Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitude list....

A is for apples, of the honey crisp sort.
B is for baking, my favorite comfort activity.
C is for coffee, lovely wonderful coffee.
D is for my daughter, teaching me more about myself everyday.
E is for evergreens, inside, outside, fragrant, & decorated.
F is for my family, who know where I came from, and support where I'm going.
G is for Gary, gregarious or grumpy.
H is for the horses next door.
I is for my imagination, kept invigorated by the Little Girl.
J is for joining another spectacular day.
K is for kindling, figuratively or literally the means to start a fire.
L is for laughter, without which my life would be morose.
M is for monkey soup, which Fiona likes to present for supper (Barrel of Monkeys anyone?)
N is for night, bright stars, brighter moon, crisp air.
O is for octopus, purely 'cause it's fun to listen to Fiona say it.
P is for pie, who doesn't love pie??
Q is for quarreling, sometimes it's the only way to learn something.
R is for running, then biking,
S is for swimming,
T is for triathlon, looking forward to another race!
U is for understanding, give a little get a little.
V is for validation, I like to know I'm not insane...doesn't everyone enjoy a little validation?
W is for water, the pervasive element that sustains all life.
X is for Nixie Knox, Axe, & Extra Fox.
Y is for 'Yes' which I hear less often than I'd like.
Z is for the zebra skin vintage bag I inherited from elders.

Not just for Thanksgiving! I discovered finding one word for every letter a super-useful tool when I'm feeling downtrodden, complacent, or plain cranky with my life.
Nothin' but love to everyone for Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fish Stickers

It's that time again, time for crazed family gatherings, overeating, overspending (although the media loudly proclaims our dire situation), SNOW...where IS the snow? We almost broke a record for late snow. If it hadn't snowed by the 21st it would have been a record, but we got a dusting night before last, so no record. This time last year it was already accumulated somewhat, if I remember correctly we certainly had a snowy Halloween.

Now, re-learning how to speak, or rather how to speak effectively to a two year old takes lots of mindful practice. It cannot be done overnight that's for sure.
"You don't want the toast?" is completely lost on a toddler. Stating the negative (even as a question) will plant the suggestion that she truly does not want the toast, and I'm stuck having just told her that she doesn't want what I'm trying to get her to eat or do. Instead, "Do you want the toast?" usually followed by some tasty description of how good it looks, or simply leaving the toast (or other item) out for her, eventually she'll make her way to it. Then of course there's the complimenting of what a good job she did eating, getting dressed, sitting still, using library voice, etc. Catch more flies with honey than with vinegar---positive reinforcement works wonders.

"Don't stand up!" vs. "Stay seated!" is another communication error, I gratefully remedied early on. Little children must first understand the positive of the statement before they can connect the negative. So, telling an 18 month old "Do NOT stand up" all the child registers is "stand up". "Stay seated" is much more positive and certainly easier for a toddler to understand.
I've realized that positive communication is handy with adults as well. Speaking in the positive, being aware of my semantics, simple changes in my words, "bad" & "good", replaced with "unhealthy" & "healthy." Learning how to say what I want or what the goal is rather than focusing on what I don't want. I have found it much easier on the psyche, less energy-sapping to focus on positives, instead of constant maintenance blocking the negatives.

Telling a toddler what is not allowed is most effective to create a caterwauling child, especially if her goal is the opposite of what I had in mind. However, if I pair it with what she CAN do, then she is distracted with what I've just provided as a new challenge or option, and problem solved. I can fold the laundry, clean the surfaces, remediate messes, in peace. If I really want to distract Little Girl I'll tell her what she CAN do, without mentioning at all what I'm avoiding, a modicum of control without overt display of control.

A small rant aside---
Consider this modicum of control with a governing body. Much of the time we are so concerned with making absolutely sure that we can do something, writ by law, that we forget in defining what we can do we are also defining we cannot do. In turn this creates more and more laws, a bigger government happily telling me how & what to do with my health, money, & time---'cause apparently I'm not smart enough to figure it out myself.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Leaf Leaping

I will not talk politics. I will not talk politics. I will not talk politics. I hope everyone has done extensive homework. It's almost over! Happy election day!

WHY do we have to rake leaves? I thought that the dead leaves protected the little grass, then nourishing it in the spring when the thaw begins? I really don't understand, but I've never had a "lawn" in the suburban sense, as a kid we had a "yard" I wouldn't classify it as a "lawn", & it's still a yard today. But I raked the back yard/lawn of this house anyway, 'cause then we get to JUMP in.

Maybe, if there's a layer of leaves, it's slick & rotten & nasty after all the snow starts melting? But still doesn't that dry up? making a natural mulch? I'll have to research this.
After conferring with my local expert I learn that it's necessary to rake the leaves 'cause patchwork grass (read: laid sod, coastal, stay-green-so-the-neighborhood-looks-pretty) does NOT grow here naturally. So, to keep it alive--although dormant--'til next year, it must be raked.


Yesterday was Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain...

We had breakfast, carved pumpkins, there was a Toddleator nap, and then to the Treat Street at The Children's Museum of Denver (unfortunately I forgot the camera). After chasing loot, exploring, & playing---though Fiona's favorite part was the mini-train ride---she gorged on candy as we navigated traffic bound for home. After a pit stop for burgers, I took Fiona to just a couple of houses to Trick or Treat. Finally at home, she was exhausted. The only way to tell that her battery had completely run down? Her compliant behavior. I didn't even have to ask her to remove the costume, she stripped to underpants to eat---resembling a superhero on break---with just her face painted mask and hair do, lounging about with chicken strips. Then upon "time for bed" call she toted her potty to her room (odd, but no complaints from me), stacked her 2 chosen books on her bed, promptly picked out pajamas and began the "getting cozy". I was just grateful that it was easy going, it's hard enough without the doorbell ringing every few moments with other costumed-kids. Last night was the first time Gary & I have every had trick-or-treaters at the door. Never saw hide or hair of ghouls or goblins in Hawaii. This marks our 6th Halloween together. :) So a few choice pics, and then off we go into November!

días del gato de los muertos

The unassuming cow-print cat has killed again.
About a week ago Porter-kitty caught the mouse that had been traveling from behind the fridge to under the dishwasher. It took a bit of time for him to figure out why I had moved his food dish to the kitchen. After coaxing him to sit in a chair, he drew a bead on mousy immediately as it appeared to sample some cat food. Once caught this particular mouse gave Porter a run for his money, Porter took him downstairs to toy with. But eventually, I'll now refer to it as Mouse1, escaped after being severely batted about.

Now comes the waiting. Our tireless feline stalked the kitchen for at least a day before sighting another mouse, as I now believe them to be different mice, Mouse2. While bathing Little Girl one evening last week, I heard a bang n' crash, Porter-hit-the-floor. When I was able to investigate, I saw Porter smash Mouse2 against foot of recliner chair, I do mean smash. When Mouse2 started bleeding out, a long carpet cleaning task flashed in my mind. I stopped the melee for a moment, asked Porter to move into the kitchen, where at least there is only laminate floor, picked up mouse by tail and lobbed toward the dishwasher. Porter then proceeded to do what cats do best with slightly inanimate objects, smeared it all over the floor, batted Mouse2 about, then promptly ate it up with a chew-CHOMP-CRUNCH!

Fiona watched a little, giggled at the spectacle of feline-death-play, but only at the entrance to the kitchen as I would not let her pad around the bespattered kitchen floor in her pajama-ed feet. I asked what she thought Ported was doing, she replied, "Playing!"
While doing laundry the other day, my multiple trips downstairs I noticed Bovine-Feline's excited state...then I spotted fat Mouse1 that he was hunting. A couple of hours later another trip downstairs I realized that Porter had been stalking the big chair in our bed room for most of the afternoon. Mouse1 must have claimed asylum under it. Porter was simply beside himself with kitty frustration. So, I helped. While I would never kill a mouse myself, I will provide a cat to "take care of" the mouse issue. That is after all the natural order. I lifted both the chair and the ottoman, Porter scrabbled about some, but no sign of Mouse1.
The saga continues....