Monday, May 16, 2011

Fun Monday - Not Me

Roger at A Screed in Time is still hosting Fun Monday and wants to know, very simply, which is my favorite muppet.

This is very simple for me. I do not have a favorite muppet. I know this makes me sound un-American but I blame the muppets and Sesame Street for the downfall of American education.

There was a time, believe it or not, when children had an attention span of longer than 4 seconds. They learned without knowing that they needed also to be entertained. Along came Sesame Street, in 1969, when I was already in high school and not exposed to it.

Then came the early 70's when I had my children. I watched it once or twice and decided that I did not want my children to learn to be frenetic. They seemed to have a handle on that all by themselves.

Sorry, America. I do not have a favorite muppet. I do have two children who are capable of paying attention for more than a minute or two at a time. They can even sit through an entire class, or religious service, or movie all at one time. Of this, I am proud.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fun Monday - Ma

Roger, who is hosting again this month, wanted to hear about some memories of our mothers. This topic is difficult for me so I am reposting this that I wrote in May of 2008. It is all still true and my mother, God love her, turned 94 in April. The topic, in 2008, was heroes.

OK, this may sound a little weird, but my hero is my mother. I have not spoken to my mother in 20+ years. I guess a more accurate statement would be that she has not spoken to me in 20+ years.

She is still my hero.

I learned from my mother how to shop. This sounds frivolous, but I am talking about shopping for food and clothes. There were certain food items that, in my mother’s mind, would not be purchased if their price got above a set amount. These were not luxuries but things like mayonnaise. If Best Foods got above $.39, we did without. I learned, when shopping for clothes, to always buy the very best that you could afford and to buy classic styles.

I learned from my mother how to be a friend. When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, our neighbor’s husband was hurt in a construction accident. He underwent numerous brain surgeries and was left less than whole. Our neighbor, Honey, kept her husband at home. She, who had never worked, went back to college, got her LVN and went to work to support the family and care for her husband. She did not do this alone. My mother went with her. They graduated together, worked together, and retired together. Honey has since died. Her husband died when I was 19.

I learned from my mother how to be faithful to my religion. My mother never missed Mass. She went every Sunday, even if she could not, because of work, go with the family. She attended Church on every Holy Day. She dragged us kids whether we wanted to go or not. She worked, in part, so that she and Dad could afford to send my brother and me to parochial schools. She observed those domestic rites of the Church that are slowly coming back - weekly family rosaries, holy water at home, and religious art. There is not a single doubt in my mind that, when I left the Church, the rosaries and novenas started and that she prays for me still. And, yes, I found my way back.

I learned from my mother how to be polite and gracious. I learned that there are certain responses that are required to certain situations. This is a gift not to be taken lightly. Good manners have stood me in good stead through some very tumultuous times. Yes, ma’am, they have.

I learned from my mother how to honor a vow. My parents were married in 1940 and stayed that way until my father’s death in February of 1999. Theirs was not a happy marriage- at least not during the 18 years that I was at home. My father, God rest his soul, was a chain-smoking alcoholic who never missed either a day of work or a chance to belittle his younger children. I understand from my older siblings that he was different when they were young. I will never know. My mother, though, stayed. She did not allow us to show disrespect for our father in his house. She cooked for him, she cleaned for him, and she did everything that a “good wife” was supposed to do for him. She honored the commitment that she had made, as a young and hopeful bride, to her husband and to God.

The most important thing that I learned from my mother is how to be a grandmother. My daughter would not hesitate to tell you that my mother is her favorite grandmother. This is due, in huge part, to the fact that my mother loves my children unconditionally, totally, and without end. The same mother who strove to put me into the proper mold allowed my child’s imagination to run rampant. The same mother who never kissed me cuddled my children even after they were “too old”. The same mother who would not allow me to wear makeup until I was 16 bought my daughters eye makeup when they were 12 and, yes, I took it back. The same mother who made me feel less than adequate has nurtured in my children the absolute knowledge that they are the most important things in her world.

I learned from my mother how to have the courage of one’s convictions. Regardless of why she disowned me, she has done a banner job of it. I learned from my mother to never, ever, do this to one of my children.


Many of you know that my first husband, Steve, died in a car accident when we had been married for a year and a half. Steve was 24 and I had just turned 20. We had a four month old baby. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement.

A few days ago, a gentleman in our parish died in a traffic "mishap". That is how our local radio station reported it. The word "mishap" always amuses me. I am not sure why as it is absolutely correct.

This gentleman was 53 years old. He and his wife celebrated their 25th anniversary last June. They have two children, both college age. I cannot even imagine his wife's grief.

When I was 20, I thought that I knew everything there was to know about love. Then I thought I knew everything there was to know about loss. It's amazing how young 20 is, in retrospect. I am not saying that I didn't love Steve. I am just saying that we did not have time for that love to simmer and stew and temper and actually become.

When you have lived with someone for 25 years and raised children together, your love becomes something in and of itself. It becomes that "something" that smooths over the rough spots and illuminates the joyous moments. It becomes what it was meant to be all along, God with you.

The hard thing to do, when the marriage is broken apart, is to remember that God is still with you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fun Monday - Wanna Make God Laugh?

Tell Him your plans! Roger is hosting Fun Monday again for the month of May and this week he would like to know our va- or stay- cation plans.

Plans, you say?

This is the first year in forever that I am getting a paid vacation. Last year my husband fulfilled a lifelong dream and went to Sturgis for the bike rally. This year, I had planned to spend a week on Assateague Island with my daughter. We have both wanted to see the ponies since our respective childhoods and the Marguerite Henry books.

Then, two things happened. One bad - the price of gas and one good - the birth of a new baby in the family! My daughter's step-daughter is having a baby sometime with the next month and so, in June, when Juls and I both have our vacations approved, we will be going to San Antonio, TX instead of the East Coast. I hope to get a couple of days in Corpus Christi, also as I am seriously suffering from water deprivation.

No, I am not thirsty, but my soul is. I grew up on the California Coast. I miss trees and water. Every once in a while I just need to be near LARGE expanses of water or at least a running river.

So, there it is. Still going - just not as far.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Defending the homestead

We have a new food delivery person. My dogs do not like anyone in their yard but they tolerated the old food delivery person in the "big yard" adjacent to our house. The new guy? Not so much. I happened to be home alone the other day when the new food delivery person, from whom I had not ordered, parked in the big yard. The dogs, all four of them, were in our yard.

Well, almost all of them. Bonnie, when she saw the delivery truck, wriggled through the space between the gate and the fence and commenced defending the homestead.

Holly, who normally stands at the gate and barks, stood on her back feet at the gate and barked, hackles raised.

Goose, who is still a little skittish and afraid, was barking and circling and charging and retreating and charging and circling and retreating, all the while barking.

Duck, who normally stands next to Holly, to protect the yard, was on the porch. I was in the doorway behind the glass storm door. She was on the porch, I assume in case the intruder actually got past the first three defenders. She was not barking. She was staring gateward, hackles raised, and growling deep in her throat.

The driver, after actually approaching the gate, looked into Holly's mouth and thought better of it. He called me on the phone to see if I needed anything. I told him that if I had, I would have ordered it.

We will not be having our food delivered by this company again. At least, not until they have a new route driver.
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