Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It was the first fire of the season, up a little canyon about a half mile away. Too early in the season for fires. Some years are really bad here, forest fires, fires right in town from kids playing with matches or fireworks, fires on the mountains, which are so close. Fires in little canyons, which are abundant right here in town.
Deer live in these canyons. There are homes above the canyons, homes below the canyons and deer wandering through the neighborhood. Years ago the deer stayed in the mountains but now there are small groups of deer all around us, year round.
As soon as we found a group of people congregated on the sidewalk we stopped for the "scoop." It was one of the women in my writer's critique group, her husband and her mom and sister--who are visiting from Idaho. I was so happy to meet them. The mom, who raised this remarkable woman, said, "She just came good. I never had to do a thing."
Amazing! Truly amazing. I am so jealous, both of the remarkable woman who "came good" and of the mom who raised her.
I was not an easy teenager to raise. I am so sorry, Mom. You always told me, "What goes around, comes around." I have paid, I think. And yet I would not trade any of my children, who were not so easy either, for anything in the world. They are wonderful people.
Well, this post didn't exactly go where I thought it would but I'm glad it did. Mother's Day is coming and I'd give anything to be able to apologize to my angel mother. I'd like to tell her how much I adore her. I would say something like, "See, Mom, I've turned out all right." And then I would get one of her wonderful hugs. Oh, how I would love one of her hugs.
She loved me. She still loves me. I think she watches over me, too. So, I will say, "I love you, Mom," occasionally, right out loud just in case.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sweet new baby with his Momma. I forgot to steal the Binky so you can't see his little mouth.
Big sister Bookworm will be a great help to her parents with this new little person.
After the baby blessing at the church we came back to Kraut and The Soap Queen's house for lunch. There was a table simply groaning with food and after all the stomachs were filled to overflowing there was groaning all around. I was one of the groaners for sure. I simply ate too much. I will post pictures later of the kids and their gluttony.
Here are three of our little granddaughters, all eight years old.
After lunch, Gilmore Girl, the Great Hunter and Curly Sue, Tuesday and Mary Poppins came home to our house to await the second dinner of the day. We lazed on the lawn swings. Of course, lawn swing lazing means eating rhubarb so I ate two pieces, as if I were in any way hungry.
At 5:00 we went the The Great Hunter's parent's house where they were holding a birthday dinner for our daughter, Gilmore Girl. I was not going to eat hardly anything but you must know one thing about The Great Hunter's mother. She is a fabulous cook. I ate a full plate of food plus the best lemon cake I have ever tasted.
When I got home I was felt like an startled puffer fish. If I were near the ocean someone could just roll me into the waves and I would have floated off, perhaps all the way to Hawaii without needing to eat one more bite. I would be an island and stray seagulls could nest on my stomach and raise squawking young.
So, Sunday was a great day for family togetherness and good food and good times. It was also Kraut and The Soap Queen's anniversary. What more could you ask? An anniversary and a new baby and a birthday.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
When the kids were little and they would say, "I'm done!" I would say, "Cookies are done, you are finished." I don't know why the word "done" bothered me so much but they still remember and now remind me that I am never done but might be finished. Actually, I am never finished, either.
Gilmore Girl has a way of speaking all her own. She refuses to call things by their proper names. Your head is a "Mellon," so here is a picture of Curly Sue's "ForeMellon."
This is not a Box Elder Bug. It is a "Charlie Bob." When The Brown Dot was about 5 year old he told me this bug was called Charlie. I asked what his last name was and he said, "Bob." We have never called it anything else ever since.
When Curly Sue and her family were in Wal-Mart one day they saw those round foam pool floats, kind of like these.
Curly Sue said, "What are these?"
Her dad said, "They are Curly Sue Whackers." He picked one up and whacked her over the head with it. Now even their friends call this pool toy "Curly Sue Whackers."
Does your family members call the "ground" the "floor" and the "floor" the "ground" like my family does half of the time. I even hear newscasters make this mistake.
My niece once called a "dish cloth" a "dish rag" on a local TV program because that name had come down through the generations when her Great Grandma probably used any old rag to wash dishes with.
And do you ever get the "Feel Bads?" And do you get your "Feeler's" hurt?
I hope not. I hope you are as "happy as a clam." Or as happy "as if you had good sense."
My mom used to say--about people who were ornery--"he wouldn't be happy if he were hung with a new rope." I never could figure that one out but I guess, since it was coming from Mom, who always made the best of a tough situation it was a good reminder to be happy, no matter what.
And I hope you are.
Have a great week-end and make this lasagna. Your taste buds will be so happy.
PS Aren't you impressed with my 30 year old cheap measuring cup? I'm such a sucker for a bargain and sometimes the bargains just never die and go a way. You should see my potato masher...is that what they are called? My brain is not working well tonight because last night I was still up at 1:30--reading blogs.
Don't tell Phil.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I don't have all the details but the little twin who was in distress didn't make it. Her sister was born fine--5 pounds 12 ounces, I think. I know the new Momma and Daddy are grieving for that little lost one they loved so much. I also know they are so thrilled to have their other little one here safely.
This new little baby will grow up knowing her sister is with her Heavenly Father. I know she will feel lonely, I know she will wish her sister had lived. We all do.
I think her sister was granted a special blessing. I think her health improved so that she could stay in the womb while her sister got big enough to be born healthy. What would have happened if her health had deteriorated earlier? Would her sister have survived? I don't know.
I do know that her parents will miss her every day of their lives. They will have her sister to watch and love and teach and love some more. They will always know just how big her sister would have been if she had lived. They will watch their daughter's progress, watch when she turns over, learns to crawl, gets her first tooth, takes her first steps, says her first word. It will be a joyous time. They will miss all those firsts of her sister but her sister will never be forgotten. She will always be loved.
I am so sad for their loss and so happy for the new little one that will fill their hearts to overflowing. I can't wait to get my hands on her. I want to look into her eyes and tell her that I love her, too. And I will whisper into her ear that I loved her sister. And then I will tell her that she and her sister will be reunited one day and it will be a joyous day, more joyous than all others.
So, amidst the sad new is the good news and also the joyous news of reuniting one day when all will be together again.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
So I began to think, Have I portrayed my sister as the troll I called her? People will realize this was written from the viewpoint of a kid, right?
If I had written the BABYSITTING story from my sister's point of view you would hear a whole different story. A story of a spoiled child who was up way to late and needed to go to sleep. It would tell about a bratty little girl who wanted her way and had no sympathy that her big sister didn't get a phone call from Mr. Right--who turned out to be Mr. Not Right--thank goodness--her real Mr. Right is so much righter. It would tell of the extreme patience an older sister had for The Brat who cried over nothing. It might even tell how she deserved to eat the chocolates in the kitchen, being put upon to tend such an annoying little sister. For free.
So, Sister dear, if you do read my blog, please know I love you. I have always wanted to do half the things you do so well but know I am destined to always be the bratty little sister, tagging along behind, whining and now writing it all down for the world to read.
Okay, the world isn't going to read it, but you know what I mean.
We're going to laugh at all these stories I tell of your life, interacting with my life, aren't we? Sis? We are, aren't we? Hello. Is anybody there. Sis?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Lucky woman. Phil won't even slow down when we pass one and actually calls attention to mythical creatures on the other side of the road so I won't notice. "Look'it, Lynne! A wombasit-rambler, right over there, see it?" He points, aggressively and speeds up until the garage sale is a faint blur in the back window.
Earlier this week I talked to a friend who says her daughter-in-law is the queen of bargains. She once paid 49 cents, at Kid-to-Kid, for a brand new pair of shoes. The shoes didn't fit her daughter . She put the shoes on the shelf and waited for her daughter to catch up to them. She also found brand new boys socks for 17 cents and bought every single pair the store had.
This same friend once bought a gallon of soy sauce and a gallon of Worcestershire sauce for $1.99 each.
She says she thinks they will last her the rest of her life and is tickled pink to have found that great bargain.
My mom was another queen of the bargain. She used to say things like, "Look what I bought for two bucks, these cute pants!" Note: Not picture of actual pants. I know it's hard to believe but it is, once again, an example of my excellent art work.
I would roll my eyes. Who would want fuchsia pants at any price?
But she did find lots of great deals that didn't involve the color fuchsia. She used to burst into the house after a shopping spree and say, "Reed, you won't believe how much money I saved you today!"
What a charmer my bargain shopping mother was. Dad was always glad to have been of help, providing all the lovely money for her bargains so she could save him all that money, practically on a daily basis.
Another friend of mine says she loves two kinds of tags in stores. "Sale" and "Compare to..." She had a darling new purse the other day and I told her so.
"Oh," she said. "I got it at TJ Maxx. The tag said, 'compare to $799.00.' Okay, so I paid $125.00 but compared to $799.00? What a deal!" Her eyes lit up like sparkly things at Christmas. I hate to tell her this but this purse looks somewhat similar and it's only $489.00
So, there's deals and then there are deals. Maybe I'd pay two dollars for fuchsia pants quicker than $125.00 for a $799.00 purse--or a $489.00 one.
Phil would probably be as happy as Dad was about Mom's purchases, as long as as it was only two dollars and as long as I didn't buy them at a garage sale .
Monday, April 21, 2008
So, call me a sorry looser but this is the first time I have given blood. The actual blood letting took ten minutes tops, fifteen if you count leaving me stranded while the technician unhooked the poor fellow next to me whose needle wasn't in deep enough . I couldn't get a good look but think perhaps his life's blood was emptying on the technicians shoes.
I asked how much blood they take and it's un-technically a pint. Which, if you listened to your mother, is a pound. "A pint's a pound, the world a round." So I lost a pound today but on the way out they made me take tasty snacks so perhaps I wouldn't faint in the parking lot or, if I did, the Oreo cookies and the Lorna Doone Shortbread cookies would break my fall. I ate the cookies so I can say good-bye to loosing that pound.
It took an hour to read all the reasons why a person can't give blood.
- You can't have lived anywhere in the United Kingdom since when Churchill was the Big Boss.
- You can't have had the s-e-x word with anyone who has ever done a deviant thing in their life.
- You can't give blood if you have done any number of awful things since 1977. After reading all those rules you wish your eyeballs would have fallen out before you read them.
- You can't give blood if you take a plethora of drugs.
- If you are anemic you can't give blood--I was not anemic. I was so not anemic that I should give blood as often as possible. I can thank my trusty cast iron skillet, which I love.
- You can't give blood if you have lived five years in about 80 European countries--and if you've lived in them for five years, they are now called by a different name and you wouldn't recognize the name of your own country, so you might think you are safe to give blood, but, obviously you aren't.
- You can't have looked at anyone who has had a smallpox vaccination
- Kissed anyone who has a tattoo.
- If you have a fever, go home--but if your fever is way below normal, like mine, then it's okay. I was so low they should have given me heated blankets. Did they? No. They kept the room temperature at a balmy 58 degrees--or 14.444444 degrees for any of those countries that weigh cooking ingredients instead of using the ever so handy cup measurements--so when I was finally released I could only shuffle out on frozen limbs.
- If you have had some dura-thingy membrane transplant on your dura, then go home and take your poor dura and it's membrane with you.
- If you have Mad Cow Disease or anyone in your family, including unborn children who are not yet conceived, have had/or plan to have, Mad Cow then go live in Britain but they call Mad Cow by it's technical name, Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD) so you won't be alarmed and get the bovine staggers and fall over. If you have only had Annoyed Cow Disease I don't know what you are supposed to do but I don't think you can donate.
- If you have HIV or have lost ten pounds you can't donate. All the dieters, especially all the Weight Watchers who are on maintenance, had to leave the building by a back door.
- If you live with someone with HIV then you shouldn't brush your teeth with their toothbrush.
- If you have a cough you CAN donate--you don't have to bend over first--but you have to feel good, so you should drink a Coke and eat a Twinkies and watch an episode of M.A.S.H. before coming.
- If you have a chronic illness but you aren't dead then you CAN donate. I guess they feed your blood to lab rats because I sure as heck wouldn't want it if I were lying in a hospital bed, all pale and faltering.
- If you have had cancer and it was treated successfully you can donate blood. WHAT? Are they nuts? We all know people who have been cured of cancer only to have it pop up again in another time zone of the body.
- There were about a hundred other rules which I have forgotten because, for some reason--which probably could be cured by getting a dura membrane transplant--after the first 45 minutes of reading the rules, my eyes glazed over, like a Krispy Kreme donut--which they did not serve.
PS They also use your blood for testing so I'm thinking your very blood could be the deciding factor of whether that new Passion Pink lipstick is safe for laboratory rats to wear.
PPS. If you want to see any of the rules I missed click here. Notice how clever I am to make the link blood-red, even though some of my blood is missing and my dura is oxygen deprived.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today I read a website of a really smart woman who says she can't spell either. In fact she says she "...can't spell worth a flip." I am proud to be among her company. And the word "flip." Well, that's an old Sevier County word if ever I heard one. I wonder if she could be a relative?
When it comes to hand written notes or letters, which are the only way to write if you want to be known as a sincere person, I just type them out first, spell check them, and then copy everything by hand. If I am in a pinch, and haven't typed them on the computer first, then I write illegibly and hope that the person reading it will think it's their mistake that they can't quite make the odd word or two out, that I've spelled so creatively.
That's the answer. From now on I will not worry about my poor spelling ability but be proud to be a creative speller. I hope I have lots of confidence built up before Google has a breakdown and refuses to help someone as creative as me.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
She decided that if she painted only the middle of her fingernails her hands would look longer and slim. It was kind of like an optical illusion, if you looked really close you could see fingernail bits at the edges but if you looked really quick, like you were on a galloping horse—a favorite saying of Mom’s--, then they looked slender and lovely. At least that was her theory and if there is one thing about The Imperial Majesty it was that she stuck to her decisions once they were made. If you doubt that click here to read how unreasonable and stubborn she was about not letting her sad little sister read in bed.
She could paint the fingernails on her left hand but not the right. She cajoled me into doing that one. If I had been smart—which I was not—I could have gotten something out of her. Unfortunately, as soon as a compliment came forth out of the mouth of The Princess I became hypnotized and did whatever she wanted.
“Don’t paint the edges. I want my fingernails to look skinny.”
“Why do you want skinny fingernails?” She should certainly be happy enough with a skinny waist, I thought.
“You ask too many questions. Just paint the middle and leave an unpainted edge on both sides.” She paused, looking Heavenward, as if waiting for inspiration. “You paint fingernails so well. No one could do it as well as you. Bless your heart.”
“Bless your heart” is an expression that is used to soften the worst compliment in the world. It also softens criticism such as: “Your hair looks like worms, bless your heart.” You didn’t know whether to shave your head or be grateful that she cared enough to invoke blessings from somewhere, maybe even from God.
I unscrewed to top of the fingernail polish and immediately got to work. I painted the fingernails on her right hand but not the edges. I did such a superior job that it became my full time responsibility and from then on I had to do both hands because no one could do it as well as I could. Bless my heart.
I painted the middles of her fingernails three times a week. Once on Friday night so she could have slender fingernails for her many dates and again on Sunday, God appreciated skinny fingernails, obviously. I painted them once sometime during the week when she forgot her promise to herself and bit her fingernails down to nubbins because she worried about millions of things. She worried on a regular basis and if she didn’t have something to worry about she made things up or borrowed the worries of someone else. It was a trial for her, being a princess all bound up in a normal person’s body, living in a hick town, and having such a duffus for a little sister to boot.
I did not have the desire to have long skinny fingernails. I did not care about my fingernails at all. When I was little Mom would trick me into sitting on her lap and then she would produce nail clippers out of her magical over-the-arm-of-the-chair homemade fabric-thingy that had a hundred little specialized pockets that held everything but a glass of water. She would hold me down and clip my fingernails, which grew to Guinness Book of World Record length with nary a break.
My sister, the Princess sighed at my good fortune and bit her nails in frustration. Then she would feel bad because she had broken her promise to herself once again and then she would remove the old fingernail polish and file her stubby little nails smooth. I would then paint the naked fingernails once again—but only in the middle. That always cheered her up, having such a willing servant and restored her good humor and she took her skinny fingernails and skinny waist and went forth to charm and delight the people of the world.
I did not. Have not. Do not. But I sure can paint fingernails well. Bless my heart.
Friday, April 18, 2008
There would be pins sticking out like the quills of annoyed porcupines, threatening to tear the flesh off anyone who got too close. Her Imperial Majesty would walk, with extreme care, to the bathroom and then would stand in front of the full length mirror, corkscrewing, trying to see if it fit her waist tight enough. She would purse her lips in that movie star sort of way and look down her nose, practicing, I think, to snub those of less nobility. Practicing to snub me, for sure.
Her small waist was enviable, smaller than mine and I was nine years younger. Someone once told her that she was built like a Coke bottle and that made her deliriously happy. That wouldn’t be a compliment now, but then Coke bottles were nipped in at the middle. She spent a great deal of time in half finished dresses saying, “Can you just take it in a little bit more, right here?”
I thought having Mom make a dress was a big fat waste of time. She once made a dress for me out of patterned corduroy, which I might actually have liked if she hadn’t turned one piece of pattern the wrong way and the nap of the corduroy was pale. The rest of the dress had beautiful, rich autumn colors.
I wouldn’t wear it. Mother tried all sorts of persuasion.
“It looks perfectly fine,” she said.
“Mom, this whole side is a different color.”
“I don’t see it, I cut it out of the same piece of fabric. It looks EXACTLY the same to me.”
We had an endless discussion about the possibility of her being blind and me being stubborn and in the end I didn’t wear the dress.
Mom said she’s give it away to someone who appreciated her slaving over a hot sewing machine. I don’t know who that would be; perhaps the Indians who Mom was always telling me she was going to send me back to. I had seen the Indians and they wore beautiful velvet skirts and wonderful turquoise jewelry and had that blue black hair I envied so much. I knew they wouldn’t be bothered with a corduroy dress with the nap running the wrong way.
The dress was like one of those cars you see with one purple door while the rest of the car is white. They are usually driven by teen-age boys who are happy to be driving anything because their insane insurance rates are so high, or by old retired men who have no dignity left and just want to get out of the house. So, I think the dress never did find a home and it will turn up on ebay one day and it will receive no bids.
Her Imperial Majesty was the designated recipient of all of Mother’s sewing ambitions. Mom actually made her wedding dress. That was a month and a half of pure patience on Mother’s part and a month and a half of Her Imperial Majesty marathon pickiness and extreme desire to have every stitch perfect so she look like the princess she knew she was born to be.
Mom also made my bridesmaid dress, a sky blue creation and turned dark blue with the least trickle of perspiration. I had to wear dress shields so I wouldn’t look like the sweaty thirteen year old that I was.
When Puberty revved up all her interesting little hormones she gave me an extra dose of underarm glands and the only reason I survived teenager hood was because my cousin had the same runaway glands and I had someone to cry with. My cousin was all-things-beautiful and so I felt that someday the Universe would in some way compensate me for my great sweaty trial as it had her, DURING her great sweaty trial. I felt it was worth waiting for, and so I endured. I’m still waiting but when the great compensation comes I will be so happy and fulfilled.
To be continued.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Produce day is Tuesday so I usually go there on Wednesday or later in the week. The produce is cheap and fresh.
Cilantro was 49 cents each.
These were about $1.25, maybe less.
This photo is way dark but the only one I took of the proprietress.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Now that will lead to a great marriage and a great relationship.