Messy love

Back to blogging cause the Book of Face is once again being even weirder about stuff…

I will push myself to ride if there’s less than three factors saying “don’t ride”, especially after having been grounded for so much of this year and with summer quickly waning. Today was a no ride day (too hot, tired, sore and Aunt Flo is in town), so I spent a quiet hour with Flash instead.

I watched him eat, got liberally slobbered on, and made him super happy with plenty of scratches and no expectations other than “no don’t step on me.”

The peace from a quiet barn during sunset on a hot summers day while hanging with your horse is really unmatched, and I count myself incredibly lucky for it each day.

Grooming: the process by which the dirt on the horse is transferred to the groom.

– Unknown

Mrs. Morse

I started today single, and ended as a Mrs.

What does one say about ones wedding day, especially one whipped up in two weeks and held in a judge’s chambers on his lunch break?

I know two main things: our family and friends are rockstars all, for whom we are deeply and abiding grateful, and I love my new husband, the same but different as I did this morning.

I’m sure I will have new words as the shock and joy quiets, as we take our first steps in this old and weird and brand new tradition, but for now the sun shining on our day full of love is enough, and more than enough.


I write this with joy in my heart. A tired joy, comfortable and welcome. I set everything aside yesterday and played hooky from work (using up leave time) to spend the day sans phone and any responsibilities with my son.

I can get too caught up in my goals, keeping the house clean, walking the dog, paying bills and all the rest of it and forget to enjoy the whip smart, silly kid I’m raising. I know a good chunk of the rest of the world can’t just turn things off for a day, but I can only live my life.

We spent the day in our swim gear at the Winds N Waves Waterpark, and it was quite simply one of our best days in a long stretch, and badly needed. We swam in the vortex pool, flew yelling down the water slides and relaxed in the crowded hot tub. Never once did I have to raise my voice or an eyebrow; we just hung out and enjoyed each other, only giggles, no cross words or chores.

On the drive home we were both quiet, sipping our Dutch Bros drinks and trying not to fall asleep. I was happy, and so was Kade. I was happy, without reservation or worry or anxiety.

I hadn’t realized how big the weight I’d been carrying as a result of my job in the psychiatric hospital has been. Now that I’m leaving, I can finally take a deep breath. Not only have I turned in my two weeks notice, but the job I’m going to is a complete 180 from the hospital. I’m supporting my old boss and doing the work I’m discovering I’m best at, logistics and organizing and making things smooth and straight forward. It’s a relief to be working for someone who thinks I kick ass, instead of those who hate the change I bring.

Joy is also tasty homemade food with best friends, hitting up the nickel arcade and super tasty ice cream to announce and celebrate our upcoming elopement.

Life is rainy but good!

Easy like Sunday morning

Say what you will about Facebook and their questionable business practices, today I’m thankful for the ability to connect with a wide range of people.

This weekend has been full of spending money and giggling like a little girl, but it’s not Jokker’s fault this time. In response to my last post, a friend suggested I contact a boxer breeder she knew of who had an older dog looking for a new home (a million thanks Ann!)

Based on the cat’s still roundly pissy yowling whenever Cyrus gets too close (he isn’t scared, just mad he’s not an only furry animal in the house now) it may be too early to declare total victory on the dog acquisition front, but in only a day we’ve made adorable headway.

Cyrus is the same age as Kade, coming six years old, already a distinguished gentleman with impeccable manners and a tendency for carrying stuffies around in his mouth. He’s a super cuddler with a soft mouth and needing a soft place to land (he prefers the couch to the super highly rated dog bed I found on Amazon). Kade is already smitten, Tom is being won over by Cyrus doing his best to ignore said pissy cat, and strangers stop and they comment on his handsomeness on our walks.

I know there are a lot of heavy, terrible things racketing around the world these past few weeks, and I’ve given what blood and help I can. In our little corner of the world, our hearts are quietly full, and I’ve made at least one little boy tremendously happy. Coupled with a heavy headed snoring dog, tasty coffee, Tom home from South Korea and a new job to start at tomorrow, life is pretty excellent!

Escape the smoke

After the topsy turvey summer we’ve had, neither of us could face a crazy holiday weekend of travel, even for horse training. So I skipped a farm visit, and today my little family of three (minus His Royal Fuzzy Whiteness Wilson) mosied over them that hills to the beach.

This lazy day of wandering was exactly what we all needed, quiet time together and an escape from the awful heat and wildfire smoke filling the Willamette valley again today.

We hit Lincoln City, which was reliably packed, enjoyed a nice lunch at McMenamin’s, and found perfect high winds and few people (although still enough kids for Kade to play with) at Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City.

Tom had a blast flying his high tech kites in the wind, busting a steady 15-23mph, and being that special kind of puzzled only engineers get when he couldn’t figure out why I kept crashing the kite. (Hint: you work the kite lines the exact opposite way from reins, which I’ve spent the better part of my life learning and teaching!)

The large pack of kids digging energetically in the sand taught Kade how to find shrimp; we took turns burying each other in the sand; hit pause for a snuggle break to warm up my zero body fat kid; wrote a little of the stress into my journal; and relaxed, watching Kade play, Tom fly kites, on a beautiful sunny windy smoke free beach. I managed (barely) not to cry, out of gratefulness that we live where we can safely steal a day like this, peaceful and together and happy, far from the stresses and strains and sadness of the world for awhile.

A Good Evening


Last night was…good, in a simple, reassuring kind of way. I managed to get home in a mostly timely fashion (minus an inconveniently placed car fire), picked up a child who was, literally, covered in something blue (still couldn’t get an intelligible answer on what it was), made & ate dinner while Facetiming with Tom. He’s still working in California, now with the added bonus of kidney stones & the drugs to manage them, or more like the pain along with them.

 We spoke of nothing huge or earthshaking, a few details of our lives, getting the new fiber optic internet hooked up, leaving my current job, wanting him home, kite flying, plus he convinced me that while my heart was in the right place, but maybe offering my friend the Emerald Queen for a road trip to Wisconsin wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. We didn’t fight, or snap, but there was some friendly eye rolling & a lot of worry on my end at least, knowing your partner is dealing with a health issue while stuck in an extended stay hotel far from home is not exactly ideal. I still haven’t unpacked anything in the great room beyond my laptop & clearing off the couch, although Kade’s room, the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen & our bedroom are pretty dialed in.

I drank wine, lingered over the sun set from our new porch, watched the neighbors stroll by with babies & dogs & packs of middle schoolers roaming while Kade ate & climbed over the railing fighting bad guys & through the minor miracle of technology Tom was almost there with us. I relaxed fully for the first time since I first called our new landlord weeks ago, & not just due to the nice Oregon Pinot Noir.

We’ve eaten exclusively on that porch since we got the keys, due to lack of room in the house (see boxes) & it being early fall in Oregon is the best time for porch sitting, so why rush inside? The porch has a fairly sturdy roof over it thanks to the landlord, so I have thoughts about getting a nice heater & maybe some mosquito mesh to extend our eating outside time until the full, bitter chill & wet of our glorious Dark Months descend upon us. Something about eating outside connects me to those boisterous meals in college, exhausted ones on trail crews, exciting ones scattered all over the backcountry camping out.

I went to sleep comfortable and happy…although with only the cat for company!


Sappy things do happen

I figured it was time & past time to turn my pen to writing a sappy yet eloquent shout out to the bearded man person in our lives, seeing as how I’m yet again abandoning him tomorrow night to drive up a mountain to camp with my still sans beard man person (read: leaving Tom to peace & quiet & tranquility, just him, some nice video games & a cat spazzing out due to the full moon). 

Almost two years ago, a single mother lived in a cute red house, with a little blonde love of her life & a succession of the world’s goofiest dogs (boxers, for those who need a dog to keep them laughing!). Said mother reached out & dipped a toe into…cue ominous music…online dating. But wait! This story pays off (so far!).

This foray into dating didn’t end with any of the Criminal Minds level horror stories, or even drink wine & bitch level. The single mom got all gussied up (for her level, anyway), & took a pretty stroll on a hot day through her nice neighborhood to a hippie ice cream place to meet a hardworking, goofy guy for a real, actual date. This goofy guy immediately proceeded to purchase her a cold, fancy milkshake & open doors & talk & listen to her….for the rest of the afternoon. Not that her people instincts are always the best, but she ended up strolling home with said goofy guy & introducing him to the world’s goofiest dog, who loved him completely. And most dogs, as we all know, are excellent judges of character. Feeling good about things, this single mom eventually sent said goofy guy home, later at night than would later be admitted, perhaps.

Fast forward to two years later, & said no longer single mom panicked about some lost paperwork (just my new, beloved vehicle title, nothing major or anything) & snaps at this goofy guy over early morning text…only to discover said paperwork where she’d left it, against advice, in the glove box (where, in her opinion, such paperwork should live.). Said woman now has to eat crow & apologize, & maybe just realize she should investigate the whole “think before blurting things out” thing.

Beyond that, these two weird, goofy, stubborn people are now in the (hopefully long) process of building a life together, including massive piles of laundry, keeping a kid alive, possibly house buying & disagreeing about such things as what to have for dinner, the merits of seafood, & how fast to drive in traffic.


That hardworking guy gets up before the sun & puts in his time building really expensive things only certain people understand beyond the basics, cooks dinner nearly every night, & makes sure the woman doesn’t bring home random animals. He checks the fluids in her car, keeps the kid alive so she can go to a writer’s group or disappear riding for hours & hours, & talks her off the occasional panic ledge. He’s never camped in his life & doesn’t plan to start now, although fishing is nice. He buys flowers & chocolate when he knows he’s really messed up, & asks the woman to not shut him out for four days while she processes her own mad.

 In short, this dude is awesome. His name is Tom, & back off ladies, he’s busy playing video games on his giant new wraparound monitor & hates being poked, prodded, tickled, kissed, or in general bothered when he’s trying to finish a dang mission. He’ll be to bed eventually & garbage can wait another day, right?


I’m writing this now as we’ve had a few rocky bits, & goddess only knows what’s still to discover to disagree or panic about, but we’re contemplating buying a house (side bar: Why the hell is a mortgage cheaper than rent these days???) & by all accounts, such a thing is more serious a step than marriage. But if you could see how good he is with not only keep Kade alive, but convincing him bedtime isn’t the end of the world & no, he doesn’t need to eat his peas, but you do have to pick up all your toys & ahhh! Here comes the tickler to beat all ticklers!

Thank you for all the laughs and more to come, bearded man person 🙂

Learning lessons

Sunday was a normal day for us, as in I bashed heads with my dad, got a new car (Possible codename: Emerald Queen), & nearly lost my child in Target (trying to find accessories for said new car). Wait, did I just admit that in public? Lost my child? For five minutes in a busy box store, I didn’t know where my child was. Pause a bit before you call CPS on me; a few good things came out of this, past the near heart attack & tears.

This incident more clearly defines my personal parenting struggle between two types. I could be a helicopter which people seem to expect these days, which goes against my basically lazy inner Cali girl. More & more I lean on my own hazy memories of slipping the bounds of my supervision when I was Kade’s age & wandering the Arizona desert with only a probably confused, definitely long suffering dog named Major for company.
As Tom & I stood a few feet away & watched Kade search the aisles for us, we waited for him to turn his head two inches & spy us, I was in a way testing him. Could he figure it out, how to seek us? How much tether to give him, considering the huge, wild ride of kindergarten poised to jump us at the end of this summer?

Kade didn’t see us (or there would have been no tale to tell), instead he headed off uncertainly down a different aisle. I shook my head as I headed out to collect him, but the panic only set in when he wasn’t there. No matter what the statistics say, I watch too much Criminal Minds. I understand the potentials in this situation, but there’s still the struggle. How much do I protect, from everything, & how much can I start teaching him now to fend for himself, to engage the brain resting in that pretty blonde head? What is appropriate for this child at this age, compared to his desert wandering mother, farm wandering with two older bothers’ father, or Tom with two older sisters in a sleepy farm town?
In that five frantic minutes with the worst trotting through my mind’s eye, & I can say this now with pride since the panic has (mostly) passed, Kade proved he does listen to me, & remember. I have two main rules for when we go out-don’t leave a place unless you’re holding the hand of whoever you went in with, & if you can’t find us, find an employee or cop & tell them you’re lost. It was the second one he put into use on Sunday. He found a women with a red Target shirt on, clearly an employee & not a random Joe Schmoe, & informed her he couldn’t find his Mommy.
Thankfully the tale ends there, as Tom overheard her calling a code yellow & found him that way, & then here came Mommy to scoop him up with no panic evident on her face.
So there’s the good news out of all this; he can handle himself fairly well in such a situation. But I’m going to teach him how to do a proper search, or just stay in place, for god’s sake child!

Who is 5 today?

Memories are a tricky thing, never perfectly trustworthy & apt to change or fade over time. But I have good reason to clearly recall what I was doing today, five years ago; labor! I wrote one of my most in depth blogs ever about it, but suffice to say it was a memorable event!
Even now, I can look back on how I brought my son into the world & draw strength from that. It’s a reminder that I’m doing pretty well for a first time Mom, & I have been making fairly solid choices (most of them anyway) since before he was born.

Today I have a golden, flirty, fully formed & yet still so much to discover little blondie who won’t stop growing & changing with each breath! I learn more from him & with him than in decades of schooling, & I never cease to be entertained. The best, of course, are the (thankfully decreasing!) wretched, woe is me, the world is bleak tantrums. You can’t help but laugh at what causes kids to go off the rails, #reasonswhymysoniscrying (today, no iPad before school, which has always been & will always be the rule).
I’ve practiced countless ninja moves, heard amazing stories of jet planes, friends & speed, accepted mud as a part of my daily life, cursed Legos when I find them with my bare feet, stocked up on Band-Aids of different kinds (Angry Birds, Star Wars, & of course, Cars), lost most of the pairs to his socks, & never cease to be amazed by how much pizza a 40 pound person can put away. And still I’ve not sucked in enough of that clean, sleeping little boy smell, felt the thump of his heart or the amazing amount of body heat put out when he crawls into bed with us to hide from a nightmare to get me through those teenage years I know are sulking just around the corner of those adorable fat cheeks & skinned knees.
We’ve welcomed Tom into our lives (I’m pretty sure he was accepted mainly on the basis of food & Lego provider by some of us). But at least we have someone to teach him the patience of fishing, the wicked coolness of a space video game, & an endless supplier of fart jokes (all farts real or imaginary are the most hilarious ever.)
I love you kiddo, & here’s to so many more Lego creations to build, puddles to become one with, rockets to launch, books to read & laundry to clean!


Oh, those whiskery muzzles!

On Saturday while driving to the barn to muck stalls & work with horses, I had one of those insights that comes so seldom to me. I’m not an introspective person by nature, but with good parenting, life experience, therapy & writing, I can usually take a gander at what I’m feeling at any given moment.
This thought was triggered by the fact that I’ve “rediscovered” music I used to listen to in college- Big & Rich, Owl City, Modest Mouse, etc. I’m that type of person to listen to a song incessantly for months…& then not for years. So I was listening to Big & Rich on the drive over, & it reminded me that I use to belt out with these same songs years ago, driving to another barn to muck stalls & work horses. The wheel turns & turns again, but certain things follow you. I was a relatively carefree college student with a pretty clear life plan; now I’m a mom & an office peon with wants & needs but a murkier path. But the horses are still there, though I never imagined them quite this way. I don’t own a horse or even have regular riding access right now, but I still get to handle some every week, & I’ve just signed up for a 12 week ground training course to keep learning.
When I became a mother, then a bit later when I “gave up” horses for a while, I was determined not to be a 40 year old re-rider, those girls who grew up horse mad & lost them while they pursued careers & raised children, got married & couldn’t find time or money to fit the horses until near retirement or the kids were in college. I’ve formed good friendships through endurance riding, & now through the local horse rescue. I am working towards taking regular dressage lessons again, time & money permitting.
Even though I don’t own horses, I’m not driving a carriage or working on a draft powered farm, I haven’t lost the horses, & now I’m just about able to start introducing them to Kaeden. He actually came home early from his grandparent’s house to go to the barn with me (though I think that’s more because of the trampoline & mud puddles, but still!) In a year or two he’ll be old enough to take lessons of his own, & we’ll see if this kid has even half the horse fever of his mother!