Monday, October 30, 2006

Family, you gotta love 'em.....

....because anything else you might do to them could wind you in jail.

The reunion went off fairly well.  Well, let me take that back.  My mom was REALLY surprised.

I don't think it sunk in completely at first that all seven of her kids were present, but once it did, she was about half giddy.

Can you believe she is 78 years old?

For the most part everyone got along, though anyone from a large family will admit that when everyone gets together, there can easily be hurt feelings over something.  I was worried about my two oldest brothers, who did beautifully by the way.  Actually, I'm k ind of thankful it was me who got stomped on a few times, as I think I take it better than most.

The Good

The plan came off relatively without a hitch, unless you were my sister, Vicki, who was responsible for keeping mom out of her house all day long.  Mom was rather difficult, insisting she needed to go home to stir the stew she had in the crock pot, but Vicki wouldn't let her.  Mom even told her, "You sure are bossy today!" and even threatened to leave Vicki at the mall while she went home to stir the blasted stew.  That was when Vicki had to say, "You CAN'T go home."  So, though mom knew something was up, she had no idea of the magnitude of the whole thing.

Vicki with my brother, Tom.

While Vicki was struggling with the difficult matron of the family, the rest of us converged upon my mother's house.  It was wonderful to see everyone (the only one not present for set up was my youngest brother) and to play catch up, which we had plenty of time for, considering we thought for some reason it would take hours to set everything up.  By 2:00 we were finished and mom would not arrive until 7:20.  So, we had lots of yaking time, which was very nice.

From  left to right, brother, Doug, sister, Connie and sister, MaryAnn.

Mom got there, was surprised and we all dug into dinner of crabs (a must anytime  a sibling from California or Tennesse comes to Maryland), hot dogs, beans, spaghetti salad and salad.  The night wrapped up about 11:00 for me and my tribe, though a few remained until nearly 3:00am!

The bad

Saturday was the day we were all to go to the Picture People to have a family portrait taken.  A few people decided not to show up at mom's place until then, which I found rather irritating as our picture appointment wasn't until 5:00.  But, ya gotta let it go and not dwell on things.  So, we did the pics, went back to mom's where Shannon (Tom's wife ) made an incredible southern dinner of chicken, biscuits and gravy.  Very good!  From there, karoke was broken out and fun was had by most (I'll comment more on some of these points at a later date).

MaryAnn and her hysterical, good guy hubby, Ron with a rendition of "Forever and Ever, Amen."

Ron and my youngest brother, Johnny with "What a Wonderful World"

It was a fun evening.

The Ugly

So, my feelings got run over a couple of time in the course of the weekend.  First off, ya'll know, I have always battled weight issues and I am fully aware of this.  So, much to my chagrin, the photographer who took our portrait decided that out of 15 people, I should be in the front on a stool.  Great....I would have prefered the back!  Anyway, I kind of groaned at the proofs when they came out and my mother said to me, "Well, now that you know what you look like you can do something about it."  Thanks, mom.  Because, yeah, I never knew I had weight issues until this past Saturday when that picture was taken.  He was one brilliant photographer to be able to capture me in a way that my own mirror (which insists I am a size 2) has not been able to capture.  But, I brush it off....she's after all, 78, and the older she gets the less unspoken thoughts she has.

Ugly number two involved Jarrit and was a double whammy.  Whoo hoo!  JJ is high spirited and ya'll that have 6 year olds, back me up here.  He was pretty wound up the whole weekend for what I see to be three basic reasons:
 1) 15 people around.  Insanity reigning supreme, and unlike adults, who can vanish outside or into a bedroom for a few minutes of quiet and calm time, kids don't have the ability to figure out that is what they should do.  Instead, they get caught up in the insanity.
2) Sleep schedule disruption.  He was up later at night over the weekend as we were at mom's place and was up early both Saturday and Sunday.
3) He was inside all weekend.  He was not at home where he and Aaron both tend to run around with the neighborhood kids; playing ball, jumping on the trampoline, bike riding, etc

So, yes, he was wound up.  I forget if it was Saturday or Sunday, but I was informed by one of my sisters (I forget which one) that "We took a vote and decided that Jarrit is ADHD."  Huh?  Now I can understand the frustrations of folks who have stated to me before that doctors are too quick to label a kid ADHD.  I totally get it now.  What I wanted to say was "Hey, really?  Well, I'll tell ya what!  Let me bring Aaron over here tomorrow morning without his Adderall and then you can tell me what you think."  Please....JJ is at the head of his class with no behavior issues at school.  The kid is not ADHD.  Incidently, with all the company now gone, being home and having been outside playing after school, he is a much calmer child tonight.

The second part of the double whammy and again, back me up, parents, was at the mall for pics on Saturday.  Because JJ was so wound up, the Brit sat with him in the picture place for an hour while they developed the proofs, not allowing him to go out in the mall with any of us.  For the record here, most of my friends, whom I have had this discussion with have stated that their children have a healthy amount of respect (aka fear) of their fathers.  My kids are no exception.  Though I discipline them, it is the Brit who really instills fear in them.  All I have to do is pick up the phone to call the Brit at work, and whatever they were being disobediant about is quickly remedied.  But, I was told on Saturday that I "should go to work full time and let the Brit stay home with the kids."  So, now I'm a bad parent....or I would be if I cared what anyone else thought. 

So, though my older brother, Doug, had been concerned about him not being the one to have his feelings tromped on, never fear!  It was me!  Which again, is fine.  I can take it and am finally to the point in my life, where I care little about what others think of me.  I am who I am and if you don't like it, go play in another sandbox (and sometimes they do, which again, is fine). 

So, despite the jabs at me, and annoyance a couple of times at attitudes, it was a great weekend.  I love my family, I really do, even though I feel a little bit safer psychologically, with everyone back at home.  I would gladly do it again and look forward to seeing them next time, whenever next time is....I just need to remember to stay out of the line of fire if no one else is currently in it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Insanely Busy

Okay, so I've been slacking.  It hasn't been intentional, it's been because a big ole family reunion is about to take place as a surprise for my mother.

There are seven children in my family and we range in age from 37-60, so needless to say, many of us did not live at home at the same time others did.  In fact, the only time we have all been together, in our lives, was 7 years ago at my dad's funeral.  That has been the one and only time.  It was my sister's idea and has been months in the planning, but it's all about to go down very shortly.  My brother, Tom and his wife, Shannon,(who live in Tennessee) who are staying with us, are arriving in the morning.  Connie and MaryAnn (Las Vegas and California) are arriving tomorrow evening.  Friday morning, the Brit is heading to the airport to pick up Doug (also from California).  The other three of us already live in Maryland.  So, Vicki, my other sister, is taking mom out all day on Friday.  Once they leave, the rest of us will converge on mom's place (she has the most room) and cook etc for the rest of the afternoon.  Vicki will head back with mom about 7:20 and SURPRISE!  She just had her 77th birthday and I hope we don't give her a heart attack. 

So, I have spent today cleaning in preparation of guests, not that they care if my house is spotless or not, it is just one of my insane quirks. (Though I did not clean nearly as much as I do when my inlaws come over from England).  I've been afraid to be around mom for fear of letting something slip, so I'll be glad when the cat is out of the bag. 

I believe for the month of November, I will be doing this, so you can hopefully look forward to daily posts! 

Okay, I'm off, very tired having cleaned all day.  I will post pictures after the big surprise for mom!

Friday, October 20, 2006

SOK (Save our Knitting

So, my knitted kitty is coming along well...or rather was coming along well: 

But now that I am nearly finished the body and head (kinda looks like a purse thus far, huh?) I have hit an instruction I just don't get.

To set it up, I have a skein of brown still attached, though I've been knitting with the white for the last 12 or so rows.  Now, my next bit of instructions goes like this:


"Using separate balls of yarn for each color change and twisting yarn where colors meet to prevent hole forming, with white, (inc 1) 3 times, k8, with brown, k34, with white, k7...." etc.


So, my questions....when it says use a separate ball of yarn for each color change, tell me I don't need a kabillion skeins of yarn to do this!  Do I go ahead and cut off the brown I still have attached to the project (I knotted it off when I started with the white).   Am I just keeping the brown and the white attached and using them as instructions call for it, assuming the yarn stretching over the body of the kitty will be on the inside when completed?  I'm not even sure of how to explain as I'm so confused.  Also, what does it mean to "twisting yarn where colors meet to prevent hole forming"?????

I have sent out a "Help" email to my knitting group, but does anyone here know?  I have LOVED knitting this thing and I already fear a big head when finished (I am the knitting queen of the world because I pulled this off!).  My hands are itching to continue and just pray I have it right, but then I don't want to cause myself or the kitty any undue stress. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's no wonder.....

I guess I am starting to feel forty.  There are moments when my train of thought begins with inklings such as "I remember when I was a kid...." and "There was a time when..."  It seems that the older I get, the more the human race disappoints me.  The obvious things, of course, are all the things you see in the newspaper, but there are also smaller things, that I, as an individual have witnessed that remind me of what a self absorbed society we now live in. 

Last week, I was heading to a drive thru before work to get a coffee when behind me, I hear sirens.  Looking into my rearview mirrow, I immediately spot the ambulance and I move over to the shoulder of the road, despite the fact the the emergency vehicle was not even in my lane.  But growing up, emergency personnel on the road with sirens blaring caused a parting of the Red Sea!  Everyone got out of the way! 

Not in this lifetime.  Several cars changed lanes to get out of the way even if they didn't completely pull over.  But then there was that one gold car that the ambulance got behind who DID NOT MOVE.  Apparently Mr. Gold Car (Or Mrs. Gold Car as I was unable to see the driver)  was heading the same way as the ambulance and apparently did not see the point of allowing the emergency vehicle to make the turn first.  Because obviously, wherever the Gold Car was heading was way more important that someone possibly FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIFE while waiting for EMTS to arrive.

Then this morning, I drove JJ up to the bus stop.  Generally, I don't do this but it was raining and after the last bout of illness in my house I was in no rush for an encore.  So we get up there and the bus arrives and I make him wait until the bus has all the red lights flashing etc before letting him cross the road.  At the top of our hill, where the bus stops, there is a round about, or a rotary or a whatever you want to call of those circles you have to drive around.  The bus stops prior to the circle.  JJ has thankfully hit the curb already when a woman comes up to the circle, never stops, drives the whole way around it to go back the road from whence she came.  Hello?  Bus lights?  Children?  I do believe the bus driver got her tag number and I hope she gets a hefty fine.  What if a child had been crossing? 

It's no wonder we have all the greater problems that we do; shootings in schools (the Amish school shooting  just devastates me.  Those people would never hurt anyone), people being all sue-happy, stealing, murder, etc.  We can't even manage our car on our way to work properly!  We can't obey simple laws that have been in effect forever!  People are endangering lives by simply driving across town! 

Are we really that self centered and self important that we are no longer able to care about people we don't know?  Are we truly unable to care about children just innocently getting on a bus or someone in need of medical attention, just because we have our own agenda and places we need to be?  Are we just going to keep spiraling out of control until we create our own demise?  If we don't start caring about each other more and ourselves less, the mess we have already made of our world is only going to get worse.  I'm already afraid of the world my grandchildren are going to grow up in as I see the world my kids live in now.

The world I grew up in got out of the way for ambulance drivers and we were considerate of each other on the roads,  and to this day, I practice what I learned growing up.  What example are we setting for the kids today?  So many of today's kids are growing up with rage, anger, insensitivity and greed as their role models.  A lot of these kids could grow up to be some pretty scary, not to mention violent adults.

Don't get me wrong.  There are still good parents out there that teach good values.  God bless you for doing that.  I just can't understand why some parents think values are "optional".

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random Monday

Haven't had a random day in awhile, so how 'bout now??  Plus, I've been a rather random blogger of late, so let's play a little catch up!

1) I am feeling much better thankfully.  Thank you for the well wishes, both here and in my real life.  The Brit seems to be mending a bit slower, as today he has a sore throat (which I never had). 

2) Can you believe it is almost Christmas??  I know that some of you may think I am rushing things, but when I look at the knitting I want to achieve by Christmas and the time I have to accomplish said knitting, Christmas is like...tomorrow!  Or it may as well be!  So much to do!  I need to get kid's shopping out of the way so I'm not doing toy stores in November when they start to become crowded, I need to buy cards, I need to knit!

3) The kids are going away for most of this weekend.  As they are off school on Friday, the grandparents want them from Thursday night to Saturday night, so I am looking for something to get into Friday night.  I know that my kids are welcome at any of my friend's homes, but it is nice to be with friends sans kids at times.  That way, I can just be a friend as opposed to a friend and a parent with all the "Mom, I'm hungry/thirsty/sleepy/when are we going home" stuff.  Then on Sunday afternoon, I'm heading to a get together of the gals I once worked with at the veterinary hospital (Jenni is not invited thankfully!).  I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone!

4) We did knit on Saturday, but as I was about half in a coma, I didn't take any pictures.  I'm not even sure I was that sociable, so please accept my apologies knitty girls.  I was a tad under the weather and I promise to be perkier in November.

5) Do you know that One A Day now has an energy vitamin???  I am so there! 

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sick Saturday

So, I'm still hacking and coughing and feeling relatively miserable, however, I did get a decent night's sleep last night!  When I have a cold, I sleep terribly which only adds to that got-a-cold-exhaustion.  So, last night, the Brit gives me some kind of sleep aid pill that the doctor had given him when he had hurt his shoulder.  I was desperate, and as I am a Tylenol PM girl anyway (I hate insomnia) and that had not been working for me, I decided to try it.  It took a little while to work, but it did make me feel way loopy.  I very vaguely recall having this conversation:

(sound of cat meowing and me, being the attentive cat mama I am, immediately recognize whose kitty voice it is and I call for Hannah.)  Hannah jumps up on the bed, still meowing to which I am answering with things like, "Really?  And then what happened?  What did you catch?"

The Brit, who is reading, says "What on earth is occuring?" (He is apparently only now aware of the human-cat conversation).

I respond with "Hannah had a toy, but when I called her up on the bed she left it down on the floor, but she is still telling me all about it.  And how do I know this?  Because I am the Crazy Cat Lady."

Yeah, loopy.

So, we knitted today and I took zero photos, because due to the cold and the sleep remedy, I was feeling very foggy most of the day.  I also had a terrible headache which was not helping.  But, we did come up with a few thoughts about participating next year in a craft festival in Berryville (no clue where that is), which I think would be big fun!  Let me get Christmas over with and then I can start working on items to sell. 

I started knitting this today:

And Kirk, if you are reading this, do not show it to your mom, as I am knitting it (or attempting to rather) for her for Christmas!  I am slightly intimidated by the LARGE pattern (we're talking like three pages of instructions!) but it is started and we're hoping for the best!

Okay, I'm heading to the other room to nurse this cold a bit more.  Hope y'all are having a great weekend!

Friday, October 13, 2006


I am still alive...*cough cough, hack, sniffle*...however, the Fall cold has infected our residence at the moment, at least where the grown ups are concerned (the guilty child that started the rampage was feeling better in like a day and a half while the forty year old parents are still under attack). 

Knitting group tomorrow...I will reconvene with y'all in a day or so...with pictures....promise!

Monday, October 9, 2006

There's only Grace

So, I came to the realization last night that one cannot change one picture on a blog template without having to re-insert all the pictures across the top of the page.  Ugh!  I had near panic attacks that somehow Godaddy would decide that I was killing my old blog altogether and would take out all my entries, but thankfully that did not happen!

Anyway, the reason for the all commotion was that I stumbled upon the new picture at the left hand side of my blog.  This picture embodies the whole idea and feeling behind the book I am working on currently.  I find the picture entirely inspirational and motivating.  GRACE.  That is the word that should be the title of the picture. 

When I think about Grace, I can't help but think about what happened to my church, because the bottom line for me is that if more people had focused less on judgement and more on grace, so many things would never have happened.  We can so easily become obsessed with rules and laws and forget what it is all really about.  Grace.  Why is it so much easier to point a finger than to forgive?   There is not an affiliation anywhere that is without fault.  There is not a church anywhere that is without fault, without sin.  We all fall short.  Every single one of us. 

The beauty of it is that the love that is God will meet us where we are.  It doesn't matter if we have broken all ten commandments plus a few state laws, if we step toward Him, He will meet us.  Like the woman in the picture, we can be huddled on the ground too ashamed to get up and face Him and yet He will stretch out his hand to us.  Grace is what has been shown to us, so would it be right for us to show anything else?

I will get back to knitting content.  Promise.  Christmas is coming.  Can I tell y'all how behind I am in knitted gifts?

Saturday, October 7, 2006

How to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon

I started the day out cleaning, while the Brit went out to run errands.  He came back with these:

And then after lunch, the rest of my afternoon looked like this:

Then we went to dinner with my mom, and then back home again.  Nice, peaceful, relaxing.  Would like to have a few more days like it.

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 6, 2006

Not quite there yet but closer

So, my font is in honor of the fact that my mood has gone from a black to more of a gray shade, which must mean I'm getting there.  Slowly.  I still have nada control over anything in my life right now (the Reese PB Cup minitures I'm munching on right now can attest to that fact) but I am crawling my way back to daylight.  It's kind of strange because most people don't realize I've been in a funk.  Apparently, one can be depressed and still act relatively normal, even when inside, nothing feels normal.  But, I think there are just times in this life, when the best we can do is simply survive.

One thing many of you may know or not know about me is that I have many very good friends whom I have never met in person.  The majority of them, I have met on message boards on the internet, some because I read their blogs, etc.  There is one group of ladies that I have been involved with for close to seven years now.  These are a few of the most amazing people I have had the blessing of knowing.  We talk about God, faith, husbands, children, current events...pretty much anything.  Some of these women have called me at various difficult points in my life to share life experiences with me and to give me some insight into what I'm going through. 

Well, on Tuesday, one of these ladies lost her 27-year-old son.  Officially, she lost him Wednesday night, but on Tuesday she already knew that he was so severely brain damaged there would be no coming back from it.  It was all terrible set of circumstances; he was walking across the street and someone ran a red light.  He was an organ donor, so he was kept on life support for awhile.

It's things like this, and school shootings etc, that make me wonder what God's plan is in all of it.  I know he has one.  It's just way bigger than I could ever fathom.  My friend who lost her son is so strong and has so much faith that at times, I think my faith is truly that of a mustard seed.  But even with mustard seed faith, we are supposed to be able to move mountains.  I believe that.  What I don't always know is where to begin.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A downer of a list

Haven't really been around much the last few days, I know.  Tell y'all what...I have been stuck in one heck of a funk.  It set in yesterday and has yet to release me and I'm not entirely certain of where it is coming from.  I figure it could be one or all of several things:

1) The world has gone mad.  Three school shootings in a week and each one rips my heart out and makes me fear for my own kids.  The earth we live in has not made any sense to me for a long, long time.  Not only are innocent school kids being murdered, and planes are being flown into buildings, but we're trying to figure out every possible way to remove God from our country.  My congregation is working hard to get people into the church and a country founded on Christian values is trying to cut all ties with God.  It is beyond my understanding.

2) I haven't been feeling well the last two days.  Swollen gland on the right side of my neck (it happens occasionally) which has my neck all the way up to my ear aching and it is accompanied by a raging headache.  It has also managed to suck any and all energy from me.

3) A lack of cooperation by children to pick up after themselves (this is especially critical when combined with #2).  We have established a new rule tonight.  Anything they leave lying around, gets black bagged and they need to pay a quarter to get the item back.  Something has to give because each day is spent doing the exact same chores as the day before, because the same crap gets left in places it shouldn't be each night.

4) I also think I may be a little depressed in general.  My life feels kind of out of control (could this have anything to do with the world being insane as mentioned in #1?) between my food and exercise plan (or lack thereof right now).  Hey Sheri, you're a dietician right?  How about helping me with a food plan?  Only you can't include any icky stuff in it.  Like sugarless carob covered almonds.  Maybe if it was carob covered milk duds or something....I just hate almonds.  And pecans and walnuts.  Love peanuts and cashews...oh, and no coconut either.  *shudder* or raisins.  Can you see why I would be a challenge? 

Honestly though, I know I need to get my bad habits under control because I'm forty now and I still have a lot of stuff I want to do in my life.  I have a book I'm working on and kids to raise and things to see and do with the Brit.  I want to be around to have grandkids one day. 

I guess I need to take control of MY world before I can make any sense out of the world in its entirety.  But before I even do that, I need a plan...and I need to shake the funk I'm in currently, because when I'm this funky, forget a plan; I can barely get myself out of bed in the morning as the day looming ahead is far too intimidating.

I just really hope it passes soon.