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Monday, December 26, 2011

Tradition

  For the second year in a row, Jon and I woke up Christmas morning in a motel in Austin. Before going to our daughters apartment, we had coffee and opened our presents to each other while watching a Sanford and Son Christmas special on television. I know you are feeling all warm and fuzzy about now, but I must tell you, I do not intend to continue this tradition another year. It was just the only way to be with my children at Christmas time.
 Our Christmas' have been anything but traditional since we lost Lauren. And honestly we haven't tried very hard. The way I see it, the tradition has already been broken by the very fact that she is not here. So, we do odd things like go to art shows and movies. We tried to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, like they did in the movie,  A Christmas Story, but hundreds of other families in the Austin area had the same idea. So, we had ham sandwiches on my daughters couch in front of the Mavericks game. But we were together, Eric, Sarah, Jonathon, Jon and I, so I was happy.
  Last night, before going back to our motel room, Jon and I stopped at an IHop for coffee. The place was full of people, probably families, who seemed happy to be together. I thought of my brother in Oklahoma, snowed in and unable to be with family. I thought about the children of an old friend who died just days before Christmas. And I felt bad for the young man taking my order, and the rest of the staff having to work on Christmas. My life is really not all that bad.
 I will miss Lauren for the rest of my life. Christmas will be hard and so will the Fourth Of July, but I'm not alone.
 Next year I want to stay home. I want the kids to be here and for us to get snowed in. I want to cook a big meal, light a fire in the fireplace and drink too much eggnog. I want to meet my future daughter in-law and be looking forward to a grandchild. In fact, I think grandchildren would be a great new tradition.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Celebrate Me Home

 With this Holiday season, I have managed to rekindle an old sugar cookie addiction. I know the withdrawals will be great in January when all the snacks dry up, and the cookie fairies begin their hibernation. But for now, I won't ignore them, I will enjoy their bounty.
Really it's crazy how the goodie trays in the break room are replenished over night, and how easily we forget everything we know about healthy eating.I plan to make fudge, Martha Washington candy and peanut patties this evening. Not because I know anyone who needs to consume forty pounds of sugar, but because it's Christmas and that's what I do. But, January 1st, 2012 I will break out the calorie counting app on my Kindle and use it religiously, .....for two or three days.
 Also, with this Holiday season, you should know, I will not be offended if you say "Happy Holidays!" instead of "Merry Christmas!" I think this is a non issue and some folks are trying to create an offense where there is none.

 So much has happened in the two weeks since my last post. C J Wilson went to the Angels, thank you Jesus, Newt has risen in the polls and I have finished my Christmas shopping. This morning, the news that disturbs me the most, simply because it was delivered with a no-news air, is the War is Over. Shouldn't we be a little more excited? Did we win? Was there a clear winner? Where is our pride?
 We were cheated out of our victorious exit from Vietnam and many people are still hurting. Let's not repeat history, or at least not this history.
 When our parents celebrated the end of World War II, it was a big, huge, hairy, history making deal. There were parades with confetti and sailors kissing nurses in the streets. Who can ever forget those wonderful Life Magazine photos. That's what we need today. Too many lives have forever changed to just shrug this off. Let's have a parade and kiss some sailors...and tell a soldier, "Thank you, so glad to have you home for the Holidays".

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Mennonite's Winter Dream

 We all pretty much know what the Amish are all about. We love their furniture and quilts and everyone has seen the movie Witness, staring Harrison Ford and that girl from Top Gun. In short, there's no real mystery there. But we don't have Amish people around here. Instead we have a group of folks few know anything about. They are called Mennonites.
  I see them around town almost every day, but no one I ask can tell me anything. The women run around in dresses that are hardly modest, made from thin, poor quality fabric, no socks or hosiery of any kind, Keds type sneakers and a little scarf on their heads. The boys and men, in what my husband calls "gimme" caps, look like they just got back from a 1970's FFA convention. Once, on a very cold winter night, I saw a Mennonite woman walking into Walmart in her thin little dress and no coat whatsoever, talking on a cell phone. I thought to myself, so, it's not technology but, fashion they reject. Then, again today, Jon and I were leaving Olive Garden and there was a Mennonite couple waiting on the bench outside, in the cold wind. Yes , they were going to eat a meal, in an expensive restaurant, that serves alcohol, but she had no coat.
 I want to talk to these closed off people, and ask, "What are you thinking?". Do they believe in Jesus? Are they a Christian religion? If so, God said to love your wife like He loves the church, and the church needs a little heat. I'll say it in King James so you'll understand." Thus sayeth the Lord, buyeth your woman a jacket!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Blues

 I didn't have a chance to write a Thanksgiving post yesterday, so just let me tell you, I am thankful for my husband, children, father and brothers, as well as their families. I am thankful for my sweet little doggies, my home, job and freedoms that come with living in the greatest country in the world. I am truly thankful for my life.
  Now, here on this Black Friday, I am most thankful I do not work in retail. I am also thankful there is nothing in all of Walmart or Target I feel compelled to stand in line or camp out over night for. No thank you, I am satisfied with a good nights sleep and a clear conscience, knowing I did not trample or pepper spray a fellow human being to obtain a 5.00 copy of the latest instalment of the Twilight saga.
 I seriously don't understand what makes people do such crazy things just to get a great deal. If this were a third world country and we were standing in line for bread to feed our families, it would be different. But most of the things these folks are pursuing are just junk. They are knock offs and unknown brands of inferior products. Do you really believe a 32 inch flat screen TV will be quality merchandise at 150.00? If so, do you work for the government, perhaps in our penal system?
  Perhaps I am just not competitive enough to shop for bargains, or maybe I'm just lazy. I don't clip coupons and I am happy paying a little more for something at the drug store if it means I can skip the trip to the large discount chain. I just don't like shopping enough  to make it a sport. Especially one I don't have the energy to win.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sleeping With Darth Vader

  My husband uses a CPac machine when he sleeps. It's a thing he wears on his face that resembles a gas mask, and keeps him from snoring or dying in his sleep. It was kind of creepy at first, but I got used to it and the low, humming, Darth Vader sound now just lulls me to sleep.
  He used to snore like a freight train, which kept me awake at night and generally just drove me nuts. When he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and I was told how serious it could be, I felt a little guilty. I always knew he was in danger of dying in his sleep, because of the huge temptation to smother him with my pillow. I know that's horrible, but sleep deprivation can drive good people to do bad things. Anyway, things are much more peaceful around here now.
  It's funny how a little noise can send you up a wall or calm you like a baby. For instance, we all love to nap to the sound of rain falling on the roof, while a dripping shower is pure torture.
 Jon has a thing about squeaks.
  Sometimes we will be in the car driving along so peacefully, when he suddenly starts opening and shutting compartments and wedging folded paper in cracks, all the while swerving into oncoming traffic. When I ask what in the world is wrong, he says he hears a squeak. I say turn up the radio.
  He worked for AT&T for 32 years, listening to different tones and noise and I guess some things just stay with you.
  I was cleaning the other day and noticed two screws on the floor. I looked up and saw the plastic casing around the elliptical machine was coming off and someone had jammed a screw driver under one of the legs. I said, "Jon, is that exercise machine coming apart?" He looked embarrassed and said, "It was squeaking."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

 Here's an update on the cooking project.
 I have made a few things that were very good, but what I'm proudest of is my Chicken Picatta and Red wine & Honey roasted Pears. The pears were beautiful. They came out looking like...pears! I should have taken a picture. They looked like something from the cover of Food & Wine magazine. I was also quite proud of my pumpkin soup.
 I believe Jon has lost interest in our project, maybe due to time limitations or the perfectionist in him cant stand to be out done. He has been thoughtful not to criticize my dishes with the exception of the chocolate pizza, which was awful. I know you are thinking how can anyone screw up chocolate, right? Well, I did.
 We have entered that wonderful time of the year when eating becomes our focus. We have leftover Halloween candy and of course all the school fundraisers, with little kids peddling candy bars. Now, we start planning our Thanksgiving meal. What pies to make and how many. Soon it will be Christmas candy, which I'm quite good at making. It seems like I don't eat nearly as much when I'm doing the cooking. Maybe my other senses get "full" by the time we sit down to eat. Hopefully this will help.
 I found a recipe in the Cook Yourself Thin cookbook for brownies that are supposed to be good for you. It's a devil's food cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree. That's all. I'm going to try it this afternoon so, I'll let you know if it's worth the effort.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Feeling better today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hard Days

 I have been doing well, lately, to focus on what I have, rather than what I have lost. My spirits have been high and I have had opportunities to see old friends and family. But, I don't sleep much. I've had a lot of back pain, especially at night, and it's a long wait until I see the pain management doctor.
 Last night was especially hard. After taking enough pain meds to induce a coma, I finally fell off to sleep. And I dreamed.
 I dreamed I was shopping with Lauren in an unfamiliar mall. We were talking and laughing and it was so real, like I was really spending time with Lauren. Then she went to try on something and I lost her. I looked all over, but couldn't find her. Then, I had a thought. I could call her. I heard a phone ringing and knew it was hers and it was in my purse. I went home very unhappy and told Jon what had happened. He said she had been gone for so long the battery on her phone should be dead. I realized in that instant, that I was never going to find her. Then, I woke up and knew I did not want to face this day. I turned the alarm off, stayed still and cried a little.
 At my reunion, I was talking with a friend, Galen, who lost his son a short time before Lauren died. Another friend asked the two of us how we were able to go on with our lives and not become bitter. Galen just stood quietly and said nothing. I knew he was hurting, so I wasn't sure what to say. I just said I didn't have anyone to blame, so it might be easier for me.The thing is, I had much more to say, but I just couldn't find the words.
 I saw a program on PBS about the affects of war on women in the world today. I saw women who had lost their entire family. And I just thought, who am I, to think I should be protected from the same loss and pain a million other women will suffer today? The only difference between us is Hope.
 I'm having a bad day. My heart hurts and I'd like to pull the covers over my head. But I have Hope.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Ever Happened to That Patridge Girl

 My high school reunion was this weekend and though I am exhausted, it was a wonderful time and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I'm not exactly thrilled with the pictures posted on facebook so far, but hey, that's what I get for waiting until the week before the reunion to get serious about losing forty pounds.
 Sometimes you build something up in your head, only to be disappointed when the actual event occurs. Well that didn't happen this time. It was great to see everyone and I can hardly wait five years to see them all again.
 My class consist of doctors, nurses, lawyers, and a former NFL player among many other professions. A former classmate was one of the first female graduates from Annapolis  and the first woman to serve on board a destroyer. That's impressive. Why, you may ask, did I not aspire to such lofty goals? Well, I don't know. We were all smoking the same weed, so I guess it was just me.
 I can say I accomplished a few things. I raised three great kids and really, all I ever wanted to be, was someones wife and mother. As far as a career, I just kind of stumbled into banking. Banking is like the Mafia. Once you're in, you can never get out.
 Anyway, it was great fun being with everyone, and I miss them all already.

  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disapointment, Heartbreak and Despair......and Baseball

The house is dark and cold early on this October morning. Still living on extended daylight saving time, we have had the first freeze of Autumn. My morning glories have died, I've traded T shirts for sweaters and the Rangers have taken their flight back to Arlington after losing the World Series for the second year in a row. The emotional roller coaster of baseball season has now come to an end.
 Although sad, I feel a kind of freedom. It's like closing the door and walking away from an unhealthy relationship. But just like every unhealthy relationship, I know I'll be back in the spring.
 For now, I can concentrate again. I can plan for the future or just read a book. When someone ask me to a dinner party, I can accept without wondering if they have Dish or cable and will I miss the game.
 There is so much unrest and mayhem in the world. Wars breaking out, earthquakes, floods, and just every day human suffering. When you find yourself on your knees praying for one more good inning, maybe it's time to rethink your priorities.
  The post season is exhausting. I'm tired, so I know the Rangers are too. But I am so proud of them. They played with heart and class, unlike those other guys, who threw bats and helmets, tackled short stops and yelled obscenities. It's very true that an organization reflects the character of it's leadership, Mr LaRussa.
 So, here's to the American League Champions, who played hard and well in a National League park, by National league rules, and almost pulled it off. We will see you again in April.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scary Movies, Alien Invasions and Baseball

 When I was a young girl, occasionally I would find myself in complete control of the television remote. For this to happen in a large family, I had to be at home alone or possibly babysitting somewhere else. How ever it came to be, my favorite thing to watch was old black and white horror movies. I had not seen all the blood and gore kids watch these days, so some of these old films were really scary to me. The thing I remember most, is no matter how much I wanted to see what was going to happen, I couldn't watch as the heroes and victims came face to face with monsters, aliens and vampires. So I would change the channel, wait 2 minutes, and change it back. The strange thing is, I found myself doing the same thing last night when C J Wilson was pitching for the Rangers in game five of the World Series. It was tragic and I had to look away.
  What in the world has happened to C J?  He struggles just to make it 6 innings. I know I ragged on him a lot back when he was a closer, but he really proved himself as a starter. He doesn't even look like the same guy on the mound. So I started thinking, maybe it isn't him. Maybe if someone looked in his basement or under his bed, they might find an empty pod. I'm just sayin'....

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baseball, Politics and Religion

 OK, so I guess it's time to address some of the unkind remarks I made in my last post.
  I was wrong about Ron Washington and I will never doubt him again. He, after all, has brought my Rangers to their second straight World Series and will win the pennant this year. He is a wise and lovable old guy, and I respect his decisions totally. Even if it means letting that bum C J pitch again. Also, I'd like to say, New Mexicans do wear socks with their sandals and keep old appliances in their yards. However, this is not to say, they cannot raise a decent pitcher now and again. Stranger things have happened.
 As long as I am hurling insults and hurting feelings while speaking the truth, I might as well talk a little politics and religion.
 I refuse to let the media force me into choosing Romney over Obama. I don't like Romney. He is a professional politician and a ......Mormon. There I said it, the dreaded M word. I don't care how you spin it, the Mormon church is a cult. You can put a bow tie on it and call it an Osmond, but it's still a cult. I'm going with Herman Cain.
  Well I've got a lot going on right now. I'll be watching the world series and eating my tums. also, I have my High School reunion coming up. My best friend from high school, who I have not seen in years, is coming and she is going to stay with me. We will drive Jon crazy, I'm sure, but it will be fun. This is that one friend everyone has, that knows more about you than anyone else in the world, including your momma. If I ever ran for office, she could destroy me. But she wouldn't, not unless I ran as a Democrat.

Friday, September 30, 2011

ANGER AND LOATHING IN THE 2011 POST SEASON

  I feel a real need to curse at someone or break something, stomp on some flowers or just hurt someones feelings. I'll start with C J Wilson. No wait, I'll start with Ron Washington. " Ron, why did you let that bum C J Wilson be the starting pitcher? He has had an awful year and yet you say he is your ace! What the.......?"
 I can't believe this great Rangers team, who have in recent days rolled over the Angels, who have remained in first place all year, could be beaten like stepchildren by a 22 year old rookie pitcher from freakin' New Mexico. Really? New Mexico, the land of enchanted, rusty appliances? They grow one decent pitcher, who most likely wears socks with his sandals, as do all New Mexicans, and he starts against the greatest ball club in Texas history and humiliates them 9 to 0. Really? Who else can I blame but Washington and Wilson? What were you thinking? it's only Friday evening, but you have already ruined my weekend.
 Jon says I'm too competitive and I'm no fun because I take baseball too seriously. Well he' on my list also. Beware! Hell hath no furry like a menopausal woman, during baseball playoffs, scorned.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Fear Of Cooking

  Jon and I have agreed to learn to cook. I mean really cook. No Hamburger Helper or Ragu, but real cooking with real ingredients.
 Our agreement is, we will each learn a new recipe and serve it one night a week. Then we will cook something together one night a week and if we are successful, we will have a dinner party once a month. It's not a competition, but I am going to win. Jon will cook weird stuff, like his Russian goulash that had cinnamon as a main ingredient. I still think his cookbook had a page missing between goulash and cinnamon toast.
 But, I will have to actually read the many cookbooks I own and try to learn something from them.. Until now, my favorite has been the White Trash  cookbook, where all the recipes begin with canned soup and Velveeta or a cake mix. Although, I would never make the fried squirrel dish it recomends, as squirrels are way too cute to eat. My mother taught me a little about frying. When I was in Girl Scouts, my brother in-law, Si, came for dinner, expecting my mothers wonderful fried chicken and chocolate cake, only to find an eleven year old working on her cooking badge. Hopefully he has forgotten this by now.

 I will have to learn what some of those strange ingredients are and where to buy them. I'll learn about goat and other cheeses, and what they pair well with.
 I know I can do do this. Way back in the 80's, my favorite wine was, well, not wine. I hated wine in fact. One of our good friends was working on his PHD, and wanted to learn about wine so he would not feel so backwoods around the other professors. He started showing up at all hours with different wines for us to taste. At first I refered to all reds as esraser wines, as they reminded me of chewing on the eraser end of a pencil. After time or age, or whatever you want to call it, I developed a taste for red wine. In fact I prefer it to all other adult libations. The only good advice my doctor ever gave me, in the midst of all that fresh air and sunshine crap she harped on was, to have a glass of red wine every night. It's good for my heart in more ways than one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baseball and Philosophy

  Last night, in an attempt to get me out of my funk, Jon took me to a Houston Astros game.Nothing snaps one back to reality like a foul ball aimed at ones head.
  I am not superstitious, as I've said before, except in baseball, and it is a fact that The Rangers have lost the last five games I have attended. Therefore, I know I am bad luck to them. But Houston has had such a bad year and they were playing the Phillies, who are having one of their best seasons ever. So I figure I can't hurt the Astros as they were doomed to loose either way. Well, they won! Two of their best players were traded to Philadelphia and still, they beat their socks off. When one of the trades, the former Astro hero, Hunter Pence walked up to bat, the crowd stood and cheered him on. I thought, "how nice they still support him." I soon realized we were sitting in a room full of Phillies fans. Some people are obstinate, others just love a winner. I will never understand it.
Anyway, Jon said this disproved my bad luck theory, since Houston won. I said maybe I have the opposite effect on the Astros. Maybe their loosing season is my fault since I haven't been to a game in so long and have not really kept up with them. Or maybe, just maybe it has nothing to do with me and I have no power over the events of this world. No, that couldnt' be it.
 I haven't been to an Astros game since they left the Astro Dome in the 90's and, I was very impressed with Minute Maid park. I love the Ball Park at Arlington but, Minute Maid is so easy to get around, it's a beautiful stadium and it's air conditioned. Yes, I said Air Conditioned. It was quite cool and, I was wishing I had brought a sweater to HOUSTON! The only real drawback is, it's located right smack in the middle of down town Houston. (Texas is a big ole' state. Why do so many people insist on living in Houston?) For 20.00 you could park practically in the front door but, we didn't. We parked in the 5.00 parking lot with the nice homeless man who insisted he had been watching our pickup for free and could we just give him a little crack money. At first I was afraid, then I remembered my husbands concealed carry and I was very afraid..
 Houston has a terrible homeless situation. I saw a woman with three kids and thought she really shouldn't have her kids around those people, before I realized what I was seeing.
 I've had an easy life. I have never had to struggle or see my children do without much more than daily sodas and basic cable. I've always loved my kids but didn't know how I cherished my time with them until I lost one. God has blessed me. I know I'll be with Lauren again, someday, I have a great family, and it is growing. God gave us Jonathan, with his kind spirit and calming ways. We love him like a son. I know he and Sarah will have a sweet family of there own. I'm also certain God will give Eric the love of his life if he will be patient.
  Thank you, Lord, for baseball and family. My funk is lifted and my heart is full.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Tropical Depression is Moving This Way

   The kids just left and I'm feeling pretty blue. I guess after planning and so looking forward to our time together, it just went by way to quickly. I watched them drive away and couldn't help crying. I remember how my grandmother always cried when we left her and how awful it always made us feel, so I try to hold it all in until they are gone.
  I think everyone had a good time. Jon and Jonathon got up early and went fishing every morning. Eric usually met them on the beach, as he had been up for his morning run long before. Sarah and I would wonder around the house aimlessly and usually made it down to the beach about the time they were all ready for breakfast. She sunburned pretty badly the first day, so we didn't need to be out too long.
 Maybe I will feel more like writing in a day or so, but right now I'm just to low. I miss my Daddy and I miss my dogs. I want my kids, all of them, to be here. Why can't everyone I love be in one place?
 But, I'll post a few pictures anyway. There will be more on all this later on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I have sand between my toes and Cheetos dust on my fingers. Now this is a vacation. I'm a little red from being on the beach all day, but it was worth it.
  The only disappointment, so far, is the TV. We only get six channels and five are in Spanish and I have missed three Rangers games. We were down on the Strand on Monday and caught the game in Murphy's Irish Pub, which was not that comfortable and I'm sure Murphy's Irish Mother dosent know about that sticky floor.
  The Kids will be here tomorrow and I cant wait.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts on Parenting

 I have been meeting with some ladies I went to high school with and planning for our reunion this Fall. Well, last night I walked into the room and stepped back in time. All the smart girls were already there and prepared with their lap tops, I Pads and Smart (ass) phones. I had to barrow a pen. Some things never change.
As we talked one of the ladies handed out a list of names and addresses of our classmates. She said the ones highlighted in orange were deceased, blue were in prison. We talked about high school while looking through old year books and I thought, well, at least I'm not in prison.
 I have fond memories of the time, but I pretty much hated everything about school. It's my fault, I know. I never put much effort in to anything and I made some bad choices. Every club I joined, elected me president for the following school year. And every school year, I dropped that club and moved on to something else. I never had the financial or parental support to compete at anything. My folks did the best they could, but in those days "parenting " was not yet a verb. Had it been, the definition would have read, to provide food, comfort, and shelter to ones offspring.
I'm as guilty as the rest of my generation, of parenting gone wild. It didn't start out that way. Sure, I stayed home with my little ones, taught them manners, read to them and tried to shelter them from the completely unparented  neighborhood kids. I fed them wholesome healthy organic food from my garden and limited sugary snacks. After testing and measuring all her students, a P E teacher at their elementary school, told me my children had dangerously low BMI numbers and needed to eat some fat. Soon afterward, I started back to work and we began a steady diet of Hamburger Helper. That pretty much took care of that little problem.
 But, my point is, this would never have happened to my parents. For one thing, my mom picked wholesome healthy organic food from her garden, rolled it in corn meal and fried it in her big black skillet. So I was getting plenty of fat. Also, had a P E teacher thought to speak to my parents about what they were feeding us, or any other problem she might have with our upbringing, after stepping over dogs, children and toys, she would have backed down with one look from my mother.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Night Irene

  This weekend I couldn't make myself stop watching the hurricane coverage. I had other things to do, but I just couldn't concentrate. Right now I'm thinking maybe I should check to see if there is something on the news about the aftermath. I prayed for Katy in Virginia, and I prayed for Callie and Rich as Irene passed over Puerto Rico. However, I was secretly glad it was never downgraded to a tropical storm. Don't be angry with me. Your stories will be much more interesting now,than if you had to say "we were almost in a hurricane".
  What evil lurks, making me see such mayhem as pure entertainment? I believe it's the same thing that makes me love that drummer for Foo Fighters or when the dugouts empty and a brawl ensues. Power and human emotion.
 I don't want to see anyone get hurt. I don't care for violent movies and I hate reality TV, especially when it involves drunk girls slapping and calling each other the B word. I'm really not into human suffering, but the awesomeness of nature is ....well, awesome. To see so much power in the ocean and wind is just overwhelming. It's like God says, "Remember me? I'm still here."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Days

 When I was a child, kindergarten was not a requirement. It was just for rich kids, and there weren't any in my neighborhood. There was no pre-k or head start program or Mother's Day Out. We stayed home with our mothers until we turned 6 years old, at which time we started first grade at Seth Ward Elementary.
Seth Ward school was a beautiful old red brick one story structure, that only held first through third grade. The principal, Miss Windwehein, was also the third grade teacher and she taught me, as well as my seven older siblings. Needless to say, she became well acquainted with my parents. Miss Windwehein liked some of my brothers well enough, she "red shirted" them and kept them an extra year.
 I remember thinking she must be a hundred years old, but when she died, at the age of 91, I did the math and realized when I was in her class, she was only 57. Even though I was a little afraid of her, I know she was a good teacher. She had no quotas to meet or politicians to please. Her only concern was teaching children.
 I also recall, all three teachers had an American flag in their classroom, but Miss Windwehein's had only 48 stars. She didn't see any reason to waste money on a new one just because Alaska and Hawaii had joined the Union.
The windows of my first grade classroom looked out on the playground, with it's 8 foot slide, tall swings and two jagged metal merry- go- rounds. Those things, along with the splintering wooden seats of the seesaws, would be considered a death trap by today's overly cautious parents.
 I watched the leaves swirl and fall on that playground in the Autumn of my first school year. I saw the windows plastered with black cats and jack-o-lanterns, only to be replaced by turkeys and Pilgrims. I was sitting by that window when my teacher tearfully announced our president had been shot and killed.
 I watched as the sky grew dark and heavy with the Spring storms rolling in. When I think of these things now, I can still hear the hollow clanging of the flag pole and Old Glory flapping in  the wind.
They tore the old school down while no one was looking. I went by there one day and it was gone. I imagined myself chained to the doors in protest, but it was too late.The red brick school house was just a memory now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

For Melissa, Leanne & Callie

 Last night I went to a wedding. My brother, Danny, who was widowed two years ago, got married. We had a great time, and to think, I considered not going. It was a four hour drive and I was feeling a little tired, but I'm so glad I went. This family has gotten together for far too many funerals, it was time to celebrate something new.
 I always enjoy being with Danny's family, and I see them so rarely. Plus, I got to see some cousins and a favorite aunt. This was one of those gatherings, where if you stand still long enough, someone will hand you a baby. And what precious babies they were. It was so sweet to see sisters taking care of each others children, passing bottles and sippie cups over ornate dinner tables. And fathers correcting little boys for doing what little boys do, while little girls in long dresses and bare feet danced around with roses in their hands. I hope God gave their grandmothers a glimpse from heaven of those children on the dance floor doing the chicken dance.
 I know, for some, it was hard to see Danny moving on. When Lauren died, I was hurt just hearing the university had gotten a new twirler. How could life go on without her?  But it does go on. And we might as well be happy, because there are babies being born and children laughing and I don't want to miss it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Current Events

   That loud crashing noise you hear may be the Dow dropping or my nerves shattering and Jon's heart breaking. It's just Monday, but it doesn't look like a good news week, so far. Jon said he considered the Tea Party, but he doesn't have a tea pot to p---s in. He's so crude.
   Of all the weirdness in the world the news story that struck me as the strangest is, the three siblings on a crime spree, robbing banks and such. Have you ever known three brothers and sisters who could get along, long enough to rob a bank?  I tried to imagine my own kids doing this and this is how it went.
 Eric: " If we were XMEN we could just walk through these walls to the vault"
 Sarah: "This is not a Graphic Novel, so let's try to stick to reality. We can't walk through walls or teleport through the universe."
  Eric: "Actually, they have perfected teleporting , but the government doesn't want us to know about it"
  Lauren: "Shut up. If you guys screw this up, I'm not going back to jail. I've still got that Pink Buffalo conviction hanging over my head."
  Sarah: "These mask are stupid. I don't want to be Barbie! Why should I be Barbie?"
  Lauren: "Shut up, Barbie. Put your lipstick on and you'll feel better."
  Eric: "Actually, that's true. The government puts Valium in lipstick because all women over 25 are crazy."
   Lauren: " Shut up and put your tights on Spiderman."
 Of course, I am making all this up. My children could never have gotten this far in a plan before someone (Sarah) tattled.  We always called her the Informant.





Sunday, July 31, 2011

To Look Good Or To See Good hmmm....

  The sweet young girl who rips the hair from my face in an attempt to keep me from morphing into a generic human being, otherwise known as a man, kind of scolded me the other day. She said "Now, if you can leave your eyebrows alone for a month, I think next time we can shape them up and they will look real nice." Suddenly I felt like a five year old who just got caught cutting her own bangs.
 It's funny how, here at blah blah years old, I can be shot down so easily. I know I should leave my eyebrows alone as well as my bangs, but the rebel in me still wants control. I want to show up for work in flip flops and I don't care if it is a bank. I don't care if I have a turkey neck and arms like a flying squirrel, I want to wear a halter.
 To be a rebel or to live in bondage, I don't know whats worse. Do I put my glasses on a chain where I can find them, or wear those contacts that feel like two small pekingeses in my eyes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Best Things In Life Are Only A Memory Away

 I was listening to my new favorite CD, the newest Gillian Welch, and she was singing the words, "I spent my childhood walking the wild wood". It sounded like something my mother would have said.
 By today's standards, my mother's childhood was not an easy one, but her stories captivated me like a Jane Austin novel. She could make hoeing cotton sound romantic.
 Story telling is an art form many of the older folks in my family possessed. I used to love to hear my Uncle Dorsey recite family history. He had done a lot of research and hard work to get the facts, but the best stories were the ones handed down to him from my grandfather.
 I also loved listening to my father and his brothers reminisce. I remember a story about the three of them walking home from some job they had done. They were just little boys, but their father died, and they had to provide for their family. The boys took what was supposed to be a shortcut and got lost in the piny woods. Suddenly it started to rain, making it even harder to see where they were. When the rain became a down pour, the water rose so high, Daddy's brothers were carrying him to keep his head above water. They reached a clearing in the woods, just as the rain subsided, and turned to see a man staring at them. Daddy said he had a mean look and was holding an ax. Then they noticed the steel and realized he was warning them not to tell anyone about that place. They ran the rest of the way home.

 I was on the edge of my seat as I listened, even knowing they, obviously survived the ordeal.
  I also enjoy hearing my brothers reminisce and I have a few stories of my own now. But I'd like to hear what our children remember about their times together. That's my son in the blue and red coat, and these are his cousins. I want to know where that pile of dirt came from, (is there anything more fun for a kid than a pile of dirt) and what's the story with the dead flowers Chelsea is holding. I hope they can remember this day, because it seems like they had fun.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fried Potatoe Memories

  A friend at work was telling me, yesterday, that when her family first came to this country and her brother was learning English, he tried to order some french fries at McDonald's. He kept saying potatoes and the girl kept telling him they did not serve potatoes. I could just see my friend's family sitting around telling that story and laughing. But when I thought about it, I wondered if that girl understood french fries were made from potatoes. Or most are, I'm not sure about McDonald's, although they are the best french fries in the world.
 When I was growing up, my mother made fried potatoes. They were different from french fries as they were still recognizable as potatoes. I was talking about this with my brother, Jerry, once. He was saying it was important to soak the potatoes in salt water before frying them. When Mom heard this, she laughed and said, the only reason she had soaked them in salt water was, because she was cooking for 10 people. This was the best way to keep the potatoes from turning brown before she could finish peeling and slicing them.
 Mom was an excellent fry cook, and we all have the arteries to prove it. She always used a large cast iron skillet and Crisco. We would likely all be dead by now, had she not discovered vegetable oil some time in the late 60's. But I think her magic was in that cast iron skillet. One of my ex-sisters in law used to call it her cauldron. She was not implying that Mom was a mean witch, this was one of my nicer ex-sisters in-law, but suggesting she was spooky in other ways. She dreamed things before they happened and always knew what her kids were up to. I think when God gives a woman that many children, He may also give her a heads up about whats going on. It's only fair.
 Fried potatoes are one of the many things I try to avoid these days. I'm not even sure where my iron skillet is, but it does sound good.
 Once, we were having one of those family get together things, and I was thinking about how everyone buys their chicken already fried. So I bought enough chicken thighs and legs to feed the whole tribe and fried them my self. After the first hour of standing over a hot stove, I remembered why I love KFC so much. The sad thing is, no one seemed all that impressed. It was just fried chicken. They ate it without ever realizing the love, devotion and hard work that went into it. Kind of like we were with Mom.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

 Dear Jesus,
 The antidepressants aren't working. My first thought this morning was, it's Lauren's birthday. My next was, am I still alive?
don't get me wrong. I'm so thankful for her life. The memories I have of her are worth every minute of sadness and pain I have experienced since she's been gone. I just don't know how to keep going.
I took daisies to the cemetery, today, but she wasn't there. I wanted to cry, but these stupid pills won't let me. My heart hurts, but my eyes are dry.
I lost a sweet friend to cancer this week. It broke my heart to see her husband and sons grieving, but still, I could not cry. I thought how much I will miss our little talks and how she made me laugh. I really need a good cry.
Lord, thank you so much for these lives, no matter how short they were. They made my life better.
Please give me back my joy, and forgive me for my anger.
I love You and worship You.
Your daughter, always and forever
Sheila
P S Tell Lauren happy birthday and I love her

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Detours

 The street in front of the bank where I work, is under construction. I don't know what they are doing, exactly, but it involves tar, gravel, orange cones and very slow traffic. I don't care for any of those things, so I took a little detour. I drove down a street lined with small wood framed houses and grassy lawns. There was a young girl sitting on the front steps of one of those houses, and it was like a picture from my past. It was the same house where I had babysat the entire summer I was fifteen.
 The first day of Summer vacation, my parents woke me up to tell me, I would not be sleeping late and going to the pool everyday, because they had made a commitment to their friends. I would be their Summer babysitter.
 My mother drove me there every morning at 7:30. If I was lucky, the little girl would still be sleeping and I could get in a nap. But most days she was up and watching Captain Kangaroo. I tried to convince her, Sesame Street was a much better show, but at two, she already had a mind of her own.
 She really was a sweet little girl, and we got along well. Her parents provided me with a bike to ride, that had a child's seat. So we would ride all over town. Thinking about it now, she really needed a helmet, as I was not so coordinated, with the extra weight on the back. I wonder if she has headaches or blurred vision now. hm....
 At fifteen, I didn't handle dirty diapers very well, so I decided to potty train her. Her parents were thrilled. To this day, I'm not sure how I managed it.
 I cleaned house for her parents and made lunch for them every day, all for 15.00 a week. And, yes, even way back in the 70's that was slave wages.
But, it was a fun Summer. We sun tanned in the backyard while listening to the best music on A M radio. We made cookies and colored in coloring books. I bought her some chalk and we made a mess of the sidewalk.
 After lunch, when she was napping, I would talk on the phone or watch soap operas, or smoke her parents cigarettes on the back porch. I didn't really like smoking, it was just the idea of getting away with it.
 It may not have been the best Summer ever, but I get a good feeling when I think of it, or when I hear the music we listened to on that old radio. It's like a detour for the mind.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Still Missing You

We lost Lauren 5 years ago Friday. It doesn't seem possible. I look at pictures like this one, and it feels like she should be in the next room watching the Rangers play. I see that Gieco commercial, the one about, "Hey you woodchucks, quit chuckin' my wood!", and I can almost hear her laugh. She would think that was so funny.
But the truth is, I haven't seen her in five years, not really. I mean I see her in my dreams almost on a daily basis. But even in my dreams, I know it's not real. If I dream about her being a baby, I'm thinking, how can I protect her better so she never leaves me. If she's grown, it's like I know it's a dream. Crazy, I know, but I'm crazy since she's been gone. I just cant quite get a grip.
I took pink and orange flowers to the cemetery, Friday, and sat and talked to her for a long time. I told her all about Sarah and Jonathon, and Eric and Denice. I talked to  her about the Rangers and about this terrible drought we are in, and the wild fires burning up Texas. I know she's not there, but maybe she knows what I'm saying.
Tomorrow is my birthday, and again, I remember sitting with her in the funeral home on my birthday five years ago, not believing what was happening. I wonder how many more birthdays  will have before I'm with her again.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

You Ought To Be In Pictures

 I have a birthday next month.  Not only will I be blah blah years old, this is a drivers license renewal year, which of course means the dreaded drivers license picture. With the rising cost of everything in the world, I would still be willing to pay more for my license if they would just hire a professional photographer. One who could airbrush out my wrinkles and double chin. Maybe they could hire some of those photographers who used to do Glamour Shots. I never had a Glamour Shot, but I always wanted one. They could provide hats and scarves, and one of those rhinestone studded jean jackets. I would turn the collar up, or hook my thumbs in the lapel while giving that "I'm above all this" smile to the camera. Maybe I'll just bring a boa and tiara to wear. And maybe when filling out forms that ask Mr., Mrs. or Ms, I'll just pencil in Princess.
 My drivers license picture is so bad sales girls question if it's really me. I think maybe I need two pictures. One for when I get pulled over. This one would show my Innocent, "what did I do ?" look, or as I like to call it , my Richard Nixon. Whhhaaat, me? The other should be my shocked, is the room spinning look, when paying out at Walmart.
This is the only time anyone ever ask for my license. No one ever questions if  I'm old enough to drink or buy glue, so I suppose I'm making too much of it. But it would be fun when anyone ask to see pictures of my kids, to slip in my TX DPS issued boa, tiara photo, and say, "oh that old thing?".

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Snooze, You Loose

This morning, as I hit the snooze button, I thought to myself, "how does this benefit me?" The snooze button doesn't give one enough time to adequately "snooze", but just the right amount of time to be running late all day. Then I began to wonder how the person who created the snooze button ever got around to doing it.
Have you ever wondered how things came to be? For instance, who decided women should shave their legs and arch their eyebrows? And it makes since that we should wear shoes to protect our feet, but who's big idea was it to stick 3 inch spiked heels on them? Whoever it was, I'm guessing he was a close friend of Satan or a podiatrist.
I'm not much for grand schemes and I'm the biggest procrastinator around. If I ever think of something to invent I wait too long then eventually see it on TV for 19.95 plus shipping. A few years ago I had an idea for disposable diapers in colors and prints. Again, I waited too long. Had it been up to me to discover the New World, my family would still be in Europe.
I have an idea for an adult backyard fort or tree house. I know I want one and feel many others would enjoy it too. It would be a place to just chill after a long days work. There would be no phones, computers or televisions. It would, however, have music and maybe one of those little wine fridges. A person could just sit and look at the stars while enjoying a few tunes. My catch phrase would be A Legal High, ya know, high up in the sky among the trees. Well it's not funny if you have to explain it. Anyway, I think this is a great idea. My husband thinks I'm crazy. What do you think?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yesterday I was at a friends house when she said she had something to show me. We jumped in my husbands pickup and drove a short distance out to her pasture. There in the distance I saw two donkeys. My friend called out, "Molly, Pablo. Y'all come on" The donkeys came running as soon as they saw her. They came up to let us pet them and ate feed from our hands. They were the sweetest, most gentle animals I have ever been around. Both had markings like a cross on their backs and she explained they were Somalian donkeys and likely the kind Jesus rode on Palm Sunday. Her husband had given her the donkeys for Valentines day. She said she always wanted a donkey. She always wanted one in her front yard so she could look out at him from her kitchen window. I thought, really? I always wanted a pink convertible Barbie car, but a donkey is good too. Before we left, she turned to look at the sun setting and said, " Isn't it beautiful? Sometimes I look around and just say, thank you, God." When we lived in the country, I never said that. It was more like, "God, why have you brought me to this desert land?" Thinking about it now, maybe I was wrong. In the country I never had to retrieve a neighbor child's football from my back yard in my pajamas. The Jehovah's Witness didn't wake me on Saturday morning and no one ever complained about my husband shooting skunks in the middle of the night wearing only his boxers and a baseball cap. People just aren't that "gun friendly" in the city. Also, when we planted a garden, the coyotes and rabbits ate everything so we were never faced with the hard work of reaping what we had sown. I didn't have to be on the look out for snakes or, God forbid, grasshoppers, while picking tomatoes because there where no tomatoes. I really hate grasshoppers, the way they fly in your face with no warning ,and I don't care what anyone says, grass snakes are just as scary as a boa constrictor. So, I guess moving to town was the right thing to do. But then again, I sure would like to have a donkey.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sweet Forgiveness

Now that the series between the Rangers and Orioles is over, I can say it. I still love you, Vladimir Guerrero. Vlad is the player all baseball players aspire to be. He loves the game, because of the game. He remembers where he came from and how he got where he is today. When he played for other teams, I didn't know or respect him. He was just really good and I hated to see him walking up to bat. Last year he played for the Rangers and I grew to love him like everyone else did. He gave the game personality and was fun to watch. Today we saw him receive the honors he earned during his time with the Rangers. His American league championship ring among others. It was obvious his old teammates were proud of him. He's just that kind of guy. It was fun to see the grin on his face when he did well, even if it was against my Rangers. There are some people you just want to see do well in life. The Pudge Rodriguez's and Lance Berkman's of this world deserve our respect because they know and respect the ones who have brought them so far. Go Rangers!!!! 8 and 1. It's going to be a great year. As Ron Washington says, That's how baseball go. P S Bite me Teixeira and A Rod!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dead Boyfriends

My girls used to tell me all my stories end with, "and he died". Sometimes it seems to be true. Well, here's another one.
Looking back I probably had more boyfriends than what is considered normal. I don't know why. Maybe it's my nature to fall in and out of love with people as quickly as I do a new pair of shoes or really cool earrings. I'm not saying this is something to be proud of, by any means. A life like that tends to be littered with broken hearts and too many trips to Goodwill. Anyway for a time it seemed like those old boyfriends were dropping like flies. I can think of five who were gone before they turned 30. It's hard to know how to feel. If we were still friends, I grieved like anyone else. If not, I think I just tried not to think about it.
The thing is, not all relationships are deep. But then there is that one guy. The one I have referred to as "the man who tried to ruin my life". He made me as miserable as he made me happy. I waisted a million tears over him and when it was over it was like coming back from the dead. The last time I saw him, we spoke kind words and even apologized for what we had put each other through.
Over the years I have wondered where he was, now and then, but tried not to think about it too much. I would say horrible things like, I'm sure someones husband has killed him by now. The other day I was reading some newspapers online and saw his father's obituary. I read through to the survivors looking for his name, but he was not listed. Then, I saw it under the words, Proceeded in death by. I was shocked. He and his little brother had both died. I googled his name and found his obituary. He had died in 2006 just 3 weeks before my daughter. He was not married and had no children.
I feel so sad. I always thought we would run into each other some day and talk about our lives like in that Dan Folgelberg song, Same Old Lang Syne. And oh yes , he would hate that song. I have not let myself remember him for so long, and now I can't stop the memories.
I should have been praying for him all these years, instead of saying such terrible things. I wonder how he died. I wonder if he ever knew Jesus, and will I see him in heaven. I wonder if I should delete this post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Me?


Years ago, when I was a young, smart mouth adolescent, my mother said, "Sheila, sarcasm is not a virtue." to which I responded, "NO...Really??" What I learned from this experience was, the old woman could slap a knot on your head so big the doctor couldn't cut it off. I should have known better, as she had perfected that swing on the 7 children who came before me.

My poor mother lived with teenagers for eighteen years of her life, and I hit adolescence about the same time she started menopause. It was hard on both of us, but likely worse for her.

I realize this now, as I sit here, bursting into flames and trying not to cry. The change of life, or the onset of death, however you choose to look at it, it's a drag. It seems like only yesterday, I was driving too fast and running with scissors, unaware of being a mere mortal. I know what Mom would say. "Go put your lipstick on and you'll feel better".


Monday, February 28, 2011

Not A Pretty Subject

I have been dieting for several weeks now. I set a goal of 20 pounds at a time. That is, once I lost 20 pounds I would set my goal for the next 20. The problem was, I was stuck at 18. My husband was on the same diet, we ate the same food at the same time and he lost 33 pounds, while I remained at 18. Good news, I finally lost those last 2 pounds and made my 20 pound goal. Bad news, I did it by catching a stomach bug and throwing up for a couple of days. It worked for me, but I wouldn't recommend it.
The hard thing about being sick at my age, is the back and forth between a high fever and hot flashes. First I'm freezing, then I'm suffocating. The other thing is, not having my mother to baby me. Face it, we all need our moms when we are sick. My husband, armed with his can of Lysol, telling me I should stay in bed so the germs are contained to one part of the house, just doesn't do it for me.
Kid's are funny about sickness. I remember so many times, waking up with a child standing over me, saying Mom, I'm sick, just before barfing on my bedroom floor. It's like it didn't count if Mom didn't get to see it. Of course my husband would have to clean it up. It is well known in my family, that I will always barf when cleaning up barf.
You know how dogs can sense dog lovers, and those are the people they want to be with? Well I think children can sense which mother is the most irritated by their presence, and so they want to hang out at that mother's house. Well, one day all the little children of the world were in my front yard and I was in the kitchen with a crying, feverish, 18 month old Lauren. She threw up just as 3 year old, Sarah came in the door. Sarah ran back outside and I heard her say,"Y'all, Lauren just threw up!" Then, all the little children of the world came into my kitchen to see it.
I think my favorite kid throwing up story might be from my sister in- law Jane. Her kids, Cory and Aaron were little and sitting at the table having breakfast. Aaron, in his high chair, suddenly threw up in his plate. Cory hollered, "Mom, Aaron just threw up, can I have some more toast?"
My sister in- law, Sue, teaches 2nd grade. She told me once, the flu bug had gotten so bad at school, children were getting sick faster than it could be cleaned up. Finally they just started putting out orange cones, to mark where not to walk. I think about that every time I drive through construction.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tribute to Michael Young

Changes

I like to think of myself as flexible, someone who embraces change. But when change actually occurs I see I am not flexible at all. I become the old man in the coffee shop, complaining because they changed his coffee from Folgers to Seattle's Best. Seriously sir, that burning sensation gurgling up from your stomach to your esophagus may not be bitterness alone.
I love the Texas Rangers. They are my team and nothing will change that. However this talk of trading Michael Young has me very disturbed. Also, it's unfair to loyal fans who have stood by the team, even when they were not so great, to have to enter a "lottery" for a chance to buy tickets to the big games. I wanted to take my daughter, Sarah, to opening day because it was her birthday, but we didn't make the cut, or win the lottery. That's just wrong. Now I have received an email stating because we were not among the chosen few, we are on the list to possibly purchase tickets to other games. What the.........? This is not how Texans behave.
Now back to the Michael Young issue. The owners need to be as good to Michael as he has been to them. He's a great player who had a less than stellar late season. But he was still there, being a team leader and mentor to the younger guys. The club needs him. I only hope they don't treat him like they did Blaylock.
I'm partial to Michael because he was Lauren's favorite player. She saw great potential in him from the beginning, and she was right. It may sound silly or over dramatic, but I hate to see the things she loved going away. It's like she's disappearing along with them. Well, I still have her Curious George and her blue and yellow hoodie.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SNOW DAZE




I need a snow day. One like when we were kids and Mom waited to wake us up for school. She had heard the dreaded news earlier that morning and cherished the extra minutes of solitude while we were still sleeping.

We rarely had snow days. I think the schools got extra money from the state for staying open, something I've never understood. Anyway, I can only remember a few. We would play Monopoly until someone got mad and quit, or turned the board over, or threw the game pieces across the room. OK, that was usually me, but my brother, Steve always cheated. We never went outside to build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Snow falls in this part of the country are always accompanied by 50 mile an hour winds and a 40 below wind chill factor. Most of our weather can be described as extreme, no matter the season.
Christmas of 2000 we had one of those snow storms that literally shut down the city. We were living in the country and I, fortunately, was on vacation or I never would have made it in to work. My son, Eric was a freshman in college and home for Christmas break. He was miserable but I was very happy to be snowed in with my kids. The electricity went down several times, leaving us with a fire in the fireplace to keep warm and board games for entertainment. There was no MTV or PlayStation, we only had each other. Eric and Lauren went outside and dug tunnels in the snow until the cold was unbearable.
We are flatlanders out here. We have no hills or slopes whatsoever. But we do have interstate overpasses, and we had a big one by our house. Sarah, Lauren and I went for a walk and saw our neighbors with their sleds going down the side of that overpass. They invited us to sled with them and we had so much fun. The hard part was walking back up the hill to go again, as we are used to walking on flat land. I think that was my favorite snow day and I spent it with my kids.
Yes, I think I need a snow day.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mean Girls and Sweet Little Boys



I was just reading a friends blog and it made me a little sad. He wrote about Valentines day and specifically about a Valentines day when he was deeply hurt by a mean little girl. The thing is, I knew him when he was a little boy, and I can't imagine even the most viscous 12 year old girl hurting him intentionally. But we all know how cruel the preadolescence female can be.



I would like to say I never broke a boys heart, but it wouldn't be true. I don't think I ever held one up for ridicule in public, however. My husband may disagree. He has some crazy story about when I was working in a record store. He said he came in and asked for Carole King Tapestry and I laughed at him, saying I had that album when I was a little girl. Well, it may have happened. I am a music Nazi and I did have the Tapestry album when I was around 14 or 15. Oh, and yes it was chick music. He also said I stood him up when he came to Dallas to take me out. But I wasn't in my right mind, and I didn't know I was going to marry him and hear the story for the next 30 years.



I really liked this boy I met from Kansas, as long as we were writing and telephoning, but when he came to see me, he was in my way. I was not nice to him but he always came back every summer. I'm so ashamed of myself, now for treating him so badly. I started going out with another guy who wanted to get married. I liked him and didn't want to break up, so I said I would marry him. About that time, I met another guy when we were both in my best friends wedding. We had a lot of fun and decided to go out. Well, the one I was pretending to be engaged to, saw me with him. I said I was sorry and thought all was forgiven, until that weekend, on Valentines Day, all 3 boys showed up. The one I met at the wedding sent me red roses and a card with the lyrics to Cat Stevens, Wild World. I thought this was total plagiarism, but when told Lauren about it, years later, she thought it was the most romantic thing she had ever heard, and told all her friends.



I remember my mother telling me, some day I would have a son who would have his heart broken by some little girl, and it would hurt me also. She was right. So, girls, be mean to those sweet little boys. But, believe me, you will get yours.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State Of The Union

The President will give his State of the Union address tonight, and ooh I'm just giddy with excitement. One of my friends said it was the Super Bowl of politics. I hope he was kidding. Anyway, I thought I would get a jump on Mr. Obama, and express some of my own ideas on the state of this union.
The first thing I will address is the economy. If I were president I would forgive all student loans. This would free up money to buy houses, cars, and whatever people want. You may be thinking it would hurt the lenders but, I say we let the universities, especially the ones taking tax payer money, take the loss. They might have to down size and lay off some liberal, tenured professors, but that would only improve the quality of education.
Next we have to pay some bills. Our government is so good at printing money, let's print 2 or 3 billion yuan, and pay back the Chinese. What could it hurt? It's not like they use their money to feed the people, and you know they would do it to us.
Guns. Everyone should have one. Even a crazy person would think twice about going on a shooting spree in a crowd of armed people. In countries where guns are not allowed, you still have the occasional mass stabbing. It's a fact. Take away their guns and they will throw rocks.
Rowe v Wade has come up again this week. No matter how ugly life gets, there is never a reason to kill a baby.
I don't know what to do about illegal immigration. I feel sorry for Obama on this one. Not all illegals are bad people, but they all are breaking the law. I can certainly understand, however, why they come here. The gangs and drug lords have made Mexico a hard place to live. What if marijuana was legal and grown on farms here and sold in supermarkets? The drug lords would be powerless, and it would stimulate our economy. Well it's just a thought.
I guess I should go now and see what the Pres has to say. He might have a few ideas of his own.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet Dreams


OK, I will warn you before you read this. It's going to be weird.

I awoke from the strangest dream this morning. In my dream, I was very, very thirsty, parched you might say. I walked in the kitchen and opened a cabinet to get a glass and everything in there was crystal. It was a beautiful sight. I spotted Lauren's sippy cup from when she was a toddler, and it was beautiful, cut glass crystal as well. I picked it up, and breathed deeply, thinking it still smelled like apple juice. I filled it with water and tried to take a drink. I was so thirsty, but I couldn't get the water in my mouth. I tried over and over again, but still nothing. Then, I woke up.

I don't know why I am writing about this, except maybe I'm hoping someone will have an interpretation. I'd love to here from you if you do.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Glad To Be Home


We had a good time in Red River but I am so glad to be home. I don't think I want to go anywhere else for a while. I like staying at home more than most people. I think I'm like my Dad in that way.
Last night we went to another bar / steak house to hear two guys play and sing. I swear every business in Red River is also a bar. They do this really cool thing called torch light. After dark every evening, all the ski instructors come down the ski slope with a torch in each hand while fireworks go off. We stood out in the cold waiting for it to start and it was pretty impressive. However the sarcasm from all the drunks surrounding us sort of ruined it for me. Being the sober one among the drunks is hard. Is this how Jerry feels at our family reunions?
So anyway, the guys we heard last night were pretty good. This one guy, Mike, was an incredible guitar player and knew every song anyone threw at him. Two little boys walked up to him and asked if he knew any John Denver. He said, "What's your second choice?" Everyone laughed but he played a John Denver song for the kids. Later they came up to him again and asked him to play some Conway Twitty. He grimaced and asked them where they had heard such music but ,then played one for them anyway. I told him he had to redeem himself and play some Grateful Dead, so he played Friend of The Devil. He had a notebook 2 inches thick with lyrics of all the songs he knew.
On the way home today, we stopped in Santa Fe and I realized after all these years I still don't like Santa Fe. I don't think I'll ever go back voluntarily. It's just a tourist trap for the very wealthy. We stumbled into a row of store fronts belonging to a family from Afghanistan. They thought we were rich, stupid Americans. One wanted to give me a great deal on a 9,000.00 rug for only 3,900.00. He said it was handmade and hundreds of years old. That meant his great grandfather's grandfather couldn't unload that rug either.
Another one tried to sell me a shawl that was beautiful, but 900.00. He put it around my shoulders and said "You must have this" I started to say my husband would kill me, but stopped when I realized he might take the statement seriously and offer to help. "Achmed, bring me some stones. We have a wife to kill!"
I walked next door and bought a shawl for 18.00 and I think it came from World Market in Lubbock, Texas. But I like it.
I didn't buy anything from the Native Americans on the square either. They were all just a little too pricey.
Anyway we are home, and I am glad, even if I do have to go to work tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Red River and Bluegrass


I am sitting in a coffee house called Robin's Nest, in Red River, New Mexico. It is beautiful here. There's lots of snow and mountains, just what we were looking for. This is one of those spur of the moment things you do when you're married to a retired man.
Yesterday we watched people ski. That's what we do. We go to the beach to watch people surf and the mountains to see them ski. If I were 20, no wait, 30 years younger I might try it myself.
Jon likes to ski, and always wanted me to learn, but for years I got out of it by having a baby to watch. Then when the kids were older we were too poor. We did, however fork out big bucks for them to go with church groups now and then. It's an expensive sport. We were never able to keep up with the Jones', until it came time to send our kids to college. Then we kicked the Jones' butt. Did I mention we had three kids in college at the same time?
Last night we went out to see some live music. We found this fun little place right by the ski slopes. They called it a bar and grill but, it was mostly a bar, as more alcohol was served than meals. There were a lot of children there, so I guess it was a "family" bar.
Anyway we got to hear this terrific little Bluegrass band called the Squash Blossom Boys. First let me get this out of the way. I am a huge Bluegrass fan. I know that makes me pretty uncool, but it's one of my very few guilty pleasures, along with pancakes for supper. And by the way, I have found the perfect wine for a pancake supper, so that and soft music and candlelight makes it socially acceptable.
Back to the Squash Blossom Boys. They were young, late 20' or early 30's. I am always impressed by young people who take an interest in any other kind of music besides the top 40 junk on the radio, or country. It's not that easy for them with peer pressure and wanting to get rich and all.
So you might be wondering what the big difference is between Country and Bluegrass. Mostly it's talent. I know a lot of great guitar players who can't keep up with Bluegrass pickers. Along with the guitar, which was great, these guys played a do bro, banjo, and stand up bass. I love a stand up bass. Fiddles and mandolins also. The other thing is lyrics. I can write you a Country song in about 10 minutes that would turn Toby Keith green with envy. Bluegrass music is about real life, from, I stabbed ole Joe and now I must hang, to, Jesus forgave me for stabbing ole Joe.Which makes me think, I highly recommend the new Patty Griffin CD, Downtown Church. I know she is more Folk than Bluegrass, but she does some great work on this one.
I think the Squash Blossom Boys will do well in spite of not playing a particularly popular style of music. They are just too talented. I have their information if anyone is looking to book a great band.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Peace In The State Of Mind

Today I was at work thinking about my latest diet and feeling sorry for myself for having to eat such tasteless food. I looked up and standing in front of me was a young man with a strange tube strapped to his face one end running up his nose. He said, and I'm sorry but I had to ask, that it was his feeding tube. He had been wounded in Iraq and no longer had a stomach and much of his intestine. He had a slight limp as he had lost most of his calf muscle in one leg. We talked for awhile and he said the hardest part was the way people looked at him. I said to me it would be not being able to taste food. He said yes, that was pretty bad too. He had spent many months hospitalized in Germany, before he was flown home to San Antonio for a year long stay at the army hospital there. Now his life is spent at different Veteran's hospitals trying to find someone who can help him. I thanked him for his service and told him I would pray for him.
I felt silly thanking him, but I meant it and wanted him to know.
I'm not a peace 'nic or anything, but I do hate war. I hate seeing strong, disciplined, young people going off to war and coming home in pieces. I know they are the reason we live so freely, but I still hate it.
If you think about it, say a prayer for my new friend, Albert, before you doze off tonight. I know he would appreciate it.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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