Saturday, October 31, 2015
I've always loved the extra hour of sleep in the fall. I hate that it gets dark so early, but I love that one lovely, blessed hour longer in bed! When the kids were little, my entire "preparation" for the time change in the fall was that I would tell them it would be dark when Mommy picked them up so that they didn't think I'd forgotten about them when I didn't pick them up until long after the sun set. And in the spring, when we set the clocks an hour ahead? I don't like that I lose an hour of sleep ... but that's a small price to pay for more daylight ... and it's only ONE HOUR ... on ONE day!
If you are wound so tight that you can't adjust to gaining or losing one hour, then you've really got bigger problems than the time change.
Friday, October 30, 2015
This picture is from my stash of the kid's drawings. It's unsigned, so we'll never know with one hundred percent certainly which one drew it, but the general consensus is that Thing 2 was the artist in question.
When we pulled it out of the box, we all laughed at the happy, long-necked, stubby-legged lady by the door. It's probably supposed to be me ... but I feel better pretending it's a random Walmart Greeter!
Thursday, October 29, 2015
The star of the show, however, wasn't the birthday girl ... but the new baby. There is never a shortage of people with their arms out waiting for their turn to cuddle that sweet tiny guy. He is one loved little boy!
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
A woman I work with does not like sweets. (What a weirdo, right?!) Oddly, she loves to bake, so she's often bringing in cookies, cakes, muffins, etc. When it comes to desserts, I'm an expert ... not necessarily at making them, although I have produced some pretty yummy treats in my day. No, my expertise lies in eating them.
Yesterday she brought in chocolate chip mint cookies and pumpkin cookies. I was in heaven! Those happen to be some of my favorites! When she told me she had made cookies, I had to stop her and tell her mid-sentence ... "You had me at 'I made'!"
She says baking is therapy for her. Being the wonderful co-worker and human being that I am, I offered to let her come to my house if she needs more therapy around Christmas.
Now they beg me for the very foods that once caused tears and gnashing of teeth. I have to make double batches to have enough for both dinner and leftovers. Ten years ago I threw away a lot of really good food because the kids would just pick at it, and they would rather go hungry than eat leftovers. Fast forward to 2015 ... and they now pray for ... and fight over ... leftovers!
I've always tried to get the kids to help me fix dinner. I could use the help, I wanted to spend time with them, and they need to know how to cook. Sometimes they'd say they'd help, but they were bored before the hamburger had a chance to brown, and I'd find myself alone in the kitchen. Now that Thing 2 is engaged, she's finally willing to let me teach her how to cook. And I no longer have to offer ... she asks me to show her.
Thing 3 has always been interested in learning how to cook (a few things) ... mainly because he's interested in eating! When he was only ten years old, the girls would ask him to make them pancakes because he knew how and they didn't. He's not afraid to just throw things into a pot and hope for the best ... and usually, his "inventions" are quite tasty. I think that's the mark of a good cook ... knowing what foods you can put together to produce a palatable dish.
Sewing is another skill I have tried to pass on to my kids. None of them were even vaguely interested until a few years ago when Thing 1 finally wanted to learn ... only to discover she loves to sew. I keep telling Thing 2 she'll want to learn someday, but she poo-pooh's me. But Thing 1 and I know she'll come around. Once she's married and making her house a home, there will undoubtedly be a project or two on Pinterest that will catch her eye that involves a needle and thread ... and then she'll realize learning to sew isn't like learning to mop. It's fun ... and provides near-instant gratification!
Thing 2 adamantly denies that she will ever want to learn to sew, but Thing 1 and I know differently. And so we wait ... ready to smile and say "I told you so" at a moment's notice.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
This fall seems to be one of the most colorful I can remember. Sadly, that may end today. The remnants of Hurricane Patricia is bringing rain and winds to the area for the next twenty-four hours. We're supposed to get between two and three inches of rain. The combination of wind and rain will probably cause most of leaves to fall. The beautiful colors of autumn may have come to an end, but it sure was pretty while it lasted.
Monday, October 26, 2015
One hundred years later, the word took on a negative conotation, and was used to reference “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people”. That's quite a metamorphosis, isn't it?
Few things bother me more than a bully. Bullies aren't just found on the school yard, either. Significant others, co-workers, and family members can be bullies, too. As a child, I was too timid to intervene when I saw bullying, but as an adult, I step in and defend the "victim" whenever I can. I still feel sick to my stomach when I remember the bullies at school making the lives of other kids miserable ... just because they could. And all these years later, I still remember the names of the bullies and the kids they picked on.
Over the years I've heard others "bragging" about how they always get their way, but I've got news for them ... always getting your way doesn't mean you are right ... it means you are a bully.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
When I first read this, I assumed this practice was widespread, and used to combat some silly superstition, either that it brought good luck to the wearer or bad luck to the other team. After some quick research, I discovered I was quite wrong! It seems this rule was instituted because of just one player. Claiming to be sensitive to heat, he began putting a frozen cabbage leaf under his cap in an attempt to stay cool. After it fell out of his hat a few times during a game, the officials decided it was unfair, as it could distract a batter.
As thin as a cabbage leaf is, I can't help but question it's effectiveness. On a hot day, I would think it would thaw very quickly. Even several frozen together would offer only a brief respite from the heat.
This man is now likely trying to come up with another way to get some relief that baseball officials won't take offense to, but I have another suggestion ... if the heat bothers you that much, you probably need to find another profession!
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Friday, October 23, 2015
In high school, in the grade above me, there was a guy who played trumpet in the marching band. He was arrogant, hateful, and downright cruel ... on a good day. I couldn't stand the way he laughed at and put people down. He sickened me. But, he was a good trumpet player, and as a result (much to my chagrin), he got a lot of solo's. After he was done with a solo, his entire demeanor would change, as though he played so hard he barely had the strength to stand unaided. It might have been believable had he not immediately recovered as soon as he made his way back to his squad, disappearing in the throng of identically clad musicians. Watching him play disgusted me. He was such a jerk! I not only hated hearing a trumpet ... I hated all brass instruments!
To this day, thinking about him puts a scowl on my face ... and hearing a trumpet makes me think of him ... which causes me to make a face like I'm sniffing something that's been in the refrigerator too long. I'd rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard than a trumpet. One of my kids wanted to play the trumpet when selecting what instrument to play in grade school. I absolutely put my foot down. No trumpet, I told them, would ever, ever, EVER enter my home.
My distaste for brass instruments colored my opinion of Chicago, which is a shame, because they had amazing harmony and some very good lyrics (minus, of course, "25 Or 6 To 4"). I've always loved their songs, but I hated their brass-heavy sound. I now enjoy listening to them much more than I did years ago ... but I still cringe when I hear their big brass section dominating the music ... and I still fight the urge to turn the station.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Superman has always bought me perfume at Christmas and sometimes throughout the year, and it's usually a different one each time. Some of them I loved and some I wasn't sure of. But I can only smell perfume for a minute or two after I put it on, so I never it's never mattered to me if I love it or not. He's the one who has to smell me, so I happily wear whatever he buys.
Last year he bought me Closer by Halle Berry. When I saw the bottle, I read it as "clozer" and told him that was a particularly odd name for perfume! He pointed out the correct pronunciation (doh!), and I agreed that made much more sense.
Closer was the perfume of the day when Thing 3 had his wreck last December. While he was in a coma and on the ventilator, I only left the hospital once or twice, and just long enough to race home, shower, and grab clothes. At that time, my voice stimulated him when they lessened the sedation to see if they could get some kind of intelligible response from him. Sometimes my voice stimulated him to the point that he thrashed around and had to be sedated again. Although that was frightening, the doctors and nurses took that as a good sign. Their voices got no response, but mine did. As scary as that was, it was heartening to know he was trying to "get to me".
For the first week, we had no idea when ... or if ... he would ever wake up. We had no idea how much damage the brain hemorrhages had caused and whether or not the damage was reversible. We had no idea if he would ever walk or talk again. We had no idea if he would remember any of his past. Or us. My waking hours were filled with incredible, paralyzing fears, and my dreams were filled with haunting nightmares of the future. I was desperate to reach my son.
On one of my quick trips home, I grabbed my White Diamonds perfume. That's the smell my kids associate with "Mama". The sense of smell can trigger more powerful memories and emotions than any of the other senses. I figured smelling like "Mama" might help him "come back". If nothing else, he would know I was there. I would get close to him and the sing the songs I sang to him as a child. I think it helped. Whether it did or not, I don't know ... but I think it mattered and made a difference.
Once he was off the ventilator and breathing, he wasn't actually conscious for a while. It took a day or two before he would open up his eyes for more than a moment, and his eyes gave away little that he comprehended anything that was going on around him. But when I sat beside the bed and massaged his scalp or held his hand, he would wiggle towards that side of the bed and cuddle up to me. He didn't do that with anyone else. Some people poo-poohed my hypothesis, but I'm convinced he knew I was there and wanted to be close to me.
I ran out of Closer a couple of months ago so I dug out my old bottle of White Diamonds. Now I'm out of White Diamonds, too. Christmas is just around the corner, which means Superman will probably pick me out another scent, but I feel naked without perfume, so I'm going to stop and purchase some after work. I'll probably buy Closer, because I know Superman likes it ... but I'll probably buy some White Diamonds as well ... not because I ever want to have to wear it again to trigger a response from comatose child ... but because it makes the kids smile when they smell it. It reminds them of Mama and makes them feel safe and loved ... and as long as I'm alive ... they are.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
I saw Back to the Future, but not Back to the Future II (or III, for that matter). It's one of the movies that make me say, "Oh, yeah ... I need to remember to watch that" when I hear it mentioned, but forget about when browsing movies on date night.
Even though I've never watched it, I've seen clips of the hoverboard. That pretty much sums up all my knowledge about the movie ... that it has a really cool hoverboard everyone drools over. Back to the Future II probably won't be as good as the first movie in the series (sequels rarely are), and it probably won't be as entertaining as it would have been had I seen it when it first came out, but it's a cult classic, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it. If nothing else, it should be interesting to see what they thought 2015 would be like back in 1989.
I'll try to remember to watch it this weekend, but most likely I'll forget. Superman will ask me what movie I want to watch and I'll say something like, "Hmmm ... I don't know. Let's see what we have in our queue."
Monday, October 19, 2015
Sunday, October 18, 2015
This sign is me ... if you mess with my child. As a person, I'm generally a calm and compliant, going with the flow and not making waves. As a mother, I sheltered my kids when necessary ... and probably sometimes when it wasn't necessary. I protected them from harm, both real and imagined. There were times when I had to stand back and let them take their knocks to learn some important life lessons.
As a mother, it's hard to watch your child suffer the consequences of their actions ... and sometimes it's absolutely agonizing and gut-wrenching. I knew, at times, that this was something I had to let them go through. Some lessons, regardless of how painful, they had to learn the hard way. They needed to learn that even though my love was unconditional, they were accountable for their actions.
But when someone deliberately targeted my child for no reason other than the fact that they could, I went into full Rabid Mother Bear Mode!
At various times throughout my life, there were people who took advantage of my size and/or naïveté. Sometimes I did nothing, and sometimes I stood up for myself, but I never allowed anyone to mistreat my children. My kids may have felt helpless, but I didn't. They may not know how to stop a bully ... but I did. I've bravely faced heartless bullies, their enabling parents, and school officials who pretended they didn't see what all the fuss was about ..., but I refused to back down until something was done. Do to me what you will, but don't you dare mess with my kids!
Saturday, October 17, 2015
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
In 1768, the British feared that without gun control in the American Colonies, the American Militia's could become as fearsome as the British Regulars. They attempted gun control, in part, by making gun powder impossible for Colonist's to purchase. Colonist's could by all the guns they wanted, but without gun powder, the guns were useless.
The Nazi's embraced this philosphy, too, from the other side of the coin.
Her testimony before Congress is quite powerful.
Everything she said made sense, but she made several points I think need repeating:
Friday, October 16, 2015
My kids are always borrowing my clippers, and not returning them. Since I use clippers pretty much every day, this is a real problem for me! Dry hands, unflossed teeth, and broken or chipped nails drive me up the wall!
I can't take it anymore! Thus, I am forced to institute a new rule ...
No Borrowing Mom's Clippers
Unless You Stay With-In Eyesight!
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
I went to see little W yesterday after work for some cuddles. When my son got off work, he picked up mom and baby and brought them over. I had to share cuddle time with my son and Thing 2. He's just so darn cute and cuddly that it's hard to hand him over to someone else. I know I have a lifetime of hugs and kisses and laughs with this little guy, but as a mom, I know how fleeting infancy is. Before I know it, he'll be crawling and exploring, and spending time in someone's arms will seem like prison. He'll be too busy to cuddle to be content being held.
These days are precious, and I'm going to enjoy holding him as long as he'll let me :)
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
You can read the full article here.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
This little guy is capturing the heart of everyone who sees him. I know I'm his Grandma, and therefore my opinion appears to be biased, but it's not just me ... he really IS adorable!
Last night I went to see the new family. There were others visiting, and I patiently waited my turn to hold the little critter. At one point, someone had handed the baby back to his mother. Everyone was talking, and no one else was watching her cradle her new baby. She was looking at him, a slight smile on her face as his tiny hand gripped her fingertip ... and tears were rolling down her cheeks. She had no idea anyone was looking at her, or that I took this picture.
I remember holding at each of my kids and being so overcome with joy and love for them that I couldn't help but cry. Each of my babies were so cute and so perfect, and I loved them so much. I couldn't believe God had blessed me with such an amazing gift ... again, and again, and again.
Most everyone loves their parents with what they think is unconditional love, and I think that kind of love is the driving factor behind the biological desire we feel to have children of our own. We all want someone to love us as much as we love our parents. But holding your baby for the first time, you realize you didn't even know what true, unconditional, complete, overwhelming love was. We have babies hoping they love us beyond measure, only to discover we love them with a love so profound it changes who we are. Priorities shift instantly. We no longer care if we ever get new clothes or have enough money to buy that living room suite we've been drooling over ... all that matters is that sweet little baby in your arms.
My kids have made me mad over the years. They've disappointed me at times. They've caused me to cry a river of tears and face paralyzing fears. There have been times I didn't like them so much ... but I always loved them. Always. There is nothing they could do that could change the love I feel for them. To me, they'll always be my babies, and I'll go "mother bear" on anyone who dares to hurt them.
Thing 2 recently posted the following on Facebook ... and it's so true!
Saturday, October 10, 2015
I haven't gotten to hold him yet ... they have the baby lay on the mother's chest for the first hour, then he gets his first feeding. My son is even more anxious to hold him than I am ... if that's even possible!
The new mother went into labor at my house last night around 5:30, and gave birth to him at 5:28 in the morning ... two minutes shy of laboring exactly twelve hours! I didn't expect it, but she let me be in the room when she gave birth. Other than when my kids were born, I've never been in the room when someone had a baby. It was amazing! As soon as little W was born, I cried out, "He's here! You did it ... and he's so cute!!!" My son cut the cord, then burst into tears. He's going to be a great father.
I'm already in love. That little man has me wrapped around his little finger, and I've never even held him. I can't wait to hold him in my arms and snuggle with him. What an incredible honor it was to be there when he joined the family.
After the "golden hour" is up, he will get his first feeding ... then they'll weigh and measure him, and give him his first vaccinations (for what, I don't know) ... and then Thing 3 will get to hold his son for the very first time. Then all the grandparents will get to hold him ... and they'll have to pry that sweet little bundle from one of our arms to give him his first bath!
It's been a long night, and I'm exhausted. I'd love to go home and get some sleep, but nothing could get me out of this hospital without holding that sweet baby first! When I got dressed to go to the hospital last night, I chose a very soft sweater, so that little W would know it feels good when his Grandma Jackie holds him :)
Last Christmas my son had just came out of a coma and off the ventilator. This year, Christmas is going to be extra good. My son is completely healed from his traumatic brain injury and we've got a sweet little baby to spoil. The joy of this Christmas will more than make up for the pain of last year's.
Friday, October 9, 2015
When I sold my house and bought the one I'm in now, there wasn't a real estate agent involved on either side, so my bank ordered the appraisals. The same gentleman did both appraisals. He appraised my new home, then drove directly to my old house and appraised that one. They were appraised approximately an hour apart. The photo below is one of the "faults" at my old home. It's an open junction box in the basement. The bank required I fix this or I wouldn't be allowed to close ...
|Cover plate missing from junction box in basement at old house.|
Below are photo's of the light fixture in the garage and the light switch at the bottom of the stairs in the basement of my new home. The very same appraiser didn't note either of these as a "fault" on his appraisal of that home, nor was fixing them required for the closing to continue ...
|Exposed wires in garage light fixture at new house.|
|Cover plate missing on light switch in new basement|
Fixing the junction box in my old basement was a thirty second fix. It took a lot longer to drive to Lowe's to get a plate than it did to fix it. The basement in my old home was strictly used for storage, and we rarely went down there. We are in and out of the garage of my new home daily ... multiple times a day ... and the kids and their friends spend most of their time in the basement.
I understand exposed wires are considered "dangerous" by the government, but I assure you, I didn't remove the cover plate from the junction box in the basement of my old house and it didn't fall off or I would have seen it on the floor and put it back on. I can wire and hang a ceiling fan ... I hung one when I was seven months pregnant ... so screwing on a junction box plate wouldn't have intimidated me! It had to have been like that when I bought the house in 1999, and it was probably like that since the late 1980's when the house was gutted to the studs to remove all the plaster (and any lead-based paint), and replace all the outdated plumbing and electrical before installing new drywall. During the sixteen years I lived in that home, no one was electrocuted and the open junction box didn't start any fires.
My question is ... Why were the exposed wires in the basement of my old home so dangerous the sale couldn't continue until it was fixed, yet the exposed wires in the garage and basement of my new home were considered acceptable?
Regardless, I fixed all of the things the report noted as "faults", only one of which is what anyone of even below-average intelligence would have considered truly a "fault". I must admit, I felt like I was being held to a standard on my old house that the seller on my new house wasn't being held to, and it didn't seem quite fair. I know life isn't always fair, but real estate transactions should be!!
Thursday, October 8, 2015
1) Changing a Flat Tire. Okay, this one makes sense. I can see this is a skill everyone should know. I'm not sure you could say I've mastered this one (since I've never actually done it), but I've seen it done enough times to know I could fumble my way through it in an emergency. And, my father did show me how ... on prom night. I had to stand in the driveway, in my prom dress, my hair in a towel, and learn how to change a flat tire. I guess Daddy decided I wasn't going to pull the "we had a flat tire" excuse. At least I just had to watch him change the tire ... he didn't make me do it.
2) Repairing Your Pipes. I've never "repaired" a pipe, but I have taken apart (and successfully put back together) the pipes under the sinks when I dropped something down the drain. Oh, wait! I think I have repaired a pipe! One of Thing 2's friends poured the wax from the Scentsy Pot down the sink in the upstairs bathroom. I had to take the pipes apart to remove the giant clump of wax. I've also put a new kit thing in the toilet to stop a leak. Neither was done by age thirty, though, so technically I shouldn't get points for this one ... but I never needed to repair a pipe before age thirty, so I'm going to give myself points anyway!
3) Assembling an Emergency Kit. While I can see the practicality of this, is it really a skill?
4) Mixing a Signature Cocktail. This made the top ten? Really? Of all the skills one needs to survive, a signature cocktail made the top ten?! Unless opening a bottle of beer or getting the cork out of a bottle of wine counts, then no ... I don't have a signature cocktail ... nor do I care to. But, I can wire and hang a ceiling fan and light fixtures, which I consider a more essential skill than getting people drunk on a special drink! Because this "life skill" is so stupid, I'm going to say I get points just for having to read it.
5) Mastering at Least One Dish. This is an easy one. I have mastered some very tasty dishes. My mom, and amazing cook, didn't teach me how to cook, though ... any culinary skill I possess was acquired through trial and error ... to both the horror and delight (sometimes during the same meal) of those gracing my table.
7) Figuring Out the Tip. Now that our state sales tax is 8% at restaurants, I double the tax. Before that, I figured out what 10% was (which is about the easiest calculation ever invented ... even for the math-impaired), then add half of that on top of it to get 15%. These calculations are so simple that figuring out the tip shouldn't be a life skill you should master by age thirty ... they should be a skill you should master by third grade!
8) Creating a Monthly Budget. I've always had a monthly budget. There have been times I ignored it and spent foolishly, but I've always had one.
9) Effectively Packing Luggage. If by "effectively" you mean have I gone someplace and packed everything I needed, then yes ... I have mastered this skill. If packing too much disqualifies me, then no, this isn't a skill I possess. I really can't pack only what I need. What if I spill something and need a replacement outfit? What if I'm bloated one day and can't wear that cute, body-hugging dress without looking like a marshmallow with a rubber band wrapped around the middle? I have to have a variety of clothing options when I go someplace, but shoes are what really trip me up. I need both dressy and casual everyday shoes, and heels for dresses ... and most dresses need a different color shoe. When we go to the mountains, I need tennis shoes, hiking boots, rubber boots ... and pretty shoes to match all the dresses I brought. I often remove clothing to add more shoes. Do I ever wear them all? Nope ... but I need them ... just in case!! So, in my opinion, I have mastered this skill!
10) Mending Clothing. This one, I can do. I can hem by hand and make it look as though they've been sewn on a machine ... even jeans. I can nip in the waist or adjust straps like a pro, and I can replace buttons, zippers, and repair seams in my sleep.
I might be fudging a bit, but I'm going to give myself a perfect score!
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
What a transformation! There's still a lot of work to do, but it's livable. I want to paint the walls, insulate and drywall the ceiling, trim out the windows, and "we" (i.e., Superman!) needs to bring some electrical outlets to the family room side of the basement. The utility room down there has six outlets ... the family room side has zero! I ran some extension cords from the utility room to the television, weaving it through the rafters for the time being, but none of the lamps are hooked up yet. The electrical box is above the fireplace, so I'll need to find just the right artwork to cover it up. I'll just have to be patient and keep my eye out for the perfect piece of art.
The fireplace is gas, but it's capped off right now. I haven't decided if I'm going to hook it up or not. It makes me nervous thinking about the kids turning it on ... and leaving it on for weeks on end. I can't imagine what my gas bill would be if that happened!
My basement went from this ...
to this ...
to this ...