhero cape. 

I’ve never been a farm girl.  I don’t know anything about goats.  What I could tell though, was that the goat indeed, was stuck.  It had to stick it’s head through two fences to get through to the yummy, long grass.  There was a wire fence on it’s side, then a wood fence on my parents side.  You can see it in the photo above.  It’s horns would get stuck on the wood fence as it tried to get back to it’s side, and the squares on the wire fence didn’t help the situation either. 

I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to touch that thing, but I had my “cape” on and my children were watching with such admiration, that I had to do it.  I took a deep breath and put my hands on the thing’s head, a little surprised with how rough it’s hair was.  It resisted me quite a bit, not understanding that my twisting and shoving was for it’s own good.  I managed to get the horns to almost clear the fence, but I crushed my finger doing so, automatically dropping the goat’s head in pain.  Okay, that wasn’t good, so I decided to reposition, and try again.  “Gwaaaaackkk, aaaaack!” Went the goat.  We all jumped back, expecting the goat to regurgitate the now chewed up green grass that the kids fed it earlier.  I realized that with my efforts to save the silly goat, I just about killed it by choking it!  After clearing it’s throat a few times, the goat continued to reach for more green grass.  Whew!  I was glad to see that there was no goat throw-up, and that I didn’t really hurt the thing.

I gave up, and sadly removed my superhero cape.  The kids and I brainstormed about how to get the goat some help.  We decided to talk to Grandma… she might know what to do.  Grandma must have thought we were crazy, but she calmly convinced the kids to leave it alone, and it will get out on it’s own.  Worried that the goat would fry in the warm spring sun, the oldest child went out and gave it more grass and some water to drink.  Eventually, that goat got out.  We didn’t see it, but it probably did it on it’s own.  It occurred to me that I bet that goat was smart enough to figure out that whenever the kids come over, it should poke it’s head through the fence.  It will surely get plenty of green grass, water and attention!

My failed dream picnic, the perfect picnic, actually turned out to be not so bad in the end.  We all got closer by having an adventure together.  We worked together to solve a problem, even if what we came up with didn’t really work.  You also can’t deny, we created memories like I wanted, even though they weren’t the kind of memories that I had planned.  Yep, it was a pretty good picnic after all.

Always be careful of what you say…

…when in the company of a boy who is potty training.   I had a splinter or something on the inside of my jeans.  The splinter was uncomfortable and poked the skin on my leg.  Without thinking, I made the casual comment, “There is something in my pants! What is it?”.  My sweet little guy was quick to volunteer his idea… “poo poo?”.

Spring break adventure #3: I learn something everyday.

After stalling on the ferry… twice, and realizing that my son is heading towards shoplifting as a profession, I thought that I was done with the misfortunate spring break adventures.  Actually, I went a whole day without trouble.  Well, until just before bedtime. 

We stayed at my parents, and my Dad had a conference to go to the next day.  It was his turn to drive a buddy to Portland for their all-day event that started early in the morning.  He looked ahead and insisted that we did a little bit of car shuffling the night before so that he could zip away quickly and quietly without waking anyone to move a car (namely me) early the next morning.  Understanding his logic, I was eager to sleep in without worry that my van was in the way. 

As we assessed our tricky manuevers in such a small space in the driveway,  my dad suggested that I move up into a space between vehicles, and in front of a tractor-mower.  Then I was to wait for Dad to pull out of his spot, move behind another of his vehicles, giving me room to move to his original spot.  Then, he could park behind me, and we would be done.  Simple.  I agreed that was the best way to do it.  I did my thing, but it didn’t look like there still was enough room for Dad to navigate around the long minivan’s body.  So, I pulled up just a bit more, creeping towards the little tractor-mower.  There was a mower attachment in front of the little tractor, but I was pretty confident that the underside of the van would clear it as I drove over it to make just a bit more room.

Everything worked well.  My Dad moved behind his other vehicle, and it was my turn to move out.  That’s when I heard the terrible screeching and grinding.  Oh crap!  I was dragging that mower thing!  Me, being bright and invincible, with my “I am woman, I can fix anything” attitude, I jumped out of that van thinking that I could just slide that sucker out from under the van and I will be on my way.  I tugged and pulled, I tipped and turned it.  It was stuck.  Really stuck.  I even stood on the rear bumper as my Dad tried to pull the thing out.  Nothing worked.  All I could imagine at this point that the mower thing was stuck forever, on the underside of my van and all I could use that newish van for, was to mow my parent’s yard!  Dang! what a freakishly fancy, and expensive mower that would be!

It was dark, and we really couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on, so Dad went into the house to find a flashlight.  I stood outside waiting, stewing about my stupidity.  Finally, he brought out the flashlight and we could see what had happened.  There was a bar of sorts, that stood up out of the mower attachment.  The underside of the van had an angled floor with a lip at the back, which was just about 2 or so feet from the front bumper.  The bar slipped under the van just fine, and got stuck on the lip, making it impossible to go back the way it came from.  So, now what.  There was no room to completely drive over the thing.  Dad had the solution though.  The jack.  We had to jack the van up just enough to get it above the little bar and drag the thing back out.

This “I am woman” acted as if I knew what I was doing.  I found the thing in the back of the vehicle right away– which was pure intuition.  I unfolded it as if I had done it before, but I really had no idea.  Dad had to show me where to put the jack, but I figured out how to pump the vehicle up, by turning the crank.  I tell you, it is so much fun to pick up a whole van!  This wasn’t a car, this was a heavier vehicle, a VAN! (well, mini-van) and I was doing all by myself…ehem, okay, with a little bit of help; but what power!  It’s hard for me to comprehend that such a small bit of metal can pick up such a huge chunk of metal, and with such ease!

Once the van was off the ground about an inch or two, the mower attachment moved right out, like buttuh.  I stood there, humbled, and relieved that my van wasn’t going to become Oregon’s fanciest lawn mower.  I was pretty dumb for driving over that thing, but anyway, that event gave me a chance to learn something.  Now I know how to use a car jack…”HaHa! I am woman!”.