Jan 30, 2011

You say you need a doghouse?

A couple of years ago a friend of mine had a much loved lab who found herself expecting puppies with a boxer.  She had 8 beautiful puppies.  When I went over to see them, and was asked if I wanted a puppy.  I firmly stated that I needed a puppy like I needed a hole in the head.  Then one of those sweet little things wandered over to my foot.  I leaned down and scooped it up.  It sighed, long and lazily, and snuggled up to my neck, and I was lost.  I felt this little thing had picked me.  It was a boy and before I left that night I was signed up.
Before it was all said and done, we ended up taking two.  A boy and a girl. 
The kids were thrilled.
The cyclist was appalled.
I was not intimidated, knowing what puppies entailed, and also knowing that having two little ones is actually easier in many ways than having one.
I bought kennels, pillows, bitterspray, odor eliminator, food, oatmeal shampoo and many, many chew toys.
The kids were thrilled.
The cyclist was still appalled.
I was not really discussing this subject with the cyclist at this point. 
Then one night as the Cyclist made his point about what dog food cost for the 120th time, I casually said "I'm thinking about calling that little boy dog Jack."
"That's what I was thinking of naming him!" the Cyclist replied.
I smiled, and said "Then I guess it 's settled."
And so our family grew to include

 Jack and Shadow

So, this year for Christmas the Cyclist thought they needed a house.  And not just any house, either.  This house had to be big enough to two dogs, with room for them to stretch out, like he knew they liked to do.  The Cyclist has the most wonderful father in the world, who happens to have his very own woodworking shop and a lot of time to work in it.  Now, as far as I was concerned, a very basic box would work just fine.  I even had some plywood and shingles and stuff in the garage and sent all that over for them to work with.
I did not know who I was dealing with.
These two men, who are not carpenters, proceeded to build a doghouse that is hands down nicer than my actual house in almost every way.
I want you to look at this:
It filled the entire bed of the truck.  Note the deck on the front.  It is made out of cedar.  It is also fully and completely insulated, in addition to being finished on the inside.  You could put up wallpaper on the walls, if you wanted to.  The exterior boasts trim, which was added at the suggestion of the Cyclist's angel mother, so that it "wouldn't look like just plywood."  It certainly doesn't, does it?
We had the dogs a house.  And what a house.  All that remained was to get it unloaded.
That was quite an ordeal, as we could not get a gate out of the ground to back the truck up.  So 4 of us had to work together to get the new doghouse moved about 50 feet.  Not far, piece of cake, right?  It would have been, except for  a length of solid ice right at the fence where we had to unload it, and the fact that the doghouse weighed about as much as a piano.
Now, I only say this because I have had to move a piano once.  I can not tell y ou how many pounds a piano weighs, but I can tell you that it is a LOT.  And this doghouse weighed about the same.  And we had to move it, over ice, without having anyone fall down and be crushed by the sheer weight of it all.
All I can say is that God must have been watching over us.  We did it.  We did it while the Cyclist was considering things from all angles and wasting time in the freezing cold trying to "make a plan" while I was barking out orders encouraging everyone to snap to and let's-get-this-done-because-we've-come-this-far-and-we-can't-stop-now-but-my-LORD-be-careful-because-if-any-of-us-fall-it-will-KILL-US!
And we did it.  No one fell, no one even said any bad words, and it was done.  We filled it with hay and while I can't say it is big enough to hold both the dogs and the Grand Finale, I can say truthfully that it is plenty big enough to both dogs and 1/2 the Grand Finale.  The other half opted out of getting in.  I think he is old enough to be considering his dignity or something.  Isn't that sad?  I'll miss having "boys".  They are growing up so fast.

Jack and Shadow have never had it so good.  They seem to know not every doghouse has a cedar deck.
And while I was more interested in the Cyclist spending some time with his dad, I have to say that this turned out really well for everyone concerned.  For one thing, it's completely changed my concept of "doghouse".
You never know what you can make out of odds and ends that have been laying around in your garage for years.  You never know what stories you might hear if you take the time to spend time with your parent's on any given day. 
Don't forget that we all make stories all the time.  Remember them. 
I, for one, can tell you that none of us will ever forget unloading that doghouse.  I'm pretty sure we will think long and hard before ever moving it again, either. 
I have the strongest feeling this doghouse will be around for many, many years to come.

Jan 29, 2011

Mothering is a two way street

Two and a half years ago The Beautiful Redhead was my oldest child at home, the Grand Finale had turned 11, and life had kind of settled down to a routine that I was able to keep up with.  My kids were out of the "little" stage and I could come home and actually sit down, even LAY down, on the couch if I wanted. 
I had been through the stages of early motherhood, where I was driven to have everything perfect, or at least as near as possible to perfect as I could get it, and thought everything needed to be clean and put up at all times.  Four kids will get you through that stage a little faster than one.  I do not have any science (!) to back this up, but you can take it from me that it is true.
I noticed, though, that now that I *could* take it easy, that's all I ever did.  My house wasn't as clean as it used to be, true, but it didn't NEED to be as clean as it used to be.  And Lord knows the kids didn't appreciate or even seem to notice if I did clean it.  I was drifting, so to speak, and was not concerned that I was going in a bad direction.  I just noticed the change.  As women at a certain stage of life tend to do.
Most of my life it seemed like "life" was something that was coming at me constantly and it was usually all I could do to keep up with it.  Now there seemed to be a lull, time to look around and actually see what was going on instead of having to react to crisis situations all the time.
The Beautiful Redhead was working with a girl who had just had her first baby and, kindly, had offered to babysit said baby so her co-worker and her husband could have a night out.
I suggested the co-worker bring the baby to our house so I could supervise, as The Beautiful Redhead had a heart that was very kind, but not a lot of practical experience with newborns.
That baby's  name was Abigail Lea and she was three weeks old the night I met her.  This night was also positioned in such a way that it was the first time I had had a newborn baby all to myself (pretty much) in YEARS.  I held that baby all night.  I unwrapped her and counted all her tiny little fingers and toes, I inhaled her captivating scent, I rubbed my face on her sweet little head.  I laughed and cried and talked to her all night. I rocked her and sang all the old songs I sang to my own babies.  I flat fell in love with her. 

The Cyclist was a little nervous.  I think he thought I had lost my mind.  Luckily, I was thinking enough to make him smell her head, and she got him too.  Oh, he pretended to hold out, don't get me wrong.  When she got old enough to toddle over and lift her arms to him he would put up his hands and say "No, no, we're not having any of that", which of course fascinated her (as he knew it would) and made him a challenge to her.  She had never seen anyone who was immune to her charms before.  I pretended I didn't know that trick and let them establish their own rapport.
We have been her willing slaves ever since. 

Because I noticed that if I was going to have that baby I would get off the couch.  I would clean.  I would pick everything up off the floor and make sure I had food that she liked in the house.  I *had* to, for that baby.

It occured to me that without my realizing it, I had finally grown into the woman I had wanted to be, but never felt like I really was.  While I wasn't looking, I had gotten over all the longing and yearning for "someday, when the kids were grown", and become absolutely content and proud to be exactly where and what I was.  I had left my own selfish wishes behind, without regret, only to embrace being the nurturer that I used to resent having to be. 
I had gotten goooood at it.  I could do this.  Whether that baby projectile vomited all over me and my house or got choked, I knew exactly what to do.  And I could even ENJOY it, because I wasn't the least bit scared anymore.

Being a mother will do that to you.

When you see a woman mothering a child, you may think she is taking care of that baby.  That's what it looks like, and she is taking care of that baby.  But holding and nurturing that baby is taking care of her also.  It's a two way street, and one that had no set route.  You figure it out as you go, accomodating each other along the way. Because of this love you will move a mountain or get down on your knees to scrub the floor, whatever it takes, for as long as you need to.  Not because you have to.  You don't, actually, have to.  You do it because you want to for that baby.  And you would do it forever, for them.  And they don't have to be your own, either. This is the miracle of putting someone else's welfare ahead of your own.  I believe it is tantamount to having an honorable life.

One morning I watched that baby wake up, look over and see the Cyclist, and very carefully lay her sweet head down on his chest.  He knew enough not to move a muscle, and she went back to sleep right there.  I also knew that had never happened to him before.  I cried.  I think he went back to sleep but I know it's one of those moments that he will never, ever, forget and that it touched his heart in a way nothing ever had before and probably never will again.

This is the kind of thing children give you.

And that's how I got a pretend grandbaby.

She commands us with a merciful hand.  She doesn't ask for much.  She laughs and smiles and claps her hands if you have, say, a bananna in the house.  Or a boiled egg.  If you take her to Wal Mart, she throws her hands in the air in a "touchdown" salute and says "YAY"!  She spends a lot of time in the tub with bubbles and her toothbrush.  The world is a better place for having her in it.  These days her first question upon getting to "MiMi's house" is "Where's the boyeez?" 
Those boys, who were my babies, now have a little one who thinks they are 10 feet tall and stronger than superman.  They give piggyback rides and wrestle and give her old video game controllers that don't work. The fact that she doesn't know that, and thinks they hung the moon doesn't bother anybody one bit.

And we are still rolling along, I'm still cooking and cleaning and have finally gotten comfortable with crayon marks on the walls and stains on the couch.  Why?

Because I know what's really important.

My best advice, if your kids are older and you don't have grandkids yet, is to go out and find a pretend grandbaby of your own.  There are plenty of mother's out there that could use someone they could trust to watch their child, even for an hour or two.  I do not believe you will ever regret it.  In fact, I believe it will be good for not just you, but the child, the mother, and ultimately the world.

PS.  For the people who are following my e cigarette journey, I skipped the "medium" cartridges and went straight to the "low".  I think I smoke more vapor at at time this way, but haven't had any more or worse cravings, or noticed any fallout from "stepping down", so next time I buy cartridges I'm going to get the water vapor only with no nicotine.

Jan 26, 2011

On grief and fog


A piano spotted sitting on a sandbar in the water by residents that live along Biscayne Bay in North Miami in the Quayside Towers condominiums near Biscayne Blvd. and NE 107 St., is pictured here on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011.

Mysterious grand piano found on Biscayne Bay sandbar - Miami-Dade Breaking News -

So, a grand piano has been found abandoned on the highest point of a sand bar in Florida. 
I love this story for several reasons.
To begin with, who is not wondering what the story is on this?
Was this someone's reaction to their ex getting the piano in the divorce?  Did the person who played it die and this is a kind of memorial?  How in the world did they get it there?  There must, MUST be a good story behind it. 
But I don't really want to know what that story is.  To know the truth would ruin the whole thing for me.

I prefer to believe it was left as a kind of memorial. 
The picture, to me, perfectly illustrates the state of being known as "grief".  The once grand and beautiful, gleaming piano sits on the sand, abandoned, used and ruined for all practical intents and purposes.  But someone once loved it very, very much.  That someone would not be put off by the piano's appearance now.  That person would only see all the wonderful memories this piano holds for them.  That person would see beauty in the waves rolling in around that piano.  I would like to see a picture of it with that happening.  I would like to see a picture of it with fog rolling all around it.
Fog is similar to grief in my mind.  Grief comes upon you like a wave and knocks you off your feet.  It does this regardless of whether you know it is coming and have had time to prepare for it. 
There is no "preparing" for grief. 
It comes and you are suddenly floating upside down in the tide of life, hearing the scraping of the shells and the sand, and not even caring if it drags you down and takes you away.  Being taken away can seem like a pretty good option in this state, but of course, in your heart you know it could never be that easy.  You know in your heart you are going to have to stand and endure it even though you would rather hide away and forget it. 
You move in a fog of grief.  You speak slower and softer.  Everyone else seems to also.  The edges of all things are blunted by how disconnected you feel to, well, pretty much everything.  You are lost in the fog of grief.  It is like a coccoon, sheltering and obscuring you to others.  You are not alone, but you wish you were.  You sense other shapes moving but can't make them out.  Perhaps for the first time in your life, people finally leave you alone.  So you can sleep.  Trouble is, you can't sleep.  And every time you do, there is a horrible "remembering" because your grief is the first thing in your mind when you wake up.  You have to get used to it all over again.
You are suddenly aware of how many things you could not care any less about.  The world keeps spinning and you are amazed by that too.  It seems like time stops when you get hit by grief, but it turns out this only true for you.  Time does not really stop, you just cease to care about it.
The fog lifts gradually.  You don't really notice it going away until one day you are transfixed by some thing that has been illuminated in a ray of light that has made it through the fog.  You realize you just felt happy and then you immediately feel guilty for feeling happy.
Then one day you realize the fog has gone, you have kept moving long enough to simulate the living of a normal life.  The pressure is off enough for you to look back and assess the damage.
The thought that you are the only person who truly knows what the damage is feels like another responsibility that must remain a secret.  You wonder if you will always feel so alone and realize that the answer is probably yes.  You wonder if you will have to keep pretending your whole life.  You wonder if everyone else is just pretending too.
Does grief ever pass?  Not to my knowledge.  It just becomes a part of you and you alone have to decide how much a part of your life grief will manage to claim.
The good news is, with grief comes stark, brutal truth.
Everyone who is born must some day die.  We know this. 
The trick to dealing with grief, for me, has been to not lose the lesson of dying. 
The lesson of dying is how very beautiful our lives are.  Even the most miserable life is surrounded by breathtaking beauty in this world.
The lesson of dying is to do the very best you can every time, no matter what the cost, because when your time comes you want to be proud of your life and how you lived it.  You want to have no regrets but for the temporary separation of you from your loved ones. 
It is a temporary separation.  This is the hope that will help you get up every morning, face your brutal reality, and keep moving to simulate the life of a responsible person.
While simulating this life, look up.  Look up and see how beautiful this world is.  Every moment of our days and nights there is beauty all around us.  Learn to be thankful for beauty and joy, and do not feel guilty.  Your loved one would not want that.  They would want you to have the full experience that you have been put on this earth to fulfill. 

Everything that happens to you, good or bad, shapes you.  Use it all.  Be willing to adjust to the changes God puts in your life.  Ride the current, rather than wasting all your strength fighting against it.  We only get one ride.  Make the most of it.
And when you pray, pray the only prayer you ever need to know:  Thy will be done.
Then just trust. 
The fog will lift, eventually.  Grief will become part of you, making you more than you were before.

Jan 24, 2011

Elton John feels like 'second-class citizen' Did he say CITIZEN????

Elton John feels like 'second-class citizen'

Did you see this?
Keep in mind, Elton John is not a citizen of the United States.
My advise, Elton, would be to shut up and sing.
I, for one, am sick and tired of so called Celebrities making asses out of themselves by assuming that hard working Americans care what they think.  Many of them just enjoy your talent and don't even want to KNOW what you think. Or maybe that's just me.
.....and as far as inserting your sex life into my mind, please, PLEASE stop it. I don't insert mine into yours, because I'm, well, private like that. It used to be considered good manners in polite society. I am unclear what happened to polite society, but it seems to have morphed out of control.
Furthermore, the most liberal state in this whole country has voted on legalizing gay marriage, twice, recently, and lo and behold, even California voted it down. Hard to believe, with some of the crap that those people pass on themselves, but true. You can look it up. 
So, Elton, if you want to become an American citizen, which I doubt,. and I understand there is a long line for anyway, I welcome you to get in that line. After that you can feel free to dedicating your life to whatever you want, as will be your right as a citizen.
Just don't be surprised if no one cares.
You have joined a list I am keeping that gets longer by the day of celebrities I will no longer give a dime to. I have had it with you people. Yeah, you heard me right. 
Remember R-E-S-P-E-C-T? 
It goes both ways.  Have some, please.

Jan 23, 2011

It is snowing again.  I think we have at least another 5 inches and it's still coming down. 
Very beautiful this morning.  The only thing to hear is the wind, no one has stirred yet.  PERFECT.
I have a barn and cows across the way from me, and this morning the little calves are running around kicking up their heels.  Their poor mothers, from this distance, look to be up to their knees in snow.  Every time one of the calves frisks by the cows look at them as if thinking "Crazy kid.  I remember when I could kick up  my heels.....".  Then one of the calves will nurse for awhile.  The cows just stand there.  I guess they could if they wanted to....the snow isn't THAT deep yet. 
I love, love, LOVE days like this when you don't have to get out and have everything you could ever want right here at home.
I am going to try a white chili enchilada casserole today.
Hope you take the time to BE HOME while you can.  Sometimes God makes it impossible not to. :)

Jan 21, 2011

Get real
If you haven't seen this article, you should.
It is horrible.  It is graphic.  It is almost, ALMOST, incomprehensible to me.
It makes me sick and makes me feel hopeless for our country.

The easiest thing to do is to stop the problem.
On TV when I see teenagers talking about what they think we should do about teenage pregnancy, (Let's stop right there:  WHY are we asking teenagers what they think?  Are we not giving them more credit than they, perhaps, are due?  Is this not like asking the fox how he thinks the henhouse should be guarded?  Contemplate this question.) and the interviewer asks "What about abstinence"?, (Let's stop again to contemplate whether this is, indeed, a common sense, affordable solution that anyone can accomplish) the teenagers get a flat eyed, arrogant expression on their (still forming, round cheeked) faces and say "That's not realistic".

Now, let loose and laugh, all you people with children, laugh and laugh and laugh.  I did.  Every time I saw it, and I saw it 4 times.  Once for each child I had.  Of which I planned exactly 1.

I would refer these teenagers to generations of women AND men, who, from the dawn of time, have had to face the reality that action A would have a very good chance of resulting in consequence B.  And those were just the MARRIED ones!! These teenagers could ask their parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, why, they could even ask a priest (!) and they would get the same story from anyone who has ever given birth, found themselves pregnant, or known someone who has. 
I think that a responsible adult would tell them the truth and NOT sit there and listen to the drivel they come up with to excuse themselves from taking responsibility, as if it made any kind of sense. 
I think a responsible adult would say "Get real, people."

Here is another good article with some history on abortion since Roe vs. Wade:

If you are inconveniently pregnant or know of someone who is, please consider adoption. 
I almost always know at least one couple who would give anything to have a child.  LOTS of people know  couples who want a child.  At least consider it.  It would be a realistically good choice.  A true win-win situation as close to "no regrets" as it is ever possible to be in this world.

Jan 20, 2011

Bricks in the wall

Both halves of the grand finale were thrilled to have another snow day today. I was pretty thrilled also, and left instructions for the driveway to be cleared. I left detailed instructions for them to wear boots, coveralls, hats and gloves and told them to get it done while the sun was shining.
When I got home at noon it wasn't done. The sun was shining brightly, and I left detailed instructions for them to wear boots, coveralls, hats and gloves and told them to get it done while the sun was shining.
I called from work at 2 pm and it wasn't done. I left detailed instructions for them to wear boots, coveralls, hats and gloves and told them I was getting tired of telling them to get it done while the sun was shining.
When I got home at 5 it wasn't done.
SO, I fired some lasers out of my eyes and asked why it wasn't done.
The youngest baby said the oldest baby had told him to do half of the driveway because that's what the oldest baby did last time and I was happy!! The oldest baby said the last time he just did half of the driveway and I was happy!! Then the youngest baby fired off his favorite attack, which is "WHY DON'T YOU EVER GET ONTO THE OLDEST BABY!!!!! YOU ALWAYS BLAME ME". And I said "FOCUS, GRAND FINALE! FOCUS!!" And I gave them detailed instructions to wear boots, coveralls, hats and gloves and told them that it was really cold now, so to hurry as much as they could before they got frostbite or something that would be a terrible burden for me to deal with in addition to my other daily duties.
The driveway is done. Sort of. Probably.
It's dark now, so it's kind of hard to tell, but while I may have *technically* won this battle, I do not think I won this battle. At least not in the way I was imagining.
Which is the point of my post tonight.
You have to pick your battles, of course. But the biggest part of being a parent in repeating, repeating, double checking, triple checking, and making one last swoop through to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. It's pretending as though things are going to happen when you know in your heart that these things are not going to happen exactly the way you have pictured.
It's acting as though they have done what you asked them even when they haven't, and praising their effort rather than focusing on their short-comings.
When my kids were little and refused to pick up their toys I would do it with them. I would make them do it.
......I am still doing that, and with the Grand Finale I have been doing it for about 11 years.
Will it ever pay off? Who knows. Not me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm having any affect at all.
It's all I can do sometimes, not to throw dishes and break things. The only thing that keeps me from doing that is the certain knowledge that if I did, I would just have to clean up the mess. Oh sure, the kids might help, but it wouldn't be a stellar job. Someone would get glass embedded in their foot and we'd have an emergency room charge on top of me losing my mind and breaking all the dishes. And that's enough to stop me.
At least so far.
Being a parent is doing the same things, repeatedly, without thanks, praise, ackowledgement or compensation for years with only the hope of them ever paying off. Building walls, one small brick at a time. Chinking away ceaselessly with no end in sight.
The thing is, that's all right. You just keep on keeping on.
It is kind of hard not to keep repeating things, but eventually, if you get old enough, they will forgive you for that.
And I know that, eventually, the Grand Finale will have little argumentative ones who need to be reminded (4 times) and double checked.
Which makes it completely worth it.

Winter seems to drag on, doesn't it?
In 6 more weeks it will almost be spring!

Jan 19, 2011

The House passed the bill to repeal Obamacare on to the Senate. This is very good, although it may come to nothing in the Senate. There are at least 21 Dem's in the Senate who are up for re-election next year, so it could actually get kind of interesting. So far 27 states are suing to get out of Obamacare, however, Missouri is not yet on of them.
This is going to be a page that is just my opinion, and I will provide links.

I kind of got drug into politics by forming a serious long-term monogomous relationship with someone who had followed them his whole adult life. I will call this man the Cyclist, and he used to force me to watch news talk shows for hours on end. I always had a book with me and mostly read, but there was one show that just drove me crazy and made even me put my book down. I called it The Motormouth and The Dead Guy. I would explode and say "AAAAAHHHH. Why do they do that? It can't be that hard to find out what the truth is and report it!!!!"
Then the Cyclist would explain to me that this was not the news, it was a talk show. Furthermore, that all the talk shows did that, just let people ramble on about crap that had nothing to do with what they had been asked. I got that it wasn't the news, but I could not get why WHY they didn't ever back up anything they said with any facts. Well, ok, it was mostly The Dead Guy that did that, The Motormouth would wear you out with facts, which got on my nerves until it just physically upset me.
So I started watching different stations, and comparing what I saw reported with what I could actually verify.
I did this to prove the Cyclist wrong, naturally. And naturally, it turned out that it couldn't be done. I was appalled.
Now, where you go to verify is up to you. You can, and will, find almost anything on the internet to support almost any claim, no matter how strange.
I go to National Review Online, The Heritage Foundation, Brietbart, Fox, there are lots of places you can go. If you are a facebook friend you are probably already familiar with these places.
What I found was that Fox had more facts. Especially if you just watch the regular news. The other networks spin it one way or another. This is just my opinion.
The other thing that I started doing was looking up the voting records of politicians. This is key. The best place I have found is This is so important for you to do before you go vote because a lot of them lie. Not all of them lie. But some of them are absolutely shameless and if you follow their voting record and then see them on TV talking exactly the opposite you know they are a liar right there.
Also note that lots of research needs to be done when voting on Propositions and Amendments. You can find lots of information on these usually, but you have to look for the truth. The crap they hand you on pamplets is usually bent toward one side or the other.
One that comes to my mind from recently was the Proposition to make 60% of our energy come from renewable sources in 10 or 20 years. It appealed to the folks that think anything Green is good. It turns out that it will make our energy costs skyrocket and no one will be able to afford electricity....We voted this on ourselves, people. We could practically be from California. I find this very frustrating. And I mean nothing bad toward my good tea party friends in California. There are good Americans there. They have Dennis Miller there, for God's sake.
I am an Independent voter. I am a Tea Party Member.
I am both of these things because I still believe that American goverment is run by the people, for the people, and of the people.
I am both of these things because I believe that most people are capable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves and their families without any "help" from some person they don't even know who has a bunch of paperwork to fill out that doesn't make any sense.
I am both of these things because I don't throw in with large groups of people easily.

I am afraid of the future for the first time in my life.
It starts slow, but it has moved very fast.
When I was growing up, if I got sick, my mom drove me 30 miles to the Dr. The Dr. fixed whatever was wrong with me, be it strep throat, a bladder infection or a broken leg. Well, for the broken leg we went across the street to the hospital for the cast.
This cost about $25. Ok, the cast was probably more. Say $200.
Fast forward 30 years.
You can get in to see your "primary" physician, but if anything is really wrong with you, you have to get a "referral".
This referral consists of you getting another appointment (in 6 weeks, if you're lucky) at another Dr. in a town approximately 250 miles away from where you live.
We have been doing this for so long that we have young women of child bearing age who think nothing of driving 250 miles to give birth. Giving birth is a process that can usually be accomplished by calling your women relatives, driving a stake in the yard and boiling water. I kid, I kid. But do you see the point?
Why is this? It's because none of our small hospitals carry insurance for deliveries anymore.
It's because they can't afford to carry insurance because they can be sued. This is why we have lost our hospitals and our doctor's. They literally cannot afford to stay in business.
Torte reform is one of my biggest causes and no one wants to address that.
It is very important to think for yourself, be well informed, and do NOT, DO NOT get used to standing in line, filling out paperwork and being herded through like cattle.
This has been kind of a long post, or at least it seems that way. And it's been kind of rambling, but stick with me here.
If you have children, you can't really not pay attention anymore. When I was younger I would just go get drunk and dance till 4 am myself, but I'm too old to do that anymore.
Now is the time to start paying attention, however you feel.

Feel free to leave comments. We will see where this goes from here.

Parking Lot Compulsions

Update on not smoking.  I feel so much better it is hard to explain.  My joints literally feel lighter and do not ache so much.  I also have rhuematoid arthritis, which always bothers me more in the winter, but I feel better than I have in years.
Yesterday a friend called me and asked me if I would bring her cigarettes on my lunch break, as she was stuck in the house.  There was no way I was going to go anywhere in this town and buy cigarettes after all this!  I laughed.  LAUGHED, and told her that I had a pack in my purse I had been carrying for security and I felt able to let those go now.  That worked.  And I didn't have a panic attack.  This marks the first time in roughly 26 years that I have not had a pack in my possession, in fact, within 10 feet of my person.  You can take a few years out of that 26 for pregnancy.  For some reason the minute I became pregnant I could smell like a bloodhound and never had the least bit of trouble throwing them away.  That sense of smell was more a burden than a blessing most of the time, but I think God gives you that so you can be a good mother.  It does gradually fade, though.
So I guess I'm on the road to replacing my addiction to smoking with an addition to eating candy. 
Last night I started picking up candy and ended up with 4 bags of assorted goodies in my basket along with the dogfood that I went to the store for.  I was trying to come up with a plan of how to hide all this crap from the kids until I could get it to work, and I sat there and ate a huge candy bar (chocolate and toffee on sale for $1.29).  While I was sitting there in the parking lot, in my warm car, in the dark, I remembered some talk show I saw years ago on compulsive eaters.  They cried about how embarrassing it was for them to go through drive-thru's (because they did it several times a day) and how they would drive around and park in parking lots to eat the food because they were too ashamed to let anyone see them eat.
I knew just how they felt.
I wondered if there were any in the parking lot that had cigarettes.......I had some good stuff to trade......
Then I just separated out all the candy and tied it up and put it with the bags of stuff ready for the Salvation Army the next time I go, and went home.
Stay tuned for how to deal with acne in your 40's so that it doesn't interfere with wrinkle solutions. 

I got a couple of paper cuts on the pads on my fingers yesterday.  Not enough to bleed but enough to have a perforation in your skin that you almost break open anytime you pushed on anything.  It makes me shudder to even type that.  I really, really hate paper cuts like that.  I would rather it just go ahead and make a cut and get it over with.  I keep a some New Skin in my desk for just such emergencies.  It is like super glue and works really well.
When I got home I grabbed what I thought was my bottle of New Skin at home and reapplied some to one of my fingers.  I thought it burned quite a bit worse, but it dried and I went on with my night.  Before bed last night I noticed that it was all white and weird, so I went and got the bottle.  I had put Compound W on my papercut instead of New Skin.  Great......I tried to pick it off and it almost took my skin off with it. 
These are the things that I do and don't even know it for hours.
Distracted?  Well, just intensely multi-tasking is the way I would put it.

Coming soon - Political page

Tonight I will wade into Obamacare and the problems with nailing down who that will cover and how much it will cost.  I have added a page for this stuff so that only those who are actually interested in it will be able to go there for discussions.

Jan 17, 2011

Can you believe this?

I just had to comment on this.  It will relate to some posting I want to do about the subject of "feminism" and what in Heaven's name that even means today.
This is Helem Bonham Carter and the outfit she wore to the Golden Globes.  Now, I am for everybody being happy.  Whatever that takes, as long as you don't hurt anyone but possibly yourself, I say it's your business. 
Having said that, I have to say this:  Helen is either into the Judy Garland Trail Mix OR this is the equivalent of an actresses "Up yours, Hollywood!" moment.
I did not watch the Golden Globes, but when I saw this outfit I laughed out loud for 7 or 8 minutes. Is the strap dress supposed to do that?  Do you see the two different shoes????  I mean the whole thing is a disaster, but the shoes!!  THE SHOES!!
I strongly suspect they could make a hilarious movie out of the story behind this outfit.  Probably even the day and night proceeding her putting this outfit on.  I would give anything to know what her exact words were when she got it all together and looked in the  mirror.  Do you think she DID look in the mirror?  Did an assistant get fired over this?
If this is her way of thumbing her nose to the waste and shallowness of awards shows, Helen has new fan.
If she was just having "one of those days" and decided to say "hell with it" I still admire her courage.
Either way I have to check her out further. 
And you can't BUY publicity like that outfit guarantees.
So I am calling this an epic success, regardless of what the fashion police say.  Truly laugh out loud.

Jan 16, 2011

Mistaken lyrics beget blog title

Update on non-smoking:  I have noticed, as have a couple of others, that I am smoking the magic stick less.  It is now about 9 or 10 in the morning before I really have a craving for the nicotine.
I have also heard rumblings of the starter kits being taken off the market.  I haven't researched it yet, but word on the street is that the FDA is throwing a fit because they haven't approved it.  I didn't know that was even a requirement of the FDA anymore with all the commercials for drugs on TV now, which turn out to have class action suits filed within a period of about 3 years because the drug they advertised and you went and got from your Dr. turned out to have serious side effects that will probably kill you.  Have you actually listened to those commercials?  The side effects they read at the end always have me in stitches.  You really have to wonder who would need a drug that bad.
But back to the electric cigarettes, I think we will still be able to buy the cartridge refills.  If you are interested in one at all, I would buy one or two now.  It has been a miracle for me and several of my friends. No one who has tried one has said it did not cut down on thier smoking.

In other news, I will tell you where the name of my blog comes from.  My oldest son, the Rock Star, recently recorded a CD with his band. This CD is the result of years of work, sweat, money, tears and life experience and I am so very proud of these kids.  The name of the band is Our Last Run.  I happen to know they take all exposure, especially if it's free, and I have been cleared to talk about them.
These kids have been playing together for 4 or 5 years, and for most of those years, our house was a place where musical instruments were always laying out, song lists and partially written songs were on slips of paper everywhere, and it was not uncommon for 5 or 6 strapping young gentlemen to wander in and inquire if there was anything to eat. (There was, as a result of my having discovered Pioneer
Woman about that time.)
It was loud, the hours were not regular, and you might get a call at 10 pm requesting an extension cord or something be delivered to where the band was playing.  The Rock Star wrote most of the lyrics and used words like "debris" and "disarray", which thrilled his already proud mother to no end.   "Hey, mom, listen to this song and help me figure out what to do with it" was a common request.
So, you would think I would know all the words, right?  Not so right. 
When I got my advance copy, I put it in my car and rode around until I had listened to the whole thing.  When I got home, I told The Rock Star that I absolutely loved it, raved on and on very enthusiastically, and said "Lace your days with hope", that is the best line.  The Rock Star didn't miss a beat.  He just smiled fondly and said "Huh.  It's actually "replace your fears with hope", but that's actually better.  I think I'll use that."  I felt terrible about it.  I assured him it probably wasn't his singing, it was more likely my old hearing.  But since I came up with it I decided to use it for my blog title.  If he wants to use it now I will of course give him permission.
I can't tell you what it is as a mother to listen to these songs.  They chronicle his life in those years, and he has grown so much and so WELL that I can only hope he never stops.  It's been 6 months and I still can't keep from tearing up everytime I listen to it.
If I had known when I became a mother how wonderful it would turn out, I would do it all again, 1000 times.  It is being a parent that makes us become the best person we can be.  We live a certain way not because we like to (at first) but to give our children an example of how to live thier lives.  I used to think as a young mother that when the kids grew up I would have time to chase my own dreams.  Along the way I came to realize that my children were the only dreams I ever had worth pursuing. 
I think sacrifice is the secret to life.  You have to do it for a long time without getting anything back.  Because otherwise, it's not really sacrifice, is it?  If you do it long enough, you will learn to love it for itself.  It ceases to matter whether you get anything back.  And when you do, it only makes you glad they see that you made it and are grateful in turn. 
That's how you know they will be all right, even if you die tomorrow.  It all comes full circle and you will find that all those years you went on because you didn't know what else to do, well, there was a plan.  You were doing exactly what you were supposed to.
It's a really good feeling.  It takes 20 years, but it's SO SO worth it.

That should be enough hope to lace several days.  Especially for the young mothers who are trapped at home during this long, miserably cold haul up the hill to spring.  Take heart and have a little faith in yourself.  Trust God.  He really is in control.

Jan 15, 2011

Random Facts

10 things you may not know about me:

1.  I have a pretend grandbaby.  The baby is not pretend, she is real.  I just pretend she is my grandbaby.

2. When I count my blessings, I often include thanks for the magic eraser.

3. I really hate it when people in electic wheelchairs use the road like a car.  And I feel badly about that.

4. I was a party girl in the 80's.  This is not as uncommon as you may have been led to believe.

5. I have an incredible love for older gentlemen, especially of the southern variety.  All that chivalry, what's not to love?

6. I have recently been wondering what the difference between apathy and security is.

7. I gained over 100 lbs when I was pregnant with the twins.  People nudged each other when they walked by me and refused to make eye contact with me.

8. This reduced my mother to fits of uncontrollable laughter.

9. I go outside first thing every morning and last thing every night.  I can't seem to stop.

10. I believe once you have eaten all the crow from all the opinions you were so free with in your 20's, your work on earth is pretty much done. 

These are all things I have good stories about.  But this weekend I am going to be cooking and cleaning (because you know that makes me feel like a woman) and visiting with my kids.  And counting my blessings.

If you haven't counted your blessings recently, give it a whirl.  You may be surprised.

Jan 14, 2011

Love Handles - Check

Still smoking my magic stick and sticking to the plan but it is HARD.  For one thing, my tongue has blisters all over it from constantly sucking on hard candy.  Butterscotch is my preference but I have never been picky when it comes to candy. 
So last night I stopped by the store to get a some garlic bread and lettuce.  Lo and behold!!  All Christmas cookies were on sale for $1 a bag.  Now, I should explain that when you stop smoking certain things happen.  Like, for one thing, you begin to taste and smell things again.  And you are kind of anxious all the time because you feel like you are forgetting something, so putting something in your mouth serves two purposes.  It makes you feel like you are doing something, and it helps get that taste of ashes out of your mouth.
Well, at $1 a bag I decided to live it up and threw 3 bags of cookies in my cart.  I'm feeling pretty good about it all and I don't even have to stop to bag a bunch of stuff, so efficient is the non-smoking, candy devouring new me.  When I got in the car, I was so hungry that I ripped open the nearest bag of cookies and I ate 27 cookies on the way home!!  I counted.  Because I'm efficient like that.  They were kind of stale, but that did not deter me in the least.  I was thinking this was crazy and how low I had sunk, when the person inside my head said "Hey, babe.  Whatever it takes.  There are probably children still starving in Africa.  You're golden."  And I felt better.
The person inside my head talks to me alot.  I used to think it was God when I was little, and it could be.  I always hear the person inside my head.  I do not always follow their advise, usually to my dismay, but in this case it was nothing but comfort.
Which brings me to the jiggling sides.  Possibly love handles.  Is that two words?  Whatever.  I have some.  I do not seem to have actually gained weight, but you know how it goes when you suddenly notice your jeans are tighter?  Mine are.  I was just starting to worry about gaining weight when the person inside my head said "It's not that you have gained weight.  It's just that you are not coughing 100 times a day anymore. That must be the equivalent of 100 sit ups. Or crunches.  Or WHATEVER they are calling them these days.
It made perfect sense to me.
So, my plan is to scoop some snow.  Plenty of that around.  If we get real excited we may even build snowmen this weekend.

I am just starting this blog and have not yet discussed permission to talk about my children (at least one of which I am pretty sure is not speaking to me right now.  Either that or there has been a disaster that I am not yet aware of).  So I will just say that I have 4.
The Rock Star, male, 21
The Beautiful Redhead, female, 18
and two perfect halves of what I like to call the Grand Finale, both males,both 13
The Oldest Baby, and
The Youngest Baby

Because you know they will always be my babies.  They'll tell ya.  They aren't even embarrassed at all.

So, is there anybody out there who can tell me how long before you can sit still without anything in your mouth?  Or is that just me?

Jan 12, 2011

Not Smoking - Everyone still alive

I have just completed one entire week smoke (but not nicotine) free.  After smoking for 26 years I have tried the electronic cigarette and found it to be a miracle!! 
You still can hold the cigarette in your fingers, which is a big thing with cigarettes, don't ask me why.  You get to inhale water vapor and nicotine!  You stay calm and do not fly into rages and embarrass yourself, break things or injure yourself kicking inanimate objects!  I am very impressed.
It has been a lesson in analysis, this quitting smoking.  For one thing, I haven't driven around in my car, in the winter, with the window up for 2 1/2 decades.  This is so embarrassing to say out loud, but it is the truth.  I am always cold, and hate winter, yet I have strictly made myself go outside to smoke for 20 years.  Someone who has no addiction would ask why anyone would do such stupid things.  I wish I had an answer, but I don't.  Because I was addicted mind, body and soul?  That is my answer.
One thing I have learned is that a lot of the time when I went out to smoke, I did it to get out of the situation I was in, not because I expressly wanted a cigarette.  It was just the perfect excuse, especially around people who didn't smoke, because that way THEY would stay away from ME, and I could get away from the crowd without ever hurting anyone's feelings. I am claustrophobic, but not to that extent.  I have used them to isolate myself for all of my adult life.  True story.  Smoking made me feel like I could cope better.  Like I was tough.  Like I was an adult.  And besides that, it got me away from all those pesky people who were honestly concerned with my health.  Nothing bothers a smoker like those people, I say, NOTHING!!
Now I smoke my little magic stick and laugh at myself because I feel silly doing it, but didn't feel silly smoking all those years while I was slowly killing myself. Like that wasn't silly? 
There comes a time when you are too old to fall for stupid bs anymore.
For me, that came between the ages of 40 and 45, but there is no set schedule. 
God works in mysterious ways, and while I have always been honest and forthright, I have not dealt with this very serious issue with myself.  I am very proud of myself for getting this far.  But I'm still stuck for an explanation of why I liked it so much.  I found it very comforting and reassuring, hard as that is to believe.  Maybe because my parents smoked.  In fact, during my childhood it seemed like everybody smoked and nobody thought anything about it.  I guess I considered it a mark of adulthood. 
The world has changed a lot. 
I guess it's time I finally got with the program.
I already feel so much better and I have to say my kids are just thrilled.
There is a bit of hope to lace today with.  I just started this and haven't done any of the fancy stuff yet.  Alas, my blog and myself are both works in progress.