1.24.16 Common Denominator 


 What do a hole in my dress, a rough day at work, a dead mouse in my garage, and a hairball on my carpet have in common?  Nothing! They are a series of unrelated-awfuls whose only common denominator is that they all happened to me on the same day, and might I mention it was the day my husband left for Dubai for ten days?  It was the very same day he called to tell me he saw the best two movies on the airplane, the day he told me he worked out for an hour and a half at the hotel gym, and the day he shared six pictures of the amazing suite they just happened to upgrade him to for no reason! 

Awesome!” I said, in a just north of crazy but south of sane voice.  It was a day … period. Many of my friends know he’s gone, and they text me and ask me how I am, and I say fine, because, well, what else is there to say? I’m not going to lie and say great, because, as my hilarious sister once said, “I’ve got better things to save my lies for.” 

The thing about mothers is, we have to be fine, and we have to carry on, because God only knows what brand of unbalanced we’ll face tomorrow. I just got a text from my world-class traveling husband who is, yet again, working out. I, on the other hand, am having a grand sit in my car while I wait for soccer practice to end! So similar! 

I hate how men age well and women just, well – age. But it makes sense as to why. It’s because of days like these, and those, and all that are yet to come. We’re beautiful messes going insane as we try desperately not to forget anything! 

Quality and efficiency don’t mix. Trust me I would know. I brush my teeth in the shower, do squats while I’m flossing, and blow dry my hair by putting the vent on high in the car on my way to work. Sometimes I test my dishwasher by not rinsing first, realize that it, indeed, doesn’t get everything off, and proceed by just running the cycle twice. I never iron, just repeatedly put my dryer on “Freshen,” as if it’s the same thing. I take short cuts. I survive. 

I’m not winning mother or wife-of-the-year anytime soon, and I know it. That’s okay with me, but I’m well aware there are also things I can do to keep me closest to the best version of myself (or the better version, depending on the day). 

My husband is amazing, truly. He helps out (when he’s in the country).  But whenever he leaves for a significant amount of time, my stubborn streak kicks in, and Little Miss Independant, comes on strong. He returns and wants to come to the rescue and I just get annoyed, claiming I can do it all in a desperate attempt that my saying it will somehow make it true. But it doesn’t. 

So what are some solutions to me becomming a better me in these situations? 

Getting to church late, but still getting there …

 Going out with a friend who doesn’t ask how I am because she lives the same rerun I do … 

Pretending I’m picking up a biology sample instead of agnowledging there was a legit mouse in my garage … 

Taking a bath even if I’ve got kids and cats wandering in and out of my not-so-private, private time …

Making sure I work out every time I hear my hubby got to … 

Thanking God that he gave me the humility to laugh at almost every scenario …

Snuggling up with my children, even at the cost of less sleep, just so I’m waking with a view no wonder of the world could compete with …

These are the answers to my exhaustion, my pride, and my wrinkles. 

At the end of the day, even a day like some I’ve been living, love is the common denominator … love of my husband for his patience in seeing a version of me I never will, love in the two sets of eyes that crinkle with smiles, and love in this chaotic string of days that are both aging me, and making every moment ageless. 

Embrace it all, 


1.18.16 Translation?


Photo on 3-2-15 at 2.10 PM


So I’ve come to the sad and startling conclusion that I don’t think I speak the same language as … well … anybody else!  How did I come to this beguiling realization you might ask?  Simply.  No one in my life ever seems to understand me!  Thus, in the words of comedian Robert Benchley, “Drawing on my fine command of the English language – I said nothing.”  Or I might as well have, because I swear, there’s a disconnect between what I say, and what others hear.  At first I thought it was just a little miscommunication here and there, but thinking through each of my major verbal interactions, I’m convinced it is more.  My words are truly lost in translation, and they go a little something like this.

What I Say & What My Kids Hear:

*“We are really in a hurry so get your shoes and coats on.” TRANSLATION: “Take your time and make sure to dawdle as long as possible on your way out today. You can even forget to brush your teeth until the last minute, Mommy will just wait.” 

*”No more snacks before dinner.” TRANSLATION: “Ask for as many random snacks as you wish in your whiniest voice for the next half-hour before dinner to see if I cave in on my ‘no snacks’ request.” 

*”Indoor voices please.” TRANSLATION: “Get louder so that you can tune out everything else going on in this house but your shouting.”

*“Please pick up your rooms.” TRANSLATION: “I think you should play Noah’s Ark, and take out two of every toy you have and leave them in a line from your door to your closet to see if I can avoid stepping on them all.” 

*“Please stop playing so rough.” TRANSLATION: “Keep playing as rough as you want to and we’ll see who gets hurt first.” 

What I Say & What My Husband Hears:

*“Hey, can you take out the trash?” TRANSLATION: “Someday, when you’re too bored to do anything else, can you grab the trash on your way out of the house?”

*“You haven’t really helped out much with the dishes lately.” TRANSLATION: “I’m so used to doing the dishes myself that I don’t even need your help anymore. You go relax.”  

*“I really think we could use a date night.” TRANSLATION: “Why don’t I call a sitter and plan a night out for the two of us. You don’t need to worry about a thing. It’s more romantic if I plan it all myself.”

What I Say & What My Pets Hear:

*“Come on, get outside.” TRANSLATION: “Look at me in a confused way. Shuffle a few steps and then sit far away as I stand in front of this cold door.” 

*“No begging! Go lay down.” TRANSLATION: “Come here!  Get really close like you’re going to steal the food right off our plate and then lay down under the table at the littlest one’s feet in case she drops something!” 

*“Go on.  Shoo!” TRANSLATION: “Come here! Get as close as you can to my black pants and rub your fur all over them so I think of you all day when I’m at work.”

What I Say & What My Students Hear:

*“This homework is due tomorrow.” TRANSLATION: “You’ve got something to do, and it’ll be due sometime, but I don’t know when … so don’t even bother.”

*“There will be a test on this, so pay attention!” TRANSLATION: “I am talking just to hear myself talk, and you’ll never need this material again, so feel free to tune me out.” 

*“I really want you to take your time on this assignment, it should take the whole time period.” TRANSLATION: “Last one done is a rotten egg, so get through this as fast as you can! 

*“Please write in complete sentences.” TRANSLATION: “I’d like you to write your answers to me as if I were a pal you were texting. Feel free to ignore all grammar rules and logical English structure. 

What I Email & How People Interpret:

*“Can you please answer the following questions? TRANSLATION: “I might write a litany of questions in a long email, but I really only want you to read the first sentence and answer that one so that I have to email you again later with the rest of the questions I need answered.” 

*“Can you quick tell me …? TRANSLATION: “I’m going to write you for no reason, so feel free not to respond at all.” 

*“Can you please send me the document in a non-zip file, as I cannot open it.” TRANSLATION: “Send the file to me again in a zip, I like the Rubic’s Cube challenge … it’s just what I needed to stimulate me today.

You see?  Translation definitely lost.  Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had it right when he said, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”  I hate to admit it, but I must not be speaking clearly … because my world is most definitely limited.

Hoping this message is translated with a knowing-chuckle.

Literarily yours,


1/12/16 This Year’s Review


I just wanted to thank you all or following and reading! Every year, I get an update on this blog, “A Year in Review!” I hope you have fun peeking at the stats like me! Thank you for the privilege of reading through this life and connecting your story to mine for two whole years now! 

 “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.” -George Bernard Shaw

Elle’s Year in Review

1.4.16 I Un-Resolve


The English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that is your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterwards, when you have worked on your own corner.” 

So … great quote, but to me it just represents a big, fat, fail. Because I did the exact opposite!  I stepped into work, the first day of the new year, and after exchanging pleasantries asked my friend when she was going to quit smoking.  Just like that. I spoke first, and registered my words only after I saw her abashed expression that this personal struggle was just that – PERSONAL! 

Now I may have asked her with good intention, with a heart that desired her health, but hidden in even in the purest of intentions are judgements. Singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson stole the words of my conscious when he sang, “I think I’ve been wrong enough to know when I’m right.”  And I’m right in this … I was wrong. 

I embarrassed her. I called her out. And that’s not the, “corner of the universe,” I was called to improve. What about me – the girl who worries too much? Me – the procrastinator? Me – the perfectionist? Me – the hypocrite who hates judgmental people and then judges them for it!?! 

This year, I did not make a resolution … but as you can see above, there are certainly a number of un-resolved aspects of my character I’ve yet to work on. The edges and bristles I’ve adopted need to be worn smooth again and my too-quick tongue needs to be slowed. 

So this year: 

I un-resolve trying to fix others. 

I un-resolve thinking perfect is desirable.

I un-resolve judging that what is right for me, is right for everyone. 

I un-resolve giving myself a due date for creative intentions. 

I un-resolve believing that I cannot be fully forgiven, or fully loved. 

If I can keep to this list, I think I’ve got a chance to find myself a little more often. The other day I overheard two ladies talking as I walked passed them. And I could’ve sworn that when the first said, “Nice to see you,” the other said, “Nice to see me too.” I wanted to laugh, but then the mis-said phrase struck me a little, because if truth be told … there are times I’ve felt it would not only be nice to see me, but to be me. The real me.  The one I so often ignore or push aside to persue the demands of the me I so often am. 

So this past weekend I stole time.  I drove thirty minutes on a back-county road. It was just me and a milk truck for miles, and for once I didn’t even have the urge to pass. I went to my favorite coffee shop and ordered a white chocolate gingerbread mocha, without making it the,”skinny” version. I took a bath for thirty minutes of alone time with a great book. 

I prayed. 

I played. 

I breathed. 

And it was good to see me too. 

I’m not there yet, resolving the un-resolved takes time after all. But I’m on my way – to judging less, to loving more, and to hoping that maybe, just maybe, this year … I’ll be that much closer to getting, “me,” right.