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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday: Have

Wishcasting badgeIt is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, "What do you wish to have?"

I wish to have the strength, courage, and perseverance to write despite any fears that may try to take over. I wish to have a paid writing gig- maybe a single article to get started. I wish to have the guts to write in my own voice, sharing my own truth.

What do you wish to have?

Visit Jamie's site to see what other people are wishing to have.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mom/Stepmom Relationship

We had a visit from my stepson’s mother the other day. She lives in another state so we don’t see her very often.

She called on Sunday to say she would be visiting her family on Monday. (Her family lives about an hour away from us.) Before she left town, she wanted to stop by and visit her son.

She arrived at our house that evening with her boyfriend and we all hung out at for a couple of hours, ordering pizza, chatting, and laughing together.

I suppose this may seem a bit strange. I’ve heard how turbulent the mother/stepmother relationship can be. I think our society even expects it to be. There are books and websites and counselors out there offering us all kinds of tools to help manage it.

Maybe my situation is rare- I don’t know, but for whatever reason she and I have chosen to get along fine.

We hug hello (yes, this was a surprise to me the first time, too!) and she often mentions to my husband how much she likes me and how grateful she is that I don’t feel threatened by her or act harshly toward her.

I’m happy we get along. She is a friendly person who has never disrespected me. I don’t judge her and she doesn’t prevent me from being the kind of stepmom I am.

Maybe it’s because my own mom was adopted, so I understand that parenting is less about who birthed a child than it is about how you raise the child.

There is no reason for his mom and me to have a strained relationship. She, my husband, my stepson, and I are all comfortable in our roles and interactions with one another.

My stepson has been very loved in his 12 years on this planet. He had his dad, his grandparents, and in recent years, me taking care of him, leading and teaching him.

His mom loves him. If she wants to visit, I’m happy to welcome her into my home for dinner. Her boyfriend was nice, too. It was like spending the evening with friends.

Why shouldn’t it be? We have one very important interest in common.

I’d love to hear from other stepfamilies. How do you handle the mother/stepmother relationship?

Wishcasting Wednesday: Experience

Wishcasting badgeIt is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, “What do you wish to experience?”

Life. Plain and simple.

I wish to experience raindrops on my cheeks, the high I get from dancing in my room, the way that desperate looking sprouts transform to full sprawling plants in just a few short weeks.

I wish to experience naps in warm sunbeams and the purr of a cat when I scratch its ears. I wish to experience old architecture and the perfect pinot grigio.

I wish to experience the bliss of skipping down a street, not caring what anyone thinks.

I wish to experience an abundance of hugs and smiles and Eskimo kisses (that’s where you rub noses).

I wish to experience writing with reckless abandon, secure in my own skin.

I wish to experience meeting in person some of the fabulous women I’ve met online through blogging.

I wish to experience a time when people argue less and work together more.

I wish to experience the feeling of no regrets, of being me without apologies.

What do you wish to experience?

Visit Jamie's site to see what other people are wishing to experience.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Foul Ball!

Baseball is a dangerous sport. The balls fly fast and hard, it’s no wonder the players wear helmets. My stepson loves to play. He has several games a week from April through June, so we’re right in the thick of it now.

Somehow the people who don’t play baseball are the ones who keep getting baseball injuries. Go figure.

After Saturday’s game, my husband, who coaches the team, hobbled out of the dugout severely favoring one ankle. He explained that he had been hit in the ankle with a baseball when warming up one of the pitchers. Due to the large amount of swelling, he spent the next few hours elevating and icing his ankle.

My husband isn’t the only magnet, though. For some reason this year, I’ve had more foul balls fly my way than I can count. It doesn’t matter if I sit by first base, third base, or stand behind home plate. Somehow foul balls adjust their trajectory toward me.

It all started at my stepson’s middle school game about a month ago, where at least 4 foul balls found their way to the bleachers set far behind home plate. One in particular was coming straight for my noggin at a time when I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. To my husband’s desperate “heads up” cry, I tried to lean away from him, while he tried to pull me toward him. He managed to knock the ball away just over my head with one hand and scratched the heck out of my arm with his other. He got me from the front of my arm clear around to the back. It drew a fair amount of blood and it’s still healing now, but at least I didn’t get hit in the head with a ball.

The foul balls have continued their attack ever since. This weekend went above and beyond and left me wondering if the world is trying to take me out.

During Saturday’s game (the same one which left my husband limping), I set up my chair a good ways past third base. I’d guess at least 6 balls came out that way. Two prompted me to flee my chair quickly. One hit just two feet from where I cowered with my hands over my head. Clearly I need to learn to dodge better.

On Sunday there was yet another game at yet a different field. I set my chair up between home and first, closer to first. The first foul ball appeared to be coming directly for me so I took of running. It bounced right next to my chair. A couple of the other parents commented on the close call and joked that someone must have it out for me. I told them they had no idea, but I think by game’s end, they understood.

I found myself running from a lot more balls that morning. A couple of them were after I had abandoned my chair and moved to the other side of the bleachers (closer to home plate). It didn’t seem to matter where I was. I moved to a parking lot and a ball landed there.

As I finally determined that it didn’t matter where I stood, I went back to my chair and stayed alert. Sure enough, one of the last plays of the game sent me fleeing my chair again. As I ran away I heard the ball hit the ground right behind me, then felt the sting as it bounced into my hind end.

Add me to the injured players list. I may be out the rest of the season.

It is curious that my stepson who actually plays in the games hasn’t had any injuries. I’m grateful for that.

Writing, Kindness, and Creativity - Ideas, anyone?

I’m on a mission and I’m calling for fellow brainstormers. 

As you probably know I’ve been thinking a lot about my values lately- the things I want to structure my life to support. Those values have led me to focus more acutely on writing, kindness, and creativity.

Just saying these words – writing, kindness, and creativity – gives me a little rush of energy and excitement. This is where I want to run and play right now.

So the challenge is on. I’m making a list of projects that involve these three things, projects that I may explore or that I may keep on my list to spur new ideas.

Having a list will be great because I can refer to it when I have a few extra minutes and want to try something new or do a little research. When I feel lost and directionless, my list can shine a little light to get me back on my path.

My list so far looks like this:


  • Book reviews of books about philanthropy, civility, and bettering humanity


  • Make greeting cards


  • Get involved with organizations like Special Olympics or Hospice or one of other amazing service organizations out there


  • Grant writing


  • Spreading the message of civility




I know there must be a million more things I can put on my list. I also recognize that I am probably limiting my thinking. That’s why I’m asking for help.

Will you help me build my list of projects encompassing writing, kindness, and creativity (or even just 2 out of 3)?

Leave your ideas in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Was Mother's Day?

How was Mother’s Day? Did you get catered to and adored all day? I certainly hope so.

I got up much too early in the morning to go to my stepson’s baseball game. As we were packing up to leave, my stepson asked what I was going to do for the day. I said I was going to his baseball game. “But it’s Mother’s Day,” he said in a sweet tone that implied I shouldn’t have to go if I didn’t want to. I explained that yes it was Mother’s Day which was precisely why I wanted to go see my kid play.

And yes, I refer to him as my kid. He lives with me and my husband full-time. I go to all his games and do the daily things a mom is “supposed” to do. I believe that makes him partly my kid. I may not have made him, but I am contributing to the person he is becoming.

Just last week for my birthday he gave me a beautiful pot of flowers and a card, both of which I’m told he picked out all on his own. Scrawled on the front of the envelope in giant letters was “To Sherri/Bonus Mom.”

I’m lucky to have him in my life. As we sat at a hibachi table for Mother’s Day lunch, I told him so.

Throughout the day he wished me a happy mother’s day no less than a dozen times. Stepmotherhood brings with it a number of frustrations, but it is also filled with unexpected moments of bliss. Mother’s day has become one such event. I never expected to be acknowledged, but my stepson and my husband honor me each year. It’s really special.

I made phone calls to my own mom and stepmom this afternoon since they are in different states and I couldn’t be with them.

What did you do for Mother’s Day?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Mothers come in all shapes and all sizes. They are patient, they are kind. They are stern, they are tough. They give hugs, kiss scrapes, and clap the loudest.

Mothers do what needs to be done, often without any thanks. They support, love, work, and provide.

To all mothers - biological, step, adoptive, foster - thank you for everything you do. I wish you a very happy mother's day!

In honor of you, here is author Kelly Corrigan talking about what makes her mother special. This video makes me laugh and it makes me tear up. (If you're viewing this in a reader, you may need to click through to the full post to see the video.)



Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Happy Mother's Day

Mothers come in all shapes and all sizes. They are patient, they are kind. They are stern, they are tough. They give hugs, kiss scrapes, and clap the loudest.

Mothers do what needs to be done, often without any thanks. They support, love, work, and provide.

To all mothers - biological, step, adoptive, foster - thank you for everything you do. I wish you a very happy mother's day!

In honor of you, here is author Kelly Corrigan talking about what makes her mother special. This video makes me laugh and it makes me tear up. (If you're viewing this in a reader, you may need to click through to the full post to see the video.)







Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Post - Perfect Purple Edition


As you probably know, I’ve been taking some time each Friday to reflect on what is making me happy. It’s great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.


Yesterday was my birthday, so it only makes sense that today’s happy post show exactly what made my day so happy.

Because I can do whatever I want for my birthday, I took the day off work and went for a pedicure, shopped my local garden center for this season’s plants, dyed my hair a funky color, and had a fabulous homemade dinner.

At the garden shop, I had two goals in mind: creating a flowery mound in my front yard and planting some fresh vegetables and herbs in my backyard garden. Here is my bounty.


Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted
Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted


Over breakfast, my husband and mother-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. My reply was simple. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. They said, “Definitely cake! What do you want for dinner?” My reply was the same. I’m unclear as to why this was confusing. :)

We decided on grilled steaks, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and spinach salad with apples and grapes. It was all delicious, by the way. Plus, I didn’t have to cook or clean up. Woohoo!

As for cake, it was the perfect opportunity to use the butterfly cake pan my friend gave me for Christmas. If you ask me, it’s the most awesomest cake ever! Alongside the cake we had fresh strawberries and smoothies. Yum!


Butterfly cake collage
The most awesomest birthday cake ever!


But let’s get to the hair. I know a lot of you requested pictures.  Back in March, I asked if a grown-up can have pink hair.  Everyone who commented here, on WorkingMother.com, and on Twitter, was hugely supportive, so I decided that I would go for it on my birthday (and I didn't even chicken out!).

First let me explain that I scheduled the appointment thinking I would get a pink stripe. When I got to the salon, I looked through a few books to get ideas for what shade to use and where it should go.

I found a gorgeous shade of purply pink, so the hairdresser said she would mix purple and pink together. She went a little heavy on the purple because she was worried about giving me too bright of a color since I’ve never dyed my hair an unconventional color before.

She dyed a few well placed streaks on the underneath layers, which means when my hair is down, you may catch a glimpse of purple, but you may not. If I pull the top little bit of hair back, you see the purple streaks. I think the placement is perfect.

Without further ado, here are some photos. What do you think?


Purple hair
My purple streaks



Purple hair
Close-up courtesy of my stepson


I guess we will find out if a grown-up/stepmom can have purple hair.  So far it's only been seen in my house.

As it turns out, purple hair was perfectly aligned with the unintentional theme in my gifts.

My in-laws gave me a recipe book holder and a purple dress, my stepson gave me some beautiful purple flowers, and my husband gave me a fabulous new point-and-shoot camera in a lovely purply pink. Too perfect!


Birthday gifts
Purple was an unintentional theme for the gifts I received


So those are the things making me happy today. What is making you happy?

Happy Post - Perfect Purple Birthday Edition

Happy Book BadgeIn honor of The Next Chapter's ongoing work in The Happy Book, I've been taking some time each Friday to reflect on what is making me happy. It's great to focus on what is going right since we sometimes get bogged down in what is going wrong.

Yesterday was my birthday, so it only makes sense that today's happy post show exactly what made my day so happy.

Because I can do whatever I want for my birthday, I took the day off work and went for a pedicure, shopped my local garden center for this season's plants, dyed my hair a funky color, and had a fabulous homemade dinner.

At the garden shop, I had two goals in mind: creating a flowery mound in my front yard and planting some fresh vegetables and herbs in my backyard garden. Here is my bounty.

[caption id="attachment_1272" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted"]Flowers, veggies, and herbs ready to be planted[/caption]

Over breakfast, my husband and mother-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. My reply was simple. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. They said, "Definitely cake! What do you want for dinner?" My reply was the same. I'm unclear as to why this was confusing. :)

We decided on grilled steaks, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and spinach salad with apples and grapes. It was all delicious, by the way. Plus, I didn't have to cook or clean up. Woohoo!

As for cake, it was the perfect opportunity to use the butterfly cake pan my friend gave me for Christmas. If you ask me, it's the most awesomest cake ever! Alongside the cake we had fresh strawberries and smoothies. Yum!

[caption id="attachment_1271" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="The most awesomest birthday cake ever!"]Butterfly cake collage[/caption]

But let's get to the hair. I know a lot of you requested pictures.

First let me explain that I scheduled the appointment thinking I would get a pink stripe. When I got to the salon, I looked through a few books to get ideas for what shade to use and where it should go.

I found a gorgeous shade of purply pink, so the hairdresser said she would mix purple and pink together. She went a little heavy on the purple because she was worried about giving me too bright of a color since I've never dyed my hair an unconventional color before.

She dyed a few well placed streaks on the underneath layers, which means when my hair is down, you may catch a glimpse of purple, but you may not. If I pull the top little bit of hair back, you see the purple streaks. I think the placement is perfect.

Without further ado, here are some photos. What do you think?

[caption id="attachment_1274" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="My purple streaks"]Purple hair[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1275" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Close-up courtesy of my stepson"]Purple hair[/caption]

As it turns out, purple hair was perfectly aligned with the unintentional theme in my gifts.

My in-laws gave me a recipe book holder and a purple dress, my stepson gave me some beautiful purple flowers, and my husband gave me a fabulous new point-and-shoot camera in a lovely purply pink. Too perfect!

[caption id="attachment_1273" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="Purple was an unintentional theme for the gifts I received"]Birthday gifts[/caption]

So those are the things making me happy today. What is making you happy?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Me Without Apologies




Today is my 33rd birthday. I love my birthday, not because of presents or attention (not that those hurt), but because it is the one day a year I feel absolutely guilt free about how I spend my time. It is the ultimate day to be me, without apologies.

Being my genuine, authentic self has been forefront in my mind in the last few years. I'm learning not to care what others may think. I'm learning that sometimes I think people think worse of me than they actually do. In the past I've let that fear dictate my actions, but over the past few years I've tried to let all of those thoughts go.

It's not easy. I still get caught up in worry and fear. I believe, though, that being genuine is worth it. Only by doing so can I be me without apologies everyday.

So what's on my agenda today? First, it was to take a self-portrait. I took the one you see here in my backyard this morning.

Next up, pedicure followed by shopping for my garden stuff (veggies! flowers! herbs!). This afternoon I'll be at the hairdresser getting my pink stripe. Something tells me another birthday self-portrait will be coming.

The universe must have known it was my birthday because we got a call this morning that my stepson's baseball practice scheduled for tonight has been canceled. Yay! That means we can all hang out and have fun tonight.

My husband is going to grill steaks and make smoothies. My mother-in-law is going to make one of my favorite salads and a chocolate cake. (Chocolate cake with chocolate icing was my first request upon being asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. Actually it was my second and third requests, too.)

My mother-in-law said, "So we'll make the cake. Do you have a cake pan?"

Oh yes. I have a cake a pan. A glorious butterfly shaped cake pan that my beautiful friend Alina gave me for Christmas.

There will be chocolate butterfly cake. Awesome!

In the words of Big & Rich, "Today is even better than yesterday. Everything is going my way. I'm living in the big time."

Me Without Apologies

[caption id="attachment_1259" align="aligncenter" width="477" caption="My birthday self-portrait"]Sherri's birthday self-portrait[/caption]

Today is my 33rd birthday. I love my birthday, not because of presents or attention (not that those hurt), but because it is the one day a year I feel absolutely guilt free about how I spend my time. It is the ultimate day to be me, without apologies.

Being my genuine, authentic self has been forefront in my mind in the last few years. I'm learning not to care what others may think. I'm learning that sometimes I think people think worse of me than they actually do. In the past I've let that fear dictate my actions, but over the past few years I've tried to let all of those thoughts go.

It's not easy. I still get caught up in worry and fear. I believe, though, that being genuine is worth it. Only by doing so can I be me without apologies everyday.

So what's on my agenda today? First, it was to take a self-portrait. I took the one you see here in my backyard this morning.

Next up, pedicure followed by shopping for my garden stuff (veggies! flowers! herbs!). This afternoon I'll be at the hairdresser getting my pink stripe. Something tells me another birthday self-portrait will be coming.

The universe must have known it was my birthday because we got a call this morning that my stepson's baseball practice scheduled for tonight has been canceled. Yay! That means we can all hang out and have fun tonight.

My husband is going to grill steaks and make smoothies. My mother-in-law is going to make one of my favorite salads and a chocolate cake. (Chocolate cake with chocolate icing was my first request upon being asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. Actually it was my second and third requests, too.)

My mother-in-law said, "So we'll make the cake. Do you have a cake pan?"

Oh yes. I have a cake a pan. A glorious butterfly shaped cake pan that my beautiful friend Alina gave me for Christmas.

There will be chocolate butterfly cake. Awesome!

In the words of Big & Rich, "Today is even better than yesterday. Everything is going my way. I'm living in the big time."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday: Rules

Wishcasting badgeIt is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else's wishes with positive energy.

This week Jamie asks: What rules do you wish to make or break?

The answer didn't come to me as quickly as it often does. Usually I have an answer to the question the instant I finish reading it. Today, I oooohed and hmmmmed while deciding just what this meant for me.

As for rules I want to break, there are two. First, I want to break the notion that income equates to an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job. In fact, I broke this rule when I was laid off two years ago and began a wonderful freelance career.

Second, I want to break the rule that hair must be a conventional color. In fact, I'm breaking this rule tomorrow. I have an appointment with a hairdresser and my intention is to come away with a pink stripe. It sounds like awesome fun.

As for rules I want to make for myself, I want to make a point to bring more writing, creativity, and kindness in to my life. These things make me feel alive. They feed my soul, improving my mental and emotional health. A little of these each day- that's my new rule.

One more rule: time outside every day. Even a few minutes can be monumentally restorative, like a vacation. When I am outside feeling the sunshine and the breeze and listening to birds chirp and trees rustle, the weight of the world strips away. In that moment I am just me, part of this amazing, beautiful earth.

What rules are you making for yourself?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring Busyness

I know I've been quiet lately and I can't promise I'll be around consistently for the next few weeks, but I wanted to let you know I'm still here.

You see spring is a busy, busy time. (I'm sure many of you can relate!) My work generally gets a lot heavier in the spring months as the rate of sold projects picks up. There always seems to be a rush in the spring and then again in September through the end of the year.

On top of that it is baseball season and, as anyone with athletic kids or stepkids can attest, schedules can get quite hectic.

My stepson is playing on rec, travel, and school teams. There is pretty much a baseball practice or game (or both!) every day of the week.

With the weather turning warm and breezy, I consider baseball games great excuses to spend some time outside soaking it up. I love these spring days.

What are you up to this gorgeous spring? (Or fall for my ladies in the southern hemisphere?)

As we approach the end of the school year, I reflected on math homework at WorkingMother.com. I hope you'll check it out.

Garden Plans

Today was glorious- sunny with a nice breeze.  I moved my laptop to do my work from a corner sunbeam.  When 2:00 p.m. hit and I realized I was stressed out from work (not to mention I hadn't had lunch yet), I went for a barefoot walk to my garden, breathing deeply and stretching my arms the whole time.

I made mental notes of what my garden needs- lots of weeding, new veggies and herbs.  The kiwi plant I just started growing last year that had died off to a viney twig during winter is now a thriving, full, bush overtaking its trellis.  The raspberry plant has come alive with lots of fresh green leaves.

I am taking this Thursday and Friday off work.  Thursday is my birthday and I started a new tradition two years ago of taking off work for me time.  Of course, who wants to go back for just a Friday, so I went ahead and took that off, too.  Hooray for long weekends!

Because I will be off work and because I've heard people say you should plant your garden Mother's Day weekend (to avoid frosty nights), I plan on digging in during my time off.  I can't wait to fill that space with love and grow some fresh food to liven up my cooking.

If I haven't mentioned, I also made an appointment with a hairdresser to get a pink stripe.  It's something I found myself writing on my to do list in Goddess Leonie's 2010 Planner.  I'm not even sure where the idea came from.  I just suddenly had the urge to fulfill that crazy, creative side with a burst of color.

So I'm going for it.  If I don't chicken out.

Then you'll find me in my garden, clearing out bad and bringing in good.