Friday, March 31, 2006
A fair warning in the spirit of an April fool who has seen it all. Anyone who:
1. Falls to the floor guffawing at my goth pink hair OR
2. Gives me a wrapped brick for a present as joke (Oh, it'd been done before) OR
3. Shares my most embarrassing moment with the other hundred guests
will have their high senior picture or worst photo I can find, posted here on my blog!
All my love,
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Much to my chagrin, Ultress has stopped manufacturing the goop which keeps my flaming red hair from mouse grey hues. So, now I am forced to experiment with other hair colors by other makers.
Why color my hair? I started turning grey around the birth of my first child, so it's all his fault and I'll never forgive him for it. With each child it grew more intense. What horrible little color stealing creatures children are. I tried the whole grow-old-gracefully thing. I told myself grey hair is a badge of wisdom and maturity. When I was thirty-three with three small toddler boys swirling about me at all times, I was asked in the grocery store about my beautiful grandchildren. Needless to say, I was not flattered and ran swiftly for some beauty salon therapy. After three trips to the hairdresser and a three pricey swipes of the credit card, I learned to color my hair myself.
That's when I met the laughing lady on the box of Ultress Lightest Auburn. She has been my dear friend for seven years now, and I'm wondering how we went wrong. How could she disappear from the Wal-mart shelves just like that- no warning? It's cruel. I thought we were close. Why didn't Ultress bother write me a personal letter thanking me for my patronage over these years, to wish me well, and recommendations of the same hair color by another maker?
Now I'm looking in the mirror considering the horrible consequences of pouring two bottles (I have lotsa hair) of Herbal Essence Ruby Red hair dye over my head. Upon gazing at my reflection, I think maybe Ruby Red was not quite as accurate as pink. I have PINK hair. And yes, it is that awful.
I suppose it's a funny story to tell at my surprise 40th birthday party Saturday to folks I haven't seen in years, but honestly, they'll all think I'm trying too hard to avert a midlife crisis by going for an alternative look. You know, a goth with Burgundy pink hair? But I'm not. I just made a huge hair faupaux.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I've been invited to particpate in a discussion on translating Catechesis of the Good Shepherd from it's original Catholic roots and Episcopalian expansion to include the protestant evangelical communities- something I've waited nine years to begin. What a joy for me.
Then in the evening I got a phonecall from the man who recently bought the forest adjoining our back acres who fussed at me because my children got too close for his comfort to the logging he's having done back there. He did not have the courtesy to call me about this dangerous project ahead of time, but I when I noticed trees falling in the distance, I immediately gathered my boys to define safety boundaries. Apparently one of my children visited side neighbors working the fields too close to the loggers while I was cooking dinner. The logging neighbor was irked enough to call about that incident and the "toys" my children left on his property. Mind you, before he bought the woods, my children built a fort in a piece of the forest they mistakingly thought was ours. Since his purchase, my children dismantled that fort, so there's nothing out there anymore. When I asked him "What toys?" he said "Milk jugs and such." Oh brother, he thinks my family totes trash to the fence line and thoughtlessly heaves it over.
I've never understood the three junky trash piles dumped on and beside our property when we moved in- we Crunchy cons (we're not really Crunchy Cons but darn close) drag our trash to the city dump regularly. We've cleared on of the piles completely. I wouldn't dream of scattering junk about our nor anyone's yard. Tator tells me there are tons of beer bottles, coke cans, rusty metal, milk jugs all strewn along our fence lines. When we put up our fence we cleaned what we found as we went. However, someone must be still dumping back there, and it's certainly not us.
After the phonecall, I hurrrummpphed at my children about getting too close to the logging and
grunted new orders to steer completely clear of the back forest for the next few weeks until the job is done. I stewed over false accusation and assumption. My mood changed from merry to sour on a dime.
There is a dark something in me that chides, "You should have known a chain saw is like a pied piper's whistle signaling boys and reminded your children on the hour about the dangers of logging.
You should be more on top of the trash spanning eight acres and beyond.
Why can't I extend kindness to this man instead of a defensive attitude?"
I called Buck at work and asked him to clean up my mess of less than generous conversation with this neighbor. Buck apologized for our children and hopefully clearly stated our position on avoiding the habit of littering as a lifestyle.
Anyone else find themselves at the mercy of others thoughts like I do? While I wish to remain vulnerable, I don't want to fall into fragility. I'd like to find that center point inside more quickly rather than be swayed by the blowing wind of outside forces. Some days it's easier to locate than others.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Lately, everything I'd like to write passionately about is far too private, and I can't find a satisfying code to write in like I usually do.
And I'm still working on my writing projects for publication, so I don't have a writing jones to work out here.
But I'd like to keep up with my blog as a bit of a diary, so here are some brief highlights of our week.
It was the once a year homeschool testing time at our satellite school. I loaded up three canvas bags of calculators, number 2 pencils, books to read, water bottles, and snacks which I dropped off with my boys into a classroom and drove away. For three days in a row, and I got to do whatever I fancied for three consecutive hours. I had to wonder what other mothers who do not homeschool do with all that precious "in school time"? The first testing day, Buck took Pooh Bear and I went to an impromptu lunch with Meredith Lee. Always a treat. We dropped in to see her husband at his new Tribe One building afterwards. Her husband, Woody and I worked together for years making the three of us close knit friends. And we were once intentional neighbors in the hood before the burbs and now the farm.
I suddenly realized that while I'd kept up with Meredith Lee over the last three years, I have not visited with Woody at all. We scheduled and met later in the week to catch up and for me to let him look over my work, much of which he taught me. Did you know Woody and Meredith Lee are two of my heroes? I've blogged about ML's ability to look directly inside me and speak out with tremendous accuracy the path on which I'm created to be. She is the rare woman who shares her talents lavishly simply to build others up. Woody inspires me with his life and work bringing together diverse communities. This is a man who makes a difference. Check out Woody's http://www.tribeone.com/tribeone to be wowed by a way to change the world for the better. Imagine a city councilman who considers it a privilege to mentor inner city youth away from gang life into a life of purpose- "Nothing stops a bullet like a job".
The second day of testing, Pooh Bear and I visited the mall for the third time ever in her five year old life. We looked at puppies in the pet store and explored every last inch of Claire's Boutique. I did have to fake a smile to endure all that pink and sequins. The next day, she and I ate lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant, but I did not have to conjure the silly stuffed grin spread across my face which always accompanies chicken picatta with capers.
Friends with SIX boys (who could ever be that blessed?) invited us Friday through Saturday to a hotel with an indoor waterslide in Pigeon Forge, and now I'm exhausted upon return from all that wonderful chaos.
Hope your weekend has been as full of fun so far.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
“My faults are deeper than I care to imagine, but I will never see the need others really have until I dare to consider my own true nature. If I do not consider my own causes for shame, I will judge others instead of loving them. I will distance myself from them instead of recognizing how our mutual needs unite us. I will look down on them instead of embracing them. I will stand aloof, rather than eye to eye. If I stop seeing the person I really am in my mirror, I will stop seeing the faces of others; and then the care that is the vehicle of the Gospel will not flow from me.”
Monday, March 20, 2006
When Claire called this morning to check in about our plans today, we shared a little giggle fit because both of us had considered calling one another at four in the morning. Today is the day of her appointment scheduled several months ago with a doctor who has a reputation for listening to her patients. Her family doctor, while a very nice man, has not lent her the time or ear necessary to get to the bottom of some issues.
I well up with tears thinking of Claire being heard and understood by a professional who finally may offer something real. Why is it that most doctors simply treat symptoms instead of looking for a way to set things right?
I went my doctor's office a month ago, due to scary chest pains persistantly felt over two days...yes, I'm only 39....but the available nurse practitioner suggested I pulled a muscle by my heart during workout, and that's why I couldn't take a full breath without a seizing pain. After a normal EKG, which only indicated I wasn't having "a great big heart attack", no follow up was prescribed, no nothing. It felt to me like the nurse practitioner was having a difficult time suppressing a smirk and not blurting out, "Are you some kind of weirdo in need of lots of attention or something?" What are the chances I run back to her for help if I'm concerned again?
If you are a praying person, you can join me that Claire will find peace and hope today. She's staring some frightening possibilites down today.
Update: Claire's doctor visit sparked a series of revelation for healing to come- like a firework struck by a lit match.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Otherwise, I have some confessions to make. I did not know anything beyond the cover of the DVD for the movie that Edward R. Murrow was a newsman. I did not know the man's television news show brought down Senator McCarthy's crusade against communists. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't understand that Senator McCarthy was elected, then proceeded to spend his and our nation's time and money stomping Americans in the name of national security.
Up until watching the movie today, I vaguely recalled a commy scare, Marcarthism, sometime after WWII and during the Cold War. And wasn't there something negative about the white girl being involved in communism in Native Son? Forgive me, Svetlana, for my poor history knowledge.
When I was in college, I read the Communist Manifesto as an assignment in a literature class. I talked about everyone who would, because I found it brilliant for a few days, until I took a sober look into the stained soul of humanity. Then there is the fact that communism hasn't seemed to work altogether to benefit the people of Russia and China. And before we were married, Buck and I hung out a little with a communist named Jam from France. Makes me wonder now, if another McCarthy made his way into politics today, would Buck and I be targets, because of our association?
Good Night, and Good Luck has me thinking about television and how I might add to the reason it isn't all that it could be. When I watch Grey's Anatomy, am I promoting twaddle instead of excellent television programing which produces justice? Should I pat myself on the back for sometimes watching Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley?
And is it me, or does it seem like people from the 50's spoke with far more intelligence and integrity than most anyone in 2006?
And here's my shallow question from the movie. Did all those news people planning Ed's show each week die of cancer from smoking?
It's been a few years since I've been to Waffle House. I think the last time I visited one was on Christmas day years ago when it was the only thing open on I-75 North between Knoxville and Cincinnati. That year my holiday lunch consisted of greasy scrambled eggs, toast, and tomato juice.
As we walked in the door last night, all the staff was staring at some commotion outside the glass windows to the parking lot which Buck and I must have casually sauntered right through on the way in without noticing. The cook, who only had one tooth in his head located in the corner of his bottom gums, hissed something to the waitresses in a southern drawl, "I wouldn'ta done it if they wouldn'ta been so hateful. They needed someone to teach them a lesson." I turned to see what they were looking at but I just saw a couple of old men in flannel shirts smoking by a car in the parking lot. Exactly what revenge had that cook imparted?
We ordered our food when Buck noticed the young woman next us was unable to match intelligible words to the question of the waitress standing just in front of her. Apparently the girl was too stoned or drunk and had significant trouble finding the door. When I looked to be sure she wasn't driving, she sloshed into a car with two less than gentlemanly looking men who'd pulled up the curb. I regretted instantly that I'd caught the creepy driver's eye when I looked out to view the girl's caretakers. Couldn't help but think what might awful things be in store for her that evening.
Buck reminded me of a horrible joke, "What has four teeth, eight legs, eight eyes, and eight arms? The staff at WH." Just about the time I pondered the possibility of dental insurance for employees. Doesn't this show my dark shallow heart?
Another blood red-faced man, looking like a major candidate for heart surgery, sat at the counter drinking coffee and smoking discussed the failure of his resume with his waitress and another customer. There was something on his resume which he shouldn't have listed or some skill set he lacked for viable job opportunities.
The cook and waitresses never stopped looking out the window, and Buck and I assessed the pass time at this particular Waffle House was to chase off O'Charley's customers from their lot in desperate need of a parking space. Apparently O'Charley's draws a significantly larger crowd than Waffle House and wayward O'patrons sneak over from time to time to snag a parking spot. I guess the cook stepped in now and then as security.
After Buck and I gulped down our food, I whispered, "Leave her a BIG tip. I'm fairly sure she was stiffed by the drunk girl." A big smile and a huge "Thank you!" came over her when Buck handed her a bill larger than a one.
I grimaced at a Motel 6 room card key on the ground outside my car door.
I'm reminded that I've taken entirely too much for granted in my abundant life lately by this 25 minute experience.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Garrison Keeler read the poem below around lunch time on Thursday on public
radio. When he reads most anything, I suspect even a grocery list, I could get
lost, consumed in the story he tells. The reading flooded me with early
childhood memories of my morose fascination with my Papaw’s false teeth.
I vaguely recall the cup in Papaw Henry’s sterile bathroom in the 30’s arts and crafts white bungalow on Cottage Street in Maysville, Ky.
You know, the kind of house with a porch swing hovering over gray painted floorboards and a perfectly manicured lawn spread before it. I’m not proud to mention the black monkey looking boy statue holding a lantern flashing his pearly whites as he greets visitors. Inside the powder blue tiled bathroom, the fluorescent lighting on the dusty blue sink with separate Hot and Cold handles added an eerie glow to the shaped ceramic cup resembling a mouth with the words “chopper hopper” etched across it’s wide mouthed top in red.
At night, I’d spy Papaws teeth resting in the cup. The slippery pinkish red gums and white rows glistened submerged in a clear solution of some kind; I couldn’t smell exactly what, because the overwhelming pungent smell of the toilet cleanser which hung on a wire inside the rim to turn the bowl blue always overpowered any other possible odors in the washroom. I often thought of Frankenstein and how Papaw’s set would come in handy for the next body part constructed monster.
I imagined the frightening chops coming alive to talk to me. The perfect teeth would properly levitate as if in an invisible head above the cup to drippingly whisper, “True, you are just a very little girl. You’re probably afraid of me just like you are terribly afraid the nasty witch who lives in the gray shingled shed behind this house. That shed doesn’t just hold Papaw’s house paints, you know. How else could the sidewalks always be so clean if it isn’t the witch who rides her broom at the stroke of midnight across the moon, lands beside the pink climbing rose bush in the front yard in the pitch dark of the night, and sweeps her way back to the dingy white door to her shack with windows painted all black? She’s as old as she is scary. You’ve seen her raggedy gray shawl between the scratches for yourself. You might not want to get so close next time, or the hag might just pop open that door and snatch you in before your Mamaw finishes dead heading her Petunias.”
In the morning, the chopper hopper would be mysteriously empty, and I could not connect the dots that Papaw had the teeth now stuck in his head.
I watch myself as a bitty fair haired wisp of a four year old girl in the choppy home movies from the late 60’s toddling in the back yard yet standing clear of the gray shed and marveling as my Mamaw snaps up her blonde Chihuahua Petey by one front leg. There are no weeds in sight, only perfectly trimmed bushes, multitudes of fabulous flowers, a stone birdbath and retro metal wide backed lawn chairs I’d love to have today. Wouldn’t those be perfect under a bottle tree like the woman in Because of Winn Dixie?
Now onto the poem.
My eyes stung with tears as I listened to this woman’s story. Garrison mentioned The Great Depression beforehand which I know my grandparents suffered through, but I never understood to ask them about. Now it’s too late. So, I imagine this woman as a relative I’d never know living in a small rented cottage in Maysville, Ky in the 1930’s.
Poem: "False Teeth" by Patricia Dobler
from Collected Poems. © Autumn House Press.
Walking back to her sister's house,
woozy from relief and Novocain,
she nearly trips on the B&O tracks.
Then she sees it.
A $20 bill.
Folded between the ties,
pleated into a little fan,
as if arranged by whatever tooth fairy looks after30-year
old women who lose all their teeth.
When she walks into her sister's and grins,
she scares the baby— her swollen face,
the gums still bleeding,
her words clotted like the cries of an animal—
They think she's gone crazy with pain
until she holds up the money.
The men are laid off again,
but she can pay the dentist what he's owed,
she can buy false teeth.
They say, "For every child, a tooth,"
and this is a story for children whose
toothless mother lost and found
and came out even.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy;Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.
Found at Lorna's blog
This is the time of year I begin pining over the right decisions concerning the next school year for each child. I get a know in my stomach the size of a cantalope and it stays there until my husband and I settle on a plan together. I examine public, private, co-op, and curriculum options for my children. Pooh Bear officially starts kindergarten next year, so it's going to cost more of a boatload of money than it already does to register and purchase for homeschool next fall. Saturday, I looked a three day a week core curriculum k-12 co-op which would cost $6,000 for all my children to attend. While one who doesn't homeschool four children wouldn't know- that's an all out bargain. The three day a week classical co-op I'd really like to put my children in (if money were no obstacle-and it is) would cost around $18,000 a year with financial aide. The attraction of these co-ops are that my children would have another teacher besides me three of five school days. There are plenty of one day a week co-ops, but those cost somewhere around $300 a month if all my children were to take classes. I'm also looking at an excellent homeschool curriculum which cost $1,000 per child and I'll still have the honor of teaching all four grades five days a week. Nuts, huh? With me here? Education costs.
The educator I know of who says, "All you need for homeschooling is a libraryThese basic co-ops and curriculums above do not include things like the $400 for swim team sign ups for four children with an additional $120 for team suits. Guitar lessons, art classes, ballet, Boy Scout camp and uniforms, soccor sign ups all add up. And basketball was on the cheap this year for under $200. I'm probably on the bad side of the youth director at our church because I gripe about over $100 per child weekend retreat and sundry other event costs for my oldest son. You may be horrified to know that I make my son pay part of his way to these kind outings. With real boys, I find sports are essential to keep all that testosterone energy focused. Then there's the necessary cost attached to training children towards their natural bent and talents.
card" did not have four average children. I'm thinking of switching my
address to Lake Wobeggone, so my chidlren would magically become above
average, but I'm not altogether sure that is a real place. And it's probably far
too cold for my bones.
Some homeschooling families have their education choices much more planned thanBut maybe all the choices I explore annually simply drag my sanity around like a proud cat with a mouse in its mouth. You'd think I'd put all my children on a bus next year, and let someone else do it all for free. Not to criticize, but my oldest went to kindergarten and first grade at a public school in an academically acclerated magnet program, and I found I did most of his core teaching at home. I taught him to read and his math facts afterschool, because the teachers, who were excellent, didn't have enough time to exclusively devote to one of twenty children. In a month or two I'll be fairly sure of what next fall will look like for each of my children. I have only two years left to prepare one son for high school which scares the pants off me. A study skills class is a must for that boy.
I do and don't feel the need to re-evaluate each year. But that's not me. I
to switch things up for my own sanity and to meet the needs of my
discovered along the way.
How do you decide education for yourself or your children? Are
you satisfied with public schools today? How do you choose programs
and curriculum if you homeschool? Do you get neurotic about it all like I do in March?
Sunday, March 05, 2006
No surprises here. Chocolate, Good Books, dinners with friends, Netflix
2. What's one book you'd like to read sooner then later?
How Should We Then Live? by Schaffer
3. What's the next practical TO DO project for your home?
Too many to list. I'm completely undone by the crack in the living room ceiling from a leak last year. Most likely I'll work in the yard to avoid looking at the imperfect living room ceiling.
4. Do you like silence or background noise?
Silence! The Great OZ has spoken!
5. If you could revisit a certain era, which one would it be?
Israel in Jesus day.
Who am I fooling?
Nobody. Tonight Buck is working and I may catch a moment or two of the buzz on the tv in my bedroom. In January I picked Crash as my nomination for best picture to the Academy though I haven't seen Walk the Line. I do like Reese Witherspoon. And since Brokeback Mountain isn't out on dvd yet, Helen and I haven't had the chance to put the kids to bed, drink just a tad too much 47 Pound Rooster, and snark sarcastically and inappropriately in the privacy of one of our homes watching. I'm quite certain the two of us would be kicked out of a theater. Then again, maybe we'll like it and not even hint at rudeness. I'll let you know.
Off to consider peeling potatoes for dinner. Thanks to the rain, I don't have to water the garden. Such a life of glamour.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
I have tried year after year to get my boys interested in their own planting projects without success. Suddenly, Wise One must have caught on for the first time by Pooh Bear's excitement over the arrival of my seed packets. He and Pooh Bear danced around proclaiming the first hints of emerging green white fingers shooting out of the black starter bundles. He begged for his own shovel and chance to sink peet pots into the dirt. I think I have two new garden buddies this season. My other true blue garden buddy for the past two years has been Petunia. When she sees me in overalls, shovel in hand, she darts straight for me, following as I dig so she can enjoy my cast off worms. She must be the smartest of all 30 of my chickens as she's the only one who has figured this easy worm thing out.
Things around my yard already blooming this week are the Forsythias, Phlox, Daffodils and Crocus (Pooh Bear has gifted me with every Crocus she can find so far). Amazingly, I've noticed it never got cold enough to kill off all my Snap Dragons from last year, so that will be easy labor flower power for me. I see buds on the Bradford Pear Trees, Climbing Clymatis, Climbing Rose, and Tulips. The Tiger Lillies, Lupine, and Iris leaves have popped up. Rosemary and Lavendar have looked weathered all winter, are perking up with warmer temperatures. I'm considering moving one lavendar from my veggie garden to the butterfly garden outside my bedroom window. Zinnias took over every inch of that bed last year including the statue of St. Anthony, a gift from my husband years ago at our former home. St. Anthony is the saint to guard children, and ironcially children in our former subdivision beheaded him. It was nothing a bit of cement glue and forgiveness couldn't fix.
I hope you have the joy of gardening in some way in your life. This is my third garden ever and I'm completely head over heels in love.
Friday, March 03, 2006
As a child, I remember visiting my relatives in Georgia and watching the adults buzz around abruptly scooping up playing cards and beer and stuffing them under the couch pillows and behind bookshelves when they saw my grandpa's car proceeding down the road. He was a Southern Baptist preacherman. This flurry of activity at my grandpa's arrival, I did not understand. What was a grandpa going to do to his grown sons for drinking beer? What exactly were his plans had he found me as a little girl for playing solitaire? I'll never know, because Grandpa passed away when I was in high school. I imagine if he were around today, I'd be the only grandchild in the family to openly talk about the false merits of excluding cards and alcohol from everyone's life. I would, however, respect him enough to not do those things in front of him. Would my grandpa be angry with me for letting my boys whoop it up with their dad and grandpa at Poker? Laughter seems to be the point of my family's play. Apparently my boys don't altogether comprehend betting and tend to overbid by enormous amounts when they believe they have an excellent hand- gotta work on their poker faces and behavior. I personally can't see hiding something noone is troubled with in our immediate family, because others struggle with addiction or objection. I can see excluding these things with great ease to honor guests who struggle or disapprove.
Do you hide alcohol from certain guests in your home? I have friend in her late 30's who hides her beer in the dryer each time her parents visit. Is that taking it too far? How about cards? Any objections?