Friday, September 30, 2011

life is Good.

The last few weeks, while crazy, have also been good.

Let me re-emphasize crazy.
Good. Capital G.

May this post serve as a reminder.
May this post help me appreciate what life looks like for those moments I simply don't.

Some of my favourite things of late?

1. Bodhi, at dinner: Hey're my best big kid. (I consider this a high honour. If my students ever don't like me, I can just rest secure that I'm high on the list in Bodhi's books.)

2. I came home the other night and didn't end up going down to my room until long after dinner and the kids' bed time. I found this in my bathroom:
I guess, in our house, there is always room for someone to stay overnight. (FYI, the shower was still unspoken for...anyone?) Also, I moved this baby to another location to use my sink that night. The next day, when I got home, the baby was back in its bed. Charlee obviously thought I was displacing her baby.

3. I now have three names. (That might be biblical...or heretical...I'm not sure.)

To Charlee, I am Kathleen. (I'm not sure I'm happy with this new change.)
To Bodhi, I am still Kaleen. (Please God, may he call me Kaleen until he's 30).
To Jane, I am Keen. (That's KEEEEEEEEN. You'll understand when you hear it. In fact, no matter where you live, you may have already heard it. It's THAT loud.)

4. This little event:

Charlee: Kathleen, I'm going to draw you a picture, but it's a surprise. 
Me: Okay, Char, that would be great! I can put it up in my office!
Charlee: Yeah, that would be great, Kathleen... 
She scampers off, and returns a few minutes later while I'm reading a book to Bodhi and Jane.

Um, Kathleen, how do you write ladybug? That's NOT what I'm drawing, but I just need to know how to write it. Don't look at my picture!
Me: Okay, Char, sound it out...l...a...d...y...b...u...g
Charlee: That's it? (She hesitantly shows me the page, while attempting to cover the ladybug she has drawn beautifully...complete with feelers). But that's NOT what I'm drawing! It's a surprise!
Me: (suppressing a laugh) Okay, Char.

Two minutes later, after some final touches, I receive the ladybug picture...and could win an Oscar with my feigned shock. Charlee giggles. 

5. Now that I'm back in student development, I don't just get drawings from Charlee...oh no, I have awesome students like Shanna, who leave me lovely notes such as this. No name, but I have no doubt in my mind who the drawing belongs to:
(It was Shanna's mad drawing skills, along with the abbreviated "obvs." that I instantly knew it was from her...along with the fact that the other day I asked why she never left me cool drawings on my white board.)

6. I am surrounded by female friends who have pledged to put health first. We are committed to eating right, exercise, and joy. Here's to entering our 30s FINALLY with the understanding that balance is necessary.

7. I have a great work team. While it's been a transition to go from working with just one other person, to now a team of 4, I am learning to remember them as I make decisions, and pursue things as an individual member of the team. What I do, or don't do, can impact them...I am accountable. And it is good.

8. The fact that I get paid to have coffee with students.
My friend Dan asked me about 6 months ago, if I could do anything and money wasn't an issue, what would I do?
My answer was: Have coffee with people and talk about their lives and Jesus.

It came true.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My computer's cancer.

Is it weird to pray that your computer will crash and succumb to a horrible, horrible death?

Well...I am.

I just picked up my laptop from the Mac store, and they've done everything they can.
But it's still not working properly.

The guy looked at me and said, "I know your computer is sick, but I can't figure out why, and I can't fix something that's not technically broken."

I looked at him and said, "So, what you're saying is, my computer needs to actually break. Soon."

"Yes, but your coverage is good and so we have some time."

"Okay, I'll see what I can do..."

And so, here I am.
Frustrated with the seven minute start up that this puppy is taking every time I boot.
Wondering why my Macbook is acting like a PC.

Praying my computer's illness will identify itself at the most opportune moment, and then we can start over.

Join me?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Losing a limb...

So, my lovely Macbook is in the shop. For the second time in two weeks.

I feel like I own a PC again.

Sad times.

My whole routine has been thrown out of the window, and sometimes I've felt like maybe I've lost an arm...or at very least a finger.

Today, for example, when Gary commented on "I wonder what the weather is supposed to look like this week?", and Carleigh looked at me with those eyes that say "you know this stuff...tell us!", I looked at her, and replied to her questioning eyes: "I don't know...I don't have my computer!"

My nightly routine of checking the news, the weather, and pinterest is on hold. It takes me that much longer to get at sleep. It's like my "bubba, sou-sou, night" has been taken away from me. I didn't realize my computer, and therefore access to the world wide web, has become my security blanket.

Let me tell you though, this weekend, sans computer, I ran away to Osoyoos to play with Gary, Carleigh and the kids.

It was bliss.
We pretended summer wasn't over.
We went for bike rides.
We sat in the hot tub.
And then the pool.
And then the hot tub again.
We hit up the local park and met the local "old men with dogs"...who, by the way, are always some of the most interesting people you can meet in a small town.
We played crib. (fyi: Gary 3 wins, Kathleen 5 - if he reads this, we'll end up playing 10 more times to even out the score...)
The kids fell in love with Go Fish.
We watched movies.

And I didn't check email/facebook/etc. for three whole days.

And guess what... life was just fine without it.

I even felt like I my arm and fingers were back where they belonged.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh Wanda.

It was the summer of 2004.
I had just graduated from CBC with my BA in April, and then immediately flown down to Costa Rica for three weeks to pursue my sense of adventure. Upon my return, I interviewed for my first "after college" job, and went home to the Island to waitress for two months until that job started in August.

And...I needed a car.

Being the investigative type, I remember looking online at all the options locally in the Comox Valley, and then, with Mom in tow, perusing car lots after closing hours so that I could freely ogle cars without the hassle of sometime trying to convince me to buy them.

And within a couple of weeks, I had found it.

It was a mermaid green Jetta. (They called it Silver Green).
I could picture myself behind the wheel, pretending I was cool and German. (A half-truth in real life.)

So, I took lessons on how to actually drive a standard from my friend Joy...with her two kids in the back seat. I will never forget some of those lessons. Let's remember, learning how to drive standard is stressful enough; I had the benefit of Joy's two kids (then, something like 4 years old and 1 1/2 years old) running commentary from the back seat. Jeremy (the then 4 year old) kept commenting on what bad sounds their car was making, and how mad Daddy was going to be if he knew I was breaking their car.

Joy looked at me and said, "Kathleen, if you can learn how to drive standard with these two yelling in your ears, you will always know how to drive standard, and nothing else will phase you".

(And she was right. I remember mentally thanking Joy and her two shouting kids when I was whipping through the streets of Costa Rica, driving standard 15-passenger vans full of teenagers.)

After a couple of lessons with Joy, my Dad joined me as I went and bought the car. It was the most money I had ever spent on anything outside of education. It was my first "thing" that I owned, and that I actually worried about losing/breaking/crashing/etc. My mom reminded me it was still just a tin can and it kept me humble as I stalled repeatedly at red lights, and sweated at the thought of stopping on a hill.

I named her Wanda, cause Maria looked at me one day and said "your car reminds me of a fish". I looked back at her and said, "A fish called Wanda".

Four years and three alternators later, dear Wanda was causing me grief, and making me seriously look for mechanic-type-boyfriends.

It was 2008.

I had just returned from another summer in Costa Rica, meeting with and praying for people who shared their stories with me. Stories of poverty. Stories of desire. Stories of joy with a whole lot less than we have here.

I came home and thought,"how dare I be ungrateful for Wanda! She may be difficult at times, but I have so much to be grateful for!"

That week, I drove to the Island, and my muffler fell off when I rounded a bend on Highway #1.

That was the end.

Wanda went to live with my friend Mike, was appropriately re-named "Wanda Thunderbolt the Second" and I bought my Honda Fit.

About two years later, I got a text from Mike. He'd given away my car to one of the youth at his church, and, ironically, had bought a Honda Fit.

Last week, I drove onto campus. The parking lot was full with new students.

And I saw her.

Could it actually be Wanda?

I chuckled at how my eyes were drawn to the car, and glanced over as I walked by, too focused on the work ahead of me, and running a little late. It couldn't be Wanda, I surmised.

But every day of this last week, I'd drive into work, and there she was, catching my eye.

Today, having a little more time to look, I finally noticed the license plate holder, proudly stating "Courtenay, BC". My mouth dropped open. I walked around the car and there it was. The scratched bumper from that time I backed into a very low cement barrier.

I had to laugh out loud.

Does life really just always loop over and over like this?

Owning Wanda taught me a lot about being capable, being confident, solving problems, finding solutions, asking for help, and budgeting for the unexpected.

Seeing her on campus today reminded me that those are lessons I still need to learn; I can't assume I've already learned them and moved on.

And maybe that's why she came home...

Friday, September 09, 2011

When you're five...

The kids in my house think mail is very cool.

The entire concept to them, I think, is magical.

Today, while at the park with Char, Bo, and Jane, the mailman walked through. I am amazed he didn't hear Charlee when she screamed, "IT'S THE MAILMAN!" as if Santa Claus himself had just arrived on scene.

We made our way back to the house and Carleigh checked the mailbox. She handed Charlee her "mail". (Carleigh has convinced the kids that any leaflet, flyer, credit card offer, or "to the owner" piece is meant for them. We may run into a problem when the kids learn how to read and realize it's not.)

Char ran over to where I was sitting to show me her mail. It was a flyer from a local real estate agent, and on the front was a picture of a bride, in full dress with flowers, and a very "uncertain" expression on her face. Essentially, the idea behind the flyer is that choosing real estate is a big decision that this company can help you with...but they can't help you decide if you're marrying the right person! (Insert knee slap and groan here...).

Charlee, being five, doesn't fully appreciate the expression on the bride's face. (And, let's be honest, we're thankful she doesn't fully get it yet). And so, aloud, she pondered: "why does this girl have this look on her face?"

It didn't take Charlee even two seconds to answer her own question:

"I think she realized she forgot to put on her underwear."

The mind of a five year old is an awesome thing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I'm still alive folks.
Tomorrow the college schedule begins...which means we finally fall into routine.
Thank you Jesus.

Today was one of my last 14 hour work days for a while...
*knock on wood*
...and so I took a 5 minute break this afternoon to call the house and check in.

After talking with Carleigh, I asked to speak with Bodhi, who was inevitably at the "hungry hour" (4:05pm on the dot).
He was rather non-responsive. Tired, grumpy, and hungry. Bad combo.

But my favourite moment happened like this:

Me: Hey Bo, what did you do today?
Bo: Um, Charlee played trains with me.
Me: Awesome! What else did you play?
Bo: We played check!
Me: What does that mean?
Bo: It means, we played check! (followed with the audible sigh and obvious frustration with my lack of I let it go)
Me: Okay, Bo, well I'll see you later, can I talk to Charlee?
Bo: Hey Mom? Charlee wants to talk with Kaleen... (which wasn't exactly what I said...)
Carleigh: Okay, Bo, that's fine...

I couldn't help but laugh.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I guess I also forgot..

This week was awesome...and exhausting. I have incredible student leaders and am really looking forward to working with them this year. And...they will always have more energy than I do. I need to remember that now, and save myself the grief later on.

Part way through the week, I had the thought:
When I was an RD, I was NEVER this tired!

Which was quickly followed with the haunting realization that I am getting older, and that I was 23 the last time I participated in leadership training week. 29 does not look like 23, for those of you wondering.

For those of you who are older than me, you are snickering and shaking your head at me...and silently thought to yourself "just you wait, kiddo". I know it. 
Mom, you're totally doing this right now - I just know. great blog post is pending. 
I need to go take a nap.

While I'm sleeping, please enjoy the following courtesy of pinterest:

Something inspirational:

Something clever:

And something that I find absolutely hilarious: