Wednesday, April 30, 2008

DLS Update: Somebody Shoot Me. Please... Just SHOOT ME!

I can walk around in the storage area now...


But... it is still quite a mess and a can of stain was knocked over and leaked onto the concrete when that big pile of boxes fell. The nasty blotch is under that sheet there.


Here's Lu Lu and Benny having a grand time before I started this
little project.

This is the finished area of the basement before I started this
little project.

This is now the finished area of my basement.

This very sight makes me want to squawl.

And tear my clothing... And weep...
And eat lots and lots of chocolate.

Just Ask!

I love it when other bloggers open things up and answer questions that their readers submit. You really learn a lot! So, today, I am asking you to ask me questions. But... I would also LOVE it if you could also open up your blogs by allowing your readers to ask YOU questions too! Be sure to let me know in the comments if you choose to do this so that I can be sure to get to your blogs and ask my questions!

Now... I am off the computer and on down to the basement... oy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DLS Basement Update

I did not do anything in the basement today. Ugh. That leaves me only 3 days to get it done. I went to a friend's house for lunch and we had our counseling appointment with our daughter. Tomorrow I am going out to lunch with another friend but I am going to get started on the basement first thing.

Miracle in the Midst

I wrote the following piece at the beginning of February shortly before I deleted my "Laughing Always Helps" blog. I decided to re-print it after reading Trisha's response to my post on Sunday.

I’m not one of those Christians that regularly uses the traditional “Christian speak.” I understand it but choose not to use it much. I was not raised in a “Christian” home. My parents weren’t anti-Christian but God was not spoken of. They did allow me to go to church with others if I wanted to and they even went to an occasional Easter service or Christmas program. For whatever reason, from a young age I was drawn to it.

God doesn’t speak to me, at least not in an audible way. When I pray I am not usually flooded with peace that passes understanding. When I read my bible I often do not understand what it means. Sometimes when I am reading my bible I am blown away as things become clear. However, I don’t sit down with the Lord every morning with a cup of tea and have meaningful communion with Him. I do pray and read my bible, sometimes with great regularity. I also have times where that is missing from my life.

Close to ten years ago I had a major crisis of faith. I was very involved in our church. It was very small and I was in charge of Sunday school for the kids. There wasn’t a specific curriculum that met our needs so I started writing the lessons myself. I was experiencing a lot of inner turmoil and only wanting to feel a sense of peace. I would cry out to the Lord when I was alone and beg Him to please just fill me with peace. My prayers would go unanswered.

I began to feel like the kid in the children’s story about the Emperor who had no clothes. People who used the “Christian speak” began to annoy me greatly. Did God not love me? Why did he not answer me? Why did he not ease my mind? Were all Christians just going around and saying all these things because they didn’t want others to know that they weren’t experiencing what everyone else was? Was God really real? My doubt increased to the point where I became angry. Oh, I kept doing everything I always did. I was in church every Sunday. I continued to plan the Sunday school lessons and teach them. I continued to open our home to church members and do as I’d always done. But… I felt alone and rejected. I had thoughts like Christianity is perpetuated by men who want to control their women and that every thing was a lie. I decided to not believe anymore.

Early one morning I was walking in our neighborhood alone. Not even my husband knew what my thoughts were or that I was going through this crisis. It was a still, humid morning and as I headed down the hill to my house, I was brought up short by a sudden breeze. The sound of it in the trees and the feel of it across me made me hesitate for a moment. I shook it off and continued home. When I reached our yard our neighbor’s young black lab, Swayzie, came up to me. People in Mississippi often just let their dogs run loose and Swayzie had been digging enormous holes in our front yard. Needless to say, we weren’t particularly fond of this dog or her owners. She stood before me with a triangle of our dirt perched perfectly on top of her nose and just held my gaze. I don’t know how long we stood there but in those moments I believed. I could not accept that all of creation around me, including that dog, was just happenstance. I have never witnessed anything left to itself become more ordered. Everything tends toward decay and chaos when left to itself. I actively sought to not believe and I couldn’t.

The pain of these past 12 days has had me questioning not whether God exists, but whether he truly cares about what we are going through in a personal way. Just what does a “personal” relationship with Christ even really mean? My faith is important to me and a part of who I am. I believe the Word to be the inspired Word of God. I pray, go to church and have served. My voice has prevented me from serving in the ways I used to and my pain over the loss of my voice has prevented me from searching out different ways to serve. Our expectations of who we thought would be there for us and then the surprise of who has been has shaken us. Our world has literally been turned upside down.

Paco’s wings need to be clipped again. He will be seven years old in March. In all of that time I have never gotten him to step up onto my finger. I have always had to use the handle of a wooden spoon. He’s been terrible and flying around. It isn’t a big deal when my husband or Double Shot is home because they can easily get him back to his cage. The times he gets loose and it is just me here are extremely stressful. A couple of days ago he was loose for about an hour. The dogs were going crazy. I got a banana and he would eat it while I held it to him, but as soon as I got close with the spoon, he would fly away. He decided to go back behind our TV and was having a grand time crawling all over the wires. I sat on the couch and just watched him because I could not reach him. He then started to bite the wires. His beak is very sharp and I was afraid he was going to electrocute himself. Even though I don’t like Paco, I don’t want him to die and especially not in the middle of what we are dealing with. I got down on my hands and knees and prayed for help. I talked to Paco and pleaded with him to please step up on my finger. I didn’t care if he bit me. It took a good 10-15 minutes with me there holding my finger before him. He put his head down and I tentatively pet the back of his neck. We went back and forth and then he stepped up onto my finger. I went very carefully back to his cage, fully aware that he could fly off at any second.

Yesterday, he was flying around again. He came to me and got on my finger and muttered unintelligible things to me. I held him to my face and he gently nibbled at my face just as he does with my son. God may not be speaking to me. God may not be here in the way that I think He should be or in the way anyone would expect. I may not be feeling peace and joy. But He is here. He reveals Himself to me through his creation… through Paco, the Terrorist, who is now my friend.

We have been thrust into this life of the parents of a prodigal. There is no room for anger and bitterness. There is nothing she can do or say that will make us stop loving her. We have trained her and are holding onto, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 Some kids seem to need to learn things the hard way. As she steps into the pen to fellowship with swine, we are praying for her protection. And we will wait. We will wait for the day that she chooses to return and when we see her from afar, we will run. We will run to her with our arms and our hearts open wide.

Update: Chai Tea has now been gone over three months. Later today, we will have our second counseling session with my husband, her and myself. In the past week she has called me twice just to talk. And... I am going to be helping at church during worship by putting the words to the songs up on the screens. And Paco is still a terrorist... yet, still my friend.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dirty Little Secrets

You see that door there? It is the door to the very bowels of my home. It is the door that I do not like to open. Behind that door are things that haunt me. Can you make out the stack of papers on top of the printer on the desk there? That all needs to be filed. It is hard to make out, but leaning to the left of the door frame is the handrail to the stairs that go up to the right. It was ripped from the wall last December when we stuffed the love seat from the living room down into the basement to make room for the Christmas tree. I haven't filed and we haven't fixed the handrail because of what lies on the other side of that door. Shall we have a look?

Oh. My. Lord.
Do you see the blue tubs knocked over on their sides? They were stacked up to the ceiling behind a cabinet and fell over. I cannot even get to taking care of things like that filing or the handrail because the filing boxes are in this mess and I cannot even open the cabinets. I don't know where all our tools are. They are lost in this storage room. I'd like to start a bit of a game here. What dirty little secrets do you have going in your home? Do you want to join me in tackling these rotten jobs?
Dirty Little Secrets
Post your Dirty Little Secret on your Blog
include your time frame for getting the job DONE
Each evening post your progress for that day
Let me know in the comments section so I can link to you
My Goal for this job is to have it done by Friday
I will be starting on it tomorrow so that will give me 4 days
Come on y'all! Let's make this FUN!!!

Miss Maggie Mae, Part 2

"You have my dog and I want her back NOW!"

The words cut through me as a seeping dread followed. The angry and confrontational tone of the woman's voice let me know I was out of my league and made me glad to only be on the phone and not face to face. I had to think fast to try to diffuse the situation but, at the same time, my grip on Maggie Mae tightened. I had just finished rinsing her so I wrapped her in a towel and held her like a baby in my arms as I calmly replied, "I'm sorry, who am I speaking with?"

I do not recall the woman's name or exactly what was said, but the gist of it was that she wanted Maggie Mae back. In her mind we had stolen her. I was left reeling. I did explain to her that she had suffered from parvo and tried to get her to see that Maggie Mae was in a good home and loved. I also told her that we adopted Maggie Mae through the vet who rescues strays. This only angered the woman more as she vehemently denied the dogs as having been strays. The phone call did not end well and I was in tears. I was afraid that Maggie Mae was going to be taken from us.

After some phone calls, we were able to determine that the girl who originally found the dogs wandering had never taken down the signs she had posted. The woman contacted her and she gave her our Pastor's phone number. His neighbor took the call and gave her our number and told her that our Pastor had one of the dogs, we had one and the rest were still with the vet. Maggie Mae was the only dog to get parvo (to my recollection at any rate... I have a slight niggling that maybe there was one other that was put down... but I'm just not certain). The woman demanded that the vet return her dogs to her but he wanted her to pay for their shots/worming and care. Things got ugly and he eventually decided that it wasn't worth the trouble and just gave them to her. The dogs had been gone for weeks by that point.

This really was a very sticky situation for us. On the one hand, these dogs had gotten loose and had belonged to this woman. However, they were gone for a good bit of time and an effort had been made to locate the owner of the dogs. It was odd because the puppies were not that young. The vet said that they were already 4-5 months old because they were losing teeth. They were also not in great condition and seemed to have not been cared for properly. It really appeared that they were strays. We really grappled with what the right thing to do in that situation was. However, the woman's over the top anger and the fact that Maggie Mae would have died had I not taken care of her were the deciding factors in our agreement to fight to keep her.

Our Pastor was also feeling her wrath. Legally, because we both adopted the dogs through the vet, she couldn't do anything. However, she was very threatening. She told us she was going to come get the dogs. Things progressed to the point where we were afraid of her and what she was planning. Our Pastor was able to determine her address (she had made it known that she already knew ours) and snuck (or should that be snook? Or are those even words? Suffice it to say... our Pastor was sneaky) over there to get the make and models of the vehicles in their driveway. She actually had a run down puppy mill going on in her backyard. She had said that she was coming to our house with some other people to get Maggie Mae. We had dozens of calls back and forth with our Pastor as we all waited for the other shoe to drop. If I remember correctly, I don't think she had our Pastor's address but he was worried that she'd figure it out. We made our children stay in the back bedroom while we peered out our front windows anxiously. Mr. Macchiato even had a baseball bat sitting by the door.

I have to laugh a little now when I think back on how scared we were, but this woman was so angry! We didn't know if she was going to show up with a gun or if the men with her were going to get physical. It was incredibly stressful. We even thought, like the vet, that it would be easier to just hand Maggie Mae over. We just did not know how far she was willing to take things. We felt foolish and realized that we were putting our family at risk over a puppy.

We ended up calling the police to ask them what we should do. They sent an officer out to our house and he listened to our ridiculous story. He was a big burly young guy and he asked it we had her phone number. We did and we gave it to him. He got on the phone with her and attempted to talk her through things. Before long, he stepped outside and we watched him pace back and forth in our yard as he argued with her. Then his arms started flapping and he began to yell. We did not know what was going on! When the officer finally came back into the house he told us that he was not sure what she was going to do. He assured us that legally she had no recourse. However, that doesn't help with crazy. He told her that if they stepped foot on our property that they'd be arrested and that seemed to take her back. He then told us to call them if she showed up.

We felt a sense of relief but maintained our vigil for a couple more hours. Over the next days and weeks there was a sense of watchfulness as we weren't sure it was all over or not. We never did hear from the angry woman again.

To be continued...

I'm being nice and not leaving a cliff hanger here because I'm not sure when I'll finish Maggie Mae's story, but there is more!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Do You Doubt?

Do you ever have doubts? About God, I mean. Do you ever look at the world around you and wonder where God is? I do. No matter how many years I've been a Christian... I still, at times, struggle with doubt. There is just so much that I don't understand. I used to worry that that made me a bad Christian.

The Prophet Habakkuk struggled with doubt. He was deeply worried about the threatening international situation of his day, Judah's spiritual decline and his own faltering faith. Why was God inactive? Why doesn't He do something? Habakkuk waited on the LORD and changed his question from "Why does God allow it?" to "Who is this God who will sustain me in the things He allows?"

Have you ever heard the term "Entitlement Mentality?" We've often used it in regard to some social programs and the attitudes of many teens today. Although I don't like to think of myself as judgmental, I often times am. I've often wondered just why certain people seem to believe they are owed things. Of course, I never saw myself as being part of that group. But... I am. I had my "ducks in a row." I was following a prescription, or recipe, for what I thought would produce a "good life." We are "good people." We go to church every Sunday. We serve others. We homeschooled our children. How much of my faith was really about what I thought I would be getting out of it? Was I serving and worshipping God for selfish reasons?

These are hard questions that I've had to ask myself. I don't like the answers. Even now, with my eyes opened to my filthy self-righteousness, I shirk away from the full realization. All that I've done... All that I've sought to be... was really... for ME. Really looking in the mirror is painful. Do I really deserve a family without problems? Do I really deserve health? Do I really deserve a life free from financial worry? No.

I don't know where you are, but this is where I am. I believe God is who He says He is. Do I struggle with that? Yes. I don't have all of the answers, but I do have faith. And I am thankful because that faith definitely does not come from me.

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls -
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

Saturday, April 26, 2008

cRaZy wEeKEND


Frappacino's College Road Trip was a spur of the moment thing. We needed to tie up a few loose ends in regard to her application and she applied late... so we decided to just go up there and do that.

However, Double Shot's last baseball game was last night. Frappy did a great job getting us home in time to see it!


And she did it in cute shoes!

And we got to see Double Shot play!

AND... He WHACKED that ball! And... we found out that they rescheduled a game that had been cancelled earlier in the season for TODAY. What that means is... No Miss Maggie Mae part 2 today. Sorry. Frappy's prom is tonight and we've got peeps coming home with us after church tomorrow for lunch. Which means I need to get busy!
Have a FaBuLoUs Day!

Friday, April 25, 2008

College Road Trip

Frappacino and I are on a college road trip! Lots to do and see today! Frappacino is already on campus doing some testing. I came back to the hotel to check on my beloved blog. Ha Ha. I was going to write part 2 of Miss Maggie Mae's story but it is a gOrGeOuS morning and I'm going to go poke around instead.

Y'all have a great day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Miss Maggie Mae, Part 1

Many years ago, while living in Mississippi, our single Pastor saw a sign in his mother’s neighborhood regarding some lost beagle puppies. He had been considering getting a small dog so he took the number down.

It so happens that on this day a group of us from church had planned to go to the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jackson to pass out business sized outreach cards. That is where we first heard of the beagle pups. Our Pastor planned to call the number when he got home. The next morning our Pastor and SS, his neighbor from across the hall, were full of stories about five beagle puppies and their mother which were now in residence in their small apartment building. We were a bit confused as to how this came to be. As it turns out, the person who had put up the signs was not able to continue caring for the puppies until the owner was found due to her landlord not allowing it. I believe that she had been trying to locate the owner for a week or so. So our Pastor, caring guy that he was, told her he would take care of the puppies.

Our Pastor lived in a tiny apartment building with only five one bedroom units, so all of his neighbors were soon aware of the situation. CB, our Pastor's downstairs neighbor, happened to have a sister-in-law who worked for a veterinarian. They got her on the phone and she informed them that the Animal Clinic where she worked rescued strays and adopted them out. Our Pastor, of course, had his eye on the runt of the bunch and planned to adopt her from the clinic.

Mr. Macchiato decided it would be fun for our family to take a little Sunday drive to go check out the puppies. I warned him that we would most likely have to leave there with screaming children if we did not get one, but he didn’t seem to think it would be a problem, leading me to believe that he was of a mind to get a puppy. We spent an hour and a half or more at our Pastor's playing with the dogs. During this time there was much begging and pleading with Daddy for a puppy, of which I was also a part. Mr. Macchiato stood his ground and we did leave with a car full of bawling children. His reasoning was sound in that we really could not afford to have any vet bills.

Well, the next morning our Pastor called from the vet’s to tell me that the shots and deworming would only cost $25. I immediately called Mr. Macchiato to do a little more begging and he relented. Well the vet bill was actually $30 along with a $40 trip to Petsmart, but we were pleased to have a wonderful little puppy. She was beautiful and we named her Maggie Mae.

Less than two days later she had diarrhea and she was not eating or drinking. I knew immediately that it was parvo because I had smelled it before. Our golden retriever, Reggie, that we had in CA, had gotten it after Mr. Macchiato and his mom took him to a dog park, even though he'd had all his shots. He was six months old and we spent nearly $1,000 saving him. When we moved to MS, we gave him to my mother-in-law because we couldn't sell our house and we were going to have to rent a place. We did find a place where we could keep him but she was so attached to him that we couldn't bear to take him from her. It was a good thing too because he got her through some pretty rough times.

There was no way that Mr. Macchiato was going to pay $1,000 to save a dog we'd just gotten days before. I was heartbroken. I called the vet and told him my suspicions and he had me bring her in. He ran a test and yes, it was parvo. He told me that I could pick out another dog from the litter and he wouldn't charge me. I asked if he would save her. He told me they would have to put her down. I stood there and cried. I asked him if there was any way for her to get through it without IV's. He said it would take a lot and the chances were slim. I told him I had to try. He was a wonderful man and he told me what to do and then taught me how to give Maggie Mae shots whenever she had diarrhea/vomiting. And he only charged me his cost for the shots.

I took her home and set her up in the laundry room. I set the alarm for every 20 minutes and slowly drizzled Pedialyte down the back of Maggie Mae's throat and I gave her the shots as the vet had shown me. Mr. Macchiato, our Pastor, and many of our friends all told me to just pick out another puppy. I just could not let her go. On the fourth or fifth night I was so exhausted. Sometimes the alarm would go off for 5-10 minutes before I was roused. Some of her diarrhea puddles were so large that I just didn't see how they could have come from her. There was a point during that last night that I just wept, sitting with her in my hands. She was completely limp with her head rolling back and I felt it was hopeless. I prayed for what had to be the hundredth time.

Just hours later... she began to improve. I could not believe it! Within a day, it was clear that she was going to survive. A couple of days later I was bathing her in the kitchen sink when the phone rang. There was a very angry woman on the other end of the line.

"You have my dog and I want her back NOW!"

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, Coffee, and No Doz

Ranger had a post yesterday that got me thinking...

Way back when, I was a student at Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, WA. During my first year there I took an Economics course. We were required to read the Wall Street Journal every day in addition to the regular course work. I was dating Mr. Macchiato who was going to Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, which was two hours away. He would come home as often as he could so that we could hang out. I also had a job at a hardware store called Ernst. Whenever Mr. Macchiato came home for the weekend or I worked a lot of hours, I would fall behind in my WSJ reading. The professor would always include a question or two solely from the recent WSJ articles so it was important to actually read it.

Mr. Macchiato came home one weekend and I knew I needed to do my homework, but I spent the time with him instead. We were in love. I had a test coming up and was really feeling the pressure. I managed to get everything done except for the reading of the WSJ. I decided to pull an all nighter after working until 9 pm at Ernst. I've always been more of a morning person so the thought of staying up all night was more than daunting. I had never taken No Doz before but I bought a box. I also bought a small bag of chocolate covered espresso beans. I was living at home and didn't want my parents to know that I was planning on staying up all night so I also made a thermos of coffee that I dumped several packets of hot chocolate into. I crawled into my bed with all of my WSJ papers surrounding me and started to read. Whenever my eyes would begin to droop, I would eat a couple espresso beans and chug a bit of the hot chocolate coffee. As dawn broke I popped some No Doz.

I was feeling very nauseous when I took my shower. I had to push through it though because I had to make that exam. I ended up having to wear a skirt because all of my pants were dirty. And for your information, if you ever see me in a dress it is a pretty good bet it is because my pants are all dirty. It was a very cold day so I also wore my calf length, puffy, and dark purple Darth Vaderish coat. I did not have a car so I rode the city bus. There was a bus stop right in front of my parent's house. A friend of mine also rode the bus and went to BCC. She was an exchange student from Japan and she ended up marrying Mr. Macchiato's roommate. She got on the bus a few stops before me and we always sat together and she would teach me to say things in Japanese. I can still say, "Fall is a beautiful season," but that is all. Anyway, she was there and I sat next to her and she told me I didn't look good. Thanks.

We had to transfer to another bus to get to BCC from that bus. It was always such a pain because it took so long. While we were waiting for the second bus I really started feeling sick. It was very cold, near freezing, and windy. When we got on the bus it had to be 90 degrees inside. This bus was always packed and we made our way to some empty seats in the back. I knew immediately that I was in trouble. It was just way too warm in there. I tried to open the window a crack but it wouldn't budge. My friend was concerned and kept telling me that I didn't look right.

I was going to throw up. The thought of throwing up on a bus packed with people caused me to panic. I thought... if I could just breathe deep enough that it would pass. I broke out in a cold sweat and started to shake. I kept telling myself to just breathe. The girl sitting in front of me, with very large brown eyes, kept turning around to look at me. Without realizing it I had begun to hyperventilate. Then... all of a sudden... my muscles seized up and my arms were stuck up against my chest with my hands curled out to the side under my chin and my legs were risen up toward my body and I couldn't move. This caused me to breathe even harder and faster. People around me started freaking out and the bus driver pulled the bus over and called an ambulance.

I wanted to just die. Right then.

The ambulance got there and a hunky paramedic (I was an EMT and wanted to be a paramedic myself... but that is a story for another day) and EMT got on the bus and carried me off. They put me on a gurney right there on the side of the road with all sorts of rush hour traffic zooming by. I could not straighten my body out so that cold wind was blowing my skirt up and giving the entire bus a great shot of my panties.

I was taken to the hospital ER and all kinds of tests were run. Verdict? I OD'd on caffeine and hyperventilated. The lack of oxygen is what caused my muscles to seize up like that. Oh, I was also sick but I can't remember with what.

My professor did allow me to take the exam another day. He didn't even need to see my note from the doctor. Apparently, I was the topic of conversation that day and he knew what had happened already.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Embarrass Myself

I've got a busy day and was pulling a blank on what to blog about so I pulled this out from the old blog. It's kind of nice to have a stash of blog stories! I apologize to those who read this blog that also read the old one.

Yesterday, we had some people over that we know from football at our son's school. Fly Boy and Chai Tea had plans and were here when the people arrived. I was introducing the lady to Chai Tea and Fly Boy and I could NOT think of his name... all that was coming to me was Fly Boy. It was obvious and Fly Boy said his own name. I was flustered and told him I was sorry... I just always refer to him as Fly Boy... and my mind went blank... and my cheeks and ears got hot. What the heck?!?!? Why did I tell him I call him Fly Boy when he's not around?

Update: Chai Tea and Fly Boy are still together and planning on getting married although he is now in another state and she is not living with us.

Last week, Mr. Macchiato and I were at Blockbuster. We tried Blockbuster online but we kept getting broken DVDs, so we cancelled it. Our Blockbuster Rewards recently expired so every time we go in they ask if we want to renew. We haven't because everyone we know that has NetFlix says they have never gotten broken DVDs, so we are going to try... only we haven't signed up yet. So, we are standing at the counter and we get asked again if we want to renew. I told the guy, "No, we are going to sign up for NetFlix but haven't gotten round to it yet." The guy stood there blinking at me and Mr. Macchiato went on and on in the car because he couldn't believe I said that to him. When I went in the other day, that same guy was watching me.

Update: We still have not signed up for Netflix and that same guy still stares at me whenever I go in.

Sometimes we have to do schmoozie stuff. A couple of years ago, we were invited to go out to dinner and then to a Nuggets game in Denver. The wife of the guy schmoozing my husband sat next to me. She was very friendly and asked a lot of questions. I am very soft spoken (on the old blog I did not reveal I had SD until the end) which I think she took to mean I also couldn't hear. She kept laying her hand on me and repeating what others at the table were saying. She also took to calling me Honey and Sweetie and Darlin'. When she learned that we homeschooled our children, she then took to not only repeating what was being said, but explaining what it meant. She was one of those types that calls her dishes by the name of the designer and I'm just not like that. She started talking about an upscale shopping center and wanted to know if I'd been there. I couldn't help it... I said, "Gee, I always say if you can't get it at Wal-Mart then you just don't need it!" Which garnered me THE LOOK. from Mr. Macchiato and elicited much nervous laughter from the other couples. I also got THE TALK, in the car on the way to the Nuggets game, on the way home, and whenever he remembers it.

THE TALK, started years ago in Mississippi. We had not been living there that long and Mr. Macchiato's boss liked to have these impromptu get togethers at the University Club. This was a super fancy restaurant on top of the tallest building in Jackson. Having lived in Seattle and L.A., it was kind of funny to us. I'm just not the schmoozie type. I think it is all silly. And stupid. And weird. So, we were at this loooooooong table with all these other couples and the wine was flowing and I had some. I don't normally drink (although, I love to talk about drinking). The boss was at the head of the table and the talk turned to Jean Tripplehorn. I said, "Wasn't she the actress in that horrible Waterworld movie?" Y'all remember that movie, right? The one with Kevin Costner? Well, when we saw that in the theater, I got in trouble for making comments about how stupid it was because the people in front of us kept turning around to look at me. I'm sorry. But, where did they get the gas for the jet ski's if the whole world was under water and had been for a jillion years? Where did they get the cigarettes? Why did the Jack Daniels still have the labels on the bottles? That movie was just dumb. And I got to experience Mr. Macchiato's hot, wet whisper in my ear telling me to shut up and to "suspend my disbelief" so I (meaning he) could enjoy the movie. It was horrible. Had I been there by myself, I would have left. Well, everyone, and I mean literally everyone, whipped their heads my way. Forks were suspended mid air. Eyes were bulging. The guy sitting next to me said, that's so and so's favorite movie. I laughed and said, "No way could that be his favorite movie! That has to be the stupidest movie ever made!" The incredulous look on this guy's face that slowly turned to suppressed glee told me I'd made a big mistake. That and the kick from Mr. Macchiato I got under the table. I slowly looked around the table at each face until I reached the face of my husband's boss. Nervous laughter broke out amongst some and deep belly laughs erupted from others. I drank more wine. Apparently, the boss LOVED Waterworld and talked about it ALL THE TIME.

Update: There are a few upsides to my having SD... like the fact that the things I say aren't always heard.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thank You! Thank You!

We so appreciate all your prayers and well wishes! The counseling session went okay. Stuff like that is never easy. We've been going since a couple of weeks after Chai Tea ran away in January. She did agree to go again with us next week. It's hard because I just want everything to be fixed. At the same time, we will do whatever it takes to maintain an open door with her. I don't know how long it is going to take before our relationships are fully restored. Maybe that is a good thing. If I'd known in January that it would be 3 months before we could even get her to see a counselor with us... I might have died. One day at a time... sometimes... one breath at a time.

Lordy, Lordy!

Short post today. All that laundry that was on my couch on Saturday is still there. We went to some friends' house for dinner. Not the prom friends. Different friends. It got all wrinkled so I just left it. I have mad lazy girl laundry skills. Just so you know. Am I going to wash everything over? No. Are we going to wear wrinkly clothes? No. Am I going to iron everything? HECK NO. I am going to pop each load back into the dryer for about 15 minutes with five wet washcloths and then I am going to fold them immediately. No one will ever know. No one except you, dear friends.

Regrettably, there are articles of my clothing that will have to go through the rinse cycle... with extra softener. Why? I am an Amazon Queen from the Land of Gargantuan People. I inadvertently, in my rush to get laundry done, put some of my things in the dryer. That means shrinkage. I will have to get them wet and stretch them back out and then hang them to dry. This is really an art form. I've learned that, with certain fabrics, if I stretch them out and let them dry and then rinse them again with extra softener, I can actually sometimes get things longer than when I bought them. But, the dryer is a big NO NO.

So, that is what I will be doing today. Laundry re-con. And dishes. And vacuuming. And dusting. And STRESSING. Today is the day we see the counselor with Chai Tea. So, any prayers y'all could send up for us would be so greatly appreciated.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

God Bless Y'all this Sunday

I just want to thank y'all for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. This is a lot of fun for me and a great diversion from the harder things going on in my life. Y'all really bring me a lot of joy and I love reading your blogs!

I want y'all to know that I pray for all who find themselves here. I pray that my stupid sense of humor doesn't cause anyone to stumble but also... I pray for anyone that reads this that is lonely or hurting or stressed.

God does love you. Just as you are.

Hot Chocolate

Last night Frappacino went with her boyfriend to his prom. I've been given his permission to relate the following events to y'all here on this blog. Of course, there will be no identifiable pictures. I am sorry.

So, yesterday was a busy day here! Not only did I do Frappacino's hair and make-up, but her friend's. Our house was abuzz with activity as this girl's family all came along. They are our buddies and we do all sorts of things together, like camp and eat. We had bobby pins, clippies, curling irons, blow dryers, nail polish and all kinds of other things strewn about. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, Frappacino's Rascal Flatts t-shirt had to be sacrificed on the alter of beauty and was cut off of her so as to avoid messing up her up do.

We were under the impression that we were taking our daughter to her boyfriend's house so that his parents could see Frappacino and take pictures and that they would leave from there. Our friends left to get their daughter home and dressed before her date picked her up. These friends are the kind of friends that we don't bother to pick up for. I mean, sometimes we do, but it doesn't matter if we don't. Our house was a wreck when we learned that he was coming here to pick her up. I freaked out as I thought his parents were coming too, to take pictures. But, no, Frappacino's prom is next weekend so they are going to take pictures then. Whew! We still had to run around and make the front room presentable though.

Frappacino's hair started to fall so she wanted me to fix it. We were under the gun so it was a bit stressful. It did not go well and I ended up having to take it down and re-do it. The boyfriend got here and... well, she wasn't even dressed! He sat in the front room with Mr. Macchiato and Double Shot for about 10 minutes waiting. The boyfriend is over 6 ft. tall, but Frappacino is nearly 5'10" and her heels put them eye to eye and made her feel like she was taller so she took them off while I documented the exchange of boutonniere and wrist corsage on film. The boyfriend leaned down and saw that we'd left the impressive price tag of $14.99 on one of her shoes and proceeded to peel it off for her. Gulp.

Then we were off to the yard for some more pictures. I admit I got a little teary as they walked off toward his car. Only the boyfriend couldn't find his keys. We sent Double Shot to check the couch where he'd been sitting. No keys. He had locked them in his car. We all stood around looking stupid for a bit and then we told him to take my car. Only... my car was out of gas. We gave them a gas card and sent them on their way. The boyfriend was just going to swing by his house to get the extra set of keys after the prom before they came back to our house to change. They had plans to go to our friend's house and hang out after the prom with their daughter and her date.

We went into the house and had a bit of fun laughing about what had just gone on. Apparently, when Mr. Macchiato and I turned to go into the house to get my set of keys for him, the boyfriend muttered under his breath, "I am such a retard," much to Double Shot's utter delight at having gotten to witness it. A bit of love grew in our hearts for the boy. Yup, he fits in around here pretty well.

Then the phone rang. It was Frappacino. They were on their way back to the house. The prom tickets were in his glove compartment and his Dad was on the way to our house with his extra keys. The house was a mess, but the front room was okay so I didn't get too freaked out. The boyfriend lives a bit away so they got back here and had to wait a bit. The boyfriend called the restaurant on his cell phone to tell them they were going to be late. As he was talking he meandered throughout the house! Ummmm... laundry needing to be folded on the couches in the family room... he saw it. Chances he noticed the pile with my big ole grannie panties mixed throughout... uh... pretty good. Kitchen? Dishes everywhere. Saw it. Yeah. Ain't that nice?

Well, we all sat down to wait. Double Shot told the Boyfriend that he's like family now. We laughed. We then discussed whether I could blog about this or not. We discussed the need for him to have his very own blog name. The boyfriend shall, from henceforth and forevermore, be known as Hot Chocolate on this here blog.

Then... Hot Chocolate's glasses broke. The little nose protector came out because it was cracked. Only he couldn't get it to snap back in because there was a tiny screw in the way. We watched him fumble around with it as he became a bit flustered. I asked him if he wanted me to try. He did. I did. It didn't help. Frappacino went off in search of a tiny screw driver. She couldn't find one. Double Shot found one but it was too wide. He then got an exacto knife and we took the blade out and, with great concentration and dexterity, I was able to get his glasses back together... just as his Dad arrived.

More laughing, more pictures, and then they were finally on their way. Hot Chocolate's Dad hung out for a bit and we laughed some more. Double Shot was sure to re-enact the, "I'm such a retard." moment for him.

We then left to go to our friend's house for dinner. The friends that had been over all afternoon and the friends that the kids were going to be hanging out with later. Only when we got to their house only there kids were there. And we'd just talked to them! So what could we do? We hung out with their kids and noticed their digital camera just sitting on the coffee table. So, I picked it up and we had a ... little bit of fun with it. I took pictures of Mr. Macchiato making very attractive faces and then some of myself that might have been a bit cross eyed. I may have stuck my tongue out like I was going to stick it in Mr. Macchiato's ear. I then left the camera on the table. When they finally got back home from the little jaunt they took even though they knew we were on the way to their house I asked to see the pictures they took of their daughter and her date. They saw the pictures and laughed. I got the camera and was going to delete those pictures, but it was rudely ripped from my hands and then somehow enabled so that I could not erase those pictures.

We had dinner. We sat around. We laughed. We went home to be there when Hot Chocolate and Frappacino returned to change their clothes. They had to come back to our house because Frappacino didn't have any clean pants and I had to wash her some. The friends said we could come back and hang out upstairs while the kids hung out downstairs. That sounded good to us so we told the kids when they got here. They had had a great time and didn't seem put off by the fact that we were going to be hanging out where they were. They headed out about 20 minutes before we did. Mr. Macchiato had fallen asleep on the couch before they got home and was slow in coming round.

On the way back over to the friends' we stopped at 7-11 and bought some redbull. We bought enough for everyone. When we pulled up... we did not see Hot Chocolate's car anywhere. We were concerned and tried to reach Frappacino on her cell phone... no answer. We stayed outside a bit and tried to figure out what might have happened to them. We thought that maybe Frappacino couldn't find her way there in the dark. We went inside and asked if Frappacino was there or had called. They said they thought the kids were with us. I told them they left well before us and should have been there.

Well, they were there! They were hiding in the basement and had parked the car on another street just to freak us out. And they did. The kids were more than tickled with themselves. After things settled down... I noticed that they had their picture frame that switches pictures turned on... and... and.... they put the pictures we had taken while we were waiting for them earlier into it... and Hot Chocolate saw them!

Hot Chocolate is a very nice boy. And, hey, Hot Chocolate, if you read this... Keep your shirt on!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Wooden Spoon

Years ago, when my children were 4, 3 and 13 months, my mother and father in-law rented a very large cabin on Priest Lake in Idaho. The kids, their spouses and their children all came together for a week long family reunion. We had all done this before but this was the last time we went.

Toward the end of the week I was in a jet ski accident and was taken by helicopter to Spokane, Washington. I had broken my back. We were living in California and in the process of buying our first home. The majority of both of our families live in Seattle so that is where we went when I was released from the hospital. I stayed in Seattle with the kids for two months while my husband went back to work in L.A.

Our mothers and my sister-in-law took on caring for the kids and me. I was in a metal brace for four months and in the beginning was not even able to go to the bathroom by myself. Being the only girl in my family and raised by a very proper mother, I never undressed in front of anyone (no, not even my husband. The stork brought us children). I could not shower and dress myself. It was a very humiliating and eye opening time for me.

Before my husband went back to L.A. I was in a panic. He had been taking care of the bathroom stuff. That was horrendous enough... the thought of anyone else doing that was more than I could bear. I had to figure out how to take care of that myself.I had a bright idea. I had my husband go to the store and get the longest handled wooden spoon he could find, a large box of baby wipes and a big bag of rubber bands. Wellah! I solved my problem. I even wrote "butt wipe" on the handle of the spoon with a sharpie.

Some years later... five or more... I got a call from my sister-in-law. She had been over to my mother-in-law's with her sister and they were making macaroni and cheese. When her sister tasted it she noticed some writing on the handle of the spoon. Yeah. It was the butt wipe spoon. Somehow it had ended up in our mother-in-law's kitchen drawer. True story.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Must Confess

It is sad, but true. I am afflicted with the sense of humor of a Jr. High aged boy. I am ashamed. Double Shot is equally afflicted. But he is a 15 year old boy, so he can get away with it. I love to hear about all things "poo." However, other bodily functions I will not speak of in mixed company and will nearly burst into flame at their mere mention. And that is all I will say about that.

Double Shot did not have school today. I had great plans for us to accomplish much... but it has yet to happen. You see, we've been laughing. Hysterically. To the point of near unconsciousness. I'm not joking. At one point, I was gasping for air and everything before me went white. I wondered for a brief moment if it was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and prepared myself to run leaping and twirling before it only to have it fade away and see the reality of the dirty house awaiting my ministering.

We used to be on that "no call list." Someone must have lost it because, apparently, we are now on the "call every five minutes list." We do have call waiting so we usually just don't answer. It is still most annoying! The other day, Double Shot answered the phone and proceeded to act... er... ummm... well... mentally challenged. Unfortunately, not much of a stretch. That is, of course, due to my spectacular genetic code obviously passed on in spades to him. However, I have the ability to mask my Jr. High humor leanings when needed. He has yet to develop that skill. It was so funny that...

Believe me, I am hanging my head in shame as I type this, I did it. The other night. Mr. Macchiato wasn't home. Double Shot was and he heard me. I didn't stay on long but I did a mighty fine job. I am sure whoever was on the other end thought they had reached a home for the clinically insane. Well, a home for the clinically insane with major laryngitis or tuberculosis or maybe some kind of plague. Double Shot laughed so hard he fell on the floor.

So, here we are today. Waiting. We've been waiting and waiting. We've made our plans and practiced them. Thus the laughing hysterically. Not one solicitor of any kind has called us! Mr. Macchiato called. He needed to talk to me about some family business matters. I, of course, had been laughing and didn't calm down quickly enough to satisfy his longings for a normal wife. He told me we were freaks. Oh yes he did girlfriends (and any dudes that read this). But don't worry. He meant it in the kindest most nicest way. I assure you. No, really.

I guess we are playing a kind of reverse prank phone call. I never did prank calls when I was a kid. I thought it was rude. And I thought I'd get in trouble. And I just don't like that sort of thing. However, if y'all knew how many times I've answered the phone that doesn't have the caller ID on it and been trapped into talking to a solicitor and had to listen to them tell me to repeat myself over and over... tell me to speak up.... tell me to speak more clearly.... or... and trust me, this has happened many times... hang up on me... you would understand.

So I apologize to the poor solicitors who have called here. I do. I know you probably hate your jobs. Hopefully, it was a little excitement in the monotony of your work day and gave you something to titter about with your co-workers. And I thank you if you put our name and number back on the no call list.

If you've never laughed until you've been surrounded by white light and your sides hurt so bad you are not sure you can manage another breath... You should try it sometime.

My "Little" Brother

TR, like I mentioned before, is nearly 8 years younger than I am and 4 years younger than Buck. I remember well the days each of my brothers were born. TR will always hold an extra special place in my heart. In many ways, I feel more motherly toward him than sisterly. I would beg my mother to let me feed him and change his diaper. My memories of holding him are precious to me.

We never really fought. Not that I recall anyway. He does tell a story about me making him stay in his room while I watched General Hospital when my parents were gone. He claims he was dying of thirst and I wouldn't let him come out and when he told me he was thirsty, I told him to drink his spit. I don't remember that. And, if I did do that, I think the other times I was watching my brothers and tore myself away from my Harlequin romance novels to go rescue him from being tortured by Buck should more than make up for it.

In fact, there were many times I pushed Buck down to the ground and sat on him while digging my knees into his arms just so TR could beat him up. Afterward I would have to hit Buck as hard as I could so that I would have time to jump off of him and run to the bathroom and lock myself in (TR would be locked in the other bathroom). I would be stuck in there for hours because every time I tried to sneak out, Buck would body slam the door or a belt would whip past my face. I even had to hide Harlequin romance novels under the sink just so I would have something to do! Now that, my friends, is a good big sister. I would never defend myself that way from Buck, but I would do it for TR. Yes, I was a great big sister.

TR has stayed with us a couple of times. The first time he was around 20. We were living in CA and there were some people of ill repute in Seattle that were after him. He is 6'10" which makes it impossible for him to blend in anywhere. Mr. Macchiato has known TR since he was 12 and loves him and is always willing to help him. That is something I love very much about my husband.

Anyway, we'd all be watching TV together and TR would just jump up and start singing and dancing for us. We would laugh and laugh. He is hilarious! Some years later he came and stayed with us in MS for awhile and did the same. In fact, when we get to missing him, we jump up and act like him and laugh.

The last time I was with both of my brothers was five and a half years ago when our grandfather died. The kids and I were in Seattle on vacation when we got the news he had lost his battle with cancer. I left the kids with my mother-in-law and flew down to San Diego with my mom, step dad, two aunts, an uncle and Buck. TR drove down from Sacramento in his big ole gold Cadillac. We have a very large extended family so we all stayed in a hotel. I shared a room with one of my aunts and my brothers stayed in the room next door. We could hear them over there arguing and bumping around... wrestling or whatever. Buck is 6'5". My aunt and I sat in our room with our mouths hanging open and, at times, laughing. It was like they reverted back to being kids.

Buck and I went with TR in his big ole gold Cadillac whenever we needed to be somewhere. TR, being 6'10", had the driver's seat back so far that he was actually in the back seat. He's also one of those that likes to lean his seat way back and have his wrist casually over the steering wheel as he smokes. Buck, of course, always nabbed the front seat. Something about his legs being longer than mine. Yeah, whatever. I sat behind Buck. Only there was something wrong with my seat belt so I was a nervous wreck anytime we were in the car. I couldn't switch to another seat because, well, because TR was sitting next to me in the back seat. Or maybe laying is a better description?

Those were some fun rides. TR and Buck are polar opposites. Buck wears designer clothes and is impeccably groomed. TR has tattoos, wears earrings in both ears and sags his britches. I can't tell you how many times I heard Buck say, "Dude, why you gotta be like that?"

After the funeral, we all convened back at Grandma and Grandpa's house. My Grandpa built that house with his own two hands after serving in the Navy during WWII. They lived on that property from the time my mom was 6 years old. It was the only place that was constant for me while growing up as an army brat. The only place that has ever truly felt like home.There was a lot of reminiscing that day. A lot of tears and a lot of laughter.

My retarded aunt, Marilyn, provided much entertainment as she tried to goose everyone within reach. My step dad took to sliding along the wall in the hall with his hands covering his front whenever she was near.

Much of the time I sat in my grandpa's favorite chair and just listened. At one point, I did join in and tried to get TR to dance for us. He wouldn't do it so I drifted back into my own thoughts as I slowly rocked in Grandpa's chair. My Grandpa had put a big picture window in that room for my Grandma and it looked out over the front of the property. There are some large trees there now and as I was rocking, listening and watching, TR stepped out from behind a tree, locked eyes with me and danced. All I could do was open and close my mouth and point out of the window. Just as everyone turned around, he slipped back behind the tree without a trace. Oh, was he proud of himself! And, oh did he make me laugh.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tagged!

Kathy's Dusty Trails has an interesting tag going. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Tag 5 people.

In the last tag I participated in I declared it to be an OPEN TAG. I am doing the same with this one. So, if you read this and want to play along, go for it! Just let me know in the comments so I can go check it out!

THE DIVIDED MIND
The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders
by: John E. Sarno, M.D.

"If this patient had experienced a real conversion hysterical symptom rather than a psychosomatic one, it would have made no difference. The purpose of the symptom is a defense, but it is defending against the painful and dangerous feelings and the possibility that they may be experienced consciously, an eventuality that the ego could not permit under any circumstance. Freud's attaching importance to 'an erotic idea' is consistent with his view at that point in his career that sexual factors were at the root of many neuroses."

Alrighty then. So, why the heck am I reading this book? Well, I came across a blog by someone who had SD who was healed through the books/DVDs put out by this doctor. I just had to check it out.The ailments talked about in the books are more along the lines of back/neck pain, fibromyalgia, and carpel tunnel. However, there are equivalents, which, apparently, SD would fall under but I have yet to come across an actual mention of it. Other equivalents include, gastro/intestinal problems, asthma, allergies, etc.

The idea is that these illnesses are all psychosomatic and originate in the sub-conscience and is your body's way of distracting you from the rage you are repressing. The cure? Just to realize the illnesses are psychosomatic and realize your true emotions. I have not read the entire book but I'm having a lot of trouble with what I am reading.
Interestingly, Dr. Sarno covers himself on page 31, "Experience suggests that in the United States only 10-20 percent of the people with a psychosomatic disorder are able to accept the fact that their symptoms are emotional in origin. Many are downright hostile to the idea." Soooo... if this doesn't work for you, it is because you are one of the 80-90 percent of people that are unable to accept what he says. I'll have to tuck that diabolically clever line of BS ah.. I mean, reasoning away for future use.

Yesterday, I posted on the SD Bulletin Board about some of what I'd been reading, looking for others that have actually read the book. I am going to re-print an excerpt of it here:

Suppressed rage??? Really. Okay, so I am a super nice person and rather than have anyone ever know that I get angry I've developed SD??? I am really trying to have an open mind here. I also don't want to check my brain at the door.

I would love to have a little sit down with my self and have the SD just disappear. Granted, I haven't read the whole book but... I mean, what would that look like?

Me: Hey Self, How ya doin?

Self: Uh, not so good. I'm repressing rage.

Me: Really? What's that all about?

Self: Well, when I am disappointed or something doesn't go my way, instead of allowing you to express it, I come up with some weirdo ailment just to make you miserable and to show the world what a nice person you are.

Me: But, I do express when I am sad, frustrated or angry.

Self: You just think you do. You are really one messed up cookie and a secret wanna be axe murderer. I am protecting you by messing up your voice, making you dizzy and giving you ulcers. I am distracting you because you couldn't handle your real emotions.

Me: I really don't think there has been anything in my life that would cause you, Dear Self, to have that kind of reaction. But, I want to have an open mind. I would love to cure us of the SD, so I'll play. Self, let's take a look at those emotions!

Self: Okay, sure you can handle it?

Me: Can you handle it?

So then what? I guess I get myself a little book and start writing stuff down? Okay, okay. To be fair, I need to finish reading the book. I am willing to take a look at myself and see if my problems are psychosomatic. By the way, that word sucks. It conjures up all kinds of negativity.

This Dr. Sarno has thrown allergies and asthma out there... which is really where my ambivalence is coming from. My son has asthma and he spent a month at National Jewish in Denver. Yes, he can bring on an asthma attack if he gets upset... but that is not what usually brings them on. He had a lot of allergies when he was small that he has since outgrown. To go by what this guy says.. my son, as an INFANT, developed allergies by suppressing rage??? What about people who are allergic to shellfish or nuts? They can have a life threatening reaction without even being aware that they had eaten any of those things.

I don't know. Like I said, I haven't read all the books yet and am only part way through the first one. I am trying to keep an open mind because, as I said earlier, I don't see what benefit it would be for **** to say she'd been healed if she really hadn't. She seems to just want to help others with SD. I am also not a doctor. Shoot, I am a college drop out! But, something is not smelling right to me.

So back to the quote from p. 123. Yikes. He's throwing Freud out there now and... I'm not that far in the book... but, is he, uh... gonna throw weirdo sex stuff out there now? Like, along with repressed rage that there is repressed wild monkey sex urges lurking...

I don't know. Maybe I just need to let loose. So, if y'all hear on the news about a big, fat white chick in her forties running naked through a city and howling at the moon and biting the heads off of newborn puppies... that might be me trying to cure myself of SD.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Revenge

So, back to my brother Buck. Not only did he come along and disrupt my life, he had to be better at everything. He kept his room cleaner, he got better grades, he was better at sports, and he was even prettier than me. He was also way more annoying. According to me, of course.

And mean. He was mean mean mean! He also always had an appreciation for the finer things in life. He would often clean his room and vacuum his way out of the door and then jump onto his bed from the doorway so as not to leave any footprints in his carpet. He would then lay there all smug and holler for me to come to his door. He would have his arms crossed behind his head and inform me that my room would never be as clean as his. He had a globe and a microscope sitting on his desk and a bookcase with glass doors that was filled with our encyclopedias. Encyclopedias I am sure he read just for fun.

When I've told my kids this story they always want to know why I didn't go stomp all over his carpet. No way would I have ever done that! He would have hurt me! And that's not how I roll anyway.

When he was in high school, we lived at the bottom of the hill that took you up to the expensive Summerset area of Bellevue, WA. We had a nice home but certainly not on the level of the homes up the hill. Many of the kids he went to school with lived up there. One evening my parents were gone somewhere and Buck was freaking out because he was going to a formal dance and needed a ride to his date's house. A bunch of kids were meeting there and taking a limo to dinner and to the dance. He had spent more time primping than a girl and was looking pretty snazzy in his tux.

My husband and I were dating and I had his 1975 Volkswagon Scirraco (sp?). This car was a total piece of crap. In fact, the driver's side door had fallen off in a parking lot not long before and my husband had had it welded back on. It would also fill up with rain so he drilled holes in the floorboard so it could drain. And it was a stick shift.

Buck waited until the last possible moment in the hopes that my parents would get home. He then allowed me and my friend to drive him up to the girl's house. He wanted me to drop him off around the corner but it had started to rain so I wouldn't do it. I was also enjoying watching him squirm. When we pulled up in front of her house there were a lot of other people standing on their huge porch, including her parents. Buck jumped out of the car and yelled at me to go. Their house was on a pretty steep hill and as he walked around behind the car I started rolling back and was afraid I was going to hit him... so I gunned it and peeled out with smoke rising behind and everything. Everyone on the porch turned to watch and the look of horror on my brother's face makes me laugh to this day. My friend and I were laughing so hard we were crying. I did not plan for that to happen. Honest. I'm not that mean. It was great pay back though.

My Brother, Buck

My brother, Buck, is nearly 4 years younger than I am. Buck is not his real name but it is the name we called him from the time he was born. I have lots of stories about Buck. Lots.

The first story I want to tell y'all about actually covers a number of years. When I was ten and he was 6, we lived in a large split level home that had a mother-in-law apartment downstairs, complete with a kitchen and full bathroom. That is where we watched T.V. The other part was unfinished and it is where we had an unbelievable amount of toys. Our mother had sent us downstairs to clean and I had run ahead of my brother yelling, "I dibs the mother-in-law apartment!" This was because I could watch Flipper while I cleaned. It was also much neater than the unfinished side. Buck got very angry and kept coming in to where I was to yell and throw things at me. Our youngest brother, TR, was two at the time. Buck picked up one of his little poindexter type shoes and threw it at me. The edge of the heal was sharp for some reason and actually stuck in my temple for a second or two. When the shoe fell away Buck started screaming, "I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I didn't do it!" I then felt something on the side of my face and when I pulled my hand away it had blood on it. My mother had come running, my brother was banished to his room, and I sat at the kitchen table waiting for my father to come home and take me to the emergency room. It was a late night that ended with a butterfly bandage and a permanent dimple in my temple.

Years later, when I was sixteen and dating, good ole Buck found a full package of pictures of me that my mother had never bothered to open. You could see the large picture through the window of the envelope. The pictures were from the day after the above incident. I assume my mother forgot it was picture day and had let me go to school in a funky peach colored shirt, totally NOT my color. I had major bed head and was pale and sickly looking. Buck hit pay dirt. He cut those pictures up and waited in the bushes until my date came to pick me up and then handed him one telling him that that is what I looked like without make up on. He had a blast with those pictures and it took some doing to finally get them all back. My parents would get involved and he would swear he had given them all back... only to have them surface again. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if he still has one somewhere.

Weird Weather/Weird Life

The weather here in Colorado is very unpredictable. Last week we had some very cold days with snow but then last weekend was beautiful with warm breezes and a lot of sunshine. Yesterday two wildfires broke out and there's been some loss of life and property. It amazes me how quickly things can move from one extreme to another. We are supposed to get rain/snow later this afternoon, so hopefully that will take care of the fires. Our prayers are definitely going out to all of those affected.

My life is also very unpredictable. Our daughter agreed to go to counseling with us yesterday. Wow. That is definitely good news and a ray of light cutting through the dark clouds giving us a glimmer of hope that we are moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Neurotic Self

I usually do my posts in the morning right after everyone leaves the house. If I have something going on, I will get the post together the night before. Some things happened this morning that knocked me off my schedule and it is driving me crazy! I will have to post later today. I have to laugh at myself. I can't tell you how many blogs I read that I never know when they are going to post and how I try to figure out their schedules so I don't waste my time popping over... only, most people probably don't even have schedules. And most people probably don't even notice when I do what.

Anyway, a little tip for y'all. If you wear contacs... you should take your contacs out BEFORE chopping up fresh jalepenos because it does not matter how many times you wash your hands afterwards OR how hot of water you use... you will burn the living heck out of your eyes and have to wear your glasses for days. Just so you know. And you are welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just So

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get in a place where all that is wrong with my life is before me and I can't seem to see around it all to even begin to push past it. Sometimes, things that I see as being wrong really aren't even that big of a deal. I struggle with wanting things to be just so. I'm not talking about the things around me (although, that would be nice... especially if I weren't the one trying to get them just so... maid! anyone?). I'm talking about the relationships around me... family, friends, even the pets. How often do I look to others to determine where I am at in my life and how I feel about it? Too often, I'm afraid.

Do you ever get tired of thinking about stuff? I do. I would not call myself a brooder. I don't think I appear that way to others. But, actually, I probably really am. I don't always talk about what I am thinking about but it is there, in the back of my mind, churning.

I want answers. But, I don't get them.

Sometimes I stop everything. And I wait. I think if everything comes to a halt the answers will come. They don't.

Sometimes, so much in my life seems like meaningless toil. But, it isn't. Is it? There is a certain comfort in moving through a routine. There is a certain comfort in just doing. No thinking. Just getting whatever done.

The stopping and waiting is like depression. The moving... the doing... is surviving. Finding moments of joy and laughter in the midst of it all is living.

I want to live. I can't wait for everything to be just so.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Booper's Saga Continues...

Must you bathe me on the front porch.
in front of the whole neighborhood?
We're sorry Benny.
The utter and complete indignity of it
makes me hang my head in shame.
We said we're sorry Booper. So Sorry.
You could at least provide me with some shades.
You are so right Benny.
Your future is so bright you need sunglasses.
I can run around the house now?
You love me!
You really, really LOVE ME!!!
(oh, and hey, be on the look out for some flying pigs for me, Ok?
Apparently, Mama says some will be comin' when Daddy
gets the moulding down under the cupboards behind me!)

God Bless Y'all and have a Fantastic Sunday!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Come On Mama!!!

What's Up Mama?
Why Did You Put ME in here?
Don'tcha Wanna Play?
Come on Mama!
I'm loads of FUN!
I'm sorry Benny.
I've got things to do and you get in the way.

Aww Shucks Mama.
I Wanna Play but,
(sniff)
I Guess you just Don't Wanna.
Don't be like that Booper!
Mama loves You, Yes I do!
So, Are you Gonna Let ME out
And PLAY with ME?
No, Benny.
I've got things to do.
And, later, you are getting a bath.

What Did You Just Say to Me?

Got Quetions?

I don't normally read/send forwards but this one caught my eye and made me laugh.

Health Questions?


Q:I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember: 'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'

AND.....For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Driving Along

Frappacino
Don't take my picture Mom!

Poop Soup

Mr. Macchiato says that one of these days he's going to come home and find my feet sticking out of the computer. I spent way too much time on the computer yesterday and really need to concentrate on other things today. Like real life stuff. Laundry. Ironing. Cleaning toilets. Dishes. And baking cookies for a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon tomorrow. We've also got bad weather moving in. I hear Mississippi has had bad weather again too. I am re-printing a post from my old blog, Laughing Always Helps, from our days in Mississippi and bad weather.

Have a great day everyone!

Years ago, while living in Mississippi, we had a veritable zoo in our home. Three dogs, two parakeets, two parrots, two hermit crabs, and seven fish. And of course, our three children. Caring for that many animals, and especially the children, often got overwhelming and I felt I was always behind the 8 ball in more ways than one.

We had a very large backyard. There was a good sized patio off of the back of the house that many windows from many rooms looked out over and a small grass area enclosed by a short brick wall. Beyond the brick wall was a large area that sloped downward ending at a fence and grouping of trees. The house sat on close to half an acre. One third of the backyard was enclosed in a wire fence that ran down one side from the house to the fence. There were no windows or doors that looked out over that area or opened up into it. To get there you had to go through the garage. It was a two car garage with a regular garage door on the front and an additional garage door on the back that opened up to a covered carport. We generally kept the gate between the two sections of yard closed, limiting the dogs to the back porch and larger part of the backyard. Managing the poo from three dogs was quite a job. Especially in an area that large and in Mississippi where the grass grew before your eyes and we often had to cut it twice a week.

One day, very like most of my days, I went out into the yard to pick up the poo. The kids weren't as good at finding all of it as I was and I wanted to do a thorough job so that Mr. Macchiato wouldn't crab about it when he went to cut the grass when he got home from work. I took a tall kitchen trash can that we kept in the garage out there with me with a bag in it and went around with our handy little pooper scooper and rake. There was a lot of poo! Once I was done, I lifted the entire trash can over the wire fence and made my way into the house to go through the garage to go get it and dispose of it in the big trash cans that we kept on the back carport. When I got into the house I was distracted by the kids fighting, not doing what they were supposed to and a call from a friend. Later that afternoon, it started raining.It rained for days. And days. And days.

I forgot about the poo. In fact, the only time I thought about the poo was when, in the middle of the night, I would remember it and be stricken with panic as I lay there in the dark wondering about it. I would always think to myself that I would go take care of that in the morning. Only in the morning, I would always forget or it would be raining too hard.

I honestly do not recall exactly how long that poo sat out there. It was a long time. One Saturday morning I left to run errands while Mr. Macchiato stayed home with the kids. The grass was knee high and it had finally stopped raining long enough to do something about it. He found the poo. Mr. Macchiato does NOT handle things like that very well. Number one, how could someone forget something like that? Number two, well he doesn't like number two. In fact, he would gag and retch something terrible when he'd try to change poopy diapers when the kids were small... to the point where I'd have to rescue him by finishing the job. However, I am still a bit suspicious about that. He could have been doing that just to get out of it.

Anyway, so I was gone and the kids were running about the neighborhood, and Mr. Macchiato found the poop soup. The trash can was full to the top and the poo had become a thick sludgey goo at the bottom. I was not there so I can only imagine his horror. He told me that he stood there staring at it, unable to comprehend just what it was and how it had gotten there. He had to put his shirt up over his nose as he gagged and lower the trash can to its side so that the watery part could drain into the yard. He certainly did not want the poop sludge to escape. I believe he said he ran from the yard retching into his shirt. He went back and somehow managed to pull the plastic liner from the can and put it into another 37 bags. He was afraid that he had unleashed some kind of disease into our yard so he then emptied and entire bottle of bleach over the spot where he had drained the poop soup. This caused a noxious green cloud to rise up over the house and envelope our entire neighborhood in a smell so horrendous that our children ran home crying only to find it was actually the source of the smell.

Not long after, I arrived home. The first words out of my mouth were, "My God what is that smell?" It was a smell that traumatized all of us and still brings on phantom gags to this day. Due to the amount of bleach that was poured on that spot, we expected that nothing would ever grow there again. We were wrong. That part of the yard grew lush and green. In fact, it grew faster than the rest of the yard proving to be a permanent memorial to the poop soup that was laid to rest there that day.