Thursday, October 29, 2009


Brad will be graduating from Marine Corps boot camp tomorrow.  He'll be home ten days, then leave for two months.  By the time they have their one year anniversary, they'll have lived together for 6 months.  It will sure be glad to see him.  I'm so glad he made it :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scaring myself

I usually get off work around midnight.   Well, between 10 pm and midnight.  I drive home the back way and am usually the only car on a long dark road.  I turn on talk radio and at that time of the night, they're talking about aliens and satanic stuff and ghosts.  And I drive down the long dark road half scared to death, waiting for something to pop out at me on the road.

The few houses are dark; like I said, no other traffic. 

I can't believe I keep doing this.  It's probably quicker to take the freeway.  And safer. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I went to the school yesterday to help in my granddaughters' classrooms.  Rowan is in 3rd grade.  They talked about counting change; piece of cake.  I could handle that.

Then I went to Rhiannon's class.  I was in charge of her center, helping her and other children write numbers.  You know, it's very confusing to know what is the correct way to teach a child to write "2" and "5" not to mention, the teacher instructed me so quickly, I was a bit mystified about the graph the kids were supposed to fill in using dice.  And Rhiannon wasn't having my help on this day.  She kept mixing up 2 and 5 and arguing with me about it.  As I looked around the room, another mother helped in one corner, the teacher was at a different table and at another table, kids had on earphones and were laughing and turning pages of a book quickly as chimes rang out. 

The teacher suddenly got up and turned on music and everybody seemed to know what to do except me.  Rhiannon, age 5, knew where to put her things and exactly what to do.  I was thinking, "what a good teacher to have taught them this routine so quickly."

And I was also thinking "even Kindergarten's too complicated for me."

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I worry about getting fired every day.  Being fired would be one of the worst, most humiliating experiences I can imagine.  Unthinkable, getting fired.  I think it's my generation because a lot of the young people I work with talk about being fired in a rather blithe fashion.

I worried about being fired all last year, too, when I worked at the school.  Looking back, I realize I was the stupidest person there, totally unsuited for a job like that and my worry probably was well founded, although I managed not to be fired, but still....     I'm pretty sure I was on a chopping block and missed that bullet by an inch.

At first, in this job, I worried I'd be fired for being too stupid.  Totally daunting, being surrounded by young people for whom computer work was second nature and who knew so much already about cell phones. 

It's so easy to make mistakes in a job like this, where things change on a daily basis and it's impossible to memorize the information about the cell phone industry, to be technically adept at everything a customer could possibly call in about.

I wish I could say I've made every mistake known to woman, but I'm sure I have millions more to make.  When I do, I am filled with anxiety and it upsets my apple cart for days.  The young people I work with don't worry about it at all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Yesterday I answered the door to a young black man selling some shampoo product door to door.  He was kind and cheerful as I declined to purchase.  I asked him "You're a member of a traveling sales crew?"  When he answered positively, I commented, "It's a hard life you've chosen."

He nodded, but remarked that he enjoyed the travel and meeting new people.  These traveling sales crews are popping up all over the country and remind me of the gypsies of old.  It is, indeed, a hard life, if you follow the news.  I can't imagine why one would choose to live that way.

My niece, Kimberly, has chosen that life.  When she was 17, she disappeared for a year.  We had her dead and buried, of course, it was just an awful experience.  She was listing in a missing childrens' registry and her poster was up on the Wal-Mart bulletin board.  Not a word from her for a year.  Then she turned 18, and turned up out of the blue, with a boyfriend named Paul---or Mark---or David, last name Evans, or Piccini.  We don't really know.

No one liked her boyfriend and she didn't last very long staying with family.  She said she'd been all over the country selling magazines door to door with the yo-yo boyfriend, who I despised on sight.  She lived with her brothers for a few months, and they were so good with her, so eager to take care of her.  But they threw the boyfriend out (she worked---he didn't) and she went with him.  She became pregnant and they married.  My sister, Dessie, adored that little girl, Sammy (Samantha).  

We couldn't find Kimberly to tell her that Dessie had died.  Her husband had been arrested in Salt Lake City and while out on bail, had absconded, Kimberly and the baby in tow.  She called two weeks after the funeral and Dessie's common-law husband, in a fit of bitterness, lashed out at her "your mother's dead and in the grave!"  Kimberly hung up and we never found out where she was and we haven't heard from her since the end of April 2008. 

I worry so about that baby girl, Samantha, with the beast of a father and an obviously incapable mother.  I worry that something will happen to Kimberly and Sammy will be in foster care, not knowing there's a family out there who loves her so much.  Kimberly's two brothers, my nephews, would take such good care of that child and her mother. 

Kimberly's disappearance haunts me.  So, when I saw that smiling young man, I asked him if he knew anyone named Kimberly with a baby girl, about two years old.  No, he replied, he didn't.  I asked him to wait a minute and quickly ran into my office and grabbed up a picture of myself that I'd run off to send to an old school friend---stupid, but I was in a hurry---and stapled a copy of the Irish blessing that I had on my desk and scribbled a note on the back.  I gave it the salesman and asked him if he ever met her, to give him the picture and the poem and to tell him we missed her.  He was kind and assented and also said he would mention her to everyone he met. 

I know, it stupid to think anything could come of it.  I alternate between wanting to throttle this niece of mine and praying fervently for her return.  I'm mad at God because He's messed up on following through on my instructions once again.   Most of the time, He's good on the follow-through, but once in awhile, I'm left extremely frustrated, screaming out to Him in my mind.  I don't understand what He thinks He's accomplishing by not returning this lost sheep to us.

In the meantime, we pray.  Here's a copy of the Irish blessing, one of my favorites, I had impressively printed cards, but gave them all away, so now I make my own.

Irish Blessing

May the roads rise to meet you,

May the winds

be always at your back

May the sun

shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall

Soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in

the hollow of His hand

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rascal, the dog

We got Rascal in 1996; he was the cutest puppy ever, a little white furball.  We'd stopped in at a pet shop and there he was and Sarah cried the crocodile tears, and we had to buy him.   The very next week the pet shop was raided and they found dead and dying dogs and very sick animals and the pet shop owner went to jail over it.  As we walked out of the pet shop, Sarah carrying her new dog, she said "His name is Rascal."

That was pretty psychic because he was a rascal if ever there was one.  He never comes when called, to this day.  He ran away from me, he chewed up the house, he barks if a car drives down the street.  Well, he used to, now he can't hear worth a darn, which has made our life quieter.  He sure was a good watch dog, though.

For all that, Rascal is a gentle soul.  He's never aggressive with other dogs, he's very mentally healthy that way.  He never bothered the cats and for all his barking, has never hinted at hurting a human.  He's good with kids.  My little granddaughter just loves to put the leash on him and he will gently follow her around, putting up with it.  Once, when she was little and he'd had enough, he put his teeth on her arm.  I saw it.  He didn't bite, he didn't hurt her in any way.  It was a slow, gentle act of discipline.  It was like "My dear, I've had quite enough.  Cease and desist."  She screamed her head off, but her feelings were hurt, not her arm. 

Now, in his old age, he's my buddy.  He follows me everywhere I go and sits with me till I go to the next room.  When I'm really upset and crying----I cry very quietly, which may come as a surprise---he seems to know it and he stays glued to my side. 

He's a lot slower now.  We surprise him often; I've learned to touch him softly on his head when he's sleeping or he jumps all over the place.  We have a Jack Russell puppy and sometimes Rascal has a hard time keeping up.  He'll still "man up" though and they play tug of war and tag all over the house.  Rascal just tires out quicker.  He's on a special old dog diet.

It saddens us a bit, to see this spitfire dog who once ran circles around the kids in the neighborhood (so funny to watch them try to catch him---he can still cut a rug that way if he feels like it).  We coddle him.  We let him lie on the front porch in the sun---the other dogs are never allowed out of the fence.  He's the grandpa we're taking care of in his old age. 

He was always Sarah's dog, although he bonded well with me because he had Parvoe when we got him and I nursed him with total loving care.  His life has been a gift in our lives.  Nothing like a good dog.


They were all blissfully nappng.  It didn't look very comfortable to me.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Is it possible for a person with MS and Lupus to live through an attack of Swine Flu and Whooping Cough?  Wouldn't they be dead? Or in Intensive Care?

Stranger in a Strange Land

I often feel like the character in Heinlein's novel (he was a human raised by Martians on Mars, who came to live on earth---I've read the book, but can't remember much about it except for his rather lost feeling); a stranger in an even stranger land.  As I recall the book, he seemed more confused than rejected, but the title alone tells many stories.  For many people.

I relate to that feeling of not belonging.  I never felt like I belonged in my father's family; because I didn't meet most of them until I was 16.  My mother's status as black sheep in her own family created a feeling of other-ness from my aunt and uncles and grandparents, although still, they were family. 

Luckily, I had three little sisters and we formed a rather cohesive group---to this day.  We went hungry and cold together, but we always had each other.  For better or for worse, that is, because we bicker amongst ourselves with the best of them.  That sister-hood, though, has been a source of strength and family to us and to our children to this day. 

There was a fifth sister.  Born third of us (actually the fourth of our mother's children, she'd been raped and impregnanted with a child when she was 18---the child, our brother, Larry, died 3 days after he was born from the pneumonia my mother developed during the pregnancy), our sister was born with the same birth defect that our mother had---a cleft palate sans the harelip.  My mother had a sister who'd died as an infant from the same problem.  My research leads me to believe this was the product of malnutrition in our mother and grandmother. 

My mother had me in September 1952; another sister in May 1954; our middle child born July 1955; another sister was born August 1956 and the baby was born September 1958.  Two later babies died.  My father, as I have written, was a beast, and I can't imagine what my mother went through with three babies in three years, one with a birth defect necessitating hospital stays and time away from her other children.  We were shuffled around quite a bit during that time. 

This third sister lived with an older couple who had older children, the in-laws of our uncle, during a hospital stay and they fell in love with her.  They begged my mother to give my sister to them and she did.  Not without misgivings.  I was adamantly opposed, but since I was 5, my vote didn't count for much.

It would seem like a Cinderella tale.  Comfortable, stable, mature couple adopts child from poverty-stricken home of ignorance.  It certainly seemed like that to me when we visited her.  She had a bike!  and her own room with Barbies!   I wished they would adopt me, too. 

But at the time, only she and the people adopting her were happy.  This picture tells the tale, I think.  Her new parents brought us pencil boxes.  They were lovely, kind, generous people, decent to my mother till their deaths.  But you know, I felt like I was being bought off with that pencil box.  I was not a happy camper.  Look hard at my face.

Ultimately, there was no happier ever after for this little sister of mine.  Ultimately, she didn't belong anywhere.  I know she loved and was loved by the people who adopted her.  But it seemed like she was alone.   I think she was alone at school.  Kids are mean to those who are different. 

Had she stayed with us, certainly she would have suffered hunger and cold and that awful white trash stamp put on us wherever we happened to land.  She would have never had a bike.  She would have never had that cute little room at the top of the stairs----she would have had a spot in the double bed where we all slept in home after home after dumpy home---often with outdoor toilets and no electricity.  The kids would have still been mean.  They were mean to us just because we existed.  She would have had it worse.

But----she would have had us.  I held on to my sisters tighter than any mother held her children.  We would have fought for---and with her.  She would have had best friends.  No doubt Chris probably would have beat her up a time or two and I would have bossed her unbearably and drug her sorry little butt to whatever church was around.  We would have curled up together in the closet when we were afraid and told each other stories and played with each other at recess. 

Now, there is no relationship.  She is bitter and angry.  Through the years, I tried to make a relationship with her, but my other sisters weren't very interested.  Mistakes were made on both sides.  She has chosen to distance herself from her adoptive family, to a large extent and there are frequent temper tantrums and constant blaming and re-hashing of old wounds. 

She posted some ugly comments here last week.   Her hatred and vitriole are coming from a place of deep pain and that feeling of not belonging.  She has chosen to turn her children against me as well.  Truly, I feel this is unwarranted.  My sin?  I forgot to call her immediately when my niece died.  Had there been a relationship between her and my other sister, of course, there would have been no oversight.  But she hadn't seen this niece since she was a baby---25 years at least.  She'd never made an attempt to have a relationship with this girl.  I would bet before she got the call that she'd died, she didn't even remember her name, nor can she name any of my sisters' children now.  Her last interaction with Annie was when she called Annie out of the blue 8 years ago to yell at her for not taking care of our mother.  Our mother, who she despised and never wanted anything to do with.  She never forgave our mother for giving her up for adoption.

I did forget to call her.  Totally.  I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of that kind of oversight.  It happens all the time with my father's family.  It stings, but I don't lash out.  I never have.  I send flowers when I hear of a death and celebrate and we will talk every few years, long, loud "catch-ups" with cousins I didn't know existed until my father died.  It's okay really.  It's life.

On the other hand, I've called her other times.  When Dessie died, I called.  She called me, too, a couple of times, but Dessie's death meant nothing to her.  Our mother, the same.  Why would I think she would mourn---grieve the death of a girl she never knew?

Which is rhetorical, because she's not mourning.  She's been yet again left alone, forgotten and reminded that she doesn't feel like she belongs anywhere.  And she's lashing out at the person, perhaps, she feels safest doing so with---is that a dangling participle? 

I have Chris, and Dessie, and Annie.  My other sister, she doesn't have them.  And I will mourn that till the day I die.  I couldn't make them care about her and I couldn't make her care about them.  I could never get past the walls to establish a real relationship with her kids.  So they won't know that their other aunts are dames---broads--in the truest sense of the words.  They will knock you down and then pick you up and give your kids a bath and feed them all the while telling the funniest jokes. 

She won't be allowed to post here again.   It's funny how people drop you and won't leave you alone.  I've gotten a vicious note on Facebook from her daughter.   I haven't responded till now .  I don't think anyone else in the family has received this treatment, but then again, who knows? 

Just a heads up if you see anybody bashing me elsewhere.  It will be poorly written and spelled, and filled with hatred.  That's how you'll know. 

I  was thinking the other day that it's not the people with high self esteem---even hubris, or conceit----who do the most damage.  It's those who are convinced somewhere inside themselves that they're worthless.  Because they think what they do doesn't matter.  Doesn't have an effect.   I know I do myself and others the most harm when I'm feeling the worst about myself.  Really sad situation.

Friday, October 02, 2009

What did I just say?

True story. Our little Jack Russell got scratched by the cat or something and it got infected and we've had the drama of the dog looking like he has the mumps and it's really quite sad. I took him to the vet to have it cleaned out and when I brought him home, attempted to clean up the clean out.

Later when Bill came home, I was telling him about it and I said, "I put him in the tub and washed it out with salt and pepper." Luckily Bill can't hear very well, or I would have won the "which one of us is more senile" contest.