Aug 31, 2011

Getting Lost

On the way home from a trip recently, it was time to stop for awhile.  I spotted a cemetery in one of my favorite towns, and almost passed it by as being too "modern".

Then I saw this lady.....

and changed my mind.  She patiently waits, facing East, and seems to be prepared to wait for as long as it takes.  Isn't she beautiful?

She isn't far from this stone, which is by FAR the coolest way I have ever in my entire life seen a name on a headstone.  I think it must be his signature.  Just one more point of having legible handwriting...

Right across from the Lady ( I feel she deserves capitalization, I'm chivalrous like that) is this gorgeousness

Which is actually not any kind of stone at all, but a cool place to rest and get a drink.  Then I saw this sweet maiden and could not get a shot for anything, due to the fact that it was afternoon.  She was quite breathtaking also.

It was a nice break.  Quiet.  Plenty of room to walk.  No worries about your car being stolen or vandalized.  (wink wink).  Hope you enjoyed the pictures even though you may have seen them before, these being sent without my knowledge.  Even though I did it!

Aug 30, 2011

Summer and Angels

This year we got to have a real summer.  The kids were home.  All the time.  There were no schedules to keep except one kid had to go to lifting, and he didn't complain about getting up early.  There were late nights, late mornings, and lots of sleeping over.  I told the boys to enjoy it because it would probably be the last time it would happen in their lifetimes.  This was not a joke.  Next year they are going to need jobs so that they will be able to buy a car because NEXT year they will turn 15.  That does not seem possible but I am sure it is correct, as I have been keeping careful count.

I now have to look up at them.  Sigh..........  Oh well, they are growing into men.

The one who signed up for football quit.  Without telling me first.

Then the one who signed up and quit within the first week called the coach (encouraged by friends) and decided to play.  Without telling me first.

THEN, when I pointed out that he, in particular, would also jump off a bridge if encouraged by these same friends, and that I was tired of being left out of decisions, and that we would not keep jumping on and off this or any other merry-go-round.  We are not that kind of people.

Then he said "OK, I'll tell coach tomorrow my mom doesn't want me to play".

Yes, he said that.  Which led to a long speech about how it is not "manly" to dart around with the attention span and commitment of a mosquito deciding stuff and TELLING PEOPLE, and then blaming it all on your mother when it isn't going to work out.  This speech emphasized personal responsibility and looking at situations from different angles.

These were not new concepts.  In fact, I would say they are very familiar, but maybe that's because I'm always the one to give the presentation.

It's been a long week.

Fortunately, I have a couple of angels who just love boys (and dogs) and have hired the two of them to do some dirty work around the house.  The Grand Finale adore this couple to begin with, but the secret ingredient is that the male half of this couple has absolutely no qualms about me vetoing any decision he would make concerning my kids.  He has helped me raise the older two also, but they had a father who was involved and I never needed any help with them.  With the Grand Finale he is stepping into the role of mentor and I can only thank God for him and his wife every night.

With the Mentor, the boys are tougher.  They do not bother to offer up paltry excuses like the do with me, their mother, and I suspect would with any other woman.  They swagger a little around him, they jump to be useful to him in any way regardless of how hard, dangerous or dirty it promises to be.  They think he is 10 feet tall and bullet proof.  I have always thought of him the same way, to tell you the truth, but then I have had good reason.  He's been in charge of all my home repair for 20 years, and it was he who pointed out that I was going to have trouble with teenage boys clear back when I was in the "my sweet boy....." stage.  He's a man who gets 'er done and done right the first time.  He's been my friend for decades, just a little bit older, just a little bit smarter, just a little bit more experienced.  He is brutally honest and does not worry about sparing my feelings if it's important.  I cannot tell you the times he has given the "the look" that asks "What are doing?  You know that's not right.  Don't think I'm going to excuse you for this."  One time I got that look over the little doohickey that locks a window being broke.  He just fixed it, and I have to say at that moment was the first time I thought to myself "I have fallen down on the job.  I have to get back to it even if I do not personally care anymore whether the window locks are broken."  He can make me feel bad just like my mom always could.  I do not resent him for it, I only wish we could clone him.  The world could use more of him and he has already influenced many children, mine are just the latest two.  He and his wife are the kind of unsung hero's that America is known for and made up of.  They don't think they are hero's.  They just live their lives but they try to do things right and they help other people do the same.

He has given my boys the confidence to take charge and take care of things.  I no longer carry in groceries, let alone dog food in 40 lb. bags.  I haven't opened a door if accompanied by one of the boys for months.  I was on my way to pick them up from working last night when the female angel called, reported on how good a job they had done, told me they were having fun swimming right then, and that she was warming them up some chili because they "looked hungry" and then would bring them home.  I was to do whatever I was busy with at home and enjoy my time.  I thanked God right there while I was still shaking my head in wonder.  The Grand Finale came home a while later, dirty, dripping and whistling.  Just like men who had earned a honest wage.

Now, I ask you believe that there really are angels among us?

I do.  I have proof of this kind in myriad ways throughout my life, and it seems that this is the basic reason for this blog.  Blogging is difficult because you are always trying to keep details back while giving the correct impression without them.

Who has been an angel to you?  More importantly, who have you been an angel to?

Aug 24, 2011

This week so far.....

So, one of the boys is playing football this year.  This means that I spend most of my evenings in my car in the school parking lot waiting.  Waiting for what?  Just waiting.  Does it really matter "for what"?  No.  Just bring a book.  This my best advise.  Or blog from your car.  Multi-tasking at it's best!!

Sunday evening, after swimming,  I reminded both boys to put alcohol in their ears.  Four times.  I do not believe either of them did this.

Monday morning I reminded both boys to put alcohol in their ears.  Twice.

Monday at lunch I come home, maneuver around the giant pile of clothes, sorted by size and item, that are currently residing in my living room floor, and go to the bathroom.  On the counter I see the bottle of Glyoxide out without it's cap.

I am certain that one of the boys, probably the younger one, put Glyoxide in his ears instead of alcohol.

Both bottles are the same shape and size.  Alcohol's tip is red.  Glyoxide's is blue.

I sigh.  At some point, probably about the time your kids turn 14, you are ready to let them sink or swim on their own.  Not that you don't hope they swim.  Not that you don't have vague plans in the back of your mind, constantly, about what you will do if they sink. 

Mostly you just sigh and wait for this day to pass.

I did not even put the cap back on the Glyoxide, because that is not my job, either.

Tuesday, the youngest baby asks desperately, "Is today Wednesday"?

"No".  I flatly state, shooting down his hope.

These cooler nights are coming earlier and we are all sluggish with the desire to sleep more and/or allergies.  Our days are nothing but what we must go through in order to get back to bed, where we would much prefer to stay.  I speak for everyone in my household when I say this.

Wednesday morning I am on my second "Ok, I really mean it this time, we have really got to go now!!" trip back into the house and the boys are having a yelling fight.  Youngest baby has forgotten a form that I need to sign and he needs to turn in today, of course.  And wants Oldest baby to just "put his name on his" form and then turn in one form for both boys.  Older baby said "forget that, dude."  Youngest baby appeals to me, his mother, who loves him, for help. 

It's hell being both mother and father to these boys, but I must say I do a pretty good job of it.  I just ask myself what I would do with a grown man who tried to pull that crap on me, and then act accordingly.  I figure I am saving an unknown number of women trouble in their not so distant future this way.  It has never been my intention to raise any fools, let alone crybabies.  The world needs men, and I intend to increase this world's "men" be at least 3.  I think it was all those years of complaining about "men" that made God put me in this situation.  I hope it is clear that I no longer give God reason to basically say "OK, babe, put your money where your mouth is, I am tired of hearing this same line of whining", but I am only human.  You will have to wait and see just like I do.

So I tell Youngest baby to suck it up.  It was his responsibility to bring home the paper and he didn't, so he will have to pay the consequences.  He is not happy and sulks all the way to the car.  While we have a few minutes because we are STILL waiting on Oldest baby, I say "listen, you are getting to the age where nobody is going to accept these silly excuses.  You are old enough to know better and you are just going to have carry your own weight.  To accept these excuses would mean that I am helping to set you up for a lifetime of bitter disappointment".  He screams at me that he knows.  I shoot lasers out of my eyes and he settles into a subdued sulk.

I drop off the boys at school and am fool enough to think I am free now to remember what my own day holds.  I remember again that it is Wednesday, finally!  I start to feel the stress leave me.

My phone rings as I am just turning off of the road that leads to the school.

It's the middle school where I have just about 2 minutes ago dropped off the boys.

"Mom?  Can you come back to school and sign my paper?  I found it!"

............."yeah.  I'll be there in a minute, honey."

I also have to be the sweet mother who will drive for miles just so you don't miss turning in your papers on time.

This is my life. 

Every time it runs smoothly for any period of time, something changes.

I just go with the flow.  Right now, that involves a lot of driving, waiting, and dog hair.

It could be worse.

Aug 23, 2011


I just had to put this down for posterity.

I have been doing some traveling lately.  Not real big traveling, but more driving than I have done in several years.  I have spent the last 5-10 at home and it has pretty much required my children, family obligations (think funerals), or a shoe horn to get me out of my house.

So lately I have been going places again and I have been repeatedly confronted with something that I view as a reflection of our current screwed up culture. 

I am talking about roundabouts.

What the heck is the purpose of these and why WHY, for Pete's sake, would we accept quietly the fact that now instead of going straight ahead we have to take the 2nd right in order to actually GO straight ahead?????  Is this supposed to make it more equal?  So now everybody has to slow way down and pay attention instead of having a through road and two stop signs?  How much do you think that cost?  In dollars, of course, not lives.  That could probably not be accurately calculated.

Has this not struck anyone else as street rat crazy??????  Am I the only one still awake?  Would it be worth it if I was?  I think not.

I was infuriated.  Especially when I came upon them unexpectedly in the dark.

I freely admit that it may not be advisable to travel in the dark when you really can't see anything.  But plenty of people do it all the time when they think they know the road.

Do not assume anything anymore, people.  Especially do not assume that anything is going to make any sense.  It may be safer to accept that but I will fight it until my death which I dread a little bit less every day.

The only good reason I can think of for something like roundabouts is that the powers that be are trying to restrict the bigger trucks from using these roads.  That works for me.  Unless I would have been behind the poor trucker who, knowing no better, suddenly came upon a roundabout where there had previously only been a stop sign and had to slam on his brakes, not hit anybody already in the circle part, and THEN hit the 2nd right without missing a beat.  That would be horrifying, no????

This was compounded in Columbia Sunday when taking the first right in order to actually turn right, I found myself at a gas station that, when I got out, I noticed had no trash can.  Instead of the usual trash can, there was a big pot of fake flowers in the middle of the pumps at each row.  In addition, instead of having the bins with the window washing solution and the squeegees (Oh, America, I miss you already!!)  there were more pots of fake flowers.

It being the last station on the way out of town on 763, near the God forsaken roundabout, I quickly concluded two things.

1) Obviously this gas station has been bought by people who are not from America, and know what you need to take care of a car.  I suppose they could be from America, but I doubt it.

2)  Never to take this route again.  Unless I'm only going to the 63 Diner, and to remember the culturally lost roundabout.

So, we are now living in a world where to continue straight ahead we need to take the 2nd right.

Does that make any sense to you?????

Aug 21, 2011

Busy Summer

I have been gone a long time, I know.  So much for making myself do something everyday, beyond what I feel I 'have" to do. 

Oh, well.

I have been to lots of cemeteries, and I apologize to those following who had all those notifications.  It seems that in trying to send pictures to an email address to be used in the blog, instead they all showed up as new posts.  Which would have been ok, had I at least put a caption with them.  Someday I hope to put them all into a post.  Barring that, I will at least add a caption to each one of them.  Obviously I do not know what I am doing.  However,  I have gotten through most of my life in just that way, so if you were expecting anything else, you should get used to this. 

Acceptance.  It's a quality that makes life easier.  For everyone, if you must know.  wink wink

Last weekend I took the Grand Finale over to see one of my friends who was visiting her folks.  They have a lake in the back with an island.  The boys immediately got in the water, then decided to take a canoe to the island.  They were warned before they started that the boat only had one paddle, but this did not slow them down in the least.  The next 45 minutes were spent with my friend and I laughing hysterically at two 14 year-olds trying their darndest to paddle a boat with one paddle.  I had measured them that very day, and one is 5' 10" and the other 5' 11".  I didn't weigh them but they are well over 100 lbs. each and wear size 11 and 12 shoes.  The one that was paddle less at the time (this changed periodically) would either use their arm as a paddle in the front of the boat, or sit in the back and kick.  Finally one jumped out, the better to push, and then they both jumped out.  So they are now trying to "swim" the boat to shore.  I don't know how long they tried pushing the boat before they discovered that they could touch, but we were laughing especially hard during that time.  Luckily they were so far away they couldn't hear it and I'm sure they didn't look back.  They had other things on their minds.

By now they were pretty far away, and our eyes are pretty old.  The boys were fine, the boat was safe, and they seemed to be playing some kind of game where they were taking turns diving into the water on either side of the boat.  We wondered what they were doing, but who knows what kind of games twin 14 year old boys might dream up?  We continued to enjoy the time uninterrupted, which is still hard for me to get used to, even though my children are practically grown men now.

When they finally made it back, we learned that they had thrown the anchor in and too late, discovered that the anchor was not, as it should have been, secured to the boat in any way.  So the diving "game" we had witnessed turned out to be them frantically diving to "save" the anchor.

We laughed extra hard at that.  It was a great afternoon and so good to see her.  She also finally got to see the twins for the first time since they were babies.  I do not know where the years go, only that they do, and they go very fast at that.

In other news I have had a few "high energy" days.  Don't ask me how, but I actually got through some closets and they are in order! 

Now, I have proof of my labor in the form of a big pile of clothes on the living room floor, carefully separated into sizes and in order by item.  I fervently hope that the high energy wave hasn't completely left the shore.  If  I don't get them sold or hauled away they will still be sitting there at Christmas, which just may be when I post next!

School is back in session.  Whether you view this as good or bad, if your children are out of the house all day at least there is food left when you come home at night, so take heart!  Take what heart you can and prepare to be five and ten dollared to death in exchange for food that no one is eating in your house all day.

This is as good as it gets these days, and it's not all that bad.