Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Past Knocked on my Door Tonight

It was pretty much a good thing.

Since I know my best friend [can I still call you my best friend?] Nancy is reading this I will tell the story.

My eyes are swollen.  From crying. Mostly because of happiness, but some were shed because tonight made me sad.

Now Tadpoles, I know you are all thinking "OH christ Skippy are you really going to cry AGAIN?"

Ah, no. This is different This is NANCY  You have no idea what this person means to me.

In fact, never having met her, Evelyn walked in the house tonight and saw me on the phone.  She mouthed "Em?" head shake...."Dad?" another shake of my head....and then she asked "NONI?"  [my mother in law] and I said "Hold on Nancy. ....[looking at Evie] NO! I exclaimed.

And Evie got it. It was NANCY. The Nancy I have talked about my whole life. The one who changed my world.

I can't even do this person justice, nor can I explain our conversation. Evelyn had the courtesy to make herself scarce but to [later] point out we had been on the phone for FOUR hours.

I don't talk on the phone for 4 hours in a month.

But it was NANCY. Her name rolls off my tongue like butter. Gawd I love the woman.

And yet? She told me things tonight I didn't realize growing up. She said "Perhaps we remember things differently."

I didn't argue, but I don't remember things in a convenient way. In fact some of my memories are so painful that I remember them less.  None of the involve Nancy - she was always a gift and a shining light to me. If there was one person that was SO happy I was accepted to Georgetown University, it was her.  She used to introduce me as " Georgetown" I actually started to believe that was my name. Forget "Janine LASTNAME"  I began to think it was "Janine Georgetown".

When I commented on her family [they were/are AWESOME btw] she said "I always remember you telling me how much you wanted my family."

Makes me sound horrible tho', doesn't it? Wanting another family other than my own? She went on to tell me she always knew how scared I was of my dad.  She knew I was abused. That made me cry. I hope she didn't hear that through the phone.

Please understand, I am not walking down this memory lane to address my dad. I love my dad and he did the best he could. And today it is no secret that he hit us. Our mom hit us too. It was pretty ugly and until tonight I didn't realize that any one of my friends knew. Two of my very best friends are dead and Nancy didn't call to talk about this, but it landed there tonight. I know now that my other two friends, Dana and Paul knew too.

I am also not making this about the abuse. I am passed that. It was difficult to discover that my friends knew. I am not sad that they didn't say anything - hell, who could, back then?  It wasn't so bad. I am 48 years old and my parents are gone. I am not going to cannonize them, but I am not going to bury them twice.  It was what it was.  It just surprised me that I didn't keep it the secret I thought I had. It made me feel like I let my parents down.

My parents always said "We were raised this way and we will raise you the same."

I can't tell you how hard I had to work to keep from laying a hand on my own kids. BUT I KNEW BETTER. You would think not hitting your kids would be a no brainer, but when you are hit/beaten as a little kid, it isn't. I broke the cycle because I hated being hit. I understood discipline to be a beating. And not a spanking. A full on, blow out, take a belt to my bare rear end, beating.

I thought that was discipline.
Then I married Senior and discovered he thought he needed to discipline his wife.
And that reality smacked me upside the head, on my back,  with an additional broken nose and arm. Plus a concussion.  You know the cartoons where the character sees stars after being hit in the head?  I thought that was fantasy until SR dropped me on my head - literally. I was standing on the dryer trying to find his dope stash [to flush it] and he grabbed me by my knees and upended me ON MY HEAD - and I saw stars. Floating around my head when I came to a few seconds later. They exist. Some cartoonist, somewhere was hit hard enough to draw that. I SAW stars.

I thought I deserved it. My husband was disciplining me like my parents, right:?

Hey, don't get me wrong. With SR I fought back. I called the police. I tried to leave - but when I landed a good blow, he landed a better one [as in, he knocked me out] the police told him "tsk, tsk" and told him to stay in the basement for the night. Meanwhile I was bleeding from three different parts of my body [YAY Stafford County you fucks] and when I tried to leave? SR was able to go to the welfare office and lie about what he was providing [nothing] and he didn't pay the court ordered mortgage on our home. I faced being homeless with two kids in diapers. And without food. For them.

Damn, that's depressing. I am so over it, but it bears repeating Only because I wish someone, anyone, had the strength to get me out of my house when my parents decided that 5 As and 1 B deserved a beating. [The B was in PE btw - no joke] or whatever random thing they thought they needed to take out on me, It all sounds silly this many years later. I survived, right? People have been in much worse situations and came out better than me.

I'm still here and I am a better person for it. Maybe?

I would never lay a hand on my kids now. I can't imagine what anyONE could do to warrant a smack down - short of coming after my kids or husband, then I will take you down  I have practice - but?

I just wish someone had said something. No offense to Nancy, who I hope you understand I have loved with my heart for over 30 years, But?
She was just a child, so long ago. I just didn't realize anyone knew.

To know I couldn't be hit again or that it wasn't okay?  That would have made my world so long ago.

Smile loudly. Life is a gift! Isn't it Tadpoles?  We didn't make it this far to think any different, did we?
Hugs and love, Janine

And Nancy?  I have loved you forever, I will love you for always. I am sorry if I wasn't the friend you needed when you needed me.  I am here. I will be, always.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Freak Out Your Husband

Just a short, simple story but it happened this morning and although I feel kind of bad about it. . .I did laugh.

I'm horrible, I know.


In all things Skippy, including my sketch health, I have lost my ability to balance well. It's not so bad and something I have become accustomed to, but I have a tendency to randomly . . .well . . .just fall over.

It isn't pretty, and I have done some damage this past year - but it is what it is and I usually have a family member around to cushion the blow.  Or at least to staunch the flow of blood.

This morning Steven and I had an errand to run and I knew I had to shower to go on this errand.  He also had to shower because he had to leave for work immediately after the errand was over.

We used different bathrooms to bathe, at the same time.

[Oh c'mon Tadpoles did you really think I was going to detail a shower together? I said the blog was going to change. I didn't say it was going down the pornogr*phy road, did I?]

The bathrooms are a wall apart. This means we can hear each other in the other room. YAY for shoddy 80's construction. 

While bathing, my hands became soapy and I dropped a full bottle of body wash into the tub.

BAM! Crash! and when I bent over to get it I knocked over a bottle of shampoo. BANG! I am pretty sure Steven assumed I had taken another header, this time into the porcelain.

Within seconds I heard him call "Janine! Janine! Are you okay?" and the sounds of him getting out of the tub, mid shower, to run over to me. Bless his heart, it's that mental pic' that made me laugh.

I yelled through the wall "Yes honey. Keep your towel on. I'm fine."

I don't mean to do this stuff and I don't mean to make him worry, it's just what it is.  I am very aware that this will be his reaction to sounds emanating from my bathroom when I shower alone.

It's a given I don't shower or take a bath when he isn't home. That's kind of sucky, but it's for the best - but dayum. You would think I could get through a 5 minute shower without freaking the poor guy out, right?

I was waiting for him, dressed and ready, when he came out of the shower.
His comment?  "Wrestling bears in the bath again Skip?"

You would think so, considering.

Smile loudly Tadpoles. Life is a gift, isn't it?
See you on the flipside. Love and hugs, Janine

Edited to add:  Got this email this morning after Steven arrived at work:  "You are everything to me. Even when I freak out in the shower."


Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Is Too Much Fun Not to Share

Was cruising the interwebs when I came across this short and sweet FUN game.

My ribcage already hurts from coughing, hurling and other special stuffz, so laughing was just an added bonus this morning, right?

You're going to like it - and HEY! I am posting on a Saturday, while sick with a cold, flu, death - so suck up and play along.

Okay? Okay...heehee

Here's the deal.
Go to Google
Type in your name and add the word "needs".

In my case?  "Janine needs"

Hit enter and then write down the first five you see.

Now, Janine isn't that common of a name and I only got one.

It said "Janine needs a dollar."

I was, like, "Yes, yes I do. About a million. But let's start there."

So. . . I moved onto Skippy.

Bwahahaha - THIS was SO much better.

I received the following:

Skippy needs help. [No kidding.]
Skippy needs back surgery.
Skippy needs sleep badly. [Are they stalking my blog? And no, this wasn't a link here, surprisingly]
Skippy needs a foster home.  [Yep, Steven is rehoming me. Takers?]

And my favorite?

Skippy needs a girl.


Turns out my nickname is quite popular with male dogs, hence ALL of the lisitngs above.

But when you think of them in terms of a 48 y.o. stay at home mom it is pretty funny, isn't it?

I hope you all play and share the results.  Because you know if you don't I am just going to do it for you and then? All bets are off. ::wink::

Thank you Jen from Jen But Never Jenn for the idea.

Smile loudly Tadpoles. Life is A Gift.

And so are tissues and cherry cough drops.
See ya' on the flipside!
Love and hugs, Janine

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Still Kicking

I will be back with a new post soon.  Evie has been sick with a respiratory infection. She is on the mend [YAY!] tho' I have discovered that I caught it.

No worries, I just wanted to say "Hey!" and let you know what's up.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes they really made my day!

Love and hugs, Janine

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blue Skies

[Repost from Sept 11, 2011]

Who can forget the blue skies? It was the prettiest of days.

September 11, 2001.

I have mixed emotions about writing this post.  As much as I want to honor our country and remember those we have lost, I don't want to remember.

But?  I will never forget.  No one that witnessed it will ever forget, I think.

That morning I had walked our older children to the bus stop to attend elementary school.  I gathered up Wallene and went home to settle in and finish watching "Good Morning America" with a nice cup of tea.  Usual morning routine, right?  Just like everyone else in the world.

Or so we thought.

I remember sitting on the couch, with Wallene [who was 4] standing between my legs, playing with blocks on the coffee table and me trying to protect my cuppa' from her when all of a sudden Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson broke into their story to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It was shortly before 9 am and the pictures they were showing were horrifying. The smoke. It was terrible.

The one thing I never did [and still don't] was call Pooldad at work unless it is an emergency.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing, but that day?  I did call him.  I told him that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers, but they thought [and so did I] that it was just an accident. A misguided pilot or a malfunction or something else.

As bad as that would've been, I still think to this day - To have been right. 

As I talked to him on the phone, with my eyes glued to the television, I watched in horror as the second plane hit the other tower and explode. I gasped.

My husband asked, "Skip...what?"

I whispered into the phone, "Oh my God Pooldad.  This isn't an accident.  They are doing this intentionally." And I started to cry. Silent tears.  I had a pre schooler perched between my legs, playing and being hysterical wasn't my option, I suppose.

We got off the phone so Pooldad could turn on the radio at work and we could make sense of what was going on.

I was in shock. The images. It was surreal.

I knew I needed to run to the little corner store for supplies, so I popped Wallene in her carseat and drove down the winding roads to the shop, all the while the radio was on.  As I crested the hill on that bright, sunny day I heard from the DJ "The Tower has fallen."  I started to cry harder. Again silent tears, but the tears that fell felt like a river. My shirt was getting wet from the amount. Up until that point I don't think I had ever cried that hard in my life.

I walked into the store with Wallene and saw the owner, who we knew well. He asked me what the heck was wrong.  I had no words.  I couldn't believe he didn't know by this point.  I stuttered out, "The Tower fell."  He responded, "What Tower?"  I just asked him to turn on the radio and grabbed my milk and left.

When Wallene and I arrived home I put her in her room to play so I could turn the news back on.  I didn't want her to see the destruction and the pain, the chaos.  I watched the tower fall again. And again. And again. Replay.

Then, suddenly, I saw that the Pentagon had been hit.  Wow.  My heart fell to my feet. I had no words.

You have to understand, at the time Pooldad worked in Arlington, where the Pentagon is located and his office was within 30 seconds flying time of that plane - less than five miles driving.  I was sick.  Not only were terrorists killing innocent people, but my husband and all our friends [his co workers] were in and around DC.  If the next plane they were using missed their target and arbitrarily hit a part of Arlington?  My chest still tightens up at the thought.

Then Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I was panicked.

I tried to call him, but no luck.  It would be a long time before we knew they had grounded all the planes and that no other crashes were going to occur. I wanted so much to go to my kids' school and bring them home, but they were on a lock down and it was impossible. I held out hope that they would be well taken care of and safe.  I felt so hopeless and alone.  My only comfort my 4 year old baby.

I found out later that Pooldad had called all of his men back to the office.  Since Washington DC was on shutdown it took forever for them to get back, but thank goodness they were all safe.  Work, swimming pools, the mundane was no longer important that day.  Everyone thought of the attacks and their loved ones.  Everyone left and attempted to get home.

Pooldad arrived home sometime later that day and I have never been so happy to see him. We held eachother for a long time and I just cried.

The next few days we only watched the television when the kids weren't around.  We even hid the newspaper.  They were so young, we didn't want them to know what was happening - the terror, the pain, the hate. There was no reason to subject them to it. 

I discovered a few years later that none of the kids had ever seen the footage of the Towers falling until they were in their teens. I thought the schools would've shown it before then, but no. When Squirrel saw it for the first time, with me, it about broke my heart.  The tears on her face. She said "Mom, is that how it really happened?  How did you and Dad handle it with us around all the time? How did we not know?"

I didn't have an answer.

This is just my memory of that day.  I write it because I know Pooldad will remember and maybe to share with my kids our memories that we hid from them on that day. And why.

I also write this to honor all of the people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001 - the innocent, the firefighters and policemen trying to save lives and those on Flight 93 that kept that plane from Washington DC, sparing so many more lives while sacrificing their own.

And our troops. Thank you for keeping us safe all these long ten years. I hope you all come home safe. Soon.

To all of you. Thank you.  Truly.  Thank you.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Meals In One

I would never make it as a food blogger. I absolutely suck at taking pictures, but I love to cook - and the family thinks I am pretty good at it.

I am also good at trying to stretch things out to make more than one meal out of something.

I spent $107 at the grocery store 11 days ago. Those groceries have to make it to this weekend. That is our budget, for three. It includes milk, juice, eggs, cheese, meat [chicken, pork, sausage, bacon and lunchmeat]. Plus cereals, beans, rice, veggies, it and we were out of it.  This budget covered breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also had to buy baking supplies for cookies, breads, pie crusts etc. Yeast, butter and lard ain't cheap folks. ::grin:: And yes, I do use lard in some of my recipes.  Sue me.

As they say. . .Old Mother Hubbard's cabinets were bare Tadpoles. Bare.

One of the things I bought was a 6 lb chicken for $6.00.  I am fortunate that I only have to feed 3 people now, and that my husband will happily eat leftovers.

That 6 pounder garnered me three awesome meals.  And here is where I fail at the pic' part of blogging. I neglected to take many pics, but I have a few.

On Thursday I boiled the chicken with the ends of celery, carrots and onion.  You know all those leftover pieces you don't use to feed the family, but don't want to throw away?  Those.

When it was done cooking I strained it, tossing out the cooked veggies and let the chicken cool.  I put 2 cups of the delicious broth in tupperware and placed that in the fridge for a future dinner.

I picked the chicken into three bowls.  Wow - did I get a lot of chicken off this bird.  I put two cups of chunked white meat in the fridge with the broth and ground up a mix of white and dark to use later too. That went in the fridge.

With the remaining plethora of chicken meat, both white and dark chunk, I made a big 'ol pot of chicken and dumpling strips with potatoes in the remaining broth.  Since we don't eat meat on Fridays, Steven took different leftovers for lunch, but we had dinner twice off this meal because it made so much we ate it Thursday and Sunday. So good. [no pic' of that - but I have been making it for over 25 years so I am sure y'all have seen a pic' somewhere.]

Next up was Saturday night and I made tuna, chicken and egg salad stuffed in large pasta shells over shredded romaine lettuce with roma tomatoes. We were gifted with fresh eggs from our neighbor's chickens and boy-o that was some good egg salad.

This platter I did manage a pic' of:

I did set the table with forks and knives but we discovered these were so much easier to eat with our fingers. So tasty.

For the final meal I used the two cups of chicken broth to make gravy [with flour, butter and milk] and tossed in the chunked chicken and a mix of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I put it in a homemade pie crust and TA DA - we had chicken pot pie. This is one of the family's favorites and so good. I was tired last night so I used my stand mixer to make the pie crust - and let me tell you gang - I'm not ever going back to making this by hand again. Sooooo easy.

I managed a pic' of this too - but didn't take one of it cut to show the yummy goodness inside.

I also made Evelyn her favorite Lemon Meringue Pie. I found the recipe in "Southern Living" from 1990 - and it is the best pie recipe I have ever used. If you follow the directions it is fail proof.

My week is ending with Evelyn's birthday tomorrow. And you know our rule - you get what you want to eat including breakfast, lunch, dinner and cake.
No doubt I will be making kinklings tomorrow morning [anyone want to join me at 3 am to start the dough? No? Thanks! heehee]

For lunch she asked for a tortilla roll sandwich, chips and salsa and veggies. Dinner is this silly thing I made up a few years ago - desperation thy name is Skippy - using leftovers I  made homemade scallop potatoes with ham and peas tossed in and baked.  Sometimes I have to laugh at what my family likes best, because that meal is truly one I thought we would eat once and it wouldn't make the menu, but they love it. I'll make yeast rolls to go with that too and for dessert it's a carrot nut birthday cake with cinnamon icing. I made cupcakes like this earlier in the week - another first time recipe for me - and it was a hit, so she picked that because we ended up giving most of the cupcakes away. They want more! :)

Thank goodness I don't have to lift a finger for her party on Saturday. We are throwing her a "Sweet 17" party since last year she didn't have a birthday as we had just moved 100 miles from all her friends and didn't know a soul here.  It's at a local burger joint - Wise Guys - where she actually works now.. :)  It promises to be fun. The owner is a [master] chef - and he is making Evelyn's cake in the shape of a shark because he likes her so much. Plus burgers, dogs and sandwiches. Oh, and the best fries ever. I promise to have pics of that. :)

Okay, okay - enough food talk. I am tired just thinking about it.  I will add tho' that tonight is homemade pizza [crust and sauce] and a salad. Finally. . .a super easy night.

Smile loudly Tadpoles. Life is a gift.
Thank you for everything. Love and hugs, Janine

Monday, September 1, 2014

So Many Words, So Few Synapses Firing

I have so much to share Tapdpoles and I don't even know where to begin.

It's not that any of it's important - it's all basically b.s stuff happening in our pond now - but I always feel like this is one big coffee clatch, wine party, bar fest [take your pick - notice two involve alcohol tho'. giggle ]

It's as tho' I just want to catch you up on our week, month....year, because anything written going forward won't make much sense without the context of now.  In turn I want to know what's going on in your worlds too.

Make sense? No?   Well, when do I? ::wink::

Let me tell you the goofy thing I did last night. Goofy enough to result in a "DUH, that was STUPID Janine" type of wound.  Laugh with me.

Steven and I went to a Tiki Bar party last night. It was at a friend's home, a friend I went to High School with and hadn't seen in over 30 years.  It was nice to get the invite and as I don't get out much I spent a lot of time getting ready for the [very casual] party.  Tack on at hour car ride each way and you might appreciate just how exhausted I was when we arrived home last night.

Fell into bed, faceplanted on my [beloved Vikings] pillow and BOOM! Skippy was out for the count. I didn't even take off my make up or my boots.  Thankfully Steven thought to undress me and tuck me in. Yay for cool husbands. I am pretty sure he behaved himself, but who knows? I was exhausted. I could feasibly be pregnant with our 7th child and not realize it - that is how passed out I was. [TMI?, not really. giggle]

I woke up around 10:30 and here started the problem. I don't sleep in the MBR.  Due to pain and illness we have found that it is better that I sleep in Emily's room. She is off at college but her furniture is still here. I normally get up every hour and sometimes the pain is so bad I am hopping around the room or simply crying into my pillows.  But last night I woke up in the MBR. Thinking I was in Emily's room.  I have no idea why Steven and I decided last night was a good night to toss me in the MBR bed, but hey! We did.

Not good. Not good at all. As I came to discover.

The MBR has a bath attached.. Emily's room doesn't.  I have to walk out Em's door straight down the hall into the second bath.  When I got out of bed and went looking for the door out of the room I thought I was in, [after much stumbling and groping of molding] I found the door. Except it was the door to the MBR bathroom.  I was so out of it I didn't notice this door opened out, when I know Em's door opens in.  I stumbled through the door and started to walk straight forward thinking I had 10 steps to get to the what I assumed was the second bathroom door.

Nope.  I got about six steps and nailed the toilet with my shin. CRACK!

Pretty sure that was the point I woke up. Gawd. I felt so stupid.  In my defense it was dark in that room. We are in a banana moon cycle - so no moonlight to light up our room - and it is DARK in the country Tadpoles. Damn is it dark out here.

So, after scavenging some clothes, I rocked the homeless look and I limped my way into the living room. I asked Steven "Just what the hell did you do to me?"  [Always blame the husband if you can heehee] He smiled and said "What did you do this time J?"  Oh nothing. Just one more wound to add to my list of stupid things I have done.

I got no sympathy - but a great looking bruise on my shin.  Bones and porcelain are not friends. Not friends at all.

See what I mean about not knowing what to talk about or what to share?  THIS is what I decide is a good blog fodder. Sigh.

I would like to point out [after reading this to myself - proofreading FTW!] there was no alcohol involved in this escapade. It sounds as though there was, but honestly?  I was just bone tired.  Sober and exhausted.

It probably would make a heckuva' lot more sense had I imbibed at the Tiki Bar party. :) And I have to give a big round of applause to my buddy Doug who threw the party - I haven't seen a bar that stocked since I was last in a bar. Wow! There was a lot of liquor at this party. I can only imagine what occurred after we left.

Well, that's all I got for a Monday morning.  Hope y'all have a great week. School starts tomorrow and Evelyn and Tucker's birthdays are this week! YAY! Plus my brother in law's birthday and my in laws wedding anniversary.  Yep, busy week.

I think I need to go back to bed.  This time I going back to Emmy's room. I stand a better chance of finding my way out. heehee

See ya' on the flipside! Smile loudly - LIFE IS A GIFT!

Love and hugs, Janine