Honu

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Life Lessons | Posted on 26-04-2017

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Exploring coral reefs amidst colorful fish and the ever-so-peaceful honu, the native Hawaiian green sea turtle, was how we began each day on recent Maui vacation.

Snorkeling is not something I do on a typical morning at home. More like drowning. Around here, mornings are stress filled: alarms, children, showers, breakfasts, lunches, out the door and off to school and work, go!

Hawaiians regard the sea turtle as a symbol of wisdom. They are graceful and calm and seem to know about life. They glide through the water. They go with the flow. They hypnotize you with their peaceful ways. We spotted at least two sea turtles each time we snorkeled. Each time was magical, dreamy, and meditative.

The honu is also a symbol of good luck. The sea turtle is a reptilian survivor from the age of dinosaurs and can be traced back 150 million years. Good luck indeed.

I. Want. To. Be. A. Sea. Turtle.

At home, I am not sea turtle-like. I am a worrier. A multitasker. A planner.

Vacation. It’s a wonderful thing. You take a break from real life, then you return. I have returned home with amazing family memories, a quickly-fading tan, a cute pineapple purse, and a bit more calm. More honu.

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The Patch

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Fall, Family, Life Lessons, Pumpkin, Traditions | Posted on 26-10-2016

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Our family has been going to the pumpkin patch for years. We love it! Pumpkins everywhere! The shades of orange! The shapes and sizes!

Pick any pumpkin you want, guys! Except this year, there weren’t any pumpkins. Um. It’s a pumpkin patch. Where are all the pumpkins?

Usually, there’s a huge spread of pumpkins right when you enter. Orange wherever you look. This time, there was just a sprinkling of pumpkins. Usually, pumpkins line the path to the corn maze. Nary a pumpkin lining the path this year. Usually, there’s a hidden pumpkin patch if you dare to walk through the corn. This time, it was just a muddy field.

“I was robbed!” Just as Sally utters in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

That is why our pumpkin patch picture this year was Children of the Corn.

But we found the bright side. There were corn stalks galore. Ample mud to squish around in. And, my youngest found me a prized heart rock!

When life gives you an empty pumpkin patch, head to the grocery store! We bailed.

Fortunately, Safeway had a wide selection of pumpkins in many shades of orange, in all shapes and sizes! We picked out our six (including one for Otis) and had so much money leftover that we bought three kinds of ice cream.

You could say that we made sundaes out of empty patches.

Happy Halloween, y’all!

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I Once Was Blind

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life, Life Lessons, Metaphor | Posted on 04-10-2016

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I once was blind, but now I see.

Or so I thought.

A few years ago, my eyesight was going. Each day my vision was getting blurrier. My eyes stung.

I squinted and Googled my symptoms. Sure enough, I was going blind.

I had to wait three days for my eye appointment. Those three days were agony. I’m going to miss my children’s beautiful faces. I’m going to miss watching them grow. I’m going to miss my husband’s reassuring smile. I’m going to miss the flowers that I love to photograph. How will I see the world? How will I watch movies? How will I drive? How will I experience all of the color and sights and richness of life?

My depression and worry and self-pity mounted with each passing minute. I wept.

Turns out, it a bad batch of eye drops I had been using. After some tests, the doctor reassured me that my eyes were temporarily burned and my eyesight was 20/20 (thanks to Lasik surgery awhile back). After flushing out with good eyedrops, I’d be as good as new.

The next day was Thanksgiving. No joke. And, oh, how thankful I was.

Sight! My children! My husband! Flowers! The world! Movies! Independence! The richness of life!

This is one of my favorite memes: I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes.

When I think back to “losing my eyesight,” I am reminded (once again) about gratitude. What prompted me to write this was seeing a blind woman with her cane the other day, while on my run. She was stumbling up the steep hill, navigating the cracks in the sidewalk and the bumps of the curbs. Meanwhile, I was across the street, running downhill. In sharp contrast, I have it so easy.

I paused to see how she was doing. From what I saw, she had amazing perspective. She was outside walking, taking in the morning’s briskness, crunching on the fall leaves, bundled in her hoodie, for goodness sake! Was that a faint smile on her face as she took it all in?

Watching her (staring, actually), I stumbled a bit. Maybe because I was in awe of her calmness and her strength. She seemed to have a good handle on her path, her life. That blind woman opened my eyes. To gratitude. To grace. To strength. To awesomeness.

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If You Give a Girl a Knife

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childrearing, Children's Books, Confidence, Cooking, Daughters, Encouragement, Food, Girls, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Teenager | Posted on 13-05-2016

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When my daughter was three, we gave her a mini kitchen with pots and pans and bins of plastic food. Pies! Peas! Corn! Sushi! Cupcakes! Fried Chicken!

She loved everything about food preparation and serving. She would “roast” a fake chicken, “bake” pies, and “chop” floppy carrots. For years, she would prep and serve us at her cafe. When she was older, she would write menus for us to order from. And she would expect payment.

Now at 13, her time spent in the kitchen has lessened and her cooking is infrequent. However, if you give that girl a knife, she’ll make a fruit plate in minutes. She chops vegetables like a Kitchen Knife Ninja.

On the sidelines at a recent soccer game, I was talking to some mothers about daughters and their lack of interest in cooking. I told my “knife story” about how my daughter is a pro with a knife.

One of the Moms looked at me like I was insane. You give her knives?? That’s scary!

Um. Pioneer women sliced open buffalo with knives.

It’s not like I handed my daughter a knife and ordered Chop Now! It began with safety skills. Duh. Don’t slice toward your hand. Watch those fingers.

Kitchen skills are about teaching confidence, self sufficiency, survival. Kitchen skills are life skills.

I mean, what would she do if she encountered pineapple?

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4 Things I Learned From My Dog

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Life Lessons, Otis | Posted on 04-08-2015

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Otis reminds me about four important life lessons:

  1. L-I-V-I-N.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Break rules. Otis had a bath. Then decided to roll in the dirt. Because…fun!
  4. Persevere. Otis has been chasing rabbits nightly. After three years, he finally caught one! And presented it to us with a missing head.

L-I-V-I-N

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…that boy!

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Otis took a post-bath roll in the dirt.

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A. Gift. From. Otis.

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I Was a Clown

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Life Lessons | Posted on 15-09-2014

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Don’t be scared, y’all. In college, I had a job as a clown.

I was hired by a party-planning-and-events company to make children laugh. And sometimes cry and hide behind their mothers.

For $50 per party, I donned full-clown make-up with a big, red, oversized smile. A wig. And a puffy clown outfit with big shoes, which made it hard to drive. Add the 20 helium-filled balloons shoved in the back of my Sentra, and I was instant clown car. Bam!

My job description was to show up at the party–in a back yard, living room, or park–deliver the balloons, give my birthday salutations in the form of a memorized “clown poem,” and maybe do a little jig. Half an hour of pure delight. Or creepiness. No balloon animal-making or magic tricks required. Just me, my jumbo smile and jumbo shoes, and balloons that went every which way.

I never did put “clown” on my resume, no need to really. Because in that job, I learned some life lessons that I still put into practice today:

  1. Underneath the make-up, you are still you. So, be yourself.
  2. It’s OK to be silly.
  3. Comfortable shoes. Always.

Now that I have children of my own, my inner clown comes out pretty regularly. Especially during breakfast, when eating ice cream, and taking selfies.

Clowning around. I ran across this picture today. Perfect timing, as I needed a smile.

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What Would Ingrid Do?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Books, Life, Life Lessons, Parenting | Posted on 07-08-2013

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One of my favorite books as a child was The Amazing Travels of Ingrid Our Turtle (my top 10 books for children is here.)

The story is about a turtle named Ingrid who enjoys life and moves at her one pace. One day, she decides to travel beyond the yard and see the world. It takes her days to move from the garden to the curb, weeks to move from the curb to the stop sign, and so on. But before you know it, Ingrid is traveling so far that she sends postcards back to her family, as she ventures off and travels the globe. One step at a time.

Turns out, she orbits the Earth and shocks astronauts. The story teaches so many important lessons:

  • Enjoy the journey of life
  • Move at your own pace
  • Don’t worry about what other people think
  • You can overcome obstacles
  • Look beyond your “yard”

I am still learning to channel my inner Ingrid. I certainly run about as slow as she does. My children say I run sooooo slow. Sooooo what?

I remind myself what Ingrid would do:

Smile, keep moving, enjoy the journey. One step at a time.

Eastern Box Turtle

ingrid

The Lizard With a Taped-On Tail

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Life, Life Lessons, Memories, Mother, Mothering, Nature, Parenting | Posted on 20-05-2013

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Once upon a time, there was a young girl who wore pigtails and overalls. She was a nature lover, this girl, who loved climbing trees, blowing dandelions, observing worms, and oohing over butterflies. One day, she discovered a lizard and picked it up. She examined its scaly, grey back, little beady eyes, and long tail.

When it was time to go home and leave the lizard where she found it, she actually didn’t.

She snuck that lizard into her overalls pocket, making sure that lizard was safe and warm and protected.

She proceeded to cuddle that lizard and build it a little home. In a shoebox, with grass, plenty of love, and ta washcloth to keep it warm. What else could a little lizard need?

With the over abundance of love and nurturing, the lizard’s tail broke off. The young girl quickly taped it back on.

The lizard soon perished. The young girl had smothered her lizard pet, with her over nurturing, and was in tears.

She learned a few life lessons on that hot Summer day. Not only did she learn that many species of lizards release their tail when they want to escape from a predator, but:

  • How to care for a creature, but also to give it space.
  • How to love a creature, but not over smother it.
  • How you can’t fix a problem with a simple patch.
  • And how, at some point, you need to set the creature free.

As I recount my daughter’s story from several years ago, I now see that her lessons learned are also parenting lessons that I am learning.

lizard

Three Life Lessons

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Childrearing, Children, Daughters, Life Lessons, Mom Time, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 08-05-2013

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My daughter learned three life lessons this week.

And I was reminded that I often blurt things out without consulting The Proper Parenting Handbook.

Here’s what happened.

My daughter came home upset that she wasn’t invited to her friend’s upcoming birthday party.

  • “What?!” I shrieked. “But you guys play all the time!”
  • “Yeah,” she said sadly. “She just didn’t want to invite ME.”
  • “What a little bitch!” I said.

Lesson one: Ten-year-old girls can be bitches too.

Another day after school, my daughter came home even more upset that her puka shell necklace–her prized $3 purchase from our trip to Hawaii–broke into 200 puka shell pieces. She was planning to wear it all year, to remember our wonderful family vacation. A boy had grabbed her necklace from her neck (!), sending puka shells scattering.

  • “What an asshole!” I exclaimed. “Let’s get him to apologize.” That seemed to make her feel better.

Lesson two: Calling someone an asshole for asshole behavior automatically makes you feel better.

  • And I offered, “Oh, Sweetie, I know that was special to you. I could buy you another one but it wouldn’t be the same, would it?”
  • “No,” she lamented. “That was my special necklace.”

Lesson three: Some valuable things can’t be replaced, because the value is in the memories.

I may not say all the right things. I may say some very wrong things. But I always try to talk things out with my daughter. Even if an obscenity pops out from time to time.


sailormouth

 

 

Pete and Repeat

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Life, Life Lessons | Posted on 13-03-2013

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Pete and Repeat were on a boat

Pete fell off

Who was left?

Repeat.

And so goes the old joke my Dad used to tell me. When he asked “Who was left?” I answered “Repeat” every time. At age nine, I was dense as a rock.

I’m less dense now and finally get it. Ahhh, it’s a total metaphor, isn’t it?

You row your boat in life. You balance. And you try not to fall in the water.

But sometimes you do. And that sucks.

Then you climb back aboard. And you repeat.

Good joke, Daddy.

boat_lake_fishing