Dear Lisa Christensen Gee

While I was listening to two women sing "One of Us" by Joan Osborne at the Unitarian service this morning, I closed my eyes and imagined you dancing down the center aisle of the sanctuary. 

You've already given me two of the best compliments of my life. 

The first was when we were still in Chicago, coming close to the end of our time there. You said I "Lived an artful life." I used to have exactly what you said memorized, but the ol' memory isn't quite what it used to be. I consider the 20 months of serious sleep deprivation after I had Magnolia a major contributing factor to my memory issues.

The second was when we were visiting you in Chicago, and you complimented our parenting style by saying that if you ever did have children, you hoped to parent like us. 

And today you sent me that Langston Hughes poem, and I haven't stopped crying, and I read it two-and-a-half hours ago. 
The Dream Keeper
Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
The compliment is that you would think to send such a thing to me. Sometimes I feel like the dreams I have are silly - the quantity of them, how impossible they seem. But still I dream. I dream because of how freeing it is to feel capable. I dream because there's so much in life that I want to do, there are so many people I love, there are so many feelings I need to experience in some way. I dream because I always have, and when I'm not dreaming, I feel like I'm suffocating. My dreams are both memories and premonitions, they are loves and losses, hopes and desires. They are the beating of my heart.

Thank you, Sweet Friend, for acknowledging and loving the dreamer that I am.    

And this is so you can make up a dance and perform it for me next time I see you:

Sweet Day

Today was the Equality Run. It was a really good event to be at. I enjoyed the messages that were shared, visiting with new and old friends, and getting this bad boy of a medal. You know why on the medal part? It makes me feel like I've just been honored for something at the Kennedy Center. Maybe someday. 

The actual run was "eh" for me. It was an out and back type. No volunteers at intersections to high five. It was around Lake Hefner - not my favorite spot to run. It was hot! So hot. I've never adjusted to humidity. It was humid and there was no breeze. No breeze at all in Oklahoma City is really rare. Oh, and after the first kilometer, I had to tinkle. Super bad. It could have been really embarrassing. And I almost don't know how much I would have cared because that's how bad I needed to go.

After the race, I went home and had some downtime with the girls while Jake was at a rehearsal. I spent my time getting ready for Tarzan, which I took Cora to, as well as trying to be smart about dinner. I wanted a simple good one, so I decided on a pot of beans. When my friend got to Dot to watch Magnolia, I turned the basically done beans off and we went to the show. When we got back from the show, I wanted to do some finishing touches on my pot of that magical fruit. They were going to be perfect. 5 minutes later, I smelled something burning. It was my beans! I tasted them to see if they were still salvageable. Sure, if you like the aftertaste of cigarette smoke. I was bummed. 

We went to Bricktown in hopes of eating at Chelino's, but the place [Bricktown] was busier than I' ever seen. When we finally found a spot to pull over, we regrouped and decided to try something new. Saturn Grill it was. In all of my time in OKC, I have never eaten at this well known establishment. I regret this. It was AMAZING! And if I wasn't trying to stay right on top of our summer budget, I would go there again really soon. And since they opened one in Midtown last year, it will be extra dangerous because it is basically walking distance from Dot. 

Jake was one of the assistant music directors for Tarzan. The performance was done to the best of the shows abilities, but the show itself, which is newer, isn't even on my radar as a favorite. What I really loved was going on a little date with Cora. This was her first "big" show, and she was awesome! I don't get enough alone time with her. She is so smart and curious and tender hearted and lovely. I wish I could take her out, just us, at least once a month.

Jake is also the assistant music director for the King and I. It starts in not quite 2 weeks, and I can't wait. I love a classic musical. I think everything about it will be more up my alley. 

PS: The sunrise this morning was gorgeous. Lovely start to a lovely day.

An image that made me want to toss my cookies. And a house that makes me happy.

Random medical procedures are fascinating to me. It all started when I was much younger (how young, I can't remember), and I watched a gallbladder surgery on television. The abdomen was filled with air and light, and there were laparoscopic devices moving inside, occasionally pointing out a certain organ with the help of the camera. It was so cool. The part I didn't love to see: the gallbladder coming out through the belly button. Weird.

I've seen several things from tooth extractions, impacted earwax removal, tonsillectomies, eye surgery, cysts blowing up, etc. None of these has impacted me as much as something I very harmlessly came across today. This post is difficult to write because I'm still having a minor physical reaction. So what is it, of all the things I've seen, that would cause such a reaction? This thing that would make me lose my appetite and get all queasy and make horrible groaning noises that disturb my three-year-old?

Bunion surgery.

It wasn't even a video. I randomly googled "bunion" to see if I was thinking of the right thing, clicked over to "Images," and there it was, right at the top. A picture of bunion surgery. It appeared to be two pickle forks pulling the incision on the top of the foot open. The bone and new bunion plate clearly exposed. I don't know what aspect of the photo was worse. I think it was a combo of the "pickle forks" and the bone. I think that's it. I think bones gross me out. And then it just looked like this delightful bloody bone banquet. Did you just gag? I did. This is so much worse than seeing the suction-y top of a Remora fish for the first time.


Yesterday I was able to go look at a house I've been so curious about for the last couple of months. It's not far from Dot, and has a really crazy story. Here's what I've heard. It's been empty for about seven years and was lost to back taxes. Someone bought it for what was owed in taxes because it was paid for, and the amount I heard was 3,000-5,000. That is an incredible steal. Without doing much to it, besides a new roof, the guy who owns it (who makes a living buying houses for nothing, doing nothing but a little cosmetic work on the outside, and then selling them for a profit. [Real estate development, right?]), is asking an INSANE amount for this house for the condition it's in. He's never tried to sell a home in a nicer neighborhood before, nor a home where he had to follow historical guidelines.

He knows what homes are worth in this area, and since he bought it for nearly nothing, he can afford to just sit on it. He's going to keep sitting because 1. a contractor isn't going to pay that much because they would never make anything in a flip. 2. The house would never qualify for an FHA loan, which is what most people at that price point would qualify for. 3. Anyone who qualifies for a standard mortgage would likely buy a house that needs way less work.

So me finally getting into the house:

It was amazing! I'm someone who can see beyond cracked plaster cosmetic stuff, even structural things, but my first impression of this house was being overwhelmed. It was built in 1920, and it has hardly been touched since. Original everything in the bathrooms, ORIGINAL KITCHEN CABINETS, and I don't know that the wallpaper is original, but it is very old (and I think it's really awesome...for wallpaper). The only thing I can tell that has been done is the addition of a sunroom...and new ovens and a stovetop in I'd say around the 50's.

Dot was built in 1921, and she remains quite true to her original self with the perk of updated plumbing and electrical work. I have never been inside of a house that is nearing it's hundredth year of existence and still looked exactly the same. It was so cool, but like I said, it was overwhelming. If nothing that I could see had been touched, that means that everything I couldn't see likely hadn't been touched as well. I'd only seen what the property had to offer from the outside and it had everything on the list of things I'd really like: a two car garage, with living quarters (a yoga studio?). We knew the inside had a small basement (perfect for weathering OK storms), and the house has TONS of windows. The only un-perk was no front porch. It's also not a HUGE house. It's one of the nice in-betweens in our hood, definitely on the smaller side, but not a micro like Dot. Let it be known that I think Dot is perfect with the exception of her only having one bathroom. If I could figure out a place to put just a toilet, I would. ;)

Jake and I have talked about it, I even called the owner, but he is firm at his price. And there is NO WAY paying the amount he's asking would ever be a good idea. We're friends with the people who live next door - they have a son that was on Cora's soccer team. She desperately wants neighbors and to not have workers there everyday who aren't really doing anything but throwing cigarette butts in her yard and formerly blocking her driveway. She's come up with a few good plans that could make the turn-around of this house a real possibility, even if not by us. This house deserves it. It has major charm. And I hope that whoever ends up in it sees how lovely the original charm is and doesn't try to "fix" it.

This is going to be a two part saga because when I finally got to go inside, my phone died after three pictures. The part that made me love the house most (besides the staircase) was upstairs, so look forward to it. Here are the three pictures I got.
It has a double door entry way. You open the exterior door, and you're in a little windbreak area, and then you go through another door into the foyer, and you're greeted with this beauty of a staircase. All the way back is a half bath, and the closed door on the left leads into the kitchen.
I'm standing at the opening of the sunroom looking through the living room. The wood floors are the really skinny planks like Dot has. It's much darker than it would be because the sunroom windows are all covered on the outside because they're painting, and the large living room windows are covered by even larger old heavy drapes. Do you see the built-in bookcase? I think it would be so much to make built-ins on that whole wall, over the doorway and down the other side.
 Looking into the dining room, and that's the swinging door into the kitchen. Someone really loved this house once. It deserves to be the object of someone's affection again. 

Are you all anxious to see the rest? Hopefully I can get in again soon.

On this, the first day of summer...

We washed our cars in the driveway. I used cooking spray to get the bugs off. It worked.

We had watermelon gazpacho for lunch, and a snack of chips and salsa. I really wanted some salsa last night, but it was too late to do anything about it. I made some this morning. After I finish this post, I'm certain I will indulge in some more.

For dinner we had buschetta topped with sautéed squash from our garden. If we wouldn't have spent yesterday at the spray ground and feeding ducks at Myriad, we probably would have done so today. We also had pink lemonade. 

I started reading Focus by Arthur Miller. I've seen the movie but haven't read the book. Jake and I have a little project in mind with Focus at the heart of it, so I'm brushing up. For the last 10 years, I've read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury each summer. My friend, Nathaniel Wharton, had an extra copy and gave it to me my senior year. He said it was a book that should be read in summer. I've taken him up on it for a decade now. I feel like this would be a good evening to at least hold it in my hands, if not indulge in a page or two or three. 

I think books are one of the best gifts. I don't know if I realized until this very moment that I remember every book that's been given to me and who the giver was. I like that a personal connection to the book is what inspires the giver to give it, that and that they think enough of me to want to share that experience. 

When I was vacuuming right before the girls went to bed, I found one of Alice's baby teeth underneath a chair. It was so very interesting, and strange. After I put the girls to bed, I steam mopped the kitchen and living room - there's something lovely about the way it hisses and glides so smoothly over the wood floors. With those descriptors, you'd think I'd like snakes more. 

I'm off to do some yoga. I have a few poses I've been working on, crane is one of them. I have crow down, but my arms still hesitate being completely straight in crane. Tonight I feel like some arm stands.

Stats and the roller coaster that is my life plan

Today was Magnolia's three-year well-child appointment and Cora's third ear follow-up. Really it's like Cora's fourth ear follow-up if we count our trip to the audiologist.

Magnolia weighs 27 pounds and is 34.5 inches tall. She has officially left the sixth percentile. That's right folks, she is now 13th for weight, and 3rd for height. She checked out in every way. The one thing I forgot to ask, which I'm going to call about tomorrow is the lead levels in her blood. With Cora, it was a routine test, though I opted out of it, but we do live in a 92 year old house. The only time M really comes into contact with a surface that could have an area of exposed lead paint is when she sits on the back of the couch near the windows so I'm not really too concerned. It's more of a curiosity thing for me because two of my friends who live in old homes had elevated lead levels in their sons.

Cora's ears looked good today. Her doctor and I laughed about it. Of course they look good on the day I go back to see him. They made perfect mountains. I went ahead and got a referral for a pediatric ENT. I'm ready to be over the worry of whether or not my daughter is operating with hearing loss from week to week. Our pediatrician drew a lovely rendering of what's going on inside of her ears with the addition of possible adenoid enlargement. I haven't even thought about her adenoid. At any rate, we're waiting for the ENT's office to give us a call so we can schedule an appointment and hopefully [finally] get to the bottom of her hearing a speech issues.

These are some pictures from Magnolia's birthday dinner.
Opening Presents

Trying on new shoes
The roller coaster that is my life plan:
I enrolled in classes for this summer and spring. They were the prerequisites that I needed to apply for PA school. We bought a second car last month so I could go back and forth to school. I went to class with Jake's cousin's wife who is in PA school at OU, and that's where my plan changed. Being in class and hearing more about the PA program made me even more excited about the idea, but after I got home, I couldn't stop thinking about the schedule and my girls. I've been arranging for a sitter for the fall, and in two years when I would hopefully start PA school, it's 8-5. And then when I'm done it's 8-5.  I knew all of this before, but the reality hit, and all I could think was, "Why now?"

Did you know I took the LSAT two years ago? I did, and while the real point of avoiding law school is because I don't really want to be a lawyer, I think a lot of not doing anything with it could have boiled down to a "Why now?" And I applied for teaching positions one year ago, but after looking at many daycares, I knew I just couldn't do it. I've had [MANY] mixed feelings about going back to teaching. I loved my students. Being around the kids at the school I taught at was beyond rewarding. Their stories can shake one to one's core. I had to get creative about getting them to do things that some students wouldn't think twice about doing because they'd grown up in homes with expectations (not high expectations, mind you, just any expectations at all). What I really hated was dealing with the imposed busy work from the district level. All the "extras" teachers have to do is soul crushing. It's exhausting. It takes away from the most important part of teaching. And I was lucky. I had the freedom to create a course of my own choosing because I had an amazing principal with a strong vision and high expectations about where our school could be. Most teachers are crushed my district and state impositions as well as the worry over test results at the end of the year. I didn't have those tests waiting for me.

I could go on and on [and on] about the perplexities of public education, especially in schools and districts that are "at risk." But I won't. As I was thinking about what to do in terms of prerequisites and PA school, I couldn't help but think of a day in the library when I was in high school. Our counselor was there asking about our interests and giving us advice on possible careers. She spent a lot of time with me, and I decided that I was going to major in creative writing and do whatever I needed to do extra to get certified as an English teacher, then when I had kids, I could stop teaching and do freelance writing. (She introduced me to the idea of freelancing.) I thought it was the perfect plan. I've epically failed in the freelance writing arena - and by epically failed I mean not even attempted. But as my girls are approaching school age, there's a part of me that feels the value in teaching and sharing the same schedule. For now. I'm not applying for anything this year, which was hard not to do because there was an opening for a high school English teacher at a private school my girls could go to through high school, though I don't think we could leave the school they're at now. For real, it's amazing. When I do start looking to apply, I'm going to be very selective. There's only one public school in the Oklahoma City Public School District I'm going to look at, one public and one charter that is. Ideally there will be an opening at a private school.

I'm slowing down. Do you remember the Alabama song, "I'm in a Hurry (And don't know why)?" I've been thinking about the lyrics for the past few weeks:

I'm in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I've really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why

What am I doing in my "off year"? I'm going to become a certified yoga instructor. I went to a class yesterday with the teacher who could potentially lead me through the certification process, and I'm going again tomorrow. I'm still not so secretly hoping that a friend I went to college with who now owns a yoga studio will become a teacher of teachers. This, among all of my life plans, feels like the perfect goal to be moving toward now. Be prepared, I'm going to offering some community classes for $5/whatever you feel you can donate to help with the cost of certification. I'm working on a venue.

And of course, I felt a little bad about deciding to drop my classes after we got a second car, but that  didn't last for long because Jake almost got hit way too many times on his one-mile commute to OCU than I care to know about. It's also nice that we both have forms of transportation that can get the girls to and fro. And I love our Prius. And because we financed it with a local credit union rather than big ol' Chase, and that local credit union offered us an even lower interest rate on our Outback. Today I went through the easy process of refinancing with them, and we're saving $78/month. ;) Oh, and we sold Scoot last week. We now have two cars for just a little more than one car and a scooter. [I might miss Scoot a little - but we've got a good set-up at this moment in our life.]

A million things. And I need your opinion.

I have about a million things to write about. But I'm not going to do it all at once.

[Did you just breathe a sigh of relief? I didn't think so.]

But really, this week has been really amazing for me. Good for my body. Good for my soul. Minus the four cinnamon rolls I had for breakfast this morning, but while that was certainly not good for my body, it felt really good. Er, it tasted really good.

I just got back from a family camp with Jake's mom and the congregation of the Community of Christ Jake grew up in. Every summer, all of the congregations in the Oklahoma Mission Center (the OMC used to be made up of different districts) gather together for this camp they call "Reunion." Jake grew up going to it, and it's very near and dear to his heart. I'm glad that my little family is enjoying this tradition as well. "Reunion" is the perfect name for this gathering because the connections are so warm and loving just like those in a family when you feel achy to see and love on certain people. We all meet together at Saint's Grove Campground about 15 minutes east of Stillwater. I shared lots of wonderful conversations, some were very enlightening to me and where I am in my personal faith journey. I feel like a few posts could come from Reunion, but I want to touch on one very specific thing first...

I taught an elective course this year: Yoga. I've never taught yoga before, but I loved it. We centered our practice around the overall daily camp theme (Right Relationships, Grace and Generosity, and God's Justice). I loved creating and sharing an experience with those who came to my class. I can't wait to do it again next year, and it has lit the flame inside of me that has wanted to begin the journey to becoming a certified yoga teacher. You know, legit.

And lastly, I need glasses. My vision problems have been very minor. After I had Cora, I felt they were pretty much corrected, but no longer. I don't think my vision is really very bad, but I think my astigmatism has become worse. What's a girl to do? Go try on every Warby Parker frame at Shop Good. I narrowed it down, and then decided to do the 5-day test run. It's really between two, but I decided to share all 5 of the frames I got in the trial.





I've placed a little poll on the right side of my blog under the "About Me" section. Please vote for the frames you like best. ;)

Dear Katelynn

I'm driving solo to a family camp just east of Stillwater, and just before getting off of I-35, I started thinking about you and how I haven't seen you in so long. 

Before I knew it, I was bawling my eyes out. I was probably a dangerous driver for a good 10 miles. Here's the deal. I miss you, and I refuse to let a decade go by without seeing you which means before the year is out I hope to find myself in California. 

I'm apologizing in advance if I fall a part when I first see you. I'm starting to tear up again at the thought. I'm about to go without Internet for a week, but I couldn't do that without telling you my plan, so I pulled over on the campus of OSU to write this to you. Yes, I'm mooching their wifi.

Let's see one another in 2013. Deal? We can kick Dino out of your room for one night, and I'll sleep on the floor next to your bed, except we won't sleep. We'll stay up all night talking about everything. And then some.

You're one of the great loves of my life.


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