Dec 15, 2013

This is it!

November 30th
      Thanksgiving at home today with The Rock Star and Rockette, which is what I have dubbed the wondrous girlfriend of my oldest son.  Because she rocks.  Really!  I got up early and got all the stuff out to make bread and noodles.  I got out my sheet, which is the ONLY way to roll out noodles, let me tell you, floured it, got it positioned just so, and then started on the noodles only to realize I was out of eggs.  This is life in menopause.  It's like a combination of ADHD and OCD, for those of you who have grown up with these terms.  For those of you who are older, like me, it's just being constantly distracted by the endless list of stuff that you are under the gun to do by a certain time.  Or, as we grew up the lesson was titled: "Hey, that's life, kid."
     Anyway, a trip to Wal Mart was in order, and while I was there I thought, things like this.
      1.  HEY! Key Lime Pie!!  SOLD!
      2.  WHOA!  Frozen bread!!  Throw it in!!
      3.  OH!  Very expensive flavored coffee creamer!  Y.......No.   Keep moving!  Time is short!
      4.  WAIT!  As long as you're doing frozen bread, why not grab some frozen noodles?  YEAH! (turns cart around, alarms a confused man in front of 47 different varieties of whipped cream.)         And then, the inevitable
      5.  DAMN!!!   OUT OF FROZEN NOODLES!!!!!
      Sigh.  Look of disgust followed quickly by
      6.   GET OUT.  Get. OUT.  Now.

This is a normal trip to Wal Mart for me now.  I've learned to accept it.

The Rock Star and Rockette arrived on time, we had dinner, then he handed me a book.  He asked if I remembered it and of course I did.

He said "I marked my favorite page in it and I want you to read it and see if you remember it."

I was pleased.  I open the book to the page marked.  It is marked with a sonogram picture, and my first thought is "Did I leave that in there?  I wonder which one of the kids this was."

I look at my son, who is standing above me, tall and strong and beautiful, and smiling down with the sweetest smile and his eyes are just...........well, I have never seen that look in those eyes before.  This was brand new.  Tears start pouring out of my eyes and everybody starts laughing and crying and I get up and hug my Rock Star, and then the Rockette, and I am going to be a grandmother, for real, in June.


Our own Little Rock Star!!!

I am so excited to get to witness them go through this Doorway!

I have lived in fear of missing these moments for years.  I have hoped for this child, dreamed of this child, and many more.  I have waited, practiced, honed my grand-mothering skills and let the house go because I know that the house should never, ever, be your first priority when there are children around.  This is the mark of empty, lonely lives, these houses in perfect shape.

I did not choose that path.  I have never had any regrets in that regard either.  If someone writes on my walls, I'm just going to draw a frame around it and note the date.  That's all I've got to say about that.  I think I may even make a part of a wall into a chalkboard, like that crazy-smart Kelsy figured out how to do. :D

I immediately drug them down the "storage room", where recently, thanks be to God for my ADHD/OCD arrangement, I have been tearing through stuff that's been basically thrown in there and forgotten for 12 years.  I stop and cry and sort and throw away, reorganize, and feel like a woman.  It works, on the rare occasion that it happens.  You have to make the crazy stuff work for the greater good.  Just go with it and don't question your first gut reaction.  In this way you will be ready to pull out at least 2 different sets of china belonging to someone in your family, heirlooms, for the wondrous couple who have given you your first grandchild, to pick from.  Christmas present this year!  And how great is that, as they have just gotten a china cabinet for the adorable little home that the wondrous Rockette has already bought and decorated up at her tender age?
   Next  we pulled out the little chest that my own mother gave me and I have never decided what to put on the front panel.  Now my first grandchild will have it's own little chest.  Inside were blankets from all my babies, and baby clothes from each one.  We had the best time standing in that dusty room full of stuff I have either procrastinated getting rid of or couldn't bear to part with.  Sometimes if you put stuff off long enough you find it right when you need it the most.
     Also?  I still have all my mom's clothes.........which The Rock Star actually has kept me from getting rid of twice, in my more brutal moods.  I'm so glad now, because these will make either quilts or bears for all my grandchildren.  I hope there will be lots.  But I'll take whatever I get and I will not complain, oh no.
    I keep remembering this news every few minutes and it hits me anew each time.  This is just like what it was like when I found out I was pregnant, mentally.  They have already heard the heartbeat and seen this little miracle, and I cried when I heard that story, too.  I am, unsurprisingly, over the moon at this news, but have been warned to keep it off FB for the time being.
     Fine!  So this is what I have done instead.  I will just save this up until I can tell the whole world.  I can do that.
     Meanwhile, OCD kicks in and I have to make lists.  For one thing, I have to map out who is who in these two families that make up The Rock Star and list family names.  That should keep me busy for a while.  Also, I think I will go through all my old pictures and make an album for each of my children, which I have the stuff to do and have been putting off for about 6 years.  But I'm ready, see? Procrastination can save you, sometimes.
      The voices inside my head keep asking "What will it be?"  "What will it be called?"  "What will it call you?" 
      The answer to all of these is a constant "Who cares?  AHAHAHAHAHA!  We're having a baby!!!"

Nov 17, 2013

Uncle John Leaves Browning........

The time has come for my Uncle John to have a sale.  The past few years have turned out to be the last that he will live in the house that he has occupied for the last 40 years or so.  He and my Aunt Linda raised two children here, 1 block away from my grandparent's house, across one of the two paved roads that runs through that sweet little one horse town.

This used to be the biggest joke in the world, as there was no law in Browning.....officially. ;)

Increasingly, he has needed help.  This has resulted in many trips back to what is left of my home town.  I have followed that familiar path to the lone remaining house that I have traveled to throughout my life that remains "the same" for me.  Gone is the house I grew up in, burned to the ground several years back.  Main street is virtually unrecognizable now from what it used to be.  I have made myself see it, stare at it, drive down it, make my mind accept it, but it always feels like a movie.  My eyes see what exists now but my mind and heart overshadow all that with what used to be, ghosts around every corner, cheerfully waving and welcoming me back. Coming home has changed in many ways, and yet there is still comfort and peace in it.  

I play a game with myself to see which song will play when I roll into town, my trusty box of Kleenex always standing by.  I cry a lot, but I don't worry about that here.  Here, anyone who see me either knows me, and understands exactly what is going on, or has no idea who I am and probably doesn't care what is going on.  The best time was to the accompaniment of The Bitch Is Back, ala Sir Elton, and it was the one time I laughed instead of cried.  Stone cold sober, as a matter of fact.  I see things that are no longer visible.  I drive by a tree that is no longer there and see a determined man patiently waiting out a rebellious child who has tried and failed to escape in the top of that tree.  He will have to come down some time.  The house across the street from it is gone now too, but once housed their family.  Later that house withstood a thunderstorm with a slightly crazy lady (when she didn't take her meds, at least) on the peak of the gable on the roof.  What she was shouting as the lightening flashed and the rain poured down no one could make out, but the fact that anybody heard her at all is testament to how loud she was, and I am here to testify that no one who saw that scene ever forgot it.   You would know none of this as you drive by now unless you were there.  Now it's just an empty corner, giving none of it's secrets away.

The last day I made that trip it was to meet my cousin and pack up a U-haul with what Uncle John would be taking to KC with him.  She had spent the last couple of days packing and tossing the (carefully packed and stored) accumulation of several lives "like a boss", as the marines would say, and assured me that "everything was under control".  Because she is my cousin, I understood this to mean that she had the determination and will to get through this heartbreaking and soul sucking process, as long as she didn't have to stop to think or God forbid reflect on any of it.  Which basically meant we were to get there pronto and keep moving and soon it would be over and we could all collapse.  Uncle John described it thus: "My God, she went through this house like a tornado.  I've never seen anything like it".  It was one of only a few times I failed to think he was exaggerating in my entire life.  I could see that was the God's honest truth with my own eyes.

Indeed, when we arrived the front lawn was already full of everything she and her 11 year old daughter could carry out, which was quite a lot.  We have 3 sixteen year old sons between the two of us, and they got the show right on the road.  Uncle John sat in his recliner throughout the morning as boys disassembled and carried out beds and furniture.  Any break in the carrying would find all the kids sprawled out in the living room floor, watching either a ballgame or a race with Uncle John.

It was actually exactly like it had always been in that house.

My cousin and I steadily worked our way through bedrooms and closets.  She pretended not to notice when I cried and I pretended that it was easy to finally get rid of the clothes that have hung in those closets, undisturbed, for almost 20 years.  I held those clothes to my face and inhaled, and then put them in bags for Goodwill.  May they be worn again by a good looking guy who will plays a guitar and can identify cars coming down the road at 50 yards.  I know the next guy will not be as sweet as the last person they belonged to, but men that sweet don't happen very often.  

We remembered the times that we girls would lock the boys out of the house as children but never remember to lock the windows, and how the boys would scare us when they snuck back in.  I don't think any of our parents EVER knew about that.

We crawled again into the "cubby holes" in the attic that we had played in as children (which seemed MUCH smaller now), discovering childhood treasures and what must surely now be "genuine antiques".  We sealed the house up for winter.  I took down all the sun catchers from the kitchen window where we always ate as kids.  That same window looked right down the road to our grandparent's house when we were little, and my cousin Jon and I used to get out the binoculars to watch each other when I was staying at Big Grandma's.  Between us was the paved road that separated Big Grandma's from Aunt Linda and Uncle John's houses, and the tree that we used to climb endlessly.  That road got oiled every summer, and Big Grandma made us put bread sacks over our feet to cross it, so we wouldn't track up either house with tar.  That tree's shade was where we learned to walk on stilts and shoot bb guns, our first target practice.

Standing in the driveway under that tree, while some of the other's searched the top of the garage for God only knew what, we found the trap shooter.  Is that even what they are called?  The things that sling the blue rocks into the sky so you can shoot them?  See?  THAT is how good Uncle John was as an uncle.  I don't even know what they are called for sure, but I can run one and I will have you know I can hit anything slung from them a very good percentage of the time.

It was always Uncle John that took us places.  He was definitely an adult to us kids, but he was the adult that also frequently got "in trouble" with our mothers, sometimes right along with us kids.  It was Uncle John that taught us to shoot, to bat, to fish, to ski, to drive, to canoe, to be brave when you got hurt bad, and to take your punishment when you made bad choices and everybody found out what you had done.  Of course, everybody would find out what you had done.  That was a fact of life for us.  Uncle John was the go-to guy when you wanted to go get ice cream for no reason at all.  He was always game.  The trick was to get him talked into going before either of our moms realized where we were going.  We were always going somewhere, and often they were so glad he was taking all of us that they didn't question us closely.  From our perspective, we knew there was always plenty of time to take our punishment when we got home around suppertime and got in trouble for him ruining our appetites.  That's the kind of uncle he always was, and remains so as far as his health will allow.

When I would bring him groceries or do his laundry these last few years, Uncle John was extremely grateful.  He always thanked me profusely, more than once.  And that bothered me.  How could  he not know how much I owed him?  

When I was 13 and had knee surgery for the first time, I got all whiny about not liking the food in the hospital.  He asked what sounded good when he called me on the phone from our hometown, an hour away.  I said Pizza Hut pizza sounded good, pepperoni.  I thought he was just being nice and talking me out of my bad mood.  An hour later he showed up at the hospital with Pizza Hut pizza. Pepperoni.   He made me feel like I mattered, and that he would go to the ends of the earth to make me happy, if it was within his power.

Exactly 10 years and a few months after that, I had my first baby.  Everyone came to the hospital, including Uncle John.  He asked me what sounded good after I got back to my room and with no hesitation whatsoever I ordered french fries and a hot fudge brownie sundae.  As always, he delivered within about 20 minutes.  I dread ever going through any big event without his funny, derring -do spirit.

Once when I was in my early 20's and alone in my parent's house when they were on vacation, someone tried to break in.  Well, they seemed to be trying to break in, crazy as that is in a small town.  They snuck all around the house and tried every door.  My legs were shaking I was so scared, because this just DID NOT happen in my town.  I got the gun that I was not even sure was loaded and guess who I called before I was going to (possibly) shoot someone?  Uncle John!!  He answered the phone, we made a plan, and he was there in about 3 minutes.  Up he pulled into the driveway, out the front door I came, and with our guns, stepping gingerly, investigated all the way around the house.  Twice!  Uncle John was just starting to accuse me of being crazy when we finally found a guy from the next town over peacefully passed out in his truck, snoring away.  He was not happy to be woken up by me sticking a rifle in his stomach and I do admit I did get a little carried away with the forcefulness of my wrath, but nobody died and he never made that particular mistake again as far as me or Uncle John ever heard.  I think he may have taken to drinking at home after that, which was probably for the best anyway.  To the best of my knowledge he didn't even come to my town again for many years. Apparently I told him not to, although I don't have a clear memory of anything I say or do when I get into such a state.  People were watching for him, believe me.  :D  It all worked out in the end.  We were that kind of town.

I looked around the front yard of that house, old memories laid over what my eyes were seeing now.  The curving sidewalk that seemed so long when I drove down it on a tricycle.  
Across the road to the left here is the field that the Montgomery boys used to cross when I babysat them (which was against the rules, not that they cared), calling me and laughing hysterically at their "escape", so they could play with Jon and Kristen, from Uncle John's house.  Good times.  Good times.

The spot I was standing in the night my finger got knocked out of joint playing kickball.  Uncle John driving me and my mother to a Dr's (that might have been a vet, there was an argument and it was never determined what the truth of the situation was) where I was given many shots, wouldn't stop crying, and finally just buried my face in Uncle John's shoulder while he tried to straighten it out.  It was not straightened out, but has worked just fine, ever since.

How many times was Uncle John Mayor of this town?  How many cars did he sell or work on?  How many teams did he play ball on?

The pitcher's mound my cousin spent hours practicing on, pitching to Uncle many hours?  How many years?  How could we leave that there????  Everything we did that seemed.....wrong, but was right.  It was the right thing to do.  We kept reassuring ourselves and each other about this.

I still think this should go with Kristen.

The picnic table we ate on every summer of our lives, where the boys figured out how to take the wings off flies and no one could help but laugh, even our mothers, when the flies would keep hopping up but never fly away.  Using the magnifying glass to burn ants on the front sidewalk..........and figuring out that we could start fires all by ourselves.

Aunt Linda joined an "album of the month" club and we listened to an eclectic mix of Meatloaf, Helen Reddy and Barry Manilow until we knew every song on every album by heart the summer I was 12. The other 3 would have been 8 or 9.  This never really served any of us very well, I might add, but does that matter now?  No!  THAT is how memories are made!

Finally everything was loaded.  The freezers were defrosted, the house was winterized, the thermostat turned down, everything locked.  It felt like the house was mourning, but it could have just been us.  It felt like we were abandoning a baby, or an old person, someone who thought they could trust you. Someone who should be able to trust you.  It felt like we were untrustworthy.  But we're not.  It's hard to explain, and I hope you never have to go through it.  However, the only way to avoid going through it would be not to get attached to a place, and that would hardly be any way to live at all.

As I loaded my car to leave I noticed that my cousin's kids had found the magnifying glass and were burning ants on the front sidewalk.  My poor cousin still had a 3 hour trip to make and all that stuff to unpack and arrange and was determined to do it that evening.  I knew it was time to leave so she could keep going.  Stopping now was not an option, not if she wanted to get through it without a nervous breakdown.  I left them burning the ants with the magnifying glass.  The song playing in my head was Twilight Time.  I have no explanation for that, and I blamed Big Grandma's influence as I smiled.  I frequently picture my grandparents and all their peers in heaven now, looking down and lending us strength.  

By 10 that evening I got a picture from my cousin.  Uncle John was settled in his new place.  It was over, except for the sale.  She could now collapse.  It was done.  She had made it.  I knew she would.  She comes from a long line of strength.

Uncle John in his new place.

Oct 4, 2013

So, today there was a bat in my car......

Yes.  That's what she said.  You read that right.  It's kind of a long story.

I have to go back a few days.  I'm sorry but it was gradual and I was stupid.

Tuesday night we had the yard mowed.  This necessitates us taking down a gate and  unhooking an electric fence to get the mower into the back yard.
I was blabbing on the phone with my cousin and the guy got the yard mowed and the dogs were in and the boys decided to go to a football game, which was fine.
So pretty soon I realize that the dogs need to go out and I'm still blabbing on the phone with my cousin and not thinking and the house is quiet so I let the dogs out.
It took approximately 3 seconds for me to realize that I had just let the dogs out and no one had even thought about putting the gate back up.
I scream "OH MY GOD!!!!  THE DOGS!!!!!! I HAVE TO GO!!!!!!" and throw down the phone, grab my keys, and head for the front door.  Which was open.  I see the dogs streaking down up the street and I scream at the top of my lungs "JACK!!!! SHADOW!!!!!" and they pay no attention to me whatsoever and so I jump in the car.
I start to back up and realize my fourth son has blocked me in with his truck and so do I get out to see if he left the keys in it?  NO!!! IT WILL TAKE TOO MUCH TIME!!!!!!! And so I maneuver my poor little blocked in car around until I can rip out of the driveway, drive catty corner straight through the neighbor's yard, and then I see them!!!  Only 4 houses up!!!! I scream to a stop in the driveway and talk in a very ugly tone of voice to the dogs, who hop right in, thrilled to have a ride, the stupid idiots.
Back home, into the garage, making sure the outside door is shut so they don't do it all AGAIN before I can collapse, the shutting of the gate, the hooking up of the electric fence, and then said collapse.

We get in the car to go to work and school and I notice what I think of as "dirt balls" on the dash.  "Dirt balls" are what I call the dirt that collects in the paws of dogs with webbed feet, and even if you get the bottoms of their pads clean, you (that is to say *I*) often find these dirt balls strung through the house later.  Then I vacuum them up and tell myself that dogs are worth it.
So I chalk up what is on the dash to the exuberance of the dogs in their excitement and my torment of Tues. night.
We go on with our lives.  Everything is normal.

This is the dash of my car.  On this side of the crack you will see a little thingy.  This little thingy IS NOT A DIRTBALL.  ARG!

Passed in blissful ignorance of anything being amiss.  Except for more dirtballs, this time on the back of the head rest in the car but I just chalked that up to my own blessed obliviousness and lack of observational skills and those darned dirtballs.  They seemed to be everywhere, but not stressing out about these kinds of things helps me feel better, so I decided to ignore that crap!  The rest of the day passed without incident.

When we get in the car and My Oldest Baby puts on his seat belt, there is what sounds like a cricket chirping way down inside where the belt disappears into the plastic of our finely made car that is mostly plastic.
He bangs on the plastic side of the car and repeatedly says that it's annoying.
I wonder aloud how a cricket could get into our car????
I drop the boys off and take my usual route to work.  My usual route is a meandering one and not one that goes directly to work.  I would live to reconsider the wisdom of this route very shortly.
As soon as I turned onto a road with no shoulder and ditches on each side, a heavily traveled road at that time of day, since that road leads to the school, a bat flutters up and lands on the visor on the passenger side.
I SWEAR TO GOD IT WAS LOOKING RIGHT AT ME, and I had the thought that it even looked kind of cute, and I even started rolling down the passenger window,
Why did I come this way?  There was no where to pull off!  I ALWAYS come this way!!!!!  WHY didn't I go straight to work?  I work with many men, none of which can resist telling a woman she's "silly" and proving their manhood by killing a bat, or anything, really, that you can't get out of your car!!!
WHY was I thinking about this with everybody else just screaming inside my head?  FOCUS!!!!  MUST GET CAR STOPPED!
And I started driving really fast(!!!!!!) and trying to look in the rear view mirror to see if it was still flying around WITHOUT MOVING MY HEAD VERY MUCH because I was absolutely SURE it was going to get stuck in my hair and, in it's panic, bite and scratch me and then I would have to get rabies shots, but I wouldn't even be able to get those until I had gotten rid of THIS BAT THAT WAS FLYING AROUND IN MY CAR (was it??? was it flying around?????)  I couldn't see and I was afraid to move and about that time I realized how FAST I was going and I started hoping that a cop would pull me over because then I could GET OUT OF THE CAR.  I didn't even care if I got out right in the middle of the road.  The cop would understand!!!!
So I turned (SCREEEEEEEECHHHHHH) onto the first road that I was going slow enough to make it around and I whipped (SCCRRRREEEECCCCHHHHH) into my bosses/dear friend's driveway (he wasn't home), threw it into park, throwing a little gravel from SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES, grabbed my umbrella, opened the doors, and guess what I found?????
The bat was on the BACK OF MY HEAD REST!!!  Just sitting there like I was a crazy person for getting so upset!!!  So I whacked behind it and it flew up, bounced down and got stuck under the emergency brake, which made me scream, not too loud, and then hold my breath as I now ROOTED FOR THE LITTLE SUCKER TO FIND HIS WAY TO FRESH AIR, which was liberally whooshing through the entire car as I had opened all the doors, and I think it confused him.
He sat on my seat as he gathered his wits and I snuck around behind him and whacked the seat hard enough that it actually propelled him into the air a little (one more little scream there) and he sort of half fluttered out to freedom, not very enthusiastically if you ask me.
But it was over!!  As quick as I have moved in quite some time, I  shut all the doors, wonder who was watching THAT LITTLE SIDESHOW as they sipped their coffee, and fled to work.  Where I immediately explained everything that my boss/dear friend would undoubtedly be questioned about (possibly quite heavily) when he returned to his abode.

Anyway, a couple of things occurred to me.

The first was that I really needed to clean the car.

The second was HEY!  All these bats keep showing up in my life and I just keep killing them or at least scaring them to death: maybe a bat is supposed to be my totem.

So I googled it.
Totem  Check it out.  It said many wonderful things, some of which seemed pretty good.  Such as,

If you have the bat as your totem you are extremely aware
of your surroundings. Sometimes you can be overly sensitive to the feelings of others. Additionally, you are quite perceptive on a psychic level, and are prone to have prophetic dreams.

Uh-huh.  uh-huh.......but if you often have bats pop up in your life, being aware of your surroundings is a life skill you develop.  That cannot be just me, right?

So then I google knowing what your totem is.  Hmmmmmmm
And that's where they lost me.  I freely admit patience is not my long suite, and I am pretty comfortable with the fact that it never will be, but, seriously, when they got to the part about
  • Vessels need to be emptied out before they can be filled. The capacity of the human heart is no different. Animal energy is expansive, and must have room to flourish. We can allow that room for the fullest animal expressions (and allowing rich animal relationships) by emptying out. What do I mean by this? To encounter the animal parallel, we must make a clearing within the woods of our souls that is suitable and attractive to our energetic animal counterparts. Empty out judgments, preconceived notions, limitations, emotional clutter, and doubts. These limitations are easily replaced with the wisdom and virtues of our animal kin.
Oh come on.  Emptying vessels, making a clearing in the woods of my sou?  I was already exhausted!!  Yaddah yaddah yaddah.  I don't even consider my soul "woods".  I never thought of that.  I'm sure my soul is more rolling hills, open plains, probably a beach in there somewhere.  Trees, my soul has plenty of but I have never noticed any "woods" and even if I had I lack the ambition to make a clearing in there!!  If God wanted a clearing in the woods of my soul, (and I'm not saying there ARE woods in my soul), then there would BE a clearing in the woods of my soul.  There are no woods in my soul, to the best of my knowledge.  Things like this drive me insane.  More insane than normal.  You get the point.  You must or you would not still be here.

They lost me and I didn't even get half way down the page.  That is even unusual, because normally I will read anything, but a woman who can conquer a bat in her car without having a wreck before 8 in the morning has CHOICES about what she reads, and I was not feeling this anymore.

On to whatever comes next.  Probably buying steel wool. :D

But you never know.

Sep 15, 2013

A Few Good Men........

Not your average Saturday night.  Er, for me anyway.
Have you ever just had it and decided to take the bull by the horns?  Sometimes that can lead to kind of crazy stuff.

I decided to go out looking for a few good men, so my friend Katrina and I set out tonight, accompanied by my 1911 pistol Michael, and drove all the way to Kansas City on a quest.

We had to brave the Paseo, and we truly did make some sacrifices, mostly to our adrenalin systems, but we have gotten a fine start.  So fine in fact, it's going to be pretty hard to top.  But take heart, for I always did love a challenge.

When I said a few good men, I wasn't messing around.  

I have proudly supported this man since 2008.  No matter what life has thrown at him, he has stayed the course. 

"You cannot bring a good man down", how many times have you heard that?  However many times it has been, look around, and I am pretty sure you will find that it's true.  Every time.  And when I say "look", I mean actually find out for yourself.

Those with eyes to see in these times will tell you not to lose hope, because we have good people everywhere.  They are there, steadily pursuing the course they have set, undeterred by the ways of the world.  They are aided all along the way by those who volunteer their time or send in whatever small amount they can spare.   

Col. West spoke to us of our history, and asked us to go out, speak up, talk to people.  Many of us have been raised to be "polite", and that is a good thing.  But being polite doesn't mean being silent.  Politely speak what you know to be true.  

The way I look at it, we are fighting a terrifying enemy.  It's easy to feel hopeless about the future, especially if you have children.  But therein lies the key, and it is our greatest strength.  It's not a new kind of drone, it doesn't cost a dime, and everyone can do it.  We are fighting an enemy that does not value life.  Not even the lives of their children.  Frankly, I do not know how they got to that low point, but here in America, to the best of my knowledge, there is no more vicious enemy than one who is defending their child.  

Imagine going to a fight between a large man who believed that if he died in the fight he would rewarded with 72 virgins and a mother who knew that if she lost the fight her baby would be raped, sodomized and beheaded.  I'll concede the fact that the odds would favor the big guy, but I'd still put my money on the mother.  Even if I only had a dollar left to my name, and even if most of the bets were being placed for the big guy.  LOTS of people would, I believe.

I see real leaders all around, despite the results of "elections".  Real leaders.  Leaders that people respect and are willing to listen to and serve, despite any cost.

If you can't think of one right off the top of your head then I seriously advise you to start paying attention.

This world is not going to fix itself.  We've been "at ease" too long.

Oh, and did you know Col. West proposed to his wife Angela at KCI?  Well, he did!

Sep 1, 2013

Impactions and Extractions......And a Bit O' Wisdom

My Oldest Baby, ahead of his 16 years, recently had his wisdom teeth start coming in.

So we journeyed to Kansas City to have them extracted.  He chose not to be put completely out, very unlike his mother. I admired his chutzpa, but my own memories of my own being extracted left dread in my heart.  My wisdom teeth came in when I was about 20 and I opted for the cheapest removal I could find.  I found a willing soul who gave me laughing gas, which made me cry, although I did not feel sad, copiously. My ears kept filling up while the poor dentist alternately used a hammer and chisel to break the teeth into pieces and then stood on the chair, pulling until his poor arms shook, attempting to pull them out.  While this was going on the only discomfort I felt was the sounds this made inside my head, which were incredibly horrible.  The body does not take trespassing slightly, under any circumstances.  Take my word for this. Please.  I spent about a week with a face so swollen I only had a little 0 to sip water or Spaghettios out of and bruising that was almost as bad as the swelling.  But I survived and then, happy day, I found a dentist that I trusted and never looked back.  Sadly, he does not remove wisdom teeth, so I took his referral and hoped for the best.

Looking at my young son laying back in the chair and refusing to be knocked out, all I could focus on was his shoes.  He is a size 13, and his feet looked so huge that it occurred to me that my baby was as big as a man.  This thought has been pestering me like mosquito's lately and my head knows it but my heart keeps fighting it and throwing crying fits about it.

The Dr. seemed to think it would be fine if he didn't get knocked completely out, so I just nodded, still focused on the shoes.

They invited me to leave the room for the second time and I managed to do it with some dignity.  Back in the waiting room I read my book and fought back tears (which had nothing to do with the book) and looked up and breathed slowly and finally went to the bathroom to cry just a little bit and relieve the pressure. I told myself I was being ridiculous and again my head knew this and accepted it but my heart, well, those two are often at odds and I have learned to deal with this somewhat successfully.  Somewhat.

It didn't take more than 1/2 an hour and when my baby came out, staggering slightly in his size 13 shoes and carrying a white envelope I assumed was a pain pill, he went straight to the car.  After I paid I went to check on him.  He was doing fine, but it was his teeth (arg) in the envelope and he couldn't swallow any of the ibuprofen I had with me because he was still numb.  Fortune was with us and he kept from swallowing one of the glumps of gauze that was still in his mouth, but getting it out he leaned forward, causing what seemed to be an alarming amount of blood to just run out of his poor, violated mouth and spill all down his front.  In this, he was also just like his mother.  His mother was now preoccupied with visions of Jack and Shadow stalking the teeth in the envelope, and trying to decide where she could "keep" these trophies without ever having to "see" them again.  Just so you take me seriously, here is what they look like.
EWWWWW!!  These make me cringe.  I have a "thing" about teeth.  NOT a good "thing"......To see this makes me weak but blood pouring out of my child's mouth while I'm driving?  I take that right in stride.  That's just the way I am.

His mother drove immediately to a pharmacy handily located just across the road, went in with a look of panic on her face, and was immediately helped by a woman, also a mother whose daughter had just gone through this.  We gathered baggies, gauze and a bag of ice together, and it turned out she was actually from a town only 30 miles from my own.  I considered that a God wink.

Two hours later we were home and had all the prescriptions filled. We were stocked up on soft foods and every kind of ice cream concoction I could think of, which was quite a lot.

Saturday night the boys felt good enough to stay up late playing their "magic" game (which involves cards instead of video games and which I like very much) and then at 4 am things got really interesting.

I was woken up by My Oldest Baby and his best friend (my fourth son), who informed me that My Oldest Baby thought his heart had stopped in his sleep.  This was not what caused them to wake me.  First, my fourth son had googled all the side effects of the medication and that had scared them enough to wake me.  Now, this is a syndrome that I know all about, thanks to The Beautiful Redhead. Indeed, her entire generation will probably have a syndrome named for them that involves googling side effects and convincing yourself that you are dying.  The way I figure it, it may keep the emergency rooms in business.

So, to make a long story short, My Oldest Baby once again proved that he is my son, and declared he would take no more pain medication, just ibuprofen from here on in, because it just wasn't worth it.  It sounded good to me.  By 6 am we were all back in bed, after having a little snack of Spaghettios. What fun is it to be up in the middle of the night with no snack, after all?

So far, so good today with just ibuprofen.  People always think we have a big tolerance for pain.  It's actually just the opposite: we are allergic to lots of random stuff and usually it's much simpler to put up with a little pain than going to the emergency room because of allergic reactions.  Simpler, cheaper, faster, and less trouble.

He is ready to go to his own bed tonight, free from narcotics and the hallucinations that sometimes come with them.  And his mother?  She has just about accepted that he really is almost a full grown man, able to make decisions and see them through with nothing but the courage of his convictions.

Her heart tells her that this one is going to leave big footprints, and not just because of the size 13 shoes.  Her heart always knows.

Aug 25, 2013

Bring On Christmas.....

 If you don't normally read my blog or do not know my on facebook, you may not know how I have struggled with Christmas
during the last decade or so.

Not this year.

I don't know what has come over me lately, but I'm calling it The Christmas Elf Fairy phase of my life.

This year I am not going to have to buy many presents.

The last two weekends I have been possessed by the Christmas Elf Fairy and that lady really like to get stuff done.

Behold, the Vodka Cherries.  10 pints of Vodka Cherries, to be exact, which, after having set for the next four months, will be beautifully preserved and highly alcoholic, served in their own sweet syrup.  The City Boy says it will taste more like the cherries than vodka.  I personally hope this turns out to be the case.
We can't disturb them 'till Christmas!!
This is hands down the easiest gift I have ever made, and one of the cheapest, due to being able to buy the cheapest vodka I could find.  The alcohol aisle is a vast and varied wonderland these days.  It is enough to wear me out.  Thank God I don't have to make such hard decisions every day.  I almost got lost in there.

Also, I have scrubs ready to be gifts! 3 pints of Epsom Salts, Vanilla and Cinnamon, 3 pints of Lemon-Orange Salt Scrub, and 3 pints of Brown Sugar, Almond and Raspberry.
I had SO MUCH fun doing these!  I used coconut oil for the first batch, ran out and so used Grapeseed oil for the the others.
They all smell very wonderful, as does my kitchen right now, and we are definitely going to do some more of these together.
So easy even a child could do it!
 I used the trick of freezing lemons and grating up the whole things and it worked very well.  I also used some fresh lemon juice and orange juice and zest. The zest added pretty colors and it made such a good "wake-up" smell.

Now I am down to button art and from there I should be just about done except for special things the kids may ask for.
I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year.
I have run the entire gauntlet (or stages of grief?) from wanting to not even have Christmas, to just putting up a small little tree one year, to dragging EVERYTHING out (again, for old times sake) and being able to enjoy it again.
Welcome back, Christmas.
God Bless Us, Everyone.

Aug 17, 2013

Thinking Ahead to Christmas

I have recently gotten hooked on Pinterest, and if you haven't looked into it yet, you should!  So crazy did I make my daughter on Facebook that she told me years ago I should get on Pinterest, because I would "like it better".  I acted just like her child and thought "She doesn't even know me.  I don't need to spend any more time on the computer than I do now!" THEN I started looking for ideas or recipes that I knew I had "shared", but couldn't remember when.  Looking back and trying to find them drove me INSANE.  How those people at FB manage to keep tabs on all of us is beyond me. I would not want that job, let me tell you.  But that's another story, and one I am in no mood for today.

Today I feel fall in the air and it's my favorite time of year.  It was Laura Ingalls Wilder's favorite time too.  Her daughter wrote that "it was a time of summing up, of taking stock, and being prepared for winter". I can't put it any better than that. I am going to have my beloved  Abigail Lea for a few days and she loves nothing more than donning an apron and helping.   Plus, Christmas is right around the corner and I have a problem with shopping.  Well, not shopping, but going into malls. I can't breathe in there and, well, the drive there and the parking lot is usually enough to make me want to crawl under a table and cry.  Or just sit in my car and while while I send the kids in with a list. hahaha. That's not really a joke. It's absolutely true.  This little Chromebook has been my best friend because I can "shop" at home.  This is my favorite part of the 21st century so far.  If you can't afford an actual laptop, I highly recommend the Chromebook for less than $200.  I got mine on sale for $100.  It simply surfs the net with the Chrome browser, which blows Explorer away.

Pinterest is a file sharing website that lets you "pin" ideas and directions to various cyber "bulletin boards" so that you can quickly and easily find them again.

Last year I decided to make handmade gifts and they went over so well that this year I decided to get an early start.

Today I went and got stuff to make several things for gifts that I think will go over very well.

Here is a list of ideas I got the supplies for today.

I figure this will be good in a basket for younger people who still drink, occasionally, but are stuck at home on New Years.  Even people who don't drink might break these out with family in for holidays or, say, an ice storm or blizzard.  What better way to spend the time playing cards until the wee hours and nipping on some Vodka Cherries? Plus, they are so pretty I just really couldn't resist.  And for people who do still drink this is a classy no-brainer, my favorite of all gifts.  This link will take you right to the guy's blog, which looks really good.  I can always find it again by going to Pinterest and clicking on the picture of my Recipe board, which will take me directly to his site. Cool, huh?

AND, if you are surfing the web and, say, price matching, you get a little Pinterest icon so that you can click on it and save whatever you are looking at to any board you create yourself. So it's a great time saver when you don't have time to fully explore the site at the moment.

Initials  I can't get a picture to load and this is actually an Etsy website, so you can 
just buy them, but they would be easy to make yourself.  I personally love and collect buttons. Some of my favorite memories as a small child are of going through my mother or grandmother's "button boxes".  These will be good for anyone who likes buttons, or just their initials, and you can match them to any decor.  So if you know a person who is lamenting over finding anything to hang on their walls in a color they can't find, this would work well.  Pinterest (and my boards) have lots of great ideas for buttons and you can buy them in variegated shades of the same color now, which is very good because I think saving buttons has fallen out of our collective memory. Which is a shame, in my book.

This is an anti-cellulite remedy and several more are involved if you hit the link and scroll down.  This one will be for my friends who have been with me longest, through good times, bad times, cellulite, and the whole enchilada, so to speak. They know who they are and I am finding more all the time.  Blogging is a great way to get to know people. I highly recommend it.

I can't get the pictures to load but if you hit the links you will see lots of good ideas and I believe you will want to go to Pinterest and get started immediately.  It is a little addicting but every body's got something, and this is a benign addiction since it provides free advertising for any one's idea's or blog.  Once you get your boards set up, you can practically go to sleep just pinning stuff.  It's a boon to those of us who have big plans but small attention spans and bad memories and hectic schedules.  I am describing myself here, so take no offense but if the shoe fits, wear it proudly.  Pinterest will be able to simplify your life.

Last, but not least, check out these babies!

These are nothing more than empty spaghetti sauce or jelly jars cleaned up and made all fancy.  You can keep stuff in them or paint them, or even decorate with beading that you can find at Walmart in the crafts section for little to nothing.  One of these painted prettily plus a small string of lights or a battery powered candle and you have a great gift for very little actual money.   If a bracelet breaks, save all the beads!  This one has been a little uncomfortable for me, as I am now saving all my empty jars and running out of room....but it will be worth it! For the storage jars all you would really have to add would be a pretty knob at the top.   Fill it with a scrub and you are good to go: two gifts in one.

 I just pretend like Nana and Big Grandma are beside me, proudly glowing that I finally learned not to throw stuff away.  Something tells me I should have learned this long ago, but I'm still glad I don't have a whole drawer full of rubber bands saved from the paper and pieces of tinfoil that I have carefully cleaned, folded, and "saved".  In everything, moderation:  this is my motto. ;)

I miss the days when they would lecture me about this and then tell me what it was like to wear the same dress, made from a flour sack, every day for a year because it was all they had.  We would have had so much fun doing this together.  There is nothing I can do about that now, but I am going to try to entice my kids home for a few "down days" around Thanksgiving with the promise that we can make gifts together and even eat some Vodka Cherries while we work.  That, to the best of my knowledge, is how memories are made. If worse comes to worse, I will just breakout the Vodka Cherries, get them looped, insist that they can't drive, and pull out the empty jars, Epsom salts and essential oils and we will go from there.  Not that I advocate manipulation as a rule, but every mother knows that it does work.   We do what we have to do, and we are your MOTHER so suck it up and have another cherry, kid.  We are going to make you a sugar scrub for $3.00 that you will love, in a pretty, reusable jar!  Life does not really get better than this, I hate to be the one to tell you, and I know you won't believe me for another 25 years, but it's true.  Trust your mama!

Here's to making memories, homemade gifts, and be prepared for Christmas.  And Pinterest, naturally.

Aug 6, 2013

Denial of the Swimsuit Variety....

Do you hate trying on swimsuits as much as I do?  I would say I doubt it, but this is an area where I think all women agree, regardless of body type or age.  That makes it a rare subject indeed.

I recently lost my favorite swimsuit of at least 8 years.  Maybe 10, even, but since my babies are now 16 I have lost the handy trick of remembering things by whether they were born yet or not.  It was an old suit, at any rate, but a GOOD one.

It was a tankini, two pieces but the top came clear down to the top of the bottoms.  One pieces either are 1)too short in length for me, and nobody likes a wedgie or 2)give me a lot of extra room in the bottoms for a derriere that I have never had and mostly flop around loosely, exposing me to all and sundry.  I have to move to a different state after something like that, so you see how important a good swimsuit is to me.

So those are usually out. ;)

And bikini's have been out for me since about age 23, from modesty and body image nightmares.  Those nightmares were nothing compared to what they would become after carrying twins and gaining over 100 lbs.  How much over, you might ask?  I don't know!!  I never did want to know!!   The best Dr. in the world, Dr. Green, came in and apologized to me for cutting me up and down on my C section instead of across.  I literally laughed out loud and told him not to worry one second about that. No one had seen my naked stomach for years unless they were intimately involved with me and had signed a non-disclosure agreement ( I kid, I kid).  I let that go, actually cut it loose and let it sink in the river of life.  It was a long time ago and I haven't looked back.  Score one for me!

 Besides that, once I was a mother I just never could do that again.  Being a "sexy mom" was a concept that struck me as just plain WRONG at the time, and I've never changed my mind. Thank God for that!  Mother's derive their beauty from dignity, make no mistake. Please, for the sake of your children remember this.  No child goes to sleep at night and cries for a more "sexy" mother. Not a one of 'em.  Ever.  None.

*cue small rant*
One of the most painful things I've ever witnessed is women who get caught up in that whole crazy thing and then end up humiliated and alone when their child lovers leave them.  Then they act all sad and confused and angry. Exactly like they haven't raised kids and should already know all that!!  What mother does not know that kids can't make up their minds?  What mother counts a 25 year old as an adult, unless that 25 year old is another mother????  I don't care how good looking he is--it doesn't even matter. He is still a child!!  Dangdest thing I have ever seen!  But I am wandering again. Demi, I don't want to single you out but you are just the first one who came into my head, gather up your friends and if you have an opening for a life coach, I am all yours. Call me, maybe?  How could I possibly do any worse???  Life can be great without a 25 year old boyfriend, woman. Most of us have known this since the ripe old age of about, um, 25.  Just sayin.
*rant over*

Where was I?  Oh, yes, swimsuits and the agony they represent to us.  Tankini's, in case you do not know, can be bought in separate sizes, so you can actually get a top and a bottom that fits, which is quite wonderful.  Don't get too excited, because they still show all the cellulite on your legs, but still......the tankini is my first choice these days.

So I finally got to get a little sun while I was "lost", and I spent some time floating in a pond in my dearly beloved old suit.  I made myself, at one point, swim all the way across the pond to retrieve an errant paddle boat, not just because my boys had not tied it up properly but because I really needed the exercise.  This was possible only doing a side stroke because of my bad knee, but I did it and felt very good about it.

Because of this, when I got home and discovered a black, tarry substance stuck to my skin, I assumed that I must have swum through something in the pond.  Denial is our first form of self-defense, always.

After I got out of the shower I found the black, tarry substance was stuck to my skin.  REALLY stuck good.  I rubbed it with a towel but all I did was make my skin red.  I thought I must have swum through some water in which some tires had decomposed.  Why did I think that?  Probably because it was the only excuse readily available that would allow me to not worry about buying a new swimsuit.  It was summer and I was giving myself a break.  So I promptly forgot about it and I threw my favorite old swimsuit right in the washer.  This one had taken all the abuse I could hurl at it for years. It was  a great suit.

A couple of days later I found another bunch of the black, tarry substance around the back of my waist and the thought crossed my mind again that I should stay out of that pond, but there was a niggling little voice in my head that was already arguing this point.  It didn't make good sense, but I sank back into the sands that run by the river of Denial and didn't sweat it.

A couple of weeks later I was in the same swim suit at the same pond again, but this time I didn't get in.  I sat in the warm sun for a couple of hours before I noticed a very uncomfortable, sticky feeling right around my waist.  It felt like the rubber strip around the waist was melting on my skin.  It hurt a little bit.

"AH HA!!" I thought!  And I looked down and adjusted the waist of my suit.  When I did this I actually saw a big chunk of the black rubber line that is there to keep your waist band from straying come off the suit because it was MELDED to my skin. The river was receding and I was all alone in the sand with my best suit sticking to my body for what would be about a week.  Reality had found me.

Sadly, I realized that 1) my old standby was deteriorating and would need a decent burial and 2) I was going to have buy another suit.  NO!!!!  ANYTHING BUT THAT!!!!

I was very sad about both of these things, but my course was clearly set out for me.  It had been such a good summer up until this point.....

And that is how stupid I was during the month of July this year.

The good news is that rubbing alcohol will take off rubber that has melded to your skin.  Soap and baby oil will not.  I used the soap and baby oil in vain for several days while in denial, one of my favorite states that I don't get to spend much time in anymore.  I miss it, they were some of the happiest days of my life.

The bad news is that I have to buy another swimsuit.  I don't even know when I will find the courage to do this, and as it is August, I'm not going to worry about it this year. Next year I may lure my daughter into a bar first and then make her go with me. Then when I break down in tears we can blame the alcohol.

Maybe I should just go ahead and pitch an idea for rubber suits with skirts, for modest older ladies who dread wearing swimsuits more than speaking in public.  I think there's a market for it.  Don't you?

Aug 2, 2013

Checking In....Still Checked Out....

I am still alive.  Haven't posted in a while but well, I've been........lost.  In the summer. ;)

The boys have been gone and I have been cleaning.  YIKES.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

School is getting ready to start. DOUBLE YIKES.  That is just straight up scary these days.  If you haven't been following the war over Common Core I think you might want to check that out.  Don't blame the teachers because 1) These last several crops have been trained to do what they are told and 2) it is their jobs.  I will say, however, if they are in favor of CC, that will tell you all you need to know.  Ahem.  You can keep up here

This little gem I just have to share: My cousin who lives in Oklahoma called last night and said that her daughter and grandson were very excited because Saturday he has a football game and Rhee Drummond had a film crew in town and she would be COOKING for the boys after their game.  My cousin, who does not keep up with blogs, not even mine I don't think, had to be told that this was the ultimate and amazing Pioneer Woman herself.  Her grandson's exact words, because he has been watching her cooking show with his mother, were "Nanny, you should see some of the things that Pioneer Woman cooks up.  They look GOOD!"

You can't buy publicity like that.  Savvy decision to cook for those boys, PW!!  A whole new generation of fans!!

Have a great weekend.  I'm going to!!

Jul 10, 2013

Getting Lost In The Summer.....

We have had a solid two week period of either hosting or being hosted by family, and vacations.  I have gotten to feel like Nana, having company and making pallets and getting clean linen on all the beds.  The Beautiful Redhead has lost the mattress on her old bed to one of her younger brothers, so she has to sleep with me now when she is home, and we have the best talks this way.  My beautiful bonus daughter and her family have also graced us wither their presence lately, and I have happily been slurping on that oh-so-delicious baby.

I have been glorying in just "being home" and what my family is becoming, as the years bring changes both exhilarating and painful to us all.  How well I remember when I got to the age where things changed from "the way they had always been" to "what would be".  It's bittersweet at best, the age where it occurs to you that now it's your job to *be* home, as it feels like all your "homes" are either disappearing altogether or newly vulnerable, in your eyes, to disappearing in the future.  It makes you feel silly because you have been insisting for several years that you are all "grown up" and yet go to pieces as soon as you are called upon to act like one for the first time.  Life is like that all the way through, a series of surprisingly obvious crises and how we find the strength to come through them.  This Song has been getting a lot of play around my house lately.  I used to identify with the child watching cartoons.  Now I've graduated to identifying with being Mam Maw in the kitchen, stirring up some sugar cookies.  It's a song that only gets better the older you get, with a message that is simple eternal truth

So far into the "summer vacation" mode have I been that I got all confused last Saturday morning.  Thinking it was Sunday, I got my coffee and went to, and they hadn't updated yet.  I started to wonder what in the world was going on with this site.  Had someone died or hacked their website?  Where was my updated  Then I realized that it was only Saturday!!!  I was overjoyed!   I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have made a mistake like this, having my weekend suddenly get twice as long as I was thinking it was, and I doubt I need to tell you!  Is there anything better than that? If there is I don't know what it is.

I stopped to appreciate the days, far and few between lately, where I wake up and can't remember what day it is, and it doesn't really matter either way.  Time off is precious, even if you just stay home.

This revelation made the domestic Goddess in me come out of hiding and I started cooking.  I mean, she  started and kept at it and couldn't seem to stop.  I was just along for the ride, really.  The Domestic Goddess evidently has a quota that I had not yet met, so we had to catch up.  Or something.  I try not to question and just "go with it" more these days. ;)  This method has worked wonders for me, and I highly recommend you try it.  No pre-conceived plans at the start of each day may seem terrifying at first, but give it a try and I think you will find freedom and joy instead of resentment and obligation.  These are just the two different sides of the same coin, but a deeply important difference.  When you are feeling really under the gun, check and make sure you aren't the one putting the pressure on yourself.  If you are, give yourself a break.  It's your life, just live it and be happy.

 I had to try Trisha Yearwood's Sweet & Saltines Dessert after I had tried it at a garden party.  This is awesome! And the thing about Trisha Yearwood is that she is one of us.  She doesn't give you lists of things you never heard of or have to buy online from stranger's who you don't think it would be a good idea to trust.  Nope.  Not our Trisha.  When you look at her recipe's, you not only know what all the ingredients are, you actually already have them in your pantry. I had a little bump with my brown sugar, which had the audacity to turn solid on me.  But I just microwaved it and then beat it into submission.  "Oh, come on, brown sugar! You are never going to win this battle!  Not with ME!!" The Domestic Goddess is not one to be trifled with.  And that brown sugar, it crumbled in it's shifting, sugary way into submission.  Mine didn't turn out quite as good as the picture in the link above,  so be sure to boil the syrup for the full 5 minutes, and then don't panic when it looks like it's burning in the over.  It's not burning.  It just has to bubble up so that it will get a little harder.  In this way I give you not only recipe's but I go ahead and make the mistakes you might make the first time, if you lack patience but are long on willfulness. I think this is a worthy service to provide.  Mine was still a bit gooey but I just pressed on as always and it lasted almost 2 days.  It only lasted 2 days because I hid some of it in a Tupperware container in the fridge.  Why boys refuse to examine what might be in these containers is beyond me, but I count on it immensely.  You will love this dessert.  It's easy, cheap, salty, sweet, everything anyone wants, all at once.

Then I had found a crock pot recipe for the Hot Fudge Cake that is always such a hit, so I put that in the crock pot.  And made the Strawberry Cobbler that can be found on the same page in the link above.  I know! It was like a miracle!!  I haven't even made the noodles I planned to give as Christmas gifts last year yet.

So then for lunch I made meatballs (the sauce consists of equal parts grape jelly --not jam--and chili sauce--Heinz or the generic in the glass bottle)  and pasta (does it matter? I used Penne) with garlic Alfredo sauce (the generic in the store for about $1) and artichoke hearts (also generic, although more like $2.50).  The boys will eat this but consider artichoke hearts "girl food".  This is just fine with me, being the only "girl" in the house.  The important part is that I had left-overs and was foolish enough to think I wouldn't have to cook anymore at this point, on this day.  The Domestic Goddess knew better, and on I went.

Then I decided to make some potato salad, even though the boys usually won't eat that at all after it's cold.  We have a thing about warm potato salad at my house.  It really is best right then, when it's still warm.  The boys, however, draw the line when it's cold for some strange reason.  By the time I got that done the boys had polished off the meatballs and so I decided to make a meatloaf.  At some point during the smooshing of the meatloaf, which I use my handy-dandy disposable gloves for, The Cyclist finally asked "When are you going to stop??" (I think I was wearing him out, just watching) and I could reply "I think this should just about do it."  I probably spent too much time cooking that day, but The Rock Star was coming with his wonderful girlfriend and we were going to have a fire in the back yard, and I didn't want to have to worry about anyone being hungry.

I slightly misjudged the appetite of boys for meat products, as we ran out of all the meat first.  Luckily this nudged them in the direction of the desserts and all I had the next day was the potato salad, pasta, and a little  Strawberry Cobbler left over.

However you are spending your summer, I wish you days where you wake up and truly cannot remember what day it is, not that it really makes any difference.  Your time is the one thing that will always be your own.  I wish you enough of it that you can squander some and relax enough that you no longer feel the time ticking by in the back of your mind.  Put away the clock and let the slant of the sunlight determine what you do with your time.  I promise it will seem like you have a lot more of it.

Take time to reflect on the changes coming towards you, say what you need to say when you have the chance, have peace with all things, as far as possible, and remember these days.  They will soon be past us and we will have other pressing issues to deal with.  With any luck, our Domestic Goddesses will not forsake us during these times, and we will dine on Meatballs and Hot Fudge Cake, come what may.

If you are still slaving away with the clock ticking down the time in your head, you still have plenty of summer left.  Go float.  Sleep late.  Take some time off and then let yourself forget about what day it is.  Listen to the wind instead of the news, watch the sun transform the sky, and then the moon. You will not regret it, of that I am quite sure.  

Jun 30, 2013


We just had the most relaxing vacation I have had in a very long time.  I went an entire week with sporadic cell phone coverage only when I was in a town, which was pretty sporadic itself.  I did not watch the news.  I did not even check the weather.  I did not wear makeup or even do my hair.  It was just wonderful.

I watched my children enjoy Southwestern Missouri.  I taught my boys how to read a map, which is a very important skill in these days of GPS's.  I begged the boys to take pictures of the barns on the way down but only one good picture turned out.  Next year they will be able to drive and I will do it myself.

The only shot we ended up with, but whatta shot!  Credit to Aaron, my youngest  baby.
I visited the cemetery, with the man who was my step-father growing up, while the kids went to the pool.  We had such a good time reminiscing about the vacations of my childhood.  I told him that, like him, I saw no point in leaving after the sun came up.  I sat on Paula's porch and watched eagles glide over the Butterball turkey farm houses across the field.  I helped a sweet boy who stopped to tell us the neighbor's cows were out round the cows back into the corral.

Only one thing bothered me, and I decided, finally, to confront it at last.  As fate would have it, my father lives about 10 miles from Paula now.  Tell me God didn't have a hand in that and I will laugh.  I called him on Paula's phone one morning, since mine didn't work, and surprised him.  I guess "surprised" is a bit of an understatement.  With the boys still asleep, I headed over for coffee and peace talks.

We sat and talked for several hours.  We re-hashed our entire lives.  I told him about the blog.  And when he started to apologize I stopped him and I told him that I had grown up a little bit.  I said that no matter what he did or didn't do I had always loved him and always would.  Then I asked him to forgive himself, because both of his children already had.  During this struggle I have learned that it is a simple lack of faith if we can believe that God forgives us but we fail to forgive ourselves.  Failing to forgive ourselves is to hold onto our hurt and guilt, and how can we have a clean slate if we do that?  We can't.    Following that thought, if we are forgiven by God, we have to forgive others the same way.  I warned him that when he read the blog he would no doubt read things that would hurt him, but just to know that this is a pattern in our family and the cycle had to be stopped.  He has had his own struggles with his own father, and just because he never talks about it doesn't mean that it isn't still there.  If I have anything to say about it, this cycle will stop with me, and that there would be a new blog post coming with the title of "Redeemed", and that it was for him.  

Then I went to get the boys and we spent the next couple of days with their Grampa.

I admit it took me 40 years, but I finally got there.  Nothing  worth having ever comes easy.

The Beautiful Redhead came down by herself, which left her mother a nervous wreck for many hours, but she made it just fine.  I got to spend some real quality time with her, which was probably the best thing about this vacation for me.  We slept in the same Victorian bed surrounded by crocheted bedspreads and pictures of us and Nana all around the room and talked long into the night, with the phenomenal full moon shining down on us through the window.

We drove the roads I love best in this world.

Liberty Drive in Southwest City Mo, with Bluebird Lane to the right ahead.  I couldn't remember which one was Harry's house and thankfully saw the mailbox of my first best friend's brother to ask directions.  It was right across the street, as it turned out.

Heading South into Noel, Mo., aka The Christmas City.  First-timers on this road think this is pretty

Then their faces crease in concern as we get closer.

At this point they often scrunch down in their seats and ask if this is a good idea.  I always just shrug and say that if it's not, scrunching down in their seats is probably not going to help much.  Muahahahha  
Some of them are under bluffs with the river beside us, it's where you will end up if you go over the "guard posts" on the left side of this picture.

We took a float trip, just the kids and I, and I watched the twins have more fun together than I have seen in years.  We had the river virtually to ourselves.  The sun was hot and the river was cold, and even though I forgot to pack the mustard the sandwiches tasted like heaven.  I was prepared for the river to be crowded with drunken, occasionally naked people.  I was pleasantly surprised.  There was a lot of trash in the water, though, and The Beautiful Redhead was outraged by this, as she should be.  People just don't have the respect they should have these days.  But if you want to take a float trip that is crowded with drunken, half naked people, you can probably find it on the weekends.  I chose the week day to avoid this as much as possible.  The twins were pretty disappointed, but we all know their day will come. ;)  At least I don't have to worry about them setting off without knowing how to maneuver a canoe.  If float trips are not your thing, I highly recommend Shadowlake Bar and Grill to people-watch as people come into the last leg of their trip.  Better entertainment simply cannot be found, take my word for this.  By that time they are tired, sometimes passed out, and many relationships have either been forged in steel forever or are about to come to an abrupt end, also forever.  Either way it's an experience no one will ever forget, least of all the people who are just sitting on the deck, enjoying a cold drink and taking it all in.

Us, the river rat version.  We sorely missed The Rock Star and his wonderful girlfriend.

And I got to stop at my beloved 43 bridge, where when I was little my dad and his friends used to go and shoot gar off the bridge.  This was not illegal, incidentally, at least at that time.  I checked!

Cowskin Public Access.  Why Cowskin?  No clue.  It's always just been 43 bridge to us.  I guess shooting gar off the bridge isn't the only thing people have done here.  heeheehee
From the riverbed.  It's low at this time.  Those are exposed rocks where you can get out of the water.  The sound those rocks being walked on make is a sound that is "home" to me.

Looking downriver.  It used to be bluffs like that all the way up.  I guess if you live long enough trees can grow anywhere, but it threw me off quite a bit for it  to look so very different.

I didn't get to see a lot of the people that I wanted to on this trip, but we will probably go back down this fall.  Time just got away from me.  But isn't that what vacations are for? I feel like I've been gone much more than a week.  It was quite a trip, all in all, but sooooo very worth it.