Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Again!

Here's a little rundown of our weekend adventure.

We left here about 11:30 a.m. Friday -heading south to Virginia, just below Alexandria, to visit a cousin and her mother. Made a brief stop in Hagerstown, MD at a McDonald's to "fuel up" the kids and then headed back towards D.C. Although we had hoped to avoid as much as possible of the D.C. rush hour -a task that between 3 p.m. and probably 7:30 p.m. is virtually impossible to skip -we arrived at our cousin's house around 5:30 p.m.

Friday evening was mainly a time to relax over a great meal Bea had prepared and then, just reminisce about family and things from back home here. Kurtis, being who he is -not always adapting, definitely not a compromising little soul -was not into showing much of his sociable side although Maya immediately made up and became fast friends with Bea and her Mom, Ruthie (or Aunt Ruthie or Grandma Ruthie as Maya began to call her.)

Mandy came into the room where Maya and I were sleeping and woke me up about 7:15 a.m. with the announcement that she was not going to spend another night there! Seems Kurtis had not been on his best behavior during the night and had awakened twice during the night and then at 7:00 a.m., was wide awake and not in the least interested in more sleep. Plus, he was still a lot on the crabby side too -probably from a combination of not resting very much and also, being in strange surroundings too. So, Mandy had already decided then that we would return home Saturday evening.

Saturday morning, Bea had prepared a delicious casserole dish of panakaka which, the way she and her sister both make it, is a very custardy version of rice pudding. (Panakaka to me and my kids is just a baked egg custard dish. Both are reflections of our Swedish ancestry though.) In Bea's case, we could chow on the panakaka with a topping of fresh strawberries or lingonberries -either one being very scrumptious!

After breakfast, we sat out on the deck -so pretty, so relaxing -or it should have been anyway. Here's Mandy and Kurtis in one of his nicer moods that morning.

Here's a shot of the lower part of Bea's backyard -taken from the deck. You can see a portion of the sunroom on the back of her house which is a lovely spot to sit and look at the flowers and trees that abound in her back yard. However, from about 11 a.m. till around 2 p.m., the sunroom can be very, very warm as it gets the direct rays then from the hot sun, plus the day was also quite humid too -making the sunroom a bit like a sauna at that time.
Here's Maya, sitting on a small chaise lounge at the upper part of the deck. The area where the picnic table, chairs and grill are located there -behind Maya -is on a lower deck level, down about three steps right behind where Maya is seated.
I don't know if you can read the writing on Maya's tee shirt -it says "How fabulous am I?" but Bea just loved this shirt on her and Maya, of course, has no conceit. That's a laugh! She is one very conceited little girl at times!
Here's Kurtis, partaking of his "after breakfast bottle" and reclining on his "bear pillow" which is his main security blanket type thing. Darned good thing we did bring it with us or he would have really been totally unbearable!
Here's Maya, at the kitchen table, which overlooks the deck and a good portion of the backyard. She was relaxing, playing with some of her coloring books. At least, a little bit of quiet time for her that way.
Early in the afternoon, the heat and humidity factors collided and brought a nice, warm shower of rain. Although Bea and I had been outside too when the rainfall began and we went into the house, Maya refused to come in out of the rain. When I asked her if she was coming in, her response to me was, "NO! I gonna get soaking wet!" And boy, as you can see here, she did, indeed, do just that too. But hey, it wasn't an electrical storm -just a soft, warm, very gentle rain and she thoroughly enjoyed prancing about on the lower deck -darting under an eave occasionally, then back out to let the shower cool her off. As long as she was happy, it sure didn't hurt anything to let her play like that.
Here's a picture of the lower part of the deck and the sunroom which I took to try to show the differences in the area where the rain had fallen and where it didn't even touch the deck. If you can make out the color differentiations between the upper part of the deck you can see that part is a slightly different color than the part right by the sliding door. The entire area in front of the door and down to the sunroom, was drenched and the upper part was dry as a bone! And back behind where I was standing -in another part of the deck that is three steps lower, the table and chairs were completely drenched. Just this one portion, in the middle section didn't get a drop!
Later on Saturday afternoon, we were joined by Bea's sister, Rita, as well as by another cousin and his niece for dinner. Here's cousin Rita, cousin David's niece, and Ruthie -mother of Rita and Bea (whose home we were visiting) seated out in the sunroom, visiting. It was so great to have an opportunity to see David and Tanya (his niece) and Rita while there and we decided this would qualify as a mini-family reunion since we had three branches of our family represented there -Rita and Bea's grandfather, David's grandfather and my grandfather -were brothers, the three oldest children of our great-grandparents.

After dinner, and a little more time to visit, Mandy began to load up the car leaving Bea and I out on the deck with Kurtis and Maya -trying to keep him occupied enough that he wouldn't start fussing because Mandy wasn't right there beside him.

This went ok for most of the time while Mandy loaded up the car until at one point, Kurtis was standing on the deck directly in front of the kitchen door and was poised to take a step down when Maya either moved or made a noise that caught his attention to her and he turned quickly in her direction. This had dire consequences to him then as he lost his balance on the step and tumbled down the two steps below that, landing on a little patch of bricks at the foot of the steps. Poor kid got his first "shiner" and it was a doozie too! Bea rushed over to pick him up and as she was handing him to me, she was really frightened because he was in "mid-scream/wail" and holding his breath. Not an unusual thing for any kid to do when they take a tumble and get a hard bump. As she was handing him to me, she was talking to him telling him 'BREATHE, BREATHE!" I took him from her, and he put his head on my shoulder and then he let out the rest of his wail -ear-piercing, right into my left ear! The shiner purpled up almost immediately -still shows today but not as much and he's none the worse for wear from it, overall.

About 8:30 p.m. -everything loaded into the car and we headed north, back to the Pennsylvania Hills. About ten minutes after we pulled away from the house and were on I-495 (the D.C. Beltway) Kurtis crashed and was sound asleep for the next 4 -4 1/2 hours of our trip home.

We made a stopover in Hagerstown at the Skating Rink that my Uncle Ralph had operated for many, many years and his daughter and grandchildren still own and operate it now. Got there shortly before they were due to close up for the night's skating session so we got to see my cousin, Barb, her husband, Bill, her daughter, Lori, her son, Brett and Lori's two boys -Tyler and Seyth. Just a long enough stop to have a cold drink -coke for Mandy and ice water for me -chat a little bit and then, hit the road again by about 11 p.m.

All along, on our trip, Mandy had been watching the gas gauge and it had barely dropped at all until we were about a little over an hour from home and all of a sudden, the old gauge started to go closer and closer and then, way too close for comfort to that big old E for Empty. We'd just come past Huntington, PA and hadn't stopped at a convenience store/gas station there because the gauge was registering a quarter of a tank then and as soon as we had Huntington in our rearview mirror, don't you know that old gauge dropped down, almost to the empty mark! Set Mandy into a bit of a panic mode there, that did until about three miles before we got to Water Street, there was another convenience store open all night and we stopped to refill the gas tank there then.

We got back home about 2 a.m. then, Sunday morning.

As I was getting Kurtis out of his carseat and started to carry him down the sidewalk to the house, he sat straight up in my arms, had sort of confused look on his face at first as he began to look all around him and then, it was as if it suddenly dawned on him that this was a very familiar sight to him, he broke into this big, ear-to-ear grin, and once inside, snuggled right down in his playpen bed and lay there, quietly drinking some more milk, watching the tv and touching the furs on his "Mr. Bear" pillow -not a peep out of him as he drifted back to sleep again!

Yep, he knew he was home again - and apparently "home" is also his big comfort zone too -ranking right up there with his "Mr. Bear" and his own playpen to sleep in.

Although we'd still like to find time during the summer to make a couple of other quick trips to visit family, I think we'll make them as just "day trippers" and not overnighters to avoid more issues of not enough rest for Kurtis or for his mother too!

Still, aside from his being a bit on the crabby side much of the time, it was so nice to get away and have a chance to visit with some family members we rarely get to see these days. And, thanks to the great hospitality of my cousin Bea, we had a wonderful run away from home!

Six Months Worth

Hard to believe, isn't it, that six months of this year is now history? Where does the time go -so quickly -anyway? But that just means there are only six more months of Bushisms left for this year and here's this week's supply of them!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hmmm. Something's wrong here! Apparently someone has been messing with my desk calendar and ripped off the page for Monday, June 30, 2008 as it is not here! So there's going to be a hole in the postings for that date! My apologies.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 203 days left

"You've also got to measure in order to begin to effect change that's just more -- when there's more than talk, there's just actual --a paradigm shift."
--Washington, D.C., July 1, 2003

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - 202 days left

"There's an old saying in Tennessee --I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on --shame on you. You fool me, you can't get fooled again."
--Nashville, Tennessee, September 2002

Thursday, July 3, 2008 - 201 days left

"Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people."
--Cleveland, Ohio, July 2000

Friday, July 4, 2008 - 200 days left

"Well, it's an unimaginable honor to be the president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means that these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I --it's --I'm a proud man to be the nation based upon such wonderful values."
--Washington, D.C., 2001

Saturday and Sunday, Jul 5/6, 2008 - 199 days left and 198 days left

George W. Bush's birth, 1946
"We want to restore honor and integrity to the White House."
--2000 campaign refrain.

There ya go folks! Read 'em and wonder, how, why, what, did he mean, and where are we headed from here? Your guess on interpretation of his words -I think it's just anyone's guess, isn't it, as to what is the inner meaning of these words.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Leaving -In a Grand Prix

Boy, I kind of wish were actually leaving here this morning on a jet plane though because it sure would give us a little extra time to visit once we arrive, don't ya know. However, that form of transportation is way over our budgetary limits -unfortunately. And then too, we're only driving down to Northern Virginia -just outside D.C. to Burke to spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday visiting with some cousins who are very, very close to me -to my kids, too. So it is really only about a 4 1/2 hour drive -if we run straight through, that is.

Of course, there's always the possibility that on the way down, we might stop off in Hagerstown, MD to visit the daughter of one of my Mom's brothers and her family for a little bit of a break in the feeling cramped in the car type thing.

The cousins we are planning to actually spend most of our time with though -two sisters and their Mom and family. Their Dad and my Mom were first cousins. Their grandfather lived about six houses down the street from our house so I spent a lot of time during my early years down at my great-uncle's home, especially when these girls -Rita and Bea -would come here with their parents for a visit. Plus, as we grew up, they often spent a couple of weeks at a clip with their spinster aunts who maintained my uncle's home for almost forty years after his death.

Rita and Bea and I -along with their Mom -have always had a very close relationship. Their Mom has been, over the years, to my kids like a surrogate grandmother to them on many occasions. One year, while talking on the phone with cousin Rita about our upcoming family reunion, she mentioned to me that her Mom had decided she wasn't going to make the great Swedish meatballs that she was so well known for within our family. When I mentioned this fact to Mandy, she was crestfallen. Made me call Rita back and tell her to tell "Grandma Ruthie" (which is the name my kids use when referring to Rita and Bea's Mom -that the reunion just would not be the same, wouldn't be right, if there weren't some of Grandma Ruthie's Swedish Meatballs there. And you know don't you too, that when the day of the family reunion rolled around, Grandma Ruthie was there with a big old crockpot filled with those meatballs -did them all just because Mandy said she wanted them. Sure seems like someone playing the Grandma role there, don't 'cha think?

Rita, her husband, David, Bea, Rita's sons and I also share a deep loyalty too to good old Penn State University. Bea, Rita's younger son and I are all alumni of Penn State -all of us though are dyed-in-the-wool Nittany Lion fans. Yes indeedy! WE ARE! If you recall, when Maya first started to speak, it was of utmost importance to me to teach her the Penn State Cheer -which she still remembers to this day. Says it with a lot of gusto too, she does. She even has two pompoms she likes to shake while exercising the cheer however, out of respect for the "blue and white" I think I better see about getting a set in those colors. The ones she has that she like to shake while doing her cheer -pink and white! Not fully respectable for a young Nittany Lioness is it?

So this is what my daughter (Mandy), the two little ones and I will be up to this weekend -having a lovely but way too brief -vacation in the company of some of the best people in the whole world -certainly they comprise the very best of relatives. No doubt about that!

They haven't seen Maya since she was about 20 months old -well before she had ANY vocabulary and they've never seen Kurtis! I've tried to forewarn Bea -whose house we will be staying at -that Kurtis is very much like Maya was three years ago except he has a few extra issues thrown into the mix. Certain textures, certain commercials that frighten the living daylights out of him, various noises from small appliances that will send him into a bit of a frenzy at times too -and he's got way more food issues than Maya had at that time too. And I forgot to tell her she may want to consider buying a set of ear plugs too because the last thing the boy has is an "indoor voice!" Every sound he makes comes through at the maximum decibel level he can muster with his voice and trust me, to the novice, that ain't always a pleasant sound -sure isn't music to ones ears!

If this weekend visit goes reasonably well though, we will then consider making at least one, possibly two other visits like this to see other family and friends before the snow flies.

So cross your fingers and hope for the best!

And pray that the D.C. traffic isn;'t too wild, too confusing for a senile old granny like I am now! Been a long time since I've dealt with heavy, city traffic -which reminds me -I'd better do a print out from mapquest of exactly how to get to Bea's house from the D.C. Beltway too! After three years being away, I may not remember it all exactly. I think I do but don't want to take any chances getting lost -or, if Mandy is driving, getting her all flustered and confused too! Although, over the past couple of years and our trips down to Pittsburgh -where I had never driven in that city before in my life, I managed to get directions from the internet and direct Mandy around to where we needed to be. I even, on one trip down there, got us through Pittsburgh's downtown area and out to Route 22, through Monroeville and back home using the back roads route through Indiana, PA. So if I could do that before in a city I'd never driven in at all, I think I can find our way around in Virginia and the beltway since I do have a little better idea of locations there even if it has been 36 years since I moved away from D.C. and back to the boondocks of central Pennsylvania.

So -our bags are packed now. Just have to get a bag to put the food items we need to take with us as emergency meals for the kids, shower and dress in the morning, get the car loaded and away we go!

I'll be back sometime late Sunday evening and since I'm, of course, taking my lovely little camera with me, will have pictures to share of our little weekend get-away!

Hold down the blog fort while I'm away now too!

And yes, Peace!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Rain on This Parade!

Last night, Mandy, Maya, Kurtis and I went down to Snow Shoe -a town about 13 miles down the road from our place -to view the annual Snow Shoe Fireman's Carnival Parade. Although, I'm not really that big on parade viewings and such, I went along last night mainly because our school band was participating in the event and as such, it would be the step-granddaughter's debut marching with the band as a majorette.

Here's the first entry in the parade as they marched past us -the flag bearers, all members of the Snow Shoe VFW Post.
And here's the women's counterpart of that unit too.
Although Snow Shoe is bigger than Grassflat, which is where we live, it's not a big town exactly. It does have a nice supermarket, a hardware store, a pizza shop, truckstop restaurant (where I slaved for about seven years 20 plus years back), a florist shop, bank and two other main staples of life -a State Store (liquor store in Pennsylvania) and a beer distributorship! Ah yes, priorities, ya know!

But, I was really amazed, considering that Snow Shoe, just like my home town, is situated out in the mountains, in the wilderness, or as we tend to say here -"In the boondocks." But for a town not THAT large, they did get a very good turnout for the parade, not just of spectators who lined the road through the borough and filled the parking lot at the campgrounds where the parade ended, but they also drew in fire companies from several outlying communities to participate in the parade as well.

Fire engines and emergency vehicles from as far away as Boalsburg and Centre Hall, some from little companies a bit closer too -Milesburg, Bellefonte, Howard, Pine Glen and Karthaus -like some of these units.

In addition to all these fire companies from adjacent communities, there were two high school marching bands present. The first -in the blue and gold colors is the Bald Eagle Area High School's band -this being the band from the school where the kids from Snow Shoe and Moshannon -mountaintop kids, as they are known around here -attend. The other band taking part was from our school district - West Branch Area School -and it was their participation that sparked Mandy, the kids and I to attend. The reason being Miss Katie is now a majorette with our band. So here's some shots of the two band groups:

The two photos above are of the color guard and then the band for Bald Eagle Area High. The next group of photos are of OUR band from West Branch, beginning here, just below, are pictures of our color guard, followed by the majorettes, then the drum major and finally, by our band. As I started to snap pictures of our band passing by, wouldn't you just know that is when my camera began to "process" after every picture I took otherwise I'd have a whole lot more pictures to post here!

Here's the first shot of our majorettes -the one in the middle is our Katie; the one on this end is also a Katie -our next door neighbor, Karen's daughter. She is also the granddaughter of my good, lifelong friend, Kate. Whole lot of Kate's and Katie's in the neighborhood, huh?

Here's another shot of OUR Kate, the majorette!
Here's the drum major for our band, leading the musicians along the parade route.

Here's a little shot of part of our band too as it went past our location.

And here's our neighbor, Karen -whose daughter, also a "Katie" is a majorette.
There are still about 30 other pictures from the parade but consider yourselves to be lucky that I didn't post every single picture on here! Right now, you see how tired poor Karen looks from trudging along beside the band -well, that's sort of how I'mf feeling right now.

Did I mention that our bad is going to Florida next week -to perform at Disneyland in one of the parades there? Yep, they are leaving early next week to perform down south -quite an honor for a band from a relatively small school -by standards of many other schools in our area. Our band is considered to be a very principled band and as such, has b een invited to several high level parade functions over the past so many years.

So now, enjoy the pictures and imagine if you will, the smart martching rhythm set by the drummers and the horns playing. Pretty neat, that part was!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Do Hereby Bequeath...

This lovely statute is called the "Arte y Pico" award which was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and talents no matter whether it be in the form of writing, artwork, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogger community. When a blogger receives this award it is considered a "special honor" and, once presented to you, it is to be passed on to at least 5 other bloggers who meet the criteria.

Boy -talk about a surprise when my Blogger Buddy Linda (you know -the 911 operator) told me she had designated me and my blog to be one of her five choices to receive this lovely lady. MOI? Creative? Entertaining? Educating? Artsy-fartsy? Interesting?

Wow! I'm in a bit of a state of shock cause most of my posts consist of telling silly stories about some of the goofiness that goes on in my house. Some of my posts -occasionally -do have a little message, provided you can stay awake long enough to read through them to the end. And yes, now and again, I've been known to get up on my high horse and toss a hissy-fit, rant out into the blogosphere too!

One thing I really did like that Linda said about my blog -or me -was that she feels like she's sitting with me as we share a cup -or is that the whole darned pot -of coffee and lots and lots of gossipy topics we can share and compare notes on them then too. Just about anything from soup to nuts, ya know. And sometimes, I think if there is an award for a blogger who is a bit "nutty" then maybe Linda and I would qualify for that one. Just thinking there, ya know.

Now the really hard part for me -trying to determine who among my long list of bloggers on my Blog roll list would be the most deserving of receiving this award too. Hmmm. Almost feel I need to do the old "One potato, two potato, three potato, four" in order to make a selection there. You see, if I have your blog listed now on my Blog Roll List, it's because I read your blog pretty much religiously. I may not get there every single day cause some days I do have other things to do that keep me away from the computer -like doctor appointments -or fighting to get the chair in front of the computer away from other people in the household too. (No, as an only child, sharing something like my computer sometimes is a difficult thing for me to do, you see. Unfortunately, there are three others who float in and out of this house who feel pretty possessive about the computer at times too.)

I'd really like to give this award to everyone on my Blog List but then, I would have to do a paragraph -at least -listing all the great qualities of each and everyone there and if you think my posts can get long, drawn-out and convoluted now, you definitely don't want to think about how long it would take to read through blurbs about close to 150 other bloggers now do you?

So in the interest of preservation of sanity -yours -and mine too -here are the five bloggers I have decided to pass this beautiful award on to. Perhaps sometime in the future I'll come back here and out of the blue, lift this award out from my sidebar and give it on to five more folks -and then, do that a bit later, yet again. That way, someday, I might get it passed on to everyone cause trust me folks, you all do deserve one of these! For sure.

First awardee is going to be a new friend whose blog I picked up fairly recently thanks to our mutual friend, David McMahaon of Authorblog. And that blogger would be this lady - Maggie Mae of Nuts in May. Like me, Maggie is a Grannie -but unlike me, she lives in England whereas I am a coal miner's daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter who lives in coal mining territory in central Pennsylvania. Like me, Maggie shares a desire to learn more about autism as her one grandson is being evaluated for that disorder. I have Kurtis and Maya who already have been diagnosed, so we share a lot in common there. Maggie also writes about many other things too -memories, good and bad, and a lot of them really, really funny too. And that I love to read about -things that were once really important, still are, in other peoples' lives and especially bringing them forward with liberal doses of humor. Maggie does that and then some.

My second choice here is a gentleman -and yes, I do use that term rather loosely because some of his prose does get a little raucous at times. But that's ok, I realize he's just still a little boy in love with his sports -teams, events, players -you name it. Suldog covers a lot of athletic turf at times! Yes, he does spend a lot of energy writing about his beloved Celtics, and the Red Sox and his old ball team but he never disappoints his readers along the way either. He writes some really terrific stories about his family, immediate and extended, and does it in a way that you want to read more -and more! He's also a bit sentimental every now and again and lest I forget this, if he takes a trip someplace, he's bound to give you a grand tour of where he's been, what he saw, what he felt -the whole spiel! Again, this is a blogger who also writes with much humor and most of it relatively clean too. All in all, he does a great job and is really worthy, very much so, of this award.

Moving right along now to my third choice, that would be a lady from New Jersey who rarely fails to entertain me with her writing! She writes -and show photos too -of her home, and especially of her two beautiful cats - Siren and Mia. But it's Dianne's prose that hooked me right from the very first time I read her blog -I think the first day she ever posted and I happened to discover her. I've been going back to her place time and time again to read her opinions -and brother, she's a lot like me in that she has some very pointed opinions and isn't afraid to share them either. She's a strong-willed woman, for sure -something I also admire deeply in her -and in many other bloggers I have on my list as well -runs her own business from her home. But rarely -even when in a big-time rant -does Dianne NOT sprinkle liberal doses of that commodity I love in so many bloggers -lots and lots of humor! She's a terrific writer and also, one great lady too.

Number four of my chosen group tonight has to be Sandi of Holding Patterns, down in South Carolina way! Sandi is a true Southern Belle Lady -of the old school too perhaps one could say. She -like all the rest of my choices -is an excellent writer and can work up a great post on most any topic. Get her going about animals, gardening, her husband, sons, grandkids, her 90-some-year-old physician father (still practicing medicine too, I must add) and just about anything in between, sit down with a cup of coffee and read her blog. You'll find yourself transported to her little corner of the world, and loving every single minute of your visit too. And frequently, she writes all this also with very liberal doses of that good old humor. Do you see a pattern developing here in my choices? Yep, I love a post that delivers anything from just a smile to a good old-fashioned belly laugh at times and Sandi can and does do that -often, too!

My last choice tonight is a young fellow -well, by comparison to everyone else on my list tonight, he's pretty much still a babe in the woods, age wise -but not to writing or to blogging. He can sometimes be just a bit "edgy" too but not anything bad there. So his blog name really is pretty apt -"A Word in Edgewise"'s author, Jeff Bach. Jeff is a very talented writer as well as being self-employed in the construction business, married, very much a "hands on" type family man-father sort of guy too! He's liable to rope you into trying to solve some mysteries on his blog from time to time by posting photos of what are supposed to be commonplace items but which he has taken the shot from a really close or sort of distorted angle and expects his readers to figure this stuff out. (Not me, I can barely make out pictures of things in a normal setting and of a regular size too.) He can write some really great fiction as well as telling you about the area of Oregon where he lives, his hobbies, sports, even cooking! Yeah, he runs the gamut too from time to time. Although I have been reading his older brother's blog for going on two years now, I just picked up Jeff's blog this past winter. How I missed him, I'll never figure out but I found him when his brother Gene of Turning the Pages of Life was very ill and Jeff stepped in to let his brother's blogging friends know what was going on there. Thanks for doing that Jeff and thanks for letting me get to know you too through that action. And just like the four bloggers named above, Jeff's blog is often generously laced with lots and lots of humor too!

So there you have it folks -my five picks for tonight to be recipients of the Arte y Pico award. Go, read their blogs and then try to convince me of the errors of my thinking patterns that caused me to give this award to them!

They're all really great writers, guaranteed to deliver some really great messages to you and will definitely give your day a great "pick-me-up" -for sure!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Remember back a few months ago when many fellow bloggers were complaining -very loudly too - about how Google had come through and bumped page rankings down to zero -all because those bloggers were participating in Paid Blogging.

Like so many others, I was one who was kicked to the curb then by Google and just recently, got my page ranking restored.

I hadn't done any serious paid blogs since back in December when my rankings got destroyed but decided I would have a go at it again.

However, now I've come across another problem. If I follow the instructions given in the opportunity I want to write about, the link they provide will not take the reader to the page it is supposed to go if I copy it precisely as it is shown in the opportunity instructions. If I omit a little bit of the html, then the link works fine and dandy but then, the company will not accept my post because it doesn't use the precise wording of the link they provided!

That's rather absurd, don't you think? Why would they put in a link that goes to nowhere?

When I submitted a ticket about my problem with this opportunity, the response I got from the company was one I don't really think would work. They said there was nothing they could do but that I should contact my blog host for their technical assistance.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm with Blogger/Blogspot! Gee, do you really think I want to ask THEM for help so they can immediately take steps then to rip my page rank away from me before I even get a couple of posts under my belt and in my pocketbook?

I was just wondering though if anyone else here who still does Paid Postings has ever had a problem like this and if so, how did you get things to work properly then?

Feel free to e-mail me in response -my address is on my profile.

I'd love to learn how to work around this little glitch. So come on and fill me in on some tricks of the trade there, will ya please?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Of Worries, Fears and Tears

One of my favorite fellow bloggers, David McMahon over at Authorblog does a little q&a thing every Sunday called "Weekend Wandering" in which he posts a question for bloggers to write about. This week's question is "What is your biggest fear?" At first when I thought about what I fear the most, I wasn't sure I could really put my fears out here, for all to read, to know what a wuss I really am at times. But then, I read another blogger's post to this and since her fears are very much in tune to mine, I decided to go ahead and let it all hang loose, ya know. So thanks to Maggie at Nuts In May for giving me the nerve or strength or whatever to post this.

I don't like spiders but I don't run screaming from them -I find a way to smoosh 'em though, somehow. Gross as it may be, nasty to some I suppose that I kill 'em when I can but hey, this is one of my fears so I try to get rid of it! Snakes are a little higher up on my list than spiders -don't like them either but I'm too scared of them I think to try to kill 'em myself. However, I will go to all lengths to find someone else who can and will slaughter the slitherly things for me if they impose on my turf.

As a I child, I was terrified of the dark -wouldn't go upstairs to bed alone so my Mom had to accompany me there. Then, when I was ready to get into bed, I was convinced for a long, long time there was some demon sleeping under the bed that was going to reach out and grab my leg as I tried to get into bed so to compensate for that, I would take a little running start, aim at the mattress and then jump so my feet -and legs -weren't within the reach of the monster under the bed.

Today, I'm not quite that fearful. Good thing too because I would never be able to manage a "run and jump" to hit the mattress if that were still on my "fearful" list. But, I do sleep with the tv set on -all night long it plays -and I think that may be a holdover from my being afraid of the dark as I have done this since my ex-husband moved out of the house 28-29 years ago now!

But those are petty, small time fears compared to what I really worry about happening!

I worry all the time that something will happen to my current living arrangements -that my daughter, son-in-law and the kids will no longer be here with me and how will I manage to stay in my home if that were to occur? I can't afford the mortgage, utility bills, insurance payments, gas for my car and food too all on my social security check. Mandy and Bill pay the household expenses and I cover the extras or the smaller bills -water, tv cable and internet, some of the food costs -things like that.

And as frightening as that thought may be when it crosses my mind, it still isn't my biggest fear.

I worry about the senility or potential I will end up with Altzheimer's -if the cancer doesn't come back first and run off with my body! Senility, hardening of the arteries, Altzheimer's -whatever name you care to call it -runs in my family -just like the cancer does too. I've seen how it affects people -first hand -as my grandfather was not in his right mind the last 2-3 years of his life. My Mom's older sister had the same problem and the last couple of years my Dad's baby sister lived, she was beginning to show many signs of the senility or dementia setting in and my Mom too had issues with that type of thing. I once confided this fear to a minister we used to have and told him I had nothing against living a very long life, provided it could be guaranteed that I would still be able to operate within my "right" mind. (Whatever that might be -not quite sure as lots of people have believed for a long time now too that I've never been in my "right" mind to begin with." Anyway, I'd told him that if I knew I could be able to have all my wits about me, I'd love nothing better then than to live to a really ripe old age -like Dagmar -a lady from our church who just passed away about a month ago at the age of 102 -and a half, no less! The pastor laughed and told me not to worry about that because if the dementia demons were to strike me, odds are I wouldn't realize they'd come calling and I'd be happy anyway! How's that for a way to deal with a big fear?

But much as I do still dread the thought of being even more difficult for my daughter Mandy to contend with than she thinks I am -or can be -now, it still isn't my worst fear.

I used to worry about getting cancer but since I've already done that, survived five years now so far without it returning, and I came to terms with the mortality issues that brings back then too, I no longer fear that. Truthfully, now I don't fear death anymore at all. What will be, will be. I'll deal with whatever illness may present itself to me as it comes my way now.

My biggest fear though is my children and now, my preciouis grandchildren. Not that I love my grandchildren more than my children -at least I don't think I do -but I do fear that something may happen to them , that they will be taken -no longer here for me to love, to hug, kiss, squeeze, discipline and just plain enjoy them!

I worry especially about Maya and Kurtis and the autism thing they both have. I don't worry so much that THEY won't be able to learn, to adjust, to be productive as I do though about how they will be received by the public at large. Will they be taunted or tormented, bullied because they think and thus, operate a little away from what is considered to be the norm?

Things like that are what really scares me! Will Mandy and Bill be able to protect them where and when it is necessary? Will they be able to provide adequately for them? Will I still be here, and able to help them to continue to learn too?

If something were to happen to one of my kids, one of my grandchildren, I really don't know if I could cope with something along those lines. I've read that losing a child is so much harder to cope with the loss than it is to lose parents, siblings, other family, spouse, etc. and I do believe that is the absolute truth too.

And that is my greatest fear -that something will happen that will claim one of my immediate family.

I know no one ever wants to think of parting with our loved ones -regardless of where they fit within our lives. I've been there, done that as my parents are gone, grandparents and all my beloved aunts and uncles too -even a couple of my generation cousins are gone now as well. And yes, I know, I have survived those losses, adjusted to the facts of life, as it where, there.

But the thought of losing a child even if the child is an adult now or to be without my grandchildren -well that does, indeed, strike a note of pure panic in my head!

I try to work through these thoughts in my mind -the "what if's" ya know -without it dragging me down, without it making me so overblown about it that I might become OCD with worry. But still, I can't completely dispel these fears and can't operate without them popping in and out of my pea brain from day to day.

Now, time for me to get some lunch for Kurtis and then, venture out on the highway to meet my older daughter down in Milesburg to pick Maya up and bring her home.

It's been so quiet here today without her constant chatter -even pleasant too without her frequent tormenting of Kurtis as well (she does love to be a bit mean to him at times) but I'll be eternally grateful that I make the drive down and back with her coming home and even the noise factors, the sibling fights, will be music to my ears.

I'd never want to go without hearing those sounds ever again or seeing them again!
KURTIS - My Little Prince

MAYA - My Little Princess

ALEX - My Big Prince


Thinking Back, Going Forward

This morning, just for giggles and grins maybe, I was remembering how life was in my home many years back -when my kids were small, when my ex and I were still married. Sunday mornings especially back then were often more peaceful then as Frank would fix coffee, get out the eggs, other items to chop up and saute to put in the western omelets he enjoyed making for the family for breakfast -the only time usually when we all sat together and had a cooked breakfast.

One of his favorite things to do would involve dragging out his favorite albums by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tom T. Hall and we would listen to those artists while he cooked, while we enjoyed the fruits of his labors.

It's those Sundays that my older daughter often loves to recall -and I have to confess that I like to think back on those days too -younger me, youngsters running around - good days, good times.

This morning, it's quiet here. I was up early -like barely after 7 a.m. - mopped the kitchen floor, made a pot of coffee, did my Bushisms post for the coming week and now, am sitting here, thinking about why it is so quiet this morning.

Skies right now are still greyish. We had an electrical storm last night with lots and lots of flashing, crackling, booming sounds. Lots of times when I just about jumped out of my skin too when the crackling sounds were present. Lightning still terrifies me and until those storms finally pass over, I am basically a bundle of nerves.

Although sometimes, just a very faint noise will disturb Kurtis when he is asleep, apparently he has not inherited any of Grammy's genes when it comes to electrical storms as he slept soundly -very soundly -during all the fireworks in the sky last night. Go figure!

Maya is away, spent the night last night with Aunt Carrie, Uncle Robert and her cousin, Alexander -down near Lamar. I drove down to Milesburg last night and met Carrie there and she took Maya with her then to spend the night. So it is ultra quiet here this morning without little miss "Nosy Rosy" around, poking her head into my room and wanting to "See the babies" -meaning she wants to go pester those poor little kittens. The kittens, by the way, are doing fine -starting to move around in the box, even trying to climb out of it and explore around the room. A move I'm not too hepped up on as I like to know where they are, keep track of them better that way.

I should have gotten ready and headed out to church this morning but since Mandy has to be at work today at 11 a.m., it would have been difficult for me to make church, run my normal other Sunday morning errands too and get back home in time for her to leave for work. So, as a result, I'll be heading out of here very shortly to go get the Sunday newspaper -so I can do the crossword puzzle that I am addicted to trying to see if I can fill in the answers to more than maybe 10 or 15 clues on it! Darned crossword puzzle dictionaries I have (and I have two of those fat suckers too) are no help 99 percent of the time either. I'll pick up a couple donuts in my run for the paper too so I can have something good, sweet, tasty to relish with my coffee while I play with the crossword puzzle and wait for Kurtis to wake up then too.

After that, it will be waiting for Carrie to call so we can make arrangements to meet and do a "drop and hook" -truck driver's vernacular for exchanging trailers -but with us, it will be to meet at a half-way point where Kurtis and I can then pick up Miss Maya and bring her back home.

Mandy and I are talking about making a little trip perhaps this coming weekend down to Virginia and Maryland to visit with some of our cousins there. We had been thinking of doing this all in a one day trip -leave early-early in the morning and return home really late that night but after thinking it over some more, she has decided she is willing to take the chance on how well Kurtis will handle sleeping in a strange home for a night or maybe two. He's been doing a lot better lately with his sleep patterns so she thinks it will be worth the effort to go for a 2-3 day get-away excursion.

If things pan out that way, we will most likely leave here Friday morning the latest but may possibly be able to get out and on the road late Thursday afternoon.

Our game plan is to go to Burke, Virginia and spend the weekend visiting with our cousin Bea and her Mom -who we haven't seen in three years now. Bea's Mom is referred to in our home as "Grandma Ruthie" because she was often more than just the wife of one of my Mom's cousins when I was a kid, but also kind of like a surrogate mother to me much of the time. Her daughter, Rita and Bea, although they are my third cousins, and I are very close. Always have been, always will be. And they and my kids are also very close too.

So, we are hoping to spend time at Bea's home, be able to get together with Bea's sister, Rita, her husband, David and their boys, Jon and Todd -maybe even get to meet Todd's girlfriend this trip too! Rita and her family live across the Potomac in Crofton, MD -about an hour's drive from Bea's house and I'm quite sure Maya especially will thoroughly enjoy spending time with these members of our extended family.

While at Bea's, I hope to be able to call, maybe even get to visit too, with my good friend Joan, from my days back when I worked at the NRA in D.C. My goodness, hard to believe that was so many years ago now that I worked there! (From 1964 until 1972!) I haven't seen Joan in about 16 years now I think -probably the last time I was able to visit her was in 1992 when I was down for the retirement celebration of my former boss -"Mr. B." -who passed away about two years ago now too.

On the way back home, we hope to be able to stop in Hagerstown, MD to see my cousin Barb and her family and from there, veer off in a northeasterly direction and visit with Amie, my son's former girlfriend (who has remained close to me and my family) and see her new little guy, Payton! We've seen pictures of him but getting away, down to Littlestown to actually meet him in person -takes a whole lot of effort these days so we figure we will cross all these bases then during this weekend excursion we are planning.

I hope it all works out that way -that we can see all these family members and maybe even a few friends too along the way.

And now, if I'm going to get my paper and donuts and be back in time for Mandy to go to work this morning, I better get a move on here.

Meanwhile -hope the you-tube video -of Kris Kristofferson comes through and you can listen -enjoy -his rendition of his song -"Sunday Morning Coming Down." I always liked that song and it's debatable if I like Kristofferson or Johnny Cash singing it. Actually, I like them both!

Happy Sunday now to you!

Keep Counting Downward

Pretty soon, we will be at 200 days left and counting, then 100, 50 and yes, finally it will be the end of the line.

Here's this week's collection of Bushisms for your perusal.

Monday, June 23, 2008 - 211 days left

"This case has had full analyzatin and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases."
--Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 23, 2000

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 210 days left

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."
--Aboard Air Force One, June 2003

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - 209 days left

"It's negative to think about blowing each other up. That's not a positive thought. That's a Cold War though. That's a thought when people were enemies with each other."
--Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2001

Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 208 days left

"Well, we've made the decision to defeat the terrorists abroad so we don't have to face them here at home. And when you engage the terrorists abroad, it causes activity and action."
--Washington, D.C., April 2005

Friday, June 27, 2008 - 207 days left

"I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace."
--Washington, D.C., June 2003

Saturday and Sunday, June 28/29, 2008 - 206 days left and 205 days left

"I've reminded the prime minister--the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America [sic] would have a close relationship."
--Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006 to the Prime Minister of Japan

And there ya go -and soon, so will he!

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Day

What a difference a day makes! Old line, trite? Maybe so, but it sure is the truth.

This morning, as I look outside -open the door and check the temps a bit -it looks to be a nice day in the making. Sunny, bright -warmer too than yesterday, which in turn was warmer than the day before. And that's good. After all, Wednesday morning, when I awoke around 4:30 a.m. and made my way back to the bathroom, I noticed some heat emanating from the radiator in the living room. Hmmm. How could that be, it's June. The furnace shouldn't be running, should it. But on Tuesday night, the temperatures had dropped down to the high 40's range and thus, the furnace had kicked on all by itself. Now that, temperatures low enough to make the furnace start running, creating warmth in the house, in mid-June is well, just WRONG!

Wednesday was cold, dreary -all the live-long day too! Yesterday -a smidgen better but not much. Still a bit on the cool side -and gray, too. Sunshine in the morning though -now there's a recipe for good things. Joints not swelling quite as much; aches and pains not being what woke me up this morning. Yep, a nice change, for sure!

This was Maya the other night when she was upset with Mandy and me. Crying, whining, moaning, making this really sad face -most of the crying stuff was a bit on the faked and forced side, really. Such a pitiful expression she had though -and was able to maintain that stance for close to 10 minutes too!

Last evening, we had company for dinner -an old girlfriend of Mandy's and her younger daughter, who is 2 1/2. She, like Maya and Kurtis, is also autistic so our dinner hour was quite the scene. Three kids, each in various stages of eating, not eating, fussing, fighting with parents over the idea of eating! Grownups here dined on pork, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. The kids -standard fare of macaroni and cheese with a side of applesauce. Seems we serve a heck of a lot of mac'n'che in this place but then, sometimes you do what you have to do just to make sure the kids get a little bit of nourishment in those growing bodies, ya know! And mac'n'che is usually pretty much a guaranteed "I'll eat this" thing!

But with three autistic children romping around the house, think about that picture above of Maya and multiply that reaction times three and maybe it will give just a little idea of the cacophony of sounds heard here for the majority of the friend and her little girl's visit. Loud, very loud!

As I was laying in my bed last night -or this morning -depending on how one thinks about time and night vs morning hours -I was looking around my bedroom and wondering how on earth I could possibly arrange things in there better! Such a junk heap it is! I was thinking maybe if I could convince Bill to build a nice big shelf above the dresser mirror in my room and then, wrapping that shelf around two sides of the room, at least. That might give me a way to put things up so they are still available, but somewhat organized then too. Maybe. Gonna have to think about that some more, I am. But definitely, I have to figure out something!

Today's gonna be a wicked day here too. Gonna be a lot of times -especially around 11 a.m. to noonish -where a certain little girl will no doubt be looking a lot like she looked the other night in the above photo too.

Why is that? Because today she's going to throw a hissy fit when she learns her Mommy will be leaving the house without her, gonna be gone all day and until the "black sky" comes tonight too! (That's Maya's description of night time, when Mommy will be back home.) Reason being, Mandy is going to help out at the local restaurant for today and also, the next two days. This is the place where she worked for a couple of years until about two years ago. The regular waitress needs a couple days off and they don't have anyone available to fill in so the owner called and asked Mandy if she could/would come up and help out. Sure thing, she said! It'll get her out of the house for a while and a chance to pick up a couple bucks in the process too.

But Maya is not going to like this change in her life -not one bit! So she will most likely pitch a royal fit, threaten that she is going to go away too! Then she'll no doubt throw herself on the loveseat, in front of the window and sob -then scream -sob some more, scream some more. The oise of her fit/meltdown will then cause Kurtis to join in too. He hates it when Maya cries so he jumps into those freys too then.

And I think maybe before Mandy leaves, I will run to town and buy myself a nice set of earplugs! Or hopefully, the hearing in both ears will just kind of shut down by itself and I'll be able to tune her -and maybe even her brother -out then till they both decide to settle down and accept the inevitable -that they're stuck with good old Grammy for the entire day!

But at least, since it is nice today, maybe I can take them for a short walk and that might help them both to adjust to Mommy's absence just a little better.

We will need to take a little stroll down the road though at some point to my neighbor's home and deliver something to her on what is her special day. Yep. Today is my neighbor and good friend's birthday! (lifelong friend as a matter of fact .) Which reminds me now too I have to go on a search and destroy mission in my china cupboard to locate the card I got several weeks ago to give Kate for her birthday today! Hopefully, I'll be able to find it without ripping the whole darned thing apart in the process!

That's my game plan now for today. What's yours?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Playing on One's Strengths

In my last post, if you recall, I recommended some reading material to you -Magazine Man's blog -Somewhere on the Masthead. Well, as things often happen when I am blog reading, I come across someone's post that really sparks something in me and frequently MM's do that to me -which his Tuesday post did hit me that way.

In this post, he was talking about his young son, facing up to some "demons" -if you will -in his life, in his Little League ball-playing career and how the boy had handled things. Tuesday evening, I was dealing with some mental demons of my own too and as the night progressed, was feeling the anger from earlier in the day with my son just mounting by the minute.

That is, until I read his post about Playing from Our Strength -and I knew what I needed to do to bring myself out of the situation I was dealing with. I knew what I had been forgetting, neglecting and the rules of the game as it was now being dictated to me - I needed to revert back to things I learned many years ago from Al-Anon, the Serenity Prayer and stop trying to control that over which I had no control over to start with.

My son is, as I frequently refer to him here, my "Favorite Son" because, he is my ONLY son. He holds no place of honor higher than his sisters, nor do they carry a rank above him either. I love each of them equally. And yet, I suppose it is fair to say I do love each of them a tad differently too though in the way I may react or respond to each of them but that is based on the differences in each of their personalities too.

My son is a sweet, most lovable, very friendly, also very funny, young man. He's handsome, has a certain flair, is firm in his beliefs about social injustices, hard-working (where he's getting paid), sentimental, an animal lover to the max, has a fantastic talent for art as well as imitations and he is also something else too -alcoholic.

However, he is still in the denial phase -refusing to believe, to accept that his actions have long ago crossed over that fine line between social drinker and abuser of booze. He doesn't comprehend how what he is doing is damaging not only his system and hitting hard on his life, but is now impacting, more and more, on me, his sisters, friends, acquaintances.

His job, as you may recall, is driving tractor-trailer -mainly long hauls, with a partner. Because of the way they run -hard, fast, as few stops as possible -when he is working, I really don't worry about this aspect of his life style as I know he doesn't "drink" while driving on the job. At home though, it's a horse of a different color and he has this carefree attitude that he is careful, he knows his limits, etc., so although he does drink -then drives -he thinks he is okay. Maybe, but only if he is very, very lucky! And we all know, all too well, don't we, that a streak of luck will only carry us just so far and then we get dumped. When that happens to him, unlike if it happens to most of the rest of us, he will also lose his livelihood because he would lose his CDL license. And, once that happens, there is no redemption, no re-acquiring that aspect of a driver's license.

Even if he didn't need the CDL for his job, there are so many other consequences that could happen if he drives and has had a couple beers -it only takes two beers you know to put a person over that .08 BAC level that determines whether you get a DUI or not and even if one is in an accident and NOT at fault, a DUI colors the entire spectrum -greatly! Way too much risk involved to take such chances. Right?

But there is more to this than just those above mentioned risk factors too. He does things that are hurtful to us -his family, his friends -by his drinking to excess too now. Fails to show up for events as he has promised he will do, doesn't attend to other things of importance around his home, within his home life and it is also -though he doesn't totally grasp this concept -very depressed because he is single, can't seem to meet someone he's fully comfortable with, feels he is lacking "something" then but can't put his finger on it. And on and on and on -around and around goes this merry-go-round.

This time, after his latest slap-in-the-family's-face espisode, I was so angry with him, so upset, that I was in the very quiet voice anger, which for me is much worse than when I am livid and loud and venting, ranting mad. I even jumped on my son-in-law's case when he made mention about my son and his difficulty establishing a good relationship. As SIL had said "What is so darned difficult about finding a girl friend anyway?" Humph! My retort to him was "If it's so damned easy to do, then why did it take you go-rounds with two women (neither extremely desireable in the grand scheme of things) to find someone?" Don't criticize where you have no room to speak for yourself, ya know is my theory there. "If it were so easy to establish a good relationship, why then am I basically by myself?" I'd asked the SIL. Oh yeah, suddenly his light bulb came on as he realized that it ISN'T a walk in the park to meet someone who is compatible, is it?

In my son's case, a lot of it has to do with the market place where he does his "relationship" shopping too. Comes under the heading then of "you reap what you sow" ya know! A change of venue would be a darned good starting point for him but since he chooses not to hear that advice, I shall no longer deal it out to him either.

Why? Because you see, it is ultimately HIS problem and not mine to try to change.

I may want what I think would be best for him -and yes, I know deep inside he does too -but until HE decides to do something in a manner that would be better for him, more conducive to meeting people, adapting to life and its rigors (Life is SOOOO Hard he tells us and his sisters and I think "Yep! So Right. But, that's life!") then things are always going to be difficult for him. Not that to stop drinking is an easy thing to do -hardly -but without that as interference, one can grasp the complexities, the hard stuff of life, grapple, struggle with it and although it may still be difficult, it doesn't seem quite so much that way.

Playing to one's strength -that's what MM had told his son and that is what I realized I have to do again now too.

I have given him the information he needs and which he has to process to decide whether he wishes to function as a part of our, of my family here. I will not, I can not, pick him up after every lump, bump, fall, mistake he makes and he will be the one who is going to have to be acountable -totally -for his actions. Do not call me expecting me to come hold your hand, rub your head, soothe your ailments caused by drinking because Mom has gone completely out of business in that respect. You are welcome to come into my home any time you are sober but do not cross the threshold here anymore if you've been drinking.

I don't want to see it, nor do Mandy or the SIL. I don't want Maya -who worships her uncle -to see him like that either. Right now, Kurtis is too little, too into his own little domain to comprehend any thing different but Maya is of an age now where she has expectations and gets hurt when her uncle fails to show up as promised. He and his sisters didn't like when their Dad did that to them so don't pass that on to your niece and nephews now either.

Finding things he can do to try to occupy himself when he is home is not going to be an easy thing for him because most all activities around here generally have alcohol has some part of their being. I guess it's an excuse at times, because there are plenty who don't feel the need to indulge and have perfectly happy lives but it is going to be an adjustment he will have to make if he wants to have any kind of life, any real comfort, happiness in his life now and in the years to come.

I hope for his sake that he understands I mean what I told him -completely -this time.

So, because I don't want to lose him completely, don't want to see him lose himself, he has to make the choice now and hopefully, it will be the right one.

Hopefully, he will play to his strengths and put his many talents to use to be the wonderful, productive and sensitive -as well as sensible -adult he can be. Not for me, not because I am walking away from that part of him but to do it because it is what he wants, needs and knows is right and best for him.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Those words were my strength, my salvation many years ago and I need to apply them even more today than before.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heads Up!

This morning -sun shining brightly, still a tiny nip of cool in the air though -but I've been up and moving (when sort of, arthritic knees and ankles permitting) -had my coffee, took my meds and even had a chance to sit and talk for almost an hour while sipping my caffeine intake with my "favorite son." Seems he and his current girlfriend are experiencing yet another of those "rough patches" in their relationship. Boy, sometimes I really wonder -and worry -about him and his problems finding a good, stable match!

Got a couple little things here to share with you - a few "Maya-isms" so to speak.

Last Friday, when we were shopping over Dubois way, Mandy reported this conversation took place with Maya, another shopper and herself as she was looking through tee shirts, trying to find one for Bill for a Father's Day gift.

Maya: "Here be nice shirt to gif Daddy for Mother's Day." A comment that was met with some giggles from the other shopper.

Shopper: "That's good, honey. You go home and give Daddy a present and tell him exactly that!"

Maya: "Okay.

Shopper: "You sure are a little cutie! Where'd you come from anyway? Where'd your Mommie get you? Were you in her belly?"

Mandy says at the last question, Maya got a look on her face of shock and chagrin! Like, "OMG! No! Say it isn't so -from Mommie's belly" kind of expression. Know what I mean?

So Mandy tells Maya to tell the lady where she got her.

Mandy: "Maya -Where'd I get you?"
Maya: "From de Goodwill Store."
Shopper -giggles
Mandy: "Where'd we get Kurtis?"
Maya: "From de yard sale."

Needless to say, the other lady cracked up over Maya's straight-faced responses here.

Moving on here now, there's some things I want to share here today now and call your attention to some other blogs.

Over the past couple of days, I've read so many posts giving tributes to Dads all over the place in recognition of Father's Day. All were interesting, stimulating, many were really, really sentimental too. I freely admit that many of these posts had me in tears as I read them too. But two bloggers, with each of their respective Father's Day posts, hit me in such a manner I feel compelled to point you in their direction.

First, there's this guy - Suldog -from up in Massachusetts way. He's been on a roll the past couple of weeks doing all kinds of posts that Empress Bee would probably hate because they all pertain to his beloved Celtics and their playoff games with the Lakers. I must admit I'm not all that hepped up on basketball -don't understand, don't pay any attention there fore to any games, teams, etc. involving this sport. But, I still read Suldog's blog faithfully as he does frequently post some other stuff that is really very good, interesting, sometimes a bit wacky and often has very, very good blending of humor as well as sentimentality. Check out his post here for Father's Day and his tribute to his dad. You won't regret taking the time to read it. Trust me!

Through reading Suldog's blog, and on his recommendation a while back, I picked up yet another blogger that I immediately added to my reader. I refer to him as "Magazine Man" cause he is the editor at some magazine some place but let me tell you this, he's a darned great writer! Really and truly, he is! Has some spectacular stories he spins about his life with his job, his wife, his three adorable children. But his post for Father's Day this year was just so awesome, I have to share it with you. Go here. Read it! Then come back and try to tell me you didn't just love it too!

And finally, this is what I found waiting for me this morning when I visited at the home of one of my all-time favorite bloggers:

Isn't that just the neatest picture and award though? Thanks Terri, for your constant support of my meager efforts with my blog and the often long, very drawn out posts I tend to put up here. You just made my day today with this award though!

And now, the really difficult part -passing this award on to others. The difficulty there stemming from trying to figure out who to give it to since I read so darned many really terrific blogs every single day! Every blogger on my reader really deserves this award -really, they do! But I'm gonna follow the protocol today and try to select just a couple out to give them recognition.

And, in honor of their really terrific Father's Day Posts -today, I'm giving this award just to Suldog and to Magazine Man! I think I will keep this little award and just bring it out here and there to give to specific bloggers who really catch my eye with their posts. This award may surface once in a blue moon, or very frequently -hard to say! But it will be reappearing from time to time and be given to recognize some really terrific people along the way!

Now, go read, and above all -have a really great day!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Sage Sayings?

Ready or not, here they are -this week's lovely and uber intelligent (I'm quite sure) Bushisms!

Monday, June 16, 2008 - 218 days left

"It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency."
--To the Swedish Prime Minister, June 2001

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - 217 days left

"I want to thank you for coming to the White House to give me an opportunity to urge you to work with these five senators and three congressman, to work hard to get this trade promotion authority moving. The power to be, well most of the power that be, sits right here."
--Washington, D.C., June 2001

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 - 216 days left

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
--Washington, D.C., June 18, 2002

Thursday, June 19, 2008 -- 215 days left

"I'm sure you can imagine it's an unimaginable honor to live here."
--The White House, June 2001

Friday, June 20, 2008 --214 days left

"I was going to say he's a piece of work, but that might not translate too well. Is that all right, if I call you a 'piece of work'?"
--To the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, June 20, 2005

Saturday and Sunday, June 21/22, 2008 -213 days left and 212 days left.

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe --I believe what I believe is right."
--Rome, Italy, June 22, 2001

And, if he was surprised, found it amazing that he was elected, think how shocked so many of us were on learning that took place! ARRGH!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

To all you Dad's out there -Happy Father's Day!

And to anyone whose Dad is still living, still with you -whether you really associate with him or not -try to push any differences back to the furthest recesses of your mind and call him. Thank him for giving you the seed that help you begin your journey, if for nothing else.

Relationships -especially family -and all so often between father and child -can often be really rocky, very difficult -for everyone concerned. When a marriage disbands, frequently the Dad is the one who usually gets the short end of the stick, often is the fall guy then for everything that went wrong, from beginning to end.

I'm not saying that sometimes the Dad is the one who caused the bulk -but certainly not all the issues. It DOES take two to tango ya know and it definitely does take two to fight. Yeah, I know from whence I speak there. I'm divorced, have been for 28 years this month, and I was only slightly more innocent in the bad things that happened between my ex and me.

But because I had custody of the kids, because he was involved -always -with another relationship, moved a couple thousand miles away from the kids (and me), he is the one who did really get a short stick there with respect to having a chance to build and maintain a good solid, loving relationship with the kids over a lot of those years. Yes, it was his choice and yes, he could have done more then too in the way of just phone calls, paying a little extra attention to them by simply talking to them once in a while, making the effort to come see them too, but that wasn't how he operated for at least 13 of those past 28 years.

Thankfully, since early fall of 1993, he started to wise up, realized the error of his ways in that respect and has since then tried to improve the way he relates to them -and them to him as a result. No, it's not perfect but it's a whole lot better than it was and now, he generally talks to each of the kids at least once, if not a couple times a month on the telephone. He even tries to make arrangements now too whenever he can afford it to take a week off and come back east to visit with the kids and get acquainted with the grandchildren now too. Considering how his temperment can be at times, the kids recognize now how hard he is trying as do I and all of us are very grateful that the effort is being made to repair years of damage. Things sure could be a whole lot worse ya know!

You've all heard me say before I never knew my Dad -didn't have the opportunity because he died when I was an infant. You know too I was an only child so growing up and when I married, having children and wanting them to have their Dad as part of their lives was uber important to me. I wanted my family to be the kind I'd always dreamed about -some siblings and two parents and of course, some pets too had to be thrown into the mix. The pets I was able to provide for the kids over the years but the relationship I had ached to have as a child with my dad and with siblings -that was more than I could manage to deliver easily then.

Today, my kids are tight with each other -VERY tight, as a matter of fact. My son is on the road for five to six days at a clip but he keeps in close contact with both his sisters and with me and even manages whenever possible to stop by his dad's place in Nevada from time to time to visit him or at least call him. And if he isn't calling his sisters, they call him. He calls home here and talks to me most every day when he's driving that big truck too. Sometimes, things happen that one sister will call him, I happen to call the sister shortly after and she tells me something he's doing and I call him and know where he is and what he's doing before he's even spoken to me. It just works out that way from time to time. Sometimes he appreciates the steady contact -once in a while, it kind of shocks him too that we track him down now and again as well.

But back to Dad's and relationships -if you are really lucky and have a close relationship with your dad, that's fantastic. Do everything you can then to keep it that way. And if it hasn't always been that good between you, extend the olive branch and try to change it cause he isn't always going to be around ya know and most Dad's do try to give their kids the best that they can. We all, each of us, want to be given the benefit of the doubt when there's a falling out but sometimes too, we all have to extend that to the other person.

Might take more than one extending of the olive branch too but face it, someone HAS to be the one to say they are sorry -someone has to be the "adult" whether it be the young adult or the older one, makes no never mind. It's often worth the shot.

Ok, lecture done for today! Let's all love each other and play nice in the playground of life.

This morning, Mandy, Maya and I went to church -nice service, saw many good friends, neighbors, enjoyed a little time to visit with some after church as well before we headed up to the grocery store to pick up stuff for supper and so I could get my Sunday Paper. Priorities, ya know! Gotta have the Sunday paper so I can try to see if I can figure out more than maybe 10 words in the Crossword puzzle each week, ya know.

Got back home and cleared a spot on the dining room table to work on the puzzle while getting in another cup of coffee too. Just getting started on the puzzle and Maya comes by saying she wants to go see the "pretty babies" -meaning she wants to go see the kittens. She heads to my room where they are in the big box with Mama Jorge and I give her the standard lecture not to pick them up! Just pet them nice-nice, softly, easy, ya know. She repeats my instructions back to me too and disappears into my room. I take a nice long sip of the steaming hot coffee and suddenly, here comes Maya, carrying a plastic grocery bag, looped over her arm and she hands it to me.

"Here, Grammie. Baby kitty in a bag," she tells me! Now that got my attention really fast as I got the plastic bag away from her, open it and look inside and sure enough, there's the smalller grey kitten -the one that is usually the "cry baby" of the bunch, no less, but it's being really quiet. I reach in and gently retrieve it and it snuggles up against my chest -no crying though - but probably had had the living crap scared out of it when Maya had picked it up and dumped it in the bag to start with, so that may be the secret to keeping that kitten quiet then. Just casually insert kitten into grocery store bag and carry it around that way! (Trust me, the kitten is ok!)

Mandy cooked breakfast while this was all taking place -really good, crisp bacon and French toast -which everyone except Kurtis enjoyed eating. He was much happier to sit in the high chair and pick up little pieces of his French toast and bacon that I had broken up for him to make it easy-to-eat finger food and then flick each bite-sized bit of bacon or French toast off his finger and make it go sailing across the dining room table. You try taking a bite of food or a sip of coffee and suddenly something goes whizzing by the end of your nose!

After eating, Bill took Maya out in the back yard and they had some really great father-daughter time doing this:

After doing the swing thing for a while, Maya donned her swim suit and took a dip in the little kiddie pool in front of the house. Kurtis, by the way, slept through the swinging and the pool thing -mainly because he is terrified this year of both of those things! Last summer, he liked to be put on the little baby swing, this year, he screams. Last year, when he couldn't even walk, he loved being in the pool with Maya, this year, his legs curl up as soon as you touch his toes to the water and he screams bloody blue murder! Go figure, huh?

Bill set up the canopy tent I got, put the table up inside it along with the glider from my aunt's house and now, we're all set for our evening meal - a nice cookout that Bill's doing with the steaks I got this morning at the store.

Here's what our "picnic area" in the back yard looks like now too.

And here's the new location of the fire pit too. It was way down in the back yard before, but Bill cleared out what had been a sandbox he had set up for the kids -but which the neighbor's cats kept coming over and using as their own personal sandbox -and moved the burn drum up there so after we dine in our fancy tent, we can move our folding chairs over to the area around the burn pit and toast marshmallows to our hearts' content, can't we?
It's nothing fancy, for sure -but it will serve our purposes fine and dandy and provide for a nice, cool place to sit outside; a place to eat and just enjoy some good, clean family pleasure.

Now, my supper's done -time to grab the chairs and go chow! Hope all of you -especially you Dad's - have a super Happy Father's Day -and just like birthdays -have many more to come!