Random Mom Day 8/19/07

I’m not a saver of things (you might have figured that out about me by now) but a stumbled across a random note to myself about the wonderful variety of the tasks/joys of motherhood. On 8/19/2007 I did the following mom things:

~sewed an antler back on Larry the stuffed moose

~shampooed for head lice (as I recall, that was the horrible summer of head lice)

~did three loads of laundry

~hugged for the first time the woman who became my daughter in law last summer (XOXOXXO, Brittany)

~gave a son $14 worth or chores to do so he could buy something that he really wanted.

Just an average, wonderful, challenging day.

Zen Lesson

Poet Jane Hirshfield describes the essence of Zen philosophy:

Everything changes.

Everything is connected.

Pay attention.

“Pay attention.” Easy to say. Might take a lifetime to master.

I do find that when I give my loving attention to my kids, my work, the beauty around me, my life is rich beyond measure.

Moving to the Next Level

For years I have been watching my son play video games.

Here’s what I have noticed: there is a lot of repetitive movements. Sometimes it takes awhile to learn the “tricks” of a particular level. There are people who write books and blogs about how to successfully manuever a particular level. When you do master one level, you move up to the next one, which is usually more difficult.

Hmmmm…. I’m thinking this is a metaphor for real life.

May 22 & 23 grocery shop

We were out of town a good portion of the weekend, so I bought groceries on Sunday (Aldi):

Aldi Groceries

And Monday (Shop and Save, Food Fantasies):

Shop and Save, Food Fantasies

Grocery totals for the week: $94.08 and for the month so far: $327.73

Eat out totals for the month so far: $162.12

Food totals so far: $489.85, way over my goal of $420/month. But since I haven’t had a kitchen sink since May 8th, and have used more packaged foods than usual, I am not displeased with the total. I consider the extra part of the cost of the kitchen remodel.

Organics include organic whole chicken, milk and eggs. Non-organics include yogurts.

Menus for the Week:

Sunday: Spicy Chicken Wings (from a box), canned corn, brownies from a box.

Monday: Pizza from a box.

Tuesday: Quiche made w/ prepared crust and organic eggs, steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Only me, canned soup.

Thursday: Roasted organic chicken, steamed green beans, home-made snickerdoodles

Friday through Monday: kids with their dad. I am working Sunday & Monday, will eat leftovers and car finger foods.


When my daughter was born, as I gazed into her small, wrinkly, red face I noticed that she had a tiny mole exactly where a bindi dot should be. Since a bindi dot is a sign of an opened third eye, and therefore a spiritually mature person, I took this as an auspicious sign.

As she grew older and played in the sun, her Irish heritage created a galaxy of freckles on her cheeks and nose.

I love these skin “imperfections” on her face. I think that they add to her unique beauty.

After she got her braces off, the orthodontist paid for a 8 x 10 portrait , which we just got back. The photographer airbrushed out her cheek freckles and her mole. Blech.

The photographer was looking through the lens of “cultural norm” and doesn’t know her like we do. What he saw as flaws, we celebrate.

How often we do this! If someone doesn’t follow the societal script, we put pressure on them to change, rather than celebrate their unique contribution. They lose, and we lose too, when we fail to value the differentness and what it can bring us.

May 16th Grocery Shop

Sorry, there is no photo of this weeks’ groceries. I haven’t had time to get new batteries for the camera….just that kinda week.

Groceries purchased 5/16 totaled $72.45 (groceries for May so far $228.73)

Eat out costs so far this months $146.15.

No meat was purchased. I did but some non-organic yogurts and shredded cheese.


Monday: Homemade pepperoni pizza

Tuesday: Tacos made w/ pink lentils as the “meat”

Wednesday: Sandwiches and soup, homemade snickerdoodles

Thursday: Quesadillas, canned fruit and leftover pizza

Friday: Jazz night at the high school. Ticket price includes dinner, dessert and awesome music. We are bringing 3 dozen desserts as our contribution. The two high schoolers get a free pizza for dinner. I will buy tickets for me and youngest son, but the cost of them goes into the “school fundraising” category of my budget, not the “eat out” category.

Saturday: We are going to a potluck.

Sunday: A friend is taking us out as a treat.

Solitaire as Meditation

A couple of days ago, a friend told one of my kids that any time spent playing solitaire is a waste/lost/ gone forever.

I disagree. There are some mindless activities that engage the brain, the busy monkey mind of the brain, so the more subtle, creative portions of the mind can reveal their genius. Driving is such an activity for me. Plop me in the car, set the cruise control and send me to a destination 20-30 minutes away, and I am guaranteed to solve one of my life’s problems, or at least come up with a creative way to express an experience that I have had. I swear, I do my best writing when I am driving.

Solitaire is a similar activity for me. If I say to myself, “I wonder how I could do a better job of [XYZ]? and then pull out a deck of cards, or open the application on the computer….in 20-30 minutes, I will have an interesting idea that I can test out.

Sometimes when we are wasting time, we do our best work.

Ungrateful Family Members

No, I’m not talking about teenagers here. Though what I have to say applies to any ungrateful person encountered.

As a hospice nurse, I am in a position of using my knowledge and intuition to serve persons that will likely die in a short time and their family members. I have a lot of compassion for these people and I put my heart and mind into the work. We work long days, sometimes at inconvenient hours.

Most of the people that we hospice workers serve appreciate our work and caring and let us know with words of appreciation and encouragement, coffee and cookies. Sometimes they are so impressed with the work we do, they come join us. Nurses, volunteers, social workers.

Every now and then, I encounter a family member that just can’t be pleased. Like the caregiver for the patient who needed her Morphine pump adjusted the day of the blizzard. I started shoveling my driveway at 5am. At 9am, I called and told them I would be out to see the patient as soon as I got un-snowbound. At 10am, I finished up, with the help of my neighbor and his snowblower. The roads were treacherous, still I showered and got there before noon.

This family member complained to my boss that I was not compassionate, and that I let her loved one suffer unnecessarily.

When conflict with another human arises about what should be doing, I like to ask myself, “Is this my problem?” Or is it their problem?

Have I applied myself the to task at hand with the best of my abilities?

Does the other person have unreasonable or uneducated expectations about what I can do? Have I communicated to the other person my expectations for my role in the matter?

If I have done all these things it is likely that it is not my problem, but their problem. And if it is not my problem, I don’t have to carry it around with me.

Whew. I feel lighter already.

Decluttering = Fewer Mistakes

I was chatting with a physician the other day at work and he was talking about the benefits and drawbacks of the newer electronic records. All of the patient’s history is listed, equally, in the diagnosis portion, where the computer gives the same weight to a surgically corrected ingrown toenail as to a collapsed lung or a kidney transplant. “We need,” he said, “a way to eliminate the unimportant diagnosis, so the important ones are obvious.” “It is too easy to accidentally click on the drop down window and click on something that you did not mean too.”

To a minimalist such as myself, the answer is obvious: declutter! The electronic record needs a method to delegate problems such as ingrown toenail to the “resolved” or “unimportant” status.

And we all need a process to move/remove from our lives/closets/calendars things that are no longer relevant or important to our lives. Here are some that I employ:

By keeping my clothing items to a set number, I only keep what fits me and is worn often.

I used to have a paper calendar, and each year would transfer important dates from the old to the new, eliminating dates that were no longer relevant (birthdays of ex-husband’s for example.) Now that I use an electronic calendar, before I print a week or a month out, I verify that the entries are appropriate and up-to-date (film club is over for the summer  [Dave–time for Frisbee golf?] so, I have deleted this weekly reminder from the calendar.)

Or, deleting from the cell phone numbers the ex-boyfriend, so I don’t accidentally call him and leave a silly message (no, love muffin, I didn’t mean YOU) on the wrong voice mail.

See? Decluttering leads to fewer mistakes.

May 10th Grocery Shop

OK. I know I have been derelict in my blogging duties. Will you forgive me if I assure you that I have been an excellent employee and mother while leaving you all waiting breathlessly for my next post? Ah, well. I’ll take my punishment, then.

Here is the May 10th grocery shop:

May 10 groceries

Organic milk and cream. Non-organic yogurt, sliced cheese and sliced meat for emergency sandwiches (it’s been that kind of week.)
I spent $71.08 on groceries on May 10th, total for the month so far: $156.28. Eat out total: $139.58, including a very self-indulgent dinner on Mother’s Day, where after working 10 hours, I did not want to cook. (I’m such a princess!)
Also, on Mother’s Day, my kitchen cabinets were torn out….photos saved for another post.