Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas....some places we visited during the season

In my last blog I showed you when Santa came to my house. I thought I would show some pics of a couple of places we visit during the Christmas season. We usually start with a trip to Williamsburg, VA for their Grand Illumination Celebration. If you've never been, it's worth the trip. We visited the Williamsburg Winery in the morning, then went to Colonial Williamsburg for their fireworks, which start at 6:15pm. Afterwards we walked the streets, all lit up with lanterns, and stopped in a few of the stores. It was a very mild evening, and we were with some friends of ours.

It was the 50th anniversery of the Fife and Drum
Corps and a couple came to play at the winery.

Outside the Williamsburg Winery.

Waiting for the fireworks to begin.

We also visited Thomas Stone's house. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, among other positions he held in Maryland.

I love the bedroom linens of the colonial period.
The girl in the picture is a docent.

Part of Thomas Stone's main parlor.

Thomas Stone himself, discussing politics with his
relative, who is out of camera shot.

This year we also visited George Washington's Birthplace, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His home is right on the water and is just beautiful. The christmas decorations are not as elaborate as some I've seen from this time period. His original house burned down on Christmas Day, 1799, and you can view the original foundational outline, but the house that was built in early part of the 20th century is done according to that foundational layout.

Because your company could arrive from the land
or water, the house is built identical on each side.
That way, everyone always was greeted at the
front of the home.

Cooking was done in a room separate from the
main house. It was called the summer kitchen.
It frequently would catch fire. Slaves and
indentured servants would live out here. The
main meal was served at 2:00pm and was a
large meal. Leftovers were served until the
next day.

The Washington family parlor. Each tile surrounding
the fireplace has a picture that tells a different Bible story.

The family dining room. The tablescape wasn't the
prettiest I'd seen done for the time period, but it
is a beautiful room, with all the natural wood and
large fireplace.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa came to my house........in picture story

The house was all decorated on Christmas Eve, awaiting Santa's arrival.......

My Granddaughter Cassidy was excited! She couldn't wait to meet the jolly ol' elf.

Oh my goodness!!!!!!!! Someone is coming through the door! It's Santa himself!!!!
Santa Claus!!!!!!!! One look at his face, and this was the next pic of Cassidy...
That's her closed and locked bedroom door.
This is the sight that greeted us when we opened the door. She did not want Santa in her house.

We did eventually get her to come out and thank Santa for the present.

And we made Santa promise to return to the North Pole, and never come back again. I'm sure Cassidy will change her mind by next year and will eagerly anticipate his visit next Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Identity Crisis - Which Movie Christmas Mom Am I?

This is a repost from last year. I'm still shooting for Mrs. Krank.....

Over the years, as I watch my favorite Christmas movies, I've often wondered which Mom I most closely resemble in personality and actions. Is it Ralphies' mom from A Christmas Story? How about Mrs. Griswold from Christmas Vacation? Olivia Walton from A Homecoming? Sybil from Family Stone? Or my personal favorite, Mrs. Krank from Christmas with the Kranks.

First, Ralphie's mom. She has a certain appeal to me. She's a full-time homemaker, wears an apron, and even cooks part of her dinner the night before. Her house is impeccably clean and she serves her family home-cooked meals. Definately my idea of a good wife/mother. But we only have two things in common: Telling Randy he can put his arms down when he gets to school, and leaving the bully lying in a bloody heap after her son gave him a beatdown. Other than those two things, we are not really alike. Take the lamp incident: She just stood there while her husband put a leg lamp in their front parlor window. She didn't like it, in fact, she broke it one day, but not till then did she express her true feelings: "That is the ugliest lamp I've ever seen!" I would have expressed that when it came out of the crate, along with a "Heck no, it's not going in the living room." Besides my husband never throws away a box. All I would have to do is cart it downstairs next to his faulty furnance, and there it would stay forever. Okay, so I'm not Ralphie's mom.

Well, it's not red cabbage, but it is pumpkin soup, which is also really good, Ralphie.....

Mrs. Griswold. Now, I've never really cared for her. She has this NUT for a husband, and she never says a word. Prime example: There is a big, ugly christmas tree in the livingroom. It's huge and bent over about two feet on top, and all she says is "Do you think there's enough room for the angel on top?" Besides I can't be her if my husband isn't Clark, and he definately isn't him. Clark plastered the entire house with lights and then spent 24 hours checking them, and never realized a switch needed to be flipped in the garage. I'm glad I'm married to a smart man. Plus, truthfully, I would have told him it was the switch in the garage, not let him think his little temper tantrum miraculously caused the house to light up. Plus, our Christmas would have been over the minute my husband came through the ceiling onto the bunkbed. So, I can't be Mrs. Griswold, because I'm not married to Clark.

Hmmm, is there room room for the Angel or not?

Ahhh, Olivia Walton.....what a woman. Strong, independant, realistic. Raising seven children during the depression, lived with her in-laws, the mother whom, I don't think really liked her. She held down the homefront all week while her husband worked 30 miles away to earn money because there were no jobs to be found in town. Christmas was going to be her applesauce cake, and mittens and scarves she knitted each of them, and that's the way it was. No apologies, it's just life as they knew it. I would feel so guilty and would have probably taken the credit that Ike offered and bought everyone a toy. Not Olivia she said "We do not take charity in this house." But as John Boy pointed out, she did take the turkey from Charlie Sneed. But Olivia wasn't a stupid woman, and every mother with kids to feed knows that free food is not charity. But we would have to part company when John Walton came home and announced that he'd quit his job. During the depression????? When he said he'd make living on Walton's Mountain, and she said "In the middle of winter, with everything covered with snow" with love shining in her eyes, well, let's just say that's where I knew I wasn't Olivia..........:)

Oh yeah, I'd definitely cook Charlie Sneed's turkey!

Sybil Stone. She's a more modern mom. Always has a cluttered house, big mug of coffee, and a huge streak of gray running through her hair. She has a gay son, and isn't intimitated by her kid's sex lives. She never made life easy for them, because she knew life was hard. But she fiercely loved them and knew them better than they knew themselves. Each one of her kids were different, and she mothered them differently. I admire that. She wasn't afraid to voice her opinion to her husband, but she did go to him with her fear. I liked how her family cared what she thought, and wanted her approval. Somewhere along the way, she had earned their respect. But, I thought the husband was weak, and I would have walked all over him. So, while I would like to be Sybil, I don't want to be married to Mr. Stone. Can't have it all, I guess.

Even Sybil would have trouble parenting these two.....

Mrs. Krank.....my ideal. Seriously, she gets on my nerves, but I loved her life. Empty nest, creative, volunteers all over town, friends, good marriage, strong husband who takes risks. Let's skip Christmas and take a cruise!!! Let's go tan!! I'll meet you at O'Leary's for lunch. He would always look out for her, but didn't coddle her. She was in control of her domain, he was in control of his. The thing with the daughter was a little weird, but everything else was perfect. Now I'm not going to fight someone for a Hickory Honey Ham, but she could get her husband to borrow his neighbor's christmas tree, just so a tree would be there when she got home. I liked how when she had that "look" in her eye, he knew there was no fighting her. So, she's who I'd like to be, but I haven't achieved her yet.

But I do have something she doesn't have yet!

Let's face it, I haven't been portrayed in a Christmas movie yet. Ebeneezer Scrooge never took a wife.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Out of town.......again

I see the last time I posted I was suppose to go out of town and this time I am out of town. Sounds like I'm never home. It would seem, according to my blog, my life was a blast. Campers, beaches, boating, travel. But it's been four months since my last post. Oh, and I always go to the same places.....Bill doesn't like change. He likes tradition, especially at Christmastime, and our Christmas tradition is the Grand Illumination in Williamsburg, VA. So here we are, in a hotel room, since our camper is hibernating for the winter.

So, here's the thing....I wish I was at home. You see, there are two things in life I really love: Having all my children visit at the same time, and snow. Both of those things happened today, but I'm not there. Susan made lasagne, it's a cold, snowy, evening and she is staying the night. They are going to watch movies till the wee hours of the morning. They are going to drink wine. They are snug, safe, and warm. In my house, without me.

I am in a generic hotel room. Which would be okay, except the people we are travelling with have a large room with a jacuzzi, king-size bed, etc. We have two oversized twin beds and a small T.V. We got off the elevator on the fourth floor, and there was their room. Ours was down the hall. Well, it wasn't only down the hall, it was out the door and down a flight of steps. Doesn't seem fair does it? My husband said he would complain, except our room was free. Free??? It's from points earned on a credit card. Bill does love a deal, and free is the best deal going.

So, here I sit. No lasagne, no wine, no snow, no kids.......but I did bring my knitting bag. I must be getting old, because that just made me happy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vacation of a Lifetime (Well mine anyway)

Just over a year ago Bill and I bought a C.O.W. which stands for a Condo on Wheels. To the rest of the world we bought a travel trailer. We'd always wanted one. Well, I'm going with an overstatment there. I always wanted one, Bill would have been happy with a pop-up. It is 33 feet long, we had to buy a bigger truck to pull it, and we imagined fun-filled family vacations and weekend getaways in it. My sister is the biggest cheerleader of these things. They've owned all shapes and sizes of them and have had nothing but fun, good times, and memories in their's.

Our's is made by a company called Rockwood, but I like to think of them as Rocksinthehead. Because my trailer was apparently built by a company that doesn't have any brains.

So, on to the dream vacation. We left last Saturday. It was just the two of us. You see, our family quickly learned to hate the trailer. They are weird anyway because they all hate the beach. They're bored there, it's hot, they hate sand, can't stand the ocean...well, you get the picture. So now that our older daughter is living with us, we left everyone behind and embarked on an 8 day beach vacation. We planned this like a couple of kids trying to pull one over on their parents. We bought $75.00 in steak and were eating them hot off the grill every night except when we went to our favorite restaurant. We took our favorite DVD's, lots of wine, our hammock and our pink flamingo lights. Paradise!

Our dream vacation ended on I95 when, while driving 50 miles an hour, a car pulls alongside us and yells "Your wheel is getting ready to fall off." You see, here is a culmination of all the horrors we've had in our brand new trailer made by the Rocksinthehead Company. This thing has had something go wrong everytime we've taken it out. Every trip we've had has ended with us in the service department. Airconditioner, brakes, leaks, bearings, you name it, it's been Bill's nightmare.

We were 120 miles from our destination, but after a long 16 hour day in the broiling sun, our trailer now sits in a warehouse parking lot in Wilson, N.C., waiting for the axle manufacturer to make us a new axle because they don't stock them, it's too new a trailer.

Dehydrated, stinky, and dejected, we made our way home. Bill had to cancel his vacation leave and go back to work. But at least no one was hurt, right? I hate that statement. I'm not one of those "Things could be worse, so appreciate the crap you're dealing with" people. On Tuesday my air conditioner at home broke on the hottest day this summer. My dryer died (not really, it was an electrical circuit, but I didn't have that answer till after I paid the service call fee). Plus a million other things I wouldn't have had to deal with if I'd been in Myrtle Beach like I was suppose to be.

Part of being a grown up is dealing with the things life throws at you. Roll with it, get up and try again, keep on keeping on, every dark cloud has a silver lining, sell your trailer and admit camping sucks, whoops! Didn't mean to put that one in. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer boating......fun right?

Okay, so we have a boat. We've only used it once this year. There are alot of rules to when we get to go out. Bill will not boat on the weekends. Too crowded. No Sundays allowed, it's the Lord's Day. No holidays, everyone else will be out with their boat. So, that leaves Monday, his day off. We've been going in the evenings, since it's cooler, but this year, it seems like every Monday evening there is a storm looming just over the horizon. So this week we decided to go out on Monday morning. We'd get up early, because the early bird gets the worm, perhaps in this case, the worm would be on the end of his fishing line and the bass would get it first.

So, I'm not a morning person, but I can rise to the occasion. We were on our way around 8:30am. A little late for a day that was going to hit 90 degrees, but it still felt nice outside. The water was beautiful, the sky was clear, there was a slight breeze and the sun was a FIREBALL in the sky.

By 10:00am Bill was fishing away and I was on the back of the boat on my beach chair reading a really good book. Life is good. It was a little hot, but it's August. By 10:30am I ditched the chair and spread out on the floor on the back of the boat on my stomach. That way the sun wasn't hitting me directly in the face and I could feel alittle bit cooler. The book was still really good and every once in a while I'd catch a breeze.

By 11:00am I asked Bill for a bottle of water. I proceeded to pour it over my head to put out the fire. I also poured some down my shirt and on my legs. I was sweating like the second stage of labor. I laid on my back and put a towel over my head to block the sun. Forget the good book, I can't remember the storyline anymore. All I can think about is I'm naming the boat Hellfire and Brimstone, and wonder how long it takes to drown once you go overboard. The water has bacteria in it and you are not suppose to swim in it, but that shouldn't matter if you are ending your life. I thought about all the settlers who came to the new land in the winter and how I always thought they were stupid to travel so late in the year. Now I understood the purpose. I was HOT, PEOPLE, HOTTT!

Bill was having a pretty good day fishing and at one point wanted me take a pic of his latest catch. The camera was two feet away, but all I could manage was the cellphone in my pocket. He didn't seem to notice I was near heat stroke, and could someone please call 911 or throw me overboard!

By noon we were back to shore, (Thankfully!!!!!) and on our way home. I jumped in the pool, dried off, took two valium and slept till 6:00pm.

I'll go again during sweater weather.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The life of Neda Agha-Soltan

Ah, now most people will wonder who the heck is this woman? I know I did at first. That was before I watched a video of her dying moments. She was a 27 year old Iranian woman who studied Islamic philosophy. She was a talented singer. She also was upset at the results of the election in Iran. For two weeks there have been cries of a rigged election, and Mousivir's people have been in the streets protesting against their government. The Ayatollah, who called the election and declared Ahkmadinajahed the winner, also called for the oppression of the people's protests. He warned there would be blood.................................and so there was...........Neda's for one.

She attended a demonstration and was in her car to go home. There was a traffic jam so she got out of her car and was immediately shot to death, without provocation, by a member of the police force.

She fell back onto the street, stunned. Several men came to her aid and she turns her eyes to see something off to the side. Seconds later blood begins to pour out of her mouth, nose, and even pools into her eye. She was gone.

Do we even realize how precious the freedom to disagree with your government is? We've had it all our lives. None of us living here remembers the tyranny of Great Britain. People have come to the states from all over the world to a country where they feel safe. Safe from what? Government rulers. Those above you telling you where to live, where to work, where your doctor is, where your school is. Telling you what you are allowed to read, watch, and listen to.

Remember Neda. Her death is at our back door and it's getting ready to knock. The Great Nanny State is rising to take care of us all as It sees fit. It might sound like good change in the beginning, but you haven't paid the price for it yet. Ask immigrants how big a price you have to pay.

We are going to have our own Neda's soon. People who will finally wake up and refuse to lose anymore control over their country. Refuse to work to subsidize a multitude of programs for which half the country uses but doesn't pay for. Americans are going to stand up one day soon and resist.....and there will be blood......Freedom always requires it. Freedom is always worth it.

The United States of America-Government For the People-By the People

Time for the People to quit complaining, shaking their heads and wondering what's going to happen next. We need to kick out most members of Congress and get new leaders who work for us, not big corporations, special interest groups, or worse, for themselves. We need men and women of real integrity and honesty in office that will put a stop to the spending, programs, and personal interests.

Because the fiddler will come to play, and he will demand his pay......and we don't have the money to pay.......we will start to get hungry, healthcare will be a clinic with long lines and little medicine, jobs will be a thing of the past, inflation will be out of control because of all the money in circulation with no gold to back it, gas will be over $7.00 a gallon, milk even higher. Finally, because of high taxes, you can't keep a roof over your head, and your family is suffering from an out of control rogue government who forgot who they worked for..........Then Neda, and thousands like her will descend on Washington, D.C. to demand change. The National Guard will be called out to put a stop to civil unrest.....and another Neda will be lying in the street, bleeding and dying.

OR, we could go to the polls, having already researched and learned all we could about the candidates. Then we could vote for the ones who most closely value those things we do. Vote for candidates whose ideas are feasible, in the budget, and not something just a few people want. Give most of the power back to the states where it belongs. Oh, and let's make sure they are actually qualified for the office they wish to represent.

It's almost time to act....get ready.

The People Mourn for Michael Jackson

It's been one week since the death of Michael Jackson. Many ordinary people have expressed their grief over his death and the impact he had on their life. Many celebrities have gone on record expressing their heartfelt grief, while also recalling the last time he was with them personally. Even politicians have weighed in on the matter. It's been said that "Michael Jackson was a black man that WE shared with the rest of the world."

Are you freaking kidding me?

Okay, first, let me say that I loved "Thriller." It was a great album, and with the 1980's advent of MTV, his videos were amazing. We hadn't seen Michael since the Jackson 5 days and he was all grown up, and although some of his dance moves were rather risque for the times, he was extremely talented. I think almost everyone has a favorite Michael Jackson song.

But, then there was the weird face transformation. Now stars can be excentric, but who actually completely changes their face to look like someone else? And not just anyone, but the one person they admired most, namely, Diana Ross. Then there was the skin bleaching. He may have been born a black man, but there was nothing black about him when he died. He was whiter than me. He may have had a condition called vitiligo, but still there was alot of bleaching going on. Look at him in 1983, then look at him twenty years later, and he was a freak of his formal self.

Now, although it will take a month for toxicology reports to come in, most everyone agrees that Jackson was an addict. Painkillers, sedatives, antidepressants, he took them all. He was deeply in debt, he'd nearly lost his beloved Neverland Ranch, his reputation was in the toilet and had been for years. At best he was totally weird, at worst, he was a pedophile.

While he was acquitted in a court of law of child abuse charges, he was convicted in the court of public opinion. There were no new records, no concerts, no political affiliations for Jackson. Did you see him in the last ten years do anything but walk down a street or sit in a car with a mask or veil over his face?

What about his three children? Their mother completely disappeared after the daughter was born, and the third child, a son called "Blanket" or Prince Michael II, does not even have a mother named on his birth certificate.

So, I say all this to wonder, outloud, what are the people mourning? Is it who he was in the 1980's, a talented young man? Or is it the young boy who had an overbearing father who terrorized him and took advantage of the talent his children were born with? It can't possibly be the Michael Jackson who existed in the decade preceding his death. The same public who are now mourning him, would not have bought tickets to his concerts or bought his music. Are our memories so short, that no matter what you do, you will be remembered fondly if enough people say you were great? Is it because he was black and therefore, no wrongs can be charged permanently to him in the Age of Obama?

He was preparing for a comeback. He had concerts booked in Europe hoping to redeem his reputation, and no doubt, earn some money. But he never got the chance. Last Thursday, he stepped out into eternity. Never again will he sing or dance here, but he did face an Almighty God. He was judged in the only "court" that really matters. He will now spend all of eternity at his final destination, which is up to God, and not anyone else.

Was he ready to meet God last Thursday? Are you ready to meet him today?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

30th Wedding Anniversery

I cannot believe it has been so long since I've posted. You'd think I didn't have anything going on worth writing about.

But, I actually do have something worth a few words. It was Bill and mine's 30th wedding anniversery on June 16th. Thirty years with the same person is hard to believe. First of all, I can't believe I'm old enough to be married for 30 years. Isn't that like a really old person? My parents, for example?

That leads me to my next paragraph. I am someone's parent. Several someones' actually. My daughters threw us a 30th anniversery party. I did not have a clue they had planned it. It was a hawaiian luau themed gig. It was well planned, the decorations were great, the food was fantastic, the company, wonderful.

But, what was really being celebrated? Was it the duty of daughters to throw their parents a party for 30 years of togetherness, or was it an actual celebration of 30 years of being married? Thinking about it, I've realized how rare it is to find a married couple who have stayed married for 30 years. That shows commitment, faithfulness, and in our case, love. We tried our best to give our children a stable home, security, and family. That's not so easy to come by these days. Marriage is so expendable these days. Sometimes you do marry a person completely wrong for you. Most times, however, it's simply about happiness. If you are not happy, you divorce. We are a throwaway society after all. If it doesn't work, get rid of it!

So, what is the secret of a long marriage? Am I qualified to say? Perhaps.....I think the secret is to commit to the relationship, regardless of the obstacles you might face. Is it easy? Never. There are times you just want OUT! But, in the building of a family, it's important to be a united front, always being the stable force that can be counted on for wisdom, love, and security.

How pat that sounds. So, the real secret? God....He is the only one way you can love someone who is so clearly flawed you cannot believe you married him (her) in the first place.

Also, jewelry helps. My husband gifted me with a one carat diamond ring on our anniversery. I did not expect it and it was truly from his heart. That means alot and I will always treasure it. He is not one who gives expensive gifts freely. It is something I've wanted for a long time and it means alot to me.

What my daughters did in giving a party to us is gift us with their time, planning, and love. They showed us, freely, how much they value all we've given and done for them. They invited our friends to share in the experience, and showed how "proper" they were raised when they did such a spectacular job with the party. It is a memory I will always treasure and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving it to me.

Finally, a little wine helps to smooth out all the edges in a relationship. After a glass or two, you will find you are truly married to Prince Charming!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh, My Aching Back!

Well, I never thought I'd blog about a back ache, but some pains are just too big to not share. I bent over on Monday to pick up a piece of trash and have been in pain ever since. In retrospect, I should have just left the piece of trash on the ground. It was a little sugar subsitute packet that holds a teaspoon of sweetner. It was raining. It was stuck to the driveway. If I had driven away, it probably would have stuck to my tire.

So, onto the pain. It's big and all consuming. It's across my lower back and goes down into my legs. If I sit down too fast I scream. I can no longer bend over. I went to the doctor's yesterday and received 12 injections into the ligaments to reduce swelling. I was given some painkillers that really do work. I actually thought I was healed yesterday evening about an hour after taking them. I was taken back to reality the following morning when I tried to get out of bed.

I don't know if my back is going bad, if I'm getting old, or if I'm extremely out of shape. But I do know that a piece of trash, one square inch in size, can sit on my driveway for all of time, from this day forward.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sometimes life really hurts

I haven't written in a while, and not sure I should write now. But what is a blog for if I can't update on what's going on in my life. First, I seem to be heading into another depression. I'll have to manage this one and try some things before I get the doctor involved. It's always kind of tricky as sometimes they make it worse. I know I should be exercising which does help. I've been sick for over three weeks with a flu/upper respiratory infection which really kicked my butt. I think I'm ready just in time for allergy season.

My 18 year old daughter who is not finished high school has left home to live with her boyfriend. She got a tongue piercing, which I hate and we let her know, no piercings of the tongue were allowed in the house. So, under cover of darkness, she went out the back door with her possessions. No goodbye, no note, nothing. Just left, like I was a landlord she owed rent to and she was skipping out. Even posted on Facebook 'Hello Freedom" before we even knew she was gone. Later she posted Partttty to let everyone know what a grand old time she was having.

I realize she's 18 and they are notoriously self centered and self involved. But does she lie in bed at night and wonder what our reactions were to finding out she was gone? Perhaps I should have taken a picture of her father's broken heartened expression that morning and posted it under her freedom status. She likened living here to being in jail. Unbelieveable. Very clueless to what jail is like, hopefully she'll never have opportunity to make that comparison.

So where is the book or wisdom that helps me get what feels like a piece of carpet out of my throat. I can't breathe. I feel rage, despair, intense physical pain, and depression all at the same time. Why do children not care that they hurt you? Why do they think you deserve what they dish out? How could everything that is done for someone's good, done so that they become successful members of society, be turned around and suddenly I'm the bad guy because she doesn't get something she wants. She already has a facial piercing and a tattoo, so we're not totally inflexible here.

As she curls up in bed with her boyfriend tonight, minus the high school diploma she'll never earn, does she reflect on her life, and that, just maybe ,we had a plan for her? That based on our wisdom and years, it was a doable one. Granted it didn't include living with her boyfriend, but there were alot of good points to it.

You see, like most parents, we wanted to see her succeed. To make something out of her life. To get an education, a job she enjoyed and felt pride in doing, find a good man, who would make a wonderful father, marry him, and have children. There's nothing grand about it, but it's a good life. You work hard, pay your bills, raise good kids, hold your head up high.
I cannot raise my head up high. She doesn't care about that. She wouldn't waste one minute's worry on that. Not until it happens to her. Because.....and this is what I don't get.....my daughter doesn't care what I feel. It either makes her laugh, or makes her mad, but not one of my feelings are legitimate. Pregnancy, birth, feedings, diapers, fevers, many health problems, soccer, schooling, driving, clothes shopping, vacations, all those things I did for her don't matter. She never asked for my help so it doesn't count. What counts after all these years????

I DON'T ALLOW TONGUE PIERCINGS IN MY HOUSE. That's the only thing that mattered. That's the straw the broke the camel's back. For now, for the first minute when I wake up I feel normal, then that horrible feeling comes over me when I realize she's gone. It's like an echo in my heart. Then I start my day, which has less meaning than it used to right now.

But I'll go to my grave with the image of my husband's face waking me up at 6:00am on a Wednesday morning and telling "She's gone." Go ahead and chuckle kid, maybe have a hearty laugh over it. It brought tears to my eyes then, and it brings tears to my eyes now.

May you one day get the opportunity to really and truly know your parents.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Gift of a Memory

I read in the paper today a really touching article. Someone's mom was turning 84 years old. Her daughter was wondering what to get her for her birthday. She didn't want to get her more "stuff". At 84 years old what did she need? Her mom had survived several strokes and is now dying of lung cancer. It is probably her last birthday. What would make it special?

Then, as thoughtful daughters often do, she thought about a memory her mother had spoken of frequently. In the 1930's her mother had ridden on the back of a motorcyle. She remembered the ride as being one, if not the, most thrilling moment of her life. She loved the speed, the wind rushing past, and the freedom of it all. Her daughter decided she would give her mother a memory for her birthday.

She placed in ad on Craig's List for someone who would like to give a granny a motorcyle ride. A man, 65 miles away saw the ad. His mother had recently died of cancer, and the ad touched his heart.

Not wanting to spring it suddenly on Mom, her family told her the day before her birthday that she was going on a motorcycle ride. The man showed up on a huge Harley Davidson. The Mom was scared to get on it. When he asked her if she was ready to ride, she said no. It looked quite different from the motorcycles in the 1930's! But being the free spirit I suspect she was, she was coaxed onto the back of the bike and went for her second thrilling ride on the back of a hog.

Her husband watched from the doorway with tears in his eyes. He'd nursed her through chemo and radiation, and hoped the memory of this ride would give him another six months with her.

This was one gift that won't get thrown away, given to Goodwill, or end up in a yardsale. The Mom, her family, and the dear man who took the time to give a stranger a ride, will all remember this day, this memory, for many years to come.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Life is like a box of chocolates

You never know what you are going to get. Now most everyone knows that that is a line from the movie Forest Gump. But what a true statement it is. Even though I'm no longer a spring chicken, I can still be surprised.

This week I've been pleasantly surprised by my oldest daughter's interest and apparent ability to cook. She is a full-time student and works in D.C., and still she puts on some pretty impressive meals. I haven't really cooked anything newsworthy for three years and I'm a stay at home wife. I should really crack open one of my many cookbooks and try a new recipe. I do believe she is inspiring me.

Today I was surprised and delighted that my third daughter finally got her car on the road after 6 long months of waiting. It's been a long road, that I won't go into here, but the car is finally legal. Also, she got her driver's license and passed the test in a Toyota Tundra that she'd never even driven before. Way to go, girl! It was great to see her happiness over her car tonight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I met a woman.......

...and she was so unassuming. She was in my class today. I secretly named her The Shy One. She was quiet, did what was required and showed proficiency in her skills. Then came the written test. She did not pass it. It did not seem to devastate her, like some of my students, or disappoint her. It seemed more like it confirmed something she already knew.

I waited till the other students were gone to talk with her. I knew that english was her second language, and that is usually where the fault lies in good students who fail written tests. As I talked with her, she shared that she is a cancer survivor. Last year she was diagnosed and she has endured 35 chemo treatments in addition to surgery. She is facing another surgery in May.

She said the chemo has changed her. She cannot focus like she used to. She is weak and her joints hurt. She said during treatment she wanted to give up because it was so awful, but her husband wouldn't let her. He begged her to keep fighting. She teared up as she shared her story. She kept apologizing and said she didn't want me to think she was using her illness as an excuse.

I told her she was a strong woman and a survivor. I shared with her that I didn't think it was a lack of focus, but a language barrier, and I would review the material with her and let her test again. The next time she passed.

Her doctor has told her there are no guarantees for her. She can do everything right, and the cancer can still come back. She has to live with that reality for the rest of her life, which I hope will be a long one.

I must learn not to label. She was not shy at all. She was afraid that the treatment for a killer disease had robbed her of her ability to concentrate. She'd lost confidence in her ability to succeed. I didn't do anything for her I wouldn't have done for any other student. I just let her prove to herself that she can still meet obstacles and succeed. She walked out with a smile on her face, and renewed confidence in herself.

She is a success, and I am humbled to have had her as my student.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Let's forget the book Obama wrote called The Audacity of Hope. How about we just talk about audacity. He sure has alot of that. As republican senators worked hard this week on Obama's huge stimulus (SPENDING) package, trying to cut the pork, and stop the salivating democrats who only want big government and their piece of the pie, Obama says "I won, I'll trump you on that," and "I won, not the other guy", meaning John McCain. Now there is audacity. Such arrogance from a man who says "Let's not be bipartisan, the time has come to work together."

How about this one: Obama caps the salaries of executives who took government bailout money and then heavily criticizes the resort conventions they put together for their executives. Okay, I understand that. But the very week he is doing this, he is in Williamsburg, Virginia, at a resort with other democrats, at the cost of half a million taxpayer dollars. The democrats got there by a chartered Amtrak, and he flew in on AirForce One. If we were to put the Federal Government up against any bank or company run by greedy opportunists, I believe the Government would win top dog prize for waste, big payoffs, and bad bookkeeping.

At the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said "I don't believe God condones the killing of innocent human beings" yet one of the first things he did was support funding for overseas abortion. He has never made any secret of his pro choice stand, and in fact cannot give an answer concerning "When life begins." How many women, upon discovering they are pregnant, wonder if it would be a human baby, or a puppy? The argument of whether or not abortion kills an innocent human being is invalid. But our President, who calls himself a converted christian in adulthood, supports abortion knowing that God does not condone the killing of innocent human beings.

Be careful saying what you believe God condones, and then doing the opposite. Remember the audacious statement "God himself couldn't sink this ship." God Himself can sink this country, faster I might add, than President Obama.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's snowing!

Well I had almost given up on seeing any snowflakes this winter. But this morning I woke up to the ground covered with snow. It looks so pretty. Unfortunately it comes at a time when we are all sick. We've had a nasty virus for 48 hours and it's got all of us down except for my teenage daughter. She's loading the dishwasher now..........................what a sweetheart!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just the beginning

Well, hasn't President Obama had a busy week. Only three days in office, and he's signed an executive order to close down Gitmo, help fund abortions overseas, and has been endlessly peddling his $850 billion dollar stimulus plan. Wow, what will he do next week?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dawn of a New Era

Today I witnessed the dawn of a new era in the U.S.A. I saw a man elected President by the media. Now I realize the American public thinks they voted for him. They pulled the lever for him, true, but the mainstream media is who formed your opinion on who to vote for.

Not true, some will say, I made up my own mind. Really? So you really don't care that our new President has no qualifications for the job, has never had one notable accomplishment, has extremely questionable business associates, and a political philosophy straight from the Communist Manifesto? You'll never hear the mainstream media talk about it. As a matter of fact, no ill word is ever spoken about Obama, including his cabinet picks. Why his pick for Secretary of Treasury, the very man who will head up the IRS, didn't pay his own taxes from 2001-2004 and hired illegal immigrants to work in his house. It's a mere glitch in the confirmation process now. Are there no rules or standards for public service?

There is only one rule I can see: Bash former President George W. Bush. Take potshots at him while giving your inaugural speech. Jump on the hate bandwagon as he leaves town by singing "Na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, good-bye." Lets blame him for the greedy wall street investors, the banking executives, who under penalty of fines from the Clinton Administration made bad loans to irresponsible homeowners. Let's forget 9/11/2001 when he was a strong leader who let terrorists, and the countries that harbor them, know that the U.S. will not tolerate it.

Oh, fancy talk, President Obama, "It's time to pick ourselves up, and dust ourselves off." What a crock. Do you really think it's been pure luck that every attempt of terrorism on U.S. soil has been foiled. Do you really think that sitting down with rogue governments with no preconditions is going to spread the love? Do you understand that the largest threat to the U.S. at this very moment is security? Do you think community activism, and sharing the wealth made this country great?

Today, I agree history was made. A great public servant was booed out of office, and a leader with socialist ideals, with the backing of the lunatic left, and the love of an America who has forgotten how to think for themselves took the oath of office. I don't care what color his skin is.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not a candle person

So many people love candles. Most of the time when I get a gift from someone at church, it's a candle of some kind. I don't really burn candles. I'm always afraid I'll forget about it and burn the house down. For years I was paranoid with my teenage daughters as they would go in their rooms, lock the door and light candles. I just knew it would start a fire. So, I'm not a candle person.

However, I'm married to one. Every night he lights every candle he can find. Remember all those gifts I mentioned? Just so you don't think he's a romantic and I'm not, he read somewhere that a candle helps heat a room. Yes, I'm married to a frugal man, and there's nothing wrong with that. But, I'm in the livingroom and I smell cranberries, cinnamon, apple pie, and lemons. The kitchen is full of vanilla, pine trees, and mulberries. These smells all mixed up just make me nauseous. I'll blow them out and when I walk in the rooms again, they are all magically lit up again. Oh well....