Wednesday, June 30, 2010

no place like home

On Fathers' Day weekend, we went to my grandparents' home. It is so nice and relaxing to be with them. My grandfather is nearly 90 years old and gets around quite well, despite the fact that he battles a lot of knee pain. My grandmother is amazing, working circles around people much younger than herself.

Not much has changed since I was a child. I think it bothers my grandmother, but to me and to my father when he was alive, there is comfort in the consistency. So many things, from the sound that the old doors make when they open and close, to the taste of the water back when their water came from a well, not to mention my grandmother's homemade blackberry jelly, these are all things that are embedded in my memory.

Sitting on the front porch, you can hear so many different varieties of birds chirping; my favorite is the Bobwhite. They have a beautiful veggie garden, a compost pile, a clothesline (which makes me want one every time I visit them), and a swing set with big metal slide that my grandfather made himself! I remember my dad saying they would get wax paper and slide down to make it as slippery as possible.

The kids (including King) love walking down to see my grandfather's cattle.

My grandmother and I talked about what might happen to the place when she and my grandfather are gone. She says she doesn't much care and that my grandfather won't discuss it. I wonder just how many of us cousins would love to keep the property in the family. I know there are at least two of us.

During this visit, I overheard my grandfather describe some folks they knew as "good country people that enjoy being together". The words echoed in my ears; so much so that I had to write it down. It just perfectly describes the family I come from.

Good country people that enjoy being together.
Sort of like what I imagine Heaven to be.

Monday, June 28, 2010

a short letter to my dear high school friends

Dearest Class of 1985,
In just a few short weeks we will be getting together for our 25th High School Reunion. Looking forward to seeing all of you and just wanted to clear something up before we see each other. Remember how I was always overweight in high school?
Yeah. Well, nothing has changed. K?
There. I've said it.
I am still a nice person underneath all these layers. But I mean, life's been a little stressy, y'know? Also, I have had 5 children, all by c-section I might add, so cut me some slack won'tcha?
Maybe by our 50th I will have slimmed down a bit, but I ain't promisin' anything.
O. Kay. Just thought I'd get that out there in the open.
I just hope it makes this case of the cold feet go away.
:o) mg

Sunday, June 27, 2010

photo credit

Slow children playing....

...and watching them play a game of baseball is TORTUROUS!

Talk about slo'mo!

Friday, June 25, 2010

sailin' on the edge of crazy

I just started writing this country song... you think it'll make it to the charts?

ohhh oh oh ohhhoh
If I had a do....llar.
For every time I cleaned up a puddle of piss.
You and I could take a week-long cruise.
ohhh oh oh oh
On a Sea of Bliss.
That's the first verse... I'll keep working on the rest of the song (and keep cleaning up puddles).


Each summer, the library has a Reading Program for kids aged 2-18. Four of my five children have kept track of their hours reading and got their prizes today (local eateries donated stuff like "free sandwich" or "free ice cream cone"). Yay them!

Also this summer they had a Reading Contest for adults. And I am proud to say that I also came back from our local branch with a prize: a green tote for all the books we check out! I was also entered in a bigger regional contest. Yay me!

Side note: while we were in the library, there was a ten minute cloudburst... so I guess you can say we've been reading up a storm!!

battlescar dermactica

When I was a pre-teen and teenager I would make sure all the pores on my face were not "clogged" and I would soak cotton squares with alcohol and remove all the oil from my skin. Severe? Yes. But I had the best skin ever!

Since becoming a mother, I have barely had time to shower alone, much less waste tons of time staring into a mirror taking care of "pore congestion" (as it is called by estheticians).
Today, however, there were a couple of things I wanted to address; to be more specific: milia.

I sat in front of a bright window, with a magnifying mirror with sterilized needle in hand, alcohol and cotton balls nearby. Poke, squeeze, wipe, burn. Scrub! Scrub! Scrub!

As I type this, although there is still a bit of swelling (did I mention that rubbing alcohol burns quite a bit?) my face is as smooth as it was in the 5th grade when my teacher remarked at how nice my skin was. Therefore, I have come to the following conclusion:

Rubbing alcohol is the fountain of youth.



Because it isn't cool to carry a purse.

Besides, it makes little sister scream when you take her Hello Kitty bag.

This is not just any ol' knapsack either, this one is tied to a golf club. Just in case, on his adventure, there is time to play the front nine.

The contents of the sack are:

  • a toy train - for a quick, magical escape
  • green power sticks - in case a boy's energy level runs low (like that would happen)
  • and toy gun - to battle big brother who is pretending to be a bad guy
  • and a set of keys - in case he comes across a locked door.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

like frogs in warm water

From a speech given by Ezra Taft Benson in 1966:

(reporting on a conversation he had with Nikita Khrushchev)

"...As we talked face to face he indicated that my grandchildren would live under communism. After assuring him that I expected to do all in my power to assure that his and all other grandchildren would live under freedom he arrogantly declared in substance, You Americans are so gullible. No you won't accept communism outright but we'll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won't have to fight you. We'll so weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands."

I will make room on the floor for your jaw... right beside mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

forget waterboarding, grab a vuvuzela!

While visiting relatives recently, my son had on the television watching soccer (FIFA World Cup to be more specific). Soccer, like the word trigonometry, gives me a bad case of the hives, so I am never interested. However, this broadcast was even more annoying because it sounded like they were playing inside of a beehive.

The sound comes from about 30,000 vuvuzelas. Wikipedia defines a vuvuzela as "a stadium horn", a plastic blowing horn that produces a loud, distinctive monotone B flat note. It is most used in football (soccer) matches in South Africa.


They make a heinous noise. I am pretty sure that they could be the new form of torture. Hitler even hated them: see here

another book finished

One thing I LOVE about summer is that I get to read a lot more than during the school year. I don't know why, but it's true.
I hated reading as a high schooler. In fact, I wouldn't even read the Cliff Notes. Lame.

Youth is wasted on the young. George Bernard Shaw
Ennyhoo. Last night I finished My Sister's Keeper and actually gasped at the ending. From out of left field, it knocked me for a loop. Great book. Highly recommend if you've not read it.
The thing I enjoyed about it, other than the gripping storyline, is the way the author described details in beautiful ways.
"Normal, in our house, is like a blanket too short for a bed-- sometimes it covers you just fine, and the other time it leaves you cold and shaking; and worst of all, you never know which of the two it's going to be."
"When you have been with your partner for so many years, they become the glove compartment map that you've worn dog-eared and white-creased, the trail you recognize so well you could draw it by heart and for this very reason you keep it with you on journeys at all times. And yet, when you least expect it, one day you open your eyes and there is a familiar turnoff, a vantage point that wasn't there before, and you have to stop and wonder if maybe this landmark isn't new at all, but rather something you have missed all along."
These are just two example of how she cleverly describes something as obscure as "normal" to a blanket, her husband as a much used road map. My favorite quote, though, of the whole book occurs near the end:
"You don't love someone because they are perfect; you love them in spite of the fact that they're not."
This is such a huge lesson. I had to learn it many many years back. In fact, I imagine the moment I learned it, somewhere inside, my soul matured with a great explosion. To choose to love despite the warts and all. This is not taught when we are children. It is an adult lesson. And, oftentimes, it is a hard one.


As always, number 4 cracks me up. Half the time, I can't get to the computer after he has said something humorous, half the time I forget what it was.
But, numero uno reminded me of something he did recently that had her doubled over gasping for air.
Waiting for King and I to get in the car after we all went out to eat, #1 is singing with her youngest sibs. At the top of his lungs, "the jester" sings:

"Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red, yellow, black, and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

He then looks at his oldest sister and matter-of-factly informs her:

"....but not the blue children."

Monday, June 14, 2010

the launch of a new patriotic website

Please forward this link to all of your friends who love the USA.
Would make a great outfit for your 4th of July bbq!

that woman

photo source

Sitting in Mass last night, I had to keep myself from sobbing from the Gospel reading. It is from Luke Chapter 7 about the sinful woman who wiped Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She then anointed them ointment from an alabaster flask.

I thought of the song "I Can Only Imagine" and imagined that'd probably be what I would do in the presence of Christ. I am that woman.

Monday, June 7, 2010

is it ok to just think bad words rather than get in a person's personal space and scream right at their face?

oKay. breathe.

I am thinking I didn't make a big enough fuss when #3 ruined the brand new dining room table with nail polish remover. Which isn't a bad thing necessarily.... however, I guess Number 1 wasn't paying attention to the lesson-du-jour, because the three spots she made on the table today were MUCH WORSE.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

so let it be written so let it be done

An Edict

From henceforth and forever more, until which point it is no longer true

the thirdborn son of "She Who Must Not Be Named Lest She Fall Down Stairs"

will now be referred to as:

"The Tall One"

It's got a nice ring to it. I likey.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

first trip of summer

Memphis, Tennessee
A long ride in the car fo'sho!
Because we have five kids and our Money Tree Out Back hasn't sprouted yet, we tried to "do Memphis" as inexpensively as possible. A friend of ours gave us a Bucket List of stuff to do, but we had to pare that list down to manageable bite sized pieces, especially considering the fact that two toddlers were on board.

The first thing we did was to ride through downtown. Up and down the historic city streets we went, admiring all the architecture, taking note of all the little businesses which try to thrive. We were taken aback at the incredible "sprawl" of the city. Also, by the fact that SO. MANY. BUILDINGS. were empty. A lot of architecture from the late 50s/early 60s. For some reason I thought some of the buildings looked like Darren Stevens and Larry Tate could have worked there.

Next we went to the Peabody Hotel and watched the march of the ducks. We went up to the skyway and saw where the ducks lived when they aren't swimming in the lobby's fountain. Then we went to le shoppe de gift and bought some ducky memorabilia.

After a yummy hamburger lunch at Huey's, we took the streetcar through downtown. Slowly it made its way through downtown, then circled around and went down near the mighty Mississippi River, then swung back up and around.

We were sitting there, enjoying the breeze and the methodical 'lump lump lump' of the streetcar's wheels along the track when between two buildings I caught a glance of the Lorraine Motel. In that split second of an instant, recognizing what it was, the importance of it in American history, a clap of thunder went through my being. Something I actually felt. I gasped. People in the streetcar looked over my way. Sheepishly, I explained to King that it was a powerful moment for which I was not prepared, but one for which I was extremely grateful.

Time was not on our side. The wee ones were getting tired and needed to go back to our hotel and nap. So, we got to our stop, climbed down off the streetcar, found our car, grabbed an ice cream from Chick-fil-A, and rested.

The next day was filled with Irish Music and Dance competitions. My fiddler won a 2nd place medal and my dancer won a 4th, a 2nd, and most importantly a 1st in one of the dances she needed to move up. Another thunderous moment, not for the Nation, but definitely for our family unit.

missin' the dadster a little today

My secondborn, male, aged 13 years, is sort of a natural at sports.
He is a lot like his father that way.
So, to fine tune his golf skills, King signed him up for lessons at a local golf course. His teacher, who is actually a personal friend and phenomenal instructor, says he has the potential to go to college on a golf scholarship. (Is it just me or did you also hear the sound of angels singing?)
He has his weekly lesson usually late afternoon at the early part of the week. First thing the next morning he is eager to get to the course to hit a couple of buckets of golf balls, or to "play the course". Today he wanted to do both.

As he was getting out of the car, off to practice a game he loves, despite the rising temps, I was overcome with pride. I told him how proud I was of him just before he closed the door and a smile broke across his face. He and I both recognized the nerve I had hit upon, the underlying truth behind my words: If you want to be good at something, you have to spend time at it.
Practice Makes Perfect.
Instinctively I knew it was a moment that needed to be emblazoned into our memory banks - seeing him there, happy to be practicing a sport he loves, reinforced by a mom who was sincerely proud of his efforts. After all, tomorrow he will tower above me, and have a man's voice, and will not need me to drive him to the golf course. Just the same, he will always need to know that I am proud of him at this very moment.

Driving off, I couldn't hold back the tears. My son: just yesterday he was a very silly toddler, my firstborn son, not able to follow in his sister's steps, making his way into young adulthood, not quite sure who he is at all times, finally honing in on a goal - golf. Though not in a morose way, I wished my dad, who loved golf like Peter loved the Lord, was sitting beside me in the car to share in the moment, or better yet, playing the course with his grandson.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

they will say anything, won't they?

So, it's dinnertime, so the phone rings, right? You know who it is: Someone Asking For Money
It was a young man asking for money for his cause. Tonight it was MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Because I am a Southerner and find it hard to be rude, I listened to his spiel. I told him that I already had several Catholic charities that I gave to, but that I appreciated his hard work in spreading MADD's message.
"I understand Mrs. ****, and not wanting to take away from any charity you already give to, I know that your Catholic charities are important to you,
in fact my grandfather was a Catholic minister,
perhaps you would consider donating at a lower level."
Um. Yeah.
I mean, sure, it could be possible that his grandfather was a Catholic priest, but if he a) left the priesthood or b) impregnated this boy's grandmother, I doubt it was something the rest of the family boasted about. Just sayin'. But I was pretty sure at this point he was more than likely grasping for straws.
Needless to say, I was less impressed by his "hard work spreading the message" and ushered him off the other end of my line as soon as I could.