Monday, March 23, 2009

We are all under construction

Last night after wrapping Mr. B up in a towel after his bath, I cuddled him close. He whispered to me, "I love you mamma."

I replied, "I love you too!" After a moment I said, "I love God too. You know, he gave you to me."

"He built me?" B asked. I chuckled and replied: "Yes I guess he did."

B asked, "Did he use a hammer?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Signs of Spring....

New life.....



More eggs......Emerging flowers.....
Completed projects.....

Bare feet............

Contentment.......

Lazy Sundays......


Gardening......(with attitude!)



I love this time of year!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I guess I am kinda famous

OK, maybe I am not famous. But I know someone, who knows someone who is. Actually someone who knows something that is. A horse to be exact.
Or actually someone who knows a horse that knows a dog that is.

Confused? Me too.

_________________________

A couple of years ago I decided to make my dad a heritage scrapbook album for Christmas. At the time I honestly didn't know what went in to making one.

I do now.

Hours, upon hours, upon hours.

And to be fair, most of those hours weren't spent scrapbooking.

Sure, I did log several hours actually putting the pictures on a page and making them look "all pretty" and such....but the majority of my time was spent actually obtaining these pictures as well as the stories that went along with them.

Once completing my dad's album I felt much closer to my family, even members I had never met, than I did before.

It was like I had a snapshot of their life.
Looking back at the album I can't believe that it is something I did. I don't know how I pulled it off, or how I did it so well. But I am thankful that I did.
___________________

Next month, April 4th to be exact, my mom's father will turn 90. My mom decided that as a gift she would like for him to have an album of his life.

And she wanted me to make it.

In less than a month.

(Anxiety, table for one, please.)

Not being able to say "no", I agreed. I did want him to have an album, I just didn't want to be the one taking on that task. So, I made a deal with my mom: "You get the pictures, get them copied and get their story....and I will put them in the album".

She agreed.

I think there was a miscommunication of sorts. As I came into work on a Sunday and spent over an hour copying pictures. Over 100 pictures, and that was just the beginning.

What was that about her "getting the pictures, blah, blah, blah?" This morning she actually called me to say that she was sick and tired of working on this family tree....(she started this morning).
All I could think was,"You are tired of it......?" (insert hysterical laughing.)

The closer his birthday draws, the tighter my chest and back become. Not one page of the album is done. More accurately, not one page of his album is started. I am waiting on more pictures and I need them all before I start. And I needed them last month.

Anyone have a Xanax? Anyone?
I am sure that once it is done I will be so proud that I did it. But for now all I can do is look at the monumental task ahead of me and hear the clock ticking the time away until it is to be completed.
_______________________________

Back to my original thought. It is really nice to see my grandpa and grandma throughout the years. I enjoying "watching" them through pictures in their younger days enjoying the things that younger people do.

I have always known my grandpa frequented horse shows and even judged a time or two.

He owned many horses at different times and the one I remember hearing the most about was Cheyenne.

(Grandpa and Cheyenne)







I remember Cheyenne because.....da da dum.(insert dramatic pause here)...

Cheyenne ended up becoming kinda famous. However, I use the term "famous" loosely.

Maybe I should clarify. She would have been famous if it weren't for being in the shadows of another.

A dog.

Maybe you have heard of her.


Her name was Lassie.

Yeah, she even had her own tv show. I guess she was a real hit.

No one probably even noticed Cheyenne. Of course, Cheyenne never saved Timmy from drowing, or notified anyone that Timmy had been kidnapped or stopped a villan all on his own........... You get the picture.


I am not sure how it all went down, but I do know that Grandpa sold Cheyenne and she ended up being on a few episodes of Lassie.


And we have a picture to "prove" it.


And I use the term "prove" lightly. I don't think it would stand up in court. But it is enough proof for me.

Don't be shy. Feel free to ask me for autographs.....

Monday, March 09, 2009

What do you really think of me?

This is a cute idea. I stole it from Facebook.

I asked my kids, L, age 5 and B, age 3, these 22 questions about me and Steven. Their answers were funny and entertaining.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
L-"She loves me"
B-"Thank you"
1a.What is something daddy always says to you?
L-"he likes what I do and gives me money" -(side note, no money being given)
B-"I don't know"

2. What makes mom happy?
L-"When I do the stuff she tell me to."
B-"When I am nice."
2a. What makes daddy happy?
L-"When we play with him."
B-"Riding the tractor."

3. What makes mom sad?
L-"When we are mean to her and she tells us to stop doing stuff."
B-"I don't know"
3a.What makes daddy sad?
L-"When I eat my boogers. Actually, I don't do that anymore."
B-"When he takes away my stuff."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
L-"Tickling me."
B-"Act silly and dances crazy."
4a. How does your dad make you laugh?
L-"When he says something funny to me."
B-"I don't know"

5. What was your mom like as a child?
L-"Like me and B"
B-"she slept in L's room"
5a. What was your dad like as a child?
L-"Went to school like us."
B-"pooped in his pants."

6. How old is your mom?
L-"63"
B-"44"
6a. How old is your dad?
L-"27"
B-"100 million"

7. How tall is your mom?
L-"6 foot"
B-"100 inches"
7a. How tall is your dad?
L-"85 inches"
B-"44 60"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
L-"Love on us"
B-"scrapbook" (This made me laugh coming from a 3 year old)
8a. What is your dad's favorite thing to do?
L-"Ride his tractors"
B-"Weld stuff"

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
L-"Do something for me and B."
B-"fix supper for us"
9a. What does your dad do when you're not around?
L-"Gets the horses ready."
B-"Drinks OJ"

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
L-"Getting lots of flowers."
B-"being Kim."
10a. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?
L-"All the money he needs." (Hmmm.....interesting.)
B-"working on his tractor"

11. What is your mom really good at?
L-"Putting me and my brothers clothes on."
B-"Doing something for daddy."
11a. What is your dad really good at?
L-"Catching fishes"
B-"Driving the tractor"

12. What is your mom not very good at?
L- "Playing tennis" (referring to the Wii)
B-"Watching TV"
12a. What is your dad not very good at?
L-"Running....his hat comes off"
B-"Welding"

13. What does your mom do for her job?
L-"Works at the funeral home"
B-"She goes somewhere really important to work"
13a. What does your dad do for his job?
L-"Builds fence."
B-"Building a house." (Whaaaat?)

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
L-"Salad" (No L, that is your favorite food. Your mommy can't stand the stuff!)
B-"Biscuits and Gravy". (That is more like it!)
14a. What is your dad's favorite food?
L-"Hamburgers"
B-"Macaroni and Cheese"

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
L-"When she does something I say." (Nice. Might need to work on that)
B-"I don't know"
15 a. What makes your proud of your dad?
L-"When he likes me." (Um, that is ALWAYS. You have him right where you want him!)
B-"When I love him I get him something to drink."

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
L-"Taylor Swift" When I informed her that Taylor wasn't a cartoon: "Wow Wow Wubzy"
B- "Wow Wow Wubzy" (This one perplexes me. I questioned them at different times and they said the same thing. How is this? We don't even watch Wow Wow Wubzy! I think I might start though.)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
L-"Scrapbook"
B-"stay home"
17a. What do you and your dad do together?
L-"ride horses"
B-"Ride tractors"

18. How are you and your mom the same?
L-"Because we wear earrings"
B-"I don't know"
18a. How are you and your dad the same?
L-"we like horses".
B-"I don't know"

19. How are you and your mom different?
L-"Cause she is bigger."
B-"Because she puts something in her hair"
19a. How are you and your dad different?
L-"I don't wear a hat that much"
B-"I don't know"

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
L-"Because she kisses me alot"
B-"Because she just does"
20a. How do you know your dad loves you?
L-"He always gives me horse rides"
B- no answer-(I think he was tired of the questions)

21.What does your mom like most about your dad?
L-"That he put up her rails"
B-"He fixes something that is hers"

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
L-"I guess because I don't really know.....H's (a convenient store), the new one"
Blake-"H's" (Seriously? We need to get out more!)
22a. Where is your dad's favorite place to go?
L-"The Rocking Chair"

Please save me....

Tonight I am joining some friends and heading off to part one of a two part coupon class.

From all accounts you can save some serious money IF you know the tricks of the trade.

I am about to learn those tricks for the small fee of $8 and a three ring binder.

I wonder if they have a coupon for that?

Friday, March 06, 2009

My boy....

Yesterday morning, around 5:30 a.m. Mr. B climbed into bed with me. He snuggled in and crouched down, covering himself with the comforter.


After he was apparently warmed sufficiently, his face made an appearance from under the covers.


He looked me in the eyes and said, "Mamma".


(I dare say that nothing warms my heart more than that small word, spoken in their small voices )


Anyway....


I looked at him and smiled and said, "yes?"


To which he replied:

"Your legs are hairy and you need to shave them."

____________________________


Yesterday afternoon as we were at the park I was feeling the effects of emptying my water bottle. Knowing that I had promised both a park and library trip, I decided that this was indeed a good time to head to the library. Clean restrooms, indoor plumbing. Both were a plus.


I told the kids to head for the car as we were heading to the library. Mr. B didn't quite feel as if he had filled his "time at the park" quota and didn't want to leave.


I explained to him that I really, really, really needed to go to the restroom. (I even did the "gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now" dance for him.)


He looked at me as if I was the most dense person he had ever seen and said, "Can't you just squat?"


You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Memories for the taking.......

This weekend I found myself spending more time at my Grandpa's house than I have in years. It feels really wrong saying that, but even more wrong knowing that it is true.

This past fall my grandpa fell which ultimately resulted in him recovering in the hospital and then transitioning him to the nursing home. I truly believed that he was in the nursing home only until he regained enough strength to return home and when the time seemed to drag on and on......I blamed him.
  • He wasn't trying hard enough.
  • He enjoyed the attention.
  • He wanted everyone to feel sorry for him.
  • He had given up.
These were all thoughts that entered my head, and writing them down doesn't soften their tone or implication.

I guess in my never ending attempts to stop time and the progression of it, I was turning a blind eye to the progression of age.....and with age a decline in health, mental well-being and in short...a decline in my grandpa.

Here I was too busy for him because I was spending my time fighting with reality. I guess it is not really fighting-reality was too busy doing its thing to fight back. It was just me....and time....which refused to stop. So, like a spoiled child with her fists clenched and and her foot stomping.....I realized what I had already known: Life (and reality) is rarely the way you pictured it or wanted it. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse.

Just recently have I unclenched my fists long enough to "straighten up" and starting thinking about Grandpa-my Grandpa-and what his almost 90 years have led up to. What would be best for him? What does he want?

Sure, maybe at times he results to tactics simply because of the attention it brings him. Truly, who of us doesn't have the same tactics. Just displayed differently.

He wants sympathy, I want to be understood.
He wants acknowledgement, I want to be embraced.
He wants love.....I want love.

When we boil it down, we are the same. All of us. When I am pushing 90, I doubt that I will be as content as he is even in his discontentment. In a perfect world his answer about staying in the nursing home wasn't exactly what one would expect, or rather what I would expect, but our world isn't perfect. And neither are we. But who is the bigger person, the one who pushes for the perfection (me) or the one who accepts that it isn't (Grandpa)?
___________________________

Grandma and Grandpa moved to town in 1987. They lived there together for nine years until Grandma went into the nursing home herself. Since then grandpa has lived there alone. Although this is the only house some of the grandkids have ever really known, to me it was never "Grandpa and Grandma's house". The town house never held the memories that my childhood had created in their "country home".

Actually their country home was anything but. It was actually located on the edge of town, but as a child it felt like you had the world. Room to run, trees, creeks, and of course, crawdads were all at our disposal. The house and the memories it helped create, but couldn't contain, will live forever in my heart and mind.
___________________________

Since grandma's absence it seems as if subconsciously everyone shied away from Grandpa and his house. We still had family "get-togethers", and Grandpa still came, they were just relocated. They were fun and everyone enjoyed them. It was the same family and the same love, just a different location. Because even with Grandpa living there, his house always seemed empty. Grandma's absence was just too much to ignore.

I guess it is possible that instead of feeling empty, the feeling was actually loneliness....and I am certain Grandpa felt that too.

For this I will help shoulder the blame.

I will continue to remind myself that although we can not rewrite history we can redirect the future. It is for this that I will strive.....

Because after all a house is only a house and the feelings it generates most likely mirrors that of the inhabitants.
___________________________

This weekend for the first time since my grandma's passing the house was filled again.

However, this time it was for a much different reason.

Since grandpa's decision about taking up residence at the nursing home, he and the kids decided to go ahead and clear out the house and rent it.
So -once again- we all gathered. And although by all accounts it should have been a very dark occasion, it wasn't.

As my sister and I, and all of our cousins, walked through the house, there were memories literally around every corner. My grandparents didn't have a lot of money, but they were very rich. There were priceless treasures everywhere.

The kids-my mom and her siblings-had already taken what had been designated for them as well as items that they had a personal connection to. The rest was for the grandkids to go through.

For the sake of fairness, we were each given post it notes. On the front of these notes we wrote our name, and on the back, where no one could see, we wrote our bid. There was no looking. Except for my cousin, Kelby, who wrote a couple of his bids on the front for everyone to see. First there was the million dollar bid on the old flag and $600.00 bid on the archaeic cell phone.......

Everyone was joyful and respectful. As we sifted through the items we recounted the good times we had.

* One of the items I "won" was this plate:



In fact this plate was the #1 item that I went for. It holds the highest spot on my mental list of sentimental items.


My cousins and I laughed and talked about the times at Grandma and Grandpas and the fights we had for the honor to dine off of this fine piece of dinnerware. In order to make it fair and just, Grandma would have us draw straws. And let me tell you, the winner always had bragging rights......

* As the only female grandchild for almost eight years, I was surrounded and outnumbered by my male cousins. There were five of them and only one of me. As they were playing war in the basement, shooting guns and making forts, I was trying to teach them. I was the teacher.

This was my aid:

Oh, I had no strategy.

I tried to teach.......they saw war tactics..... I gave up and surrendered and shortly after I was shot. That is how it worked.

*Although I don't remember this particular doily, I think it is safe to say that I offer a safe haven of sorts for doilies in my house. This one here will fit in nicely.


* Although I don't remember my grandma being a tireless baker, I do remember this cookie jar. Grandma worked out of the home for my Grandpa's oil company. She was too busy being a wife, and mother and grandmother to bake incessantly. The cookies in "The Cracker Barrel" were generally store-bought and kind of stale, but they were there just the same. Its presence there in her kitchen was expected as was the tireless affection she showered on her grandkids.

Although she didn't have time to bake endlessly, she did bake. In fact, during family gatherings you could smell the hot rolls and cinnamon rolls far before it was time to eat. I remember being shoo-ed out of the kitchen on many occasions trying to sneak a roll or two prior to the meal. I would hurry and grab one and run off squealing. As much as everyone loved her rolls I am surprised that any of them ever made it to the table.


She made the best rolls ever!

I miss her and her rolls.
_____________________
As the grandkids laughed and joked and shared stories they had to share, I felt like Grandpa's house was no longer lonely, if just for that day.

Grandpa didn't leave the nursing home this weekend and I wished that he could have been there as we retold different memories that we had, recounting how he and Grandma had shaped our lives.

However, as sure as I was of his absence, I was equally sure of Grandma's presence.

As we were sifting through items, my cousin Corban came out of a bedroom with a knitted hat on that our Grandma used to wear. I could feel the warmth spread through my body and I knew that Grandma liked what she saw. As I took my eyes off Corban and turned to look at my mom and aunt, there was both a sparkle and a sadness in their eyes. My aunt said "Wow" and my mom said, "mom would love seeing you in that".



Even as she said it, I know that she knew that Grandma already had.
_____________________
As I came home Sunday night and was putting my treasures up, I thought a lot about my life and the people in it. I thought about how different each family member is and yet how perfectly they fit together.

Don't misinterpret this as meaning that any, or all, of them is perfect. No one is. It is just that despite hardships, despite differences and despite distances, each person adds a different dimension to the unit.

Some are conservative, some are liberal. Some are Baptist and some are Catholic. Some view things as completely black and others, completely white.

Yet despite of this, or maybe because of this, everyone blends together almost effortlessly. When everyone is together you can feel the love that each one has for the other and it is this that makes each of us more alike than we are different. When someone isn't there, there absence is palpable.
_______________________

As I was turning off the lights and heading to bed I paused and looked at the Bible of Grandma's that I had placed in my living room. I opened it up to look again at the inscription inside. It had been given to my grandma by her brother and his wife, prior to her being married: "December 25, 1942"

In the quiet of the house I let myself have a moment to miss her completely. Without distraction. There are so many things I would like to ask, share and tell. All of which I am sure she already knows......


And although I am extremely thankful for the memories and the stories that were both created and shared this weekend, I am most thankful for the story that was shared in this book.

It is because of this book that I know that someday we will see her again and I just know that she will have some stories of her own to share.

Who knows, maybe she will even greet me with some of her homemade rolls.



Monday, March 02, 2009

Back by popular demand...music Monday

Ok. Maybe it isn't "back". Or by "popular demand". But these are just details people.

This is a musical revolution of sorts.

I am not sure what that truly means......but it sounds right.

This is my new favorite song and I just wanted to share.



Is it the face of a child?
Is it the thrill of danger?
Is it the kindness we see in the eyes of a stranger?
Is is more than faith?
Is is more than hope?
Is is waiting for us at the end of our rope?

Chorus:I say it's love...
I say it's love...

Is it the one you call home?
Is it the Holy Land?
Is is standing right here holding your hand?
Is it just like the movies?
Is it rice and white lace?
Is it the feeling I get when I wake to your face?

Repeat Chorus

Is it the first summer storm?
Is it the colors of fall?
Is it having so little?
And yet having it all.
Is it one in a million?
Is it a chance to belong?
Is it standing right here singing this song?

I say it's love.......(repeat)

Is it a veil or a cross?
Is it the poet's gift?
Is it the face that has launched over thousands of ships?
Is it making you laugh?
Is it letting you cry?
Is it where we believe that we go when we die?
Is it how you were made?
Is it your mother's ghost?
Is it the wish that I'm wishing for you life, for your life, for your life....the most.

With all this hoop-la about "change"......

I think it is safe to say that some things just don't.

This is me in a bathing suit in 1978, along with my cousin, Clay.


I am certain that I would still look like this in a two piece today.


(on the back of the picture it reads "bathing beauties Kim - Clay, summer 1978")