Sunday, December 31, 2006

NEW YEAR OLD LOVEES


A new year is upon us. Time for my traditions, packing up static stuff for donation, wrapping up loose ends, unfinished projects, blah blah dee yada yada.

My favorite tradition after I get all the chores done that make me feel new and clean and clear and minimal and right-great-straight to start, is to close my eyes and place my open palms on my chest and picture first the faces who brought me here. And. Not only their faces. My Mama's smile, my Dad's hands, my Grandparents' . . . . .my ohhhh here we go. They each have their own signatures.

Here's a pic of my handsome husband, his brother, and our nephew (handsome husband's sister's son). This picture makes me feel -uh- something like pride but with humility mixed in - whaddya call that??? I don't know what it is but it's just the pleasure of having been a member of something for such a long period of time that makes me feel as if I know every loving thing about everyone. Even though clearly I don't. It was taken by my brother in law on my back deck and I swoon every time I gaze at it. I don't look at it. I gaaaaaaze at it. I have a hard time believing it because this person in the middle was a couple of months old when I came into the picture. I rocked him, I babysat him, and now HIS child is MY son's buddy. Wowzers. I was a great aunt years and years before I was a Mom. Did he have a baby early or did I have my babies late??? YES. That's the answer to THAT question.

I can't think of anything critically urgently spiritually transiently important that will begin in 2007. Perhaps it means I can't think or either it means there may be nothing particularly spectacular about the year 2007, but what's spectacular is inherent in our family, our head, our heart, our lives, our loves, our homes. I dunno. Maybe I'll use less butter. Walk more. Smile more. Spend less (nahhhhhh......). WHUTever. After many years the resolutions begin to all sound so evermore like babble, same ol' babble dee gook. Resolutions, lists, call 'em what you will. You know yourself. You know how you react to 'em. Do it so you succeed, man. Write your script.

Happy happy.

RIPS ME A NEW ONE

Burns me a new one, rips me a new one. Know the meaning when it leaves my lips? Betcha do. Mmm-hmm. Howsomever, I thought, for some bizarrrrrre reason, that it would be a grrrrrrrreat idea to get my handsome husband an ipod for Christmas. Between his ipod, the computer, and the DVD thingie he's rippin' and burnin' music and schtuff all over the hoose and damn if he ainta got earbuds in his horns every time I look at him. I'm thinking now that an ipod would be an appropriate gift for a wife to give a husband if he were all up in her space and she wanted him to quietly disappear into another dimension. Just for the record, I wasn't in that sad predicament. But the hunkity hunk is enjoying the thang and that's just da bomb. So, I s'pose my mission is accomplished although it sure doesn't feel like it when the only thing around here to talk to is the guinea pig.....

Aaaaaand speaking of new ones, Happy New Year to us all. Black eyed peas and greens tomorrow, and a day of rest. There'll be a fire in the fireplace, games with the kids, maybe a leisurely ride in the country. The first day of the new year should be spent as we hope the entire year shall go, and so my tomorrow will be spent with my family, and in touch with my friends.

TTFN

Monday, December 18, 2006

PRETTY IN PINK


I'm happy now. Reporting. I like this format better, and even if I didn't, it would stay for awhile. I can't fiddle with it any more.

Formatting is EASY PEASY NOW!!! WAY TO GO PEOPLES!!

Here's a little pic of my baby asking the girl behind him in the Santa line to hold hands.

TTFN.

CAN'T LIKE IT

I don't like my new format. I have tried to like it but I'm having no success. Mainly I've tried liking it so diligently because I don't wanna take the time to go back and choose another one. It's sooooooo harrrrrrrd. It's sorta like picking a ding dang paint color, not something I can do quickly, and so I drag my feet even going to that screen because it's like the little pebble that initiates the avalanche. . . the first domino . . . the first HA in the HA HA game. But do it I must, because this new format ith not me. Too dahhhk, dahhhlink. It's preeeeety but ith just not me.

While we're on the can't like it jag, I'll just mention that I'm not liking these folks going out in the freezing cold wilderness for sport. I don't CARE if they're experienced mountain climber whatever they are's, I demand they all stop. Can't we all get the HINT now that so many have lost lives in the cold? If we have the wanderlust for this sport is there a virtual one that would suffice please? Geezle pete.

That's all I have not to like at this moment. Otherwise I'm good.

One thing I found out this weekend I doooo like verra verra much. Grapefruit juice and vodka. Thank you sister-in-law.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

REDNECK KENNEDYS






When I was a kid I used to spend time with my Grandmother, who was interested in both fashion and politics. This presented a lethal combination in the day and even now mockeries are made but I digress and digress a little more I must for I just remembered something my cousin that my cousin gave me shared with me awhile back. I'll get back to my primary point in a minute. Mebbe more.

I have always enjoyed beautifying my surroundings for when my family's home environment is pleasing to the eye, attention given to the specifics, the details, and the function of our home and the rooms in it, it becomes a comfortable, peaceful place to be. Same thing works for fashion and since I live with three male humans, I dress them in much the same way . . . pleasing to the eye, attention given to the specifics, the details, and their function so they can be comfortable and peaceful. Purty darned simple, it's not rocket science, but the point is there's no reason NOT to look good, and there's no reason your home shouldn't look good eeder.

Now back to cousin, who's an interior decorator. She'd been telling her husband that YES, decorating the house WAS necessary and then she ran across an article. Oooooh, yeah. Proof. The article said that kids who are raised in homes that are decorated, that have color on the walls, that have art in the homes, that have a parent who is in tune to the aesthetic presence of the home do better in school, are more interested in extra curricular activities, are more connected socially, and are more prone to be self-starters.

Been more than a minute but back to Grandmother. She had subscriptions to every fashion magazine of the day, and every news magazine as well. A small footstool in her living room held a foot high stack of magazines and defied to be touched lest the mountain of mags slide off the side like lava. There was another stack on the brick hearth, another one in the front bedroom in the nightstand, and yet another in the . . . er, . . ok the bathroom. So.

While scouring through every single one of these rags to find pics of current fashion, I unwittingly learned more than I ever dreamed or wanted to know about politics. Well there it is. And in the meanwhile I just developed a lifelong yearning to look at Jacqueline Kennedy. I can't call her Onassis, sorry. Doesn't work for me. Anyway Grandmother had books about the family, about her, about her doings while she was in the White House. I had the magnifying glass out, man. I was looking at her necklines. Her sleeve length. Skirt length. Heel height. Her pearls, her hats, her gloves, the way she stood, and especially the way that she put her left hand on top of yours when she shook your hand.

Over the years there have been seven thousand and one movies made of the Kennedys' lives, scandals, family secrets, assasinations, and political journeys, and I have watched them ALL for one - OK two - reasons. A. so I could see the obligatory shot of the yard football in khakis, and 2. so I could see that many beautiful people in one family.

Well this week while my boys had strep and I was stuck at home, I was going through old photographs of my parents and my handsome husband's parents. And guess what? My eyes began to glaze over. I laid them all out in front of me at one time and I made a decision right then and there. Sometimes it takes until you're forty seven years old to realize that you have what you've been looking at dreamily all your life.

Our parents are drop-dead gorgeous people. I've always known it independently of each other, but when you put them all together, they're almost too pretty to look at at once.

My sister is beautiful, my brother is a huge hunky athlete. They're both tall, lanky, gorgeous people. On top of that they're both smart as whips. . . and they're smart in such different WAYS, too!

My sister-in-law is an enormously talented writer and storyteller and can pick up many musical instruments and just begin to play. My brother-in-law is a civil engineer that builds the most important bridges in the city of Atlanta and he's a handsome devil too (looks exACTLY like my hubby). My handsome husband can play a half dozen musical instruments too, has forgotten more information about just anything you would want to ask him than I'll ever know.

Many of the above have made the most beautiful babies you'll ever see. They're polite, they mind, they're successful in school, they're motivated, kind, continue to enjoy being with family as they grow into their teens and adulthood . .


Nope. The Kennedys have nothin' on this family. Look at the stock we came from! I don't know what I did to get to be a part of my family and a part of handsome husband's but I'm here baby and I'm enjoying it.

Now I just have to perfect the Jackie wave.

Monday, December 11, 2006

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND OTHER WHORE HOUSE STORIES - or Aunt Donna and the Cousins

***Our Christmas gift in 2002***
This was taken on a playground in Denver, Colorado, where we went to get him

























Santa and boys Christmas 2004. The pic above is Uncle Lee Lee and #1 son Christmas 2001. My brother became Uncle Lee Lee, we don't know why. #1 son named him that when he was 20 months old. His name's Dan. This is one of my favorite shots, and one of #1 son's favorite spots to be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




My sister in law, the very one that kvetched last week about my Christmas shopping being completed at such an early date, is the life of the Christmas eve party for handsome husband's family. My boys have googlezillion family traditions they cherish but one of the most fun is when Aunt Donna grabs them along with all their cousins and makes them her cohorts in crime as she recites 'Twas the Night Before Christmas', right just exactly pre prior to immediately before present opening time. Aunt Donna's no dummy. You get complete cooperation . . . . before. . . . gift opening time.

Aunt Donna is a master storyteller and a great southern writer. The talent in this family that my husband gave me is most amazing and worthy of a blog entry of its own, and lest I stray too far from my original story here, I'll leave that subject and go back to 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and Aunt Donna and the Cousins. Ayter-lay on the ahlent-tay *wink* *wink*. Another day.

Now then where was I...... oh yeah. So several years ago, my kids were about ohhhhhh six and 22 months, and it's Christmas Eve, and Aunt Donna (as always) has procured some sort of fabulously silly headgear for she and the cousins to wear while relating their story. Then she passes out candy canes to each. Jingle bells maybe, things just keep coming out of a bag with Aunt Donna for the kids to wear or hold so I get the years confused unless I look at a pic. Anyway the picture can't get any more perfect - cause you KNOW these children are the most beautiful in the world already, and here they stand between the fireplace and the Christmas tree, pretty as a picture, ready to recite a Christmas poem that the older ones at least almost know by heart, they've been doing it for so many years with their Aunt. So here we go:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

horse

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

wreath

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

bells

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

wreath

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

horse

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

bells

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

roof

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

wreath

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

bells

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

horse

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

sleigh

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

bells


OKAY. It's a LONNNNNNNNNNG poem, and in the particular verse that begins with AS DRY LEAVES THAT BEFORE THE WILD HURRICANE FLY, (you'll notice that's six verses in - seven if you count the calling of the reindeer), Aunt Donna's tongue got twisted in the MOST unfortunate spot and the house-top became the whore house.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the whore house the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

bells

Makes you wonder about the kinda toys, doan it. Hmm.

Aaaaaaaanyhoosie, that's a favorite Christmas memory for the adults. Went right over the kids' heads, but I'm looking forward to the day my boys are old enough to share it with them.



TTFN



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

YES I DO THANK YOU DOO

doodles said...

May I say that I know you go to bed each and every nite and say "Dear Lord I have a wonderful life and it's just fun!".

8:56 AM


Yes maam. I do - thank you - go to bed saying man this is too good to be true. I should do it more often so thank you for the reminder. And I'm so glad you mentioned this because I've been thinking about this very subject for quite some time. Seems I always write about good things - er - well - maybe MOST of the time. It's more fun. BUT. You know there's always a big but.

Every so often however I think about ol' Kathy Lee Gifford. Anybody remember her? 'Member how she always made out like her life was soooo perfect and everything was so great? THEN it all went ten toes up in a BIG. BAD. WAY. Well truly she boils up in the back of my mind in a terribly twisted way more often than I wish, not for the reason you might think, but because I just want THE WORLD AT LARGE to know the reason I write about the good stuff is because it's more uplifting and more fun. . . .also very much because I always believe no one wants to hear the ook about me because everyone has their own ook. No one even like their own ook. WHY would they want to listen to mine??? READ mine? This is what I've discovered about myself. It's not a KLG-esque-ism-ittude. SO. In the interest of the aforementioned, let me share with you the following horrible-grotesque-esses regarding yours truly:*

  1. My house generally does not get cleaned if my children want me to play with them (I could use any number of other, less substantial excuses but let's go with that one).
  2. I will skip a trip to the grocery store to stay home and organize something cuz it makes me feel better. (That's sick.)
  3. I am not a flexible person. I'm working on it, but not very hard. I try, but not very often.
  4. I think I know lots more than I really do. On the other hand I know what I don't know. I do know, yes, it's a paradox. Welcome to my husband's world, bless his heart.
  5. I'm not willing to even try to learn some things. There are lots of brick walls in my noggin. It's a darn shame. Again. Welcome to my husband's world, bless his heart.
  6. I have a short fuse, I overthink everything, and I expect way too much from everyone, including and especially myself. I am working on that. HARD.
  7. I still don't like it when my Mama tells me what to do. I'm forty seven. WHAT a baby.
OK, that's enough. But anyhoodiepo, the point is this. I was thinking back to the first six months or so after we brought our #1 son home, and I wrote letters to his birthmother, after the first several letters I reviewed them one day and realized that everything in the letters was positive, beautiful, wonderful, perfect. Great news, good things, blah blah blah yada yada. She must think I'm making all this hoo-hoo up, I thought. NOBODY's life is THIS PERFECT!!! So I started putting in some of the yucky stuff. . . the real stuff about life with baby. Handsome hubby thought I was nuts. But our adoption counselor (whom the letters still had to go through for the first year) thought it was a great idea, and in fact, she and birthmother read the letters together and birthmother was so thankful to finally read a 'bumps in the road'. Duh. Of course! NOW she knew the letters were REAL. It was then that we began a real relationship. Eight years later we're very close.

So. I hope to always share the wonderful things just because they are so wonderful, not because our lives are so perfect. I hope they bring about the responses like my friend Doo had. Those responses give me a bump in the butt too. Yes I should go to bed every single night saying exactly that Doo.

DEAR LORD I HAVE A WONDERFUL LIFE AND IT IS JUST FUN!!!









* I won't share those of my family members. THAT's truly grotesque.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

TAGS AND TOGS AND TUGS

Called my sister that my handsome husband gave me. "What's your husband's daughter's new daughter's name again?" Well it's not as stupid as it sounds, I mean his kids are popping babies out faster than an automated tennis ball machine. So she tells me.

"What're you doin'?" says she.

"Putting gift tags on Christmas presents."

"Putting gift tags on Christmas presents. You goober. *sigh* I have to go. I have real work to do."

That's not what she said, but that's what I heard when she said whattheheckevershesaid. It was the tone. I heard it, yes I did. There were different words, but THAT's what she said. Hmmmph. I know because I have heard the same thing come out of other people's brains, and some actually say it from their lips, too. Yes. I do my shopping early. And that's all I have to say about THAT.

So I got off the phone with sister in law and composed a broadcast email to the parents of Jr. Mint's preschool classmates, for whom I am the PAH-TAY Mom. (This, for those of you who are not cool enough to know, is what used to be called Room Mom.) We are doing a group donation to MUST ministries. Rather than each family donating a pair of mittens or socks which is what they're doing church/preschool wide, we're putting a twist on it, compiling our donations and purchasing an entire coat/hat/mitten/sock SET, letting the children compose a letter to the receiving child and enclose it in the box, wrap it, then take it down to the tree themselves and place it underneath. As I looked at this coat I got so dirt cheap at Old Navy (they're on SUCH great sales this time of the year.....) I thought well, what could it possibly hurt to stick a toy in each pocket. . . .) hee hee. Who has to know?

Now then. Went out to meet #1 son today at the bus, which stops to let him off directly in front of the house. Jr. Mint goes out with me and runs the front yard while we wait. Laps. Gets the wiggles out. So right as we see the bus coming, he heads straight for me from across the front yard and hollers MOM!!! So I turn around and look his way and darned if he doesn't tuck that head and those shoulders one shoulder lower like a FOOTball player!! I was skeert. Did I move to protect myself from being plowed??? I DID just have surgery on the shoulder, and my joints are arthritic past my years, but if I moved he was likely to go straight on out into the street. Apparently I was the break. So. When you're a Mom you stay. I prepared. I planted my feet. I bent my knees. I protected my . . er, I got ready. Five feet short he plants his right foot, stops for effect, raises his head, brings his arms straight out to the sides palms to the sky as if in a production number, grins and says, "GOTCHAAAAAAA!"

When my muscles finally relaxed, Jr. Mint was hugging me and laughing and #1 son's bus had stopped to let him off. When he hugs he grabs my pants, it never fails that he always pulls them down an inch or two before I can grab them and pull them back up and make him stop. One of these days he's going to pull them off before I can react. I just knew today would be the day - right there in front of 65 elementary school kids - friends of #1 son's, no less. How much worse could it be? Gotta get him to quit doing that. I guess I would've just turned around and said "GOTCHAAAAAA!" What else can you do???




Thursday, November 30, 2006

CHILI CHILDREN

Chipper chilly children cheerfully chant.

Sunday Santa sang silly songs.

Eleven elves lick eleven little licorice lollipops.

Comet cuddles cute Christmas kittens carefully.

Two trains travel together to toyland.

Santa's sack sags slightly.

Ten tiny trains toot ten times.

This was the family activity at bedtime. There were more - OH so many more but you get the jist. My nine year old looks at his daddy with a glassy eyed expression and his mouth open, cocks his head and says, "Dad, what the heck are chilly children?" His Dad looks at him and cocks his own head right back, perplexed.

"Well," says Dad. "My guess is they're kids that are slightly cold, son." This takes a moment to sink in.

A light slllllooooooowly comes on. The elevator slowly goes up to the top floor. My son giggles at his own statement, then the giggle becomes a bellysnort which travels to his cheeks and shoulders simultaneously, his cheeks turning into tight, shiny apples and his shoulders shaking uncontrollably. "I thought it meant Chili Children. Like Soup Children or Chowder Children."

Boys. When do they ever stop relating everything to food?

Monday, November 27, 2006

THE DAY AFTER, MORE TO BE THANKFUL FOR, AND JUST MORE. . .

Yep. I can see my own cheecks under my eyes. I ate that much. Ate like an obsessed moron. No, make that I was an obsessed moron. There's too much of meeeee.

Thursday we had Thanksgiving at our home for my handsome husband's family. It was a beautiful day, outside and in. My children enjoyed the company of their cousins, playing outside so hard until when it was time to eat they came inside soaking wet with sweat, breathing hard from the bottom of their lungs, and not in the least interested in food. They washed their hands dutifully, went through the motions, head bowed hands folded Amen, yes I ate a bite of the green stuff, yes I cleared my plate, yes I drank some juice, yes I said thank you can I go BACK OUTSIDE NOW PAH-LEEEEEEEEZ???

We had a few more folks at Thanksgiving at my house. My new sister that my brother in law (husband's brother) gave me had Thanksgiving at her house last year. It was her first in the family and she jumped right in. She's that kinda gal. I am so thankful. Anyhooter, she and BIL have fabulous friends-for-neighbors. Live on a cul-de-sac and we know them all because they all were integral in their wedding last year, and come frequently to family events that are held at BIL's house. One couple was going to be alone on Thanksgiving. Kids are grown and so on. . . . Ohhhhh, nnnnnewwwww. They came to our house.

My handsome husband enjoyed his Thanksgiving day, in his own words, "more than any Thanksgiving since Daddy's been gone". That's seven years. I am so thankful.

Friday morning we got up, packed an overnight bag, and went to my Mom and Dad's. When we arrived I went to my Grandmother's house next door where my sister was preparing the dressing for my Grandmother. She has taken over this duty since my Grandmother, who is ninety nine years old, can't manage it any longer. I have to say she does a bang-up job, and it's not easy to get it just right for Grandmother, the sage, the black pepper, the salt, the chicken broth, because she never had a recipe to speak of, not to mention the fact that she's naturally very disturbed well maybe irked is a better term that she can't do it herself so she's somewhat - er - snippish at times. You know, it happens to everyone when our bodies fail us, alrightie? I'll be the same way when I'm ninety nine, I guarantee. Heck I'm that way now. But anyhoosie, seester is so very kind to Grandmother and smooths right over it, continuing with grace and style, patting Grandmother on the shoulder and sing songing calming reassuring words while all along moving in a continuous motion in the kitchen to work out the kinks in the dressing to the satisfaction of Grand Matriarch on her oak rocker throne with the cabbage rose cushion, her sweet hands folded in her lap and her feet crossed at the ankles, sitting like the Southern lady she's been all her ninety nine years. I am so thankful.

Saturday morning seester and I took our kids on an adventure. Kept them out all day. Took them to the Discovery Museum, took them to eat lunch, took them for ice cream. Inbetween stops travelling from one place to the next, they all spent time in the back of the van together, and seester and I got to talk. When has that happened? Minivans are good there I said it. Make you look like Mommys, but guess the hell whut. We are. No shame in being what you are, and couldn'ta done that in a porsche. I am so thankful.

Now we're back home, it's Monday, things are frightfully normal again. I am so thankful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WON ONE TODAY

I got to be Room Mom (it's called Party Mom these days. whutever.) for Jr. Mint's preschool class quite by default this year. At orientation at the beginning of the year, Jr. Mint and I were the last ones to leave and the line was still blank. Teacher looked at me with pleading eyes, what could I do. There it is.

So today was the Thanksgiving feast. Now here's the background story. All year long (keep in mind this is preschool, not brain surgery, 'kay? and there's not much to this Room -oops!- Party Mom thang at the Preschool level). An untrained person can do it which is why I'm holding my own. Mostly about communication and organization, and I'm not good at muchanuthin but I can do those two things with my hands tied and blindfolded, baby. Anyhoodiepo. Every time I send out a broadcast email to the parents Joyce shoots me one right back saying "I think it might be better if . . . .", and then she always ends it with, "Just a thought!" Ugh. Sometimes she's right. Lotsa times. I appreciate the input. She's a smart gal. Thing is she likes to carbon copy all the other parents with the tweaky suggestions. Arrgggghhh. Makes everyone uncomfortable. But whaddya do.

A pattern began to develop. No one could make her happy and nothing was ever done just right. So school started in September and here we are at the end of November. Joyce is one of the two Moms that was responsible for today's Thanksgiving Feast and since I'm the Party Mom I was there too to make sure everything went smoothly, to be there in case they needed any help. And as you can imagine, Joyce is a perfectionist so today's party was incredibly organized, the centers were beautifully prepared and everything went like clockwork. BUT. During the pilgrim hat craft center, (where the hat was made with a fudge stripe cookie and a marshmallow dipped in melted chocolate.....looked just like a pilgrim hat, too) my Jr. Mint dropped his chocolate covered marshmallow into his lap before it made it to his fudge stripe cookie. Well he didn't care too much, but it got all over Joyce. She was shaken. She was upset. She wanted to take his pants off and go wash them out in the sink. (They keep an extra set of clothes there.) She apologized to me profusely.

"Joyce," I said. "Presoak is our friend. It's JUST chocolate!" Joyce wasn't convinced.

"Wait'll your son gets this age," I said. He's nine months old now. She just got back with him from Moscow. My gosh he's beautiful. Oh. That's another story. Anyhow. "Wait'll your son gets this age. His pants'll look like this too. Don't worry about it!"

Still not convinced.

"Listen," I said. "As soon as we get home, Jr. Mint will go outside with a toy in each hand and either sit in the driveway or sit in the pile of leaves in the front yard. When he comes back in, I won't be able to SEE that spot of chocolate because the spots of yard dirt will be camouflaging it. So you and my son go finish his pilgrim hat. Okay?"

I think I actually saw her muscles relax. I know I heard her let out an audible sigh of relief.

For the rest of the party, she seemed more relaxed, more eager to participate in discussions between parents, easier to laugh and talk. Maybe it was my imagination. I hope not. Maybe I won one today. A parent that is. . . .

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

GET 'ER DONE

Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Funny how you look at your house with new eyes when you're having a googlezillion people over. My handsome husband is re-caning antique ladderback dining room chairs that our derrieres have been hanging out of for two years now, and re-gluing a kitchen chair that has been in the basement for six months. I have gotten up the gumption to wrap up a project or two that came to a skreeching standstill months ago. It's quite a head scratcher, when you figure you're s'posed to treat your family like company and your company like family. But then, since it is family coming over for Thanksgiving, I guess we're goin' about it right proper-like.

My kids on the other hand, will go the opposite direction with their rooms when they prepare for Thanksgiving and see how much stuff they can get OUT. That way when their cousins get here they're fully loaded and ready for an entire day of all-out . . . . whew I don't even wanna KNOW what. Hopefully it'll be warm enough outside where most of the whatever-they're-gonna-do will take place in the yard or the fort. Please God.

Two years ago just before Thanksgiving I found out a friend, who was also #1 son's best friend's Mom, had an inoperable brain tumor. They gave her only a few months to live. She was five months pregnant, her military husband was getting ready to be sent to Iraq, holidays were here. She had a six year old and a fourteen year old. Melanie died four months later, in February.

This is the third Thanksgiving since I heard that news, second Thanksgiving since she died. Everyone knows how priorities shift and silly sediment falls out and the real things rise to the top when something like that happens, it's happened to us all, but Thanksgiving changed in the most remarkable way that year and has remained changed in my life, in my heart. I owe it to Melanie. She was a devoted Christian with a deep faith. She lived it, she exuded it, she claimed it.

Our family Thanksgiving was at our home that year too - the year Melanie was diagnosed. I bought Chinet plates and go-cups and a paper harvest tablecloth, and had the kids go out in the yard and gather pinecones and beautiful acorns and other treasures, and scatter them in the center of the tables for our 'centerpieces'. That was the extent of time spent on decorating and gussying up the tables or the house. I believe we had twenty eight that year. It was a blast.

May get out the china this year, may not. May wash the tablecloths and send them out to have them pressed, may not. I'm fairly certain I'll go by Publix and pick up the latest and greatest in the Little Pilgrim collection, so the salt and pepper won't sit alone. That's a kick. Point is, Thanksgiving is whatever we decide to make it nowadays. And it's peaceful and calm and it remains a holiday for the giving of thanks. Not the washing of china. Unless we want it to be.

Thank you Melanie.

Friday, November 10, 2006

THE VETERANS WALL


Every year at my son's elementary school there's a Veterans Wall. Students are asked to bring pictures of relatives that served, and these pictures are put up on the wall for the week prior to Veterans Day. The wall is on the main hallway of the school and is at least forty feet long, stretching from the front door of the school where the main office is located all the way down to the secondary, or parallel hallway. It's the main thoroughfare of the school.

Each year my son takes the same picture of his Grandaddy and places it on the Veterans Wall. It's an 8x10 sepia. Not quite black and white, not quite color. Rosy cheeks, brownish tones with a litle mauve thrown in, but the layer underneath is black and white all the same. It's a picture that was done, at some time waaaaay in the past, before my time even but passed down to me, on heavy duty photographic quality card stock. If you believe in fate, you'd think mayhaps it was because little hands, decades later, were going to take it to school every year, year after year, and place it on a Veterans Wall that six hundred children would tromp and flounce and skitter by a dozen times a day for five days.

Not sure how much of Veterans Day my #1 son comprehends right now in his realm of consciousness. He's nine. Not sure how much of it I want him to comprehend. It tears my heart out when I close my eyes and contemplate it myself, and I'm forty seven. I only want to understand it to the extent that I can sincerely and graciously, to the depths of my being, be thankful for those who have the sense of deep dedication, loyalty, understanding of responsibility and service . . . . . . . to go where they have gone and do whatever they have done. I can't even think and never have understood how anyone could lead normal lives after such a thing and whether that shows how silly and shallow I am or how beautifully trained and sadly unappreciated they are or were I don't know but either way or both who could ever do more for their country and family and people they don't even know than this?

So someday my nine year old and my four year old will 'get it'. In the meantime, every year they'll proudly haul the sweet sepia tone picture of their Grandaddy to school and smack it up on the Veterans Wall for six hundred kids to walk by a dozen times a day for five days in a row.
Happy Veterans Day to Daddy and to Junior, my Daddy that my husband gave me, and thank you for defending our Country. And Happy Veterans Day to all Veterans, and many many thanks!!!

Here's a link to a prior blog entry where I shared a letter my Dad wrote to his uncle, thanking him for his service to our country: It's worth reading, if you don't mind my bragging on my Dad's raw honesty and eloquence.

http://kidsinthecastle.blogspot.com/2006/09/heroes.html

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tea and a scone OH HELL NO YOU ENT

I was sitting at Barnes and Noble the other day with a hot Tazo and a blueberry scone reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Actually. I wasn't reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I was reading love letters written to Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Robert Browning. I was in my happy, peaceful place, I had exactly twenty three more minutes before I had to spring out of the comfy chair I was all gooshed up in to go get Jr. Mint and become The Mommy Van again, there was nice music coming through the speakers and I was partially sub-aware of murmur-minutia occuring around me which was kinda nice itself. Then. From somewhere behind and to the right came a mean, loud, baaaaaad OH NO. OH HELL NO YOU ENT A GONNA. DOAN CHU EEEEVEN THEENK ABOUD IT. DOAN MAKE ME COME OVA DEAH!!!

Now. . . . . from the tone of the voice and the way she spoke it was obvious she was speaking no hollerin' at a child, but with the insertion of the word HELL who could be sure? Anyhoosie the point was. . . . mood was gone, Barretts were no longer speaking to each other, suddenly the scone seemed like just a biscuit and the Tazo just a cuppa sumpin, and I just left early in a funk to get Jr. Mint. Became The Mommy Van twenty one minutes early. On the way out I purposely took the route by OH HELL NO mouth. Indeed she had been speaking with her TODDLER. The funk stayed with me for a little while. I didn't care a flip about being jolted out of my happy place, or being ripped from the Brownings twenty one minutes early. The funk was a "how could anyone talk to a sweet baby like that" funk. Sort of a "I'd kinda liked to have run into her quite by accident with my knitting needles" funk. Maybe a "Oops! I am so sorry I don't know HOW I tipped my Tazo down your pants" funk.

I guess I should be glad she had her toddler in a bookstore. There are worse things.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

QuESt for SUCCESS

That's what my sister's working on. She's the Instructional Specialist for the middle school in the very town where we grew up. She and her best friend, who is the Head of the gifted department of the same school, co-authored the original grant application for the school which resulted in the awarding of $312,000 in Comprehensive School Reform Grant money for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

The school is using the money to implement a national award winning program called the QuEST school improvement model. Seester facilitates the grant and serves as the academic coach for the school.

According to the figures related in a longitudinal study begun in the 2005-05 school year, schoolwide scores reported gains in the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in all content areas recorded.

Reading scores increased by 7 percent, language art scores increased by 11 percent, and math scores increased by 7 percent. "Positive progress in every area is due to extreme focus on teaching, posting and internalizing the performance standards for middle school students in Georgia."

Yeah yeah yeah. It's all cause of my seester.

Now besides that leetle accomplishment *har* she has two beautiful children and a kind, endearing husband. Not to mention. She purty.

Monday, October 30, 2006

HALLOWTHANKMUS

I can't take credit for the term. Our pastor coined it. Well I don't know if he coined it or not but it was the title of his sermon yesterday. Pretty ding dang appropriate, huh. Hallowthankmus. He said he ran across a sale a couple of weeks ago that said "PRE-HALLOWEEN CHRISTMAS SALE". What the. . . . .?

So far we keep the holidays separate and consecutive at our home. I hope to always keep it that way. Halloween is just for fun, and it's over tomorrow. Then we begin preparations for Thanksgiving. Harvest decorations go up, we start talking about stories of our country and how it came to be and why we celebrate Thanksgiving - not just because of pilgrims and freedom, but for the hundreds of reasons we have to be humble and give thanks on a daily basis.

After Thanksgiving, we pack up our harvest decorations. Then we start getting excited about Christmas. I start burning holiday scented candles, and slowly, step by step our home becomes a holiday home. Most importantly, during the Christmas season we discuss the real meaning of Christmas. We don't write it X-mas and we don't say happy holidays. It's Jesus' birthday, so we throw Him one heck of a bash. We love throwing parties at our house.

TTFN

Friday, October 20, 2006

FRESH MILK, A CORN MAIZE AND A BONUS ROUND


My two largest male humans are leaving town for the weekend. It's Cub Haunted weekend and they're camping. Jr. Mint would never make it through the fright night tactics, plus, and, besides, which, mostly, it's s'posed to rain. If he went he'd be miserable but he doesn't know that and he'd argue with you if you tried to tell it to him, so that doesn't stop him from grieving over not being able to go.

Sooooo, as handsome husband and #1 son are packing, preparing, and just generally doing male preparations and gyrations which involve rope and knives and batteries and fuel and tents and such, my Jr. Mint's heart sinks lower and lower. As his heart sinks his head drops to his chest and he is sitting on the step with his elbows on his knees and his toes pointed out and I peep out and now I have a broken heart too. So it's part of growing up and no I won't overdo so as to spoil him or allow him to expect this every time, but I want to enjoy my weekend and him to enjoy his as well, soooooo I have such an exciting weekend planned for the two of us, but he can't get there yet. He's in the moment, he's dealing with the hole in his heart where his dad and his brother and mainly the BIG HONKIN' CAMPING TRIP are s'posed to be.

But I have visuals. Web page enticements. Audio. Ohhhhhhhhh yeah. My baby and I are gonna rock this town.

Saturday morning we are going to the dairy where they have a corn maize, hayride, farm and garden tour and squealer races. On the way out we're stopping at the country store to pick up some fresh milk. Haven't had any of that in years. Then we're going for pizza for lunch. Going home after that to nestle in for the rest of the day. Movies and popcorn at home, games, reading, activities and just generally being together. Hopefully it'll be cool enough for a fire and hot cocoa.

Sunday after church we're going to see Open Season. I promised him a new toy this weekend but I don't know when we're going to squeeze in a trip to Toys 'r Us. Doesn't matter though cuz I promised it. He will have a $10.00 limit and we will enjoy shopping and looking/playing with toys until we find the exact/perfect thing. Since the rule at the house is something in/something out, we'll also enjoy deciding on a toy of his that he no longer plays with to give to charity.

Now inbetween all these things there are normal chores. Laundry, bedmaking, dishes, etc. Just as when you camp you have chores. It ain't all glitter wherever you are.









Monday, October 16, 2006

EARLY RELEASE

They make it sound like parole, but actually my kids are just getting out of school at noon this week. It's conference week. So in truth, my #1 son is feeling quite like by Thursday, since my conference with his teacher is on Wednesday, that he may very well be thrown in the pokey.

He's a good student, intelligent kid, teacher pleaser. Makes E's, he's in the gifted program, reads all the time, has great word attack skills, solves puzzles all the time, adores math, challenges himself, accepts challenges readily. . . . . Can not remember anything to save his neck. If he uses the word forgot once in a day, he uses it seven hundred and thirty four times. Forgets to bring his agenda home. Forgets his homework worksheet. Forgets his Friday folder. Forgets to bring home his A/R book. Forgets to take BACK his A/R book. Forgets to test on his A/R book. Forgets his FILL IN THE BLANK. You name it. And that's just the scholastic stuff. We haven't even touched on the regular ol' stuff like the jackets, glasses, and water bottles.

His goose is cooked. He knows his goose is cooked. He prolly feels the heat under his feathers already. We've discussed specific improvements to make and time limits to make them in, specific methods he might could use to help him in his quest to remember things, and he agreed (albeit reluctantly) that they were realistic, even though each time it happens it's "not my faaaauuuuult!" He knows this will be discussed in depth at the PT conference on Wednesday.

It's going to be the first time ever I have had to have a discussion of this type with his teacher. It's KILLIN' him. But. It hasn't killed him badly enough to start remembering things.

Today he comes home and says, "So Mom. We got our checkbooks today."

Huh?

"Yep. Got $250.00 to start, but everything costs. Even our checks cost. Mommeeee. Did you know checks cost money??"

Huh?

His teacher, in her wisdom, has created a system which is putting some TEETH into this problem that apparently does not belong to my son alone.

"Yeah. It costs $10.00 for desk rental, $5.00 for checks, $10.00 every time we forget our homework, $50.00 if we get sent to the office, $5.00 if we have a late library book, $10.00 for the guy that cleans our room for us, stuff like that, and we get a prize if we have money left at the end of the month. I can't wait. It's a great prize."

This is a wiiiiiiiiiiise woman. Why didn't I think of this?

Yeah son, I can't wait for you to win that prize either.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

HALLOWEEN

So what's it all about, anyhoodeepo? Chocolate, I say. Who can get the most, the best, the fastest. That's if you're a kid. Initially, only in anticipation stages is it about the costume. During the candy gathering stage the costume is only a hindrance, unless the child is a toddler, in which case you get "Oooooh's" and "Ahhhhhhh's" which leads to more candy, usually.

If you're a parent, it's all about who can give out the A. healthiest candy, 2. most amount of candy, or III. least amount of candy and get the porch light flipped off fastest. Depends on your opinion of the holiday in discussion.

I don't quite understand not allowing your children to participate in trick or treating at all because of the old "it's a devil's holiday" thing. I mean, actually I think in some cases maybe I do understand it after all, but it's just my little theory that lots of parents are trying so hard to be good parents that they make issues where there just aren't any, just so they have another opportunity to be a good parent. It's a upside down, flupped up good/bad agenda with self absorption or maybe self promotion at the root of it. At least in the case of "Jane", we'll call her, whose daughter goes to preschool with my Jr. Mint. Daughter does not get to participate in Halloween in any form for the above mentioned reason. We research holidays before we allow her to participate in them, says she. Daughter is however, allowed to participate in the Christmas program, even though "Jane's" family is Jewish. Practicing.

Mebbe I ate too much Halloween candy as a kid, but I dun get it.

So OK, I don't let my kids dress up as anything scary, upsetting, or violent. No weapons, no blah, blah, yada yada. We go to the local outdoor mall and do their thing - each of the boys takes a buddy, we run into neighbors and friends we know, drink lattes along the way, one of us stays home to give out candy to the neighborhood kids and the other one takes our kids through our neighborhood, and between those two things they have bagsful of candy. When we come home, the boys each get to pick out ten pieces of their candy. . . . . and the rest goes away.

How is that about the devil????? Unless it's that we don't let them keep but ten pieces.....


TTFN

Saturday, October 07, 2006

FAST FOOD AMERICAN STYLE ITALIAN FLAIR

While I was stopped at a red light this morning I looked off to the right, where there was a Wendy's sign announcing their new wonderful sandwich that I really must try. It's called . . . (trumpets blaring) the Italiana Frescata. The EEEE-tall-eeee-anna Fttttres-kaata!!!

Come on people. IT'S WENDYS. Singles. Doubles. Frosties. Smothered baked potatoes with poured orange cheese and limp broccoli.

WTH? Which brings me to what I (ain't this a kick in the head) was thinking about when I happened to gaze off into no man's land as I was sitting at that red light to begin with. Why is it so difficult to just be who we is? It's sooooo much easier to lead an authentic life. Be an authentic you. Me. Us. Whoever. Wendys.

I was sitting at soccer practice Thursday afternoon and on one side of me was a buddy soccer mom who is such a very authentic person - as far as I know her, that is. She's not a close friend. We don't socialize, but we come in contact frequently through our kids and if there's one way to get a good bead on whether someone is putting on airs or not it's to sit with a group of women when their kids are playing sports - especially when it's not recreation league sports, but sports leagues with certified coaches and tuition/program fees. Trust me on this one. Now this soccer mom buddy and her husband have been living in their home which has acreage for many years, and our bustling county has basically grown up around them, such that now their modest home and acreage for which they paid a modest, reasonable amount many years ago is worth sixteen I say SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS, and they are in the process of closing. Next week. She visited with my youngest son during practice, talked with him about the dinosaur images on his shirt, goosed him a time or two.

Couple of the other moms way on the other side of the bleachers couldn't be bothered to do much of anything but talk (loudly enough so that they could be sure and be heard) about their newest BLAH or their latest BLECH and they have the biggest YUCK and I'm pretty sure my son walked by them at least twice maybe three or four times and they didn't smile at him once, much less goose him or notice that he had dinosaurs on his shirt.

Not that I expect them to. Just making a point.

Authenticity. Lots to be said for it. I don't think I'll try the Italiana Frescata from Wendys. In fact I haven't been to Wendys in years. But I do have a real taste for a Frostie......

Thursday, October 05, 2006

PARTY MOM

Yep, me. Thaaaaat's me. Pahr-tay mom. Picture me with a lampshade on my head, dancing on the preschool table.

Well it used to be called Room Mom. Not sure when the title changed, but I'd like to go on record as saying that I enjoy the term Party Mom entirely better. It seems younger, fresher, more updated, all terms which I appreciate immensely, and more and more on a daily basis as birthdays come and go.

Except for this. In a Preschool world, it tends to come out of their darling little traps as Potty Mom.

I think "CRAP!" would be the appropriate expression for that.

TTFN.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

DAD

I was talking to my Dad the other day, and he was frittering away some time for some inexplicable reason. I don't ask. On this particular occasion of time frittering he had two questions for me . . . well, one question really, and one that may've truly been more of a statement, if we are to be authentic. His question was simple, really. He wondered if a destitute prostitute was the same thing as a po' ho'. On that point I could see no bit of difference so I simply answered in the positive and we moved on. Number two question, as I said, more of a - well, you can decide. He had come across a billboard driving down the road which read "Prior Fitz for Commissioner" and he wondered if there would likely be a billboard constructed in the near future which would read "Subsequent Seizures for Senator".

Now you know why I'm not quite right.

TTFN.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

SISTERS

My sister is having shoulder surgery on Friday. The surgery is similiar to the surgery I had - she's younger and the damage is not quite as far along, but on the other hand her arthritis is worse than mine. I can't be there. She and I used to be there for all of each others' life events, but no longer can we do that, for we have reached a place in our current lifestyle where our responsibilities prevent us from picking up and going. Kids in school for the most part, but other things as well keep us from being at each others' side when we're having surgeries, babies, emergencies, crises, or other "sister is the one" times. It sucks.

That's about all I have to say about that. And if that sounds like Forrest Gump, well that's who I feel like on the subject. Life's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. And on Friday I'm not gonna get to be with my sweet sister, who is a grown woman and can do perfectly fine without me, but I don't want her to do without me, I want to be there for her. But instead I want to be here more for my two children and my husband because I'm grown up too. Yes sir. If I keep telling myself that until Friday mebbe it'll sink in. Dammit.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

HEROES

I was cleaning out my file cabinet this morning and I ran across a letter my Dad wrote to his uncles, who were both like his brothers, in age and relationship, and who both served in WWII and at least one of them went back for more in Korea - maybe both of them, I'm not sure. He wrote it on May 30, 1999. Thought I'd share it.

Dear Paul and Ralph,

I guess I would not have started this letter had not some things come together. Mainly the publication of the book THE GREATEST GENERATION by Tom Brokaw, the observance of Memorial Day by the nation, and the need I have to tell you both that you have always been my heroes. I'm sure I culd not say that face to face without making a fool of myself. My son and I have frequently talked of the selfless, noble self-sacrifice of your generation during World War II, and have lamented the passing of that great large-hearted outlook in defense of your country. It has probably not been said as it should be said yet, but Tom Brokaw does a credible job while we are waiting for perfection.

Both my son and I are in awe of your generation. That something horrible has happened to the American heart and spirit between then and now we both know, but we do not know how to say it. The wonder for both of us is that the people of your generation are not affected by the current one. There remains the same spirit of manners, helpful cooperation, humility and the total lack of pretension as were present when you served.

Among the several blessings I realize regarding my children is that they all three got somehow the gene for analysis and the ability to see, quickly, to the core of a matter, and as a result we talk of the two of you more than you realize. I know you have seen the "media" coverage of Memorial Day and all the hype attendant on such an occasion. I doubt that all that meant much to either of you. Well, this letter is a poor attempt at bringing the hyperbole right down to the most elementary level, in an effort to persuade you, fifty four years after the fact, that, if you both had not risked getting you ass shot off a hundred, a thousand times, we would all likely be speaking Japanese or German now.

So never doubt that, in the extended family, everyone in my age range and younger, whether they say it or not, realize that we all owe you, both of you, a debt that we can never pay by simple thank yous. And it is not strange that the attempt to express what we feel chokes us up so that we feel like fools trying to get out what we feel.

We all know that you are heroes, and you will always be.

Monday, September 25, 2006

STARBUCKS DOUBLESHOT AND ALLEGRA-D

Don't ever do them both on the same day. Ask me how I know. Now it's not as stupid as you are most likely thinking. After all, Allegra-D is time release, and a Doubleshot is only about four good gulps worth. I had the Allegra at 6:30 this morning, and didn't have the Doubleshot until about 1:30pm. Howsomever my body still protested. And I knew better, it was up there in my head, I guess I just didn't find it at the moment that I grabbed the doubleshot. Clearly. Lesson learned. The flutterly, flittery have to lie down and breathe BIG and SLOW way.

Speaking of Allegra my friend Risa the pharmacist tells of a coworker who filled Viagra instead of Allegra on a call-in and the (male) patient called from his car not understanding what was going on....he had taken (what he thought was) his decongestant on the way to work in the morning, and so now he's driving around the block and has been for two hours waiting for . . . er, things to calm down . . . finally it dawns on him that the pill he took was not the same color as usual so he calls his pharmacist wanting to know what the heck's going on, and when he's going to be able to get out from behind the steering wheel, so to speak, and go to work. Pharmacist suggested he call in sick, drive home and take advantage of the situation but oh this just keeps on getting better and better he has a wreck on the way home. Hard times. AAAAAAAAA HA HA HA. No one harmed in the wreck but it seriously did make the problem go away.

On Friday if Risa comes by my house before going home she can't bend her hands. She says she fills so many Viagra prescriptions her hands stay stiff until Saturday morning. Hee hee hee hee hee hee.

Gotta go put Jr. Mint in the bath. TTFN.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A MULLIGAN AND A DOVE SPECIAL DARK

Last week my oldest son had ITBS standardized testing all week. It was administered in the mornings, beginning at about 9:00am. Tuesday morning as #1 son's getting ready for school I say to him, "Where are your glasses, huneee bunches?"

"Mmbmlfls"

"Where, poocheekins? Finish your banana and peanut butter and drink some orange juice."

"MmmbldleQUITITBROTHERdunnowhurtheyr."

"Well, I dunno where they are either boo boo. Go brush your teeth. Where'd you leave them last night? Are you only wearing that one sock today?"

"Daddy made me take them off on the way home from karate and he took them I can't find my other sock BROTHER COME BACK HERE WITH MY OTHER SOCK - MOMMMMMY!

So I call handsome hubby at work. It's 7:00am. He's getting ready to leave work with a bunch of co-workers for a golf tournament. "Know where your #1 son's glasses are by chance?"

"No. I gotta go. The guys are getting ready to leave and we're all riding together. Have a great day honey."

"Uh, yeah, you too. But your son thinks he remembers you taking his glasses last night and they don't seem to be in the house. Mind takin' a quick peek in your car?"

"Whut? Oh. Ohhhhhhhhh. and there is a long, pregnant pause. Well, he'll just have to do without 'em today. I've got to go play golf!" Now there's another lonnnnnnng pause cuz I'm just not believing I have just heard these words come out of this man's yap hole, BUT. You know there's always a big ol' but. A man's perspective is always quite a large chunk different than a woman's, and he just thought it was no big whoop for #1 son to hippity hop through one day without his specs. So I said, just as if I thought he had made a perfectly normal, acceptable decision, "Okay, well here, here he is, I'm gonna put him on the phone so you can tell him."

Just let me tell you this. I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth but what he yelled "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

"Whaaaaaaaat?" I purred. "What's wrong, baybee?" I had a powerful visual image of him standing on the other side of the phone receiver, looking down with his right hand in his pocket and scruffing his heel with remorse. Or some such emotion.

"I'll just drive down to the country club by mySELF, and I'll drop his glasses off at school on the way."

"Oh! Alright, if that's what you think you should do. I guess you're right, 'specially since he has testing today and everything. You're so smart honey, to think of that. What a thoughtful Daddy you are."

That day when handsome hubby got home, both boys ran and greeted him with hugs and kisses as usual, but then #1 son said "Daddy close your eyes and hold your hand out!" Daddy did. #1 son place a Dove special dark bar in his hand and closed his Daddy's fingers around it and said, "Okay, open your eyes!" Daddy opened his eyes and #1 son said, "Thank you for putting me ahead of your golf game."

The idea of a treat for his Dad was his. The words were mine. It was a collaborative effort. So sue me. ;-) It was verrrrry effective.........

Saturday, September 16, 2006

AGE

I'm giving a birthday party tomorrow for my #1 son, who's just turned nine, my mother in law, who's just turned seventy four, and my baby brother, who's just turned thirty three. I say I. I should say my husband and I. He's giving the yard a haircut and policing around the outside of the house. He'll be the grill meister during the event. He'll be doing heavy duty party clean-up afterwards too. These are his contributions. The M-A-N stuff.

It's one of those family events. I've described them before here, in other posts. Several generations, mixing of my family and husband's, the very young to the very senior. Lots and lots of laughter, too many conversations to even hear, lot of hugging, holding of hands, sitting shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, criss-cross applesauce, start-up baseball, tag, jump rope, romper stompers, sidewalk chalk, photo albums, medical advice, catching up, blah blah just you name it. I hear, just so no one thinks (that I believe) we are a family per-fect-o, that there have been a disagreement or two between family members at these parties. I don't doubt it. I hope so. When you get this many of us together I pray we all are close enough that at least two of us have something to disagree about.

This year, for the first time my Grandmother won't be making the trip to my house for the party. It's an hour and forty five minute trip, and she's ninety nine years old. She rides with Mama and Daddy. She made the trip back in May when I had a party for her birthday/Mothers' day. It was too much for her. Not the party - the car trip. It hurt her back. She was sore. Her tummy is not good anymore and she's afraid . . . just afraid. Afraid she won't be comfortable, afraid she'll be sore, afraid her tummy won't be happy to make the trip, just too tired and afraid. At ninety nine, who can blame her?

Ran into my cousin the other day and his kids were afraid they weren't gonna get to come. Don't worry, their Dad reassured them. We're going.

My uncle, Grandmother's son, who has esophageal cancer, is seventy seven (I think). Maybe seventy eight. Going through chemo. Picture of energy. He's coming to the party.

It's going to be a different party this year in more ways than one. Age, and time, does strange things to the dynamic of a party. And a family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

THE FALL ORDER

Fall is my second absolutely very favoritest time of the year. It fails to make #1 through no fault of its own, but by default (git it?? huh? huh? the fault?) of its neighbor, ol' man winter. Spring is in the top slot because while I enjoy the beautiful breezy coolish warm weather and the flowers and leaves budding out, I also am blissfully aware that hot weather is coming. Not so with fall. All during the terrizmoterrifico breezish warmy cool time, while I enjoy the most gorgeous leaf-turnings in the United States (we have those here in North Georgia. . . .), even though my family can take hikes, ride bikes, go on picnics, sit in the yard, eat on the deck, or run in the yard and enjoy the lower humidity and temperatures instead of turning into one large ball of sweat as we have all summer, in the back of my mind, I still know what's coming. . . . WINTERTIME. Blech. My least favorite season.

But here's the thing about Fall of the year. For the past few years, I dunno how many because I have just reached this epiphany and lemme tell ya it's not liberating as epiphanies are posa be. Well it is and it isn't. So maybe epiphany izza wrong woid. Annnnnnnyhoodipo, Fall just, it has come to me, not been right. Just not . . . right. Not deeply, spiritually wrong, not disturbingly wrong, wrong's not even the right word, seems I'm having vocab probs today, just not . . . . arranged properly. Yeah, that's it. Not arranged properly. Things are outa whack. But I hadn't put my finger on it. Hadn't wrapped my head around it. Hadn't even recognized that there was something out of whack, just that I was not right with my Fall of the years anymore.

NOW HERE COMES THE PART WHERE YOU'RE GONNA THINK I'M DRIVIN' THE SHORT BUS.

Here's whut it is. When Fall comes, several things are posedta happen in one fluid stream. It's a tall order. After all, this is whut makes it Fall. Apparently. To me. Which is whyyyyyyy I ent been right the past I dunno how many years - at this time of the year.

Labor Day comes, the new Fall TV shows begin, school starts, and it is cool enough to begin wearing Fall clothing.


And that's the way it's supposed to go.

But. You know there's always a big but. Life in the Fall of the year doesn't follow that track NO MO. School starts the first week in August. Fall TV shows don't begin until darn near October. And who just ever KNOWS when you're gonna wear Fall clothing, from one day to the next. Ozone ~ who knew?

So I'm such a sharp tack it only took me oh, how many years? to figure out that's why I'm so discombobulated and undone during the Fall.

Or during "Back to School" season I'm going to call it now. Cuz it ain't Fall. Perhaps if I can separate it into two distinct times, I'll enjoy both. Back to School time, and a new Fall of the year. Yeah. That'll do it.

Boy it's hell growing up.


Watched two movies this weekend. #1 son, DH and I watched Akeelah and the Bee. I would absolutely recommend that movie to ANY parent to watch with their child over 9 or 10 or so. It's such a valuable movie, and even though it has more than one 'hell' and 'ass' in it, believe it or not, I would watch it with him again, and MAY, before we send it back. What he learned from that movie. . . . indescribable.

Also saw The Family Stone. Great movie. Super great.

Friday, September 08, 2006

AND THERE IS LIGHT

I had electricians today. Alllll day. I'm beginning to know them rather well, for this is not the first time they've been with me here at-da-hoose. They arrived at 8:00am and left shortly after my handsome husband got home from work this afternoon. I had a fleeting thought when I started preparing dinner that maybe I oughter throw a couple extra kielbasa stuffed chicken breasts on the grill. Yeeeeeeeeeikes! But then when I paid them I decided maybe they oughter take us out fer vittles.

But. You know there's always a big but. This house has lighting issues. As of this evening it has fewer lighting issues, yet still there are some to be dealt with. Soooooo I will have electricians again in the near future. Well. When the pocketbook recovers. Perhaps in the fairly near future. Two electricians. Eight hours, eighty dollars per hour, ouchee oochee, but I have LIGHTS, baby!!!!!! And my electricians are precision measurers. They don't bark my walls. They don't track in dirt or mud. They aren't satisfied until it looks just right. They don't waste time. They'e kind to my children. Wished my #1 son happy birthday . . . thank you Doo, I told him so did you. :-) They pick up after themselves. I love them. One of 'em ent too hard on the eyeballs needer.

The nicest thing is that I can leave the house to drop the kids off at school, run errands, pick Jr. Mint up from preschool, just whatever, and leave them here. They contract electrical work for handsome husband at his work. He knows them well, trusts them. It's the perfect situation.

Here's my theory. This perfect situation that I have the pleasure of enjoying with my hot wire dudes makes up for aaaaaaaall the other VILE, ROTTEN, UNETHICAL, MESSY, UNACCEPTABLY NEGLIGENT, SMARMY, DON'T-GIVE-A-RIP, SHMOE contractors in the past and yet to come in my life. There. Want me to tell you how I really feel? ;o)





Thursday, September 07, 2006

THE "C" WORD

It's not what you think. At least probably not. I have an uncle with cancer. The C word is what my Dad calls it. Cancer, I mean. When he first started calling it that I thought it was a little too, I dunno, rough, not gentle enough, sumthin. It felt a tiny bit like a sniff of ammonia from too close. Jussssssss made me wince a little smidgey. But now I think it's better than hearing the word itself nineteen times when you're having a conversation about it. It's bad enough knowing it's there, in his body. My uncle's. Started in his esophagus. They chemo-d and radiated it out of there. Drip, drip, drip. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Gone. It was eight weeks during which the world stopped but yet kept moving. Maybe it didn't go away. Maybe it just picked up house and moved. Showed up in his lungs and liver. So now he's having treatments a-g-a-i-n.

Meanwhile, a dear friend of mine whom I have never met, is mourning because her dear friend passed away of leukemia today. I guess that's The "L" word. I didn't know the lady that passed away but I have mourned and cried this morning for my friend's loss and for the loss of a life from a disease like The "L" word or The "C" word that does what it does to a person and their family and friends for sometimes lonnnnnng periods of time.

For the eight weeks that my uncle went through his first round of treatment, knowing what I went through, I was effectively at the bottom of the barrel. Above me there's my Mama (his sister), my Grandmother (his mother), my cousins (his children), and my Aunt (his wife). What were they going through? Then there's HIM. What was he dealing with? I can't wrap my head around it. I don't know how he sat still. I don't know how he thought a complete thought. Spoke a complete sentence. Kept from screaming. How did he sleep?

When my handsome husband's Daddy died seven years ago, I know how much I grieved. He was my Daddy for nineteen years. What in the world was he dealing with? How could he possibly think? Work? Smile? Laugh? He didn't laugh much. It took a long time. How do you read to your kids when you miss your father with every single cell in your body?

My dear friend (whom I've never met) is trying to take care of her elderly parents, far away from her own home, while she's mourning the death of her dear dear friend. How can she concentrate?

I know the real answer to any of these questions. It's the same answer I would give if anyone asked me. "Well, you do what you have to do." "Well, you just do it." "When you have responsibilities you just get it done. Sometimes you don't even remember doing it, but you do." "Oh, people heal." "Oh, time heals all wounds."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think sometimes you ought to get a free "Crumble In a Lumpy Heap" card. . . . or a "Can't Function Today" card . . . Why can't we go away and mourn? Shut down for a little while? People used to do that. A year. Longer in some cultures, shorter in some, but a block of TIME, nonetheless, carved out for mourning. The "M" word.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

HAPPY BUFFDAY TO BRUDDA CHA CHA CHA!

Today is the anniversary of my #1 son's birthday. He is nine years old. He woke up with a smile on his face, like a kid with the knowing that gifts were forthcoming tonight. Gifts, fettucini alfredo, kielbasa, garlic toast, pound cake, and ice cream. Oh and plums. He added plums to his birthday meal request. Okay, I said. And plums. You get whatabsolutelyever you want for your birthday meal as always. You will notice the total absence of vegetables. During the meal and the opening of gifts the procession of telephone calls will begin. The entire evening will be dotted, spotted, and interrupted with them. Generally we don't answer the phone during a family meal but for birthdays we make the traditional exception. These interruptions are terrific ones. Then we sing Happy Birthday to him, but his four year old brother will end the song "HAPY BUFFDAY BRUDDA, CHA CHA CHA!". By the time #1 gets tucked into bed the smile'll be so broad and so infectious I'll be teary. Probably only a mother would understand that.

My brother's birthday is the 12th. The big family birthday party is the following weekend, and he will not get to attend, due to an emergency in his wife's family. She's out of the country tending to that emergency, and my brother, my baby brother, will spend the anniversary of his birth by himself. He is now thirty three years of age, fully grown, fully mature, and totally able, I am certain, to handle this unfortunate circumstance, but I'm not sure I am. I don't want to visualize the image of my baby brother sitting in his home alone watching TV on his birthday. I was thirteen years old when he was born and even though he's a married man with his own business, it breaks my heart that he won't have loved ones around him making him smile from ear to ear on the anniversary of his birthday. Happy buffday brudda indeed. Cha cha cha.

Monday, September 04, 2006

WHAT'S A CAREGIVER, ANYWAY?

I can't breathe through my nose. Nor can my sons . . . . we seem to have picked up a devastating summer cold from handsome husband who caught it, brought it home, coughed three times, sniveled once, shared it with his family, and then sloughed it off. The rest of us haven't fared as well.

Jr. Mint developed croup. From thence nosebleeds arrived in profusion. A wallopin' case of the ornerys followed. #1 son joined in the form of laryngitis, coughing spasms and a stuffy, runny nose. #1 doesn't do the ornerys as a rule. Pitiful puppy dog is his gig. I have a mix of symptoms too lengthy to list. Suffice to say we's all oooooookey. But cep' handsome husband, who caught it, brought it home, coughed three times, sniveled once, shared it with his family, and then SLOUGHED IT OFF.

He is not a caregiver. He tries, so he says. But if that's tryin', I'm Cindy Crawford. Or maaaaayyyyybe, he's just not tryin' like a woman would. Yeah, that's it. He does insist we lay around all day and watch movies. Hmm. Not bad. Even brought home a couple of good ones to watch. With a pint of Ben & Jerrys. And a couple of magazines. (the ones I like. . . .) Mm hmmmm. But then he turns around and asks me what's for dinner. Grrrr. As I lie there in a thick-headed Nyquil induced stupor, with a snivveling child on each side of me, a humidifier blowing lovely plumes of Vicks enhanced steam over our germ riddled heads, it occurs to me perhaps it's not because he wants me to prepare it, but because he doesn't know what there is to prepare. The thought of looking through the pantry, the freezer, and the fridge and then putting all that information together in his haid to come up with a meal to prepare makes his extremities begin to quiver. Aaaaaaaand, to have to grab a COOKBOOK and look something UP????? Aaaaaarghhhh!!!! He wants some direction. Yeaaaahhhh, that's it!!! Men. Can't live with 'em and you can't shoot 'em.

In closing, I would like to say we're praying without ceasing for the wife and small child of The Crocodile Hunter. My three guys are big fans.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

AMSTER- DAMN!

My niece is moving back to Amsterdam next Tuesday. I say moving, but that doesn't seem to be the right word when the thing you do is to hop on an airplane to go back to where you lived for a year. Moving is when you pack boxes and haul boxes and unpack boxes and well, that's not what Beanie's doing, but she's definately moving. Most definately moving.

Amanda goes by several names. She's the first niece my husband gave me. My sister in law's first child. She has an IQ that's off the charts, a heart the size of all of Europe and doesn't know it but she's not Ok in her own body. Not sure she's Ok in her own world but she seems to be more Ok in Amsterdam than here. Thriving, actually. Scares me that she walks around by herself sometimes, because I'm not entirely sure that although she can speak to anyone about just nearly anything and is empathetic on any level with every kind of human, that she knows or cares which direction her bicycle is pointed. Beanie has such bigger fish to paint.

About her names. Her brother, who came (entirely by surprise) eighteen months after she did, could not say Amanda, and so she became Ma. Sort of pronounced Maw. Thus she was until she protested. At the age of seventeen. Along comes my youngest son four years ago and when he spoke took one look at her and dubbed her Beanie. No one knows why but that is her current name and she is now old enough not to mind it, being nearly thirty years of age and enjoying a four year old cousin's endearing nicky-sweetie-names.

So Beanie came home from Amsterdam in the spring and has been here for the summer, and is now going back for what seems to be EVER. Permanently. The signs are there. The huge yard sale at which she sold everything, including all things most meaningful. When Beanie sells her hats, ohhhhhhh. Furniture, clothes, sold it all. Well you can't drive a moving truck to Amsterdam.

The hats, I can't tell you wow maybe 75% of Amanda's life I have seen her in hats and the theory is that because she was a preemie and back then they kept them in toboggans pulled tightly down over their heads and ears whenever Amanda in her life has felt insecure, or sick, she puts on a toboggan. And just likes vintage, retro hats besides that. She is the original bohemian.

She was in my wedding. She was three. Well, she wasn't in the wedding really. She was all geared up to be, and then at the last minute she chickened out. But she WANTED to be . . . .There oughta be a law that anyone that's in your wedding can't leave the United States. That'd do it. Well, that'd fix it for me, and for her Mama, and her Granny, her brother and best friend. But if I had to guess I would say Amsterdam is where Beanie is most comfortable. Dammit. Tuesday's gonna be a bitch for some Mamas.