Sunday, October 17, 2010

Please Follow Me Over to My Blog on Wordpress

https://happeningsonchaosranch.wordpress.com/  I've just had it with blogger and all the fits, stops and starts of their new system.  I'm sure it will be great when it's got all the bugs out, but I am trying to make my life as stress free as possible.  All of my posts are over on Wordpress now and I'll be adding more there as the time progresses.  Please come there to see me.  I will miss you if you don't. 

Harvest Moon

Another great thing about October is the harvest moon!  So huge and yellow looking!  So beautiful and bright.  So romantic.  When I'm outside during the full moon in October, I just can't take my eyes off of it.  I can see the "man in the moon" that I used to hear about in story books as a child.  I can imagine why people thought it was made of cheese, but then I wonder, was that story books too or did they really think that?  I think of what a blessing it was and is to farmers bringing in the last of their harvests by it.  What a God send it is. 

At some point in the night though, I always end up needing to go to sleep.  I live in the country.  In a rural area where it is so wonderfully quiet and dark -- except when there is a full moon.  The harvest moon in October is the absolute worst for trying to sleep!  I have shades on my windows and that sucker finds a little crack to sneak through and lights up the room as if it's spot lighted!  You can't get away from it.  No matter what side you sleep on -- there it is.  I finally had to get a sleep mask.  That works well enough.  Peace and harmony have been brought back into my sleeping life during the full moons.  I can once again love all things about the lovely harvest moon in October and just enjoy it's immense full beauty. 

A Little Fall Color and Some Hearts

I didn't get to really talk much about the things that went on yesterday in yesterday's post.  I had planned to, but I started talking about Max and then just couldn't stop.  So, here is pretty much what I would have written if I had not gotten carried away about my former pets and the one I wish I had now. 

October 16th is the birthday of an old elementary school friend.  Her name is Lisa and I haven't actually seen her in -- oh probably 20 years or so.  Haven't even talked to her in that long.  But I do remember her birthday and think of her fondly each year on her birthday.  I'm sure the only reason I would ever forget it is if I were to get Alzheimer's in the future. 

On my way to help my momma with her yard sale yesterday, I spotted a great heart shaped rock in my walkway!  I keep meaning to photograph them where I find them, but I'm so excited when I see them, that I always forget and grab them up!  This one was sitting right up on top of all the other rocks and gravel in the walkway.  Even faced so that it looked exactly like a heart to me.  I don't know how I could have missed it before. 






Momma sat down and visited a little more during the sale yesterday.  The shoppers were less frequent, but all in all her sale was a pretty good one I think.  Lovie cat visited while I was there and I was able to get photos of her.  Scroll down to yesterday's post if you want to see them. 

I did leave early so that I could watch the Rangers beat the Yankees in game two of the American League Championship Series -- which they did!  Final score was 7 to 2.  Hurray!  The next three games will be extra tough because they'll be played in NY.  The Yankees won the first game in TX 6 to 5.  It's a best of seven series.  The last two games will be played in TX, if the Rangers manage to beat the Yankees at home during their three games there.  I've got my fingers crossed already and it sure is hard to type that way. 

On my drive home, I found a couple of little spots of fall color. 












I ran by the post office and picked up a shipment of two books I'd ordered.  Four Word Self Help and Creative Is A Verb are both by Patti Digh who has the blog 37 Days.  I've read just a few pages of the self help one so far and I - am - in - love - with it!  Such common sense and fun!  The artwork is also done by her blog readers.  Really cool, huh? 







As I neared the post office, I noticed the clouds were awfully pretty.  Then I looked again and saw that the white clouds left a blue heart "space".  It wasn't as defined by the time I got to stop and photograph it, but I stopped and photographed it anyway.  In the photo, I can see other things.  What can you see?  Click to enlarge and then leave me a comment to tell me what you see, please. 








***  I'm having a lot of trouble with blogger and am thinking seriously of taking my blog to another server.  Are any of you having problems with blogger?  I can't stay logged on and I have to log on every single time I want to add a photo to my posting (a minimum of 5 times for this post!).  It's quite frustrating!  Believe me, if I do this, I will leave a link for you to follow.  I don't want to lose you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cats and Such

Here is the cat I told you about yesterday.  I've dubbed       "her" a her and              "Lovie", because I don't know her sex and she has a heart on her side.  I want to catch her, tame her and bring her to my home.  Now, I know that is not the conventional thought on feral cats nowadays, but my best and most favorite cat was indeed a feral cat that we adopted from this very property back in the early 1980's when my father lived here. 

My hubby and son came down to visit daddy one day when I had to work.  Sometime, fairly late that night, they come home and woke me up by sticking a cat in my face and saying hello to me.  I almost screamed!  In fact, I may have screamed.  Max was not a very pretty cat when  you first looked at her.  She was solid white except for a black ear and a black tail with a few stray white hairs in it.  She looked like she had been dipped in black paint.  What made her look so unusual was her yellow eyes. 

She had been hanging around my dad's place, killing the song birds and my dad had threatened to shoot her.  Hubby couldn't stand the thought of explaining that to our son, who was only 3 or 4 at the time.  So, he said he'd bring her home and she let him! 

Yes, she was indeed a real "she" and I did name her Max.  If you insist on a female name for a female cat, then her full name was -- first name - Maxine (a favorite aunt's middle name) first middle name - Maximilian (because it was one of the only Max names I could think of) second middle name - Maxwell (after my first eye doctor who was really sweet) and I called her Max for short.  

When we got her, Max was expecting kittens.  As soon as possible, after she had them, we had her spayed.  We also got a German Shepherd dog puppy around the time that her kittens were weaned and given away.  Max adopted the GSD puppy Lady and always treated her as one of her own.  You should have seen the two of them together!  This tiny, petite cat would pop out her claws and grab hold of Lady's  upper lip/whiskers area and pull her head down so that she could reach her face to groom her.  Lady never acted as if Max hurt her in the least.  She was always patient with Max and would often give her a big dog lick as a thank you.  I loved seeing them together. 

Max seldom meowed.  We thought she was mute until she was in hard labor delivering her kittens.  Even after that, she only meowed a couple of times.  We had her for many years.  She had lived a very hard life before coming to us and had lost most of her teeth by then even though she was a young cat at the time.  Lady lived more years than Max and always missed her little mother.  I miss them both.  I miss having a cat in my home.  I don't think I ever took any photos of the two together and I have very few, if any of them apart.  If I come across any, I'll let you know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

What's Up Today?

Today, is my dear Aunt Joan's birthday!  It's one of the decade one's.  I wish I could have been with her and given her a hug today.  I love you Aunt Joan!  When I was a kid, I called my Aunt Joan, Fanny Farkle.  I don't know why.  I called my momma, Lady Fish during the same time period.  They were both good sports.  Forgive me if I've told you that before. 

Today, I found out that my dear friend Catherine became a great-grandmother again (for the second time) yesterday -- on every body's birthday.  I believe she said they named the little girl child Hailey.  Very pretty.  I told her if she ever forgot when the little one's birthday was, I'd be able to help out. 

Today, I helped my dear momma with her yard sale.  It would have been my yard sale too, if I had ever gotten my rear in gear and gathered up some things to sell, but I didn't.  The weather was wonderful for being outdoors!  I took photos of the tree I was sitting under. 















And of a plant that has cool purple berries and chartruse leaves every fall.  I should know the name of it by now, but I don't.  I saw a feral cat who had a heart shaped pattern on her side (I kid you not!), but I couldn't get a shot of it.  I'm taking my camera back tomorrow and hoping that she'll come back while we're selling again. 










At lunch, I found a heart shaped Lay's potato chip.














Later, during a slow period, I took a little walk around momma's yard.  They had had to cut a tree down earlier in the spring.  There were parts of the trunk cut into three large pieces.  As I got closer to it, I could see that it was hollow in the center of the tree.  I had forgotten that.  I went to each end and looked inside.  One end of one piece was heart shaped!  I went around to the other end, it was a different shape on that end. 












As I walked back to the heart shaped end, coming around the side, I noticed that from the side, the heart shape looks like a butterfly.  So, now, I see both at the same time.  Can you see both, or only one?  Which one?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to You and You (and you)!

For 18 of the last 33 years, I was torn in three directions on this day.  Unless my dad was out of state working that is and there was no possibility of seeing him.  For the last 15 years, I've only been torn in two directions.  Today is my momma's birthday and my hubby's birthday and it was my daddy's birthday also.  My daddy passed 15 years ago.  Fortunately, this year, I'm not torn at all.  My momma is at her lake house, which is just over 5 miles from my house and I will be able to spend some time with both of the birthday loved ones in my life on their special day today. 

This year, if I had had to choose, I would have picked being with my momma hands down, without a second thought or much of an apology.  This is her first birthday since the death of my sister.  It could be hard for her.  The first "milestones" are hard after a death.  I couldn't be with her on my sister's birthday because I was still in California waiting with my son for his orders to move to a base closer to his family.  It seemed to take forever to get those orders!  I was very upset and emotional over being there at that time.  I wanted to be here in Texas where I felt that I could do some good, even if I really couldn't.  I wanted to hug my momma and tell her in person that I love her.  Today, I'll be able to do that.  I am so very glad.

I'm really very lucky.  I've always had a great relationship with my momma.  She is patient and kind.  She has always tried to help us whenever she can.  We often tell her she's "going to get splinters in her butt from sitting on that fence".  She did this instead of taking sides in the arguments Teresa and I would have.  She did occasionally try to explain my sister to me and I'm sure she tried to explain me to her.  She didn't get in the middle.  She was great at making us both feel like we were equally loved.  It takes a special person to do that, I think.  Maybe it just takes a good parent.  All I know, is that she's been one.  I could go on, but I'll save some for another time.  I don't want to make her cry today, if I can help it.  I love you, Momma.  See you soon.

As for my hubby -- Happy Birthday to you too Hon.  We've been through more than our share of "to hell and back" I think.  I'm proud that we're still giving it our best shot.  I'm glad you can still make me laugh better than any man alive.  I still love to hear your laugh.  You can still give me chills.  And I'm happy.  I hope you have a great year and that we have a better year together with each passing year.  I love you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Do You Blog?

I started my blog as an online journal of sorts.  A way to tell stories about my life so that my grandchildren would more fully know me one day.  I wanted to put the blog into a book for them so that they could hold it in their hands and read things that I had forgotten to tell them through the years.  The little trivial things that make up a life.  That make a life real. 

Now, I find that I blog because I have to.  I have to write.  I've always wanted to write.  I've always enjoyed writing.  I tried to take a creative writing class in college one time.  I failed miserably.  I could not bring myself to open up and write about the painful things I had been through at that point in my life and I hadn't lived long enough to have many interesting or joyful experiences to share.  I had been through a lot of crap in my youth.  So, I dropped out of the class. 

Later, I joined a large quilt guild and after a while, I volunteered to be on the board in the community service vice president position.  As a board member, I had to write a monthly column for the guild newsletter.  I found that I was good at it.  I got a lot of compliments for my writing of it too.  Of all of my duties as a board member, I found that I enjoyed the writing the most.  Even more than helping the children that the guild helped. 

Now, I'm not that great at flowery words or even amazingly descriptive words that can put you in the moment and make you say "ahhhh", but I can write and make you feel like I'm there talking to you.  I guess that's my "style".  That's what I do.  I wish, at times, that I was a more creative writer.  I wish I could write fiction.  (Then again, maybe I can.  I've never really tried.)  Wouldn't be wonderful to be one of those few people in the world who sits down one day and writes a novel?  Just has to write it and then sends it off and it is purchased right then and there?  And - it - is - a - hit?  What a dream, fantasy! 

If you blog, why do you do it?  I'm curious. 

I know that I can't stop.  One day, you all will know every secret my heart and soul has --  because I feel them bursting at the seams needing to see the light of day.  I feel the truth of ME needing to come all the way out so that if there is anyone out there who has been through the same things I've been through and is still suffering from it -- maybe I can help them just by telling them that I am here and I've been through it first and survived.  So, if you log on one day and I'm talking about heavy stuff, remember that is why.  I'm not trying to embarrass anyone -- especially not my family.  I'm not trying to hurt anyone -- again, especially not in my family.  But I am feeling more and more the need to own what is in my past, all of it.  The things that have happened to me, the things I have done because of what has happened to me.  The things that have led me to be who I am.  Because when you get right down to it, every single day of what happens to you and that you live -- shapes you.  I don't want to leave this world without my grandchildren knowing who I am.  Remember this though.  I am happy and I am enough.  No matter how heavy I am.  No matter how much grey is in my hair or how many smile lines I have.  I love and I am loved.  That is all I need.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Many Times is She Going to Post Today?

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure.  This will be my third one.  I'm guessing, in all honesty that it will be my last one for today as the hour is getting late.  It's 11:07 PM Central time and it does take me a while to crank them out even if I'm rambling and running at the mouth, so it's very likely I'll run out of time to post anything after this one. 

I wanted to share with you -- something else today that has me excited!  First of all, I woke up today happy, truly happy for the first time in a very long time.  Truly, completely, unadulterated happy!  For no reason at all -- I was happy.  I feel that this is a very good sign, considering all that I've been through in the last -- oh, more than two years.  Life goes on.  Death happens.  Relationships change.  The light at the end of the tunnel is not always a train.  I got up.  I dressed and went out to run errands.  I visited my momma and her Bob.  I came home and took care of some things here.  I spent time on the phone with my dear friend Catherine and each of my granddaughters.  Then I got to watch the Rangers clinch their play off spot against the Rays.  Now, I'm looking forward to Friday and the game against the New York Yankees.  My happiness is good news, but this is not the exciting thing I wanted to tell you about. 

The exciting thing is that Aimee over at Artsyville is going to be having a list it Tuesday every Tuesday until she decides not to have it every Tuesday!  Not only that, but this incredibly sweet, talented woman came over to my blog and left a comment on my post about my lists not being what I want them to be and invited me to participate!  Well, if you've read my blog for any amount of time at all, you know you don't have to ask me twice to make a list!  So, I'm in!  Not only that, but if you want to make a list too, go on over and read about it and you can be in too!  Doesn't that sound like fun, with -- like a capital F - U - N?

I tell you, I haven't even finished reading Aimee's posting about it, I was so excited that I had to stop everything and post here and invite you all and I had to make my little journal for my lists.  You read that correctly.  Aimee is hand writing her lists and I decided that I would too.  And I have this brand spanking new RED moleskin journal that I'm going to use for it.  So, I have started to decorate the front of it.  Now, I am not nearly the artist that Aimee is and it is only started, but this is what it looks like.  As I work on it in the weeks to come, I'll show you my lists and any artwork I do in it.  Love, love, love.  I am in a mood today. 

On to the Second Round!!!!!

MY Texas Rangers have just won the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays!!!!  They will now go on to play the New York Yankees for the American League Championship Title!  Whoever wins that series will play in the World Series!  My Texas Rangers have never won a division series, but as we and they have been saying for many months now -- "IT'S TIME!".  It's time we won the division series and we did -- OK, they did.  Now it's time we win the championship title -- OK, they win.  I think these fabulous men can do it!  Woo hoo.  It's time!

Love Story and other loves

Today, Ali MacGraw is on the Oprah show.  Of course the movie Love Story came up.  I remember seeing that in my youth.  I also remember when Ali's character uttered the famous line "Love means never having to say you're sorry.".  I also remember even then, at the tender age of 10 or so (it came out in 1970 when I was 10) thinking bullshit!  Love is work.  Love is -- if you mess up, you damn well better apologize and mean it.  You better change your ways.  You better not need to apologize again for the same thing.  To me, that particular line is the most idiotic one ever written in a movie or a book (because it was indeed a book first -- written by Erich Segal).  I'll admit that I have not read every book or watched every movie, so there could indeed be a more idiotic sentence out there, but this is my choice.  I'll also admit that I loved the movie back then.  I cried when the movie ended and I've only seen the movie once.  (The photo is of a blob of tar in a parking lot.  Looks like a heart to me.  So, of course I had to take a photo of it.  I'm finding more and more of them since my sister passed.)

I got pictures of my granddaughters yesterday.  They got new hair cuts and I think they look darling.  Granddaughter #1 has wanted to have bangs like her younger sister, but she has a cowlick like her gramma.  So, she finally figured out how to do it.  She got bangs on only one side.  I was worried about what this would look like, but it looks great!














Granddaughter #2 is just precious too.  I love her red hair.  Love, love, love it. 


















I also got some great postal love today.  From my friend Tracey (!) and postcrossing! First, I feel that I owe Tracey a public apology.  I think I've been misspelling her name this whole time!  I think I've been leaving the "e" out each time I've written her or written about her.  If I have indeed done that Tracey, I'm very sorry.  Second, a public thank you since I'm posting about your sweet gift!  Thank you!  You shouldn't have, but it was so sweet and I'm so glad you did.  I love the photo card you made!  It is wonderful.  Such great fall color.  I can only dream about color like that here in Texas.  Loved the cheerful stationary, the supportive card and the book is right up my ally.  Thank you so much for the wonderful surprise!

The postcard is from San Diego and shows a local lighthouse   -- the Cabrillo National Monument.  I've loved lighthouses since we lived in Biloxi, Mississippi for 4 years while my husband was stationed at Keesler in the Air Force early in our marriage.  Our son was born there.  Found memories. 


The tiny heart rock is one I found when I got home from visiting my mom this afternoon. 

This last photo is a postcard that I'm sending to someone here in the United States.  It is one of a few that I have purchased.  This person asked for a postcard with a recipe and I just happened to have one, but not on a photo postcard that I had taken.  Thought you might like to see it.  I have not tried the recipe.  If you try it, let me know if you like it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whatever Happened to all of Your Lists and Challenges?

I was reading a list on a new friend's blog -- Far Away in the Sunshine -- when I realized I had done the same sort of list for my birthday and I didn't really know how I have done on it.  So, I thought I'd take a moment to check in on some of the lists I've made and challenges I've set for myself.  I know that I haven't come close to finishing even one of the ones I've listed on this blog.  What I want to figure out is why haven't I?  I'm usually pretty good with lists and you'd think that the public list making would make me want to finish each in a timely manner.  So, I'm going to be reading them and trying to figure it out. 

After some thinking and some rereading, I've come to the conclusion that the reason my lists on the blog aren't working is that they end up more of a "to-do" list than what I originally intend for them to be.  Maybe this is because I rush the writing of the list or I lack imagination.  As for the challenges, I think the photo challenge went fairly well.  The 29 Gifts challenge was something I should have kept private.  I continued it, but I did so in a private manner and on a smaller scale than what I blogged about.  Part of the problem on some of the lists were that once I posted about them, they were easy to forget because they weren't front and center any longer.  I can fix that in the future.  The "to-do" list feel will take some work though.  I know I will continue to post lists on this blog.  I love lists.  I will continue to do my best to finish them and probably not finish them all.  Such is my life. 

If you want to read the list that Anyes has written that prompted all of this thought of mine, click on her blog link (above) and read the October 6th, 2010 posting that starts with the quote from Pablo Picasso and says "It takes a long time to become young."

Listing the Essential

Today the prompt word at Sunday Scribblings is "essential".  I decided that the best way to deal with it would be to list what is essential to me today.  Here is the list in no particular order:

  • To watch the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays play their 4th playoff game and hopefully see the Rangers win at home and go to the next level.
  • To take a long hot shower and wash my hair
  • To dry the load of clothes in the washer and wash a load of towels and one load of hubby's clothes.
  • To eat at least two ice cream sandwiches
  • To curl up and read
  • To realize that if the only things I actually get done are the baseball game, eating the ice cream sandwiches and the reading, then that was all that was really essential today after all. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quote for today

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” – Jack Lemmon. 

I saw this quote on the blog 37 days in this amazing post.  I had never realized how true that statement was, but oh my God is it ever true!  I still have a relationship with my father, my friend Marianne and my sister Teresa.  I talk to each of them often.  They don't talk to me, but I do talk to them. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Have you ever been Bullied? Part three of three parts

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim." -Elie Wiesel

I stopped watching all news programs a few years ago when I served on a jury in a capital murder trial.  It was ordered by the judge and I found that I was happier without the daily dose of bad news hitting my ears and heart.  So, I never started watching again.  I figured that as long as I read a little of the news on my Internet home page and heard about anything really big from friends and family, I was just fine. 

That is until this last Wednesday when I stopped in at the blog 37 days.  I hadn't been able to catch up on many blogs over several days, so when I checked in on this one, I read back several days worth of postings.  When I got to this one, I was slammed in the gut with sorrow for the children and their families and rage at the bullies and the people who stood by and did nothing to help these children.  Please be sure you go read the blog posting I have linked above.  I am not nearly as articulate as the author of 37 days and I feel that this is an extremely important subject.  There are links to articles and stories about eight different children who have taken their lives as a result of bullying.  The children range in age from 11 to 18 and each of them was bullied because of perceived sexual orientation.  Each of them committed suicide because of the bullying.  I had not heard of any of this before reading it on the blog.  I was totally unaware that this was happening!  I felt that I owed it to each of these young people to read the articles and stories about them.  So, I did.  I also signed the petition to the Secretary of Education (I ask you to follow your heart and do the same) asking for sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-bullying programs.

If you think that this does not touch your children or grandchildren,nieces and nephews, you are wrong.  It doesn't matter what sexual orientation a child is.  Every child deserves to be happy and safe in school and deserves to get a good education.  They deserve to have adults protect them.  A bully will pick on any child that is different.  They will find the one that is quiet and artistic, that speaks with an accent, this is autistic, that is bookish and nerdy.  They will find the child that wears braces or glasses or that is new to the school.  They will find the child who has a hard time making friends, for whatever reason.  Bullies are relentless.  Bullies are bullies and they must be stopped.  It is not "kids just being kids".  Kids are dying because of this and it has to stop!

I have continued to check in on 37 days since finding that posting.  On the 7th, she had a link to The Proper Care & Feeding of Your Homosexual.  I read that too and I think you should also.   

When I logged on to get to the blog today, going through my centurylink home page, there was an article on 4 teen suicides in one Ohio school!  I read part of the article before feeling ill and wanting to scream.  I got to the part where the mother of the most recent girl who had killed herself was talking about the kids who had bullied her.  They had actually come to the funeral and laughed at the way the girl looked in the casket!  What is wrong with these kids?  What is wrong with the parents of these kids to have raised kids such as these?  It makes me absolutely ill to think of them!  What has happened to compassion and empathy?  I'm so very concerned for our Country. 


"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



I honestly don't know know what to do about this horribly huge problem.  I do know that I am going to go back and make sure that I have read every single thing that is linked in the posts I've mentioned on the 37 days blog so that I can learn more.  I'm going to check out Ellen's blog which I know is linked on on 37 days to learn even more.  I'm going to be watching my local and national news coverage more.  I'm going to speak up when I hear a joke that is homophobic, racist, sexist or in some other way hurtful.  I'm going to write letters to the producers (authors and sponsors) when I see those types of jokes on TV or in film because I don't think they are OK any longer.  Actually, I never thought they were OK, but I was one of the ones who just kept quiet.  I'm ashamed that I did and I won't any longer.  I'm going to step in if I see someone being bullied and I'm going to talk to my son and granddaughters about bullies also.  I will raise my voice here on my blog.  I will sign petitions.  I will let me friends on facebook know how I feel.  These are my first steps to help in this situation.  What are you going to do? 

Put Your Heart into Action

I'm appalled by the recent suicides of gay teens after they experienced merciless bullying.




But this really takes the cake. One of the top leaders in the Mormon Church has apparently chosen this moment to give a horribly anti-gay sermon in front of millions of Mormons, calling same-sex attraction 'impure and unnatural.'



Can you just imagine if you were a gay or lesbian teen in that audience? Or even questioning?



I just added my name to an open letter that will help young people understand the truth -- and help Mormon leaders understand that spreading these lies puts lives at risk. I hope you'll join me:

click here

http://bit.ly/bKMov4



Thanks

Have you ever been Bullied? Part two of three parts

My next experience with bullying came when my niece, nephews and grandchildren started school. 

I know that one reason my sister's family moved from the general Houston, TX area to Colorado was because one or more of her three children were being bullied in school and she felt that they would be treated better and be safer in CO.  That the schools there would not put up with bullying after what had happened at Columbine.  Well, she was wrong.  Bullying in the CO schools was just as prevalent as it had been in TX schools.  She was in constant contact with teachers, counselors and school officials to no avail.  She finally took her son R out of the school he was attending.  R had hold her how unhappy he was, that he wanted to die rather than go back to that school.  Thankfully, she took him seriously.  Thankfully, he told her how he felt to begin with.  I shudder to think of what could have happened if he had not.  She found him a much better, more tolerant school.  At his new school, R bloomed and flourished!  It was amazing, the difference that school made in his life!  Every student should have that experience in school.  

My grandchildren did not have a lot of social interaction with other children before they started school.  To me, this means they started school disadvantaged.  They never really learned how to make friends easily.  I think this is the reason that both of my granddaughters have been bullied at times.  To the best of my knowledge, they have told us about the bullying, but not always when it is happening.  I know the oldest told her teacher when it happened and steps were taken to stop it.  She also told her momma.  I don't think that Granddaughter #2 told anyone until this year that it happened last year.  This worries me and I'll be talking to both of them about bullying when I see them next.  With everything in the news, I think it's extremely important that all children know to stand up against bullies. 

Teachers and other adults must stop acting as if it's a "kids are being kids" thing.  That is a bunch of crap!  It's a cop out for not doing what you need to do.  Stand up for children who are being bullied!  Are you afraid to stand up for the unpopular kid?  Do you just not like the kid yourself and you don't care what happens to him or her?  Are you afraid of the bully yourself?  If you are, then get help in your classroom and then reconsider your job choice.  Our children's lives are in your hands many hours each day.  We depend on you to take care of them as well as to educate them.  Speaking up for them is the very least you can do. 

Our Children should not be bullied or have to worry about their safety in school! It should not matter what religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation our children are. They should be safe from bullying in school! This needs to be taken seriously, always.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Have you ever been Bullied? Part one of three parts

I have.  Let me start this by saying that I went to a pretty sheltered, mostly white elementary school in Dallas, TX in the late 1960's to early 1970's.  We had a few Hispanic kids in the school, but not many and when I was in the 6th grade, some black students were bused to our school for the first time.  I had one African American girl in my class.  Her name was also Sharon and she was as sweet as she could be. 

My Junior High School was not sheltered.  It was large, seemed crowed and full of mean students of all ethnicity's.  This is where I was bullied.  I have no idea why I was bullied.  One girl, in particular, did not like me.  She was built like a solid Mack truck and was at least a foot taller than me.  She could have played linebacker for our football team!  She would take my seat in math class, try to block me from getting into class, push me, you name it.  She even wrote "bitch" in my jacket one day while it was on the back of my chair.  I'll admit that I didn't know how to handle this.  I didn't tell my mother about it.  (reading this now may be her first time hearing about it)  What I did was I started getting sick before school.  I missed a lot of school in the years I went to that school.  So much, that a Truant Officer visited my home one day.  It didn't matter.  I would feel horrible at the thought of school and I didn't go often.  Fortunately for me, it was before the days of having to attend a set number of days or your would fail.  Well, one day I decided that I had had enough.  It was clear that my teacher was afraid of her and wasn't going to do a thing to help me.  He had seen her behavior and never stopped her or even said anything to her.  I figured I could either stand up for myself or get beat up for trying.  So, when she tried to block my way that day, I pushed her back and glared up at her.  She looked down at me for a moment and then smiled!  At that moment, she became somewhat of a friend.  She even gave me one of her school photos that year and she stopped bullying me that day. 

I had trouble once in a while with a couple of girls in high school too.  Mostly because I had dated one of their former boyfriends and she had decided that I had broken them up.  They went so far as to spread rumors that my best friend and I were lesbians.  As surprising as this may sound, at the time, I never heard the rumors myself.  I was totally unaware of them until my 10 year High School Reunion.  When that same best friend and I went to the reunion together because our husbands did not want to go with us.  There came a time during the reunion when many of the women were up dancing together because there were more women there than men.  I tried to get my friend to get up and dance with me.  She refused because of the old rumors.  That's when I found out about them.  I thought it was funny.  She was still upset about it.

My Latest Postcards from Postcrossing Friends

I have now received a total of 17 postcards from postcrossing folks and friends!  I have also sent 17 postcards that have arrived at their destinations and I have 5 more that I've put in the mail in the last two days.  I recently bought a photo album to put the postcards in that I've gotten.  I've had to trim just a bit off of a few of them to make them fit.  One is what I'd call a plus-sized card (the Chihuly card) and I will put an envelope in the back of the photo album to hold it and any others like it that I get in the future.  Trimming it would make me lose too much of the card.  Here are my newest cards:

On this one is from Giesbeek, she suggests a song to me.  I haven't listened to it yet, but plan to look it up one day soon and do just that.  The song is "Time to Smile" by Xavier Rudd. 












This one is a train station in Belarus.  Beautiful!















There are several images, as you can see, on the card from Finland.  My sister and I went to Finland when we were teenagers.  I was young and stupid and couldn't stand to be away from my boyfriend.  I was 17 and since I missed him so, I came home after only one week.  My sister stayed the whole month and took a sauna while visiting Finnish friends of our father's.  I now wish I had appreciated the trip more when I was actually on it.  I married the boyfriend the next March.  We've been together almost 33 years now. 






This card from Florida shows some Dale Chihuly glass.  I love his work.  This is from the Black Cylinder group.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Clearing the Decks

As I write this, the Texas Rangers are winning their first playoff game in the American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.  They are beginning the bottom half of the ninth inning and the score is Texas 5, TB 1.  Of course Tampa Bay has one half inning to try to win.  I've got my fingers crossed and my Texas playoff hat on!  I haven't adjusted the size on it yet, so I'm wearing it backwards so that I can see what I'm writing.  * The Rangers won game one!  Woo hoo!  The final score was 5 to 1. 







I don't remember if I told you how grand-     daughter #2 sleeps in her bed.  Right now, grand-     daughter #1 often sleeps with her in #2's bed.  Which is in itself, quite tricky since it is a twin sized bed and they are getting fairly big.  Number 1 has done this since their mother passed away.  She's also insisted on a nightlight because she often has nightmares.  This last time I visited (for grandson's birthday), the girls each slept in their own beds.  And every single time I went in there to go to sleep in my bed, I got tickled at the way #2 sleeps in hers -- which is horizontally.  I took this photo with the flash and in the dark, except for the nightlight.  I didn't realize the room was such a mess when I did it.  Oh well.




I have a couple of more hearts to show you.  The first is a small rock I found in my walkway as I was going to my car.  It's small enough to carry in my pocket.  It is a little more defined than the photo shows, but not much. 







The second is something I think is really unusual.  You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it enough to see, but even that may not help.  I had a lot of trouble photographing it.  Another time I wish I had a macro lens on my camera.  It's part of an eraser.  I put it in my toiletries bag when I headed to Oklahoma this time (it was totally clean, no color on it at all when I left).  I didn't want to forget it and I didn't want it to get messed up in my purse.  I use this type of eraser when I work on Sudoku puzzles and mess up and need to erase the puzzle and start over.  I never used it while I was there and I never came across it in my bag.  When I got home, it was sitting on top when I opened up the bag.  And this heart was on it.  There is nothing ink filled in my bag that could have made this heart.  There is nothing in my bag to write or draw with at all.  I don't know how the heart image ended up on the eraser.  In fact, looking at it closely, it really looks like it's a double heart.  I hope you can see it. 

On the drive home from Oklahoma, I stopped at one of the "look-  outs" on the way to eat my lunch.  I took a few photos.  This is the one I liked the most. 












The Japanese persimmons are getting darker.  I'm sure I'll share even more photos of them as they ripen.  They are just beautiful when fully ripe.  Well, I think that ties up the last of the loose ends and takes care of all of my little odd photos.  I'll have postcards to show you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Party

I shopped a lot in Texas before I left and when I got to the kids house, I did some cleaning.  So, by the time we got to the day before the big birthday and party, I was having a lot of problems with my knees.  This is really nothing unusual for me, but I was in enough pain that I could not stand the thought of standing to mix the cake.  Not what I had wanted for this weekend.  So, I roped the kid's dad into making the cake.  Of course the girls did help and I was on stand by for questions.  It was his first time to mix a cake from scratch, possibly the first time to make a cake, period -- I'm not sure.  All in all, I think they did a very good job of it.   






                                     



You can't really tell from this angle, but that is indeed a Dora the Explorer cake pan.  Fortunately, they had one already.  Unfortunately, neither the kid's dad nor I felt up to decorating the cake as Dora should look.  The oldest granddaughter came up with the perfect solution.  Make Dora a ghost since it's close to Halloween!  One smart kid!  I loved the idea and her dad did too.  After it baked, we left it to cool on the racks, so we could frost it in the morning. 

On the big day, the girls wanted to help with the party too, so I let them decorate the cake.  It did not look the least little bit like Dora when the girls finished with the white frosting and I put on the chocolate sprinkles that represented her eyes and mouth, (it would not have looked like Dora if I had done it either!). 

Dad and I decorated the kitchen for the party while the girls frosted.  When it was all completed, the birthday boy realized that everyone had disappeared into the kitchen.  He came to investigate and the party started!  First we sang "Happy Birthday to you" and he blew out the 7 candles, even though he continued to tell us he was only six.
















Then came time to eat the cake -- which he had been asking for for 2 days!  I don't think he cared what Dora looked like at this point. 

















Then we started playing games.  First there was Bingo.  I didn't look at the game cards before we started and didn't realize that all of the cards had the same exact pictures on every card, only in different places!  So, when we played a "black out" game, they all "bingo-ed" at the same time!  Actually, they all "bingo-ed" when we did a single row too.  I never did figure that one out, but I didn't try really hard either.  After Bingo, we played Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  It was the first time for my grandson to play anything like this and possibly the first time for the girls too.  They understood the rules well enough, but I think the two youngest could see the game despite the blindfold.  They both got the tail very close to the bull's eye that marked the spot to aim for.  The oldest, didn't peek, but did feel the game for the other two tails!


At that point, I decided that I didn't really do that well on the games (or enough fun had been had!) and we decided to open the gifts!  The costumes from me were not a huge hit, but that's OK.  I know that they will come in very handy down the line somewhere.  They will be enjoyed.  His dad and sisters got him a Nerf gun that shot Nerf darts.  It only took about 10 minutes before the first child (CV) was hit near the eye and the safety lecture started.  The hit of the gifts was a water safe car thing.  It actually floated.  Only about thirty minutes after the gift opening was completed and the balloon playing was dying down, did I hear the birthday boy ask for a bath so he could play with his cars in the tub. 



Balloon playing continued off and on all night.  I think the party was a success and fun was had by all.  The girls are already talking about what they want at their parties. 


                                                           







Saturday, October 2, 2010

JT is a little love monkey

When I got here on Thursday, JT practically crawled up my body to hug me three different times.  It sure did make my heart sing!  He's remained very affectionate.  Of course, he's always been a loving child, but he's giving extra hugs and love and kisses this time.  I think he missed me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yikes!!

JT does not want cupcakes in the shape of a X.  He wants a Dora the Explorer cake.  Yikes!!  Fortunately, they already have the cake pan.  Now, I just have to decorate it.  Did I say "Yikes" yet?

I'm in Oklahoma

I got here much later than I had originally planned.  I didn't sleep well for 2 or 3 nights before coming.  So, I slept late the day of the drive.  I figured it would be better to arrive alive and late than not at all because of falling asleep driving.  Plus I had several errands to run on the way.  It actually made the drive more pleasant than driving straight through.  When I finally left the Dallas area and got on the road to OK, it didn't seem to take all that long to get here, even though it was still another 2 and a half or 3 hours.

My errands included a stop at Party City, to see if I could find glow in the dark vampire teeth and a cape.  My middle granddaughter had requested the glow in the dark teeth and she had also recommended that I get her brother a cape for his birthday.  I had already looked at Dollar Tree and Walmart for the items.  I found several things, but not the exact things I was looking for.

I went to Dollar Tree and Walmart the day before.  Dollar Tree was a suggestion from my cousin Sundey.  It was a fabulous place to get party things -- decorations, games, prizes, gift bags and I got a fireman's hat for JT.  I didn't know if I'd be lucky enough to find anything I was hunting for and I didn't have the time or energy to go back.  So, I got the hat for dress up (he's liked to play dress up too when he was younger and has never had anything to dress up in!  As proof, I have a photo of him in his sister's dress up wedding gown when he was about 4!)  So, at Dollar Tree, I found streamers, a "Happy Birthday" banner, lanterns, the gift bag and curling ribbons.  I got the table cloth, the blue plates and orange napkins, sparkly candles, a bingo game with pictures and pin the tail on the donkey games and various little prizes and favors, including medals on ribbons that say winner.  I even found these blue plastic Oriental food container boxes to put some of the prizes in.  And everything in that store actually is only $1!

Then I headed on over to Walmart.  They didn't have a cape alone, but did have a Batman costume and a Superman costume. I couldn't decide which to get, so I got both,   They didn't have glow in the dark vampire teeth, but they had packages of teeth with 4 different colors.  They also had square dark yellow plates, orange cupcake baking cups and a Sponge Bob Square Pants ribbon. 

When I got to Party City the next day, I found single capes, but they were more expensive than the whole costumes I had already, so I didn't get them.  I did find what I hope are glow in the dark teeth and a king's robe and crown though.  So, I got those (yes, I know, I went a little nuts and bought more than I really should have).and then I hit the road for Quilt Country where I got the supplies to make wallets for the girls.  They've been asking for them for a while.  I had planned to make the wallets while I am here, but as it turns out, I always plan to do too much and forget something when I come.

On the letter X theme.  I've decided to make cupcakes and lay them out in an X shape for him to blow out the candles.  I'll even frost each one with an X on each.  I plan to put X's on the donkey's tail too.  I should have done more, but that's all I've come up with and I think it will be OK.  I'll have photos added to this post after I get home, probably on Monday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I Want

Here are just a few of the things I want.

What I want for my son:
1. Happiness
2. When you get out of the military, I want you to find a profession that you love and enjoy and I want you to do it.
3. True, last forever, soul mate love
4. continue your education

What I want for my granddaughters:
1. I want you to make your own money in a profession you love
2. I want you to support yourself and live on your own for at least one year before you marry
3. Happiness
4. True, last forever, soul mate love
5. a college or university education

What I want for my grandson:
1. I want you to find a profession you love and be able to make a living at it
2. Happiness
3. True, last forever, soul mate love
4. a college or university education
5. I want you to also live on your own for a year before marrying
6. I want you to be all that you can be

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kid's Birthday Parties

I'm going to warn you right off the bat, this is a sad story. 

My grandchildren are 9, 8 and 6 as I write this and other than their first birthday, the only one who has ever had a birthday party is the middle one.  And I believe that it was a bit of a fluke. 

Her birthday is in July, when there is no school in progress.  So, in 2009 her family came to TX to visit from CA during the last of July and she got to have a birthday party (after her actual birthday) with all of her TX cousins and family here.  I don't think there were any party games, but there were so many people and gifts that it was quite an occasion for her. 

After they returned home, life as normal returned.  That means that their momma was sick when her younger brother's birthday came up in October and her older sister's birthday came up in January.  Neither of them had parties.  Not real parties.  And to be honest, they didn't always get to have a special "day" on their actual birthday either.  To this point, their birthday was often even "put off" until momma felt better and could make a family party of some sort.  I think there were times, when it never happened at all and other times when it was put off for as long as a month.  Momma wouldn't allow for a "party" without her doing it, you see.  The whole time, I fumed.  In my opinion, there isn't much more important than making a child feel special on their birthday.

In March, their momma passed away suddenly.  One of the things I thought of was that if they were able to move closer to TX, I would do my level best to make sure they each had a birthday party of some sort.  The Air Force did move them closer to family and they are in OK instead of CA now.  I was there in July and the girls helped me make the cake for middle grandchild.  We celebrated together before her party, which was held at a park in 100+ degree weather.  I did not attend the party itself because of the location and temperature, but I know that all 5 children in attendance had fun.  And the parents in attendance survived.

My grandson, will be 7 on Sunday.  I am still sick and hoping I will be able to drive up to Oklahoma  on Thursday.  My grandson is autistic.  I believe with Asperger's Syndrome.  I don't know that the parties are as important to him as they are to his sisters, but I do know that he loves to feel special, just as any child does.  When I lived with them (for three months), after their momma died, his favorite letter was the letter X, so I plan to use X in anything I can for his birthday.  I plan to buy him a cape -- middle grandchild recommended it and she's right, he'd love it.  I plan to get all the kids glow in the dark vampire teeth.  If there are guests at the party, there will be goodie bags.  I plan to have games.  I want my grandson to have fun and I want my granddaughters to know what a party at home can be.   I wanted to do this for my middle grandchild, but she opted for the park.  I will take lots of photos and I will keep my fingers crossed until I'm able to go.  These children deserve some "HAPPY".  They deserve a life time of "HAPPY".  They are way behind on their quota too.  I may even try to make a crown. 

If you have any ideas....please leave them in the comments section.  I am open to anything.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The First Cool Weather of Fall

I went out this evening to start a load of wash and I felt it.  The first cool temperatures of fall!  I love that first time when I feel the first cooler weather after summer.  Especially after a summer like we've had.  A long summer with the temperatures being higher than normal for longer than normal.  It is such a relief.  Such a blessing.  I can't wait to open doors wide and open windows and air out the house.  I can't wait to see the leaves falling from the trees.  I can't wait to see the beautiful blue that the sky turns this time of year.  I love spring for the wild flowers and new life it brings each year, but I love fall as much, if not more.  I love the color of my Japanese persimmons as they ripen.  I love the few leaves that change color around here -- even the poison ivy which turns a lovely red!  I love that this year I'll be able to see my grandchildren in their Halloween costumes.  I love that so many birthdays are coming up.  Birthdays of people who are near and dear to me.  I love the Thanksgiving holiday, even more than Christmas.  I love that even though I myself may be in the autumn of my life, I am ever more mindful of all I have to be thankful for.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MY Texas Rangers won the A.L. West!

We're going to the play offs baby!  For the first time in 11 years, the Texas Rangers have won the American League western division and secured their spot in the play offs!  I am one happy gal in Texas. 

Clean

When I hear the word           "clean" nowadays I go into a kind of panic.  I can't say that I've ever been a great house keeper.  I don't enjoy house work.  (Which is rather sad since I've been a "house wife" for the majority of my marriage.)  Although I really do enjoy a clean house.  The activities of making a clean house are irritating to me -- nothing seems to stay clean for even a little while.  House cleaning is frustration in all capital letters to me and lots of exclamation points and jumping up and down while shaking my fists and screaming a primal scream!  It -- seems -- so-- pointless.  But if you don't do it, you end up with what I have now and baby -- that is not pretty -- or fun -- or relaxing.  I hate being embarrassed to have anyone over.  I know you think I'm exaggerating about this, but my cousin Mike told me that he would like to come visit me and I put him off.  I did.  I've put him off twice now.  I even told him why, but I'm sure he doesn't believe me.   

I kept a pretty clean house while my son was at home and while my dad was alive, but when dad died, I went into a depression.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted from caring for him, but I still don't think his death caused the depression.  I think it triggered it.  Rest alone didn't help.   I just stopped doing anything.  Period.  After a while, I knew I needed help.  And I asked for it.  I was put on medication and I am still on it -- 15 years later.  My doctor thinks I will always be on anti-depressants.  We'll see.  I'm hopeful that I will not have to be.  In fact, I have cut down on them in the last year or so and that is even with all that has gone on in my life in the last year. 

I want my home to be the kind of clean again that makes me think of new copper pennies.  I actually want it to be that kind of clean before Thanksgiving of this year.  I want to have all of my family here for Thanksgiving this year.  The last year they were all here was the last Thanksgiving that my dad was alive.  I don't know that anything will beat that special day for me, but I'd like to celebrate my son and grandchildren being here this year and living close to Texas.  I'd like to celebrate the lives of the women we lost this year.  I'd like to feel the love in my own home.  It's been so very long.

To be able to have what I want this year, I have to clean and I have to clean a lot.  I honestly don't know if I can do it.  I have a lot of reasons that I may not be able to accomplish this in the time frame I've set, or maybe they are excuses, but the thing is that I want this weight lifted off of me and I need it lifted off of me.  I need to start.

*These photos represent the cleaner parts of my home at the moment.