Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Imagining Angels

I believe in angels.

I believe that there have been times in my life
when I was protected and guided
by a holy hand.
Moments of miracles
that defy explanation.
A sweet presence that steered my decisions
or altered my direction.

Everyone needs a guardian angel
at some point in their life.
And if you don't believe that God
sends messengers or protectors
to watch over us,
then you can surely believe
that there is a greater force
in this universe
that can effect your life
in a positive way.

Just by imagining an angel
surrounding you as you start a new day
is- in itself- an act of faith.
A spiritual aura
that will set your mind
thinking of good and not evil,
happiness instead of sadness,
love and not hate.

This old world is hard.
In my belief- a person does not
make it through by fate or luck.
To me, there is a God
who has placed every individual here
for a unique purpose.
We don't know what that purpose is.
And will probably never know.

I read a book by Robert Morgan
called The Truest Pleasure.
Back in the 1900's Ginny marries Tom
and they share a hard life on the farm.
At first Ginny despises Tom for
taking her away from her home
and her parents
and her safe world.

Then he gets sick and she has to take care of him.
All the while Ginny thinks to herself
that she is living to serve Tom-
that God put her in that position
to nurse him, follow him and serve him.
She grows bitter.

Over the years, she finally sees
the beauty of the land, the farm,
and Tom's true love for her.

In the end, Ginny finally
comes to realize that she wasn't
put there by God to help Tom-
but, ironically, Tom was
there to help her.

That his life touching her life
had made her a better person.
That what she thought was
important as a young bride
no longer mattered.

And by being on this earth-
by simply being alive-
Tom had shown her that
the truest pleasure was love.
God sent him for her,
not the other way around.

So, you never know
what your purpose is-
or what the purpose of those
around you.
That's why we must open our hearts
and be kind and loving people.
We should ask God for help
with whatever concerns us.

He listens.

And I believe that
sometimes he sends angels.

(Friday Oct. 2nd is Guardian Angel Day.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deer Me

Deer season is coming up.

That means that the
TV remote control will be
all mine during the peak
hunting hours.

It means the roar of the 4 wheeler,
the blooming of camo,
the totally unorganized, crazy,
aggravating process
that always seems to
go along with sending my man
off into the woods.

"Are you cooking bacon?" he snaps.

"No, I am not cooking bacon.
I'm not cooking anything."

"Well, you better not be. I can't have
my clothes smelling like bacon when
I'm trying to attract deer," he says,
rubbing odorless deodorant into
his freshly scrubbed armpits.

"Where's my gloves?' he asks,
riffling through a pile of hats,
caps, mittens and belts.

"Right here!" I answer,
pointing to the top of the pile-
"I guess they were camouflaged."

I laugh.
He doesn't.

He's frantically checking his watch-
trying to get into the perfect tree
before the sun comes up.
He's gathering his gear-
safety harness, pull rope,
deer grunt, face mask, flashlight,
binoculars, compass, gloves,
permit tags, knife, butt pillow,
face paint, maps, bow, arrows,
4 wheeler key...

I watch in total fascination
and aggravation that this man-
(who refuses to get ready for
a wedding or a funeral
because he has to dress up)-
is taking a good hour to suit up
just to go sit in a tree like a
lifeless statue for an entire day.

He grabs his chewing tobacco
off the table and puts it in
the only free space in his pack.

"You aren't going to chew, are you?"
I ask, purposely trying to provoke
him out of this zombie like mission.
"We wouldn't want those deer to smell that
wintergreen, would we?"

He shoots a deathly glance toward me
and hurries out the door-
and nine times out of ten,
forgets something crucial
to a successful hunt.

If he comes back empty handed,
it's always the arrows fault,
or his feet sweat,
or the sun was in his eyes,
or a branch was in the way.

Or bacon.

But when he does get a deer,
the work has only begun.

Tracking it always requires
my assistance.
"You have good eyes," he says.

We walk through icy rain and briers,
looking for tiny blood droplets
on the scarlet colored leaves.
It's dark. I'm tired.
My nose is frozen
and I can't feel my feet.

"Oh, there he is!" I hear my husband
cry out in glee, as though he has just
unearthed a giant treasure chest full of
gold nuggets.

A virtual butcher shop is set
up under the maple tree in the back yard.
There is blood.
And guts.
And the smell of intestines.
Steam rises from the still warm deer
into the cold air.

I hold the legs
while he field dresses his prize.
I help toss the hide
into a trash bag
and toss the guts by the pond.

Deer season is upon us.

I look out upon the autumn fields
after he is gone
and wonder which tree he is in.
Hoping he is safe
and warm
and doesn't smell like bacon.

Yet, sometimes-
secretly hoping he does.

Monday, September 28, 2009


It's a good thing I'm not
a drinking woman.
on the other hand-
this would be a good time
to start.

I have been so busy the past two weeks
that I feel like I need a vacation ASAP.
(I wrote in an earlier post about
the home improvement project
that we just started).

I wonder if my house will ever
go back together.
I wonder if my feet will finally
deflate to their normal size.
I wonder if I'll ever look at
another paint roller without
becoming nauseated.

I wonder if I could just run away
and come back when it's all done.

As you can see by the photo-
almost everything in my house
has been moved to the garage.
Except for the larger furniture.
What a mess!

But, what's even sadder
is that all my worldly possessions
actually fit in there!

On one hand, it's an enormous
amount of "junk" to accumulate
over the years.
But on the other hand,
Is that all I really have
after all these years?

To be honest, I think that almost
a third or more of that huge pile
will be sent off to Goodwill.

I'm becoming more discerning.
I've almost learned to identify
old-fashioned, out-dated,
gaudy, and just plain ugly
when it comes to home decor.
And clothing.

My girls say I should just
shuck my entire wardrobe.

But, you know they say that
shoulder pads are coming back.
And stirrup pants.
And neon-colored jeans.

Not that I own any of those things.
But, I'm just saying.
You never know.

I'm ready to give up three years of
Country Home Magazine,
a shoe box of dried up craft paint,
two rickety tables,
spice racks,
an assortment of canisters that
never really held flour and sugar-
but dog food and peanuts-
a bag full of tablecloths-
(the red poinsettias
and giant turkey were a bit much)-
and a rabbit fur coat.

I'm tossing out the
unusable flashlights,
dead batteries,
half used notebooks,
bad novels,
ancient encyclopedias,
gold cupids,
napkin rings that I never used,
and the nifty little booklet
that teaches how to make
flowers from foam egg cartons.

But, you know-
there's got to be compromise here.
I'm trying to talk my husband
into keeping only 10 or 15
of his favorite old albums.
And cart off the remaining
75 or so to Goodwill.
But, so far, he's not budging.

I did manage to get rid of
an old recliner we had in the
living room.
It was still super-comfy,
but the arms were a bit soiled
and the footrest wouldn't
recline properly.

I just set it out by the road
so that anyone that needed it
could scoop it up for free.

Within a few hours,
a couple of young boys slowed
down in their car
with some interest.
My son-in-law Daniel was just leaving
and they asked him about
the lopsided Lay-Z-Boy.

"They aren't getting rid of
that chair, are they?

Daniel answered.

They zipped their car in reverse
and backed into the drive.

"You aren't putting that
chair in your car, are you?
Dan questioned.

"Yep", they answered.
And proceeded to stuff the chair
into their little Geo Metro.

There they went.
Off in their tiny red Geo Metro
with a used recliner hanging
out the back.

Makes a woman feel all
warm and fuzzy inside
that she brought such joy
with so little.

I'm up to my eyeballs
in painting trim today.
No fun.

next week I can sit back-
light a harvest candle-
curl up on the couch
and admire our handiwork.

Until then,
margarita anyone?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Neighbors and Strangers

Sunday is National Good Neighbor Day.

In my opinion,
the meaning of the word neighbor
has changed quite a bit
over the years.

When people talk about
being a good neighbor today,
they mean sponsoring a child
from Uganda for $30 a month,
keeping your lawn and trees trimmed,
and recycling your plastic and glass.

I can't even tell you
the names of some of my neighbors.
A quick glance at the mailbox
is the only clue I have
of who lives inside those houses.

Most of my neighbors are only cars.

The neighbor with the red car,
the guy with the black truck,
the people with the mini van...

They rarely have faces
and never any names.
And it's not like I live in the
big city or anything.
You think there would be
some time of community bond.

My mom was a good neighbor.

And she had good neighbors.

Their little circle of people
at the end of County Farm Road
was an perfect example
of true friendships.

My parents neighbors
would come over every so often
and share a cup of coffee
at the kitchen table,
(but not too often)-
or meet out at the end of the drive
while collecting the daily paper.
They'd share stories about
their children,
inform one another of the latest gossip,
and offer to give us a ride to school
or give us free access to their apple tree.

The Parson's, the Smith's, the Durham's,
the Rackaway's, the Heil's, the Scott's,
and the Alden's.
They all had names.
And faces.

I especially liked the Alden's.

They were an old couple
with- (what I thought then)-
was a really cool house.
They had linoleum that looked
like pebbles
and a step that led up to
the living room.

There were two pictures
on the wall there
that I especially loved.
They were landscapes.
But they were constructed of grass and leaves
and sticks and flowers all pressed under glass
to look like rolling hills and trees.
Even to this day,
I wish I had them.

Once in awhile, Mom would
send us over to Mrs. Alden's
to borrow a cup of sugar or some eggs.
(Do people even do that any more?)
We would actually fight over
who got to run past the yellow rose bush
and down the trodden path
through the Alden's yard
with the empty coffee cup.

Because we didn't go back home
with just sugar or eggs.
We usually got two giant oatmeal cookies
and a story from Mrs. Alden.

Once Mr. Alden took an old
turtle shell and made a head
and legs and tail for it out
of carved clothespins.
It was truly folk art.
And after playing with it forever,
he finally gave it to us.
I have no idea what happened to it.

He crafted a rocking chair out
of sassafras and woven reeds
and gave it to Mom.
I remember it being in
our front room for awhile-
and then-
who knows?
Nine kids could produce
a lot of damage.
I imagine the reeds were
eventually unwoven
or it was rocked so much
that it fell apart.

He even painted an oil painting
of our pet Beagle, Private.
I remember it being really
primitive and out of perspective
and Private was smiling.
That dog had about two hundred teeth
in that portrait!

As kids, we only saw
the cookies and the gifts
when we thought about our neighbors.

But to Mom, they were so much more.

They were a link to adult conversation,
support when she was ill,
a group of people that would
keep an eye on her children
as they played in the road
or warned of strangers that
didn't belong.

She laughed with them,
shared their times of grief,
and watched their lives grow old.

Times sure have changed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who 'da Thunk It?

Dear Husband,

Happy Anniversary!
Thirty four years
ago we took our wedding vows in the preacher's house, blind to the future- yet, willing to take a chance at facing the world together. I guess we could both lie and say it's all been a big, fun trip. But anyone who has been married knows that it's not all kisses and candy. It's hard work. It's dedication.
It's ups and downs and ins and outs and emotions too big for our hearts. We sure have had our share of better and worse.
Marriage is so much more than sharing a bed. It's sharing moments and events.Like picking out a lamp for the living room, or taking turns driving on a long trip, or nursing one another when the flu hits.
It's laughing at a movie, rubbing feet, eating breakfast at 3 a.m. and snapping photos in front of the Christmas tree.
But it's also grieving together when our parents died, burying our favorite dogs, walking the floors at night when the kids had an earache. It's fighting about money, angry about events, depressed over things we had no control of.
It's joy over our children, yet a fear for their safety. A peace when they've grown, yet a slight break in our hearts- a tiny hole in our world. It's the thrill of grandchildren and knowing that love surpasses generations and age. It's hope for the future. It's fondness for the past. It's going to sleep every night with our pillows touching and our arms entwined.
It's knowing that no matter how bad things get, we have each other. And that no matter how good things get, we still want each other to share it all with.
It's Heaven. It's Hell. It's peace and harmony and chaotic confusion. It's colorful and black and sweet and sour and funny and sad and a zigzag of years that lead a path to today.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for marrying me when I know you just wanted to take off in the sunset with your Eagles albums and your dog Abe and never have any responsibilities. Thank you choosing me, especially when all those other girls would step over Brad Pitt to get to you. (Or so you said.) :) Thank you for giving me second chances when I burned dinner, overdrew our bank account, drove the tractor into the truck, and accidentally dyed my hair red. Thank you for letting me squeeze your hand into a purple pulp of swollen fingers while I was in labor three times. Thanks for being there to smile down at me when they wrapped those babies up for us to adore.
Thanks for sharing poopy diapers, training bras, baseball bats, and college entrance forms. Thanks for understanding PMS, menopause, and the need for a new purse.
What more can I say?
The whole world knows I love you, love you.
The whole world knows I cannot ever stop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stop. Look. Listen.

Yesterday was the first day of Autumn.

And here I was,
spouting off about something
as mundane as crackers.

But, that's how life is, you know.

We are always too busy doing
the truly unimportant things-
while the things that matter
go unnoticed.

We are so caught up in going-
that we fail to breathe.

And how sweet the Autumn air!

I look out upon the treeline
and see hints of orange and red-
dying leaves turning colors
for our pleasure-
the sky growing inky and cool
for our entertainment.

I also see days lost.
Time that cannot be recovered.
Birds flew.
Flowers bloomed.
Sun set.
Grass grew.

The calendar grew thin.

There were falling stars
and butterflies
and lilacs sharing their soft perfume-
and where was I?
Probably worrying about
what to fix for dinner,
when to pay the electric bill,
or watching Oprah.

The stars burned out.
The butterflies fluttered away.
The lilacs wilted into
purple puddles on the
spring ground.
And I missed it.

My husband is always teasing me
that I'm off picking flowers
when important things need done.
It's true.

But is fixing the roof
or washing the car
or repairing the lawnmower
really more important
than gathering Black-eyed Susans
or freeing the milkweed silk
or hunting smooth stones
or finding pretty leaves?

I find myself drawn to nature.
As though it is the only
door to sanity.
I sometimes feel like I must
touch it,
feel it,
be surrounded by it
in order to function.
I feel like it is telling me to
slow down,
take it easy,
be grateful.

Take today to open your eyes,
fill up your senses,
and saturate your heart
with the important things in life.

Autumn is here.
But Autumn is short.

The calendar indeed grows thin...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ticked Off Tuesday

I'm venting today.
Taking a good long gripe
about nothing in particular,
but announcing just a
smidgen of things
that perturb me lately.

I was doing just fine.
Cooking dinner.
Minding my business.

Until I decided to open
a box of Ritz crackers.

Those four wax-paper sleeves
were all lined up nicely in
the big red box-
but who knew that it
would take Edward Scissorhands
to open one of those suckers?

My gosh- it was practically
Hurricane proof, even!

Then, of course, it couldn't open
on the designated seam,
but instead, it burst wide open,
sending cracker Frisbees
all over the kitchen floor.

Then there was the challenge of
putting them back in the box
and maintain their freshness.


Twist the wax paper?
It untwists.
Fold it over?
It unfolds.
Think you've got it under control?
Suddenly a cracker face
will appear all bare and uncovered
laughing at your apparent idiocy.

It's enough to drive
a woman mad, I tell you!

Same way with cereal.
Why can't they make giant ZipLocks
on all this stuff?

Why can't these people team up
with Martha Stewart and simply
sell crackers and cereal in
those darling plastic containers?

I'll tell you why!
Because these manufacturers make
ba-zillions of dollars on crackers
and cookies and cereal and croutons
that we throw away!!!!

I bet if they started using specialty seals
on all their packaging
that they'd go broke.

I mean, for heaven's sake-
They can make locks for guns
and locks for chastity belts,
and locks for teenage diaries-
but they can't make a freakin' lock for
a sleeve of crackers?

I can't count the times that
I've sat down to enjoy a rice cake-
and instead of the pleasant crunch-
I get a disturbing mouthful
of popped-rice-Styrofoam, gone soggy.

But even some of those Ziplocs don't work.

Have you ever tried to get a package of
shredded cheese open?
Especially when the first zip doesn't
go all the way across-
so you have to take a giant steak knife
to cut your way through the plastic
so that you can finally get to the real
gripper lock that requires you to pull
both sides with greasy fingers
from the lasagna
and you end up having to cut the whole
darn bag up trying to get the cheese out.

Here again, Kraft makes a fortune
off our dried up, moldy, green cheese.

Well, that's it for today folks.
Just food for thought...
food for thought.

Next time we'll talk about
crippled grocery carts.

But, I warn you-
the language isn't gonna be pretty!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Have you ever seen
the destruction that a tornado
leaves after it spins like crazy
across the countryside?

Well, that's what my
house looks like inside.
And I'm ready to go to the
cellar now and hibernate
for a month or so until
things are tidied up a bit.

We are getting new carpet
in most of the house next week.
And I'm sorry if it sounds like
I'm bragging,
because I'm not.
I've waited almost ten years.

In all that time,
I've resorted to throw rugs,
the Rug Doctor, spot remover,
Resolve, and creative furniture placement.
And, since most of my floor has been
the original plywood-
I've had splinters, cold feet,
and a deflated ego.

Face it- every person has their priorities.
And carpet has never been one of ours.
When we built on a few years ago,
we just never got around to finishing
the entire project.
Probably was mostly a money thing-
but it was also a complacent thing.
We just got used to the way things were.

The grand kids were spitting,
little crawling babies back then-
and carpet would not have fared well.

Anyways- on to the story.

Since this major historical event
is to take place next week,
every single thing-
furniture- clothes-knick-knacks-
EVERYTHING in six rooms
has to be removed
and placed in the garage.

Think about it.
Scary, isn't it?

Saturday we tore out the old carpet
and it was like an Oklahoma dust storm.
I could have planted an oak tree
in the residue underneath that
old padding.

But it also brought back memories
of all the work we've put into this house.

When we bought it several years ago,
it was 900 square feet.
There were no walls-
only two by fours framing odd shaped rooms.
My daughter Becca even fell through
the floor in the bathroom.

We rewired, re-plumbed, removed,
repositioned and remodeled the whole place.
And all the kids did their part.

It was a team effort
and the results totally satisfying.

This morning I walked across
the old wooden floor
in the living room
and recalled the first time that
my husband and I came here.

We huddled together in a dark closet
that was positioned in the front corner.
I held a flashlight as he attempted to
find the fuse box.
It was cold and dark
and the place was creepy.
I kept imagining a monster hiding
in that closet behind us.

The next few months
we ate drywall dust,
had crock pot meals,
had Fiberglas insulation
stuck to our lungs,
mashed fingers,
poked heads,
and were bruised, beaten,
and battered.

The coffee in our cups
turned to ice.
We worked in layers of clothing-
and at one point I was so inflated
with coats and gloves and
scarves and insulated coveralls
that I had to go through the
doors sideways.

We were zombies then.
But it was all worth it in the end.

The result wasn't fancy or rich
or fashionable or cool.

It was just home.

Where the sheets were clean,
the coffee was hot,
the blankets were warm,
the laughter was loud,
the food was good,
and love was infinite.

I feel like I'm in Phase 2 now.
I'm getting tired and beaten down.

But at least the closets are getting cleaned.
I'm finding bank statements
from the twentieth century
and baby books
and old poetry
and greeting cards
(that I've kept for what reason?)
and memories packed away
until now.

I really could have gone the rest of
my life without new carpeting.
But it might feel nice to roll out of bed
in the morning and feel that
cushy rug under my feet.

And know for certain
there are no monsters hiding
in the closet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One NightStand

I'm in the process-
of weeding my house.

No- not outside-

How did so much grow
and accumulate?
How did four pillowcases
turn to twenty?
Or three pair of flip-flops
into twelve?

It's a major job,
but I'm almost glad
that I have to do it.
I'm hoping the results
are liberating.

it would be nice
to have it all looking like
a spread in
House Beautiful magazine-
or an ad for Pottery Barn.

But I can tell you right now
that's not gonna happen.

Well, it's because of my nightstand.

The full color ads for
Ethan Allen or
Pier One always show
an immaculate bedroom
with matching nightstands.

On each nightstand
is a matching lamp-
some tiny sentimental photo,
or a modern vase.

That is all.
Nothing else.
Clean, complete, concise,
totally impractical!

Okay- where's the phone?
It's right there on my nightstand
in case the kids get
stranded in a ditch at midnight-
or if my sister calls at nap time-
or if I have to call 911 because
my neighbor's stealing watermelon.
(? Don't know where that one came from...)

then there's the box of tissue.

Always there nearby.
There is nothing worse
than sneezing like a fog horn
and having to get up
from a warm snugly bed
to blow your nose.

Occasionally, there's a book
on the nightstand also.
And a magazine-
and some paper for notes-
so that I can write down
where the ditch is located
that my children might be
stranded in.
So- then ideally-
there has to also be a pen
or pencil or crayon-
or all three-
and in order to write the note,
I have to be able to see-
so I need my glasses handy.
And a lamp to turn on
in case it's dark
and I can't find
the tissues and my
nose is dripping.
Of course, there must be
a phone book, too
for emergency numbers
or late-night pizza cravings.
And sometimes I get
that little tickle in my throat
so I try to keep a few
cough drops on the table-
and a glass of water-
and breath mints just in case
my husband decides to
get romantic after I just had the
double dose of garlic bread at dinner.

ADD to all of that,
the alarm clock,
snack crackers,
two giant TV remotes,
and a faint sprinkling of dust.

I need a cafeteria table next to my bed!
My sweet mama- who are they kidding?
Don't be fooled by those magazine ads!
No human on Earth has nightstands
like the pictures
unless they simply don't use their bedrooms.

I bet even super-neat-and-organized
Martha Stewart
has a messy nightstand.
A photo of herself,
a glue gun and glue sticks,
cook books,
tea cup and saucer,
petite cucumber sandwich snacks,
cell phone,
cute Day Planner,
home made self carved pencil,
and a giant mirror.

I'm trying to be open-minded.
Trying to pare down-
toss out-
and reduce.

Maybe I can let go of the
three-headed monkey statue,
but I'm not promising anything yet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Invisible Man


Come Here!

Yeah, just a little closer.
Do you see me?

Do I look like a wart?

Just wondering.

Because my family
thinks I'm a worry wart.
And that sure doesn't
sound very attractive.

It brings to mind those
ugly squash/pumpkin/gourd things
that are all bumpy and disfigured
and no one at the orchard
wants them.

But I do believe it is true
that worry makes you ugly.
It ages you prematurely,
causes health problems,
and keeps you from
a fruitful life.

I once heard someone
describe worrying
as "paying interest on a loan
that you may not ever owe".

We are taking away a part of ourselves
for something that is not even visible.
It's stress.
And stress is the
all-consuming invisible man
that steals our happiness.

Personally, stress works it's damage
on me in two distinct ways:
1. I stuff my face with food
2. I don't eat at all

Sadly, number one
has prevailed lately.

But even number 2
is not a healthy way
of dealing with problems.

Most of my worry could be
alleviated by being more organized.
I'd save myself from worrying about
whether this had been paid,
or that had been done,
or if things were scheduled as planned.

Of course, no parent
ever stops worrying about their kids.
But I am trying to teach myself
to relax more where they are concerned.
I can't run their lives for them.
I can't be there every moment.

I've learned that all I can do
is pray-
for their protection and health-
and for their lives to be guided
by Christian principles
and wise decisions
and unselfish motives.

I can remind them-
(as I always do)
to watch out for deer on the road,
be nice, beware the other driver, take some cold medicine, wash the cut well, don't drink and drive, and balance your checkbook.

God has to do the rest.

I read a perfect quote the other day
and I try to recite it every time
I feel that wart start to swell
up and fester into ugliness.

Please copy it and keep it with you.

"Worry does not remove the sorrow of tomorrow.
It removes the joy of today."

Don't worry.
Be happy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's Play Chicken

September is half over
and I wouldn't be
doing my job as a blogger
if I didn't inform you all that
this is Chicken Month.

I suppose you've really got to
hand it to them.
Chickens are more than just birds.
They've saved fat women
and choked dogs for years now.

And I imagine it's got to be
a difficult task standing up next to
the all-delicious-self-basting turkeys
that dominate the month of November.

But one thing I have noticed is
that chickens look better with
their feathers on-
and turkeys look better naked.
And golden.
And stuffed with moist flavorful dressing.
Topped with thick awesome gravy.

well, enough about food dreams.
We are here to salute the chicken.

My dad was usually a very sensible man.
But once upon a time,
he came home with some
sweet baby chicks.
All fluffy and yellow
and peeping like a mini-microwave does
when the Hot Pocket is ready.

We were thrilled.
We were ecstatic to have
these new pets.
It was such a change from stray cats
and pound puppies
and gold fish from the carnival.

But gradually,
these balls of peeping fur
became tall, lean, molting,
(sometimes crowing)-
unrecognizable morphs.

And they grew wild-
running amok in the garden and yard-
clawing up worms
and garbage
and jetting around like
feathers on wheels.

My youngest sister Tina
was probably only about
five or six years old at the time-
and she decided to hide under
the bushes from the crazed chickens.

Bad idea.

They just followed her
and gave her a good sharp peck
to the face.
Of course what was probably just
a bit of a cut
became- in our eyes-
a flood of gore and blood
that brought horrific screams.
And brought my mom and dad
flying out of the house to
save poor Tina.

There was only one thing to do.
No speedy trial.
No judge and jury.
Dad made the decision to wring
those chickens necks!

After finally catching them,
he gave one quick twist
of their murderous feathered necks,
and they were as limp
as a wet noodle.

We cried.
We pouted.
We hated Tina!
Our beloved pets were annihilated
right in front of our eyes!

Linda and I found the chicken feet
out in the weeds
and placed them in an old shoe box.
We kept them as a memorial
of our punky poultry pets
that met a tragic end.

I think that for a few weeks afterward
we avoided Dad.
Not only because were were mad-
but because we were afraid
that any fighting or bickering
between us kids
might result in a neck popping.

And then Mom found the chicken feet
under our bed
after the smell almost ran everyone
out of the house.

Now days when I see those
little Easter chicks that peep sweetly-
yearning to be adopted-
I just turn my head
and walk the other way.

It takes all I have to
celebrate Chicken Day.

But Turkey Day-
Well, that's another story....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The past few days have been
fairly hectic around here.
My daughter and son-in-law
and my two grandchildren
have temporarily moved in.

The house they were renting was sold
and their thirty days of searching
ended up with no acceptable prospects.
Their only other option was to come live
at my house for awhile.

It's kinda like a giant sleepover here.
With noise and snacks and laundry
and dirty dishes and cartoons and movies
and doors flapping and the
water heater working overtime.

It takes me back to a time
when I had to settle temporarily
for a less than perfect place to live.

We owned a large building in town
where my husband ran his plumbing shop.
We ended up having to move in there
for awhile as a family.

It was fairly comfortable.

My husband built some walls
and improved the kitchen area
and we plopped our king sized bed
into his once private office-

We stuck the kids in a storage area
with a brand new Nintendo system
and full reign to the soda and snack machines.

There was an existing bathroom
with shower and sink
and we pretty much had everything
a person needs in a house.

Except that it was never home.

I missed flower beds
and long walks through the woods
and listening to the birds sing.
I missed quiet
and my crooked mailbox
and the wreath on my door.

I started to envy
people with clotheslines
and dinner tables
and picture post card lives.

I started to hate the carpet-
the drapes-
the hum of the fridge-
the tick of the clock-
the naked feel of a cold, block
building that kept me prisoner.

We ended up spending two Christmas's there.

I likened us to the Boxcar Children.
A little family doing what had to be done
and making the most of it.

As a mother, I tried to make it fun
and comfortable-
but, at the same time,
hide the sadness that welled up
inside of me.

I am so blessed and thankful
for my home now.
It's quiet in the country
and I can hear the birds and the wind
and catch the autumn leaves.

The hum of the fridge
and the tick of the clock
are comforting reminders
of where I am.
There's a wreath on the door
and my very own mailbox,
and a happiness that cannot be explained.

I try to wear my daughter's shoes for awhile.

I try to imagine the effort it takes
to wake up to a small bedroom
stacked with boxes of clothing-
and having to dig out bluejeans
and deodorant
and find some organization
to the mess.

I know it's got to be a sickening feeling
to lay in bed in the morning
knowing this is not your house-
and wanting more than anything
just to have a real place to live.
I'm sure she hates the humming fridge
and the ticking clock
and the walls that hold her prisoner.

I have faith that they will soon
find a suitable rental home
in their school district
and they'll be back to their
slumber-party-filled lives
and will love it even better than before.

Right now,
I'm remembering the smell
of toaster pastries in the morning-
heavy backpacks by the door,
late night giggles from the bedroom,
and long drawn-out stories
about school and friends
and playground adventures.

I know that there will be
plenty of time for my quiet later.

I know that they will be too soon gone-

...and that this trial will be just a memory
that will make them
even more grateful.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Facebook Quotes That Made History

Just a little MONDAY MADNESS....

facebook Home Profile Friends Inbox

Abraham Lincoln:Going to theater 2nite!

John Wilkes Booth
: I hear the box seats r the best

ster says I think we'll win tomorrows battle
at little Big Horn

Sitting Bull: How?


Young George Washington: says I'm excited to try out my new ax!


Old George Washington: I found a termite in my tooth!

The Orkin Man: Call me!


Sir Issac Newton: Hey, guys, I think I've discovered gravity!


Pastor Jim Jones: Free Kool-aid at the compound on Saturday!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!

Octomom: I just had a baby!


Walt Disney: I just bought 160 acres in Anaheim, California
and I'm gonna fill it with cool rides and a cartoon mouse


et: Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Romeo: Just chillin with my peeps, woman! Cut out the
freakin' Shakespeare, will ya?
It's enough to make a man wanna drink poison!


Friday, September 11, 2009

From Cartoons To Carnage

I'll never forget that day.

My granddaughter Cady
was a year old
and we were watching
Bear In The Big Blue House.
Bear is big and orange
and full of fun.
And Cady loved Bear's friend,
Tutter- a little blue-gray mouse
whose tiny voice was just
so precious.

The scene was colorful and happy
and the weather was cool and "fallish"
and we had no worries.

But then I got the call
from my sister Tina.

"Oh, my gosh- what do you think
about all that?"

"All what?" I asked, sensing the
fear in her voice.

Then she proceeded to tell me that
the Twin Towers had been hit
by an airplane.
At that time, no one really knew
for sure what had caused it,
but I had to turn off Bear
and see for myself.

Hours of sickening depression took over.
Then fear and hopelessness and
compassion for all the victims.

One day of news poured into weeks
of watching and crying and trying
to grasp the evil event.

My life turned gray and black.
Sooty and smoky.
Weepy and dusty.
Weak and weary.

I became mesmerized
and hypnotized
with the scenes of panic
and rescue
and grief.
I became despondent
and disillusioned.

I wondered how my life
could go from a colorful cartoon
to the blackness of a terrorist attack.
It was unreal.

Gradually, the color came back
into my life.
I made myself shake off
the residue of Hell.

But for the first time
in my life,
I feared that I would never get
to see my kids grow up-
that maybe life as we knew it was over.

But somehow-
Bear and Tutter

continued their childish mischief
and I watched daily as Cady's face
lit up with smiles and laughter.

Being alive and loving
was the best thing I could do
for this poor old world.

Today I pray again
in memory of 9-11
and the lives that were lost.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crazy Eights Survey

One of my new blogging friends, Mrs. C,
has tagged me with a Crazy Eight survey-
or questionnaire, or whatever you call
those subtlety-revealing inquisitive
Face-booky kinda Q&A forms.

And so I'm here today to reply
and to give you a further insight
into what makes me tick-
or rattle- or coo-coo.
(Or whatever...)

Eight Things I Enjoy:

1. throwing theme parties
2. Yard sales
3. my grandchildren/children
4. cheesecake & hot coffee
5. silence
6. autumn walks
7. good music
8. my husband's kisses

Eight Favorite Movies:

1. Lonesome Dove
2. Heart and Souls
3. On Borrowed Time
4. It's a Wonderful Life
5. Nat. Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
6. Darby O'Gill and the Little People
7. Somewhere in Time
8. You Can't Take it With You

Eight Places I Want To Live:

1. a log cabin in the woods
2. a little cottage in the mountains
3. a private beach house
4. a tree house
5. a hobby farm
6. a rustic ranch
7. a stone house
8. wherever my family is

Eight Things On My Bucket List:

1. Own a cabin in the woods
2. See the Grand Canyon
3. Take a cruise
4. Be a great grandma
5. Be a size 7
6. Write and publish a book
7. Travel more
8. Clean my closets

Eight Things I Want in a Mate:

1. humor
2. compassion
3. romance
4. love
5. a great smile
6. unselfishness
7. have great work ethic
8. be a good father

So- there you have it!

Now- if you take a few things in each category,
my life would be perfect!

I can see me now...

...A size seven- in a log cabin in the woods-
...eating cheesecake and drinking hot coffee-
...watching Christmas Vacation-
...and laughing with my husband- newly finished novel stacked on the desk
...along with a dozen cruise brochures...

they don't call it
CRAZY eights for nothin', you know!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thrifty Wipes

With the economy like it is,
I've been one of the many consumers
that have taken steps to save money
and utilize creative spending.

I've discovered that there are
generic products
that are just as good or better
than their more expensive competitors.
Kidney beans.
Tomato soup.
Canned pineapple.

But one thing I have also learned
is that you just don't scrimp
on certain things.

Take for instance, paper towels.

I had been using Viva forever.
It was thick and absorbent-
(somewhere between a maxi-pad
and a Sham-Wow).
Most times it was more towel
than I needed-
lots of it going to waste on
a tiny coffee spill
or a dead ant.

I usually got my paper towels
at WalMart for a good price-
one thin roll for under a dollar.
I thought that was reasonable-
considering they could practically
be washed, dried and
used as a baby trampoline.

But then the price starting rising.
So I started looking at the other brands.
They looked good.
White. Fat. Thick. Quilted. Cheap.

One thing I do want to say is-
"What's up with the Teddy Bears?"
Who wants a bunch of goofy Teddy Bears
printed on their paper towels?
Or mushrooms?
Or hearts and puppies?

What's with that, anyway?

Eventually, I gave up the Viva
for Brawny.
Now, it wasn't quite as absorbent,
but worked perfectly for my needs
and whisked up my culinary
catastrophes without much waste.

Then I got to thinking if
Brawny was okay-
then how about going even cheaper?
Like Sparkle, or Decorator Towels
or Generic Wipes.

Take it from me-
don't go there.
Those fat double rolls are deceiving.

I found myself rolling off three-
four- sometimes five sheets
at a time, just to soak up
a half dozen sausage links
or a leaky taco.

They were a cross between
cheese cloth and butterfly wings.

And they disappeared like crazy.
One minute, the dispenser was
stuffed with a giant roll,
then the next thing I knew-
the cardboard cylinder appeared.

As disappointed as I was,
I still haven't gone all the way back
to buying Viva.
I've kept a moderate priced
paper towel in my kitchen lately
and I'm satisfied it will do
any dirty job I encounter.

And I love rubbing those
little Teddy Bear faces
in all kinds of crap!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Miles of Smiles

Well, it's great to be back
in my blogging world,
but I was hoping my brain
would be bursting with
all new and improved posts.

Not likely.

If anything, my little reprieve
just made me more lazy
and a bit more cynical toward
my writing.

(And I am back on my old computer
because the ACER is being
repaired for the third time.)
Make a note of that when you go to buy
a new one, please.

But, I did miss all of you!

The 61 miles of yard sales
came with good weather
and it stretched out for three days.
We started Thursday afternoon
and finished up Saturday morning.

Somehow I was elected once again
to keep a running total of
how many sales we hit
and a tab on who spent what.

Apparently my sisters don't realize
that I am horrible with numbers.
I have to use ESP to balance my checkbook.
(Error Some Place).

We went to 63+ sales
and spent a total of $158.50.

That's not bad.
Considering we have spent
almost as much at local Saturday sales.
You have to realize of course,
that we couldn't purchase large items
or furniture- due to car space.

I think the majority was clothing.
jewelry, and household items.

The total did not include our meals
or water breaks, or candy bar snacks.
Or the bake sales, cookies,
or muffins that greeted us
on our journey.

I was a little disappointed,
though at the time it was fun
being with the girls
and breaking away from real life stuff.
I am so thankful that we have
this yearly tradition of
Sister Weekend.

It was relaxing to sit in the back seat
and watch the scenery-
anxious for the next stop
and hoping it is full of treasures.

But, it's also good to be back home-
relaxing in my desk chair,
watching the blogging world-
hoping I can spit out at least
one more good entry
before month's end.

Coffee's hot.
Slipper's are warm.
My old computer is humming like a 747.

Life is good.