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Posts Tagged ‘Holidailies’

Before I dive into a blog post that involves a bit of a whine, I feel I should explain my hangnail theory of suffering and complaint. Years ago, my sister was talking to me about something (I don’t remember what exactly) that was really bothering her. However, she also expressed a little bit of guilt for complaining about something that she felt was minor compared to major troubles that other people were experiencing. I told her to think about how much a hangnail hurts when she has one on her finger. It may be the smallest piece of skin and seem like nothing in itself, but hangnails HURT. They hurt like crazy, and I always feel so relieved when one is finally gone. I told her, “When you hurt, you hurt.” Comparing your hurt to others’ hurts doesn’t help your hurt to go away and rarely even dulls that constant nagging hangnail pain that can take over your thoughts.

My hangnail for the last week has been a temporary bout of single working motherhood while Mike was out of town for work. I won’t go into the boring details of trying to maintain a work schedule and stay on top of work deadlines after being sick for two weeks and then being home alone with the kiddos. The particulars of my temporary single motherhood may change from trip to trip when Mike leaves town, but the overall effect of exhaustion and stress have been pretty constant over the years. And I don’t want to complain too much because I recognize how lucky I am to have such a great parenting partner around most of the time. And also, because I recognize there are men and women all over the place for whom this is a normal condition. Normal to be the sole caregiver/organizer/taxi service/nurturer/disciplinarian/provider. Normal to be solely responsible for getting kids where they need to be, feeding them, keeping them on schedule, playing with them, comforting them, perhaps even yelling at them (*gulp*) on occasion. Normal to know that sickness cannot be accommodated with extra rest. Normal to live with the demands of work life and home life without consistent help. And, just as I could not explain how I manage to get through my temporary full load on my own, I doubt many single parents could explain precisely how they manage. These are just the types of situations where you deal with the hand you are dealt. Week by week. Sometimes day by day or hour by hour.

The kids and I had our good moments and bad this week. School was attended. First-grade homework was completed. Meals were eaten on a regular basis. The weekend brought a trip to our neighborhood pizza place for dinner out, a sleepover for both kids together in one room (which they think is just the best thing ever…until the 4-year old wakes up crying at 1:30 a.m. because she’s slightly disoriented from sleeping on the floor), and a little more TV watching than they would normally get. The bad moments usually involved me losing my cool and yelling at them or losing my whine containment field and babbling to Mike about some random work stress. I’ve told him before, I try and teach the kiddos not to say, “I can’t.” Especially if they haven’t really tried to master whatever challenge is in front of them. Say, “It’s hard.” Or, “I need help.” But don’t just say you can’t. This is a very tough lesson for me to try and embody when I can’t successfully juggle work and home duties, sometimes even when Mike is around and trying to cover for me. I can no longer function well on very little sleep, which used to help me work much much later into the night than I can do these days. Some would argue I never functioned well that way.

How do single parents do this all the time? It’s an impossible question to answer with specifics, I am sure. Hopefully, some or many have support networks of friends and family. Hopefully, they’ve adjusted to this normal in such a way that everyday stress levels are manageable. The single parents I know have stress, yes, but also have amazing relationships with their wonderful kids. They have much to be proud of, from what I see of their ability to juggle work and home and life and chaos. I have to think it helps when you can acknowledge that one bout of yelling or one extra-lenient moment doesn’t affect resilient kids at all, as long as they know you love them and are doing your best. It’s one of the reasons I never subscribe to anything close to a “mommy war.” Who am I to lecture someone else on how to raise a kid, or criticize someone who is working his or her fingers to the bone to maintain a household? So, I apologize for whining about one week of extra duties and stress, but I will express how happy I am to have the hubby home again, finally, finally, happily.  Except, did I mention he got sick while working away? I’ll try not to throw every responsibility back at him all at once, to give him a day or two to recover.  Maybe. Potentially. Perhaps.

 

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Hello, again, Holidailies!

It’s been a while since I participated in Holidailies. Nine years, or thereabouts. I have to admit, I was surprised to see the site still running. Kudos to those who maintain traditions, write all year long, and keep on blogging. My blog has gotten quite stale in the last few years. So, I decided to sign up again this year. I am partly motivated by the desire to blog again. And I’m greatly motivated to get back in touch with others’ blogs, to regain some sort of writing community and to read some funny stories, wise insights, and whatever else my fellow participants come up with. I am happy to see many of the same blogs I read years ago: Thankful Runner Girl (*wave!*); Hat on Top, Coat Below; Tuna News; Red Nose; Funny the World (who may or may not know that I was a Lawsuit fan, back in the day!). And I’m looking forward to making new blog discoveries. And with that, who is this Stone Girl, anyway? It may be time to dust off the old introduction. Here is my old one (complete with two spaces after a period, as we writers used to do, back in the day):

 

My blog, you will find, runs the gamut from “What I did today” to food to political commentary to food to creative writing to…..uhhh…..did I mention I like food?  There is no great theme for this blog.  If you can handle the randomness, please pull up a comfy chair, stick around, and drop me a comment from time to time because I have an insatiable curiosity about why other people think the way they do.  Maybe I would have been a sociologist if I didn’t hate statistics sooooooo much.  Oh, except for the occasional dislike of human interaction. I am more than three names and less than the legacy of my four grandparents.  I am a world-traveling homebody.  I am an occasional insomniac and often-vivid dreamer.  A wife to my Sweetie, daughter to my mom, Lil Sis to my Big Sibs, Aunty to my nephews, and you-gotta-love-me friend to my pals.  A recovering workaholic who has learned how to slack off while living in Maui.  Raised in small-town California.  Born in small-town Europe.  Technical writer.  Creative writer.  Blogging writer.  Laugher, crier, worker, player.  Hiker, music-lover, piano player, seeker, and student-of-life.   Environmental analyst, which means few people understand exactly what I do for a living.  I am comfortable in my own skin and always trying to grow a little more.   Loyal Aggie.  Lactose intolerant.  An open-minded Christian who counts the Dalai Lama as one of my only heroes.  Comic book collector.  Professional when I need to be, goofy by nature.   I believe in self-reliance for myself and helping others when I can.

 

Hmmmm, that’s all pretty much still true. I started my blog to try and stay in touch with friends and family when I moved to Maui in 2006. I suppose an update should mention that I’m back living in California. And, Sweetie and my family has grown by two since our Maui days, I am happy to say. Which may explain the lack of blogging in the last few years. Maintaining a job and household with two kids is about as much as my aging brain can handle these days. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that my brain doesn’t still run about 200 miles per hour with overflowing opinions, ramblings, and questions. There are many food [Edit: I realize I erred and misspelled “good.” But…..did I mention at some point that I like food??] reasons to get back to blogging. I’m looking forward to reading lots of blog entries this month. Hope you all stop by from time to time. This is who I am. Who are you? Happy Holidailies!

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Whew!

Holidailies is at an end and once again I say to myself:  Why do I choose December as the month to participate in the blog-every-day challenge??? 

Don’t know.  Maybe because I’ve found some great blogs from the Holidailies crew and appreciate having the portal into their worlds.  For that, and the challenge itself, I say – Big thanks to Jette and Chip for hosting Holidailies.  Big Mahalo!

Thanks also to the many bloggers who spent so much time and thought on their entries this year.  It was fun to revisit some old favs like Bozoette’s Red Nose Green Tuna’s Tuna News and Bev’s Funny the World.   Nice to hear from fellow bloggers like Hannah over at IAmNotBroken, John at Where’s My Plan? and  Erik at the electronic replicant.  I’ve added a few more blogs to my favorites list, such as Ginny’s Praying to Darwin, Lisa’s Notes from Zone 4 and Zannim,.    And, as always, all challenges are more fun when I get to participate with one of my all-time favorite writers, Saturncat.

Thanks everyone and keep up the good blogging so I have more reasons to distract myself in 2010!

Not too shabby this year.  With this entry, I have posted 28 times since December 7.  Who knows what 2010 blogging will bring for me.  I hope folks will stick around to find out.  Maybe a move.  Maybe lots of visitors to our home in Maui.  Maybe an addition to the family. ??  Certainly a few weddings, as Sweetie and I already have four we know about.  Something about food, I am sure.  Perhaps a cure for insomnia!?  And you can always count on me for plenty of rants, political ramblings and some fawning words about this guy:

Aloha all and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!!  Happy Blogging!

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Today’s prompt for Holidailies is “Post a personal photo and tell us a story about it.”

Looking back at some of my photos, I am reminded of a couple of things.  1) I like food.  2) I never finished all the travelogues I was going to write about my Europe trip.  I managed to blog about the wonderful day Sweetie and I spent with my family hiking in Biel.  It was a near-perfect day.  But there was another day.  Another day on a mountain.  And it was grand……..

Morning came and Sweetie and I knew what our destination for this day was.  Our Switzerland portion of our Europe trip had been left completely in the hands of my family.  I told Sweetie that everyone wanted as least a day with us – Mom’s oldest sister, her middle sister, her cousin and his wife who live in Zurich.  I rarely knew what was planned for the day.  Sweetie, the improvisational wiz, loved it. 

But today was the Rigi.  One can hardly stay in the vicinity of Luzern and not go up the Rigi.  She is sometimes known as “The Queen of the Mountains.”  What better way to pay our respects to the queen than to put on our hiking boots and tromp on top of her?

After our customary breakfast of fresh bread and preserves, we gathered our backpacks and piled into my uncle’s car.  My uncle drove.  A good thing since my aunt never learned to drive.  I have two aunts who never drive.  Don’t need to in Switzerland.  Between the buses and the trains which run constantly (and famously on schedule), many families have no need for more than one vehicle.  I’m not even sure if three of my four cousins own cars. I think they do not. 

So off we drove halfway around the lake to the cable car station to wait for two more friends to join us.  While waiting, my uncle presented Sweetie and me with our very own “Rigi” caps which we fit snugly onto our heads.  Pia and Seppi arrived and up we went, through the tree canopy with its splashes of fall colors and away from the tiny houses beside the lake.  We disembarked and my family swept us past the trail markers:  Chanzeli, 15 min.; Greppen, 2 Std. (hour) 25 min.; Weggis 2 Std. 10 min.  We were on the trail with no idea where we going, how far we were hiking, or where this particular trail would take us.  It was glorious. 

We started the hike on a  wide paved trail in a forested area, with park benches and trash cans, and a log fence beside us.  Sweetie and my uncle talked, as my uncle has the best English skills.  My aunt, Pia and Seppi don’t speak much english.  When I can, I translate their Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch) for Sweetie, cobbling together what I remember from childhood talking to my grandparents and the little I remember from high school and college German classes.  The family always seems surprised and amused when I laugh at something they say or try and translate for Sweetie. 

We walked and talked and took many pictures.  Sweetie snapped a shot of a gargantuan log carved in the shape of an alphorn.  We transitioned to a more narrow dirt trail with barbed wire and wood fencing.  There was a universal sign – the silhouette of a biker with a large red “X” through it.  This portion was for the hikers alone.  We walked beside the greenest of grass while crispy fall leaves disintegrated under our feet.  We had views of the lake.  The landscape took a dramatic turn and suddenly we had sheer rock walls to the left and a steep drop-off to our right on the other side of fence that was now metal posts and cable.  From this spot, we stopped at another park bench and looked down at the beauty and wild jabbing points of Lake Lucerne. 

Lake Lucerne was all I had ever called this lake.  In college, my German teacher turned to me when got around to talking about Switzerland and asked me the name of this lake.  I said: “Lake Lucerne.”  No.  She wanted its proper name.  I had no idea.  It is Vierwaldstättersee.  Four.  Forest.  Lake.  That’s about as far as my German gets me.  Vierwaldstattersee is “Lake of the Four Forested Cantons.”  The cantons are somewhat equivalent to states in the US.  Wikipedia describes it as “The lake is a complicated shape, with bends and arms reaching from the city of Lucerne into the mountains.”  That sounds about right.  Looking at it from above, it reaches in all directions, dividing little bits and pieces of land around its meandering shores. 

We came out from behind the rocks and walked through grassy fields.  And then, up ahead was a little train station.  We sat down on more benches for a short wait for the stout little electric cable to chug us up to the top of the Rigi.  We trekked up to the summit: Rigi-Kulm, 1,800 m./6,000 ft. 

And then, of course, it was time for a snack.  I’ve blogged before about how much the Swiss like to eat and drink.  And drink.  I don’t think I’ve ever been out sightseeing, or hiking, or shopping, or anything with my family without stopping at least every two hours for something to drink (with the possible exception of mom’s middle sister who rivals my mom for lack of patience).  Just wait until I get to the blog about our day in Zurich with mom’s cousin.  It was  taxing day for the bladder.

Anyway, a snack on the Rigi.  Not just any snack, mind you.  No, there was no pulling granola bars and plastic-bottled water out of the backpack.  We sat at a bench and my uncle and Seppi proceed to pull out small metal cups (their group hiking cups, we were told), a couple tupperware-type containers of breadsticks and nuts, and (of course) a bottle of wine.  They laid six little cups out on the bench and six little cups were filled with wine.  We toasted together and leisurely sipped wine while enjoying the views.  The skies were a little overcast but we could see for miles in all directions.  To our good health indeed!

We made our way back down to the tram station and there we split up.  My aunt, uncle, Sweetie and I were to take a slow ambling hike to our next stop.  Pia and Seppi were taking a “short cut” to get their quicker.  Why?  Well, to start setting  up lunch for us all, of course!  We parted ways, with my jolly happy rarely-drinking husband waving wildly as the wine worked its way through his veins. 

We walked downhill and the gray skies were replaced with bright blue, warm sun, and white clouds.  We kept walking until we saw, on a slight hill above us, a covered picnic area.  Supposedly, they are called Gruebinen.  According to one site:   For the construction of these shelters, the builders have used trunks, that have fallen at a recent major thunderstorm. The locals call such covered dwelling places which protect you from sun, heat and rain “Gruebinen”. Of course, they are all well equipped with campfire-site, wood for burning, comfortable benches and tables. It’s all ready for you – enjoy your picnic or barbeque!

By the time we arrived, our friends were hard at work preparing a feast for all.  Indeed, the Gruebinen was well equipped.  But not nearly as well equipped as Pia and Seppi!  They had packed in fresh bratwurst, bags of carrot slices and small tomatoes, a loaf of bread, seasonings, and beauty of all beauty! – raclette cheese!!  Oh joy!  Oh happiness!  Of course, raclette cheese must be served warm and melty over potatoes.  These dishes came pre-packaged in tin foil containers with potatoes included.  Seppi had six little packs of cheese warming over the open fire along with the bratwurst. Six little bundles of cheesy goodness to pry open and devour with a fresh bottle of wine and all the other food already spread around the picnic table.  Can you possibly imagine being more spoiled than that?  I cannot.  It was heaven. 

We sat and vegged by the picnic table as our systems started to digest the food.  My uncle pulled out one of his ubiquitous skinny cigars, put his feet up on a stump and puffed away.  My relaxed hubby sat in the shade with his back against the fat pale logs and just stared out at the green hills.  Or maybe he slept behind his sunglasses, I’m not sure. 

More hikers came along and added more wood to the fire for their own lunch.  We abdicated the picnic table and made our way down to a final lookout spot before catching the cable car back down the mountain.  We slowly made our way back down the Rigi.  Sweetie and I marveled at the beautiful fall colors and at (once again) our amazing luck in vacationing in October in perfect weather.  The possibility of rain exists year-round in Switzerland, but they had just come through some cold and stormy weather.  Yet we had sun every day.  Most of our time with the family was spent outdoors and there would have been no way we could have hiked all day along the Rigi in rain.  As Sweetie and I just celebrated a third October hiking outside in surprisingly gorgeous weather (the first was in Yellowstone, this third was in Yosemite), I told him I think both our fathers are looking out for us around our anniversary.  Someday, maybe someday soon, our streak may end and we’ll spend a stormy cold October together.  But for us, that day on the Rigi with family and friends is probably one of our top five days together ever.  It was certainly the best day of a fantastic trip. 

And that, is the story behind that one little photo.  I smile just looking at it.

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This may be one of those non-entries I blog just so I can fulfill my Holidailies goal.

As usual, I have waited until the last day to clean my house, do my laundry, pack my bags, wrap up things to mail out, etc. etc. etc.  On a good note, I have 95-percent of my Christmas cards/letters mailed today!  But my house is not as clean as I would like it.  Normally, I like to leave a tidy house when I’m going to be gone for a while.  This time, I want to clean because my MIL will be on the island while I am gone.  She won’t be staying at our house, but I’m sure she and Aunt D. and Uncle W. will be around.  Feels strange that I will miss her visit.  She comes every year and I enjoy driving around with her, going to the beach, eating out, and just having company around the house.  But – I had already made my flight plans before she made hers so – drat.  I’ll be on the mainland missing all the fun!

Sweetie and I did a little Christmas shopping today.  Due to our dwindling paychecks this year, we are trying to keep on a very strict budget for Christmas.  I’m concentrating on the immediate family with just a couple of extra things for other people.  I was dreading walking around Lahaina on a Saturday but the tourist town was strangely quiet today.  Hardly any traffic on Front Street.  The sidewalks were not packed like normal.  I’m not sure what that means.  I don’t know if people are not buying anything for the holidays or if this is just an unusually slow period for Maui.

The only nice thing about hardly having any work right now is that I don’t have so many files to lug back and forth.  Hooray.  

I’m loving the idea of this Read Your Own Books challenge.  I’ve gone through my shelves and pulled off a pile of books I’ve been meaning to read for eons. 

And with that – I need to finish cleaning up around here.  Never-ending job, ain’t it?

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Holidailies

It’s that time of year again – December. You know – eggnog (yuck), Christmas music (nice), good will and long lines, and – oh! Holidailies.

True to form, I crashed and burned on my NaNoWriMo attempt this year. The story took off like gangbusters in my head but sputtered out on the screen.  Someday I may return to it.  Although what I would really like to do is go back and properly edit my successful NaNo story and see if there is anything truly publishable from it.  Ahhh……goals.

I will try and stay a little more focused during Holidailies. Holidailies is based on a simple concept.  Participants try to update blogs every day from December 7 to January 6.  There is a Holidailies-equivalent for every month of the year so I’m not sure why I pick the December month to marathon blog. 

I’m sure I will have time most days this month to blog.  It’s only difficult when I factor in all the traveling Sweetie and I will be doing between now and January 6 – back to California, from my mom’s house to his mom’s house to friends’ homes to everywhere-in-between, and back to Maui again.  But then, blogging will probably be a good break from the Christmas activity.

You can check out all the fun over at Holidailies.   Oh – and by the way – for people who have wandered over from Holidailies, I should probably make the same admission here I did on Multiply – I am being a bit unfaithful to my blog.  For the last several years, my blog migrated from Yahoo to Multiply.  I’m re-starting some blogging over here on WordPress while I try and decide if I want to move here permanently or just keep flirting with this site.  If you want to see most of my recent blogs, you can mosey over here: http://stonegirlblog.multiply.com/.  I know.  It’s a pain and confusing, but what can I say? I’m fickle. 

For those of you ambling over from Holidailies, I suppose the question of the day is:  Just who exactly is this Stone Girl?

hmmmm…..good question.  I may have to steal from past introductions….

Who am I?  I am more than three names and less than the legacy of my four grandparents.  I am a world-traveling homebody.  I am an insomniac and vivid dreamer.  A wife to my Sweetie, daughter to my mom, Lil Sis to my Big Sibs, Aunty to my nephews, and you-gotta-love-me friend to my pals.  A recovering workaholic who has learned how to slack off while living in Maui.  Raised in small-town California.  Born in small-town Europe.  Technical writer.  Creative writer.  Blogging writer.  Laugher, crier, worker, player.  Hiker, music-lover, piano player, seeker, and student-of-life.   Environmental analyst, which means few people understand exactly what I do for a living.  I am comfortable in my own skin and always trying to grow a little more.   Loyal Aggie.  Lactose intolerant.  An open-minded Christian who counts the Dalai Lama as one of my only heroes.  Comic book collector.  Professional when I need to be, goofy by nature.   I believe in self-reliance for myself and helping others when I can.  

My cube was opaque and slightly iridescent. 

Who are You?

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I did it!

That’s it folks!

December is almost over, and I have managed to post every day this month and, Whew!. That was harder than I thought it would be. Little did I know it would be so hard for a blabber mouth like me to blab every day. Sorry for the snore-inducing posts. Speaking of which, this is really another non-entry because I’m about to leave the house again and won’t be back before January 1, 2007.

January 1, 2007. How did that happen?

Before I leave, let me just wish everyone and safe and happy New Year. If you had a great year, may it carry on to 2007. If you had a bad year, then the turning and ticking of the clock may not matter much to you. And January may look to hold nothing better than today. And I know that nothing magical can clean a bad slate at the stroke of midnight tonight. But I hope that you can remember that the good things about 2006 will also continue on, and even if your sorrows and troubles will not go away after tonight, you are not alone in facing a new year. None of us know what may happen in 2007 and, in that, we share a bond. I can only hope the best for the people I know and care about. Heck, even for the people I don’t know.

Good luck in 2007!

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