09 September 2014

Afraid To See A Full Grown Man In a Speedo, Then Don't Open This Post

Last weekend my son came home for his last leave from the Army before he is deployed.  He's trying to make the most of family time and his favorite hobbies.  The guy loves to body surf, so on Saturday, we went down to a the very first international body surfing competition at The Wave in Mission Bay.  The park is a 30,000 foot outdoor venue which includes 'The Wave' and an 8 foot  Flow Barrel called Bruticus Maximus.

This flipping white horse is 8' at the barrel.  It can be a rogue wave or like being thrown into a washing machine, depending on your ride.  A typical California wave in the ocean in the summertime is about 3 feet depending on the conditions so this shows you how rogue this wave is.

There's Dylan about to take his first wave in the practice run for the competition called, "Straight Out Of Whompton".  Don't ask me why its' called that, because I have no idea.  Number one, what is Whompton?  Number two, why would anyone want to take an 8' wave for ANY reason?  I know not.  I do however know why it was a blast to watch.

Let me explain.  Although in a way no explanation is necessary.  Seventy guys competed in nine heats making it a long, fun, summer day of California party on the beach!  During the trials they competed in red, white and blue speedos.  But then, during the heats they competed in whatever they wanted.  Extra points were given if you did tricks, flips, or any kind of showmanship.  My son got one extra point for each heat he competed in these 'budgie smugglers'.  I don't even know where he got them - they came in the mail.  Sketchy you say?  Yup, the internet opens up all sorts of opportunities these days.

 I LOVE where I live!

Mission Beach in San Diego, California.  A party all the time.

See way over to the left, that little red cap?  That's the way you hope you don't end up when you hit the barrel.  This is when you feel like you've been thrown into a washing machine and will end up at the chiropractor the next day.  Guys dislocate their shoulders and God knows what happens to their heads and spines.  But dude, it's fun!  The toys in the foreground are just a few of the things the surfers may use to lend a bit of showmanship to their ride.  Dylan used the shark on one ride, as if the grape smuggler wasn't enough!

Now this is how you want to enter the barrel.  Some body surfers can enter the wave and then reappear from it in their original body surfing pose on their side, feet straight out, one hand over the head, kinda like a yoga pose.  It's called the Chicken Wing.  You get a lot of points for that one if you do it right.

So now you know what we did with our weekend.  Don't blame me if you were offended by the banana hammock speedo (I warned you) but, you went there anyway.  You may want to ask yourself what that says about you?  I know I'm asking what this post says about me!

Love you more than all the fun we had last weekend at The Wave.



18 August 2014

Missing This Guy

 It's been way too long since I have read or written any blogs.  I think this happens to everybody, at least hobbyist's like me who just do this for fun not money.  Not keeping up on my blog writing, which has become a wonderful place to connect with friends, and to journal what's going on in my life,  and all my kids leaving the nest and not living at the cottage anymore, not for school, but for real life this time, has left me in a great big, giant, Redwood sized, FUNK.  My kids are not coming back from school or travel, except to visit from all their distant new homes in (Illinois, San Francisco, Seattle and Georgia, and the far North) well, North of San Diego about 45 minutes from here but, still.  Look above again at my little Finn.  Closer.  Doesn't that face just slay ya?  My expression looks the very same way right now.   I cry every time I look at this picture.  Why keep looking at it you say?  I' guess I'm trying to get all my tears out so that I won't have anymore and I can get on with my life.  What do you think?  Have you ever tried that remedy?  How'd it work out for ya?

 I had such a busy summer, including a working trip to Ireland for a month; my soldier coming home for the last time before deployment; and that's a whole other story, moving my eldest son to another state to start the career he worked so hard in college for,  and my youngest daughter, my baby,  got married .  I didn't see it coming.  I was too busy doing.  My daughter and her new husband went and took him with them to their new home.  Did I mention that?  Imagine!  How rude!  His face in the photo above, is how my heart feels.  Yep, and  about not keeping up on my blog writing.  And about my baby taking her baby away just as I was getting so attached I didn't really see how I could actually let her take him.  Did I mention that?  I have to keep asking because all this grief has boggled my mind and I no longer think straight.  That and I'm old.  No seriously,  the thought crossed my mind. Kidnapping that is.  But I'm pretty sure that is illegal, or immoral, or something starting with im.   Oh yeah, and after 37 years of parenting,  now it's for real. Now I have an empty nest.  I guess I'm lucky to still have my hubby, and he's kinda like a big ol baby, and he's liking empty nest just fine, so somebody around here is happy.   Look again up there at Finn's face, at his body posture.   Closer.    Can you feel my pain?  Please do, because I need to get rid of some of it.  Thank you, you've always been there for me.

Okay, enough.  This is supposed to be my happy place.  So...Attitude, it's all about attitude.  Bare, with me while a garner some.  Okay, mhhh, plaa, kuu, whaah, sob.  All done for now.  At least right this minute.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed a trip to The Beara Peninsula in the South of Ireland again this year.  The Rhododendrons were in full bloom.  They're everywhere and bigger than I've ever seen.  Quite a beautiful sight.

 This is the Dzogchen Beara Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Center in Allihies, West Cork.  I go there every time I go to Ireland.  I'm drawn to the sea, and the rural peace of this place.  If you ever get to this part of the country, please do stop in, or even stay.  Words can't express.

 This was about as cloudy as it got in Ireland in June of this year.  I do love rainy days there.  It's so perfect for cuddling-in, for long days of painting and writing.  This year the month of June was mostly, HOT though.  Just fyi; go to Ireland in May.  Lots of typical Irish weather and no crowds!

Well, this may be the shortest post I've ever written.  Until I recover my photos this is about all I can show you of Ireland.  Hang in there because the wedding pictures will be here soon and that will be a treat and my funk should be gone and maybe I can make you smile.  But for now, I'm gonna go look at the photo of sweet Finn one two three a few more times.

I won't let you go without a sunset though - so here it is.



Fletcher Cove Park

15 June 2014

I Know That God Must Love Me

I know that God must love me because, he's given me my daughter Tara.  Happy birthday darlin' girl.

She has a light in her soul
She opens up her heart
She shows me where the sun is
She can always ease my pain.

I know that God must love me
He showed me with His grace
I knew just how completely
When I saw my angel's face.

And in that very important moment
When she came into my world
I knew that she was so much more
Than just my baby girl.

She's my closest friend
The reason I do my best.
She has a smile that an angel might envy.

Some of these photos's are a few years old but, I'm in Ireland and don't have all my files. 
My internet takes forever to load a photo. 
 I like to keep my kids suspended in time. 
I wish I could keep them strapped into their seat belts in my car forever. 
I never wanted them to grow up and leave me. 
Forgive me,  I'm a stinkin' mess.
I will  carry on now.

Tara grew up to be a beautiful young woman and married her best friend.

About twelve minutes after they were married they bought a puppy they called, Hank. (Sorry, no pictures of Hank.)   Just like her momma, (wink!) you could tell that she had that maternal feeling going on.   First she and Jason had four strapping, handsome, boisterous boys.

Then this little ray of sunshine graced our lives.  First baby girl after all the brothers.

 Then about every two years she does this.  Self explanatory.

When you make babies this beautiful, and you parent in a way that is admirable and full of grace, the world is every single day, made just a little lovelier.

And this is number seven, bringing us to four boys and three girls.  I know what you're thinking!  One more and we're even.  Okay, maybe that's just what I'm thinking.

This is our big, beautiful family whom I live for.  I'm off writing in Ireland on a painting and writing retreat, missing them with all my heart and soul.  Tara, this is for you - for your belated birthday because, you are the poem I dreamed of writing.  The masterpiece I longed to paint.  You are the shining star I reached for in my ever hopeful quest for life fulfilled.
You are my child and now with all things I am blessed.

Happy birthday sunshine.

Love you more than all the shamrocks in Ireland,


30 May 2014

Surfing Soul Sisters

Friday, 30 May 2014

Since it's still Friday, even over here in Ireland where I'm on a working holiday, I decided to post a "Flashback Friday" on this here blog spot of mine.  Quick and sweet, a visual treat.  Two sisters, (my daughter's) about 6 years ago, on a surf outing, just across the road from our cottage by the sea.  It's the sweet, sweet soul of sisters enjoying summer.  Come along, let's pretend it's 2008!

 How do people make it through life without a sister?
-Sara Corpening-

 I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers.  It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage.  Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.
-Maya Angelou- May she rest in eternal peace.

 Ready...Get set...


A sister is a forever friend.  When sister's stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us? 

-Pam Brown-

 Short boarding, yea!

"I think I'll just lie out here in the great outdoors and ponder life."

In thee my soul shall own
Combined the sister and the friend
-Catherine Killigrew-

Look at the sea, girls - all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.  We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds."

 My heart.

 My soul.

 My life.

Mutual weirdness forever!

When I grow up I want to be a beach bum.

Hear the sound of the waves and relax,  it's Flashback Friday.

We're rolling into summer, friends.  What are your plans?  Lay it on me!

Blessings from the Emerald Isle,


28 April 2014

Surprises From The Cottage

Well hey, and welcome back to the cottage.  Back in my last post I promised that I'd let you in on what I've been doing in lieu of blogging, these past few months.

One of the things I mentioned in my last post was, a "surprise" pregnancy.  If you watched the movie of the baptism of our two newest grandchildren in my last post, you may have caught on to who surprised us!  If you want, you can catch up a bit with our Maggie's life as it was last year, right here- when we were taking her back to Illinois to go to University.  I'll get back to the surprise in just a sec.  Okay?  Okay.

One of the other great events in our life back then was, the graduation of our son Cooper, from University.  I wrote all about that right here on Graduation Day!

Oh!  What a celebration we had.  Four years of hard work and we all came together to stand by his side as he took his first steps into what would be a whole new life.  He's moved to San Francisco, California to take a job with an Architectural Design Firm, confirming the fact that I truly now do have, an empty nest. Ahhhhhhhh euuuuu ahhh sob sob sob slurp snot sob wahhhhhhhhhhh.  More about that later.

As you can easily see in this family photo, our eldest daughter Tara, is very pregnant with her seventh baby.  Our little Rebecca Kathleen was born last fall and I invite you to read all about that right here with just a click.  We Welcome With Love.  Look at this face.  You're not gonna want to miss it.

This is Rebecca (or, baby Brebecca) as her sister Abby tends to call her.  She is in the arms of her godmother, my daughter, Kate.

Then, this guy, you might remember him if you're a regular reader.  My son, Dylan, got another of his bright ideas.  Oh these kids… Kids!  He began a regime of preparation to enter the US Army.

Life kept rolling along way to quickly, (at least for me) and it was time for our youngest son to realize his dream.  Once again, with fear and trepidation, and happiness backed by pride, we saw him on his way.  You get the picture now, and you can see my handsome soldier and the beginning of his journey, right here at, An American Soldier.

Now let's see.  Am I forgetting anything?  It's been a loooong, interesting, frightening, thrilling, year full of change.  Have I mentioned that I'm not a big fan of change?

Friends, let me just say that, I do get it.  I've been a mom for 37 years.  It's what I dreamed of since I was a little girl.  It's the only thing I ever really wanted to be.  When other kids were hanging their star on becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse or a garbage collector.  All I wanted was to become a mom.  I understood that when you had kids your job was to love and protect them and to help and guide them through life and into becoming an independent, responsible human being who gives back to the world through their own lives.  But something in my brain just didn't click way back then, regarding the fact that all that guiding to independence would lead to them leaving me.  I swear, I just didn't get that part of the memo.  Embarrassingly enough, I thought that I'd raise these amazing people who would become my very best friends and we'd live next door to each other and live communally for the rest of our lives.  Seriously, I regret to say this is true.  But I found out in a face smacking, wallop upside the head way this year, that my little brain had it all wrong.  These most treasured, our kids, whom we love unconditionally, do grow up and have minds of their own and seek, SEEK independence.  And that's a good thing dammit!   Unfortunately, in this day and age it means they will most often be spread out far and wide.  I now have kids in Washington, Northern California, Illinois and Kentucky.  God gave me a break and one of them lives only 45 minutes away, right here in good ol Southern California.  (Tara, did I ever tell you that you're my favorite :)

I think I've caught you up on everybody except Kate and her husband Justin.  They are the couple who live in Washington.  (The wet one not the political one.)  After getting her degree in business, Kate decided, after her husband got a job transfer to Seattle, that she would go back to Nursing school.  She is loving it, and I know she will make an amazing nurse.  Doctor's and nurses tend to run in our family so, she knows what she's getting into.  Let me just say, although being a mom does tend to involve nursing of all sorts, it doesn't prepare you for things like cleaning Pannis.  You'll have to look it up, I just can't talk about it. When she tries to explain all the amazing things she's learning about and doing in her practicums - I often have to put my hands over my ears and mumble inside my head to hide the horrors of her future profession.  But really, GOD BLESS NURSES.  And while you're praying, could you pray that when she graduates she and her hubby come back and live somewhere nearby?  Thanks.

Moving forward now, let me introduce you to Ian.  Ian is Maggie's true love.  She met him at University in Illinois, where he is on a Volleyball scholarship.  You might be able to see from this picture, that volleyball would be a sport he may excel in.  Maggie is 5'9" tall so that makes Ian, yup, 6'7" tall.  His dad is taller than that and his uncle is taller than that!
Maggie and Ian surprised us last year right about the time Cooper graduated and we were celebrating that, with the news that they were expecting a baby in December.  Life is just full of surprises isn't it?  Just when you think things are working out one way, they aren't.  But the beauty of that is that, the best laid plans sometimes turn into even better ones.  I don't know who made the rule, certainly not I.  I would have things stay nice and cozy and expected and the same! You can't say I haven't explained to you how I feel about change. (Except for a few fun vacations now and then which I'm all for.)  You may not think this from all you know about me but, I handled this surprise the best of all of us yahoo's which was the real surprise!  It was quite the tactical maneuver, which even our soldier couldn't figure out, to tell mom.  Oh yeah.  I was the last to know.  Which instills the fact that sometimes  I don't always handle surprises well.  But one thing I live by is Love. And I love my children unconditionally, even though sometimes I want to smack them into tomorrow.   I know, I know, all the rules and all the regulations, all the precepts you try to teach your children, you think they hear you.  You think they will adhere to your uncompromising wisdom brought down through the ages.  Well, I've got news.  It doesn't always happen that way.  Say WHAT?

Phone calls were made, plane tickets were purchased, families rallied. It will always be easy to remember from now on, who is who.  We are the mini family up there starting with my hubby on the left.  They are the long and lean.  Obviously.   Maggie and Ian had a lot of decisions to make and since they are so young, they wanted their parents there to help them.  And we were.  We are.  They are. And we are all lucky we are!  I don't even know how to put into words (which is funny seeing as it's me.)  But, these people who were one day strangers, then unexpectedly  brought into our lives, are one of the most amazing, loving, gracious, beautiful in every way, family's I've ever known.  Suffice it to say, this could have gone so many ways.  I think I can sum it up by saying, God's grace is mighty! 

And life went on.  
 And on.

 And on.
 And on.
 And on.

It takes 9 months ya know?

 Now that's a surprise to celebrate.

Labor started just after we had sat down to dinner on 16th December.  Things went along slowly and gently and it wasn't until Maggie came into our room around midnight that, we panicked.  Just kidding.  It's not like we haven't done this before.  Oh heck, who am I fooling?  Every time seems like the first time and every time can go a different way.  Here we are back at the crossroads of 'change' again.

After almost 24 hours of labor the little one's heartbeat was in stress and it was decided that a c-section was in order.  Oh my gosh.  The gnashing of teeth, the pulling of hair, the biting of tongue (and that was just me!)  But in no time at all, and by the grace of God, our little Finnegan Scott entered the world and was gently placed in his mommy and daddy's welcoming arms.

Once again, baby love, has graced our lives.

Lots has happened since then, and as life goes on, so it changes. I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I guess I'll just have to reconcile with that. But, do tell?

Soon I will blog joyous wedding pictures, more graduations, and well, you just never know, do you? I have so many photos and there is so much action around here, I could fill up blog posts from now until…   Meantime though, Finn has something he wants to say and then I'll let you go.

I'm glad my family did.


(and can you tell I just love this swing?)

Once again, from my cottage and until the next blog.

Love you more than I hate change :) Okay, hate is a big word.  Dislike.

Tia xoxo