“No Touchy the Bloggy.”

I have a most excellent graphics designer who partners with me on many levels of my life. She is the one in charge, hereby, heretofore, forevermore and furthermore hitherto.

Sarah Barber of Simple Root Media is an expert in her field, and she maintains clients all over the country even while she loves on her curious preschooler and keeps her baby on a schedule that would impress the Baby Whisperer. She thinks with me, she thinks *for* me on occasion, and she makes me laugh.

You can imagine her dismay when I sent her a late-night text to say, “Sarah? Are you awake? I messed up my blog. Seriously.”

I was nosing into what should just be Sarah’s element (see first paragraph above), and I deleted the Featured Posts and ultimately the Home Page. I’m not really sure how that happened.

If you were to visit my blog last night, you would have seen a polite message from my web host that said, “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? We can’t really find what you’re looking for.”

Translation: Tricia is curled in a fetal position, muttering the words “Featured Posts… Featured Posts…” and she doesn’t know how she will explain this to her agent, editor, publicist and publisher. And a few thousand readers. Particularly because she has no idea what has gone wrong.

In my panic, I quickly made a new page, titled it “Featured Posts,” and prayed that would magically restore all things ruined. It was a very right-brained, faith-based approach. There was no logic to it at all. But I wasn’t above it.

It was 10:00 at night. In my distress, I had forgotten to put the children to bed. They were watching yet another episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Max had left two piles of poop on the floor. And I was pacing the bathroom, tracing lines down the tiles with my big toe, begging God to spare one internet-savvy angel to please, please save the day.

Sarah Barber is indeed this internet-savvy angel who has swept in and saved the day. In fact, this ‘little hiccup’ led us to talk about the major overhaul that will be my website within the next year. So stay tuned for all that will be bigger and better and book-friendly. That’s Sarah’s domain.

She finished the night with one more text: “No Touchy the Bloggy.”

Deal.  I have learned my lesson.  And with God as my witness, she will never again have to buy a cup of coffee on my watch.

My treat. For life.

Bell Bottoms

I believe there was a day, circa 1992, when I may have been looking through my parents’ high school year book, and I may have been quoted as saying, “Mom, I can’t believe you wore bell bottoms. Those are atrocious. I will never, ever in my life wear those or anything like them.”

And in her wisdom, she said, “I’m going to write down those words you just said.” She may have also had it notarized.

And then the fashion industry got all clever, re introducing a subtle version of bell bottoms in the name of ‘boot cut.’ And I fell right into their mind game, one small step at a time.

And today, I’m wearing real deal bell bottoms. And, by the way, loving them.

It’s a good thing I didn’t make a lot of my life’s greatest decisions at age 13.

Oh, the Irony.

Max likes to climb up onto the back of the couch.  It’s very catlike.  But he’s not catlike.  Or he would not live here.


“Mommy,” says Tyler, “I really don’t think you should let Max climb up there.”


“Well, I have to choose my battles with him, and that’s one I feel like I’m okay with.”


“But he could fall off the back of the couch.  He could get very hurt.”


“And you know, kiddo, sometimes that’s the hard thing about loving someone who belongs to you.  Sometimes you just have to let them do what they’re going to do, even if they might get hurt.”


He lowers his eyebrows at my poor judgment.  I’ve just failed some kind of responsibility test.


“Well, I don’t think that’s a very good idea at all.  Not. At. All.”


Oh, the irony.

Cage-Free Egg

“Write about what is in front of you.”


In front of me is the Starbucks table for two, my very favorite one in the store.  I haven’t been here in a few weeks.  In fact, I challenged myself to go somewhere else this morning, to settle in and feel the groover somewhere else. But then I took a shower, changed the bandage on my elbow, and that was pretty much all the ‘new’ I could handle for this day.


In front of me is the Starbucks Protein pack.  Bistro Box.  A cage-free egg, white cheddar cheese, multigrain meusli bread with honey peanut butter spread, apples and grapes.  Delicious.  Not my usual fare, but I looked at the scale yesterday when I went to the doctor.  Which frankly irritated me more than the number on it – I was more annoyed that I looked at it.  I make it a point not to know.  And now I know.  And now I’m having a hard boiled egg and apple slices for lunch.


I think it’s funny and thoughtful that it’s a cage-free egg.  I don’t think I would really mind if my egg came from a cage.  But it’s possible that I don’t give much thought to the welfare of animals outside my control.  I’ve heard this recently.  A weakness of mine, it seems.


So, hooray for the cage-free egg!


I will write for two hours today.  About Jack and Audrey and Campbell and Laura.  Someday I will introduce them to you.  I’m seriously getting to know them so well – so much so that I dream about them.  I carry them to bed with me, thinking, “Oh, their stories!  Their stories… it’s just so much to hold.”  As if I am their collective therapist and I have got to set some boundaries before their problems become my own.


“Psst.  Hey, Tricia.  You’re the one writing the story.  You get to be in charge of your emotions and your characters.”


Actually, that’s a myth.  When I write, I’m pretty much not in charge of anything, at least if I’m writing with authenticity.  And I’m not sure I would want to feel less when I write.  Because if the writer feels little to nothing, then so will the reader.


And I think I have more to give you than that.


In front of me is always the Valencia Orange beverage.  If you work it right, you can get a drink around 1:00, save your treat receipt (they ask me every time, as if I’ll ever say no) and get your $2.00 drink in the same visit.  I am a master of such trickery.

It Was Fun Until It Wasn’t.

Tyler and I were having so much fun on the Alpine Slide.  We’ve ridden together every summer since he was three, or maybe two, and we love it. We make a great pair.


One year, he shouted, as we raced down the mountain, “Mommmmmyyyyyyy!  Be careful with me!”  As if, for all of my days, I can imagine doing anything else.


This time, at age six, he was in charge of the brake.  (That was my mistake, and the place where I accept fault for the situation that ensued.)  The first time, we sailed down the mountain with the wind in our hair and the wheels on the track.  It was glorious freedom.


The second time, we were having so much fun – just so very much fun – until suddenly we weren’t.


The track veered to the left, the cart banked up on the right, we fell off, and our knees and elbows took the heat for several feet until we were ejected from the track.


(“Did you scream?”  No, because my most vivid memory is my view of Tyler’s head smashed into the side of the track.  I was fully mom in that moment, and very honestly, nothing on me hurt.  Yet.)


We were halfway down the mountain when we crashed, so our choices were to get back on the slide and coast to the bottom (with the knowledge of riders barrelling quickly behind us), or to traipse our tattered selves down the half-mile, dragging the sled behind us.


We rode down.  Slower this time.


When we got to the bottom, Tyler had his eyes on Tucker’s track, ironically the faster one than ours.  Tuck was riding on his own, and he would arrive at any moment.   As he slid into the safety zone, Tyler was right there to tell him, “We crashed, Tuck.”


And it was only then that Tyler started to cry, after he had told his brother.  There’s something deeply beautiful about that to me, though I can’t name exactly what it is.  But it is compassion and courage and love and concern, under the umbrella of brothers.


Now that all my babies were with me, I asked for help.  “Please, help us.  We’re a little … we crashed.”  They took us to the first aid clinic on site, a legitimate medical station with six gurneys and lots of things that will sterilize, disinfect, and bandage.


Tyler was super brave while the nurse cleaned his scrapes.


And then it was my turn.  I think I was brave, too.  But my brave called for an oxygen mask and glasses of water and “Ma’am, please lie down.”


My elbow is peeled like an apple, my friends.  We’re talking big white patch of sadness.  There were shards of fiberglass from the slide embedded in me.  But all of that paled to my awareness that my children were in the room, I was both mother and patient, there was no other adult they belonged to, we were at the top of the mountain, and we were a gondola ride and two hours from home.


Two camp counselors came to take the boys to the Bounce House so I could be effectively treated.  The wound was superficial, but the panic was mounting.  The nurse said, “I think there’s something else going on here.  This isn’t about the scrape.”


You are right.  Here’s my phone.  Call someone on the starred list.  They speak for me in moments like this.


Robb’s family was the closest on the scene at their mountain home.  As I have always known they would, Craig and Jay came to our rescue, and Robb’s dad looked so much like his son at my bedside that I can’t really tell you about that right now.


We made it home with the help of Robb’s family and mine.


It has been two days and both of us are okay. Tyler is striped with Band-Aid residue, and if I had the stamina, I’d have him soaking in the bath tub to take care of that mess.


I’ve been to the doctor, where they unwrapped, cleaned, rewrapped, and topped me off with a Tetanus shot for good measure.  I’m a little worked over.


We are learning the common factors of fault and accident.  Tyler said, “Mommy, I know your bandage is bigger, but I think my pain is worse.”


Let’s not compare, kiddo.  Let’s just get through this.