I'm not sure how much blogging lurks in my immediate future and so just wanted to say with all the humility I can muster, SO LONG SUCKAS!

I'm to meet my probably already travel weary sisters in about five hours, where they'll undoubtedly be thoroughly sick of their lengthy layover.  However, I know they'll find some joy because they always do.  They hone in on the joy wherever they are - they're talented that way.  And what's more, they can comfort themselves in the fact that we're jet-setting off to MAUI! shortly.  I can already sense them inserting the extra vowels in random words, pretending they're as locals, they're so in the language know.  Like Caaesars.  And airplaane.  You know, like the gloriously sunny and double-A'ed Kaanapali, which is where we'll soon be settling in for TEN SPECTACULAR DAYS!  Can you hear my insensitively rising voice as you read?  Can you hear the triumph in my tone?  Do you note that I'm officially past my regret at my own familial leave-taking?

Chat soon.  But not until I'm good and sun saturated.  Wish you were coming too.  <smile>
Surely you remember my grandiose bragging from a mere day or two ago regarding our unusually spectacular weather?  In the interest of full disclosure, it's only fair that I let you know that it's rained almost every day since.  The running around in a tank top is a thing of the past.  This morning when I went out to attempt a run, I almost immediately chickened out when I discovered that it was raining sideways.  It was that directly-into-your-eyes sort of rain. 

Fortunately for me, in a few days, I'll be heading off to the land of perpetual Sun and Dancing.  Nope, not the Northwest Territories (I think there's a fair bit of dancing that goes on up there, correct me if I'm wrong?).  I'm going to spend some time in Maui with my beloved sisters.  There will be not a husband in sight and there will be no children.  In so many ways, the very idea of it delights my heart.  But there is also the part of me that is dreading it just a little.  I've never left my kids for any real length of time and though I don't doubt that it'll be healthy for both they and I, I can't help but default to thinking that I'm the only person in the Universe who is able to take proper care of them.  Ridiculous?  Most certainly.  Reasonable?  Not even remotely.  My high-strung, but heartfelt reality?  I'm afraid so.

I remind myself that it doesn't spell out disaster if the planners aren't signed every single day.  Surely the world will not stop spinning on its axis if the gym strip isn't washed one weekend.  My friend, also a mother of four AND daycare provider extraordinaire is, if anything, more capable than I of ushering the Littles to and from school each day.  My husband knows perfectly well how to drive to and from the swimming pool.  Surely it's a form of high narcissism to think that only I can do it all competently.   Who do I think I am, anyway?
Jude asked that I post this.  Immediately.  It's actually pretty fantastic.  Check it out and see what's huge in the 11-year-old boy crowd. 
Photo by the very brilliant Anabel
I'm a former Snowlander and even though I've now lived in the land of alternating glorious sun and torrential rain for about 16 years, I still can't get over how stunningly beautiful our Autumns here can be.  The air is so clear and bracing, you tell yourself you very literally feel energized by it.  We live in this unique patch of land wherein you can look about and simultaneously gape at mountains, ocean, lakes, river and a whole other country (we're a stone's throw (or two) away from the USA).  There are endless things to do outside here, all of them featuring the most fantastic natural beauty you've ever dropped your jaw alongside to. 

I feel very lucky to live here.  I love being able to go out for my runs still in a tank top and thin running pants.  There's no question that it's chilly for the first ten minutes or so, but then you finish the rest of your run congratulating yourself on your tremendous insight and wisdom which have allowed you to be running still in November thus scantily clad because you were so clever as to move here to begin with. 

Right around January, I start to feel the psychological drain of what feels like incessant gray, but then along comes February.  I don't know why, but we almost always seem to have the world's most stunning February here.  Remember the Olympics? 

Our flora and fauna here are truly something to write home about.  In my own backyard, I've personally seen raccoons, black bears (two of them), deer and rabbits.  My neighbor once saw what he believed was a wolverine, early on one silent summer morning.  There are regularly cougar sightings here.  The trees I gaze upon in the forest just beyond my backyard are a cacophony of green, each vying for your attention.  There are massive cedars that look to be centuries old and these are just the grandfathers of the tree hierarchy.  They are stalwart.  They look down upon the myriad young  with a steady patience, uncompromising in their roles as overseers.  They (and our lawns) stay green all winter long, providing a heady flash of color when you find yourself in the middle of all that rain that makes a perpetual damp of our winter here.  I love it.  Barring perhaps a swift move to Maui, I can't see myself ever living anywhere else.

And another one from Anabel's collection
JoyBoy and I spent the weekend - all the gray, rainy dampness of it - in Seattle.  It was a drink of water to the non-maternal bits of my soul.  Sometimes I forget those bits exist, and it was so nice to languish in bed watching the Food Network (I LOVE the Food Network!  It - single-handedly - is almost enough to make me reintroduce TV into our lives after an almost 18  year hiatus!) as I waited for JoyBoy to return with my morning Americano with cream.  I spent a small fortune on clothes, which being myself, I felt quite sick about.  I comfort myself in the knowledge that I only do this go-hard-or-go-home shopping thing about once a year.  We walked the action-filled city streets endlessly and just thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We read and we ate and then we read again.  It was a balm to our chapped old souls.
My parents just dashed off at the crack of dawn.  They're organized like that.  The coffee pot was pre-set, the keys were neatly laid out in orderly anticipation.  There's no question that the gas tank was full.  As I lived with them over the course of this past week, I was reminded of aspects of my childhood. 

I remembered that my Dad always had the vehicle pre-warmed and de-iced and waiting for us before a family jaunt.  I remembered that he always made sure I knew how to change a tire and to insure my car.  The way he said I love you was by filling my gas tank or by replacing my old wiper blades.  I remembered that Mom liked to have pre-cut veggies out and waiting for us much of the time.  I remembered the coffee she'd bring me while I languished in bed as a teenager.  I swooned as I recalled her many back scratches.  I swooned because I was enjoying a modern-day one as I recalled the former ones. 

It feels so nice to be cared for by someone again.  Not, of course, that my loved ones don't care.  But they don't care for me in that just sit down and rest and don't even think just now of all the lunches that need to be made for tomorrow sort of way.  I'm almost always the one planning and preparing and setting out uniforms and packing the swimming lessons bag and the one who runs around meal planning and homework helping  and the one who cringingly has to cut the poop chunk out of our cat's bum fur and it's all as it should be.  But this week, I remembered that it feels so nice sometimes to flop across someone's lap and just think about nothing but how lovely it feels to have one's back scratched for a long, lazy time.  That's parents.  I guess it never really ends.  With your parents, it's somehow ok to just revert back to being a selfish kid who doesn't feel like doing work, but who just wants to curl up on her bed reading stacks of Nancy Drews and graciously allow Mom to bring her a nice drink while she does so.
These hands always made me trust that all was well in the world.
In high narcissist fashion, I'm about to elaborate upon my fave's and their polar opposites, my yucks.  Brace yourselves.  Be forewarned, no one here ever asserted that there was anything very particularly others-focused about this post!

I love San Pelligrino, rose-bud-lipped children, people who emanate a sparkly personal wholeness, the words melodic and mellifluous, holidays in Maui, running both in and out of the rain, Bengal Spice tea, my sheepskin slippers, Black-Eyed Susans and their more elegant cousin - the Daisy, loud-laughers, the elusive intelligence/humility combo, Victorian literature, thick, hand-knitted cardigans, reading, my bed and it's all-white accompaniment, beautiful tea towels, Nigella Lawson, the Barefoot Contessa, birds, seafood, the triumph of order over chaos, C.S. Lewis - both his writing and his take on Christian faith, British accents (I don't care who you are - you seem brilliant to me), mushrooms, The Lord of the Rings, going to the library and then Starbucks, darkest of dark coffee with cream, confidence, kindness not caught up in wondering if one looks stupid, the JoyKids and the JoyBoy.

On the other end of the spectrum, I feel a bit repelled by people with visible yucks in their eyes, ears or nose, raisins, mess, prolonged noise, months and months of incessant grey damp, most movies, boy food like mashed potatoes and stew, ketchup,  the colors burgundy and forest green, liver, bickering people, gory halloween decorations and costumes, chapped lips, litter (who still does that?!), bumper stickers or t-shirts featuring tasteful comments like when this van's a'rockin', don't come a'knockin,  people who don't espouse the idea that kids are people worthy of full respect just like their adult counterparts, and lard.

Jump in!  Tell me some of yours!  I'm just dying to know!