Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Whatcha' Gonna Do?

When I get sad. . .not depressed, mind you, just heart wrenchingly sad.  You see. . . when something happens that affects someone I love and I am powerless to do anything to help the person [by virtue of distance and health] I get sad.

And I do three things. Always.
-I ugly cry. Because my heart is breaking for a loved one and it makes my heart ache for them. And we all know what an ugly cry is.
-I pray. Recently it feels as tho' my whole days have been taken up in praying. Does it help? Me, I suppose. I have some idea of whether or not God answers my prayers, but it brings me a small amount of peace to hand over the awfulness of something that is troubling me for another.
-And I cook.

I cook a lot. It seems to be the only thing that works because I am alone all day with my thoughts and powerlessness against it all.  The cooking is always from scratch because it takes longer and occupies my hands and my eyes and my mind and no one wants Mom snarfing in dinner, right?

I know most of you know of what am speaking about - that one of our own is suffering and so far away, but it is not my story to tell on her behalf right now. Until it goes up on her blog, I respect her quietness and pray she keeps the strength that all of us have come to admire. Although it is up on Facebook, and she called me yesterday, she has many, so many, blog friends that aren't on Facebook that I don't want to run the risk of telling them anything until she does through her blog.

Make sense? I hope so. I suck at this kind of thing, especially when I am sad, but I am trying.  I just needed to come here and talk, about anything.

Steven came home last night and found me in tears but preparing dinner. At first he thought it was the pain, but then realized this was worse.  He told me to sit down, forget about dinner and we would just eat leftovers.

Nope, I had to get up and do something.  So with Evelyn's assistance in the kitchen I made up a few new recipes.  I was too exhausted to look up recipes, but having never made these dishes before I thought I would just wing it with the knowledge I have on hand. . .my sketch memory and sad skills.

I knew we had about 2.5-3 lbs of dark meat turkey leftover, turkey stock I made Sunday and a few blocks of cheddar cheese.

I don't know why but I thought turkey burgers and macaroni and cheese sounded like a meal. So I used my Ninja [mini food processor] and minced the cooked turkey, celery and onion for the burgers. I followed the same recipe I use for salmon cakes and added 2 eggs, about a cup of Italian bread crumbs and then veered off of that with 2 heaping tablespoons of turkey stock [it had congealed, so it was probably more like a half of a cup,who knows] and a heaping teaspoon of sage.  I mixed it all in my stand mixer and Evelyn made patties.

While she was making the patties I used the base of another recipe I use that is a roux to begin the macaroni and cheese.  I melted 5 tablespoons of butter in a pan, adding a teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper [more or less]. I added a heaping quarter cup of flour and mixed that until thickened. To that I poured in milk - I don't know how much, but I would guess 3 or 4 cups? I just poured until I had a nice thick sauce which I added 3/4 lb of ninja'd [I love that thing] sharp cheddar cheese and about a cup of mozzarella. I stirred until it was melted and had the sauce to mix with about 8 oz of cooked elbow macaroni.  Put that in a greased baking dish, sprinkled with paprika, covered and cooked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. My family doens't like it overly brown, so I didn't remove the lid.

While that baked, I fried the turkey burgers in a scant amount of oil on medium heat.  When they were thoroughly browned on both sides, I drained them on paper towel and let them sit.

When the macaroni and cheese was done, I took it out to rest and popped the burgers in the oven on 250 degrees to keep warm.  The turkey was already cooked from Thanksgiving so no worries with making sure they were cooked all the way through.

I also served the last of the Cracker Barrel style green beans and ham as a side.  I made these for Thanksgiving and that is what Evelyn calls them, Cracker Barrel beans [we haven't eaten there in 5 years, so how she remembers?] To me they taste like my grandma's homemade, and again, it is another recipe I couldn't be bothered to research. I just winged it.  I snapped two lbs of green beans [took me an hour - I don't miss the days of doing bushels of these during canning season for my grandma] rinsed them and put them in the slow cooker with 2 cups of chicken broth and 6 oz of diced cured country ham/fat back/pork hocks - take your pick. I used the cured ham. Set on low and those were some of the best dang green beans I have ever had. And easy. Just cook them until soft. Steven did have to put a cup of water in at two intervals, but our slow cooker is pretty hot.

I served the turkey burgers on hamburger rolls with the sides.  Steven put cranberry sauce on his, while Evelyn ate mayonnaise on hers.  I was too tired to eat, but I would lean towards my homemade cranberry sauce because it is more tart than sweet and tastes really good with turkey.

Sorry to bore you all, but it's honestly? I just didn't know what else to do and it seemed to make sense to come here and write down recipes.

Hugs and love to all of you. I can't begin to tell you how much you mean to me, and if you knew the heartache I have for one of own I am sure you could begin to understand better.

See ya' on the flipside. Janine




Monday, November 24, 2014

Day Full O' Bargains

Something is in the air Tadpoles. I don't know what it is. . .but Sunday was epic!

Two things well known about me are that I don't like any type of shopping except the grocery kind and I LOVE a bargain.

Yesterday was so cool.

We all know Thanksgiving is Thursday. However, we won't be eating the traditional meal on Thursday because the kids can't make it home until Friday. No worries, we're going the Mimosa and Sloppy Joe route that day, while prepping everything for Friday and watching the parade. Works for me.

We did want to make sure we had everything purchase before Thursday tho' and we decided to go shopping at ALDI.  I have an unabashed love for this grocery store. There are so many reasons, but today I am going to focus on one of my favorite things about their store.

Prices. I can literally get three times the food for the same price as I could at Food Lion or heaven forbid Giant Foods.  For example - three weeks ago I went shopping with Steven and we purchased enough food for 3 weeks of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for $160. We ate chicken, pork, ground round, sausage and soups. They only thing we replenished in three weeks was bread, milk and juice.

This makes me happy. So, so happy.

Our Thanksgiving menu consists of the following [keep in mind everything is fresh and homemade. I don't buy boxed or canned goods with the exception of boxed chicken broth because I don't have any homemade made and stocked in the freezer.]

Turkey with gravy
Oyster dressing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Corn Casserole
Green beans with ham
Yeast rolls
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Caramel Cake
Crudite plate [don't ask but this is a weird tradition my mom started years ago and the kids insist we have it] It includes black olives, sweet pickles, radishes and stuffed celery [see? told you it was weird - but it works. somehow]

I didn't write that list to bore you or even make you drool - I am doing enough of that for all of us - I write it because I still can't believe how little we paid for all of the ingredients. I could feed 6-8 people with our meal and it only cost:  $48.24. That's $7.10/per person for 6. Not too shabby.

Even better?  We will have leftovers Saturday [Gravy with turkey and mixed veggies over waffles - again, don't ask. It is SO good.] Then I will boil the carcass and make turkey soup, pot pie and Thanksgiving sandwiches with the remaining turkey. So actually my food cost is much lower. YAY!

We have never, ever paid so little for Thanksgiving - and we know, as we make the same exact menu every single year.  Even when I could purchase turkeys for .39 cents a lb [25 years ago] I still spent upwards of $100 for 8.

Even better than that bargain?

Wait - let me back up a moment.  I talked about this on Facebook, but I realize not all of you are there [and if you are, why aren't we friends? :)  ]

::drumroll::

This goofball, our very own Evie Lou [Wallene], was accepted into the National Honor Society. We could not be more proud and I have to say, with all the turmoil in her life in the past 4 years [my health, losing our home, moving in her Junior year of HS, etc] we are amazed at the hard work and perseverance she put forth to earn this honor.

Tradition in our home is if you are accepted into NHS Mom gets to pick out and will purchase you a new outfit for the induction ceremony. I know, pushy right? But you can only imagine the fights that would ensue if we let them dress in school clothes for this. It's a big deal.   I have done it before, to the liking of her siblings, but with Evie?  She was having none of it.  And really? It's our last kid and I am worn out by being sick, so I told her to go shopping by herself and Dad and I would pay for whatever she chose. She knew I had to approve, and I gave her parameters. Then I sent her out.

On the way home from the grocery store Steven received this pic' on his phone. I was shocked that she had actually listened and found something appropriate for the ceremony. Look! Her she is in the dressing room:
When I saw the pic' I said to Steven "It's perfect and looks so good on her.  But? This is going to cost us $50, isn't it?"

Um...nope.

We arrived home and Evie was already back from Cato [the only women's clothing store in Orange, VA] and she came walking down the hall holding up a blanket. I asked her what the heck she was doing when she suddenly dropped the blanket and was wearing this dress.  I squealed because it looks even better in person [she paired it with the cutest belt] but I was confused.  We hadn't given her more than $5 [to eat lunch while she was out shopping] so I asked her how did she get the dress home. Certainly $5 wasn't going to buy a dress that nice. [Btw, for those who care - it's completely lined. It's a NICE dress.]

She showed me the tag on it.  It was, in fact, originally, $49.99. But had been marked down 3 times. To the low, low price of $4.99!!!!!  She had change in her purse so she was able to purchase it with tax.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT? ::skippyhappydance::

It's the little things Tadpoles. Simply the little things.
Okay, that's all I got for Monday. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday [if I don't make it back here] and we'll see ya' on the flipside.

Smile loudly, LIFE IS A GIFT! Love and hugs, Janine

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Retro in the Pond

That should probably read archaic, but let's go with retro - sounds cooler.

It's no secret I don't own a cellphone. I don't need one. I hardly go anywhere alone, and if I do I am usually back at home within an hour or two. So, if the school, my family or friends need me? The house phone works just fine.

Not owning a cellphone isn't retro, but my house phone is.  Check this out. . .it was my grandparents and sat on their desk for as long as I can remember:

It's a stock photo, but our phone looks exactly like that.  I have the phone because when my grandparents passed away my mom took it because she thought the great grandkids would get a kick out of playing with it.  They did. They all love this phone.  They had never seen one until my mom put this one in the toy box. This phone is in my will because otherwise they are going to bicker.

The biggest bonus to this phone is, obviously, that it belonged to my grandparents and I have such fond memories of them and being at their house. When it rings here, it reminds me of being with them on the farm.

However - it has a few drawbacks.  First, the ringer is LOUD. Dang LOUD. So loud that everytime it rings the dog goes bonkers and tries to attack it, but we never miss a call.  I could be over at the neighbor's across the street and I can hear this thing.  Second, it is rotary.  I know we all grew up with rotary phones, but raise your hand if you have dialed one in 30 years.  Tadpoles - it is a serious time commitment when you are used to push button phones. I will get all excited to call my MIL or Steven to tell them something and I am standing there for a good minute DIALING. giggle I know - no big deal, but I tease my husband all the time and tell him that he needs to call me, I don't have time to dial. And finally, let's all admit it - it's brown. Brown isn't a bad color, but brown? It's ugly.

But I love it.

Let's continue onto other things we own [or don't own] that are out of the norm for the 21st century.

We don't have a drip coffee pot or a coffee maker.  I make Steven's coffee in our camp coffee pot.  Yeah, no kidding.  When we moved we misplaced our automatic coffee maker and in a "first day in our new home desperation" move I pulled this out.



Again, a stock photo but that's our pot, but ours has wear and tear. Steven loves the taste of the coffee so in the 14 months we have lived here I just never bothered to go buy another Mr. Coffee or a Kuerig.

Which brings me to having to admit we do not own a microwave either. ::GASP:: We did. In fact since we moved in we have owned two.  But we have had two electric blow outs in our home - one even set part of the basement on fire OH JOY! - and in the process roached both of our microwaves.  Turns out that the electrical company hadn't grounded our home outside, eventhough they came  out the first time and said it was an inside issue.  We had an electrician in after the first power surge and thought we had solved the problem, but nope. It happened again and it was the electric company. They fixed it and we haven't had any fires or flashing lights in over 6 months. ::skippyhappydance::

Not having a microwave kind of sucks.  I never cooked in it, but I liked it for tea, oatmeal and reheating food.  Now I reheat my lunch in the oven - and being the instant gratification kind of gal that I am [see what I mean about dialing the dang phone?] I hate waiting.  Tea and oatmeal, which is an almost everyday thing for me, is a little bit better because I unearthed the "Teapot From Hell" in our move.

Anyone remember this little number?
It is a Rachael Ray teapot that I received for free - I only had to agree to post on my blog about it.  And boy did I!  This tea pot is a hazard, but it's so happy I never got rid of it.  If you want to read the review of it's faults, it's here:  The Rachael Ray Teapot Has Arrived.  I was honest - and I found out that in recent years they have actually redesigned the teapot based on reviews like mine and other bloggers.  Since I am intimate with it's faults I know how to use it without harm. I am just glad they don't produce it anymore.

Basically, we're living in the 1950s and you know what?  It works for us.

But really? I wish the ringer dial wasn't broken on my grandparents' phone. I don't know how much more of this Spot can take. :)

Smile loudly. Life is a gift.
We'll see ya on the flipside Tadpoles.
Love and hugs, Janine

PS - GO VOTE!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Surprising Myself

Nothing earth shattering mind you - just the run of the mill, hum drum, "Oh look what Skip can do." kind of stuff.

Having a daughter in college, one in her senior year of HS and paying out over $3,000 a month in insurance and medication fees money is tight.  Damn tight.

And in the words of Mother Hubbard - Skippy's cupboards were bare. Cobweb collecting kind of bare.

Okay, really there just wasn't anything I wanted to make for dinner staring back at me from the fridge or the pantry. We have food - but you know that feeling when you just don't want "that"? That being anything you have when you really want something you don't have?  Yeah, that feeling.

Then I saw a large can of crushed tomatoes.  Hmmmm.....

And I knew I was in the mood for spaghetti with marina sauce.

This was so, so easy and so, so good.

I sauteed one small, diced onion in olive oil - I would have added green peppers too, but Steven threw away the tops to my peppers the other night when he made stuffed peppers for dinner - and after they were translucent I threw in some minced garlic and about a half a pound of hamburger.

Once the hamburger was browned I poured in the crushed tomatoes, and tossed in some dried oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  I decided it was a bit thin so I added two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and about 1/2 cup of water.

Then I let that bad boy simmer for an hour.

Side note:  My mom used to make homemade sauce when we were growing up. The stuff was amazing, but always made with canned tomatoes.  She was a "city" girl and didn't have access to fresh produce like we do here, so she became accustomed to cooking with canned.  I was blessed with an abundance of garden grown tomatoes from my beloved father in law's garden and spent a large part of the summer making sauces and lasagna with all the stuff we were given.  But I had never attempted sauce with canned tomatoes and have no idea what my mom's recipe included.

This is some good sauce Tadpoles.  And easy!  Impressed the heck out of the family too - always a bonus.  I have always bought canned sauce, until this year [see above] but I am not a fan of the sweet sauces like Prego or Ragu - we would buy Hunt's spaghetti sauce and this made up sauce came close to that, but BETTER.

I realize a lot of you have been doing this for years, but before this summer I had never made my own sauce. And with money so tight I find I have to stretch what I have.  I spend, on average, about $60 per week to feed the three of us - this includes all three meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner, as  Evie and Steven both take their lunches. Thank goodness Steven likes leftovers.

I know this is probably a boring post, but I am quite pleased with myself.  I have never really considered myself a great cook - I am just someone who cooks and bakes a lot.  But that sauce? Is really, really good.

Hope you all have a fabulous Thursday. Smile loudly, life is a gift!
We'll see ya' on the flipside. Love, Janine


Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27th

 Kind of pointing out the obvious aren't I?  Yes, it's today's date.

This day has a great amount of significance to me.  For two very important reasons.

Please allow me to explain, and I hope you understand.

I will start with the best part of this date.

My girl. The daughter I wish I could have added to our [insane] family. A woman who has been with me for over a decade. Someone who makes me smile. Who makes me want to scoop her up in a warm hug and make her cocoa.  A Tadpole of such depth, intelligence and honesty that I am surprised she puts up with my stuff. And for this long? Gawd, I love the girl. I do Yvo. Hope you know that.

I give you Miss Feisty Foodie, Yvo.  Lovely, isn't she? And it's her BIRTHDAY!!!

Yes I stole your pic'. Whatcha' gonna do?

I wish her the happiest of birthdays and hope she is rocking her butt off in NYC - which, if you read her blog, she probably is.  She has amazing friends and they do the funnest stuff, with great NOSHES included.  Friends, food [and alcohol] what could be better. hee

I wish I could call you Yvo and sing [poorly you know] to you! But this is my birthday wish for you. I will never forget your birthday. . .because you are you and I love you. You are my original Tadpole. And I thank you for all you have given me over 10 years.

Now excuse me while I walk down Morose Lane. I'm sorry.
The second half of today falls on my head.

Please understand that I am not trying to take away from our beautiful Yvo, but today is also Senior's birthday.

I know, right?  For those that don't understand, Senior was my first husband. He is father to Sean [JR] and Emily [Squirrel].

He died when he was 38.  On Christmas Eve.  It was the most shocking phone call I have ever received. That memory replays in my head so often.  When I got off the phone I threw the phone at Steven I was so upset. I wasn't aiming to hit him, mind you....just wanted to get it out of my hands because it told me what I never wanted to hear.

I know you all know how tumultuous our marriage was. We were young and scared. I think, sometimes, had we just matured a bit? That he would still be alive and we would still be married. I could have saved him.

That is not said to take anything away from how very, very much I love Steven.  I do. And he understands my emptiness at Senior's death. You know that I love Steven and the blessings he has given me, he isn't a second choice, he is my WORLD - every bit of 20 years -but I had to accept a long time ago that Senior chose to leave me and the kids, when they were babies, for his drugs. That was hard.  I don't think I ever minded for me so much, but the kids?  That wasn't fair.  And what he did afterwards was horrible.

Still? I can say this. . .

He was a good man.  He had his demons. He did.  He treated me and the kids poorly during the divorce [which took so long] and the ensuing years, but I have always known it was because he had an outside influence that he was trying to make happy.


Whenever we were alone together or the three us [me, Senior and Steven] he could be himself. He was witty, kind and loving. He was the *old* Senior I loved so much.  But when the influence was around?  He could be the nastiest son of a bitch I ever met.  His eyes would blaze at me, the words would spew and the only thing that kept him from coming at me, to hit me again, was my beloved Steven, but I could see the apology, the sadness, in his eyes, that he was acting a role for the sake of it and he knew he was hurting me and the kids.  He didn't want to, he just felt he had to...I don't know why he chose what he did over them.


He was a good man.  He worked hard. I have never wanted him back since he was so cruel for so long, but? This day makes me sad.  Because he shouldn't have died so young. He shouldn't have. He had gifts to give to others, he just didn't choose me, Sean Jr or Emmy.  He would be 46 years old today.  I raise a glass to him.  He had a good heart, I never doubted that.  Otherwise I would have never married him. I have always known I have good taste, right?
 
What prompted me to include Senior in this post is because a very nice FB Tadpole, Iggy, shared this song with me this morning [without having any idea of this day] - and the line "I thought I'd see you one more time. . ." resonated with me. I really thought Senior was timeless and he would always be a part of our lives.  Mean, funny, kind or cruel? I thought he would be here.
And now? 
He isn't.

http://youtu.be/C3uaXCJcRrE

So, welcome to the roller coaster that will always be October 27th to me.  I truly don't want to take away from Yvo's day, as she is simply the best.

I love you girlie and thank you for bringing such a light to my day, everyday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Trip!

We are off this morning to take Evelyn to her first pick choice of a college, for a tour. She is so excited.
It is Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA.



We are pretty excited too. Momma not so much for the six hour round trip car ride, but I will be riding in style once we get there because we are taking the wheelchair. No way I am walking that campus. heehee

Got a pic' this weekend when the sissies met up at "Parade of Champions" at James Madison University [Emmy's school] where Evelyn and her band preformed [and yes, we are loving the pink hair :)  ]


I honestly can't believe that we have come this far and our last baby is leaving us in less than a year. I know a lot of you have already done this too, but I can't even imagine what next year is going to be like.

Okay, what else have I got today?  Oh, went on a car ride yesterday - such a gorgeous day and stumbled on this place.  SUCH a hole in the wall, but the parking lot was packed. And if I can get a grilled hamburger and french fries for less than $5 and a Coke for a buck - then this is going to be our new date night spot.  It's called Joe's Place and it is about as big as my living room.

And finally here are two memes I made for Facebook, but haven't shown here - hope you like them.


Okay - that's all I got, but I will update when we get back. I know that car ride is going to throw me into bed for a week. But y'all know me - I can post even when I am flat on my back. heehee

Hugs and love, Janine






Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Can't Believe it Went There

Yeah, health problems.

What the f*ck else is new?

I was just hoping, praying, throwing pennies in fountains that THIS would NOT happen. I am not joshing about the penny/fountain thing. I have actually prayed this wouldn't happen. And I have thrown pennies, nickels and quarters at it. We actually have a wishing fountain in Orange.

 YAY us. sigh.

And when I explain it further, you all are going to laugh. I would have. About a decade ago.
But it isn't funny.  I can imagine you thinking "REALLY Skip? You can't get through THAT?"

I suppose I have to, but I just didn't want it and it is damn near laying me flat.

The least of my problems is Rheumatoid Arthritis.  When the smallest of your worries is RA? You've got other, more serious sh*t wrong with you. RA is not to be discounted.

Trust me on this. If this was the only thing? I would whine and move along, but c'mon.

But we [Steven, me and the kids] walk through it with smiles, daisies and lollipops. As we always have. Natch.

If you read back through my blog it is very evident I have been in pain for a long time.

Let me stress that . . .A L-O-N-G time.

It surprises me when I read back.  I just thought it was normal aging and none of my doctors caught it. I guess because I "looked so good". Nice going idiots.

SO, to GET TO THE POINT. . . yes Skippy move along.

The arthritis has reached my hips.  MY HIPS. I stress that because gang? IT SUCKS.

Always having to deal with it in my hands, feet, elbows, shoulders and back [I thought my back was bad...holy crap, no....this is worse] I said to Steven time and again "Thank goodness it isn't in my hips. That would suck."

Suck evidently being my favorite word.

I am only writing this because I need to SCREAM.  I actually did the other night. I freaked Steven out when I did it.  He walked into the living room and asked "What the hell was that for?"

'Cause I am a bitch like that. I just had no other release. It hurts so much. There are no words to give him, to explain, nothing. It just hurts Tadpoles.

I curl up in my quilt, with my rosary and my Vikes' pillow and I just can't.

I am doubled over trying to get to . . .the bathroom? The bedroom? The only place I am truly comfortable is flat on my back. For an hour. And then I have to stand up, bent over...walk. And lay back down. WHAT kind of life is this? [yes, still screaming. hee]

I thought child birth was the worst thing I had ever experienced in terms of pain.

Nope. Sit in a chair for a few minutes with this pain and you will feel the need to take a really sharp knife to your legs. It's insane.

I eyeball my good knives [I have two] every single day and wonder....wouldn't that feel better? Couldn't I just stabby stab my hips?  I know that is horrible, but when you live in this kind of pain for so long, you wonder.

Sick, right? Not really.  I don't care that the medical profession has let me down. Their job is to make money and they could give a rat's ass if I get better or worse.  They don't care.

No one deserves this.

Then again no one deserves their head cut off because of ISIS. Right? I know that. I should be counting the pennies I threw in that fountain, instead of crying over this.

How ca In compare the two? To compare my simple pain to those that are being murdered because of a political agenda?

Yeah, I shame myself. I do. I really don't mean it to sound so gross and there are people dying because of genocide in other countries and Ebola and hunger in our own country. . .

But? BUT . . .I weep. I lay my head on the table and sob. I don't understand this pain. I'm sorry I don't have a better description.

This is MY WORLD now. And I don't know what to do with it. It hurts so bad to live in it.

I should be thankful tho'. I know this.

My husband gets very sad seeing me in pain We were talking about something else when he said to me "Janine we have nothing." He was talking about monetary things, as we have lost so much due to medical bills, including the cost of insurance, which we are blessed to have. But our deductibles are so high, due to me.  He doesn't want his friends to think he is a failure. He isn't. You know how I love him. But he wants so much to see me out of this pain and he can't fix it. And that makes him feel powerless.

And I hate myself for that. He is the biggest, best man I know Yet? He spends hours rubbing my joints and my head to make me calm and so I can sleep. After everything else he does.

Want to know a secret?  At night we sit next to eachother and he always reaches over and strong arms my own arm Meaning he pulls it towards him. He rubs it up and down, and if you had any idea what that does for me? You would understand. He doesn't even realize he is doing it. He is focused on the football game or golf or some such stuff. But he will reach out, grab my arm and just rub.  That's nice. If you knew how it made the everything of me feel you would understand what it means that he does it.

I did have to remind him of everything we DO have. Don't you see? I am still here. [Sometimes I tease them and say "Aren't you happy? Mom's still here." It's usually around the time I ask them to unload the dishwasher.] Steven and I have a strong, faith in God and eachother, based relationship. Our eldest is engaged to be married, the two youngest are graduating this year - a roof over our head, food in the fridge. We have it all. Don't we?

And both of us also know what we have, don't get me wrong Tadpoles.

But sometimes I wish we didn't have as much as God has given us.

It is testing everything in my world. It is a hurdle I can't get past now.

Smile loudly. Life is a gift. With a ribbon I would rather not unwrap at this point.

Sorry, not one of my better days.

Love and hugs, Janine