Saturday, October 30, 2004

Television and Language

Andrea and I are working on her schoolwork 5 hours a day.  At first, she cried all the time.  Apparently, she never did any work at school in Mexico, preferring to sit and stare at the wall or door.  The first weeks were miserable and I thought she would never begin to learn.  The school district has some help for parents of home-schooled kids and we had a meeting, some testing to see how well she could work in English and another meeting.

At the first meeting, the teachers, principal and school psychologist tried to convince us that she would do better in a classroom situation.  Of course they hadn't even met her.  The district gets the same money whether she's in class at the school or at home.  It's possible the individual school gets extra funds for Spanish speakers.  However, we know that she would feel lost in 5th grade in English. Gratefully, her home school advisor was in that meeting.  We stood our ground and came away with the promise of some help.

At the last meeting a week ago, they told us that she was wonderful to work with, but only working at kindergarten and first grade level in English.  Her reading seemed close to "early intermediate" but she needed more practice.  They gave suggestions for comprehension and gave us a kit to use that will help her form ideas and words in English.  Cool.  We're ready to go.

Now here's the bit about television.  She loves it.  We watch all sorts of cool stuff together.  She especially loves Discovery Health and Babies: Special Delivery.  Now don't get on me about that.  I'm a trained midwife and she was in the house when I delivered my first baby in Mexico.  She even gave a good report about the program (orally) to her advisor. 

Robert likes TV too, and has it on a lot while he's working around the house.  As the commercials come on, Andrea stops her studies and repeats them word for word.  For the most part, she even loses her accent.  Sometimes it's to the point of irritating.  But then I realized what was happening (picture me slapping my forhead and an idea bulb above me):  she's learning English!  Duh!  Where did my other kids learn new words and concepts?  Television!  They had Sesame Street and some of the others.  I just never thought about those kind of programs for my 10 year-old.  But what they provedyears ago about catching kids attention in short spurts was as true then as it is now.  I just forgot.

So now it's not irritating anymore.  She may be 10, but she's learning stuff a much smaller kid needs to learn along with stuff for her own age group.  It's tough at best. We hardly watched televeision in Mexico and I'm not a fan of letting my kid gel in front of the television, but I see some benefits to having the tube available for her. 

and the thing is . . . she's making huge strides in the last couple of weeks.  She's not reading woodenly anymore.  She is comprehending the words and doing some of her worksheets without me reading all of the instructions to her.  And I don't know what happened in math.  She wants to do it now.  We still have to do board work, letter recognition and such, but I just know that television is helping. 

Color mom "helped".


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Weekend Assignment #31

Three years ago, my friend Celeste held her own funeral services.  She said she hates to miss anything, so she invited friends and relatives to "bring a dish" and share her life.  It was wonderful.  Much better than the sadness one feels when sharing memories of times with a recently lost loved one.

She didn't write her eitaph, however, so for extra credit first I will write hers and then my own.

Celeste, Celeste, beloved friend

Didn’t give up until the end.


Here lies Penny, salt of the earth

Only her love for life exceeded her girth


And for another “love”:


Oh, my dearest I miss you so

I can’t figure out where you did go

What will I do now ‘til the end

They said you died when I hit “send”


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

As if we need it . . .

I’m getting a puppy!  It’s not as if we need it.  We don’t even have our own place yet.  I just want something to love and adore me.  I know Rob and Andrea love and adore me, but that’s different. 


Hank, the man we live with, has 2 birds.  One is a sun conure named Dufus and the other is a cockatiel named Oscar.  Oscar’s cool, but his beak is really sharp and he bites sometimes.



Dufus is another story.  I tried to get a picture of him for this entry, but he kept moving.  He was nibbling my ear and rubbing himself in my hair.  Sun conures are beautiful.  Just like the colors of autumn, Dufus is a bright yellow, orangey-red with bright green spots and bright green wings and tail.  He has a yellow furry “house” in his cage and when he’s in there, you can hardly see him.


Te other thing about Dufus is he loves me.  Not like a dog would love me of course, but love all the same.  He comes out of his little house to greet me, sometimes when he’s already gone to bed for the night.  He waits for me to stick my fingers in the cage for kisses and head scratching.


Andrea has hermit crabs.  Or at least I think she still has one.  We bought her two. She was very excited about them at first, but Stripe outgrew his shell while we were away overnight, climbed out and died in the water dish.  What a stink.  Her room still smells all right, so Goldie may still be alive.  I think she may be hibernating or moving only when we aren’t around.  Don’t ask how we know their sex – we don’t.  Andrea wanted a “he” and a “she” so there you are.


Anyway, back to the puppy.  I used to have Pomeranians.  They are cute, jumpy, dancey, yippy little dogs, but so devoted.  I just adored them.  They even got along pretty well with the kids.  They were smart enough to hide when they’d had enough.  My last one, a black named Teddy, died about 3 years ago.  He was 12 years old.  Just crawled under a bush and went to sleep.  Man!  I loved that little dog.


On the ranch, we had a number of mixed breed dogs.  We had a shepherd named Dancer, a poodle named Pepe (he died under suspicious circumstances) and 3 little dogs.  Freckles was aptly named and the sweetest of the smaller dogs.  The little males were Dudley and Bandit.  We found Bandit trying to get someone to adopt him near the Calimax market.  I fell.


Dudley was Robert’s dog, although everyone seemed to love him.  He fathered Freckles’ children and we never had trouble finding them homes.  Good thing, too, because we’d have been feeding more dogs than children.  He is a short, black, wiry-haired terrier kind of dog.  His front legs are kind of crooked, as if he had arthritis or something so his gait is a little strange.  He would hop-skip-trot everywhere he went.  Kind of made him look happy or spunky.


Dudley was also a fierce protector of our ranch.  Any dog within miles better think twice before entering.  When we first moved to the ranch, there were lots of stray dogs running around.  We had a barbed wire fence, but that didn’t deter them from coming in to make “deposits” on our freshly raked dirt.  Robert would go out every morning with his slingshot to discourage them.  He didn’t actually hit them, but the sound of a rock or marble whizzing by was enough to set them on a run.  And

Dudley would follow, barking his meanest until they were out of sight.  He didn’t care how big they were.  This got him into some trouble because he was quite the scrapper.  He got his neck and shoulder ripped open (I thought he was going to die), his hip torn and one ear was split right down the middle.  Now when he limp-trots, his ear has a kind of scissor action.  It’s funny.


When we left, Jon and Arlene inherited our dogs and brought their own.  Theirs were two Chihuahuas and a couple of mutts. One of the Chi’s  is their son’s dog, though I doubt now he’ll ever take her back.  Her name is Minnie and she and Dudley fell in love.  I think it has something to do with that special perfume she was wearing.  Dudley had no concern about his years with Freckles.  Minnie was the new queen.  Now Minnie has puppies


All of this to get me a puppy!  I asked Robert and he frowned at me.  I can’t describe the look, but if you’re married, you’ve probably seen it a time or two.  He wanted to know how it would get here.  I told him not to worry; I wouldn’t go to Mexico to get it.  He looked like he was ready to give in.  He’s happier when I’m happy.  Next was to approach Hank.  After all, it’s his house.


We were eating a wonderful meal that I cooked.  Hank is a bachelor, though engaged forever (another story) and loves home cooked meals.  We were watching football and Hank decided we should save the bones for the dog across the street.  He said, “I was going to get a dog, but Debbie said not until her cat dies.”  My opening!!!


“How about one that leaves when we do?”  I asked. Hank shrugged, nodded and Robert grinned at me.  Don’t you see?  The puppy, Dudley's progeny, was meant to come.  I just know it.  It was all too easy.  Divine intervention!


Imagine: a half-Chihuahua with an attitude . . .

Into nowhere

First, let me tell you I lost my text this morning because I was too slow to save it into my journal.  At least I think that's what it might have been.  Can't blame AOL . . .or can I?

I really liked what I wrote, too, and there doesn't seem to be a way to save text while journalling.  Have to make a suggestion on that one.  For the most part, I love AOL.  I'm new to it, as it wasn't as readily available to me in Mexico.  I did have a blog, however.  I like journalling, but didn't keep the other one up very regularly.  Might have something to do with the number of kids I was caring for. 

In some ways, the other journal was easier.  If I wanted a picture, I'd just select copy and paste it in there.  This one's a little difficult and I don't like the white box around my pictures.  Eventually, I'll figure out how everyone else does it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated.  My lo-ong journey entry has gone the way of all dust-kitties, space objects, bodily noises, etc.- right into the air.

Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Sunny Day

Thankfully, the day is sunny and warm.  It's one of those days when it's just right to be chilled out and do nothing.  That's what I plan on doing.  From my room, which is closest to the street, I hear the traffic making a gentle shooshing noise as it goes by.  Even the cars don't seem to be in a hurry today.  The sky is bright light blue and there's just enough wind to hear the wind chimes tinkling in the distance.

A while ago, my reverie was disturbed by the sound of an electric chain saw.  Hank was out front trimming the ficus tree.  I guess he couldn't stand a clean front yard.  Rob and I spent hours cleaning up all the junk he had out ther just before the rain hit.  All that was left to do was to spread a little grass seed and make the best of it.  Now we are back to square one.  But not today.  Maybe not until Monday.

Rob is doing his favorite weekend thing right now - watching college football in the other room.  This is purportedly the time when I could ask for and get anything I want.  I'm just not that sneaky. I used to be. Pulled it on my mom when she was sleeping, my first husband after a few beers . . . well, you get the picture.  I've turned over a new leaf. 

Andrea is also in slow mode today.  She's been in her room for the longest time playing with Barbies.  It's so cool that she has a room of her own and can play there when she wants. At the ministry, she shared her room with 11 other girls and none of them was allowed to play there.  Just change clothes and sleep.  A room of her own is the thing Andrea wanted most when she came to the U.S.  She came about 2 weeks ahead of me and moved into the room her daddy had been sleeping in.  He moved to the couch until I got here with a bed.  The first time he went back into that room to get his clothes, she cried out indignantly, "Da-ad!"  He told her he needed clean underwear so he could bathe.  About an hour later, she came out of her room with all his clothes in her arms and asked, "Where do you want these?"  There was no dought she had no intention of sharing any part of that room!

Hank has started up on the second ficus.  For some reason, even that noise isn't bothering me all that much.  It's a great day for just doin' nuthin'.

Weekend Assignment #30

As I was reading the assignment, I began to remember the shows that were important to me when I was younger.  We didn't have a color T.V. for some time, so the characters were in black and white.  My mom was a TV sleeper.  She would fall asleep on the couch with the television on.  I would get up in the night and watch for a while.  One of my favorite movies came out of this time.  I loved Captiain Blood with Errol Flynn!

My best friend Becky loved Ben Casey, while all of my heart circled around Dr. Kildare.  Richard Chamberlain was young and very handsome.  I wouldn't miss the show.  Then one Thursday aternoon while at choir practice - there he was!  Dr. Kildare (oops, Richard Chamberlain) right there in the basement of out church.  We has a radio station and he and a woman were singing into a microphone.  I couldn't stop looking and finally he cme out, signed an autograph for me and kissed my forehead.  I thought I would pass out!  His partner in song came to retrieve him.  She was scandalous to me.  She had on a tight black dress and had taken off her shoes and was walking around in her nylons.  I didn't want to wash my face.  I kept that slip of paper for what seems like forever. 

It's hard to pick any other favorite when you have been kissed on the forehead by Richard Chamberlain, but I must say that as much as I loved Dr. Kildare, Columbo has always been my #1 favorite of the old shows.  Even today, when I see that he's on cable, I'll switch over.  His series came on Sunday at first, rotating the time spot with McCloud, McMillan & Wife and another that seems to slip my mind at the moment.  They all had a mystery theme, but Columbo was so popular that his show soon became a regular ater the others died out.  "Just one more thing . . ." he'd say as he was leaving the suspect's house.  Wonderful!

I would love to be on the game show Jeopardy.  When I watch at home I get about 90% of the answers befor the buzzer.  I wonder if I'd choke uner the pressure.  Probably.  Give me something simple and multiple choice like Hollywood Squares.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

All Hallow's Eve

We just got back from a trip to the store.  It's kind of cool that we can go whenever we want and don't have to slog through the mud to get there.  I just talked to the ministry in Mexico and the rain has made a true mess for them.  If it weren't for the donation of a couple of 4 wheel-drive vehicles (old but trustworthy), they wouldn't get in or out at all.  And there's more rain and wind on the way.

About the store.  I'm still not used to all of this yet.  Supermarkets have so many things.  But what I want to know is this:  have I had my head in the sand for all these years?  When did Halloween become a major holiday?  There is a huge section of Halloween cards, special and high-priced decorations (that we used to make at home), Halloween cake, cookies, ice cream, bread.  What's up here?  Every ad flyer for every store has spooky writing and Halloween specials. 

Now I'm probably going to get in trouble here, but we don't even celebrate Halloween.  Our reasons are personal and I won't go into them.  Suffice it to say that even if I had the money right now to go to a theme park, I couldn't take my kid there.  I don't mind that others celebrate the day.  I just think a little restraint is in order.  I know I'm a humbug, but I like me that way! 

In Mexico, they celebrate the Day of the Dead and Halloween.  But at least there, the whole city isn't lit up like Halloweentown.  We never let the kids participate in either of them.  The Day of the Dead is interesting culturally, but a little tough for grade-schoolers to understand.  They cut out snowflakes, get flowers and candles and build an altar to their dead relative.  On the altar, the place all his or her favorite food and drink and wait for him to come back and eat it.  Last year, we saw a huge procession of cars go to the cemetary and lots of dinking, etc., going on.  The real die-hards even stayed after the rain started.

I guess we're lucky here.  Halloween isn't actually forced on us even if it's everywhere we look.  Andrea is home schooled, so she doesn't have to go each day into a classroom filled with witches, ghosts, goblins and skeletons. 

I like Thanksgiving, however, and do celebrate Christmas, though not with as much flair as the stores and some homes.  This will be our first Christmas away from the ministry.  It should be a bit quieter and different.  I also like Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July.  We're not anti-holiday, you see, just anti-commercialism.

Just thinkin'

Went to the doctor yesterday for x-rays and a new cast.  This time I let Andrea choose the color.  She chose pink, but they didn't have enough, so I'm purple now.  Actually it's kind of pretty.  Nicer than those old heavy plaster things they used to have. 

I had a chance to ask the doc why the pain didn't stop when the cast went on.  He smiled.  He's young enough to be my son and he grinned "that" grin.  He was probably thinking, "Silly old woman - still believes in old wives' tales."  Well, personally, I'd like to find a few of those old wives and strangle them.  It still hurts, darn it! 

We had a lot of waiting to do while there.  Orthopedists are busy people.  Andrea and I were reading the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia.  She's actually intersted!  Praise God!  She loses interest in everything quickly and our advisor said she might read better if read to.  I'm trying it.  I tried a couple very trendy children's books, but she just got up and walked away.  This book is catching her.  I don't know what the difference is, but I'm grateful.  It's very hard homeschooling a kid who should be at a higher level and having to go back to basics.  Part of it is the language barrier, but also the fact the the schools in Mexico just reek.  Only very naturally smart kids will do well there, because the teachers don't teach - they assign.  And they don't care who does your homework as long as its turned in.  Since our kids studied in groups at the ministry, Andrea always managed to get someone else to do hers.  Maybe she used leverage as the directors' daughter, I don't know, but what ever, she's really struggling now.

This morning we are doing math again.  She's getting ready to take a test.  She thinks she can sweet-talk me into letting her slide and I feel like an ogre, but that's something I will have to deal with.  Word math is the worst.  I always hated that, too.  At least I understood all the words.  The workbook rushes the kid through and we have to do a lot of board work for her to get a good understanding.  I know now why I was never a teacher.  I'm figuring it out, though

When the test is over, we are going to read again.  Good mother-daughter time as well.  I like that.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Shoes, schmooz

These may be my favorite all-time shoes.  Up until I found these, my favorites were a pair of Uggh boots that I ware nearly all year 'round.  I have really beaten them up, but they are currently very close as my second choice. 

I am a comfort creature and my feet are always cold.  And if they are cold, I am cold and everyone around me is miserable.  Or at least they think so.  So, several years ago, the pair of Uggh boots came in our donations to the ministry.  After assuring myself they were clean, I slipped my feet in and I swear I hear an audible "thank you" from inside the boots.  Beautiful they are not, but they have been my mainstay for years. 

My second choice (now third) would be a slip-on shoe that I don have to bend down to put my foot in.  I'm not big on lace-ups, although I will wear them when the situation warrants.  I never wear heels.  Not that they don't look nice and all, but 15 years on bumpy turf makes for a "flats" decision hands-down.  Even now, I am not too comfortable in heels - actually afraid of them.  With good reason, too.  I recently tangled myself up and broke my wrist without the aid of heels. 

So, about a month ago, the pastor's wife and I go out to get our nails painted.  It was fun.  All the gals speak Vietnamese and Dora was having trouble understanding.  I don't speak Vietnamese, but am accustomed to listening to "pidgen" English, so was able to help her out.  When we were finished, we wandered around a bit and went into the shoe store.  Now, I don't need shoes.  I have my comfy slip-on sandals, a pair of slip-on churchy shoes and my Ugghs.  But as we were looking, Dora spotted these.  "Don't you wear some boots like this?" she asked.  Do I ever!  She had found what could possibly have been the buy  of the century for me.  And on sale!

These little shoes are furry inside like my Ugghs, but have the ease and comfort of being slip-ons.  My toes are snuggly warm and I am happy as I can be.  I'm trying to figure out how to dress them up for church. 

We live in the greatest country in the world!

I am so happy and proud to be an American!  There's a lot to be said for living in the United States.  I'm not saying this just because I recently returned from15 years in Mexico, though that makes my feelings all that much stronger. 

Day by day, I see political stuff on the television.  I'll be so glad when the election is over and the voters have taken their stand to choose a president, officials and local issues.  I do tire of listening to the rhetoric.  But more than that. There are still many countries that have no free and fair elections.  The process away from here is quite watered-down.  The candidates in Mexico, for example, put posters up and go out and stump a little, but for the most part, depend on hired young people to plaster bumper stickers on cars.  It's difficult for them to choose the best one for the job, because the average citizen doesn't get to hear the plat form.

Well, I digress.  I went to the market a few minutes ago to get a few things.  On the way out, we realized I had forgotten the very thing I went to the store for.  Don't say it!  I'm not old!  Just some things tend to leak out through the gray hairs (I only have about 10).  Anyway, I went back in, got in the express line to pay for my item and the lady in front of me was harrassing the checker. I'd quote, but I would never get the words perfect.  The gist of it was this - We have to get rid of this government!  It is US, our government, who are the terrorists.  It has all been created by our messed up country.  WE keep third world countries that way because it's to our advantage. - It went on and on.  This lady was angry.  She said we wouldn't get the truth on the news unless we studied international news.  It's all propaganda.  Poor checker.  The customer is always right.  Don't argue politics, subversive stuff, religion or anything else sensitive.  Just nod your head and smile.  I know she had an opinion.  I could read her eyes.

Still, that exchange is what makes the U.S.A. the greatest country in the world.  In many countries, that lady would have been executed on the spot. Not here.  She is free not only to have that opinion, but to express it where ever she goes as long as she doesn't try to express it with a weapon. 

Folks, we have RIGHTS!  We have the right to disagree with our government.  We can peacefully (or loudly) demonstrate to exercise our rights and tell our opinions.  We have so many rights it's almost disgusting.  And although I don't agree with them all, I am proud to be in a country where our rights are protected.

I mean it.  Go spend some time away from the U.S.  Little things we take for granted disappear.  If you are arrested, you are guilty until proven innocent.  Bail may never be set.  I have a friend whose son has been in jail without charges for over 12 years.  Why?  Since no one in the family can pay the bribe, they won't let him out. 

I know there are places right here at home where there is corruption, illegal financing and all that stuff.  I didn't say we lived in a perfect country, just the best.  Anyone who doubts that can go live somewhere else. 

As for me, I'm home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

That's over . . .

Well, the debates are finally over.  Against my better judgement, I watched most of the final one tonite.  I wonder how much good they did?  Any reasonable person is not going to use these as a basis for decision.  Of course, I know there are a lot of unreasonable people out there. For a country full of very educated people, there are a lot of them who haven't ever had a single original thought.  Like lambs led to the slaughter, they go for the mildest, least offensive answer.  Personally, I don't care what your answer is.  I read and watch and study and use the brain that God gave me to make up my own mind.

My best friend and I disagree on almost every issue.  We disagree on candidates.  I heard her candidate say nearly word for word something she said to me yesterday.  Do you think they've been chatting?  I love her, but am so very glad that I haven't fallen for the line she has.

A very dear person to me was very fond of stating, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."  I say that all the time now.  I got my absentee ballot and took my stand. 

Will you?

Movie Queen

Whoo-hoo!  Another in a long line of firsts for us and for Andrea!  We went shopping this morning, out to grab a bite and on the way home, I say the Century 16 theater from the freeway.  I told Robert to get off at the next off ramp.  We were going to check the movies showing and the prices.  Talk about sticker shock!  Movies in Mexico cost about $2.00 to get in.  Thank the good Lord it was matinee time (do they even say matinee anymore?) 

Andrea looked at us and said, "What is this place?"  I looked at Robert and he looked at me . . .thinking, thinking, accessing memory banks.  Nope, we had never taken her to a movie in Mexico, nor had anyone else to our knowledge.  As broke as we were, we just had to do it.  After hitting the ATM inside, we also bought a king's ransom of goodies: 3 drinks, 1 popcorn, 1 candy: $18.  What's that MasterCard commercial?  The look on her face whenshe saw the movie screen:  priceless!

We sat in a nearly empty theater to watch Shark Tales - not bad as cartoons go, and Andrea absolutely loved it.  She munched on popcorn and sat in wonder in a place we have by now taken for granted.  Oh, what a blessing it is to have brought her here from a third world country to experience the American dream.

I had forgotten the how cool movie theaters could be.  I so seldom attend that I can count the number of times in the past 10 years on one hand and possibly have change.  Videos and DVD's have become a way of life for us.  Anything we actually want to see waits for the home version.  Boy, have we been missing the good stuff!

Well, there's always matinee tickets, senior and kid discounts, a backpack to carry our own snacks and a little girl with bright black eyes to encourage us.  Who are we kidding?  More movies comin' up.

Friday, October 8, 2004

Every week I write a letter telling the news of the ministry in Mexico.  I tell cute anecdotes and send pictures of the kids in action.  I'm a week late.  And this week's letter is so hard to write. The mom of 5 of our children was killed a week ago.  She was riding in the back of a "cattle truck" full of agricultural workers.  The boss was driving and decided to have a few beers on the way home.  When he rolled the truck, it crushed Lupe.  She was 28 years old.

I got out of writing the letter last week because I broke my wrist, but now the time has come.  I don't really want to do this, but many of the people the letter goes to know this family and have watched them grow over the last two years.  They will want to know what has happened. 

Thing is, I have to write it without editorializing.  I can't say what I think about the man who had so little disregard for his laborers.  I can't say how many tears I have cried for these children who are now orphaned.  People will now come out of the woodwork to try to adopt them.  And maybe later on that will be appropriate, but not now.  They have an uncle we need to locate.  Most of all, we don't want to separate or further traumatize five little kids. 

So I'm looking for words to write.  Usually I have so many, but today they are overshadowed by grief.  Although we have talked to the kids by phone, we aren't there to comfort them.  I know that our friends are doing a wonderful job, but after all is said and done, we love them too, and are frustrated by our impotence in this situation.

I'm going to post this picture of them the day they came to live with us.  All she wanted was to earn the money for land of her own so she could bring her children home.  She bought the lot about a month ago.  Nobody ever said life was going to be fair.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Domestic Engineer

Incredibly, I am learning to do a lot of things left-handed.  It's really a chore.  I feel totally uncoordinated.  Yes, you say - you are uncoordinated - look at your arm for heaven's sake! 

I managed to cook an outstanding dinner for Rob and Andrea tonite.  Roast beef, baked potatoes, brussel sprouts, grilled pearl onions.  I'd be hungry again if I hadn't just eaten.  I did have to have Robert cut the meat, chop the chives and cut my meat once it was on my plate.  This is why I've been eating sandwiches.  Easier that way.  The downside of all this is now they will expect my best whether I'm in a cast or not.

That's what my kind of mom is all about.  Take care of dad and the kids, do the laundry, keep the house clean.  I know things have changed and many modern women have other priorities.  I think that's wonderful.  Strong women in this day and age are a must.  Actually, that's the kind of woman I used to be.  When last I worked, I had 3 jobs, kept my youngest in private school (although he picked up part of the tab as well) and took the occasional speaking engagement.  I loved it. 

I told all my friends that I would never be the kind of wife who let HIM be the head of household, said "Yes, dear," and meant it and otherwise appeared weak and spineless.  I found out some pretty interesting stuff in the last few years.  the strongest woman is the one who lets HIM be head of household, says "Yes,dear" and upholds him in every way.  Surprisingly, that's not weak at all.  I'm not a domestic engineer, I'm a wife and mom.  A good one.  While HE is head of household for sure, we are fully submitted to each other and we respect our abilities.  He isn't the one to keep the books and I no longer have to fix the toilet.

It's the best job I've ever had.

Monday, October 4, 2004

The Forward Fling

Here goes nothing.  I promised myself I'd keep this blog current no matter what.  Well, "what" happened and I am typing with one hand.  Friday nite, while gabbing with my friend Debbie, I moved forward into an air pump and did a half-gainer into the floor,breaking my wrist.  Oh, the agony of it all!  And the embarrassment.  Nothing looks as graceful as an overweight grandma full-face on the floor.

Despite my protests, I was bundled into the car and off to the E.R.  We had the arm packed in ice and balanced on a pillow, but every tiny bump was excrciating for me.  I silently prayed that there would be no real blood-and-guts emergencies so they could fix what I knew I had broken.  God was on my side.  Only a short wait and I was in the inner sanctum.

After X-rays, the doc came in, told me I was pretty crunched and mercifully ordered "something" for the pain.  Macho nurse entered, stabbed a needle in my arm (it hurt so much I cried) and said I'd be thanking him in a few minutes.  I love that guy!  The pain didn't go away, but I didn't care!  Then a gal put a half-cast up past my elbow and they sent me home until today.

I've slept a lot since then,trying not to dwell on the pain. The pills they gave are effective to a point, but nothing like the shot.  Today the doc put on a lovely grass green cast, ordered more pills and informed me my wrist would remain a little crooked when the cast comes off.  I can live with that.  Who's going to notice but me anyway?

The good side of all this?  Someone else willbe doing dishes for a while.  I can live with that, too. :)

Friday, October 1, 2004


I was sitting here playing with my computer.  Somehow I managed to turn the sound off without knowing it.  Don't know how I do this to myself.  Fortunately, I fiddled around long enough to find out what I'd done.

We spent half the afternoon going through boxes and boxes of paperwork that I brought back from Mexico.  We were looking for a couple of things, but mostly, we wanted to see how much of it we could round file.  We managed to fill a whole black trash bag with "treasured memories" of the last 15 years.  I don't think we will ever need a 10 year-old electric bill, a note from someone whose name I no longer recognize, or the gazillion photcopies we made to get our paperwork on the adoption finished.  I image one copy will suffice.

Then I came here to my room to listen to music and play a game.  As I said, I was fiddling with the sound.  A man with a bicycle came to the open door to our room and said, "Ma'am?  Is that Mark Brown's house next door?"  I was dumb-struck.  I don't know anyone here except our benefactor.  But I kept hearing him say, "Ma'am?"

When I was a little girl, my mother taught me that this was how I was to address older women.  Never by their first names, usually not by any name until told specifically to do so.  And so I did.  All those blue-hairs at church were "ma'am" to me.  Couldn't ever think of them as "Miss" or "Susan" just "Ma'am"  And now, I'm ma'am!

When did I get older?  I don't spend much time in front of a mirror (my mom looks back at me from there!), so often don't think of myself at any age.  I remember having a very young face for so many years . . .now I'm ma'am.  Wow!  Seems like yesterday that my babies were babies and my life was pretty new.  I don't think of it too much until I see my son's picture or that of my 19 year-old granddaughter.

Now don't go thinking I'm depressed about all of this.  I'm not.  I wouldn't trade this age, this day, this hour of my life for any other.  I wouldn't try on yesterday's problems again if I were offered a no-fault guarantee.  All those times make me who I am today.  I like that. 

Just don't like "ma'am"