Sunday, December 6, 2009

Did You Catch It Before You Blinked?

I've been advised that I've been remiss in writing.

And I have.

November was one of those weird months that simply sapped the writing right out of me. However, I'd like to pretend for a moment that it is still that eleventh month of the year, if you don't mind. Sometimes I feel it gets neglected and trampled over in our rush to get from the end of summer/beginning of school (September) and exhaulting in the beauty of autumn with colorful leaves & fat pumpkins (October) to the crisp joy of Christmas (December) and the opportunity to begin anew (January).

There's something about November. It always seems to go by so fast. With 30 days, it's not the shortest month of the year, but unlike April, June, & September, I always have such plans for a leisurely month of November and, in the end, I'm scrambling to figure out where the time went.

So I'd like to spend a few moments discussing this favorite month of mine. There's no real rhyme or reason here, just some thoughts that my brain keeps making me write down on napkins and scraps of paper, an indication that I was supposed to be actually writing and not avoiding it claiming writer's block. *grins*

In the realm of holidays often overlooked, November somehow got blessed with two of them. While Memorial Day & Labor Day get all the glory of beginning and ending summer, not to mention Independence Day with it's summertime fireworks, tucked into the fall month of November is Veteran's Day. Yes, the holiday gets its share of speeches and some areas even give it a parade, but for the most part it tends to slip on by as merely a day that government employees, and some businesses, have off. Yet, like Mother's Day and Father's Day, this holiday is a time for us to honor those who have served in our armed forces, who by the very act of signing up - either as enlisted or drafted - performed a sacred duty to protect our country and all of it's citizens. Wow. Say what you will about the various wars or police actions or whatever you'd like to call them, the men and women who served during those times of uncertainty, as well as those who served inbetween during times of peace, deserve our whole-hearted respect and appreciation. My dad served, as did two of my uncles. Between the three, our family covered three branches - Army, Navy & Marines. I'm always proud of my dad, but I have to admit, when we're out either at a show or a service and they call upon our veterans to stand, there is a slight catch in my throat and a mist to my eye for knowing that my father was one of those ready to do his duty. Veteran's Day comes in November, not a good month for picnics or gatherings for fireworks, so it has to stand on it's own merits. Quiet respect for those who have simply done what needed to be done. I was lucky. All three of my veterans came home. Not all of them did.

Now I know that TECHNICALLY Thanksgiving doesn't get overlooked. However, it doesn't really get to stand on it's own two legs (or drumsticks, as the case may be) either. The last Thursday of the next to the last month of the year, Thanksgiving seems to be more and more the herald of the Christmas season and less and less the day to gather with family and friends, to count our blessings, to give thanks for this new world the pilgrims ventured towards with their meager belongings and hearts filled with hopes and prayers for the freedom to worship as they chose.



Kinda interesting that the holiday that came about as a way of honoring those who bravely ventured to a new continent in order to gain religious freedom and takes place in the month prior to the month in which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus has been subtley overshadowed by the commercialism of shopping, of preparing the lists for black Friday's gift buying and giving, of filling calendars with lavish dinners entertained by Santas. Is it me or does it seem that the meaning of Thanksgiving has been taken away, much as prayer has been taken away from our children's schools?

I found rather appalling the news reports of people who spent the entire day of Thanksgiving camped out in front of storefronts, rather than with family and friends giving thanks for the blessings that were theirs.

I may not enjoy football, but I was with my family ... my mother, my father, my brother, his lady & my two nieces ... and that alone made my heart give thanks as my house was filled with warmth, love, and happiness. Particularly after their football team won. *grins*

Yep, November holds a couple of holidays that I find particularly meaningful. It is also a life changing month in that it holds Election Day Tuesday. Strikes me as intriguing that the month that includes the time for us to give thanks for the bounty of our great nation also brings us the day where we, as citizens, are also allowed to practice the freedom to chose the leader of our city, our state, our nation. Over the years we've had some great leaders, as well as some not so great, but the one constant in all the changing is our right to be the ones to choose.

Of course, November also is a personal favorite, just from some of the anniversaries of memories it holds. It is the month I began working for a delightful young couple as the nanny to their only daughter *mumblemumble* years ago, it is the month that I purchased my very first car all by myself (okay, with a little haggling help from a friend, but the money was all mine!), it was the night before Thanksgiving I moved into my little house 12 years ago, and then there was the Backroads Roadtrip of 2008 that led to a fast, fun filled weekend in Chicago last year.

November is more than just the next to the last month of the year. It's more than just the month before Christmas. It's a blustery autumn month filled with times of rememberance, family, and blessings. A month that we should all give thanks for our leaders, are protectors, our families. Maybe if we spent a bit more time doing that than in preparing our camping gear so that we can spend the night in front of store doors, we might all come away a bit richer.

One last thing ... there's a house in my neighborhood I've previously mentioned. It always amazes me. The older couple who live there keep their yard filled with the huge air blown creations for the various holidays. They have a bear with a heart, they have a leprechan with a pot of gold, they have a giant bunny. They have all types of creatures inhabiting their yards for the various holidays. Halloween decorations this year began, I kid you not, on August 31st and as the month of September waned into October, the yard simply became more and more filled. Then on November 1st, the goblins and ghouls disappeared and drivers by were greeted by a turkey. Unfortunately, the weekend before Thanksgiving, so arrived the Christmas blowups. November was not over, the day of Thanksgiving had yet to dawn, yet Tom the Turkey had been completely overwhelmed.

Can you see the cute turkey? Much like Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and even the month of November, if you blink, you might not catch something simple but rather special.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Puppies Are Like Two Year Olds (Aka. Life With Chester)

If there is one thing I know, and know well, it is two year olds.

It seems as though I have been around them all my life. Or pretty darn close to it. I have baby sat them, I have worked in their classes at daycare, I was their lead teacher in a private preschool, I was the nanny to one, and I have had dozens of them through the years at our church nursery - including my current class.

Oh ... and all three of my girlies were two at one point in their lives.

So, yeah ... I can honestly say that two year old behavior is no longer surprising. Mostly entertaining and exasperating, I love two year olds simply because they are on that teeter-totter cusp between wanting to still being a baby and trying so hard to be an independent preschooler. Favorite phrases are "wha' dat?" and "I do it mysef!" Parrots to whatever the adults in their lives say, the dreaded "NO!" makes you wonder exactly how often do they hear it. The common joke is that a child thinks his name is "No-no *insert name*!" during that second year of their lives. Two year olds are so precocious and intoxicating in their innocence and yet, with closer watching, you can see the little wheels actually turning in their head as they negotiate how to achieve what they want, whether that is getting the baby out of your lap so that they can get in it, removing the toy they wish to play with from the hands of another or negotiating how to keep you from seeing what they are truly doing at any given moment.

In the case of puppies, I'm not as familiar. I simply haven't been around them as often. However, I'm learning fast. Chester was 3 months old when he came home with me. He is now officially 6 months old. I know I'm not an expert. I still have to regularly call my "doggy guru", my friend who laughs at me and guides me when I'm unsure on a behavior or eating habit. I've made mistakes, I know this, but I'm trying.

No ... I'm not an expert on puppies by any means. However, if there is one lesson I HAVE learned, and learned well during these last 3 months, it is this - puppies are simply furry, four legged, two year olds. Don't believe me? Let me give you some examples:

1) You are NEVER alone, even in the bathroom. When The Twins were two, they were okay playing by themselves as long as I was visibly near by. The minute I went to the restroom, however, I suddenly had two attachments ... exploring the bathroom, standing right in front of me, demanding attention.

Now I have Chester ... exploring the bathroom, standing right in front of me, demanding attention. Closing the door doesn't work. In the case of The Twins, they would knock continuously while calling my name. One would be trying the door knob while the other would be crouched down trying to see under the door. In the case of Chester, there is the continuous scratching at the door, the barking out, the jumping to reach the door knob, and the belly wiggle trying to get his nose under the door.

If you have children and/or a dog ... you KNOW this is true.

2) You have to constantly watch because any and EVERYTHING goes into the mouth. Some days it seems as though I spend all of my time at church telling my kiddos to “take that out of your mouth!” I’m not exactly sure why, but for one little girl it seems as though the toy house works better if you put the people’s rounded head in your mouth. Play keys, balls, edges of blankets, edges of dresses and shirts, train steam stacks, blocks, shapes … you name it, it goes in the mouth. Some things are quickly discarded and others remain, sort of like a large rounded pacifier. Then, of course, there’s the fingers … thumbs, one finger, two fingers, the whole fist. For two year olds, a large reason for this oral fixation is because they are continuing to do a lot of teething.

So it is with Chester. Nothing is sacred. Toys, pillows, blankets, clothing (socks & shoes in particular) are all sampled through the little pup’s mouth. Some are discarded, most are not. The vet says this will start to go away in a couple months when he looses all of his baby teeth and has his full set of “adult” teeth. I’m gonna wait to see if that really happens. If it does, then hallelujah! I’ll simply give thanks that canine teething isn’t as long as human teething.

3) Simple toys are the best toys. When I was a nanny *mumblemumble* years ago, my young charge was blessed with parents that could afford to get her a plethora of books and learning toys, not to mention dolls, stuffed animals, etc. Don’t get me wrong, she really wasn’t a spoiled child, she just had all manner of toys. So it was always amusing to me when opening her presents on her birthday, her favorite gift was a pair of socks. She put them on her hands and worked them like puppets. She put them on her ears and pretended to be a puppy. She stuffed them full of pieces of other toys and used them as purses. She was blissfully happy with her socks and the remainder of the toys … well, they just stayed stacked on the table.

Chester’s favorite toy is a blue water bottle. He will carry it around, chase it, gnaw on it, bat it back and forth around on the ground – even better if he remembers to take it to the kitchen where it makes more noise. Every night when I pick up his toys and put them back in his toy basket, it doesn’t matter where I put it – top or bottom – his bottle is the first toy he gets out. Followed a close second by his beanie baby worm on a red ribbon. :-)

4) Listening skills need some work … a lot of work. Whether it is the stubborn streak of independence that is beginning to assert itself in the two year old mindset or whether it is because they simply get so intent in what they are playing/working on, two year olds don’t always respond immediately when called or told something. A few years back I had a little boy in my nursery I seriously began to wonder if was deaf, I had such a difficult time getting him to hear and listen to me. Then I caught him giving me a sly look under his bangs, cutting his eyes to the side as they looked up at me with a smirk. Oh. Yes. The little guy HEARD me tell him it was time to pick up the toys, but he wasn’t going to listen to me without some reinforcement. Time out is simply not fun when it is facing a wall and no where near the toys or books or other children.

Chester knows his name. He understands what it means when he hears the sound of keys and the word “bye-bye”. He knows the difference between the opening of the refrigerator door and the freezer door and will instantly make an appearance when the freezer door opens in the hopes of getting a coveted ice cube. Yep. My little ball of fluff does not have a hearing problem and he’s very intelligent. Which is why I know for certain that he is simply not listening to the words “no”, “stop”, “quit”, and “quiet” come out of my mouth when he is in the act of doing something I don’t want him to be doing, particularly when he does actually pause and/or look at me when I issue the commands. Nope. My little guy requires reinforcement at times and, hopefully, he will learn to understand I mean what I say. A short quick spurt from a water bottle has been effective. Recommended by a friend with very well trained dogs, we’ll see how this goes.

5) It may take a master engineer to put something together, but it only requires a two-year old or a puppy to take it apart. Many *mumblemumble* years ago, I had the opportunity to work for a time at a “then” state-of-the-art preschool center. It was designed for Zales Corporation in Dallas and developed to provide quality preschool on-site for Zales employee’s children, 3 months through 5 years. I was the lead teacher for their two year old class and had 18 children … 12 of whom were boys. We had a wonderful playground area right outside of our room, complete with the coolest swings/slide/climbing apparatus seen at that time. The kids loved it. It was a great area and easy to control, every area visible so that it was easy to keep an eye on all the kids. When we would go outside, I always had at least one, if not two, helpers. It didn’t matter. Invariably those tiny little two year old minds and fingers, working together were able to remove swings from chains or safety cushions from climbing areas. I would have to use a set of pliers or a Phillips head screwdriver to replace these objects, but with their nimble persevering little fingers, they would promptly take them apart again.

Chester is the master at disassembling. There is no magazine staple or glued binding able to withstand this little pup’s page removal. Rolls of toilet paper are no match for him. The perforations are quickly and easily torn and shredded. Trashcans lose their abilities to hold trash, sofas lose their stuffing. Then there are shoe laces. Bound at the ends by hard plastic and tied in double knots, these strings are nothing but momentary puzzles to be sorted by my little guy. He is the master champ at unraveling, uprooting, and undoing anything. I love his ingenuity. I sigh over the clean up that follows, not to mention the necessity in purchasing more shoelaces.

6) Remember the 1980’s Matthew Broderick movie, “WarGames” and the classic line – “Shall we play a game?”? The line is actually “spoken” by the computer that had been programmed to “play games” and win, thus “learning” strategy and providing a foundation for the computer to predict outcome. Children love to play games … they love to play and in reality, their “play” is actually work, because they are constantly learning THROUGH play. They love it even more when the grown up in their life takes the time to play with them, their little bodies seem to quiver with excitement, big eyes watching and waiting. I always loved to play with my oldest girlie when she was two. We would spend Friday nights and Saturdays, simply reading and playing and watching Disney Sing-Along videos, and yes, we DID sing along. Each and every single time to each and every single song. It might have seemed like all we were doing is singing and playing and singing WHILE we played, but I can’t help wonder at times if those times we spent playing and singing didn’t play an unknowingly strategic part in laying the foundation for that same girlie to develop such a love for music that she is now in college studying it. Something to ponder.

While Chester isn’t human, and therefore isn’t college bound, he does have a love of play and, in his playing, he is constantly learning. His total delight when I get down on the floor and play with him is evident in his body language … head down, butt in the air, tail wagging 90 miles an hour as he prepares to pounce. The most fun we have is playing fetch … he never knows which direction I am going to throw the toy or ball and his entire body quivers with the anticipation. I love to watch him fly down the hall to retrieve the toy and then his eager return to me to do it all over again. No, my ball of fluff may not go to college, but I believe he’s getting a good foundation in observing which keeps him smart … retrieving which keeps him active … and returning to me which keeps him safe in a sense of security.

7) At the end of the day, don’t we all simply want to be loved and cuddled and feel a sense of security? I realize I’m not two years old, but I know I do. This sense is even stronger for a two year old. The world is a big and scary place for grown ups. Imagine it from a perspective of two feet tall and not near as much understanding of what’s going on in the world today. Even as they strive so hard for that sense of independence, a two year old can only gain that sense in a healthy manner if it comes with a sense of security. In my nursery I have a little one whose mom has to place her in my lap before she can leave. My tiny tot has learned that her mom will return, but in the meantime, my lap is a place of security. It doesn’t take long, a few minutes usually, and then she is able to hop down and play on her own, her independence renewed. Yet, when fingers get smushed, or chairs tip over, then it is a quick return to Ms. Cindy’s lap to cuddle, to be loved, to gain back that sense of security in the world. I have to admit, I adore those moments. I miss them when the child passes two and, as independence grows, so does the need for the cuddling. I delight that their sense of security has grown stronger, but … well … I miss the loving cuddles! My memories are strong of a tiny girl who preferred to take her morning nap while nestled on my chest because she was scared of the shadows in her big new bedroom and big new bed. Saturday mornings with my oldest girlie provided a time of cuddling, love, and security as she would nestle with me on the couch and we would watch cartoons. The Twins would end our Saturdays in my Lazy Boy rocker, one on each armrest, heads nestled down on each of my shoulders as we would read the latest adventures of Dr. Seuss. Two year olds are simply built to receive and give unconditional love with those who provide a safe haven, a sense of security – whether it’s a parent, a teacher, a nanny, or simply a friend.

My little ball of white fluff is similar in so many ways … so tiny that the world becomes a strange and scary place. Even as he strives to protect me fiercely, he does so from a place of security provided underneath my legs as I stand or sit. When I arrive home from a long day at work, he does not settle until he has been picked up and cuddled for a time, nestled firmly against my chest as I scratch his chin or ear. All through our evenings or days, he is my constant companion. Independent enough to explore and play, as long as I remain where I was at the time he left, and quick to return to my side if I move to a different area. He is secure in the knowledge that I am “his human” and I will provide his needs. In return, he gives me such a fierce devotion and love in his own manner. When sadness creeps in and tears fall, he is right there … nuzzling my neck and licking my chin. It’s not exactly the same as the hug from a little one, but it’s a comfort and a warm sense of not being alone. And at the end of the day, comfort in the form of furry love and cuddles is definitely not a bad thing. :-)

I have other areas of comparison between your basic pint-sized two year olds and my ball of fluff, however I think I’ve rambled long enough (you soooo don’t want me to get into the similarities of potty training). Plus, you get the picture … puppies and two year olds … both filled with mischief, curiosity, stubbornness, and an enjoyment of all things in life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Messing with My Saturday Viewing! A Mini Sternly Worded Letter

It's Saturday morning and I'm not happy.

Well, I AM happy - the sun is shining for the first time in over a week, my pup and I are harmoniously sharing a peaceful morning after a busy Friday evening, and I've been satisfying my writing itch this morning which always makes me a happy camper.

However, it is now 10am and I put away my writing, made my cup of tea, got my muffin and settled down with pup at feet to watch one of my favorite hours of television: PBS's Everyday Baking followed by America's Test Kitchen. However, this is not to be. Seems as though my Everyday Baking has been turned into some kind of food trip with some guy in Tuscany.

This does not please me!

This threatens to take away my happy!

Therefore, I am doing what any self-respecting crazy writer would do ... I am having a mini-rant via a sternly worded letter.

Dear Public Broadcasting System:

Just last month, you spent your AugustFest asking for support from viewers like me in order to bring me the shows I enjoy watching. I don't care for AugustFest simply because it changes the order of programming, but I understand it's importance - much like your fest in March each year - to gain those ever important dollars to bring quality programming for families and kids and people ... like me. So I gave my support ... it wasn't very much, but it was what I could afford, and I waited for the schedule to come back to normal and it did.

Now you've changed it again and there's no festival going on!!!

Every Saturday morning I spend one hour with my television. One. I spend it watching Everyday Baking (which took over for my other favorite - Everyday Cooking) and then America's Test Kitchens. I love these shows!! Much like Julia Child's show of past, they give me recipes ... but they also teach me ... they teach me techniques, they teach me the why and how of mixing, they teach me how ingredients blend together bringing all senses into the act of cooking, not just taste.

Most importantly, they are for people like me ... here in Northeastern Oklahoma ... cooking for me and my family and my friends. Just regular folks who like regular food.

Now you've taken away my Everyday Baking and replaced it with this "Food Trip with Todd English". Well, no offense to Todd English ... his visit to a medieval castle and market and food looks lovely, but ... um ... I AM NOT LIVING IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE!! I don't have a professional fry vat. I'm not going to be making food such as he is waving on a plate on my television screen.

It's a lovely program ... but it is a TRAVEL program ... not a food preparation program. I might have watched and enjoyed it in conjunction wtih Rick's "Mexico: One Plate at at Time". That would be a good pairing. Both traveling and cooking mixed together and, while I might be able to attempt some of Rick's cooking easier, both are still not my style of baking and cooking.

I'm disappointed PBS. I'm not a happy viewer. You have let me down.

My hour of viewing is now 30 minutes. I don't want to watch Food Trip. It might be a good show, but not for me at this point. Not at 10am when I am wanting to learn how to make moist Raisin Bran Muffins for breakfast.

Thank you for letting me add my voice ... even if it is an unhappy one. Now, I'm going to watch Christopher & the gang at ATK ... unless you've changed that one too.


One Hour of Cooking Happy No More

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Washing Machine Pennies Have Been Spent

Tragedy struck just before Christmas 2007.

No ... not talking about my car accident. That WAS tragic but I'm referring to the death of a washing machine.

MY washing machine. The one that I had purchased 10 years earlier when I had moved into this little house. It had been faithful and then it was dead.


Atleast the dryer still works.

So, I began the task of loading up the laundry every week ... or more ... and heading out to the laundromat to wash the clothes. There's one that is less than a mile from my house and it is in a nicely lit area, clean and run by an older gentleman that doesn't say much but is always friendly.

I also began the task of saving up my pennies to purchase a new one.

Let's face it. Taking the laundry away from the house is not the greatest of fun.

After *mumblemumble* years of living in apartment complexes and carting the laundry basket across parking lots, down to basements, around to offices, my joy was extreme when upon moving to Tulsa all those years ago, I found an apartment that actually had the washer and dryer in the apartment. Not just the hook up. The actual machines.


I vowed then and there that I wouldn't be one to ever not have a "laundry room" again. Kept that vow for many years.

Until the darn washing machine decided that while the water could go in and the water could go out, if I wanted the clothes to be washed, I had to move that agitator in the middle by myself.

Yes. Because that was going to happen.

Nope ... washing machine was placed to the top of the list of things that I really, really, REALLY want to own, moving to a spot even higher than an HD television and DVR. There are some basic priorities. However, my priorities must be a bit off, because here I am, one year and 9 months later and I still am taking the laundry to the laundry mat ever 10 days to two weeks. (I bought more lingerie - that gives me atleast 14 days before I get desperate - I'm not completely stupid.)

I will admit. I have actually had the possibility of purchasing a washer 3 times since it died. Yep. Three times I have literally had in my hot little hand the amount of money necessary to purchase a machine that could live inside my house and wash my clothes, never having to load them into their respective bags and into the car and out to the laundromat in the rain, the sleet, the snow, the ice, the humidity, the heat, the wind ... well ... you get the picture.

So, why am I still wandering out into the dark of night to take my clothing to the public place where a variety of humanity gather to do this thing called laundry?

Because the President will not make it a federal law that nudity should be instituted nationwide.

Um. No ... that's not true. Just a pipe dream when it's late, I'm tired, and I don't want to but I've washed and rinsed in the sink for three nights and now, in addition to being out of lingerie, I'm also out of outerwear. For some reason my manager refuses to accept my pitiful "should only be seen in the darkness of my own home" clothing as actual "Business Casual". I'm thinking narrow-minded, but then ... she's probably right.

No, the three times were judgement calls ... I had the money ... I could have been responsible ... but I wasn't ... yet, I can't say that they were irresponsible because the three items I received I could not have gotten at any other time and because of them, my life has been filled with much joy, contentment, and happiness.

First ... the washing machine money was used to make my original ticket purchase to my first, and likely only, Supernatural Convention. While the trip morphed into something completely different than originally planned, it would not have occured at all if not for that stash of cash that I had saved and I would not have had a roadtrip week filled with such fun, culminating in the pleasure of squeeing like a little fangirl and having the opportunity to hug and put faces to some special people who have become such special friends.

Nope. That judgement call brought much joy and wouldn't be traded for anything, washing machine included.

Second ... the washing machine money was used last Christmas in a time of financial tightness to allow me to do two things - enjoy being the giver at Christmas, something I truly love and usually am able to do the way I plan, as well as paying up all of my bills and starting the new year off without struggling to find a way to make ends meet. It's not very glamorous but it was a wonderful feeling to start the new year without worrying about the rent and utilities.

Nope. That judgement call brought too much contentment to ever be considered less important than the ease a washing machine would bring.

Third ... the washing machine money was gathered earlier this summer and I actually went and looked at a couple to see about the possibility. Then a dream became achievable and all thoughts of washing machines went completely out of my head and into my house came a small 4.5 pound ball of white fluff I named Chester. He's grown a bit more in the two months I've had him. He is now up to 5.5 lbs and is a bit bigger than the minute size he used to be. He has also discovered a love of going bye-bye, has an extremely aggressive foot fettish at times (he'll actually work to remove both shoes and socks so he can lick and nibble toes and ankles), will fly through the house playing Superman with any piece of paper or magazine he can possibly get hold of, and believes that toilet paper is an actual food group. He also licks my face and gives me kisses, nestles between my legs as we sleep, crawls onto my head and whimpers during a thunder/lightning storm, and has the sweetest way of rubbing his eyes and head awake with his paws when the alarm goes off in the morning. He delights my heart when he begs me to pick him up upon arriving home and he fills a wonderful spot that keeps my house from being empty.

Nope. That judgement call was the best one yet for it has brought me great happiness - even as I sit here writing and watch him dash through the living room with a trail of toilet paper streaming from the bathroom behind him.


So, my savings priority remains to gather enough pennies to purchase a washing machine. I'm not worried. I know that it will happen when the time is right. Sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture of what is more important. For me it was the joy of a once in a lifetime trip, the contentment of ending a year with a fun Christmas and beginning a year without stress, and the happiness found in a small, furry companion who laughs at me, drives me crazy, and most of all depends on me to be responsible for his safety and welfare while at the same time giving me complete and utter devotion.

Meanwhile, I am still loading up my bags and heading out to the laundromat every once in a while ... meeting the most entertaining and interesting people imaginable.

But that's for another time. Right now someone is advising me he wants to play ... and I am remembering that even though it's washed, it still has to be dried, folded and put away. And since I'm home, I'd best get to that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laboring? Not Today!!

It's been *mumblemumble* years ago, but I once had a kiddo in my preschool class ask me how did the stork know to bring all the babies on one day. I was perplexed and I guess I looked it, because this sincere little face looked at me and further asked if all the babies are born on the same day, then why did all the kids in his class have different birthdays.

Can a person look even more perplexed than previously? Cause I have to tell you, I did.

The inquisitive young soul then advised me that his mommy's labor day was coming soon. He knew this because his daddy had said that his mommy would labor and then he would have a baby brother or sister.

The light dawned.

It was Friday and I had been talking to my little class about the fact that we would not be having preschool on Monday because it was Labor Day. My little guy's mother was pregnant and due at any time. His father had told him she would "go into labor".

So, the equation began to make sense. Mommy's who are pregnant have a special holiday named for when they go pick up the new baby brother/sister from the stork and bring them home.

Don't you love the convoluted and yet, intriguing, mind of a 4 year old preschooler?

It is Labor Day today and, while there are possibly many, many, MANY women out there who are delivering a child (we won't go into the stork factor *grins*) today, this holiday was not specifically designed with them in mind.

It is also not a holiday specifically designed to signal the end of summer, the beginning of school and/or professional football season, the last weekend to wear white until Easter, the eating of grilled meats, picnics, boating on the lake, last minute vacations, simply sleeping late because you don't have to work, or the only weekend the stores will ever, ever, EVER have prices THIS low. (please insert sarcastic smirk here ... thank you)

Not that all those things haven't been attached to this weekend, in some form or another, but that is not the actual reason for the holiday.

Like every other holiday, it has been commercialized and/or twisted from one ideal to another. Easter is not actually about bunnies and eggs ... Thanksgiving is not actually about turkey and football ... Christmas is not actually about santas and presents ... well, okay ... it is about presents - but only in the truest sense of the Word - due to Christ's birth being the biggest gift ever - however that's the point of a blog for another time, today's rambling words are referencing Labor Day.

So ... moving forward ... I knew that Labor Day had begun as a celebration of the work force, however, to be honest, I wasn't completely sure when/how it came into being. So I did a bit of looking around. Here's what I found:

Per the U.S. Department of Labor ... "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."


Per ... "The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise."

Okie dokie.

Per Wikipedia ... (no quote here, I'm gonna do a bit of summerizing) ... the holiday originated in Canada out of labor disputes in the 1870s and was brought to America after labor leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labor festivals in Toronto. The first labor day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. Once all 50 states had made labor day a state holiday, each year street parades were organized to celebrate the labor forces and were followed by festivals for the workers and their families.

All righty then.

Evidently the family picnics and the gatherings of peoples ... on land or water ... are originally parts of this holiday. Of course, there should also be parades, political speeches and tributes for the working force of this country. That part must have gotten lost amongst the sales for washers and dryers, the packing away of white shoes and clothing, and the clogging of the highways returning from that last vacation before settling in for a season of NFL football.

Granted, the plight of the workers is not as deathly as the 1880's, nor do striking workforces riot, burn, & pillage causing state and federal forces to respond in force. Yet, we do have a recession right now, unemployment is rampant, and poverty/homelessness is epidemic.

Perhaps we SHOULD take atleast a few minutes to actually think about what this day means as we make up the potato salad and fire up the grill after we slept in until noon ... on this day we take as the proverbial end of summer ... don't get me started on the fact that autumn does not begin until September 22nd which means we still have 15 days before the ACTUAL end of summer ... I'll wait for another blog to ramble on that. Right now I have to go back to watching dvds in my jammies, eating a donut, and enjoying a lazy afternoon with girlies and pup before going back to work tomorrow.


Happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hi! Remember Me? Well ... I'm Back.

Hmm. Checking the date of my last entry, I'm going to say that the phrase "I haven't been writing much lately" is a bit of an understatement. I've had thoughts and ideas ... I've made notes and started entries ... yet not really finished anything recently. I've actually been fussing at myself that I need to get back to it, however, as you can tell by the date of my last entry, that hadn't happened.

Then, this weekend, I went to the movies with my favorite Twinkles. After a couple weeks of anticpation, we went to see Julie & Julia. It's a wonderful, quirky movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of my favorite shows on PBS was always Julia Child's cooking show reruns and, although I love America's Test Kitchens, it's not the same. So I was delighted to see how remarkably well Meryl Streep portrayed the infamous chef. The quirk of her mouth, the riotous laughter, the stiff way she seemed to turn and acknowledge the world around her, not to mention her passion for good food and her forthright manner ... Ms. Streep had them down perfectly! Amy Adams portrayed Julie. I'm not familiar with her, nor have I read her book, although I have now added it to my Barnes & Noble wish list because I definitely want to. However, not being familiar with her character does not mean that I wasn't impressed and didn't enjoy her portrayal of a young married woman, unhappy with her lack of writing success ... her husband says she IS a writer ... she retorts that you aren't a writer if you aren't published. The end result is she begins to write a blog ... a blog about something she is passionate about ... cooking ... specifically GOOD, rich cooking such as Julia Childs wrote about in her cookbook. Julie sets herself a goal ... she will blog and cook her way through Julia's cookbook over the course of a year. By the end of the year, she had not only created everything in the cookbook, but she had also found herself.

I loved that.

Now, I'm not lost, nor am I depressed or feeling like a failure. But this movie struck a chord in me when Julie was not to be swayed from her blogging goals ... her writing.

I have let myself be swayed and I have missed it.

So, after giving it some though, I decided that I would once again take up blogging. I'm not guaranteeing an entry every single day, but I AM going to write atleast twice a week for atleast a year. The saying goes that you must do something consistently for a year before it becomes a habit. This is a habit I wish to cultivate, since writing is something I truly enjoy.

Therefore, I opted to begin today. It's September 1st. I felt it was a good day to start.

I also decided that I want to do this here, in my little blogger ramble room. It's where I originated and it's still the place I feel most comfortable. I miss writing for and so I have moved my Supernatural writing (another area that has suffered that I am going to renew) to my livejournal address. If anyone is interested in it, let me know and I'll forward the address. I have a Facebook address and I enjoy it as well, but that is for quick jots and thoughts, and I want some place I can ... well ... ramble my thoughts. Some can be shorter than others, but most are definitely longer than Facebook gives room for, unless you write "a note" and I haven't gotten the hang of that or the comfort factor in it yet. And let's face it, I only Plurk because it's the place my Supernatural friends have migrated to and I would miss them too much if I didn't wander around in there occasionally but that is soooo not the place for long rambles. Twitter, well, it just scares me. I might check a page I know about, but me? tweet? *shakes head* yeah, I don't think so.

That brings me to here. This place. I created it long ago and maybe some have forgotten it's here, maybe not. But I'm gonna open it back up today ... air it out ... and re-establish it. I hope that someone will enjoy it, but if not ... that's okay too. My philosophy when I started was simply to be writing for myself. That is the pleasure of putting down thoughts. If someone were to read and enjoy as well ... well, that is just the hot fudge on top of the sundae.

So, this is me, getting re-started. Same person as before - just a bit older, which I don't mind. I love getting older. I refuse to get "old". Trust me. There IS a difference! I still have three girlies I'm passionate about, three nieces I love dearly, parents and brother and friends who love, support, annoy, and make life bearable, a car that brings me joy, and a job that drives me nuts and fulfills me at the same time. I still am a HUGE fan of the show Supernatural and Thursdays are still my favorite day of the week.

Now add to the mix the arrival of a small white ball of fluff named Chester and I am complete.

I'm back now. I guess, like Julie in the movie, this makes me sound a bit narcissistic. I don't mean to be, however, according to my book on writing, you should write about what you know. Well, I know me and I know my point of view on the world around me. So, that's where I'm going to get started. Who knows what may come of this or where it will lead? (Hopefully back to the book that I seriously did start a couple years ago that has been laying around collecting electronic dust in the folder on my computer, but I'm not jumping into the deep end just yet.)

I simply know that I've set myself a goal and I want to see it through. If you'd like to journey with me, then it's hot fudge sundaes on me (or whatever your favorite treat of choice)!

Thanks for stopping by. Please come again.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Guiding Light ... Farewell and Thanks for the Picnics

This morning I had the television on while I was working around the house. It was kinda silly from the stand point that I had the volume muted and was enjoying the sounds of a couple of my favorite CDs. Still, the movement of people playing on game shows, the young being restless, and the noontime news accompanied my cleaning and cooking, as I listened to the rock of some favored classics. Afterwards, characters that continue to have the world turning kept me company while I cleaned up and got ready to adventure outside for a while in the afternoon.

Turning off the music and slipping into some shoes, I went to the television to darken its screen when the scene caught my attention and I was helpless to do anything but take a seat and simply watch for a bit.

It was 2pm central time on CBS and The Guiding Light was broadcasting their annual Fourth of July show – a complete hour with the Bauer family and friends and their annual picnic. Even though it has been years since I actually sat and watched this show, it still tugs my heart. This was a program from my earliest memories as a child at home with my mom. After lunch I would “nap” upon the couch as my mom enjoyed her afternoon show while folding clothes or writing letters. As I grew older, I could only see it during school breaks and summer. When I got my first VCR, it was one of the programs I would enjoy taping and watching in those evening hours after work, till time passed and my attention wavered.

Still, each year, the Bauer family Fourth of July picnic always seems to catch my eye, even as it did today.

Today was made even more nostalgic and caused heart to catch as I watched these characters interact … grilling (and burning) the infamous Bauer burgers, playing catch, living and loving as only a soap opera characters can do … many of them characters I remembered growing up with … Bauers, Spauldings, Lewis, Shanes … they were all represented, most of they by the actors and actresses who originated their portrayals.

Today was nostalgic because this is the last one. There will be no more Bauer family picnics.

CBS has cancelled its long running soap and this fall The Guiding Light will be turned off and the stories and characters will become memories to those who remember a different era.

I truly did love The Guiding Light and while some of its stories were a bit fantastic or convoluted, at their heart, the show’s stories were of family. Of faith, belief, and traditions – something that always seems to catch my attention. As the show began to wind down today, they did a series of flashbacks which were wonderful to see, yet they also ended it the way they always did. More than any other program I have ever seen, The Guiding Light was traditional in that they always broadcast a Fourth of July episode, no matter which day of the week the fourth fell on and they always, no matter who was divorcing, loving, in jail, fleeing the country, plotting a murder or takeover or planning a marriage … they ALWAYS had a picnic at the Bauer house.

And the episode always ended with one of the Bauer family members making the annual toast to this great nation and to the family and friends surrounding them.

Rick Bauer, grandson of the original Berta Bauer … the matriarch of the family that came to America to live the American dream … gave the heart stirring toast this year to life and liberty, to those who gave their lives defending this great country and the freedoms we enjoy each day. He gave thanks to God for his grandma and made me cry. Then there was the scene with Reva Shane and her daddy, Hank singing along with The Star Spangled Banner as more flashbacks were shown. It wasn’t perfect or even always in tune, but it was heartfelt and had me singing along as well.

I’m glad that I was home today and that this episode caught my attention. When it comes to the Fourth of July, we often think of the big things … of the American Revolution, of the Declaration of Independence, of the wars fought, the soldiers who have lost their lives defending the freedoms we enjoy each day … and we should, for they are the foundation … the reason for the holiday to even exist. Along with the big things, we find ourselves enjoying the little things … the family get-togethers, the fireworks, the swimming or other activities, the picnics or dinners. These are some of the freedoms this day represents and we should always remember to give thanks for them. I love the fact that this program was one that never ignored this holiday – that celebrated it each year and always remembered to give thanks for those who made it possible.

I realize it’s simply a television program. However, The Guiding Light was, and is, a show about family and life, about traditions and faith. It has been cancelled. It will be missed.

It’s interesting. Isn’t that part of the foundation – the reasoning – behind fighting all these years for the freedoms America represents?





Long may they continue and never be cancelled.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend - Gratitude, Bunnies, and Patriotic Pie

Here's a line that some will find amusing and some will wonder at my sanity, but in either case, for me, the sentiment remains this holiday weekend.

It's all about the pie.

Yep. You read that right.

Memorial Day.

An American holiday to commemorate the American casualties in any war or military action in which our country has taken part.

A salute to those brave soldiers who fought for the freedoms we as a nation hold dear.

Larger freedoms such as those of speech and religion.

Smaller freedoms such as the right to picnic when the sun is shining and grill our favorite food of choice, be it hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, or whatever suits our tastebuds.

Like pie.

Yeah, I know, it's strange the way my mind works at times.

I'll be honest ... my first thought as this weekend approached was more a gleeful anticipation of three days away from the office, a time to rest and recoup after a week of non-stop activities, both during office hours and long into the evenings after hours, than the actual meaning behind the holiday.

I knew about the raising of the flags ceremony at our local cemetary and looked forward to driving the winding trails at some point this weekend or week as they are lined with the billowing flag.

I always enjoy watching and listening to the National Memorial Concert broadcast on PBS from Washington, DC on the weekend's Sunday night, hearing the music that honors our soldiers and it never fails to stir the pride in my heart.

Most important of all, I fully acknowledge, support, and deeply, DEEPLY appreciate our nation's veterans both living and deceased. It is through their fierce dedication and protection that I am able to sit here at my computer with my windows wide open, enjoying the peace and solitude, listening to the birds and insects backing up my iTunes playlist of classic rock and write these words, these thoughts, these feelings.

Yet I'm also honest enough to admit that this weekend my first thought was not in flag waving. I wanted to simply ... be.

Yes, I did make a list of some chores that do need to be accomplished but I wasn't sweating the timing. There is no enemy approaching that will be thwarted by whether or not I dust & vacuum my living room. (A word of warning ... first person who snidely remarks about my being able to thwart my allergy enemies by accomplishing this chore will be the recepient of my right to bear arms - even if they are verbal arms and not actual bullet discharging weapons.)

A simple, peaceful weekend to relax, to read, to write, to think thoughts and sleep naps.

I didn't know I was going to have a visitor hop by.


In the middle of the afternoon Saturday, a flash of shadow out of the corner of my eye had me fearing that a mouse (or squirrel or cat or worse) had decided to take advantage of my fresh air addiction and come in to check out the house. A prowl of the bedrooms and bathrooms brought nothing more to light than the fact that I had yet to accomplish a couple other chores on my list. A quiet, still stance of some time brought no auditory shadows ... rustling of papers, clothes, or anything that might suggest a creature would be attempting to take up residence. So, I returned to the living room and quietly sat reading while intermittently casting an eye towards the hallway.

Imagine my surprise when this itty bitty creature seemed to be peering round the corner of the hall entry. Sitting perfectly still, I watched as the tiny bunny ventured further into my living room ... stopping moment by moment ... it's little nose twitching and body still. I was entranced.

I spoke. A quiet greeting ... "Hello, little one."

It looked towards me and seemed to be listening.

So I talked some more.

At first quiet encouragements to head towards the doorway still open, then ... as it continued to sit and watch me ... listening ... other non-sensical queries and comments that if I were to publish them would simply give further proof that I ... well ... not gonna publish them, so you'll just have to guess on that part. *grins*

Needless to say, it didn't head towards the door.

I got up ... it scampered back to the bedrooms. *sigh*

After making some preparations, I again sat quietly and waited on my itty bitty baby bunny to make an appearance. Sure enough, after some time, it hopped itself out into the living room and then under a table. Okay. Not out the door, but away from the hallway.

Hallway is now blocked.

I sit and watch and, again, quietly talk with my little guest.

Baby Bunny decides it wants to go back to the rooms to play. I can't even begin to describe the incredible cuteness of it's discovery of the blocked hallway. Stopping it's flight to the bedrooms just barely an inch from careening headfirst into the wall I'd erected, it first sat and simply looked. It went to one side. It seemed to cock it's head in puzzlement and went to the other side. It then sat up on his little haunches, as though to try and peer over it. The fact that it was completely taken aback by this new arrival was obvious. Unfortunately, as I made my way towards it, it sped off in a different direction. This time underneath a corner table.

My eldest girlie stopped by on her way to work in order to have a look at my petite visitor. After some moments of coaxing and prodding, she was able to get Baby Bunny out from the corner under the table.

To behind the refrigerator.


Blocked the hallway. Forgot to block the kitchen.

Girlie had to go to work. I was left with Baby Bunny.

After a time my pint-sized guest came out from behind the refrigerator. In a sweet repeat, it tried to once again go back to it's previous spot, this time under the table, only to find the pathway blocked. Bunny curiously tried to get around the blockage before giving up and wandering the living room.

I decided to simply relax and enjoy the visit. I had my tiny companion effectively barred from passage to areas it could hide permanently. As it ventured ... exploring the area ... we talked - or rather, I talked, it listened with a seeming cunning attentiveness. I had snack of pasta salad ... it nibbled a small carrot I laid out for it. We seemed to enjoy each other's company. We both listened and watched as one of the forecasted rain showers was dispersed around my house for a brief, intense time.

Then it was, as the shadows were beginning to lengthen and darken, I looked up from my reading to see that my tiny visitor had finally made it's way to the doorway. I simply watched as it sat for a time, looking out the door, a miniature shadow in silhouette against the waning of the light outside. It was as though it knew that our visit was over and the time had arrived for it to go home.

It hopped out the door.

I went back to my Memorial Day weekend.

A relaxing, quiet weekend to wave my flag and enjoy the freedom to give thanks for those who gave their lives fighting in order that I might do so.

A simple, peaceful weekend to grill some favorites, to read a book, to do some writing, to watch a favorite television show.

A traditional weekend, ushering in the summer with my favorite cool summer holiday dessert ... a pie. Not just any pie ... a pie that is light and fluffy, perfect for those approaching warm days of summer. Not to filling, a perfect match to a dinner of grilled meat and tasty salads. A patriotic pie of red, white, and blue to match the holiday.

Yep. That's how my mind works ... in the end ... after the flag waving and bunny visiting ... it's all about the pie.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Thursday, But It's Not Supernatural

Excuse me a moment, before I get started here. Please note: I realize I usually post my Supernatural blogs on my LJ or BFZ spots, however, this one is a bit different than my normal Supernatural stuff and I REALLY wanted it to be here as well. Hence the reason why I'm posting it here. Okay????

It’s the first Thursday after the season finale and I had a plan.

Actually … I still have a plan.

It is a plan that was something to help get me … and hopefully entertain you as well … through the endlessness that is called “Supernatural Summer Hiatus”.

However, today’s initial publication has been interrupted by the Broken Arrow Public School System.


I don’t know why you would be surprised. Those of you who have been around awhile know they’ve been doing to me for years. Heck, those who have been around a short time probably still know about it. Having three girlies … one in choir and two in band … means having activities to attend. Yet somehow, the BA school system automatically always seemed to know exactly when Thursday night would present, not only a new episode of Supernatural, but usually an episode that was key to the mythological storyline, thus making it twice as enticing.

However … as I am constantly advised by the youngest of my girlies (with hands on hips, toss of hair, and glaring eye – all she need is the tapping toe – scary!) … the three of them are indeed more important than any television program, even Supernatural. That doesn’t mean to say that I haven’t become excelled at strategic cut and run parking and hugging/kissing/dashing at the end of a program. And it sure doesn’t mean that my sweet Baby has become an expert streak at navigating the road from school program to home in minutes. It also doesn’t mean that my girlies don’t roll their eyes as I make my departure, and then quiz me the next day … begging to see the newest episode and determine for themselves whether it was good or not.

However, my girlies … well … they are my heart and they are my soul and they ARE more important than a Supernatural episode. (Shhh! Don’t’ tell them!) Therefore, today … the Broken Arrow School System and my eldest girlie are allowed to interrupt this blog originally designed to be my introductory Supernatural blog for my summer ramble room.

Today … tonight … at 7:30pm (CST) … my eldest girlie will be entering an auditorium with her graduating class of 2009 to receive her high school diploma.

Proud doesn’t even begin to describe the way I feel about this young lady.

I could spend some time and tell you about her accomplishments, for they are many.

I could spend some time and tell you about her years of band – the awards, the parades, the concerts, the practicing in my garage when she was just beginning.

I could spend some time and tell you about her years of softball, games, practices, getting dirty and scraped and loving every minute of it.

I could spend some time and tell you about her love for her cat, her enjoyment of reading, of heckling her younger sisters, of sleeping past noon, of listening to music, of playing games, of drawing, of watching the “The Lion King” over and over and over and over and over.

I could spend time and tell you of her years growing in God’s grace, of watching her grow, grasping the concepts presented and understanding God’s love for her as His own child.

I could spend time and tell you several things about this child whom I held the day she was born … a gift from heaven … delivered as a blessing to my heart and a delight to my soul.

However that would take more words than I can post without once again breaking the blogosphere. I’ve done it once, I won’t do it again.

I will simply tell you that there is no greater feeling for me than to have this child’s arms encircle me and lay her head upon my shoulder … there is no more feeling of completeness than to hear the words at the end of a phone call – “I love you, too” … there is no greater joy than to be rewarded by a sweet smile, a twinkling eye, a wicked grin, or a snarky comment during times spent together.

She is precious.

And tonight, she will be doing the walk across the stage and be given her diploma (or the semblance of it until final grades are tallied – not that there’s a question, but there are procedures), thus marking the end of one journey and embarking on another. Accepted to an awesome university, next fall she will be moving onward – learning more about life, about people, about the world around her – towards her dreams, some fulfilled, others changed, others evolving.

And tonight, I’ll be in the audience … watching the young blonde girl cross the stage in her cap and gown and seeing the small girl with shiny gold hair and tiny hands clutching tightly to the plastic play spoons as she sits on my kitchen counter on a Saturday morning “helping” me make Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast before we settle ourselves on the couch for yet another viewing of Disney’s “The Lion King”. I will be watching the spirited young girl, smiling and laughing amidst her friends and peers and seeing the little girl who would place her hands on each side of my face, look me in the eye and tell me in her little girl voice that I was her “bestest friend ever”.

Nope. Proud just doesn’t quite cover the feelings I have for this young girl. I don’t think words ever truly describe them.

Yet that’s okay.

Because what’s important is that she already knows.

And I know.

And that’s enough for both of us.

So, my friends … today I’m taking a break from my love of Supernatural and concentrating on my love for something … someone … a wee bit more important.

Okay … a whole heaping mound more important.

Yet, I hope you will keep an eye on this space … I plan to return next week. I’m re-watching Season Four and I’m rambling. I’ll actually be starting with the finale of Season Three, since I never actually wrote about it. And I’ll be doing these rambles with the help of “my friend”. BDW has always been central to the storyline. It seemed only right to bring him along with me. :-D

But for now … I’ve got a girlie to watch graduate.
Isn't she beautiful?

Happy Thursday!! Best day of the week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

20 Days ... Records Set ... Events Occured ... Discoveries Made

Last night on the news, the weatherman advised that we had set a new record ... 20 continuous days of rain, effectively beating the previous record of 13 days. Now, granted, there have been - few and far between - spots of sunshine during these past twenty days. There have been actual hours where no rain has fallen. It has not been a continuous flooding rain for the past 480 hours. We have had days which began with sunshine and ended in storms or vice versa. We have had days of continual light misting rain. We have had storms rage continually throughout the day. However the method ... the result has been the same ... at some point during the last twenty days, rain has fallen on each of them and a new record has thus been set. Now, for some reason known only to the insanity of my mind, when I heard this news, I began thinking about the last twenty record-breaking days and realized that, while I personally haven't exactly set any major records, the last twenty days have been fairly momentous in my life. Events have occurred and discoveries have been made, prompting me to share some of them here ... in my own little ramble room.

Anniversaries are considered to be momentous occasions. The larger the number ... the greater the occasion. Right? I mean ... 25th & 50th anniversaries are celebrated with silver and gold respectively, thus indicating that their achievement is to be valued. Although it wasn’t a silver or gold anniversary, May 3, 2009 commemorated a special date for me. As of that date I had been employed by my company for ten years.

I have to say, I'm rather proud of that achievement. Since beginning my employment availability at the tender age of 16 *mumblemumble* years ago ... we won't count the number of previous years of babysitting ... 10 years is the longest length of time I have been employed with a single company, thus breaking my previous record of 7.5 years at Avis Rent-a-Car. With today's economy such as it is, I am grateful for my job, yet there's more to it than just being grateful for being employed.

This job is something that came about after I had been laid off from a previous employer and without work for four months. At the time I remember thinking it was a "God thing", my coming to this place at just the right time with the ability to utilize all the skills I had gained over the years. I have since realized that this job truly is a "God thing" for I have been blessed over and over by it ... by the people who have come and gone throughout the years and whose lives have touched mine. Yes, there have been bad days ... gray days ... frustratingly aggravating black storm ridden days ... yet it always seems that even in the midst of my most infuriating times, something would occur - a short note ... a grateful smile ... a quiet comment - that renewed my faith that this position was the right one for me and that it truly continues to be a "God Thing".

My ten years was celebrated by the arrival of a truly spectacular arrangement of flowers, sent to me at my office from the president & vice-president of our management company. An array of tulips, hydrangea blooms, lilies, snapdragons, and other assorted bright spring flowers entwined with eucalyptus and greenery, it was breathtaking in its beauty. This morning ... eleven days later ... as I was removing some of the withering stems, I found the bud of a single remaining lily just beginning to open its petals ... a burst of new life and beauty amidst the faded blooms.

Perhaps it's not a record but it was definitely a reminder that beauty continues even when we believe life around us is gray and dreary … like when you’re in the midst of 20 days of rain.

During these twenty days I have also discovered that I will never – EVER - become a narcotic junkie. Seriously. I couldn’t even begin to deal with the constipation, a side effect that comes with regular usage.

‘Nuff said.


I discovered this fact during the last twenty days when, for the first time in my *mumblemumble* years, I actually injured myself in such a way as to require my physician to prescribe pain medication heavier than anything I’d ever used previously. As a single female these *mumblemumble* years, I have discovered that when all is said and done, reliance has to be on one’s self when certain events occur. Family is paramount and friends are blessings, but when you are home alone and you fall in the shower, there’s only one person to rinse you off and then clean up the sudsy mess on the bathroom floor. (BTW … that actually did happen about 4 years ago over the July 4th weekend and … again … we’re gonna go with ‘nuff said on that.)

Therefore, when I twisted my knee getting out of my car one evening after work, I thought nothing more of it than a simple twist … a sprain. They happen. You alternate heat with cold and keep it propped. Ibuprofen works great to take the edge off. A few days later you are walking like nothing occurred. In the meantime, there’s only one person to do the laundry … one person to stop at the grocery store and cook the meals … one person to clean up the kitchen and so on and so forth. So, this single female continued business as usual. The event of a twisted knee would pass.

Except … this time … it didn’t.

Still … seeing as doctors are not my favorite people … (my apologies to the medical profession but its true) … I’ll confess … I delayed. For those of us that have achieved the ripe age of *mumblemumble* years, we understand that continual rain has a tendency to seep into our bones and joints, causing a certain amount of aches and pains. Move a bit slower, stick with the heat because it feels better on the propped knee, pop some extra ibuprofen … everything is fine.

Except ... this time ... it wasn’t.

After a week of rain and of … I’m going with the word “discomfort” here … it was time to seek a doctor’s attention.


Events have since unfolded amidst the raindrops and storms, and I have been indoctrinated into the medical profession’s game of “Hurry up … no … wait!” With urgency I was sent for an MRI and given a diagnosis. With waiting I have been turned over to an orthopedic specialist. With urgency I have been given details of pending surgery. With waiting I have been given specific instructions not to walk, keep the knee propped and … did I mention the narcotics??? Events have since unfolded and yet, I am still the same single girl who fell in the shower. There is, still, just me to do the rinsing off and the cleaning up ... or ... in this case, the daily chores of life. Yet with the storms … after the raindrops … there’s always God’s rainbow and my rainbows these last 20 days may not have set records, however they did remind me that blessings … like rainbows are there to be discovered.

Whether it was a pair of supporting parents, an adopted Auntie, a couple of caring co-workers, a crazed friend, a simple note, a late night phone call, a load of laundry, a bag of groceries, a hug - in person or through cyberspace ... all of them worked together to remind this single female that while she is alone ... she is never truly alone.

Yep ... events have a way of happening. Big and momentous like a thunderstorm rolling across the plains (or through your neighborhood) they rumble through your life. Along with the events come the discoveries, gentler like the continuing mist or light showers after the storm, but no less awe inspiring in the rainbows they leave.

Yep ... it's been twenty days of rain here. And according to the weatherman ... that record is soon to be broken as rain is anticipated in the form of a huge honking storm coming through.


Making it twenty-one days of rain.

Wonder if there's another event fixing to unfurl itself in my life?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yet Another Sternly Worded Letter ... Respectfully Submitted

I like television.

I know this comes as no surprise.

It's not like anyone who has read a few of these little blogs of mine couldn't easily figure it out.

It's not like anyone who has ever talked to me wouldn't have the opportunity to hear me say something.

It's not like anyone who calls me and get's my voicemail for the last couple seasons of Supernatural had any way of avoiding finding it out.

So, it should come as no surprise when a friend of mine posed the following question this weekend, how I might respond:

"What sense triggers memories more than any other?"

While I realize that television itself is not a "sense", it does require the senses of sight and hearing ... or, when I am trying to be quiet or not really wanting the "noise", I might have the closed captioning on and then it is simply the sense of sight that is utilized. Which is fine ... my imagination can fill in the rest - including theme songs and voice inflections. They may not always be correct, but they are entertaining ... atleast to me. *grins*

It was interesting that shortly after reading my friend's question, I was scanning the television and came across the old movie ... The Magnificent Seven. I love this movie! Yul Bryner dressed all in black ... Robert Vaughn ... Steve McQueen ... horses ... gunfights ... and a theme song that is still one that always gets my attention.

However, best of all are the memories the movie triggers ...

*mumblemumble* years ago when I was living at home, my dad and I would stay up late on Saturday nights and watch movies. Westerns were our favorites. John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood ... these were just some of the greats that we would enjoy. The quality wasn't always the best ... the stories were often predictable - particularly after we'd seen them a couple of times - but it didn't matter. It was the time shared that was awesome. My mom and my brother were the early birds of our family. My dad and I shared a love of staying up late (and sleeping late) and Saturday nights were our nights - even if we did still get up early for church the next morning. Sometimes we might have snacks, other times one of us might fall asleep before the ending credits but it didn't matter. It was a time shared by a father and a daughter and that memory is the best of all.

CBS recently announced that they are cancelling their daytime drama The Guiding Light, effective September of this year. While I haven't really paid much attention to the soap opera in recent years, this news saddened me and triggered many memories of television times spent as a child with my mom.

I grew up with the CBS soaps ... my mother had them on each day as she went about her day. Lunch was spent with Chris and Nancy Hughes and their family on As the World Turns (gagging followed as invariably that nasty Crest commercial would come on where the kid chewed one of those red tablets and showed how they didn't brush very well - ugh!). Rest/nap time on the couch was spent with the Bert Bauer and her sons and their families on The Guiding Light. The folding, cleaning, and other "chores" were completed with Search for Tomorrow, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, and The Edge of Night. As a child I knew these families and the pattern of the shows structured my days. They were a comfort of routine that revolved around being with my mom ... even if I huffed and puffed about having to fold clothes or dust and "stuff".

Other shows across the *mumblemumble* years of my life have made impressions and when I see them or hear the theme song, memories are triggered. Children's shows such as Sesame Street and Mister Rodger's Neighborhood are triple filled with memories ... first of times as a child spent watching with my little brother, then as a nanny watching them with my small charge, and finally years later with my small girlies ... yet through each memory comes the knowledge of letters and numbers learned, of concepts and thought processes being formed, of entertainment being enjoyed. Evening programming watched with family and/or friends ... watching Star Trek (the original) from the gray rocker in our family room on our new color television ... Dallas evoking memories of high school Friday nights at a friends house ... late nights with Hercules and friends teasing me for enjoying the sight of Kevin Sorbo's muscles ... and I won't even begin to tell the memories and entertainment I've gotten with a certain Thursday night show filled with laughter, angst, and enough family drama to run circles around those bed-hopping doctors or I will overload my word limit here.

Yep ... I like television ... I like sharing it with friends and family ... I like the entertainment of a solid, scripted drama or a comedy program that doesn't play to me like I'm the lowest common denominator ... I don't care for reality programs and game shows bore me for neither of the draw me in with my imagination until I am a part of the show - feeling the pain ... enjoying the laughter.

After a day in my reality, surrounded by the happenings in my city, around my nation and throughout the world, the television programs I favor take me away for a bit ... they entertain me ... they provide the moments of escape - even as I fold laundry, pay bills, clean house, or indulge in stamping or scrapbooking. Some nights I don't have a preference and will simply channel surf till something catches my eye ... other nights I know exactly what I want to view. Then there are the nights when I am not home and have to rely upon my trusty VCR to tape the programs I enjoy following, praying that nothing has happened to disrupt the program or change it's broadcast time.

Therefore, you can hopefully understand my dismay in the news yesterday of yet another primetime news conference from our President interrupting broadcast televisions scheduling and my need to speak up ... afterall, isn't that one of the freedoms this country is founded upon? So, here it is ... my sternly worded letter ... respectfully submitted ...

Dear Mr. President ... Sir ...

Please stop messing with my television schedule.

I appreciate you wanting to be forthright in advising Americans (and the rest of the world) where things stand, however do you have to do it during my "off time" ... my time to relax and be entertained and not worry about the state of the nation? After spending my day involved in the city, state, nation, and world around me ... getting news thrust at me from the people I meet, the radio station I listen to, the papers I read, the websites I surf, the news program I watch ... I look forward to those two to three hours during an evening where I have the opportunity to view programs that allow me a measure of pleasure ... a time of distraction. To not only have that time interrupted with news conferences, but to also have programs I enjoy and indulge in be rescheduled to strange times that I need a dedicated calendar to try and navigate in order to either view them or tape them, is frustrating and, to be honest, aggravating.

I don't wish to be rude. You are indeed the President of our country, and, while I did not myself vote for you, I have been taught to respect your position as the leader of our nation. However, I submit the question ... why can't you have these conferences at different times ... like maybe during the actual evening news time? If they must, for some peculiar reason, be broadcast during primetime ENTERTAINMENT television times, why could they not be treated like the Superbowl or award shows and rotated amongst the major broadcasting stations.

Why must all of the stations take away all of the programs during that specific time period? Is it in an effort to make us watch? Cause, I have to tell you ... I don't. Not because I didn't vote for you but simply because I don't want to hear the news during my time of relaxation. And let's face it, sir ... it's not like I don't get a thirty minute recap during my evening news, not to mention a recap of it in the newspaper the next morning, a recap of it on my websites I visit throughout the day, a recap of it on the morning news programs, a recap of it from various individuals I meet throughout my daily journey. No, sir, I hear all about it.

So, it is, Mr. President ... Sir ... that I respectfully submit my request that you please try another avenue for being honest and forthright in telling the world about the state of our U.S. affairs.


May is not only sweeps month, it's also the month of season finales ... ie. it's a big month for those of us who really like our television. It's hard enough letting go of a program ... but having to hunt for that final broadcast time does not lend itself to the relaxing portion of my entertainment package.

Sincerely yours,
Television Viewer for *mumblemumble* years

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Single Girl's Valentine Wish

Ahhh ... Valentine's Day!

That universal day of love signified by hearts and cupids, thereby establishing that while love may exist between parents and children, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends across the nation and around the world ... it is actually a day set aside for lovers.
A day for couples everywhere to declare their undying love.

Jewelry stores count on it.

Flower stores thrive on it.

Card stores go crazy on it.

And restaurants? Yeah ... they overbook and overprice on it.
It's that day when men best remember to step up and make their best effort towards the woman they love and adore. That day when women work to look and smell their best, their most enticing, to show the man they love ...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You get the picture.

Seems to me it's a day of trying to hard to achieve something that should naturally occur every day of the year. Then again, I'm single. So what do I know?

For starters ... I know that I have a set of parents who have been married for 52 years and have provided me with an example of the type of love I would like to have in a marriage. A love that doesn't need a special day to make them declare their love with just a shared look across a table ... with the holding of the hands as they walk down the street ... with a giggle-laugh-snort of a fun story told or shared joke ... with a quiet moment a head leaning on the other's shoulder. My parents weren't perfect. They have had their share of disagreements and disappointments over the years, however through each year they gave me and my brother an example of committment to something that means everything to both of them. Their marriage is a combined effort of work and love, on Valentine's day and every other day of the year.

Secondly ... I know I may be single ... I know I may not share this holiday with "a man", giving and receiving gifts of chocolates and flowers ... however, I know each year I have been fortunate enough to share the "Day of Love" with someone I love ... three someones to be exact.

For seventeen years now, I have spent this day in the company of sometimes one, many times two, and those years when I've been extremely blessed - all three of my girlies. Whether rushed due to busy school nights or relaxed when celebrated on a weekend, my heart is filled with delight in the time we spend together.

Now that they are all teenagers, the years of special heart patterned matching jammies and cartooned faced heart decorations are photos of memories in my mind. The special early morning breakfasts of heart shaped pancakes while watching Valentine videos of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh have been given up for the teen's creed of "We Must Sleep Until Noon". The staying up late the night before the school Valentine's party signing little cards and baking cookies has transformed itself into running to the store and grabbing some of those little boxes of heartshaped sugar candies with messages of "hugs" and "love" and other assorted sayings stamped upon them. The years have passed, the children have grown, but there is a constant that remains.

My heart is still filled with delight in the time we spend together.

This year there won't be a sumptuous dinner at an elegant restaurant with an adoring man for me. There won't be the Valentine Party dinner we had when they were little ... red themed in honor of the day with spaghetti, red jello, red kool-aid, and brownies with red sprinkles. There will simply be me and my girlies ... two of them for sure, hopefully three ... with pizza, cookies, and a movie. Granted, the pizzas are heart-shaped courtesy of our favorite local pizza place and the cookies have the silly red heart faces from courtesy of the Pillsbury Doughboy ... I haven't given up every part of the holiday just because we've all aged!

There may not be jewelry or fancy red heart shaped boxes, but there will be soft smiles, large hugs, sweet kisses and chocolate.

There may not be a huge bouquet of red roses, but there is a simple origami flower made especially for me.

There may not be romance, but there will be love ... simple and consistent ... freely given from the heart ... one special day a year and every day after.

That's the Valentine my parents exampled and I wish for everyone.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Discussion Between Me, Myself, and I

I haven’t been writing lately. Oh … I’ve started several pieces. However nothing seems to be going very well. Nothing has been completed in the timely manner I wanted.

I’ll admit it’s made Me rather frustrated and unhappy.

I really enjoy writing. I find I am most at peace when I get an idea and put it into words. It is something that generally makes Me happy, sorting out thoughts, using words to paint pictures of feelings and experiences.

Therefore, when I am not writing, I don’t feel completely right and that leaves Me feeling rather out of sorts. I have learned that I don’t really like Me when that happens and I believe the fault for this usually lies within Myself.

After pondering the situation for a time, I decided that it would most likely help Me get to feeling better if I had a discussion with Myself. This is sometimes a good thing, but, then again, sometimes it isn’t. The discussions I have with Myself always tend to get a bit lively. I will admit that I am not always the most passive person when I find it necessary to have a conversation with Myself. It is usually because I find Myself unwilling to listen. It’s as though I find Myself not wanting to take responsibility for why I am not feeling good, or simply helping to get Me back on track towards being happier.

Therefore, I don’t enter into these conversations lightly. For some reason I can never seem to fathom, I always tend to make Myself a tad bit crazy. No matter how rational I try to be, listing the areas that need to be followed, I find myself balking … resisting listening to reason. It never fails I end up trying to bring the subject back up only to find myself pushing it further and further away.

When that happens, it generally falls to Me to sort out the finer points of the dialogue and bring it back into a semblance of rationality.

I won’t bore anyone with the complete details. The … ahem … discussion has been rather lengthy and time consuming, continuing on over the course of several days, making Me more than a bit distressed at times.

Bottom line, I told Myself that I was not happy with this empathy I felt Myself having towards the writing that I do.

I told Myself that not being able to write was making Me unhappy and something needed to be done … now.

I told Myself that I was holding Myself accountable for this inability and that it was time to get Myself together and get back to the business that makes Me smile.

Essentially, I argued, and bullied, and essentially painted Myself into a corner.

As you can imagine, this is never good. Whenever I find Myself painted into a corner, I find Myself lashing back.

Nope … not good at all, because in the end is it always Me that bears the brunt of it when I get Myself all worked up like that … when I try to make Myself take some responsibility.

For in the end … after I have shouted at Myself, forcing Myself to declare that I will never write again … it is up to Me … with tears in eyes and heavy heart … to plead with Myself to listen to what I am truly saying.

The writing that I do comes from deep within Myself and is ultimately written only for Me.

I had forgotten that.

The writing that I do only works to satisfy Me when I relax and allow Myself to enjoy the process … the search for the words to describe images and concepts that matter most to Me.

The writing that I do only works when I put away the deadlines that I impose upon Myself and understand that while I might require guidelines and structure for many areas of my life, I find Myself needing an atmosphere that is cozy and cheerful, a bit more loose-fitting, so to speak, for the writing to truly enfold Me and make Me feel able to convey ideas adequately.
It is only then that I find Myself writing and that is what makes Me very happy.