Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tadpoles We Have a Winner!

And her name is Wallene!


For yet another year Wallene has entered her photography and art work in the Orange County, VA fair.

This year she entered 10 pictures, 2 pieces of art and 1 collage.


She won 7 first place ribbons, 3 second place and a participant ribbon simply because no one competed in her age range [15 - 19 yo] in that catergory [watercolor/pen]. 

Them's pretty good results - 10 for 13? - YAY!


She has always done well in her previous age category [11 - 14 yo]. This year we knew she was up against some pretty hot competition being one of the youngest participants at 15 yo in this new age group.

BAH! What? Me worry?

[Yes, actually - I was sick thinking this would be so awful considering all that has been going on if she didn't at least place in one category.]

We couldn't be happier for her.  We are all floating in the clouds over this.

Our little girl does not disappoint - here are the winning entries:


Charcoal/Mixed media

This is Duchess [our deer] on *our* golf course.
They actually have a category just for deer in photography.

She also earned a free 3 day pass to the fair.  [Saved us $30. ::grin::]

Now, how do you think her chances are in the apple pie contest on Saturday?  Yeah, me too. hee

Hope you don't mind my little [okay, okay BIG] bragfest but Wallene really needed and deserved this boost. She's a good kid with, we feel, a lot of talent.  It's nice to have others appreciate her too.

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles.  I can't stop smiling. Hugs and love, Janine

PS - I wrote this super fast because I am almost out of internet. I will recharge it tomorrow. Sorry for the poor pic quality and any misspellings/poor grammar. It's ME! I am so excited. I had to share. WOOHOO!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Who Doesn't Love the Mail Lady?


Catchy title isn't it?  Yeah, I thought so.  Still, this post has a very real, very important purpose.

I am writing this in honor of a very special Tadpole and friend to us all -

Juli of "Surviving Boys". [see link below]

Jules and I have been friends for a few years, and I can't quite remember how we met.  I am sure it involved tracking her down and stalking her on my part.

Because, really, who can resist the blog title "Surviving Boys"?

Yep. Me either.

Besides being a wonderful Mom, a loving [and quite patient, hee] spouse, she is hysterical, loving, giving and as the title implies - a mail carrier.  In the Northeast.

Here is the really important part of this post:

Jules is embarking on the Susan G. Komen 3 Day [Walk for Breast Cancer].  She leaves this Friday, July 26, and will be walking 20 miles each day.  She will be sleeping in a tent with a stranger, eating camping style with thousands of other women and men, and managing the due diligence of Port-A-Potties.

[Could you do this? I couldn't. No way. No how.]

She is doing all to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pre Screening and Testing, not to mention the Hope for a Cure.

Now, I ask you, Tadpoles - HOW COOL IS SHE?!  ::skippyhappydance::

Y'all do such a spectacular job of supporting me through everything [Jules included] and I thought it would be nice if we could all take a moment this week and pop over to give her a word of encouragement. Y'know, a little bit of love on what is sure to be an incredibly emotional and rewarding weekend for her.

It's what we do best Tadpoles.  That's why we're all friends, eh?

So if  you get a chance - give her a shout -  Here is the link I picked as it talks about her upcoming walk:
 Juli at Surviving Boys

Although, if you haven't met her yet, you are going to want to hang around and read her archives too. They are that good. It's a day well spent.

On a personal note I just want to say: 

Jules, thank you.
You amaze me with your bravery and perseverance through it all.
No matter what, YOU get it done.

And girl? You done good.

Love always, Janine

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles. Smile loudly. Life is a gift! Jules is proving it! xo JG

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finally, Some Good News

At least as far as our house hunting is going.

I just received an email from our realtor that the house Steven, Wallene and I really, really want is finally back on the market. Seems the contract that beat us out has fallen through. WOOHOO!

[Okay, not nice to celebrate someone else's misfortune, but perhaps he just backed out? I'm going with that.]

It's not that it is such an amazing house, but it is the house that is right for us, now and in the future.

It is going to take a lot of DIY to make it our own, but if we are blessed enough to be able to purchase us, the possibilities will be endless.

Here is a picture that Wallene took with Ozcarz looking like he belongs to this house:

Say it with me "Wish, wish, wish!" and try and think good thoughts, 'cause Ozcarz - he really wants to live there too.

If we do end up getting the house I promise full details later, but for right now I am praying hard that this all comes to fruition.

Have a great Sunday Tadpoles!  See ya' on the flipside.! xo Janine

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Seriously People?

Okay, this is just weird.


And notice I didn't say "Tadpoles". I said "People"

[so you are totally off the hook. ::giggle::

Here's the thing. . . .I was talking to a Tadpole today [like, on the phone and all that!] and she was lamenting that she would get 800 page views but no comments.

I felt bad, because her blog is so filled with love and well written.  She deserves the comments.

Hey, I only pick the best, right? ::grin:: I did try to explain to her that sometimes people come around, read and just don't comment.

Now, me?  I don't read my stats. I hardly know how many posts I have or page views or even where people come from.

I don't really care.

I know many of you do. And that is so cool.  I am sure it is a fun past time to see what's going on.

Oh, and I don't stalk. I hate that.  And I know some bloggers that will write "I know he/she was here. I saw on my blog counter."

Okay, EWWWW. No.  Don't do that. Stalker.

So, back to the conversation with Mish today.  I told her the only time I saw how many page views I had was when I published a new post.  You get the page that leads you to "View blog". And you can scan down and see. You guys know what I mean right? It's on the right hand side.  And I average....maybe 35 or 40 page views a day. And sometimes I get a half dozen comments. I might get 10 or 12.  It depends.

As much as your comments thrill me [they do!], I am not a numbers gal.  You guys know me and I just love that my friends come around to read this dribble.  And cheer me up and give me advice when I am failing in the whole mother/wife/life thing.

I love you Tadpoles.
Still. I don't count anything.


Wait for it. . .


Y'know the post I wrote about the "pre nup" - the whole "I can't have a swimming pool, but he should've asked for me to be musically uninclined?"

Tadpoles -  I got 354 page views on that.


You would have to add the entire month of "I Make Soap" June views together to get that many page views. 


And that?  That's just wrong. 

I know "Pre Nup" was in the title, but really? C'mon.

What is this world coming to?  It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

And Mish?  I swear. It has always been 30 -45  page views.  I was as shocked as I know everyone is right now.

Hugs Tadpoles. 
It's not the greatest week right now for me. 
But I am trying.

Smile Loudly. Being alive is a gift. xo Janine

Life Is So Much Easier. . .

. . .when people don't lie.

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 15, 2013

You Should've Signed A Pre Nup Sparky

Steven always told me that when we were married he would give me the "sun, the moon and the stars."

What he also told me was I had to agree to never ask for a swimming pool.  A swimming pool adjacent to any home we ever owned.

Y'all do know that his nickname Pooldad has a purpose?
Right. hee

[I know you do. That was just for any new Tadpoles paddling in, you understand.]

I have held fast to this promise and have never asked.  In turn I have pretty much received all he promised.

However, I did not realize that my lovely husband has a huge pet peeve.

It is something I do for extended amounts of time and I will look up occasionally to find him shaking his head and handing me a new, better set of headphones. 

And mouthing to me "Just WEAR them."

When I met Steven he had a side job as a DJ.  One of our great loves and something we share intimately is our love of music.  He is a walking encyclopedia of music [and a huge fan of CW at Tilting at Windmills, as am I. Visit. You'll see why.]  He loves that I know darn near as much as him in the music department and is sometimes astounded that I will sing along to songs he picks to play.

Yeah, I am all that. Dontcha' know? ::grin::

I do have one terrible habit tho'.

[Okay,I have several bad habits, but let's concentrate on just the one in this post, shall we?]

I can get hooked on one album or one band/singer and play them incessantly over a series of hours, days, weeks. . . well. . . let's just say. . . the latest has been going on for almost two months.

He is being very generous these days, taking into consideration the tenuous nature of . . .me.

But even I know he wishes he had allowed me the swimming pool and had asked instead that I limit my playing of *Adele* to just an hour a day.
On every third day. 
During the second week of each alternating month.

I can't help it.

But, hey, the newest pair of headphones are pretty sweet.

Have a great Monday Tadpoles.  See ya' on the flipside. xo Janine

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Family Video

Wallene made me this video shortly before we moved from Sterling a few months ago.

It was her first attempt at video making, using our pictures [most of them from this blog] and music.

I could [and have] watch[ed] this video 10 times a day.

There are a few hiccups [like the crotch shot which makes no sense whatsoever] and at one point it looks like an advertisement for Coca Cola, but we get it.

I hope you like it too.

Happy Sunday. Smile Loudly Tadpoles. Life is a Gift. xo Janine

Saturday, July 13, 2013

For The Low, Low Price of 180 Bucks. . .

. . .You too can have internet for a whole month.


Yes, that is what it cost us to have an internet connection out here in the sticks.

$6 a day.

Really Verizon? I mean. . .::sound of screaming::. . .180 dollars?

And it isn't as tho' it is a luxury as we first thought when we moved here. You know, a treat,  just to have to listen to music or blog.  We do so much on the internet including, but not limited to, finding a new home and all the mortgage paperwork.  We find homes faster than our realtor and although the mortgage paperwork is done, they seem to always want more.  So.  .  .

It is a necessity for now.

Unfortunately we can't bundle a package with Dish Network and get a less expensive connection [oh, and cable] because that requires a contract and we aren't going to be here that long.  And they won't allow us to transfer when we do move.

Mind you, I am not complaining. We are very fortunate that we can even get internet out here and we can afford it.

But $180 is almost double what the initial package of internet/cable/phone cost in our old home.

That amount is my household budget [groceries, cleaning products, etc.] for two weeks.  That is gas for Ozcarz for Steven to take him to work for 10 days.

I have promised myself that there are two things I absolutely refuse to have in our new home and the first is natural gas. That is an whole 'nother story, but Washington Gas is the only provider in this part of Virginia and the company is criminal. I won't deal with them.

And, of course, Verizon.  Even if they were the only game in town where we are moving to I will go without and just use the free wi fi at the coffee shop or the library.

Okay Tadpoles. Another Saturday has dawned bright and sunny cloudy and overcast and our agenda is full.

Thanks for lifting my spirits and keeping them high. I truly appreciate it.

Hope y'all have a great weekend and we'll see ya' on the flipside. xo Janine

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wallene's New Tattoo

Don't judge.
Read the whole post and see why.....
It's a full leg dragon.
It wraps all the way around.
Look at her smile. She loves it!
I thought the artist did a nice job on the color and shading.
It was done a few weeks ago.

Pretty, right?
Raise your hand if you just gasped.
::Teasing::  I'm crazy, but haven't gone batshit insane [yet.] 
That is obviously not a tattoo on my 15 year old daughter.
I thought Wallene did a nice job with her paint markers.
And since it looked so much like a tattoo I thought I would share. 
And freak y'all out a little.
"Oh, Skippy's gone around the bend. What is she thinking out there in the sticks?" I can just imagine y'all thinking.
It was such a nice piece of art I let Wallene wear shorts to the grocery store the next day.   I guess full leg tatoos on teenagers are de riguer out here because no one so much as batted an eye.  She even received a few compliments and smiles.
And no one gets to say "Oh, I knew that wasn't a tattoo at first glance."  You know you had to look twice to confirm it wasn't. ::giggling::
Oh, c'mon. Let a girl have her fun.
Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend.  Smile loudly. Life is a gift.
See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles. xo Janine
P.S.  That is not a dress Wallene is wearing in the pics. It is a top. She scooched her shorts up to show the dragon.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ozcarz Can Do it All

Yesterday Wallene got caught up at the pool during a thunderstorm.  She was a able to go inside the General Store to wait it out, but that took quite a while.

When the thunder finally let up Wallene texted me that she was going to ride her bike home. Problem was it was still raining and I could sense that perhaps the thunder hadn't quite stopped.

She knew since I didn't have the van that I was unable to pick her up, but as I am wont to do I didn't really want her biking the two miles back home in the rain.

I met her half way from home and told her we would leave her bike in the neighborhood gazebo and Daddy could get it when he came home.

Then I thought better of it.

I would like to think no one would steal her bike, but we live in such a sparsely populated neighborhood inside a resort community I wasn't too sure about the vacationers maybe thinking it was a free bike to "borrow".

So I popped the hatch, laid down the seats as best I could, put a towel over the bumper and. . .

Now Ozcarz thinks he is all bad azz. 
And also that he is now a cargo van. ::grinning::

Wallene didn't want me to lift the bike in there, but I told her better me than her if my new car was going to get scratched I would have to do it.

Don't ask me how I did it, but I love my daughter [and my car] too much to let anything happen to them. [Yes, I love Wallene a whole lot more. But you have to admit, Ozcarz is kinda cute.]

Since it was raining again this morning [Surprised? me too. natch.] Steven left me the van.

Wallene can put her own bike in Murphy.

Hope you are having a wonderful Thursday. Only one more day until the weekend! Woohoo!

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles. xo Janine

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

'Cause All the Fun Moms Say Yes

It's beginning to get a little biblical here. 

Except instead of it raining for 40 days and 40 nights - we are approaching 75 days of rain, with only 2 out of the 75 being sunshiney.

That's some serious rain Tadpoles.

So when my daughter asked me if she could take a shower in the rain I said "Sure. Why not?"

Of course Steven thinks we're both nuts.

But what else are you going to do with this much flippin' rain? 

Have a lil' fun I say! 


Yes. Mom took the pic'.
I know.
Not as good as Wallene's,
but you get the idea.
Next up? We're building an ark.  'Cause I think we're going to need one.
Have a great one Tadpoles. Thanks so much for everything. See ya' on the flipside. xo Janine
P.S. After reading the comments - yes it would be a great water saving idea, but we're on a well. That I am pretty sure is never going to run dry at this point. hee  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Expectations, They Are High

I know why I am angry. Or better, why I became so angry the other night.

Oh, and for what it is worth - I am not angry anymore.

But. . .Saturday was Steven's 57th birthday.  Knowing our family [and me] y'all realize this involves food.  Serious food.  Made from scratch. All day.

Steven and I were laughing in the weeks leading up to Father's Day because, as is custom in our home, he was trying to pick what he wanted for that day's dinner. And lunch. And breakfast.  The list was a page long before we started crossing things off.

But for his birthday dinner?  There is only one choice.  Fried chicken. Specifically my fried chicken. And white chocolate mousses pie for his birthday "cake".

The beautiful part is he cut up the chickens and after I made the flour/spice mixture Wallene coated it all.  But only one person can fry it and that is me.  Frying chicken and making pie takes some serious stand up time.

In the old days, no problem.  Now, as I explained to a Tadpole this morning, I do my best work in the mornings, start to fade by noon and I am toast by dinner time.

And I know if I work too hard one day, the next day will be a complete and utter wash. I will be unable to do a thing.

I can't accept this.  I just can't. And I don't know why I don't get it.

Instead of doing all of the work first thing in the morning I decided to make a huge breakfast instead.  French toast, sausage, eggs and fried potatoes.

They loved it.

I felt great.
I figured I could do it all. 
It was working.
Not so much.
By the time dinner rolled around the pain was such I couldn't stand upright to serve.

And Steven even made his world class potato salad, so it wasn't like I had a whole lot else to do for dinner and dessert. And Wallene just kept cleaning the kitchen.  I only had to do it one time.

They like to help. They want to help.
Y'all want to help.
Y'all get that they want to help.

Why do I not get this?  Why don't I realize that I can no longer do my job, a job that I love and take seriously?

The things is, I DO get it.  I know it.
I just don't want to know it. Or acknowledge it.

And I damn sure don't want to accept it.

Funny thing is, I have never felt like a stubborn person.  I hold fast to my convictions and beliefs, but stubborn isn't really me.  I also don't feel like a control freak.  Sometimes when I mention wanting to control my life I will get a random comment like "Well, that's the control freak in  you."

No, no it's not.  It's the need to keep a stability in my life that I am comfortable with and makes me happy.  Like it used to be.

That's not being stubborn or controlling. It is just my desire to have things the way they were.

I am tired of false hope. I am weary from the glimmer of what I used to be able to get done. What I could do that I can't anymore.

I LOVE being a Mom. I LOVE being Steven's wife.  But with all my tasks and responsibilities being taken over for me, what does that leave me?

A very empty soul.  Who gets angry that she can't grab it back. And doesn't see a future that includes her.

I don't yell at God. Heck, I don't even question him. I simply pray that things will get better.  But, I understand that God only gives you what you need and not necessarily what you want.

I know what I want.  I just have to accept that I truly have all I need*.  Right?

Thanks again for listening Tadpoles.  We'll see you on the flipside. xo Janine

*except some kick ass pain meds ::grin::

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dinner Is Ready

I got angry tonight.
Angry at the pain.
Angry at the nausea.
Angry over something simple.

I am angry at me for being angry.

I said to Steven and Wallene, "I am going outside. Please. Do not bother me."

Wallene just walked out onto the porch to announce that dinner was ready.

I looked at her and asked "I asked to be left alone. Correct?'"

Ugly, right?

The idea of eating right now makes me want to throw up.
Hang my head over the rail and heave all the bile that is in my stomach, because I know that is all that is left.

My anger makes me want to throw up.

I wanted to be left alone.

Then Steven walked out and kissed me and said "Dinner's ready."


Am I speaking Swahili to my family?

I asked to be left alone.
I knew I was going to break. 

When is this going to end?

Can anyone tell me...

ANYONE tell me when this is going to end?

On the menu tonight [as my stomach churns typing this] is steamed shrimp, bacon cheddar potato skins, salad and potato salad. [We call it appetizer dinner - and made by Steven.]

Who wouldn't want to eat this?


I hate remission medication Sundays.

I try and it is just never good enough.


I spend the entirety of my days apologizing not being able to control my body.

I watch as my life spins out of control late in the day. 

And I can't grab it back.

I want me to come home.

Not a glimpse.
Not a hope.
Not for that one magic hour in the morning when I have finally had a good night's sleep. 

I want the whole of ME.

I want to stop talking about this.
I want to stop thinking I can cook dinner when I can't.
I want to stop thinking I can do more laundry than I should.
I want to forget that driving my car is going to cause me pain.

I want to stop asking my family to bend down to get something for me because I can't.

I want them to hear me.

I want someone to hear me.

Who am I?

I am weary of making excuses for what I think I can control. 
The things that I know look ugly to them.
The things that scare them.

I am so sorry for the pain in their eyes.

I am sick with the idea I can't accept that I shouldn't be doing these things.
With the knowledge that it isn't my fault.

But isn't it?

My fault?

Where did me go?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

57 Is Looking Especially Spectacular On You Sweetheart

You are turning 57 years old today.
I could write 1,000 words in this post regarding how wonderful I know you are.
But I think everyone already kinda' knows that too, eh?
I will sum it up in 6 simple words,
because they enter my head every time I see you,
hear your voice.
Every time I think of you,
I know. . .
I am a very blessed woman.
I truly know this.
Happy Birthday my Sweetheart.
I could not have survived nor thrived these past 18 years without you.
Thank you.
I love you.
So very much.
So much more than you will ever know.
You are my hero.
xo Janine
P.S.  Now may I please have the Queen of Clubs back? I really need to play that card.  giggle

P.S.  And to continue our music challenge game and before I forget, how's this? 
I miss you.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Genocide And Dead Puppies

As a Tadpole you know I have a darn good reason for putting such a depressing title up there, don't you?

This is not a depressing post. I promise.

And no, this isn't about those things. They are horrible and worse than anything I ever want to experience, but they have come up in conversation lately.  No details in the conversations, just the two terms.

Again, as always, please bear with me.

And if you are anyone who Googled those words, well, you're in the wrong place and you don't belong here.
Move along.

As it is, I need to start at the end and go backwards. . .you'll see the point in a moment.
Maybe you won't get it, but we do, and well. . .

I walked into the living room tonight and asked the girls:

"How far into Bloggerdom Hell do you think I would fall if I wrote a post called 'Genocide and Dead Puppies'."

They both giggled. 
They are the reason why I asked.  And they both knew it. 

Squirrel, still laughing at the question, replied:

 "Don't they have a blogger purgatory?  How long is that? Like, 10 years?"

I don't know, but I responded that if purgatory did exist in bloggerdom she would be praying my stories out of it for a long time.

 Here is how this all came about -

I have spasms that are painful. 
They can come about from nothing.
Or something. 
Or many things.

They can be triggered by driving, unloading the dishwasher, spending too long in the grocery store or rolling over in bed.
Feeding the dog.

These are severe cramps where my muscles seize up and my joints lock, or my diaphragm becomes caught up under my ribs [that one is the absolute worst kind].

To give you an example, tonight  I ate a wonderful dinner with my family and at the end of it I rose to walk into the bathroom [to, um, yeah, go to the bathroom]. As I stood up both of my thumbs locked into my palms. I looked double jointed.

I had to call Steven to come quick to rub my hands just so I could relieve the "stuckness" in order to pull my skirt down.  You trying pulling your skirt down without thumbs.  While in pain. Not happening.

They are sort of bad.

But, the worst are the ones that lock up my diaphragm. 
I can't relieve that pain. 
Steven can't relieve that pain.
The doctors aren't listening.
And either don't want to relive it or don't care.

In order to try and get rid of that worst pain. . .

Mental pic' time:

I run around the room with my arms flailed out, on my tip toes, trying to get it to stop.

I have often thought of dropping to my knees when this happens, just from the sheer pain, but it would only seize my toes, or thigh muscles.  I try not to add to it.

The worst part is there is really only one thing that makes that diaphragm pain happen.

It's laughter. 

My family, friends, your blog posts - whatever I find funny - I start that heinous laugh of mine, full belly guffawing - and suddenly I am running around like I am trying to gain flight.

Now, knowing me, my family and all of you - how badly do you think this sucks? 

I LOVE to laugh and everyone I just mentioned is the gift I have been given to bring me my joy and that laughter.

Janine, c'mon, where is the not depressing part of this?. . .get to it. 

Hear ya'.

The kids and I have a trick where, when I seize from laughing, and I can't stop [it happens a lot] while I am trying [unsuccessfully] to hide the spasm and not let them know [again unsuccessfully], and I am hopping around the room I call out to them:

"Quick, quick!!! Tell me something sad. Hurry!! Really depressing. Just so I can stop laughing at what you just said [or did]"

I do laugh that hard.
When this pain starts I need to stop.
The laughter.
I can't unstick what is stuck if I don't.

Here's where the title post reference comes in [and y'all said you liked long posts, here ya' go]

Wallene's first choice when she said something that had me falling out of the chair laughing the other day was:

"Mom. Mom....think DEAD PUPPIES."

Dead puppies do suck and they are so, so, so sad.

But me?

I started to laugh harder.
I couldn't help it because, honestly?


I have never seen a dead puppy, never want to see a dead puppy and well, sorry. . .her delivery was so serious I found it comical.  She had a quiver on the corner of lip too, because she knew it so didn't work.

I spent a while in the shower over that.
Sitting on the floor.

Now, who do think picked "genocide" for dear ol' Mom?

Yes, my college senior, Squirrel.

Squirrel took a class last semester to fill a requirement in humanities to graduate.  Little did my daughter know that Professor H was obsessed with genocide.  The genocide of any people, any country, anywhere, anytime.  The class wasn't called "Genocide:  All you needed to know, but were afraid to ask." Although you would've thought it was.  It was a simple world culture class.  I saw the class materials and they were over the top.

She would call me weekly and tell me how horrible this class was and just vent about how bad this guy was.  I actually wrote a post at one point about it, but retracted it, because. . .well. Me.

She received a nice enough grade, but I swear, every call from her that year began with "Mom, do you know the genocide rate in. . ." or "I just hate this guy".

So, this is where I landed tonight.

Picture it - we were sitting lake side It was dusk.  Lounging right on the edge of the water, getting ready for the fireworks to begin.  I was sitting between my two youngest, on the ground [risky for me, I know] but I was enjoying rubbing their heads, when we started to josh around.  Trading barbs, our own brand of sarcasm and silly jokes.

Then we all got carried away and the hysterical stepped in.
It took hold of me.
And my diaphragm.

Steven was at the right of Wallene. I started to laugh so hard I had to sit upright. Rigid.  Steven saw it.
Before I could reach my hand out for him to get me up I heard Squirrel murmur:

"Momma. GENOCIDE."

I started to giggle on top of the pain, waving my hand at Steven to please get me up, when I hear Wallene chime in:

"I use dead puppies sis, but that doesn't work either."

We all start laughing again.

But me? I lost it.

Choking on my own laughter, with tears running down my face from both the laughter and the pain, Steven gently pulled me up and placed me onto the pavement with the girls' help.

Since there was such a huge crowd there for the fireworks, he knew I wasn't going to do the bird flapping number or run around looking stupid.  So he grabbed me tightly and pushed me into his body.

I thought "This, THIS, is the one that is going to throw me back in the hospital." 
All the while I am trying to stop giggling.  Oh and I also had a fleeting thought of "How stupid am I?"

You try to stop laughing when something strikes you as funny. I can't.

My husband continued to hold me extra tight, letting my giggles dissolve into tears onto his shirt and I finally settled.

Not enough of a settle to allow me to get in any kind of comfortable for tonight, but I have to tell you gang. . .

I don't think I could I have asked for a nicer Fourth of July.  It was almost perfect. [Ask me about picking up Squirrel or the great food, or all that Wallene did, or the sisters hanging out or the manicures. . . .or. . . .just so, so. Nice. I am not kidding.]

Hope you had a happy Fourth of July.

Take care and we'll we'll see ya' on the flipside.

Smile loudly. LIFE IS A GIFT.  xo Janine

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Sick Quilt And My Will

It's not really a quilt. It's actually a comfort since it isn't quilted, just hand tied.

It is one of my most prized material possessions. It is the last blanket my Grandmother ever made.  It was gifted to me, after her death, by my Aunt and I have cherished this blanket for so, so many years.

The best part of it is it is made out of scraps of cloth that my Grandmother used to make clothing for her, my Grandfather and various family members.  I can see rectangles of the fabric she used to make two of my favorite dresses when I was in third grade.   My Grandpa's shirt, her blouse. 

To know the woman I loved so dearly actually once touched all of these pieces brings me a quiet joy.

I call it a "comfort" because that is what is to me. Comfort.

It has always held a place of honor in our home.  It is merely twin sized, but has always remained on our bed because, as I said, it is one of my most prized possessions.  The kids have always known how special it is and that they aren't to touch it.

Except. . .when they are sick.

It's why we call it the "Sick Quilt". 
We all believe that this blanket has healing powers.
One of them has the sniffles? The flu?  A sore throat? A concussion [looking at you Wallene]?
 It comes off my bed and is wrapped around one of our ailing offspring.

Nothing makes them feel better than having this simple comfort snuggling them.
 It's the next best thing to a Motrin, Vicks and a Momma's head rub.

My children covet this blanket.
I think sometimes they over dramatize a cold just to get this quilt on their bed at night.

Here's the problem I am having right now.

I have recently been updating my will. 
I guess it's what you do in my situation. No apologies, it is what it is.  While I don't have a lot to leave my children, I do have a few things that need strong consideration and I have had to decide who gets what.
I don't want tears after I am gone and I don't want Steven to have to decide.

I do what I can.  And actually, I thought this was going to be easy, being that I don't have a lot.

No one knows this little tidbit of our lives, but our two youngest, Squirrel and Wallene, are named for my Grandmother.  The seamstress of the "Sick Quilt".

So I should pick between these two, shouldn't I?  And you would think this would be easy.


This is how the conversation has been going in our house lately regarding this blanket.

Bear with me. I do find it truly funny, but frustrating at the same time.

Mom:  "Okay, Squirrel you get all of my jewelry, with one wedding band going to Wallene. And Wallene you can have Ozcarz."

Squirrel and Wallene completely ignoring the "riches" I just bequeathed them, immediately responded, in unison:

"Who gets the Sick Quilt?"

Mom:  "Huh?  The Quilt?" 

Squirrel:  "Yeah, Mom. Who gets the Quilt?"

Mom:  "I. . .um, I don't know.  Why? Who wants it?"

Girls in Unison, again -loudly- "I DO!"

Seeing their reactions I was a bit surprised. Who knew?

In good Momma fashion and realizing a cage match might be in my daughters' future I tried to come up with a solution.

Mom:  "No, no. Wait a minute.  You can't both have it. Let me think a minute."

So, I did.  For a few days.

Unable to sew any longer I decided I would hire a seamstress to cut the quilt in half and  make them each their own by adding additional borders and such.

You would've thought I suggested cutting the dog in half.

"No Momma. You can't do that.  It won't be the same.  We would only get half way better with half a quilt."

[And yes, they actually argued the "half way better" angle with me.]


Okay, so now I can't divide it up.  What to do, what to do? 

You have to know that they are both being entirely generous to the other and saying "No, no. . .give it to her. No give it to her."  They aren't being greedy, I swear, but you can see that each wants it as much as the other, but to keep me sane, they try to be as magnanimous as they can to the other.

I told them to let me think on it a few days and I would let them know.

I finally settled on the sharing of the whole quilt. 
Six months with Wallene and six months with Squirrel each year.

Okay, okay. I know.  Bad idea.

Steven kicked me under the table on that one. ::giggle::
He knows that as well as our daughters get along, and they do, he wasn't having any part of that negotiation come June and December each year.

Finally, I called Squirrel at school.
As she is the oldest of the two I decided to tell her my decision first.

Mom:  "Honey, I have decided on the Sick Quilt, okay?"

Squirrel, tentatively: "Yes?"

Mom:  "I am going to be buried with it."

My darling, beautiful daughter, not missing a beat, replied:

"Oh, okay Mom, but to be honest my resume is shaping up pretty nicely at this point and I don't think "Biologist Grave Robber" is going to look too good. Do you?"

I lost it, laughing. 

Um.  I am out of ideas.

What do you have for me?

xo and flipsides, help me out here Tadpoles. Janine

Monday, July 1, 2013

in Other News From The Pond

I think I have 27 different posts floating around in my pea sized brain right now.  Not a one of them is fighting too hard to get out, but I present the one that is freshest in my mind. . .

Fourth of July is coming! WOOHOO!  Basically, I am excited because any holiday that has a calendar date means family. And food.  Trust me when I say that give me time I could figure out a menu for Arbor Day.  Then again, . . . .hmmmmm

The Fourth of July is different tho'.  It is like Thanksgiving to me.  A day we give thanks that we live in this country, although far from perfect, we still get to practice our own religions, be protected from hate and speak our mind without fear of persecution. After the Supreme Courts decision on DOMA this past week, I can hitch up my boots a little tighter that my country may finally getting it.

There are occasions that my country wounds me and embarrasses me, but I am an American, and well - it's a pretty important holiday.  I am happy being an American.

So. . . . the Fourth means that we get to go over the mountain and snatch up Squirrel to celebrate on Thursday. YAY!  And Wallene will be home from visiting her friends in Sterling - and? If we get extra, special lucky. . .we might get an older kid here too. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here is a pic' from Wallene. She took it on an early morning bike ride last week.

our neighborhood. Wallene 06.25.13

Now, here is a conversation I had with Squirrel in regards to picking her up for the Fourth. 

She told me she had to work.  [Note:  Squirrel is a paid intern in the biology department at her University.] 

This is the way the conversation went:

Mom:  "Are you coming home for Fourth of July sweetie?"
Squirrel:  "Mom we don't have Thursday off."
Mom:  "What do you mean you don't have the Fourth of July off? It is the biggest holiday in the U.S. next to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's OUR national holiday."
Squirrel:  "But Mom we have people working our lab from Kyrgyzstan.  It isn't their holiday. So yeah. I don't think so."

Dead silence.

I literally had to think about that for a minute. 

How politically correct has this country become that we are denying Americans the right to be excused from work on OUR national holiday because they are working along side people that have immigrated here from another country? People that seemingly choose to ignore the importance of the freedoms that this particular day has endowed on citizens of the United States of America, but still continue to enjoy those same freedoms it has given to all people living here, legal or not.

It frustrated me.
This discussion.
 I love the acceptance that this country is bringing about everyday, but why was my assumption that my daughter would have our National Holiday off wrong? I can understand if she worked in retail or customer service.  It's a shame that those places remain open, even on days of importance to our country, but it is what it is. Society now dictates it.  But, really? 
She works in a lab. 
An important job. [You have no idea what they are trying to do with grass. Fabulous!]
I respect it and please appreciate the admiration I have for my daughter.
 I find her so brilliant I hardly understand her half the time and she is so truly hardworking. 

Still. . . . I wonder.

Why did I have to call her back today to confirm that I could pick her up to come home and appreciate what this day is all about?

While we were on the phone she excused herself and I heard her ask her boss about the day off. [Btw, he is a a wonderful man and the perfect mentor to Squirrel. Not a bad bone in this man's body. I trust and admire him for taking Squirrel under his wing.]

Squirrel:  "Hey Dr. N, do I have Thursday off. The Fourth of July?"
Dr. N:  "You do if you want it."
Squirrel:  "Okay, cool. Thanks."
Squirrel:  "See Mom, did you hear that? I have it off."

Yeah, but no.

Her boss would give her a week off if she asked, but my question is, why isn't this particular day scheduled to be a holiday, yet she has to ask for it? 

Okay, stepping off and kicking my soapbox to the side.

I have bigger things to worry about.
I can't change this country and I don't want my children to change who the are.

This country is what it it, but am I allowed to ask. . .why?

And this is simply about a frustration with an assumption I had about thinking my daughter would automatically be here on the Fourth of July.
 It isn't a political rant. 
You are welcome to your opinions, always, in comments.
I respect them and appreciate them. I do. 

Will you, for one moment, just understand my confusion about this? Please?

Happier notes coming. . .

Oh, look I have to get off now! It's Early Shift Week! WOOHOO. Steven is home in the daylight today. BONUS!  He'll be home in one hour. YAY! [Now ask me how bad it sucks that we have to get up at 4 am to get him on the road by 4:30 am. And he has to drive two and a half hours.

Heard in our bedroom this morning:

"Dude do NOT ask me for the keys to Ozcarz at 4:15 am.  My manual dexterity is limited to making you coffee and hoping I don't fall over. LOOK! My purse. MY PURSE. It's a good place to look. First.  Oh and the night before is a better choice for getting things lined up for the morning. ::sound of keys being tossed out the bedroom door.:: I think I hit the dog. By accident.  I wasn't aiming for anything. HONEST.  hee.]

I can't stay serious for long, can I? 

Y'all have a great day.

We'll see you on the flipside! xo Janine

[I need to point this out. I am not the best blogger, but I do try to keep my punctuation, spelling and sentence structure as correct as I can.  I make no apologies for my overuse of commas, hee, but with this limited internet right now, I am not proof reading anything and some of my posts scare me.  So, if you could, please look past it for right now. Oh, and my comments too.  They have always been sort of not proofread, but I am afraid that they worse now.  So-o-or-r-r-yy. Really!]