Crazy Chicken Lady

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Nikki is one of those people who you just naturally love. She is warm, kind, genuine, and hilarious - she will give you the biggest hug when you need it and the biggest hug when you didn't even realize that was exactly what you needed. She loves Jesus and Christmas, and her faith is inspirational! We became soccer mom friends, and from the moment I met her, I knew she was simply an incredible person.

Nikki also owns chickens, so I live vicariously through her flock of fowl and round-the-clock-access to freshly laid eggs, and I feel her pain whenever a hen suddenly "disappears" or passes.

On New Years Eve Eve, she shared a true gift with the world. A video rant. It was amazing! I laughed sooo hard that I couldn't entirely catch my breath (#rescueinhaler), tears were streaming down my cheeks, and I was thankful for whoever invented Poise products (which apparently happens when you're in your 40s, have birthed two kids, and have a horrid response to cedar pollen)!

Since then, she has posted two more videos, equally hilarious in my humble opinion! In my mind, I call them Bedtime Stories with Nikki. I sent her a text Thursday telling her how much I needed her to make a YouTube Channel. And then I told her daughter (who is Cee's age) to show her mom how to make a channel.

Low and behold, I woke up this morning to find that she created her YouTube Channel last night!! Crazy Chicken Lady Texas, I am elated, and the world will thank you for these nuggets of love!

Although you can watch them in any order, I would recommend chronological: The Gate, Swimsuits in January, and P.S.A. I seriously can't wait for more!!

Happy weekend, everyone! Much love to all...

Oh, and P.S. - I just made the best BLT ever (I need a manicure).

Hey...Is Anybody There?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I ask because I have been nothing short of a truly horrible blogger for the last year!

I'm not going to lie - last year was a weird year...lots of loss both personally (friends' dads - which I can't even begin to wrap my mind around, people's appendixes and gallbladders, and people's heartbreak), socially (mostly politically for me, although Hollywood icons are a close second), and professionally (former boss, treasured co-workers, opportunities that came and went, lives of precious students taken way too soon). In the same breath, there were so many positives from 2016 - lots of learning: from my mistakes, my short-comings, from new people in my life, from people who made an appearance in my life, and from people who have been a part of my fabric for as long as I can remember...last year was an exceptional year of growth for me.

Speaking of growth, my girls are really growing up - they are seeking their independence (which is totally normal, but true to form, I buried my head in the sand instead of preparing for it), and that has been an adjustment for all of us. I think I was born to be a doting mom (or a helicopter, as the girls prefer to call it), and my "mom duties" have shifted. Dramatically! Silver lining? I feel like we've learned how to reasonably navigate the storm now.

All in all, I think most Americans were just ready for 2016 and all of its crazy hot messiness to be over with, and here we are with a bright, shiny, brand-spanking new year ahead of us! That's exciting to me, and I hope it is for you as well!

After some reflecting, I think my "Blog-Everyday-For-a-Year" thing in 2015 was completely unrealistic and draining for me, and it created the perfect storm for some serious burnout; however, at the same time, writing is ridiculously therapeutic for me. So here I am, giving it another go!

"Starting today," whispered Captain Obvious.

Here are a few things I'm looking forward to in 2017:
-Passion Planning
-Daily Om
-Mint Droppers Shape Up Challenge
-Finishing the last class of my Principal Certification
-Teaching Cee what it's all about behind the wheel (eeeks...)
-Helping Jay manage the millions of things that she faces each day
-Evolving into a true volleyball mom (there are so many things I don't know!)
-Making room for everything else that comes along

A wise person once told my oldest little sister, Samantha,

"You must surround yourself with people more talented 
than you and better than you; that's how you grow."

I'm going to take that gem to heart this year!

How about you? What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Happiest New Year wishes to you and yours, much love to all, and thank you for taking the time to read along. Peace...

Post-Election "Blues"

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It seems I'm not alone in my post-election blues. Thoughts and feelings running through my mind include:

- WTF.
- How did this happen?
- I love blue states (even though I don't live in one) - where did they go?
- Homes in Vancouver are really expensive.
- So are homes in Helsinki.
- WTF.
- What's going to happen?
- How do homes in Vancouver cost THAT much?
- He is a "brand," not a leader.
- God, I hope he doesn't turn this into a dynasty.
- It's not fair that the rest of the world now views me, as an American, guilty by association for the results of our election.
- What about my girls?
- Aren't we perpetuating a rape mentality?
- Misogynist.
- Candada's economy is going to get a hefty injection from all of this.
- Is this really happening?
- WTF?

I found peace and comfort along with sheer frustration when I read through Facebook comments; I saw genuine hurt and sadness from people I adore; I saw seething celebrations from others.

I know sometimes we have to agree to disagree, but we have so much more at stake with this new "leader" of ours. This person who has been elected has every sickening characteristic of the man my mother married when I was five...a man who quite literally hijacked my childhood and was allowed to do so in a house where my mom didn't do her job as a parent.

Throughout this round of the slinging of the mud, with each degrading comment towards women and minorities, I was reminded of the same sick feeling of my childhood. And now we've selected him to be in charge of our country.


And then I found this, and it kind of resonated with me. If you've had the same hopeless feeling I have since around 8pm on Tuesday, then first of all, solidarity, y'all, and second of all, I hope this might help you as well. I felt like Pavlovitz put all of my feelings into a heart-felt essay, one that steals the words right out of my mind.

"I don’t think you understand us right now.
I think you think this is about politics.
I think you believe this is all just sour grapes; the crocodile tears of the losing locker room with the scoreboard going against us at the buzzer.
I can only tell you that you’re wrong. This is not about losing an election. This isn’t about not winning a contest. This is about two very different ways of seeing the world.
Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and interdependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.
Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation—and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed.
They have aligned with the wall-builder and the professed p*ssy-grabber, and they have co-signed his body of work, regardless of the reasons they give for their vote:
Every horrible thing Donald Trump ever said about women or Muslims or people of color has now been validated.
Every profanity-laced press conference and every call to bully protestors and every ignorant diatribe has been endorsed.
Every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation Mike Pence has championed has been signed-off on.
Half of our country has declared these things acceptable, noble, American.
This is the disconnect and the source of our grief today. It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity.
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.
Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.
Those things have essentially been campaign promises of Donald Trump, and so many of our fellow citizens have said this is what they want too.
This has never been about politics.
This is not about one candidate over the other.
It’s not about one’s ideas over another’s.
It is not blue vs. red.
It’s not her emails vs. his bad language.
It’s not her dishonesty vs. his indecency.
It’s about overt racism and hostility toward minorities.
It’s about religion being weaponized.
It’s about crassness and vulgarity and disregard for women.
It’s about a barricaded, militarized, bully nation.
It’s about an unapologetic, open-faced ugliness.
And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance—it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside. That is the most horrific thing of all. We now know how close this is.
It feels like living in enemy territory being here now, and there’s no way around that. We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize. We are grieving the loss of a place we used to love but no longer do. This may be America today but it is not the America we believe in or recognize or want.
This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people—not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.
Grief always laments what might have been, the future we were robbed of, the tomorrow that we won’t get to see, and that is what we walk through today. As a nation we had an opportunity to affirm the beauty of our diversity this day, to choose ideas over sound bytes, to let everyone know they had a place at the table, to be the beacon of goodness and decency we imagine that we are—and we said no.
The Scriptures say that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. We can’t see that dawn coming any time soon.
And this is why we grieve"

By John Pavlovitz

Hug Your Trees

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Thank you for calling XYZ, how can I help you today?"

"Hi, my name is Christy, and I'm calling because two trees have disappeared from my home. As in someone, like, chopped them down. They're gone, and they aren't supposed to be gone."

It's a phone call I never thought I'd have to make. Nobody thinks it could ever happen to them, but it happened to me, and I was devastated.

I didn't even think to take pictures of them...I assumed they'd be there waiting for me when I got home, just like they have been every single day for the last seven years because they're trees, and they have roots, and they are part of my home. In fact, the last picture I have of them casts them if they were 2nd best to the focal point - the hanging basket.

But they weren't 2nd best. They were good trees, my trees. Can you see them? Peeking over the back of my fence, providing that extra "je nais se quois," boosting my amateur photographic composition with just the right aesthetic balance of backyard-meets-easement? They offered shade, protection, and privacy from everything else out there in this big, bad, beautiful world of ours.

Can you even imagine my horror and when I came home Monday to find my trees in a state of this-ness?

What used to be a subtle fence camouflaged by a lovely, flowering Oleander and a Desert Willow is now a blank, treated-pine canvas. Starkly blank. Sadly bare.

Today, three days later, this is my new view. It's fine, I guess.

It's not fabulous, it's just okay.

I think this is a less-than-subtle side-effect of other things that are happening in my life right now. Lots of change has emerged over the past week. The last week has felt vaguely familiar, maybe a little like the end of Toy Story 3 with the conveyor belt and the incinerator. But it's going to be alright because Pixar, Disney, Spielberg, and I are all fans of happy endings.

Maybe sulking in angsty arbor analogies is just my way of dealing with it all, and the trees are my allegorical scapegoats. Bless their chopped up little hearts.

And then I found this quote, which I thought was reasonably ironic...

Actually, this is quite accurate. I am not a tree. I am a human, a mom, a friend, a wanna-be-gardener, a sometimes-chef, someone who occasionally, accidentally makes people laugh, an advocate for kids and teachers, an Instructional Coach, a life-long color-coder, a Democrat, an animal lover, and a tree hugger. I am a person who has taught for the same principal for exactly 10 years...a person whose principal is spreading her wings and flying off to a different campus in someone else's neck of the woods. I love where I am right now in my life, but I don't like the uncertainty that comes along with the transitioning part of change...the great unknown. I'm not good with suspense. 

I am adapting to my new view both at home and at work. Today, I ordered a Celeste Fig which will eventually revamp the view from my back porch. I'm semi-excited for it to arrive next week so I can plant it and let some new vegetation take root. I have honestly wanted a fig tree every since I moved into this house - I had one at my previous house, the one with my chickens, and pretty soon I'm going to have one of my own again. I cannot wait to see what it produces. Fruits of labor, love, and patience.

I do have to send a shout-out to my friend and neighbor, Kathleen, because once she saw how quickly my easement experienced deforestation, she was quick to act, and gosh, I sure do admire her for her on-the-spot and timely thinking! She has also given me some free therapy on how to handle going through a principal change (among other things). She is much wiser than me, and I appreciate her soothing words about trees and change and life. 

"Do Not Take (No cotar). Plant being moved this weekend. Thank you."

Her sign made me happy for all tree-kind. This tree was given to her by her husband's father, so it has sentimental value to her. 

The "no cotar" is what sticks with me. You can't put that kind of sign on a person because people are meant to grow, and trees are, too. Take a close look at the tree - it's perfectly healthy, and it obviously has people who care dearly for it. 

New principal, whoever you are, please don't come in and discount the sentimental and meritorious value of what has been established at our school over the course of the last ten years. "No cotar." Take the time to see how things work, take time to appreciate the things we have in place and to learn where our strengths are as a campus and as a group of teachers. Take the time to evaluate what doesn't work, and dig deep to determine why. Be ready to plant new ideas in our minds...when the time is right. Nobody wants deforestation so that we resemble a treated-pine, blank canvas with only a few chemical-coated remnants of what we worked so hard to establish. Especially me. 

Hug your trees tight tonight, people. You really never know when it might be your last time to see them. Maybe your trees are literal trees; maybe they are people who helped you grow your own roots when you were young(er), incredibly green, when nobody knew if you'd actually take root, and when it was pretty hard to believe in you...yet they still gave you the chance and supported you as you established yourself. Embrace your roots and appreciate how strong they are, even if a few branches or the entire trunk head out into the wild, blue yonder...

It's that simple. 

My current advice to myself:

Hug your trees.

Embrace change.

Wish others well, and honor their dreams as they outgrow where they've been and what they've created. Know they are going to repeat this cycle for other people - know they're paying it forward, and know that maybe you will too, someday.

Post warning signs when you need to, but use them sparingly or else people won't take them seriously because they can quickly become commonplace.

Eat figs, but only once they're ripe.

Know deep down in your heart that everything is going to be okay. Really - it is. 

And that's pretty much it. 

Nope. Wait. I forgot one thing. Drink wine, too. That is especially helpful when things are being uprooted, replanted, and are establishing themselves into new soil.

Okay - that's really all for now. 

P.S. - Maybe I'll order a Pinot Grigio vine next...

Being a Mom

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I can't even tell you how much I love being a mom, although I'm sure you have a relatively general idea. My girls are just amazing, and I am so blessed that I was chosen to be their keeper.

Even when things are crazy at work, time and again I find I can center myself by reminding myself of my most important job: helping my daughters navigate their way through life. Nothing beats that.

Not a thing.

My friend Kim shared a great post yesterday that really resonated with me. My path to motherhood is different from most, but similar to some. I invest so much of my time into mothering and parenting because that was a huge deficit for me when I was growing up. I know it probably sounds cocky, harsh, or egotistical, but I figured out how to be a mom by being inspired by moms other than my own. I think I've read this piece at least 4-5 times in the last 24 hours...Mother's Day: When Your Mom Isn't A Mom.

I most definitely wasn't born into a family, so instead I've created a family - it's unique since I'm a single mom, and we are carving our path as we go. When I look back at what we've carved to this point, I am pretty darn proud of it.

Are there bumps along the way? For sure!
Is this path of ours straight and narrow? Nope.
Are there places where we have completely veered off of our path? Yup!
Do I believe our path is the right one for us? Absolutely.

It's our path. It's just as unique as we are.

For the last several days, the girls have been asking me what I want for Mother's Day, and my answer is easy: I want to spend time with them! I think back to Mother's Days when I was their age where my gifts were ridiculed, critiqued, and criticized, and I realize that the most incredible gift of all is the gift of  simple, quality time spent together with the ones you love the most.

I hope you all have a completely fabulous Mother's Day, I hope you know the work you do as a mom is valued, and I hope you get to spend some time with your loved ones. And if that happens to be your mom, I am truly happy for you!

Happy Mother's Day eve, moms!

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