Tuesday, September 30, 2008

stay-at-home mom

Today, my loving daughter told me that I should be a stay-at-home Mom.

Just so I could be at her beck-n-call. And, so I could go to all her games.

Thing is, I'd love to be a stay-at-home Mom and wife. I could so get into that. It's my life's ambition. Problem is, well, by the time we can afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom the kids will be grown and gone.

But, I'm willing to sacrifice and be just a stay-at-home wife!

Sigh. But, I'd bet that Miss Kat isn't willing to make the sacrifices we'd have to make for me to stay home. Selfish thing that she is. What would have to go would be the cell phones, and the satellite TV and the tractor and our wireless Internet. Kev would put his foot down at giving up the tractor. Miss Kat can't find her cell phone, but she'd revolt at giving up the TV and the wireless Internet. Andy would offer to pay for his own cell phone, but since he doesn't have a job anymore, well, that's out. And I'd hate giving up the TV too. I guess we all are just too selfish for me to be a stay-at-home mom.

So, I'll wait till the kids are gone and everything is paid off. Then, then, I can be a stay-at-home mom.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend recap

On Saturday, Mom and I and "Mom's bestest and oldest friend", Faye, went to the Whimmy Diddle in Scott City.

The Whimmy Diddle is a large outdoors craft fair. It was a 2.5 hour drive, but it was fun riding with Mom and her "bestest and oldest friend". Faye and Mom grew up together. For many years, while each was newly married and were raising their families, they didn't get to see each other often and the certainly didn't get to "hang out". But, now that they are older, and aren't as busy, they've reconnected and spend a lot of time together. I like watching them, and listening to their stories. It's fun seeing your mom act like a person and not your mom.

So, we spent the day at the craft show, bought a few things, then we drove home. We'd met in Minneola, so when we got there, we all stopped by the Nursing Home to see Grandma. She didn't know us at first, but did seem to after we told her who we were. In fact, she said to Mom, "oh, yes, I guess you are my daughter." Faye went to visit with someone she knew and the Nurses called Mom over to visit, so I stayed with Grandma. I told her about Miss Kat's skirt, and she did light up and was really interested in the conversation. But, she's so drugged up that she really can't stay with you very long.

We left, and I drove home. When I got home, I realized that I had left my book in Mom's car. I'm lost without a book. I always have a book to read. And, now, I'd left it in her car. I called and ordered her to drive to my house to bring it to me, but she just laughed and made some smart-alec comment about me not being able to live for one week without my book.

I'll show her. I'll get through the week just fine. After all, I just got 2 new magazine issues in the mail, so I can read them. And, I've got a cross stitch project to work on. But I still miss my book.

Yesterday, I finished Miss Kat's skirt. We will never make a living as seamstresses. I ripped out the waistband and re-pinned it to sew it back on. I then sewed it back on, all was looking well, I was pleased. Then I noticed something that we should have noticed much earlier.

We had sewed one side seam "backwards". In other words, the seam was on the outside--the front of the skirt. For cryin' out-loud. What idiot did not catch that one? (I'm not the only idiot, Kat didn't catch it either!) So, I ripped that seam out, and had to then rip the waistband out on that side. I resewed the seam--correctly, this time; sewed the waistband again and we were finished. Well, I was. Miss Kat was not around for her sewing project. But she did wear it the rest of the afternoon, prancing around and wiggling, watching that skirt swing around her legs.

Kev and I finally finished the pond. Except, last night, he found a leak in the stream. sigh. I did laundry and then I relaxed and cross stitched (since I don't have a book to read!) And, I sneezed a lot and blew my nose a lot.

I think I must be allergic to Sundays, because for the past 3 weeks, my allergies have been terrible on Sundays and more manageable on other days. Am I allergic to my house? To something in the pastures? I don't know. Other than using a box of Kleenex yesterday, it was a great weekend!


The boys won their first game of the season! Their now at 1-3 for the season. And, they needed that win. And they played an excellent game.

On Friday, we played the Greensburg Rangers. (Yes, that Greensburg--the one wiped out by the tornado a little over a year ago.) Greensburg still doesn't have a football field, so they play at Mullenville, which is half way between Bucklin and Greensburg. It was a 10 minute drive for us from our front door to the stadium.

I don't know what they are feeding the boys in Greensburg these days, but holy cow, they had some big boys. One kid, who is being watched by Division 1 colleges, was 6'4" and weighed 270 lbs! And, he was a running back. (He was one of those guys who carries the ball and is behind the line. I think running back is right, but...yeah, I'm not sure.) There were two linemen who weighed in the 240-250 lb. range. Our guys... Well, most of them are under 200. I think we have 2 guys right at 200 lbs. So those bigger guys could, and did plow right through our line.


The guys worked together and figured out how to bring those big guys down. And they did. It was a defensive game, but our guys came out ahead in the end. They were so pumped.

Andy was so pumped. Kevin got pumped. My dad got pumped.

I got teary seeing Andy so pumped. And that was the best part of the game.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Life with Miss Kat

You know, I think I could have an entire blog titled "Life with Miss Kat," cause life is sure interesting with her. O my.

Yesterday, she had a Volleyball game. She really really really likes us to watch her play, dance, perform, prance...she likes attention. (She does not get that from her mother.) That's fine, but she also doesn't understand when we can't attend something. She expects us to drop everything we are doing just to watch her.

Now, yesterday, Kev couldn't go to her game, but I had arranged to try and come. Kev would ride home with Patrick and I would leave early. Only it didn't turn out the way we planned.

Patrick didn't work at all yesterday, so Kev didn't have a ride home. And my only staff person went home sick at 1:00, so I couldn't leave. Miss Kat called at 2:30 asking me to bring her a bottle of water and I had to break the news to her. Let's just say she wasn't happy.

We got home about 6 and stopped at the school. Kat was on the floor in the gym, playing Volleyball! They were playing a "C" team game, and she was playing. So, we did get to watch her. So, Kev and I redeemed ourselves by getting to watch Miss Kat play. She's improved. That makes me happy, and I told her how much she's improved.

After the game, and after supper, Miss Kat and Andy went back to town to watch the Jr. High boys football game. The kids came home around 9, when the game was over. Miss Kat was bubbly and bouncy and chattering like a chipmunk. I don't think she even cared if I listened. Then, suddenly, she jumps up off the floor and starts doing cheers. Football cheers, BJS cheers, actions, chants, jumps. The whole nine yards. Just out of the blue. Then, when she knew I was watching, she just laughed and stopped.

I was afraid to ask what was up with her! She then informs me that she thinks she'll try out as a cheerleader next year. Not news to me, I've been expecting this since the girl started school. And, remember, she likes attention. I happen to like this goofy person!

This morning...sigh...this morning, I get a phone call while driving to work.

"Mom, I need money today."

Now, I ask you...I'm 30 miles away from home. How the heck am I going to get money to Miss Kat?

I ask her "what do you need money for today?"

"I need to pay for my band shirt."

"Kat, I wrote you a check for it over 2 weeks ago. I saw that check on your bed last Friday. Why didn't you take it?"

"He didn't want it when we were at KU, so I brought it home. But, I can't find it now and I have to pay him today."

I'm getting a little steamed at this point, because...somehow...this was my fault.

"Well, Kat, I guess you'll have to get into the change jar and count out $8 in change and give that to him. Either that, or find that check in the next 20 minutes. That's all I can do from here."

"Moooooommmmmmmm, that won't work!"

"Well, that's the best I can do. You can give him change or you can find the check."

She replied, "humph. Good-bye."

Now, I ask, what was I supposed to do?

That girl, up and goofy one minute, mad the next. Oh, and she's not officially a teenager until February.

Life with Miss Kat is a soap opera. Stay tuned for next weeks episode.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the night before picture day

With a 12 and 3/4 year old in the house, with a female who's 12 and 3/4 in the house, there's a lot a drama. Especially when this female is ... is ... stubborn, picky, demanding, and smarter than the average mother.

A few weeks ago, Miss Kat found a pattern that she liked at the fabric store. The pattern said it was for beginning sewers, and was designed for "teen" sewers. Looked like a winner to me, and to be honest, I was thrilled that she wanted to sew again. So, we bought fabric and the pattern. Knit fabric. I should have known better. Miss Kat wanted to have the skirt for picture day, and she wanted to wear it on game days. (She's playing Volleyball this year.)

We cut out the pattern over the weekend and were planning to sew on Monday night. But, that didn't happen. So, we planned on sewing on Tuesday night, but Miss Kat decided watching the High School Girls play Volleyball was more important than coming home was. What this meant was we had to sew it last night. The night before we wanted to wear it.

I had taken a brief look at the pattern and had discovered that there were 3 seams. Two side seams for the skirt and the waistband. No hem, No finishing of the edges of the waistband. Which is why it had to be knit, anything else would ravel out. Seems pretty cheesy to me, but whatever. Kat liked it and wanted to make it.

I knew we were in trouble when, while sitting in front of the sewing machine, pinned fabric ready to go, Miss Kat said "I don't remember how to start. What do I do?"

"Where do you think you start sewing?"

"I don't know, help me."

It went downhill from there--because she couldn't even begin to think where to start. No earthly idea. Looking at the machine didn't trigger anything for her either. Hoo boy.

Finally, she got one seam done, and it was nice and straight. The second seam wasn't. So, I found the ripper, and we ripped it out. Correction I ripped it out. Because someone couldn't remember how to do it. She sewed it up again, much better! Then on to placing the waistband. And then to pinning the waistband. Again, I did that and, this "teen" pattern--this "simple to sew" pattern. Wasn't simple. At this point, she lost interest, and I lost my patience. I sewed the waist band on. But, because my mood was rather dark by this point...well, we had lots and lots of tucks and blatant screw ups. Rather than pick out that seam, I said,

"Kat, this isn't going to get done tonight."

And she said, "Ok."


Since when does this child be reasonable? No arguing, no pouting, no stomping of feet, no fussing? Nothing.

Instead, she ran downstairs, found some nice dress slacks and tried to find a couple of nice shirts to wear with them.

I've spent a fortune on this kid's clothes this year, got her a nice dress, but no nice dressy blouses. Nothing to wear for picture day that would double for game day. And, this is where I'm closing my tale, because I just can't bear going through it again. And, it mean's that I need to take her shopping again.

We'll concentrate on that positive aspect...where she agreed the skirt wasn't getting done--without throwing a fit. Cause, that's something to celebrate.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I want it Wednesday

This week, my goal was to do the "I want it Wednesday" on Wednesday.

Did anyone else notice that last week, I did it on Thursday? Thanks for not mentioning it. You all are very kind.

This week, I'm sharing something I've wanted for a very long time. An Old fashioned stove.

I want the one on the right. It's been on my list for 10 years or more. Ten years ago, it would have cost $5000. Today, it costs $7000. Give or take a couple of hundred.

For 10 years, and three kitchens, I have wanted an old fashioned looking kitchen, and this stove would be the centerpiece. I've bought 2 stoves over the past 10 years, but have yet to get this, my dream stove. I keep hinting to Kev that we need to remodel our kitchen, and when we do, then we can make space for my dream stove. He doesn't say no, but his yeses, oks, and uh-huh's aren't very convincing.

But, I'm very patient, and I can wear him down. It's only been 10 years. I've got lots of time to convince him that I need this stove....stay tuned.

Monday, September 22, 2008

tree stands

Kev and I went and put up tree stands yesterday. I really didn't want to, because my allergies were really acting up and I just wanted to curl up with my box of Kleenex and die. They were bad enough that I was contemplating asking someone to just shoot me. Instead, I took my box of Kleenex and went to hang tree stands.

That's one bad thing about moving. Before, I'd go with Kev and Lynn, but I'd just stand around, looking pretty while the guys did the real work. Not this time, I had to help. Another bad thing about hunting in a new area is we just aren't as certain of the travel patterns of the deer. At the farm, where we have a creek and 160 acres, we really felt good about one stand, but couldn't figure out where to put a second stand. See, there's water there, with the windmill and even the creek, but...there aren't any food plots for the deer anywhere around, it's pasture for miles and miles. Great shelter for the deer during winter, but no special food. So, we decided to put up one stand here and we'd watch their patterns. We also found a place where Kev wants to put up a food plot, so maybe next spring, we can plant a small alfalfa stand, or just some clover and other grasses that deer like.

Then we drove over to Uncle Glenn's quarter section, but decided it wasn't really good for a tree stand. Then we drove on down to the Hill. Grandpa B's place. Well, Mom and Sandy's place now. Mom leased it to a local guy to run cattle and he had asked to put up a tree stand, and she said yes, but told him that we wanted to hunt there too.

He put up a stand all right, a huge tripod stand with a feeder that he built fence and fenced off an area, and he even took in a tractor and cleared out his area first. He did a lot of work for someone who just asked to put up a tree stand. He's also got a trail camera set up there. (see, we're natural hunters, we have never put in a feeder and we leave the environment natural and trashy. By trashy, I mean limbs and tree branches and such, not trash trash.)

The windmill is running, so deer could come in there for water. They got two tree rows there for shelter and there are fields of feed and Milo near by, so it should be a pretty good spot. Kev and I set up our second stand back behind the house, closer to the water than the other guys, and we are quite a ways from his stand. But, looking at the track in the mud around the windmill, we think the deer come in from the south, get a drink, then circle to the east, where we put my stand, then back around to the north west to that feeder. There were several tracks going that way anyway. We'll see. I know that in years past, there were deer scraping their antlers over my side, so I hope they still do. A friend of mine told me he's seen several big bucks cut across the road there.

It would tickle me to death if a big buck came by and I got him with my bow.

I love being out there, in the country. But it wasn't as much fun with snot dripping out of my nose, with itchy and swollen eyes, and me sneezing constantly and when I actually have to help instead of just looking pretty. Kev told me to stop sneezing, because I'd scare the deer. Yeah, only someone without allergies would even think that was funny. But, the stands are up, fall is here, and I'm ready to get a deer.


I took Andy to a Trap Shoot on Saturday. A competition just for kids. He took 4th in his age group. He was tied for third, so we had a shoot off. His first. He had quite a following of on-lookers and watching friends. We were all very quiet during the shoot off. It ran through my head that it was like we were all at a golf match. We were that quiet!

When it was over, and Andy had lost the shoot off by 2 rock, I told him he couldn't be in one again, it was too hard on his old Mom.

He just looked at me and said "Well, Mom, it was harder on me, I was shaking!"

He so very seldom appears to be nervous, that I just don't think about him being nervous! He's a pretty laid back, calm person.

So, he didn't get a medal or any of the cool prizes they had at the shoot, but he was very happy with taking 4th. I was too. I don't know how many kids were there in his age bracket, but I do know that there were over 150 kids who shot. Fewer girls, but there were several girls. Unfortunately, only the girl who takes first place gets a medal. What's with that??? I think they should give the same prizes to girls as they do to guys. Sex discrimination still lives in trap shooting.

But, back to Andy. He shot really well considering he hasn't shot in over a month. Would he have shot better if he'd been shooting these past 5 weeks? I don't know. All I know is between football and trap shooting and archery...the kid sure makes his mom proud.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

speaking of snakes

Ok, while I might not have been speaking of snakes, I did use the word snake in the previous post.

Today, at lunch time, I ran to Walmart. If we want to be literal about it, I walked to Walmart. The college is just a couple of blocks away. Instead of walking clear down to the street, I cut across country. It's shorter. It's also a prairie dog town.

Snakes like to eat prairie dogs.

Prairie dog towns are full of holes.

Snakes like to hide in holes.

No, I didn't step in any holes.

I was almost to Hobby Lobby, which is on my way to Walmart. I was almost to the pavement, thinking to myself:

"Self :), you did really well, you didn't fall down, you didn't step in any holes, you weren't attacked by any Killer Prairie Dogs, and you didn't see any snakes....O [expletive deleted]."

There he was, a big old fat snake. Not five feet away. Between me and the parking lot. I froze.

I froze cause I couldn't breath, cause I'd exhaled all my air with that expletive word that I said.

The big old fat snake didn't move.

"Maybe it's dead."

I took a step to the right, stepped around the prairie dog hole, and moved forward, my eyes glued to that very long big fat snake.

He still didn't move.

I decided he must be dead, so I went on my way, looking at that snake instead of where I was going.

And, danged if I didn't almost trip over a dead prairie dog laying in front of me. I think he died of a heart attack when he saw that big old hairless snake. The Prairie dog smelled. And he was rather...bloated. And he just about finished off what the snake started. Where the snake made me stop breathing, the prairie dog kept me from wanting to breath!

Note: the following answers are for the men-folk in my life with the unspoken questions...

No, I did not look closer to see if the dang dead snake was really dead. And, no, I did not look to see if it was a rattle snake or a bull snake. No, I did not notice the pattern. It was brown and brown and lighter brown. Yes, it could have been diamonds. I didn't pay attention, I was tryin' to breath.

No, I did not look for his rattles, so I don't know if someone removed them. No, I didn't look for the head, it might have been attached, it might not have.

Yes, I'd guess he was a good 4 feet long. No, he wasn't coiled. He was folded in half. Yes, I'm pretty sure he was dead. I think he was almost as bloated as the prairie dog. If not, he was a good 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Which is why I didn't get closer.

Dang it, I don't know anything else! I don't care what kind it was, it tried to kill me by just being there. If you really want to know , go look for yourself. Hobby Lobby...north side of the parking lot...near the hole in the fence...2 feet away from the prairie dog who's lying on his back sunning himself....

" I want that Wednesday"

One of the gal's who's blog I follow, (Dana, the homesteading housewife) does a "I want that Wednesday." I've thought that was a neat idea, but I just don't often think of things I want, but since last time, she put up a tree lined lane, well now, that's the kind of thing I want. So, this week, I thought I'd put in something that I want.

Here it is:

Here's a different one:

I want an autogate. Or, some of you might call them "cattle guards." The correct term is autogate. I don't care what brand they are, I don't care if you can find traffic signs that say "cattle guard ahead". Some people might call them cattle guards. But we Southwest Kansas folk call them autogates. So that's what they are.

I grew up in Open Range country, where many of our roads run through pastures, or open range. Autogates are put in so you don't have to stop, open a gate, drive through, stop, shut the gate and go on. If we had to do so, at times, we'd have to stop 5 or 6 times on one road. With an autogate, you just drive across and move through.

When I was little, we had one at the end of our lane. At night, driving home, riding in the back seat, we might doze off, but once we felt and heard the rhythmic "brum brum" of the tires crossing the autogate, we knew we were almost home. It's always been a soothing sound to me, a sound that says "I'm home."

I also liked riding a bike across one. Yes, you had to keep your tires straight, or you'd have nasty wreck, but I liked that bouncing. (No, I am most definitely not normal!) Besides riding a bike across, they were fun to walk across, stepping on each tube, or skipping one or skipping two, or jumping across the entire thing and back again. Most of our autogates were home made out of heavy pipe, so you drove on the top of the pipes, and walking barefoot across them was fun, your foot could curl around the pipe, making you more stable.

Of course, you might need to watch out for snakes and such, they liked the shade. And, if it was a good autogate, there might even be enough space to crawl under it and play. Oh, I like autogates!

I want one. I want one at the end of our drive. I don't care if we don't live in a pasture. I don't care if there's not any reason to have one. I love driving across them, I love the sound tires make. It means, "I'm home."

That's why I want an autogate. But, [insert sigh here] Kev won't get me one. And Daddy won't get me one either. He's got a perfectly good one sitting out, unused, in his pasture. But, they just don't think I need one.

But, I can still want one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On my mind

Grandma is on my mind. Part of it is G's fault, she wants to put together family recipes and such. But, she's on my mind because I stopped by on Friday to see her before the football game.

This was the first time that it was obvious that she didn't know who I was. She didn't even attempt to guess who I was, and even after I told her who I was, there was no real recognition. There have been times when I thought she might not be sure who I was, but she faked it pretty well, and eventually figured it out. But, not this time.I even said I was "Shelly Jo" not just Shelly, cause...well, that's what everybody called me when I was little, so I thought that old name might register. But it didn't.

And, cousins, she looks awful. Frankly, she looks like hell. Her body is breaking down and...well, we might be together again before we all really want to. Which might be an early prediction on my part, but...I've been wrong before.

I figured, when I moved down here, that she'd last 6 months. It's been almost a year, and she's still here. I also figured Grandpa would still be here, but he's not. And, I've been thinking how hard this would be on him, watching her like this. He was her link to reality, but she was the person he was supposed to take care of. I know how upset he was when she didn't recognize him when he was in the hospital in April, and seeing her like this now would really upset him. Maybe that's why he went first, to be spared this. I just don't know.

So, she didn't know me. And, I coped well. Yes, it really bothered me, but it bothers me more that she's just not with it at all. She's not walking at all anymore. She's not eating much either. Her hands are claw like and remind me of those skeletal hands we all see at Halloween. But, she did hold my hand. She actually reached out for my hand. This, a woman, who didn't necessarily like to hug, touch, or kiss anyone. So, I held her hand, talked to her some. I tried to get her to tell me what she liked to cook, and what her favorite things to eat were. I got nowhere. She's good at not telling me anything. And, I don't even think she cared when I left. That's the worst part--the apathy. Yeah, it's the drugs, and I do not like drugs and I definitely do not like how they make her react. She should be able to know us--her family members. She should show some life, some animation and not sit like a zombie. That's what bothers me most. This woman isn't my grandma, difficult as she is, this isn't her. This is a shell. And, it's rapidly emptying.

So, over the next few days/weeks/months, if I vent here, please try to be patient and try to understand.

Friday, September 12, 2008

confessions of a football mom

Andy's playing football this year, as a senior. He hasn't played football since 8th grade, and even then, he didn't play much. Colby simply had too many kids out for football, and they have a "rule" that every kid get to play in every game. That kind of philosophy doesn't lend itself to developing good football players and it doesn't really give many kids a taste for the sport.

So, this is a first for us...being "football parents". We're two games into the season, and I'm not sure who's enjoying it more--Andy, his grandparents, or Kev and I.

Right before the start of the season, Andy told us that he's played just about every position on the field--except center and quarterback. To me, that means he's been a lineman and a person who catches the ball and he's done something on defense. I think he's played as a lineman there and what ever those guys in the back do. (I'm really into football, can't you tell???)

We haven't had high expectations of him, simply because he's so inexperienced! Heck, the freshmen players probably have all had more time on the field than Andy had. But, he mainly went out to have fun with his friends and that's what is really important. Believe me, I have never expected to see NFL recruiters at any of our games!

So...Bucklin plays 8 man football. My high school team played 11 man football. I know there are several differences between 8 man and 11 man...like you have only 8 men on the field instead of 11, and the field is shorter. There's probably more differences, but I have no idea what they would be. I told you, I'm really into football!

Tonight, we drove to Minneola to watch the game. My folks drove up to watch as well since it's close to home for them, and they know several Minneola kids. Now, last game, the first of the season, Andy only played on the special teams--the kicking team, and the receiving team. That's what we expected tonight.

But, someone on the first string got hurt early in the second half, and Andy was sent in. He played on the line, on the end of the line. I don't know what position it was...maybe the end, cause he did go out for passes and such. So, the 4 of us (Kev, me, and Mom and Dad) stood on the sidelines behind the team bench and watched from there.

We'd watch Andy tackle and block and visit about how well he was or wasn't doing. (Cause, as you can tell, I really know my football.) Then, he runs way around the side into the end zone. I stood there and said "Please don't throw it to my son, please don't throw it to my son..." Which made my mother laugh. Mom reassured me that Andy was just the Trojan Horse. Whew! That's stressful! What if they HAD thrown the ball to him, and he dropped it! O it's much easier not having any expectations like that!

Then, later, Mom and I noticed that Andy was dropping way back behind the line. We said to each other "what in the heck is he doing back there?" Then, the ball was snapped back to my son. And, then, he punted the ball. My heart just about stopped. What in the heck was my son doing punting the ball? But, you know what, it was a darn good kick. It really was, it went far down the field, it had good height and a nice spiral. (See, some things I do know about!) We were all flabbergasted! While I knew that he'd been practicing kicking, I had no idea he was doing so well at it! Poor Kev, he didn't know that Andy had bee practicing at kicking.

And then...then...in another play, he got hurt. O crap. That really gets your heart going. What actually happened, was he got the wind knocked out of him. He sat out a couple of plays, and was back in the game. And then...o my...watch the heartbeat, take deep breaths....

He went down field for a pass. And, it was thrown at him! O my gosh, that silly Quarterback was throwing a ball at my baby! O crap. What if he missed it? What if it was intercepted? What if he caught and made a touchdown??? O crap, o crap. So, the ball is soaring through the air, my son is running down the field, watching it. There was a Minneola kid right on his butt. O crap! And, the ball was past Andy. And that Minneola kid almost intercepted the pass. But, hang on, my son quickly turned, and tackled the player who dropped the ball before he had control of it, so it was an incomplete pass. At that moment, Andy looked like he knew what he was doing. He did exactly the right thing. Whew, a near disaster for this mom turned into something good. And...then, Kev and Dad started to talk, but I hushed them because the announcer was talking about the play and I heard him say "The pass was intended for...
... Hollsman." He might have paused, a long pause, but by golly, that announcer almost pronounced our name right! My little boy's name was announced at a football game! Whoo hoo!

We lost the game. In fact, it was called when Minneola got to be 48 points ahead. But, you know, in my mind, it was a victory. My little boy (who weighs 165 lbs and is 5' 11") got to play an entire half, and he played very well. It just makes one's heart swell.

I'll tell ya, you can't have a weak heart and be a football mom. Now, I just need to talk to that coach and that Quarterback, and tell them to NOT give my son the ball. I just don't think I can take that kind of pressure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the garden

I have finally made it out to the garden and have actually picked something!

Last night, we didn't have any plans. The pond is almost done, the kids didn't have anything at school, no work, no bills to pay, no projects that had to be completed, nothing.

So, Kev and I ran outside to the garden. We ran out, holding hands with the wind blowing through our hair, the romantic music in the background...oh, sorry, I got carried away. "Ran" is a figurative term here. He walked out the the strawberry patch to pull bindweed while I walked out to the chicken house to gather eggs and fill the feeders and such.

After gathering the eggs, I went out to the garden. I decided I'd better get my onions pulled before they rotted in the ground. We've gotten a lot of moisture the past few weeks and since the tops died, well, I didn't need my onions to rot. They pulled quite easily from the damp ground. Then, Kev came over and we checked the tomatoes and the broccoli, the garlic and the jalapenos. (that's all that's left)

We decided we'd better pick the jalapenos. We picked a gallon bucket full of jalapenos! Tonight, my job will be to can them. I could chop them and freeze them for use later in making salsa, but I'm not confident that we will get enough tomatoes. We've got beautiful plants, and some green fruit, but nothing red yet. No BLT sandwiches, no salsa.

We were bad gardeners this year. We never picked our corn and I never got any beans picked or canned either. We've been that busy. So, we're holding on to the hope that next year we will not be as busy and can give our garden the attention it deserves. By next year, I'll need a good garden, because we'll have eaten everything I canned last year by then. Yikes!

I don't know if this moving and starting over business is why we weren't as good at gardening, or if we've just been that busy. I know we've both missed home grown produce, so next year, we have the goal of having a bigger and better garden.

Monday, September 08, 2008

life with...my hair

I happen to be cursed with "naturally curly hair." And, yes, all you straight-as-a-board hair people, it is a curse. Mine is anyway. When I was in my teens and 20's, my mother would look at me, sigh, and say, "Shelly, the man you marry will have to know how to live with your hair."

When I was a little girl, Mom often put my hair up in pigtails. My pigtails always curled into ringlets, like Buffy from the '60's TV show, Family Affair. That was ok, I really didn't care much about my hair when I was 3 or 4. And, well, I was cute!

But, as I got to school age, Mom decided she was tired of messing with my hair, so she had it cut short. So, I had short hair until I was in college. I remember once, when I was about 10, we went in for a haircut. It was a new hairdresser. Mom warned her that my hair was very curly and that it had a mind of its own. The hairdresser nodded and proceeded to try to yank out every hair on my head. She reached for a brush and my baby-fine, curly hair, just knotted up in her brush. It was not pleasant.

She apologized to Mom when we were finished. I distinctly remember her saying "I didn't believe you when you said her hair was curly. All her curl was under that top layer, so I didn't see it!" She may not have seen it, but I certainly felt it!

Mom used to hate Sunday mornings. She'd comb my hair, and we'd head off to church where we sat behind a family of little girls with Brady Bunch blond and straight hair. Their hair always looked so nice. Then, Mom would look at me and my hair. While it to had been combed, it now didn't look like it had ever seen a comb. Mom was very happy when those little girls stopped coming to church. Me, I still didn't care.

In my 20's, I permed my hair. I know, why on earth would someone with naturally curly hair get a perm? Well, it made my hair more manageable. With my perm, I could curl my bangs and they'd stay. They'd look nice all day long (without hairspray! Ha! Take that you girls who should have had stock in Aquanet!) By my 20's, I had my hair long enough that I could get a spiral perm. Once a year. (Take that too, you gals who have to get a perm every 2 or 3 months.) Later, I would straighten my hair. I'd wash it and then dry it by running the curling iron through it and curl it under.

That's when Kev and I met, during the straightening days. It was pretty manageable then, and on weekends and evenings, I usually pulled it back into a pony tail, or I'd french braid it. He really liked my hair braided...

But, all good things come to an end. As I've gotten older, my hair has gotten curlier and curlier and thicker and thicker. It's baby fine, remember, so it doesn't look as thick as it is. For several years, I had it cut in lots of layers, to work with that natural curl. And, my hair dresser (who should have moved with me), would thin it.

And still, at times, my husband would look at me and say "did you comb your hair today?"

I of course, would be indignant, and say "yes, why, doesn't it look like I combed it?"

And, he'd sigh and say, "nope, looks like a rat's nest."

And, at times, before we leave the house, he'll look at me and say "We aren't leaving until you comb your hair." At that, I'll stomp back to the bathroom and comb it again, not that he can usually tell by the time we get in the car...

And there are now days when my husband and my mother will look at my hair, look at each other and sigh jointly and in unison. One will make some snide comment about my hair, the other will agree and then they will sigh again--making some comments like...

"Well, she's your daughter."

"Well, you married her."

I feel the love, don't you?

Lately, we've had unseasonably cool and humid, damp weather. And my hair...let's just compare it to Medusa's snakes. That's a pretty accurate description. It's curlier and more independent when it's humid and damp. (Which is why I can never live in the Northwestern part of the U.S.)

Let's take this morning for example...

Today, I got up, washed my hair, and curled my bangs under. They are a little long, so by curling them under, they wouldn't be in my eyes and they wouldn't flip out in that '60's "flip. And, my bangs look nicer when they are curled under.

One hour later, when I arrived at work, I ran into the bathroom. While washing my hands, I made the mistake of looking in the mirror. Besides having Medusa's snakes attached to my head...I had bangs that were flipped out. What happened, I don't know, but evidently my bangs did not want to be curled under. Instead, they wanted to flip. And, they were flipping in 3 different directions, straight out front, to the left, and to the right. (The left side were flipped to the right and the right side was flippin' to the left.) Very pretty. Just...yeah...whatever. I sighed and walked proudly into my office, where I hope to hide for the rest of the day.

So, you all can now picture me as I'll be in the Nursing Home. I'll be the old lady with the big honkin' zits and hair like Medusa's snakes.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Signs of love

One of my favorite things to do is to watch couples. I don't stalk couples, but, I enjoy seeing couples and seeing that little...something...that little flash of affection between two people.

For example, last winter, Kev and I were at Orschlens, the local Farm & Home store and we ran into a friend of mine and her husband. Now, this friend and her husband aren't a typical couple. They are both extremely independent people who don't often appear in public together. And, they are a very private couple, they don't like "PDA's" (Public Display of Affection). I'm sure there are many who think their marriage is "in name only" marriages.

But that day, when we were visiting in Orschlens, one of them cracked a joke, and they looked at each other--one of those special looks that was full of love and affection and understanding of each other. Seeing that one glimpse, I knew, without a doubt, that while their marriage isn't typical, they love and like each other. That one glance they shared was almost intimate.

That's what I like seeing. That's why I like to watch people. With some people, it's easy to see if they like and love each other. I like seeing those little unconscious displays of affection--they might be a glance, or a touch. Sometimes it's how they say each other's name. But I like seeing that--in whichever form.

I remember once as a kid, watching my parents. We were driving somewhere. Steve and I were in the back seat, draped over the front seat, visiting and probably arguing about who was taking up more of that space. But, anyway, Dad simply reached over and patted Mom's thigh. She simply reached down and rested her hand on his. Such a simple, common thing, but it struck me that that was one of those little ways of saying "I love you."

One of my colleagues at Colby always talked about his wife, and when he did, his whole face would literally light up. He just glowed when he talked about her. And, the few times I visited with her, she would also light up talking about him. They weren't newly weds, they had been married over 30 years, but his face would still light up...after all those years.

My Grandad W, when he walked into a room, would always look around for my Grandma. If she wasn't in the room, he'd ask, "Where's Mother?" He just needed to know where she was, and once he knew that she was there, or that she was ok, he was fine. I think I saw them kiss each other twice. Once at their 50th Anniversary party and once at their 60th. They weren't big on PDA's, yet, we all knew that she was the center of his world.

When Kev and I were dating, and when I first met his parents, I noticed that my FIL touches my MIL frequently. Maybe just a light touch on her shoulder, or arm, but he touches her often. I think I noticed that because at that time, Kev didn't want me touching him--especially in public. I was a little jealous that his parents could touch, but that we couldn't.

We've had friends and family who's marriages have gone through rough spots. As they have worked through those spots, I've watched how they act towards each other, how they touch or don't touch or how they look at each other. Those who make it...well, you can see the improvement. That's wonderful to see. The opposite is also true, those who were working on their relationship, those looks, and those touches just stopped happening. You could see it--often before the couple did. Those are heartbreaking.

I've even looked for it in dating couples. One of my cousins brought home a couple of different men she was dating. The first seemed to fit in well and visited with everyone, but she just didn't "light up" and they didn't look like a couple. The second guy fit in as well, but she "lit up" around him and smiled and laughed and there was a comfort and special spark that they shared. She married him...and they still show that spark.

Strangers...I even like seeing that spark in people I don't even know. We've all seen them--especially among old people. I like to think that when we get old, we know that time is short and that you have to show your feelings to your loved ones. Maybe it's something as simple as a touch. Maybe it's in a glance, maybe it's even something bold like holding hands...what ever it is, it's love. And I like seeing those signs of love.

So, I'm a watcher...I watch for those signs of love. They make me believe in happy endings.