Wednesday Wonders: How I Came to Have a Mermaid




Sissy and Quinton’s first girl. (Alternate pronunciation:  ‘The Gril.’)




When Quinton first found The Girl she was in a pile of stuffed animals at a rummage sale stacked on shelves taller than I am.

From all the bears, doggies, and other critters, Q pulled out a mermaid with pink yarn hair and in a purple bikini.

At first, I my heart squeezed for him. That old stuff about what boys can have and what they can’t is still alive and real around me even though I try not to play that game myself.

Then I relaxed as I saw him cling to her every time I left him for the night in his bed and during the day when I went to work. Clearly he needed her.

My sister and husband pointed out that she was a replacement for me. And, deep down, I always longed to be a mermaid. In fact, I spent hours at the lake where I grew up pretending to be a woman with scales who could set up house under water.

When we cleaned out Quinton’s room this month, I asked him if any of the stuffed animals could go. He immediately pulled her out of the pile and handed her over.

My heart broke a little for The Girl. (I never was good at letting go of stuffed toys.)

Maybe at 5 years old he has bought all those messages about what boys can and can’t have. Maybe he has tough memories of learning how to sleep by himself and staying at daycare.

But I am grateful to The Girl, so now she sits with me as lumbar support in my chair as I write each morning.

And sometimes our newest girl cuddles up next to her. In a way, it’s like Sissy and I are taking care of a good and faithful servant. The Girl saw a lot of tears. She deserves a nice retirement.

Besides. In a house full of human boys, we girls need to stick together.

Other Wonders of the Week

During injections practice (mannequins only for now), a student pointed out how beautiful the sharps box looked with all its color and variety. It reminded me of the shot of my knitting needles I took a short while back. Funny how sweaters and shots have a connection through needles.


Ash is the boldest cat I have ever met. He stood on the ladder with me for our entire paint-the-livingroom-wall project, moving to the paint tray when I needed the top rungs. Helping, he said. I am helping.

IMG_6870 (1)

And for my last wonder, I admired the flowers one of the tutors had made, and the coordinator gave them to me yesterday!


May you find surprise flowers, great helpers and maybe even a mermaid or two.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM


A recycled bit on the wonder series:

As a part of my 2016 blog revision, I started a new small weekly post I call ‘Wednesday Wonders.’

One of my favorite things about writing and other art forms is the way they open my eyes to the surprises around me in my everyday life. Many of these wonders will also be in my Instagram account since I discovered the joy of that program during an advent photo project.

I collect these surprises like little rocks in a kid’s pocket. I may use them in a story. I may not. Either way, life gets a little brighter when I take the time to notice.



Foster Kitty Adventures: Patience Lessons from the Animal House


The first time Glitter saw our yellow lab she hissed and charged, thowing all of her 6 pounds (mostly fur) at his quivering 90 pound dog body.

My dog is not thrilled about the newcomers and I can’t say I blame him. The two of them are now beginning to tolerate each other but we like to play it safe and keep them apart.


The first time Glitter walked into the room where Ella the cockatoo stays, the bird hollered like: “What is that!?! Oh. My. Bird in Heaven!!! What is THAT!!!”

She can be very loud. Sometimes I think firecrackers have nothing on her volume.

The cat flattened herself like a sniper and slunk as quickly away as she possibly could, thinking: “What was THAT!?! What kind of place is this!?!” If she could have covered her ears, she would have.

Now Ella does not holler at Glitter. She just gives her the one-eyed beady stare down and the feline never stays long in The Room of Doom from Above.


This beady-eyed stare is for the scary camera phone.

Transitions are tough whether you are the one moving in or the one trying to adjust to others in your space.

I understand their troubles. Lately, I’ve noticed that transitions make up the hardest part of my own days. Something about moving from the house to the car and then from the car back into my house pushes every cranky button I have, especially if I have to inspire someone else to move along with me.

Changing from writing mode, to get ready for work mode, to drop the kid off mode to start work mode often feels like I need to race to get it all done or Something Terrible will happen. And that is at the front end of my day. More transitions happen until the moment I fall into sleep for the night.

It helps when I stop in my anxious rush to remember that the moment I am in is a transition, not a race. Living in the moment can mean breathing through moving from one space to another.

I am a much better writer, mom, wife, teacher, and human when I   am not hissing or hollering like my cat and bird.

I know the critters need time to adjust to each other in changes they never asked for, and I’m starting to give myself the gift of that time between, too.

May you know calm in your own moments between different worlds and with new people and animals who come your way.

May you, in the best possible transitions, feel like a kid in the sprinkler, drinking in the joy of now.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM


Foster Kitty Adventures: Part One


My friend Lynn won with the most original way of saying it: “You are taking in a teenaged mom!”

I am.

Here is Glitter.


I fell in love with this very young mama cat at a local animal shelter but couldn’t take her home because she had just had kittens who needed to grow up before they could find homes of their own.

It occurred to me that I once fostered kittens back in the day when I worked for an animal shelter. Why not foster this mom and baby crew and have the added joy of watching her little ones get big?

That’s how we came have them with us for now, and I foresee more cat-related posts in my future. I suppose if you don’t care for felines you can consider yourself warned. Cat pictures like these will be here often.

If you do like tiny ones, though, then by all means stay tuned.

They have all gained about an ounce in the past 3 days which is more than 10 percent of their body weight. The big guy tips the scale at 10.5 ounces today.

May you know the joy of squeaking kittens and dimpled kids like my Q giggling over miniature claws as they tickle his legs.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.57.01 AM

The Grass is not Greener When You Lose Your Kitty


IMG_2685I was cleaning windows this morning when I saw the cat grass I’ve considered planting for years.

I thought, “It’s spring. I think I’ll do it this year. Seamus will like it.

I started to even go down the path of why I haven’t planted it for all these years: He’d be more encouraged to eat my house plants down to the nubs. I’d have to find a pot, find some dirt, mess with all the water and so on.

Then I remembered. My cat is gone. I took him to the vet for his last time this week, bawling as he always did when I put him in the carrier with the handy opening at the top and then settling down as we waited in the vet’s office, purring in my arms to the very end.

I’ve noticed two painful parts in my last few years walking with grief.

First, I run into this moment like the cat grass. I know he’s gone. But I forget. And I think for a moment of something I’ll do with the missing person or critter.

Then I remember. Like stepping off the stairs to a step that doesn’t exist, I get a jolting falling feeling and the ache opens up again.

On top of that, I hurt for the grass he will now never get to eat because I never got off my duff to grow it for him. This happens with every person or critter I lose, too. No matter how I try to live each day to the fullest, say what I need to say to those I love and do what I need to do for them, I always fall short.

I guess it’s human. I guess it’s a part of life that is sometimes losing. But I don’t like it. I wish I had grown the stupid grass.