Sunday, August 29, 2010


“Originally, we all had brown eyes.”

New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today. (end)

We blue and green-eyed people are on the decline.  Only 10% of the population now has a eye color not considered to be a shade of brown. 

I submit the following examples of why the total conversion of our population to all brown eyes is a big deal.
(I took none of these photos, though I sure wish I had at least met Ewan)

Having birthed 2 brown-eyed children and married to a brown-eyed man, I have no actual suggestions or even interest in doing anything about the take-over of brown eyes.  Mainly, just wanted to post pics of pretty, pretty men on my blog. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Low down stanky

As Matt and I both hit lower numbers on the scale, an unusual thing is happening.  We STINK when we sweat!  Not that BO smell of sweaty people, but that stale sweat of people who have been sick.  I think of it as 'fever' smell.  

Matt came up with a theory that our bodies are burning off not just fat that has been there for multiple years, but also the toxins and crap stored in that fat.  Also, the more I lose, the more I sweat, it's freaky.  I know it's been hot out, but I am sweaty just in the house doing light cleaning.  I have not felt 'too warm' since I was a kid, I am always cold.  Was always cold.  I wonder if this phenomenon is a metabolism finally kicking in?  I have been taking B Complex for about a month for general energy, but read a few days back that it helps metabolism, too.  If it means not freezing when it's under 80 degrees, I'll take it! 

In other news, I read an article last week in Prevention magazine about the kettlebell.  Matt bought a 10-pounder yesterday (they are $19 at Wal-Mart, $12 for the 5 pound) and we did the workout on the free dvd last night and again today.  Wow.  I woke up feeling sore all through my thighs and back and shoulders.  We did different workouts today to keep from stressing any joints.

I am amazed.  I read about how it was this awesome workout and fast results and 20 minutes a day and so on.  I doubted it was true, but thought anything was better than sitting on my butt all day avoiding the soul-sucking heat outside this time of year.  It really does work fast!  I can't think of anything else I have done for 20 minutes that A) I could maintain for the full time or B) that I could 'feel' the results of so quickly.  Yeah, jumping rope or chopping wood-but I can't do that for 20 straight minutes.  This was easy and I still felt the burn of doing the work and the aftermath of feeling that rush of calm and the soreness of a good workout.  Nice, I am liking the whole 20 minutes and then results thing.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free Range Kids!

So, I stayed up most of last night to read most of this book.  I did skip around a little.

Of all the things I do worry about, the kids are (shockingly) not high up on that list because-they are with me or I know where they are or they are on our property somewhere.  I won't let the ride bikes on the main road, though Matt used to ride his all the way to the fireworks stand some 7 miles away.  My reasons are: people drive like maniacs on that road and there are 2 blind spots, a hill and a curve.  If it was just fast driving, that's one thing, but these are fast drivers who are on the phone or playing music up so loud they can't hear a siren behind them-they are not looking out for my kids.  Kids don't ride bikes on the road anymore, no one is used to watching out for them even if they are actually just driving their cars.

The second reason is that there is no leash law out here, there is a nice dead-end road just down from here that makes for a 5-mile bike ride and every time we try it, there are dogs that rush out and bark and snap, there are dogs that chase us, there are dogs that are chained, but look ready to rip off a leg if they could just get loose.  And they do get loose sometimes, or let off the chain.  Matt has turned around and come back without doing the whole route because of dogs rushing out and snapping at his feet.  This is the road, when you google my county and 'drugs', you get a list of addresses along that one route of meth busts.

I spent a while thinking about if that was legitimate concern or not-obviously the dogs are, but the road-it's 2 lanes wide with a decent grassy ditch on both sides...I think what I will do is let them ride down the gravel road and out the other end and down the paved road to the stop sign there and turn around.  That way, they miss the hill and curve that are on our end of things, and they are not yet to the dogs.  That's a mile.  They could ride to Mr. Holmes-that's 5 miles...there's a really steep hill, but they can walk that.  Hmmmm...there are no dogs that route.

The book talked about abductions and murders, how often they happen-which is less than 1%: 
It is statistically much safer for our children than it was for us in the 70s & 80s. We've managed to let the media and the 24hr news cycle convince us we live in a very dangerous world. The Times of London did a study last year assuming that you actually wanted your son to be abducted, to determine how long would you have to leave them, outside, unattended.

"It would take 200,000 years. And then you'd get them back within 24 hours. If you wanted them to be taken for longer you'd need to hang about for around 600,000 years. Because in any one year the average child stands a 0.0005 per cent chance of being abducted by a stranger and a 0.00016 chance of not being recovered alive within 24 hours"

The US population is larger, but the per capita numbers for kidnappings are about the same. It would take approx. 750,000 years for a child left outside, unattended.

Any child that is killed is a horrible tragedy. But when the numbers are about 50 kids in a country of 300 million, it’s also a very random, rare event. It is far more rare, for instance, than dying from a fall off the bed or other furniture.  

Car accidents continue to be the number one killer of children, and I am not going to stay home.

I don't worry about the kids getting abducted from the yard, I let Jake go to the bathroom by himself by the time he was 4, getting dirty looks at the playground for it, too.   I do worry about them at the big public library, but not at skate day or Disney World.  I was worried about the big trip last year-until we were on it.  LOL  It's been interesting to weigh in my own feelings for each topic, I can see where I do still have issues and I also see where a good talk with the kids would 'fix' some of my concerns, maybe make life together away from home a little more enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Phots of late

Is it odd that my dieting Mickey up there is heading across a treasure map? 
I can't decide if he's creepy or okay.  At least it's not the skull-covered one.  LOL

Okay, a few recent pictures
The sunset last week from the top of the All-Steak in Cullman:

Here is what I had for breakfast:

Also, yesterday we went to Hobby Lobby and the findings were half off, so while I waited for Jake at the ortho, I made 2 new pairs of earrings for less than $7.  Yay!

Saturday, Chan and I hung out with Suzette and Emily for a couple of hours, and I took this picture of an alley!

And, here are all 4 cats, all vaccinated and legalized, which came in handy just this morning when animal control came to pick up a stray beagle.  I was able to show ALL the pets here are up-to-date with vaccinations! 

Also, this morning I went to look for a book to read and instead found this in my library bag:

Finally, I caught Matt sniffing all the smelly out of my headache sachet and he was not even in pain!  Until after the picture, anyway. bwahaha

I'm so cool!

Under 70 this morning!  I have all the windows and the doors open, there is a clean breeze blowing right through the house!  Boy I need to get the spiderwebs around the windows, I never even check them all summer.  

I had breakfast-shredded wheat and muscadines the size of golf balls-out in the hammock chair while reading Truman Capote this morning.  Ahhhh, I feel the full potential of the day ahead!  What can I get done?  It feels SO nice out there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Productive Citizen!

In the past week I have gotten the kids teeth cleaned, all 6 pets to the vet, I got contacts for the first time in 3 years, the oil changed in both vehicles and we started painting the trim on the house!  OMG, I feel SO good about myself.  LOL!  

I was really feeling like crappy mama about the animals in particular, it's been more like 18 months since they last went to the vet.  The kids all had perfect check-ups, the house looks amazingly better with the fresh paint-the porch is nearly done and Jake has started working on the east side trim along the roofline, so he's only about 3 rungs up the ladder.  I pulled down all the morning glory vines and cut the Jessamine WAY back.  I am going to dig that up and move it before I repaint the porch floor. Then the porch is going to be a PORCH and not a staging area for the 50 projects we have going on.

Erin popped in yesterday with a load of books and while her news was not happy, we are getting a much newer washer and the big dresser that goes with the bedroom suite later this week.  And, load of new books.  I can move this dresser out to the shed.  It is useless, the drawers are like 3 inches deep and there are about 15 of them, so they hold 2 t-shirts per drawer.  It's 6 feet long and 3 feet deep and holds the equivalent of 30 t-shirts.  The bigger dresser has...bigger drawers!
Jake and I went to the library and then had lunch at Taziki's with Matt today between the eye doc and the orthodontist.  He is done with bands for now, his teeth look fantastic AND they took those horrible little green things off his front brackets.  It looked like he had broccoli between his brackets!  They were to add more pressure to spread out his front teeth more, like little springs.  But up-close it gave the effect of him having just eaten grass.  Glad those are gone, since I am listing my happy thoughts.

Oh, and we got Chandler her own camera-Matt scored BIG at the pawn shop.  Got her a nice little Canon for $40!  It's the model one older than ours-the one like ours was gone.  It still does great shots and more importantly for her, takes video in a format she can dink around with.

Yay!  I am feeling like I am getting some things done for a change, it's been a stagnant summer-mainly due to ME, but some has been the heat and weather in general.  It seems like we have been broke ALL summer.  I know some of that is going to pay off things faster and some is going into savings to fund cooler-weather adventures (and a new roof), but good grief, I am tired of payday being a week away and having $100 to cover that 7 days.  It's made for a lot of staying home and a lot of meals from the Crock Pot.  But-we have not gone off budget all year.  That's good news in itself just because it means we have been able to cover all emergencies.  I am just glad to be able to handle a few non-emergency items for once!  LOL

September is 3-paycheck month!  That will go a long way in getting the rest of my 'minor things' list ticked off and hopefully fund a camping trip in there somewhere. So, while I am broke again (and more than a week to go to payday!) I am glad to be getting some dust off my to-do list.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


So, after a solid month of stall and bounce, this morning I was down a new pound.  Which was surprising because Suzette made me eat pickle-o's and fried cheese yesterday.  And it has been so dang hot, I have not done any exercise.  Maybe all my complaining about Charlaine Harris's hero protagonist females being thin and fit without actually doing anything more than attracting men without trying has paid off.  Move over, Aurora Teagarden and Sookie.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


OMG, what a crap ass day.

First, I TOTALLY screwed up my website.  I can't fix it yet as I don't know what I did wrong and I am tired of reading the same thing over and over and getting the same results-nothing.

Then, I went out to play with my camera-the big one-which kept freezing once it was focused.  Between that and Kuma trying to climb the butterfly bush and Wonder leaping onto my neck.head if I bent over even 88 degrees to angle a shot, I got TWO pictures.  And something is seriously wrong with the Rebel. 

Matt came home with super glue for my glasses arm.  I opened the tube, which poured out ALL over my glasses, my legs, my fingers and I was stuck (literally) trying like mad to get the arm glued to the hinge.  I managed to glue the hinge open, but the arm is currently (5:51 pm) on there.

After a long soak in the tub where I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on my bare skin to get my legs unstuck, I went looking for a pair of scissors to snip off the dangly embroidery floss that has been serving as the missing arm to my glasses.  I had it tied to the hinge and pulled it back into my pony tail to hold them on my head.  Sad, but effective.  
No scissors that I found had a point that would get under the knots, so I decided to burn it off with a match.

Super glue is flammable.  With my glasses now on fire, I manage to blow it out without getting my still-glue-coated fingers in on the mix-a miracle.  I slapped them back on my head to look for a towel to wipe them off before I realized they were now covered in hot melty glue.  And on my face.

I went to the website, at least THIS did not happen:
The adhesive will attach itself to the eye protein and will disassociate from it over time, usually within several hours. Periods of weeping and double vision may be experienced until clearance is achieved. Use of a warmed 3% sodium bicarbonate solution to wash eyes repeatedly may assist in aiding more rapid removal of the adhesive.

Flying Lobsters

Matt used to see these when he was little and tell his parents he saw flying lobsters.
They never believed him.
Since the butterfly bush has grown to a butterfly forest, we are getting 2-300 butterflies, bees, wasps and these guys-hummingbird moths-all through the day.  We counted 15 different types of insects on it at one time this afternoon!

Monday, August 16, 2010


I allowed everyone (hehehe) to watch me roam around Evanon Friday night as I watered plants and such.  While giving the tour of my house, Michelle (I think) asked me if I had anything I really was fond of in there.  Like a favorite item.  I had to say no, it's all just stuff, either arranged to improve my Feng Shui or else to increase my points via having matching items.  

It got me to thinking, is there anything in my life that I love so much I would not want to do without it.  After thinking for a couple of days, here is the list of what I would not want to be without:

A camera.  True, I like my cameras that I have now, but they can be replaced with relatively no trouble. Not so for the photos, I don't even want to consider losing those.

A minivan. Having driven 2 sedans, a station wagon, a hatchback and a compact, I can say that I really prefer a minivan.  It has loads of space, it has the hauling capacity I need, it's comfy and it's easy to drive and park and not too bad on gas consumption.  

The pop-up.  After tent camping for 34.5 years, the addition of the popper to the family was wonderful.  I love how little it is, how easy it is to deal with, how I can manage on my own without any problems (well...other than occasional backing issues) and how much more comfy it is than tent camping, even if it is barely a notch above.  And, I like having outlets and an AC when I camp.  

The bed.  Yes, it's 6 and a half feet wide and long, a big old square California King bed.  It uses major real estate in the bedroom.  It needs a new mattress soon and the size alone makes that a 4-digit proposition.  But I love it.  It's my island in life, when I am having a bad day or I have been away too long, I don't want anything but my own big bed, it's abundance of pillows and thick memory foam padding.  Turn on the fan, lay back in the middle and nothing can reach me.

Netflix.  hahaha!  I LOVE movies.  Netflix provides an affordable way to watch what I want, if not immediately, then within a day or so.   Every time I redo the budget (every year for the upcoming 2 years and then I revisit twice a year to see what can be tweaked) I look at getting rid of it.  Every time, I decide the price is right, I am getting good value and I decide it's worth keeping.

My budget notebook.  I don't LIKE having a budget, but I do like knowing in advance when we will have something paid off, when something else is due, how much money we will have left over in March of 2012 for traveling or taking the dogs to the vet.  Each paycheck, I consult it to see how much I had planned to pay on a debt, adjust for what the utilities actually cost that month and keep up with every dollar that comes in.  I have not had a late payment or bounced check in 10 years and it helps me keep myself on track.  I know I will be broke the next paycheck because I am making a bigger payment on Jake's braces or paying ahead on insurance or the water bill to free up that money on down the road for a different expense I need to take care of. 

A computer and internet connection.  After nearly 7 years of dial-up, moving to the recently-available high-speed in our area has been awesome!  But even so, I was able to stay connected with just dial-up, it was not the end of the world.  I would rather have that than nothing, though-ironically-high speed is cheaper.  I like being connected, I like looking things up at the drop of a hat and being able to check in on friends during the day without having to interrupt them with a phone call.

The library.  Of everything on the list, I would be worse off I think with the loss of the library system.  Books, music, movies.  All free, all there waiting for me to come get them.  It's amazing, really.  I can go in with just my card-which is super easy to get-and walk out with hundreds of dollars in stuff that I then get to use and then return.  No permanent space given over to it, no buyers remorse when I realize that a certain book really sucks, no guilt when I can't finish them all, just a couple clicks or a quick phone call and they are mine for another 2 weeks!  Add in all the extra stuff that comes in handy, like wi-fi access, book and movie downloads, research materials, the periodicals, the usually useful staff, equipment you can use at the's a fantastic place, worthy of awe, as good an idea as indoor plumbing.  Which, they also have!

My  I love, love looking at maps, tracing routes, looking at town names.  Yeah, mapquest, google earth, my Nuvi, rand mcnally online...give me an atlas any day.  Paper in my hands, fading highlighter lines, dog-eared pages, smudges from past trips and feet that were once much smaller swinging and kicking it as it sits between the mommy and daddy seats up front.

There it is, my top 10.  No need to point out Matt, the kids, my friends, Daddy...the PEOPLE I like to surround myself with, this was my 'things' list.  What?  Only 9 things? 

And...I really like Animal Crossing on the Wii.  I love my town, the villagers, Curt.  I like messing with the flowers and fishing and picking fruit and arranging my furniture, watching fireworks and catching bugs.  It's peaceful, it's friendly, there are only happy surprises and the worst thing that can happen is a bad hairstyle-which can be fixed the very next day.   I could live without it, but I would be very sad to lose it. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Cleo!

We have had Cleo 4 years today.
She was about a year old when we found her, possibly 2 years old, according to the vet when we took her in to be fixed.  He said she had tartar on her adult teeth.
I have no idea when her actual birthday is, so today is as good as any.

A couple weeks after we got her, I did not take any of her before that because she was so skinny and sick, I did not think she would live and we all agreed we would be sad to see those pictures later.
Little did I know!

Now, she is a full grown lovely kitty, if a little mentally imbalanced...

And now, she's seen where you live.

HS swim

Friday, we went to the homeschool swim at the Hartselle Pool.

We got in about an hour of swimming and then got scooted off due to bad weather.

So, we headed home and were soon joined by Michelle and then Heather, later Gina and Karen joined us.

We had hot dogs and chili for dinner and sat around and chatted until after midnight, then we went outside until after 2 to watch the meteor showers.  We did not see loads of them, but there were enough to make it thrilling.  The best part was waiting and hearing everyone chat, the dogs shuffling around to snuggle, the occasional outburst of laughing.  : )

Gina and her family decided to head home instead of staying so they would be able to get some sleep for Saturday stuff, Heather and her family headed home as well for the same reason.  Karen and Michelle stayed, we put the girls in the camper and Michelle on Chan's bed and Karen on the couch.

I made some kind of breakfast this morning and got them on their way and then slept until after 4.  hahaha!  I am not as young as I used to be, I don't bounce back from lack of sleep.  I know some of that was the week before and dreading the dentist and not getting enough sleep.  I had tried to play RISK with Jake and the rule book made my head swimmy.

We spent the whole afternoon (after cleaning up and getting the camper squared away and doing laundry) seriously abusing the 'unlimited download' aspect of Netflix.  We watched Wallace and Grommit: A Matter of Loaf and Death.  Then several 30 second movies by...bunnies.  Then an episode of King of the Hill.  Then one of the Mario cartoons from the 80's. Imax about Amazing Caves, which was great and another Imax about beavers.  LOL  Oh!  And Season 3 of The Guild.  The whole season was only an hour and 19 minutes.  So not 24 one-hour episodes or anything that drastic.  hahaha

If it's not boiling hot, we will actually go DO something tomorrow.  It's been fun vegging and playing with the high speed connection though!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lots of Dramatic Sighing

Okay, first of all, my dentist is Jo Ann Crim at Mountain View Family Dentistry.  She has passed my test and is approved as a Nice Dentist, so if you need one, go there.  I have VERY high medical standards and don't like hardly anyone in that field other than Cathy.

She is not too young or too old, she is a mama, she has warm hands that are not too warm, she has a very tinkly laugh, she took WAY longer than the slotted time with me today and was very careful to do a good job with a bad situation.

The bad situation is this:  The cavity in my upper rear tooth was HUGE.  I told my father it was the size of a silver dollar as a joke, but I was not far off!  It did not hurt, not heat or cold or pressure or anything.  I went in just SURE it was the lower back tooth because it was giving me fits.  I had already diagnosed it and decided it had to go, I did not even want to mess around with filling it.  It HURT.  Well, my bottom teeth barely even had plaque, no cavities, she took extra x-rays (that I was not charged for) to examine the bone and nerves and she poked around doing a visual inspection after the scans showed nothing.  The tooth directly OVER the pain-infested site was badly damaged.  We are both hoping that it was that shared nerve and the pain was being felt in the lower and caused by the upper.

She got in there and gouged out the old white filling.  Then she drilled for a while, then she drilled a while longer and then she drilled some more.  Then more shots-she actually LISTENED to me and gave me a very low-dose numbing stuff, so I did not get sick at all!  But, she had to boost them halfway through because they were not as long-lasting, either.  She dyed my rotten tooth and that showed more decay, she took more x-rays to be sure she was not going to hit the nerve.  She chipped and drilled and messed with it for about an hour, trying to save as much tooth as she could without leaving any damage.  When she reached the nerve, there was infection.  So, she packed the tooth with something that tasted like...burning liquid...and let me stew a bit while the tooth 'calmed down'.  Then she coated the nerve with some...paste thing that is our 'only hope' of saving the tooth.

Apparently the worry was that the tooth was either already dead-later bleeding assured her it was still vital-or that the infection had been draining through the cracked tooth and now that it was being sealed, it will have no where to drain to and I will have to have it pulled or have a root canal and a crown.  The next few days will tell if  I need a root canal as there will be pain and sensitivity.  But today does not count as it is supposed to hurt because of the fillings and the injections.  I will get it pulled if anything, the root canal and crown sound more invasive than just waking up with one less tooth.  She said that was certainly an option since there is no tooth below it (wisdom tooth is gone) that it is not a chewing surface.

Let me just pause a moment to dwell on the 'draining infection' being IN MY MOUTH.  She said it would be very tiny amounts, but still, OMG, that is just SO freaking gross.  And I had NO IDEA.  She could have said I had roaches in my hair and I would not have been any more freaked out, disgusted or shocked-since I have not seen or felt the roaches.  I have gargled about 10 times, even though it is not longer happening.  I am soothed by my long-running bad mood meaning while Matt has been neglected seriously, he has also not been subjected to smooches from my bacteria-laden pie hole in the recent past.  I no longer feel sorry for him in the least.

Keep your fingers crossed the vile packing will do the job!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I have to go get the van aligned this afternoon, the addition of the new tie rod end knocked things out of place a little and my steering wheel no longer sits straight when I am going straight.  I have an appointment with the local guy at 4.

It got me thinking about the kids, they had come up with their alignments about a week ago based on the D&D rules.  Chandler was lawful good, Ben chaotic good, Jake chose chaotic neutral.  Poor Jake, he wants to be a little bad, be he just isn't.  Like yesterday, I was leaving for the funeral and he hopped out of bed and got dressed to come with me.  I told him it was okay, but he said there was nothing to getting ready and coming along in case I needed him.  

I don't have a purse, so I asked him to hold my keys and he beamed-THERE was the proof that I needed him along.  HE had pockets.  hahaha!  What a great kid.  

The funeral was good-great even.  Daddy did the officiating and I was instantly annoyed everyone I knew was not there to hear him speak-in particular Ben and Chan.  He has a manner of speaking, a cadence, a manner of choosing his words that is both engaging and soothing.  He did not talk in a detached way about Mabel's life, he told stories of knowing her.  He told about Uncle Grady borrowing a horse to ride down the road a piece to see a cross-eyed girl someone said he might like to know.  And how Grady decided he was just not interested in cross-eyed girls.  By the end, we were all in tears, not so much over losing Mabel, but in awe of such a life, so quietly lived, that managed to touch so many others.  

I saw yesterday how religion works as a balm and not just as a way to control the masses-women in particular. Everyone took pleasure in thinking of her in heaven, everyone just knew she was up there, waiting on Grady to get there, saying hello to old friends.  I myself like to think of Granddaddy up there, his rows of crops and not a bug or weed one to contend with.  He would tell me every year, "I ain't agonna farm NO more, I'ma waitin' to get to heaven so I ain't gotta monkey with the grass!"  His blue eyes would sparkle then, envisioning the way it would rain just enough and dry right out for harvest, ears of corn at the perfect level, beans that fairly leapt off the vines into his baskets.  

Mabel lived 90 years, she was married 70 of those.  She had 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  She was apart from Grady for one year and 8 months while he served overseas in the war.  He never left her again after that, she either came along with him, such as on church business, or it was just for a morning or afternoon while he worked in his barber shop.  I always thought of Grady as the biggest man I knew, but I think it was Mabel who filled him out.  I don't imagine Uncle Grady will live much longer now, he never did like being away from her.

When the service was over and Daddy bowed his head for the closing prayer, he made it to 'Thank you, Father" before becoming overcome with emotion.  I don't know what else he had planned to say, but I think that was enough.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dentist and More Death

Well...mixed bag.
I lived through it, she's very nice, too.

I have a cavity, but not where my tooth hurts-it's the tooth directly above it.  I go Thursday to have it filled.  It was, once upon a time, a very small soft spot that was drilled out and filled.  The filling broke down and decay set in UNDER the filling, so it looks just fine and does not hurt when it's poked at, but the inside of my tooth is rotting and it's on the main nerve in my jaw, so she thinks that is where the pain is coming from.  When I get it refilled, she will use silver filling, which does not appeal to my vanity about my teeth, but having to go back every couple of years and have the same tooth drilled on again and again does not sound like much fun, so...silver fillings it is.  UGH.  At least it's WAYYY back and only visible if I were to throw my head back and laugh, which I shall never do again.  *sigh*  

When I arrived back home, my father had left a message to call him.  This was very odd since I saw him yesterday and we are monthly-or-longer types on the contact.  It's not dislike, it's that he's retired and I'm a housewife-there really is very little to update each other about.  He caught a fish this size, his wife did a hilarious thing, the kids are working on some project or the Volvo is making that noise again, nothing that requires frequent updating. 

His news after we chatted 20 minutes anyway, was that Aunt Mabel has died this morning.  I complemented her on her good timing as we all have nice clothes and shoes that fit-something I could not guarantee would be true in a month-and Daddy laughed.

Mabel had been married to my paternal grandmother's youngest brother, Grady, for 70 years.  They had a romance and a half, he was crazy about her.  He said many times he hoped she would go first because he could not stand to leave her again.  He was in the service in WWII and spent the time pining away for her back home.  She was a little as he was big, he pastored a church and kept a little barber shop just off the square in Athens.  She had jet black hair-always, even when she had to buy it at the store-and a soft spot for blue glass.  She was sick a long time, confined to her bed.  A few days back, she had a sudden burst of strength, sat up and held Uncle Grady and said, "This is the end of us."  She never said another word.  That just broke my heart, such love-all those little squabbles and big worries, their children growing up and her canning and cleaning and him with his huge feet and large laugh, his felt hat and his annual birthday party he threw for himself until he was 75 and decided to start ignoring the passage of time.  

Daddy said yesterday that it would be hard when she went.  That she told him she met him when he was 2 years old, that she was married to the baby of the family, like Benny is our baby, our pet, like I was the baby of my family.  Everyone loves Grady, everyone loved Mabel.  

Another matriarch, another blur of extended family.  I know it's not about me, but I wonder what it means for me, to me.  To have gone years now with no contact with either side of my family, to feel isolated and forgotten and to be brought back into the fold of soft, wide women and skinny men, to see cousins aging, to see new cousins not born the last time.  To hear how I was missed.  Missed, but not sought out.  Missed as in a passing thought now and then?  Missed as in there was suddenly macaroni and cheese left over at dinners?  Who's going to finish that off?  Esther's not here.  She's not?  

Is it tacky to wear the same dress to a different funeral?  I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Friday of Vast Confusion

Yesterday went well, the kids looked very nice-I will have to redress them up for pictures.

Jake was asked to be a pallbearer, he did a good job with the responsibility-though maybe a little TOO much of the responsibility went to his head, when later he told his siblings about carrying  the 'sarcophagus'.  I gave him his first shave before we left, so 2 new experiences in one day for him, big ones at that.

We attended the funeral, went to hear a prayer over the burial site and were scootched off, I have no idea why movies and television show the family tossing roses and dirt on the lowered coffin.   I have never seen a coffin go down.  The service was good, though I really don't like the preacher saying things about the deceased.  I think it should JUST be family, sharing memories and maybe reading a favorite passage.  After hearing her obituary read: 5 living children, 18 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, someone, I guess from the funeral home, read a letter my uncle wrote about grandmother, then my sister read about a virtuous woman from the Bible and said some things.  Then, the pastor I had never met got up and did a little sermon and contradicted himself in the 10 minutes he talked.

First, he said she was in Heaven now, that to be 'absent from the body was to be present with the Lord'. (the actual verse says 'and' not 'was')  Then, he said on the day of final judgement, she-and all the faithful so if we ever want to see our granny again, we best all get saved and now-would be called forth from her grave to join God in Heaven.  So...which is it?  It's enough to know I don't want an officiator at my funeral.  It was bad enough at Aunt Agnes' funeral just before Christmas when the pastor-who never actually met her-said, "Jesus looked down and saw Agnes and plucked her from the Earth to place on his Christmas tree as a favored ornament."  REALLY?  Jesus has a
Christmas tree and might or...might not pluck up elderly women to decorate it?  What if Agnes did not want to hang about on the heavenly boughs of the pagan-based tree?  

At any rate, funerals do nothing to help my growing agnostic-headed-toward-atheist views, all I can say for sure is that I no longer have any Grandparents and that Grandmother was ready to go to whatever came next, she was done here.  I think that's all anyone can really hope for.  To leave behind a family who feels sadness and peace at your passing.  To leave behind fond memories, people who will tell tales of you to their own children, who will follow your example and uphold things that had meaning to you.  Who will always and forever love macaroni and cheese because there was always a box on the shelf when she knew I would be staying over.    Of course, she also carried a signed 8x10 photo of George W. Bush in her purse and would often pull it out to pet his head.  So...well, we can't ALL be perfect.  : )  

It's funny the things that come back now, she called exercise "doin' my Jane Fonda", she called biscuits larger than a fist a 'cathead' biscuit and told everyone to wear gloves if the biscuits were bumpy-topped and always followed 'amen' at family dinners with, "Y'all take out and eat now." 

Anyway, I have to get going to the dentist.  UGH.  And still no word from Broadband Man.  I will call this afternoon if I make it back un-traumatized enough to speak.  I keep thinking of a sign I saw in Arkansas at a dentist that said, 'We Cater to Wimps'.  That's what I want, some drugs and darkened rooms and matronly women to pat me now and then while muzac plays in the background.  Then a ride home and more drugs and a good long sleep until I forget I ever even left home in the first place, but somehow got a tooth that stopped hurting and shinier teeth all around.  LOL  I swear, I would not question it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Yesterday we went to Cathy's to hang out and swim and then Matt met us there after work and the 5 of us drove to my Aunt Thula's house for dinner with some of my family before the funeral on Thursday.  I got to see my cousin Nicole, I had not seen her since I was pregnant with Ben!  

My mother was there, it was the first time we had seen her in 3 and a half years.  I was most surprised about poor Jake.  They were very close, then the whole final falling out happened, and he was literally caught in the middle.  The last time we saw her, she had grabbed his arm to get him out of the way of her car and slung him into the hood.  It was the only time in his life he can recall being harmed by an adult and it left a mark.  He was terrified, not just when it happened, but for days afterward.

It all came back last night when he saw her and he got totally stiff, would not hug her, was unable to move to come inside.  I waited with him a moment, thinking he was being a jerk or aloof-he was wearing sunglasses and I could not see half his face-I admonished him a little to just TRY to get through the evening, he really can be quite a twerp when he is somewhere he chooses not to be.  When he took his sunglasses off, it was to hastily wipe his eyes and he went into the bathroom for several minutes before he was able to come out again.  She surprised us all by leaving him alone, which he remarked on the way home that he was very grateful for.

The whole family visited over dinner, which was supplied by my aunt's church.  Everyone had a favorite 'Grandmother' story they shared and there was lots of laughing over her many antics.  My aunt had Grandmother's rocker in the living room, the worn arm rests and that crazy jungle-print pad tied on the bottom and back brought back SO many memories.  I can hear the creak-creak of it in my mind still.  She kept it on a small rug on her hardwood floor living room, near the big stove.  I don't remember her rocking me, but I have seen her sit and rock younger cousins and the Christmas after he was born, she held Jake and rocked him.  He was the only one of my kids to be held by her, she was not strong enough once Channa came along 2 years later.  

It was so much smaller than I remember.

Today will be a hard day and a long day.  Visitation starts at 1 for the family, 2 for everyone else and the funeral is at 4.  Burial to follow and then dinner at Grandmother's church.  Somewhere in there, Matt has to go to band practice, which I think is really bad timing.  I am not looking forward to being left without him.  I will hang out until he is done, so around 9 probably.  

I can't sleep.  I came in last night and could barely move, I was SO tired.  Matt was trying to chatter when he came to bed and I remember getting on to him for annoying me, him making snorty noises of annoyance about that and that is all I knew until around 3 when I woke up feeling too hot and too full-though I barely ate so it can't be from food. 

I thought I might have something on my mind, but I don't seem to now that I am sitting here typing.  I fact, I just spent the last 20 minutes looking up prices for a week-long stay at Universal in Orlando.  There are some really great off-season rates on rooms, a 3-bedroom condo is $69 a night.  Of course once they add in booking fees, taxes, resort fees and so on, it's closer to $100 a night.  Still, a week at Hogwart's would 'only' run us around $1100.  I could do with some butterbeer and a new wand.  I am thinking of adding a couple days to our trip next year to visit Universal.  I know Ben would like some more thrilling coasters and none of us could pass up playing Harry Potter for a day.  They have a great group they offer a special homeschooler rate for families:

OFFER VALID SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 – JUNE 30, 2011 
Experience an entire Universe of action, thrills and excitement at Universal
® Resort with discounted tickets for FPEA members!
Jump into the action of the movies at Universal Studios®. Feel the rush of
adrenaline at Universal's Islands of Adventure
1-Day Base Ticket:    $50.06 tax inclusive, per person*
1-DayPark-to-Park:    $62.84 tax inclusive, per person*

That seems steep until you look at their regular rates and see a park-to-park one-day ticket is $109 plus tax.  So, it's about half off.  Something to keep in mind for next year, anyway.  

I am going back to bed, hopefully I will be stuck by a stupefy spell.  

Do not counter with Rennervate until at least 9 a.m.  ; )

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Drive-in pics

The pics taken by Dave Dieter at the H'ville Times came out Sunday.  

I am congratulating myself on the excellent call of tank top and Snuggie combo.  I should really get that patented, it could replace the mu-mu!

Hahaha!  Oh well, who knew we'd be having our photo taken?  I had on clean underwear, that's really all that matters.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


From Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith:

A Tuesday morning, thought Mma Ramotswe, is a good day on which to start work on a case.  This was largely because of the positioning of Tuesday: Monday was difficult for no other reason than it was Monday, the start of another week, with the prospect of another weekend as distant as it ever could be.  Wednesday was halfway through the week and a day on which, for some reason, there always seemed to be rather too much to do.  By Thursday one was getting tired, and then on Friday, with the end in sight, one was in no mood to begin anything.  That left Tuesday, which it was now; the day on which Mma Ramotswe found herself contemplating afresh the list of football players and deciding which of them to investigate first.

I got the first 2 discs of the series in, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and fell in LOVE with Precious Ramotswe and the people in her life.  Yesterday at the library, I scored a half-dozen or so of McCall-Smith's books, some from this series, some from other series he has written.  We are listening to The Good Husband of Zebra Drive in the van and I am reading one of the books now. 

The Spoils of My Day

See the peel and seal holding up one end of the stack?  Yes-we are attempting to repair part of the roof with STICKERS.  I wanted unicorn print, but Matt insisted on aluminum coated.  It's actually to flash the chimney and it's made for such things, it's just amusing to me.

Another TV show we are liking (via Netflix of course) is The Dresden Files.  Those are written by Jim Butcher and the library has many of his books-but not actually ON the shelf.

Speaking of the library, Ben and Chan were in hysterics yesterday looking at the shelves.  First, in the adult fiction, there was a shelf 'Dun-For'.  Then the next one over said 'Hed-Jam' which was hilarious and then in the large print area, the first shelf was 'A-Bra'.  Chandler nearly fell over.
This was just after looking at the framed photos on display in the atrium-one had a typo ON the print label and it read 'Southside Squarf' instead of 'Square'.  It was in all upper case, so it was not QUITE as noticeable, but of course we spotted it and managed to use 'squarf' about 60 times in the next 4 minutes.  It works best as a vague threat and/or a description of a strange food.  Ah, good times.

We had dinner at Moe's, thanks to my Secret Sister-who somehow knew I like Moe's, hmmm-and the free meal certificate they send for your birthday, we made out QUITE well for dinner for 5 for $10!  

When I got in, I popped online to check in and saw a post on my cousin's FB page about our grandmother being with Jesus now.  News to me!

She was 91 and had been ready to go for several years-after multiple death-bed visits, the first one I can recall was in 6th grade.  Actually-I recall it MORE because I was in my mother's science class.  We had to make a model of a plant and animal cell that night for homework.  I was AT THE HOSPITAL WITH MY MOTHER.  The next day, I did not have my homework, so I got paddled in the hall BY MY MOTHER, who then whipped me at home for having gotten a paddling at school.  I just...well...anyway.

Grandmother had many, many 'call in the family' events, I don't want to say she liked the drama, but it did always rally her, sometimes for years, sometimes-like this last time-only for another couple of weeks.  She suffered intermittently with Alzheimer's-it came and went.  I don't think it's really Alzheimer's when it goes away-maybe only dementia?  My mother has a tendency to make the worst of a situation, so the label got tossed around until it stuck.

At any rate, today we are trying on clothes, I am happy to say at least that my funereal garb from years past is fitting so well that Matt made a pass at me in my black dress this morning.  Normally, I look like I am swathed in a tent if I wear a dress.  Yay weight loss!

I have to get shoes for all 3 kids and myself and pants for Jake and probably a shirt.  I need hose, they all need socks.  I don't know if Chan should wear lacy socks or panty hose or go bare legged.  12 is not an easy age for anyone, even if it's not you. 

Monday, August 2, 2010


13 months until Disney!  

Ben started in about Utah again yesterday, I asked if he would rather go to Utah next year, or Disney.  He decided Disney since he is 'still little'.  I guess he is at that.  I want to be morose about how fast they are growing up, but they are not grown yet!  And, as Matt said, everyone is 'still little' when it comes to Disney. 
: )

This month is shaping up well.  Karen and Gina have some great trips planned, in particular a Golden Flake factory tour!  That is my favorite tour we have been on so far.  Well, that and the time we toured the pizza place and got to make our own pizzas.  That was awesome.  Hmmm.  Mainly, food.  hahaha!

I go Friday to get my teeth cleaned and no doubt get an appointment for fixing my back tooth that got cracked when my wisdom teeth were pulled.  It's started hurting, so I am thinking---cavity.  Waaaa!  The kids go the next week for their cleaning.  I think they are all in the clear for problems, Jake in particular since he gets a going-over every 5-6 weeks from the orthodontist.  They have all been really lucky-no cavities in the whole lot of them!  Jake had one when he was 8, on a baby tooth.  The cavity was between his teeth, so filling it was going to be worse than just pulling it. Getting that pulled pretty well convinced him that brushing every day was not such a bad deal.  I still am not sure if they even numbed him, to hear him tell it, they just held him down and pulled it using a hot poker.  He sure screamed bloody murder and punched the dentist and the nurse and kicked 2 other people.  In his defense, the nurse was a total bitch, I would have punched her, too.  I should have gotten to know them more before just letting them yank it.

Ah, dentists.  I am sure I will post MUCH more over the rest of the month.  Since the wisdom-teeth removal, I have been scared of the dentist, nothing in my whole life has hurt the way that did.  And I have given birth 3 times with no pain killers and Jake in particular was a 36 hour labor.  I would go through that again-no hesitation-if it kept me from having a tooth pulled again.  And I was under sedation-like knocked out, not just a couple injections of the numbing stuff.  Before that, I loved the dentist, they loved my teeth, I never had cavities or tartar build-up.  It was a 15-minute lie-down twice a year while they ran spinners over my teeth to make them shiny and fussed because my back teeth are really hard to floss because they are so tight.  And another 15 minutes sit-down with no less than 7 different dentists in my adult life who all said my wisdom teeth HAD to go.

As a result, it's been nearly a year since I have been to the dentist.  *sigh*

Today, I am loading up the van and the kids and going to the library.   Then, dinner at Moe's with my free dinner coupon they sent me last week.  It expires tomorrow.  I need out of the house, other than the warm swim yesterday, I have not left the house more than running to the store a mile away in at least a week.  I guess that's one way to stay on budget-but it's the dull way.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hot Day

We ended up going to the canoe beach on Locust Fork.

This is a swarm of gnats from a few days ago, I just decided to throw them in here.

The water was really low!

Here's the same spot in the spring, when the water is up!

I told Chan it felt like sitting in a hot tub under a heat lamp.

Ben made a shadow on the water and all the little fish swam to stay in it.  He was pretty thrilled with the power to control fish.  Aquaboy!

I like the cliffs in the area.

Chan was the only one with any sense today-piled up in the shade with a book!