A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

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Normal or Nuts?

Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News has a segment called “Normal or Nuts”? that I get to see from time to time which is what made me come up with this blog title…

I’ve pondered some personality quirks that I & my hubby possess and decided that it would be a good question to ask. “Am I normal or nuts?” You see the other day when I was feeling a bit sequestered and suffering a bit of cabin fever I realized that I ALWAYS feel better when I make my bed!! My new comforter

I can be having a troublesome, stressful day and all I really need to do is make my bed and I feel better!! Is that normal or nuts? When I was pondering this, I was thinking about a conversation my younger daughter and I had recently in which she stated that she could lower her stress level by vacuuming her carpet! If her carpet has lines in it from vacuuming she feels better! Is that normal or nuts? LOL

I get so frustrated sometimes with my hubby’s little idiosyncrasies. He is what I would call “very particular” about so many things. If he’s EVER gotten sick after eating at a certain establishment (does not matter if it was 30 years ago and under different ownership/management) he will NEVER eat there again! Normal or Nuts?

The other day we were having a conversation about tennis shoes. You see, he needs new ones really bad. He has been looking for/shopping for new ones for about 3 months now!! (Do they still call them that?) Athletic shoes? Anyway, I digress. He’s looked in several different cities, shopped online etc; and still has no shoes!! He insists on only wearing Reeboks because he gets the best fit from them and feels the most comfortable. He has been this way since I’ve known him (17 years). PARTICULAR!! He won’t spend a whole lot of money (under $100) which also limits his choices!! PARTICULAR!! He has worn the same “model” for several years now and has them in white and black. (Both are wore out). Oh, did I tell you they have to be ALL WHITE? or ALL BLACK? LOL PARTICULAR!! They can’t have a blue stripe, red stripe, green stripe etc; or any other color on them!! Ugh!! He is so darn PICKY!!
Wait a minute – keep reading…I haven’t even gotten to the punch line on this one yet.…so the other day, he thought he had finally found them online and was fixin’ to purchase them…but then he discovered they didn’t have the leather upper, but were canvas. My perplexed state of mind just didn’t understand why that mattered!! My husband replied with, “it’s winter!!” like DUH!! I just didn’t understand that position! Is he NORMAL OR NUTS? or am I? You see, I lived in North Dakota most of my life and always wore canvas tennis shoes! It was snowy, 40 below zero and wet! I get it! But, we live in E. Texas where we rarely get a freezing rain, snow or cold weather! I don’t get it! To top it all off my hubby grew up in Texas, is hot natured and yet he’s worried about his feet getting cold???? NORMAL OR NUTS? Needless to say, he hasn’t purchased any tennis shoes yet!

When he eats potato salad, he wants WARM potato salad and won’t eat it when it’s COLD. NORMAL OR NUTS?? When he eats jelly, he wants it room temperature, not cold out of the fridge…so we just don’t buy it in the jar because once opened it must be refrigerated!! NORMAL OR NUTS??

The reason I like Netflix is because I can watch all episodes in sequential order and not miss one. If I miss one, it really messes with my brain trying to figure out where it left off and what I missed! NORMAL OR NUTS?

I like to do things in order of priority…if I have three sales for quilts, cord covers, embroidered towels etc; I will complete and fill the first one first, the second one second etc; I think that’s pretty NORMAL isn’t it?

This blog would be an exhaustive one if I were to continue…suffice it to say…if I’m NORMAL – that’s great! But, if I’m NUTS…that’s kinda cool too! I don’t really care…now hubby, on the other hand, well I’m stuck with him cause neither of us is going anywhere – so I’ll just choose my battles and the tennis shoe battle is not one I care to quibble about. He’ll find some shoes eventually, and if I stay un-involved I can’t be blamed if they don’t work out! LOL!

P.S. It’s gonna be a good day. My bed is made!!

My first born turns 45!!

Well, I was going to write this post one week ago today when my son actually turned 45, but I was out of town tending to my grand kitty and so my draft of my his 45th birthday remained in limbo. Sort of like our relationship lately…but I digress.

Wow! Where has the time gone? My ONLY son turned 45 Oct. 12th!! I was 18 when I gave birth to Troy in 1969. Here he is playing ball in 1975…Little ball player

I was wondering who else might have been born in 1969…so I did a little research: hmmmm

Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Donnie Wahlberg, Jack Black

Jennifer Aniston, Tyler Perry, Marilyn Manson, Chaz Bono

Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee’ Zellweger, JUST TO NAME A FEW…

Troy’s dad and I were married but were not together. My mom was by my side the day Troy was born for 13 hrs. of hard labor and subsequent C-section. I was a child having a child!! I was scared to death and miserable!! Even though the “shotgun wedding” was well intentioned, the marriage was doomed before it began! I discovered I was pregnant in Jan of my senior year. I married in Feb. Due to major morning sickness I was forced to drop out right before graduation. I never considered adoption or abortion and my son was born the following Oct. Maybe my son would have had a better life I I had considered adoption? I don’t know. I just know that I loved him from the moment of conception and couldn’t consider any other way. My mom agreed to help me and be a support.

So, six days after Troy was born we went home to my parent’s house. That was not what I had envisioned. Going home to my parental home with a new born son when all my friends were going to football games etc; was not part of my life plan! Hmmmmm…

My mom had given birth to my little sister just two years earlier, so Troy’s #1 playmate those first few years was his Aunt Tammy…Christmas pals

I loved my boy, but he had to compete for the affection of his grandparents, since they had a little girl that was born late in their lives. It was so unfair, but a fact of his little life.

Troy’s dad went to Viet Nam and eventually served me with divorce papers so he could remarry. I worked, I dated and sometimes dated men that weren’t good father figures for Troy. But then, when Troy was 5 years old things turned around for us when I met up with an old school friend (the brother of one of my closet girlfriends)and we married. We were now a trio. Troy’s step-dad and I agreed that he should adopt Troy so that when he began first grade he wouldn’t have to be questioned about the change in his last name. Troy’s step-dad and I met and got re-acquainted when we met in a bar after a night of drinking. That should have been my first red flag. But, as we often do when we are young and stupid we ignore all the warning signs.

We were together 10 years. Troy was a teenager by the time his step-dad and I split up and the damage had already been done. The bright side in those ten years was that Troy had two little sisters that were born!! 1977 - 26 yrs. old (2)

Theresa was born in 1977 when Troy was 7 1/2 yrs old. Tanya came next when he was fixing to turn 10 in 1979. He loved his little sisters and was a great babysitter! I heard much later in life when they were all grown that he used to put on rock concerts in the living room with his buddies when we were out and he was in charge! LOL His little sisters were told to sit on the sofa and not move while he and his buddies entertained them. I’m surprised that we never got a call from neighbors.

Anyway, there’s much more history and much more I could say, but suffice it to say I miss my boy! You see, Troy hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year now. I sent him a beautiful birthday card that spoke from my heart in secret hopes that it might open a door. Maybe it will – it hasn’t so far. He knows how to reach me. In fact, maybe he’ll read this post. He knows about my blog. In fact, the last time he got mad at me…it was because of this blog. The time previous to that it was because of Facebook.

Maybe you understand a little bit more why I don’t really like all this Social Media crap. Your thoughts?

I’m a clock watcher…

clock

I just recently realized this about myself.  I’ve always been a clock watcher..I guess I never really gave it much thought until we started taking care of grandchildren, but I’m very regimented and a “scheduled” person and have always built my day around the clock.  How about you?  I’m not talking about normal stuff…like certain time to get up, certain time to go to work , certain to to go to bed….I mean REALLY EXTREME clock watching to the MAX!  I am constantly looking at the clock or my watch.

In fact, I recall one time many years ago when I innocently glanced at my watch as one of my co-workers was coming back from her break – she jumped all over me for trying to keep track of how long of a break she took!!  I really wasn’t checking her break time AT ALL!  I was just looking at my watch!  It’s almost a nervous habit!!  I have to work hard to not glance at my watch when I’m having a conversation with someone for fear they will be insulted or think I’m bored with the conversation.

While I was having this realization, I also realized that my husband IS NOT A clock watcher!!  He’s an early riser and often out of bed before I am.  I will ask him what time he got up.  He often does not know. How can you NOT KNOW?? Isn’t the first thing you do when you awake is to look at the clock?  Or I will ask him “do you remember what time you gave Jackson his bottle?”  Nope! Nada!  Not a clue!  I always look at the clock before I feed Jackson a bottle, so I know when he starts fussing if it’s feeding time again!  Don’t all mommy’s, daddy’s, grandmother’s, grandfather’s do that?

Or have you ever had a day, like I do sometimes when you look at your watch and you say to yourself, “OMG! It’s almost Noon and I’ve gotten absolutely nothing accomplished so far!!”  That’s a common message that plays in my head often!

Or…”wow, half the day is gone and I’ve got so much more to do before we leave for church tonight!”

I also am always “timing” myself with my fitness routine.  So many minutes on the treadmill, so many minutes with weights, so many minutes of walking outside.  Pace is important too, but I’ve got to do at least as many minutes as I did the previous day and maybe even step it up a bit.  I have an app I use to “time” my walks.

I look at the clock when I walk in the door, look at the clock when I walk out the door.  I watch the clock when we are traveling and calculate in my head what kind of time we are making on the trip!!

Am I clock obsessed?  Or is this normal?  Maybe I should ask Dr. Keith Ablow is this ‘NORMAL or NUTS”?  When I get up in the middle of the night to go potty – I can tell you what time it was – each time!!

If I doze off or take a short nap during the day, I can tell you what time it was and how long I slept for..because I look at the clock before I doze off and as soon as I wake up!!  If I go shopping I can tell you how long I shopped for and what time I left and what time I came back.  In fact, I can tell you what my limit is – in other words, how long I will last shopping before I will wear out.  (Unless we stop/take a break and eat lunch).  LOL

When we take a trip – I CAN’T tell you how far it is in miles, but I CAN TELL you how many hours it is away from us!!  We have a 5 hr. drive today.  I’m fixin to leave – I was just killing time while hubby got ready to go…(It takes him an hour and a half to get ready -me, on the other hand about 20 minutes!)

Sincerely,

Your lovingly obsessed clock watcher …

Come and sit with me a while…

Come and sit with me a while….

I loved this and my fellow blogger, Diane inspired me to answer some of the questions she posed:

Here is my reply:

I envision us, Diane sitting in those Adirondack chairs sipping a cup of tea on a chilly morning covered up with two of my favorite lap size quilts, as we chat and become better acquainted. I find happiness in the world around me as well as the calm from within. I am a people lover, so people make me smile…especially people of like mind and faith. But, then there are those moments when I desire to be alone and allow my mind to wander or my creative juices to flow without any noise or interruption. I crave silence often!!

When I am low I call on a loving Savior who’s quick to comfort me and remind me that I’m chosen. You might find me on my knees in my little prayer closet or you mind find me reading His word. Once in awhile when I am down in the dumps I recognize the need to talk to someone “with skin on”…and will call on a best friend, someone I can trust (a person who will not mock, a person who will not gossip, a person who feels my pain and understands what I am going through.)

I recently told my husband on our 16th wedding anniversary that he was the one (besides the Lord) that gave me a feeling of safety, that helped me to know that no matter what – he was on my side and would always go to bat for me!!

I cherish the good childhood memories and can now laugh at most of the bad ones. I find myself embracing the title “Victor” rather than “Survivor” over my past and my dysfunctional family. They have helped me to become who I am today – and for that I am grateful.

I can tell you about a time when I performed the Heimlich maneuver on a young daughter when she was choking on a plastic Easter Egg – and how scared I was at the time, but how relieved I was when it worked!!

I would share my hurt & frustration with you of the many times I’ve witnessed someone being shunned or mistreated for whatever reason. I would share personal experiences of my own mistreatment and share with you how much I could relate to what they were going through. It truly is illogical!!

I would talk with you about the constant war I’m in regarding trying to eat right and exercise. I would share my embarrassment with you – knowing what to do, but not always doing it! I would tell you that cake is my cocaine LOL!! and that I just can’t have it in the house or I will eat it!! There would be times when I would be very quiet about my battle, and not say anything – but you would know as would so many of my other loved ones.

Diane, I’m not so sure I strike a very good balance between giving and taking – I’m much more a giver than a taker. I rarely ask for what I need – and you would know me to have a very “self-deprecating” personality…one that beats herself up way too much!! My friends would confirm that for you.

I work hard to stay on a schedule (same bedtime, same wake time each day) so that my body gets into a rhythm and I’m able to sleep. Sometimes it works, other times not – but I would share the good news of recently being prescribed Compounded hormones that have helped my insomnia tremendously. I love to have fun and you will often find me planning or organizing some type of get together or fellowship for that sole purpose!

At my age, I’m not planning a whole lot into the future. I take each day as it comes. That’s not to say I’m not a planner – just the opposite! List maker, organizer, lover of routine – that’s me! But, I’ve mellowed in my later years – thus I’m much more flexible than I was when I was younger.

In the seasons of life I find my faith grows stronger. He’s walked with me through many storms, but I’ve always discovered that there is sunshine on the other side of the mountain. I try to hold on and stay close to the ONE who can calm the wind and keep my chin up, because He sticks closer than a brother!!

That I had a brother who was in prison for 32 years – is no longer a secret! It was life changing for he and I when I began to share his story. That I had another brother that was adopted by my aunt and raised as my cousin, another once closely held secret that became an awesome love story between a brother and a sister who found each other later in life! My “secrets” are plentiful – many have suggested I write a book. And yes, there are some misdeeds I’m not proud of and some younger years that I lived void of a Savior. If only, I could have yielded to Him sooner!! So many mistakes could have been avoided!

But, no regrets – only joy that comes on that chilly morning, when you sit and chat with a friend over a cup of tea! 🙂

Some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I was just contemplating the other day how much I don’t know about my folks and how much I’ve had to find out second hand or from other sources about them and their past, and it made me kinda sad.  When we are younger oftentimes we don’t really take an interest in where older people “come from” or want to listen to the “story of their life”.  Unless we had folks that talked openly and freely about their past life (before, we, their children, came along) we don’t know much unless we ask.  I am the “family historian” in my family and therefore have done quite a lot of genealogical research on my family and have been amazed at the info I’ve discovered.  That being said, I cried when reminiscing the other day about some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I’m named after my father:  His and my middle name are both Leslie. (My granddaughter, Hannah also shares the same middle name).

That same father hung himself when I was just five years old.  He was an alcoholic.  That I know to be factual.  The rest (that he was a tormented soul and suffered with depression as Robin Williams did) is only my assumption.

I’ve always loved brussel sprouts!! Even when I was a small child the only vegetables I would eat were corn, cabbage and brussel sprouts!  Oh, I liked butter beans, too!

I’ve never weighed more than 115 lbs. until I was pregnant with my first child at the age of 18.  It’s been a battle ever since!

I won my first and only beauty pageant when I was just 11 years old at Girl Scout camp!  Nuff said.

I quit believing in the Easter bunny when my mom was too busy working, thus sent me to the store with $20 to buy my own Easter basket!  Sad day for me!  LOL

I quit believing in Santa Claus when my step-dad fell down the stairs in the middle of the night with the new record player Santa was bringing! LOL

Even though I wasn’t raised going to church, I have had a strong, profound faith in a God since I was as young as 7 or 8 years old.

We began a move from Pennsylvania to North Dakota in the middle of the night when I was just 6 yrs. old because my step-dad was running from a wife he was separated from at the time.  (My mom and I were his “new family” even though he left 3 small children behind.)  I think they call them “deadbeat dads” now.

I called my step-dad by his first name, “Bob” until I was in my 20’s.  (I wrote him a letter on his birthday one year, asking him permission to begin calling him “dad” – feeling unusually close to him at the time.)

I had a lot of teeth pain, cavities etc; when I was small.  (Mom was afraid of dentists, and therefore would not take me to the dentist.)  I, on the other hand, when old enough and financially responsible enough (age 24) began to have my teeth fixed.

I had one dental emergency in which the school insisted I go to the dentist.  I chipped my front tooth when I was 16 in gym class.  Mom was more scared than I was.

Footnote:  I have fond memories of mom packing my cavities with a cinnamon flavored “wax” – I think it was called Red Cross toothache medicine – and holding me on her lap/rocking me to sleep if I awoke in the middle of the night with a toothache.

I once owned a ton of “original” Barbie clothes.  I had the very first Barbie wedding gown!!.  I gave them all away to a playmate (before my mom knew) when I felt I had “outgrown” playing with dolls!

I also had the very first Barbie doll ever created!  OMG!  How I wish I had some of the great toys I once had – I wouldn’t have a $$ worry in the world!

Remember, Betsy Wetsy? How about Little Miss Echo?  The one baby doll I did hang onto, my mom gave to my little sister when she came along.  I was 16 and no longer interested in that baby doll with the plaster head, but she was still my doll!  I was her “Mommy Dearest”!! She had strapping tape on her head where it had cracked open when she fell down those same stairs my step-dad fell down with my record player!  LOL

I was a very picky eater as a child (with exception of those brussel sprouts!)  I was constantly complaining about what was being served.  My step-dad would tell me to “go out in the yard and eat worms”.

I can’t recall ever having a homemade birthday cake.  My cakes always came from the bakery and were beautiful, flower adorned, heavily frosted white cakes!!  I still love heavily frosted white cake to this day!! The real deal with the Crisco icing!!  I still want the end cut and the extra flower too!!  Oh, and I’ve got to have ice cream with it, too!!

I can’t recall my mom ever baking cookies!!  She was a pretty good cook, but not much of a baker!  On the other hand, I love to bake cookies and often did with my children when they were growing up, and now with my grandchildren too!

My step-dad was the one who woke me up in the morning, fixed my breakfast and took me to school when I was in Jr. High while my mom worked the early breakfast shift at a local restaurant.  My step-dad had been a cook in the Army and had owned his own restaurant in Pennsylvania prior to us moving to North Dakota – so I could request whatever my heart desired for breakfast.  The menu often included, french toast, eggs over easy, poached eggs, pancakes, always bacon (never sausage) and never HOT OR COLD CEREAL!  I still don’t like cereal!!

In high school (when I was 16) my little sister was born.  I was overjoyed to have a little sister, but not overjoyed to have lost my parent’s undivided attention!!  My mom began to work evening shift so daycare would not be necessary.  My step-dad and I took care of my little sister until I graduated from high school and was by then, pregnant with my own child.

I was once (when I was about 10 yrs. old) hit by a city bus.  I was riding my bike at the time and fortunately it was minor and I wasn’t seriously hurt.  I was only 1 block from my home at the time.

I have lived in six different cities in my lifetime.  1) Wilmington, DE 2) Thorndale, PA 3) Minot, ND 4) Minneapolis, MN 5) Fargo, ND 6) Longview, TX

My Uncle Paul Flynn (now deceased and Aunt Polly’s first husband) used to sit me on his lap and sing this song to me:  I loved it and him and can still hum the tune..

LINDA
Ray Noble with Buddy Clark

When I go to sleep
I never count sheep,
I count all the charms about Linda.

And lately it seems
in all of my dreams,
I walk with my arms about Linda.

But what good does it do me for Linda
doesn’t know that I exist?
Can’t help feeling gloomy,
think of all the lovin’ I’ve missed.

We pass on the street,
my heart skips a beat,
I say to myself, “Hello, Linda.”

If only she’d smile,
I’d stop for a while
and then I would get to know Linda.

But miracles still happen
and when my lucky star begins to shine,
with one lucky break,
I’ll make Linda mine.

I know there are more memories I could share but for now – I’ll close with that very fond one!  Be blessed, my cyber friends!

I am NOT my mother – or at least (in my dreams) I’m NOT!

My mother could be quite abusive when I was growing up.  She was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive from time to time – but I never thought of her that way until very much later in life.  She is still alive and 90 years old.  I haven’t seen her in person for the last five years, but here’s a pic of her today: ImageMy brother sent me this picture.  I was terribly shocked when I saw it!! My mom always kept herself up!  Her hair was always done, makeup just right, nails always polished etc;  Mom lives in North Dakota. (I live in Texas).

Don’t get me wrong – I love my  mother.  I’ve always loved her, even after I became an adult, addressed some of the “abuse issues” and recognized her shortcomings.  She did the best she could with what she had to work with.  Her upbringing wasn’t so great either.  I’m not excusing her negative behavior – just recognizing it for what it is.  

For as long as I can remember, I did not want to be like my mother. Primarily because of her “negative personality traits”. I really feel awful when those traits manifest themselves in me!! But it most cases – I really and truly – AM NOT MY MOTHER!

1) My mother has never sold a thing in her life. (I love to sell and have made a decent living selling everything from toys, home decor, furniture to insurance). Mom was a waitress almost her entire life. I think she was in her 70’s before she quit waiting tables.
2) My mother never dieted her entire life. Although she was never what I would consider overweight until she was over 40 – she has been ever since. No matter – she was happy just the way she was. You never heard the word “diet” leave her lips and she ate what she wanted always. (Not this girl! I started having weight issues when I started having children – and it’s been a daily battle ever since.)
3) My mother wasn’t “crafty” and hated sewing! She always worked outside the home, and when she was home you would find her tending to the needs of her family or watching TV. (I, on the other hand, have always loved crafts, sewing, gardening, decorating etc;) In fact, I recall at Christmas time mom wouldn’t decorate the house – so I would get whatever junk I could find in the house to decorate with so our home had a more “festive” flair during the holidays.
4) My mother doesn’t read. (I love to read and read every day! I read fiction and non-fiction alike and always have at least one book I’m reading). The only thing I ever witnessed my mother reading was the newspaper! I don’t think I ever saw her read a Women’s magazine – and I know I never witnessed her reading an actual book.
5) My mother wasn’t a “social butterfly” as I have so often been accused of being. Mom was a “workhorse” with a strong work ethic but beyond work and her home she didn’t do much. She definately didn’t “get together with the girls” ever, that I recall. She didn’t have a lot of close friends and everything she did outside of work and home she did with her husband.
6) My mom never baked cookies – or anything else for that matter! She was a good cook but my birthday cake was always from the bakery when I was growing up! (I love to bake and bake often. In fact, you will find me baking every day in December to make up goodie trays for friends. I baked with my kids when they were little and I now bake with the grandkids.)
7) My mom was not a church going woman. The only time I saw her darken the doorway of a church was when I was (as a child) singing in the choir. (She and dad would leave right after I was done singing). I went to church with playmates that had invited me and that early experience planted a hunger in me for the things of God and for church! (I’ve been more “in” than “out” of church for the past 30 years now – and am in church 3 times a week currently.)

For brevity’s sake I won’t go on about all the ways my mother and I aren’t alike…but would like to expound more on all the ways WE ARE ALIKE.

1) My mom & I are both very affectionate! If she knows you and likes you == get ready – cause a big wet sloppy “smooch” (as she would call it) is coming your way! We love to kiss and hug and hold the ones we love. It’s really kinda weird cause neither of my grown daughters are the “kissy, feely” type even though they got plenty of affection as children.
2) My mom & I both love to “nurture” with food. It’s the way we show our love for our family and friends. I get a great deal of comfort from knowing my pantry and frig are full and that I can whip something up if we get company. Mom always had a snack cupboard for the grandkids when they came over and was always cooking for her family.
3) My mom can be harsh, short-spoken, judgemental & snarky! I don’t like the adjectives, but this is the one I have battled all my life. I know I’ve offended friends and family by being too short-spoken or blunt at times! I hate that!! I’ve credited it to being brutally honest – which makes it more of a thing of pride. Well, I’m here to say, honest or not – it’s still not nice. I’ve worked very hard on this character trait that I inherited from my mom and I know it’s improved. It’s probably played a crucial role in why I am a believer now and try to stay “prayed up”. I recognize my inability to change the inner man without God’s help.
4) My mom instilled in me good grooming. She advised me to keep myself “fixed up” for my hubby – not laying around the house in sweats and always making sure my hair was done, and my clothes were pressed.
5) Mom and I both have a very solid work ethic! She was always a hard worker and extremely responsible about not calling in sick unless absolutely necessary. I emulate her in this regard.
6) My mom was a mother at 17. I was a mother at 18. Alcoholism and the abuse that comes along with it have played a big role in the women we are today.
7) Last but definately not least – I pray that I have my mother’s health history and have 30 more years to live – so that I can rectify some of the wrongs I’m done (see #3). Here’s what mom and I looked like 10 years ago when we traveled up North to celebrate her 80th birthday:
Mom & Linda 2004

Sorry for the “scrapbook” image – My hubby Jerry and I are pictured with mom on the left. My baby sister and I are pictured with her on the right.

Suffice it to say, I miss mom. But after seeing the pic that my brother Jim sent – I’m not sure I want to see her in the condition she is currently in. I would much rather remember her with her hair done, makeup on, smiling at the camera. What do you think?

JURY DUTY…

Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection.  Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw).  Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more).  Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from).  Hmmmm….sounding interesting.

My name was called for the 70 member panel.  Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror.  (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected.  Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL

Oooops!  Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed?  Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end.  The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member.  Whoa!  Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me?  $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it?  Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance.  They may disqualify so many others that they may need me!  (I know – a little “grandiose”  LOL).

Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL  I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time.  Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?)  You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money.  I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out.  (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!)  Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week.  She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.

After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case.  It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”.  They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit.  At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury.  Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew!  That was out!  I was relieved.  I’d done my part. Now it was up to God.  If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it.  If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.

I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty.  I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant.  I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.

To God be the Glory!

I SURVIVED!!

Well, after taking care of FOUR grandsons this week, I’ve decided that my entire existence is for everyone else’s amusement and entertainment!!   ImageJackson didn’t quite know what to think of it all.  He is an only child and so having three other boys (cousins) to watch was very stimulating!!

He would get so excited, his little legs & arms would shake and his eyes would get big as saucers!  I had to keep shushing Ethan (6) and Kash (almost 3) cause Jackson gets scared if voices get too loud.  He doesn’t like screaming or hollering at all and you know how rowdy boys can be!!

 ImageImageEverything from watching them do puzzles, to building with blocks to wrestling – Jackson was all eyes and ears as he sat in his little Bumbo and checked it all out.

Maw Maw & Paw Paw are exhausted!! I’m thankful for all of Paw Paw’s help this past week with the boys.  Preston, (13) was also very helpful this week not only with the little ones, but also by helping Paw Paw mow the front and back lawns. Aside from trying to cook a hot meal every day, I made sure the swimming pool in the backyard was full of clean water every day…

ImageMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday the 3 older boys and I went to the park playground to play each morning while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson. ImageI’ve been promising Kash that he would learn how to ride Ethan’s “hand me down” bike this summer…so we loaded up the trunk of the car with scooters and the bike and while at the park, Kash got to practice.  He did great!  He had trouble with steering while pedaling because he wants to look around at everybody and see what’s going on rather than paying attention to the road ahead!  LOL!!  I was amazed at how quickly he grasped pedaling forward though.  Once in awhile he would pedal backwards and stomp the brake on.  I tried to explain the concept of making the bike go forward and that the bike would not go backwards, but just stop ..if he pedaled backward.  I’m not sure he’s got that down yet – but he only tipped it over once – when he went off the sidewalk onto the grass.  I was really proud of him since he has a four wheeler at home that all he has to do is press the gas pedal!  He steers it pretty crooked too, and runs into a lot of things!

ImageSo, while Kash was practicing on his bike (my back hurts!), Preston & Ethan were in the racquet ball cage; Preston riding his “rip stick” and Ethan riding his scooter. It’s a very nice park and close to home so when I don’t have a bike to haul we will walk rather than drive to the park.

The boys always tire out if we go to the park and play in the morning prior to lunch.  Paw Paw enjoys an early lunch so by 11 am while he watches Jeopardy and the boys watch the Cartoon channel I am preparing lunch.  Image Since Thursday is a busy day at the park (all the home-school kids are there) we went for a long walk in the neighborhood instead. I had promised the boys that if they were good all week, I would take them to Kid’s Station on Friday to play on the indoor slides, ball pit, arcade etc   Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and just fall through!  Suffice it to say, Maw Maw was not a happy camper!!  The boys and I were meeting friends at Kid’s Station.  We had planned to go at Noon, just after lunch, knowing that Kid’s Station’s summer hours were from 11 – 7. When we arrived at Noon – we discovered that they weren’t open.  Even though summer hours were written on the window (11-7) the sign said they would be open from 1 – 7 instead.  Needless to say, we had to think of something to do to kill some time because Maw Maw was not going to sit in an air conditioned car in the Texas heat for an hour with 3 disappointed and anxious grandsons.  So, we decided to go to the Pet Store to check out the animals.  We got back to Kid’s Station at 1:02 pm to find the friends we were meeting standing outside their car waiting for them to open.  As we watched other cars pull in and out of the parking lot we noticed that there was one lone truck parked at the back of the building, but still no lights on inside.  Myself and the other parents, grandparents waiting were getting very frustrated.  A call to Kid’s Station only resulted in a voice mail message that said their hours for the day were 1-7 pm.  Our friends had not had lunch, so they left to go grab a bite while we agreed to wait until 1:30 pm.  At 1:20 a man in that lone truck came from the back of the building, rolled down his window and proceeded to inform us that they would NOT BE OPEN AT ALL! Grrrrrrr!!  Upon conversing with the man (that’s a nice way of putting it), I found out that he was in fact, the owner – and his reason for not opening was “I have four girls graduating and so I have no one to run the place”.  OMG!!

Are you serious???  And you didn’t know this before NOW????  You didn’t see this problem with staffing before today???  You mean I planned this all week, got my grandsons all fired up about going, had them do chores to earn money for it, blah, blah, blah and NOW at 20 minutes after the time you are supposed to open – you decide NADA??!!  You couldn’t put a message on your voice mail stating such?  When I called yesterday to find out the price for Friday and no one bothered to tell me you weren’t going to be open at all?? What kind of management is that??  Okay, I’ve ranted enough – you get my gist – I just wasn’t happy at all!!  The boys were calmer than I was…SHAME ON ME!  Long story short- we did get 3 free passes for another day (doesn’t solve the problem for today tho).  So, refusing to have 3 disappointed boys on my hands Preston suggested that we check out the Arcade at the Mall.  He said they also had a bounce house for all ages.  Since I go to the mall rarely, I had to take it on faith and go check it out.  ImageOn the way to the Arcade we found several other cute little rides for the boys to check out.  We had a fun afternoon blowing $50 in quarters in the Arcade and got home around 4 pm.  Kash is accustomed to taking a nap in the afternoon, but when we go to Kid’s Station he gets to skip it.  He stays wired up having fun until we get home and then this is what you will find:

ImagePoor little tyke!  He just collapsed as soon as we got home!!  Preston was on the computer, Ethan was watching Netflix (while I rested in my recliner) and Paw Paw had already handed off Jackson to his mommy who was glad to be done with another teaching year.

Today, I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a brief bible study and homemade Mexican lunch and then came promptly home to climb back into them!  Full day of two choir practices and two church services tomorrow – Monday, just 3 boys. Phew!

 

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

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