Comes and goes

Last night #4 and I got into the pictures, looking for stuff he can put on his Senior page. He goes to a very small school and the senior class has 20 people in it. In the yearbook each senior gets an entire page, and each kid designs it himself. While looking through the zillions, we came across a set of photos from the time Himself went tank driving. For his 50th birthday, I’d given him a Tank Driving Experience And Car Crushing at TankTown USA. That was a fantastic day. Himself and #4 drove around and mud-bogged, crushed a Volvo, and made a memory.  Seeing all those pictures, and other ones of Himself goofing around with the boys, showing off at the gun range, smoking a cigar on the patio…brought back a whole flood of memories and feelings. ALL of the feelings.

Oh, how I miss him! Right now I’m dealing with some difficult stuff, and not having a Person who can help carry the psychological burdens, who can talk me down out of a tizzy and tell me to go do something in the garden (always therapeutic), or even make me sit down and present me with a glass of wine (also therapeutic) is hard. Yes, I can try to do all those things for myself but dammit- it’s NOT THE SAME.  For 30 years there was another person who helped carry the burden, and who’s burdens I helped carry. And now I’m feeling like I have to carry them entirely and it’s making me VERY WHINY. and weepy. I hate weepy. It’s embarrassing. Even if there’s no one else around it’s still embarrassing. Here it is, 2 years later. It’s not the same sort of raw feelings I had 2 years ago when everything was open and bleeding and confusing. It’s softer and different…I can’t really explain it…but still hurts. My eyes still leak and my nose runs and I miss him just as much, maybe more.

Image by Erinnicolette

Here’s the deal. I’m having a VERY HARD TIME with math right now. I read the chapter, watch a video on it, do the homework, and it all seems fine. Ok, I can understand this. Then, I go to take the test and it feels like someone handed me a Russian copy of Anna Karinina. Test anxiety much? Adderall has been suggested. As has Xanax. I don’t have anxiety on any other tests. Why is this so difficult? How come, when doing homework a(x-h)²+k seems so logical, yet on an exam, it looks like Œ(∉+ζ)²-ℜ/ℑ? The frustrating part is that I spend literally HOURS a day working on this stuff, carefully reading and doing the study plan and homework.  Before the last exam (on which I made a 50%), I broke out in hives. Himself would have been able to make me laugh and relax and I’d have done just fine.  He would have suggested an hour at the firing range, blowing the sh** out of clay targets, laughing and making encouraging comments. He’d have made me feel like an intelligent and resourceful person. Of course, if he were still here I wouldn’t be taking the math in the first place.  So  this is all his fault. Sort of.

There’s other stuff going on too. The house is a wreck because I’m doing so much homework (not just math). I literally haven’t swept or mopped in over 2 weeks. Probably over 3, but who’s counting. Once you get past 2 weeks it’s all the same.   The bathrooms need cleaning. The yard needs tending but the lawnmower isn’t working. I haven’t touched my vegetable garden and it’s a mess. I came across some photos of it taken right after it was finished and it was so beautiful. Now it looks abandoned.  I’ve got to decide if I’m going to do school this Summer. I was intending to, with the idea of graduating in July, but all the classes I need to graduate aren’t offered this Summer. I don’t want to go in the Fall because I want to concentrate on finishing the house and getting moved. So I have to decide if I just stop with the school and transfer to the community college there, or what. Himself would know what to do. He was wise like that.

There’s stuff going on over there in which I want/need to get involved. I can’t do it if I’m here. But can I find lucrative work (I don’t need a LOT of money, but I do need some) without a degree? Especially with a resume’ that’s got a 28 year empty spot? Do you see what’s got me so worked up right now? It feels like stuff is collapsing on my head and even though I know, intellectually, that I am not powerless to do anything about it, right now, this Sunday morning approaching 9:30, I want to crawl into my bed and pull the quilt over my head, and wait for it to all fix itself. Because the one person who helped me work through everything, who talked sense into me and made the load lighter, is busy elsewhere. And, while I am thankful his burden has been completely taken away and he’s in a place of absolute contentment and joy, I kind of resent being stuck here with a burden that has doubled, and being left without my person. And please don’t talk to me about my Heavenly Husband and Jesus is here for me and all that. I KNOW THAT. I’m just feeling very sorry for myself right now and missing Himself very, very much today.

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Rusty

I have several dogs, but one is more attached to me than the other 3. I think, anyway, he is never (unless I’m not there) more than 3 feet away, making sure whatever threats are out there don’t cause me harm. He excels at making sure I don’t fall into the toilet and disappear for good. I’m pretty sure the power of his stare while I’m on the throne is what keeps me from falling in. It’s the same power that can cause bits of meat to glide out of my sandwich and into his mouth.My dog’s eyes are telekinetic. When we are at the vet (with 4 dogs I’m a Frequent Flyer), he guards me from all those wild and rabid beasts (you know, the pathetic ones with the cones on their heads) with stern warnings that they’d better not come near me or they’ll get the what-for.

Anyway, about a week ago he seemed to be feeling less-than-his-normal-self. Not so perky and all. Then, Saturday he got into a tussle with #2’s dog (4 times his size) with whom he rarely acknowledges, let alone fights. Apparently she got to close to me and since he wasn’t feeling himself anyway he took umbrage at that. After the short altercation he DEFINITELY wasn’t feeling himself. Sunday was even worse, with a lot of stiffness and flinching along his back. Now, he’s a dachshund, a breed known for back problems, and I panicked, felt faint and queasy (I can’t stand to see an animal hurting), and promptly ordered a back brace for him.I had some Tramadol left over from some previous dog who was needing it, and dosed him with that.

Monday, I had a class in the morning, and afterward called the vet. They saw him right away and determined that he had 2 compressed discs in his lower back. Steroids, muscle relaxers, more Tramadol, bed rest, back brace, and no more fights.  Also, thy waved a magic wand over his back for about 10 minutes. It hummed and glowed and he seemed to enjoy it. I had no idea what it was doing so had her wave it over my hand a little, and….nothing. (gimmick, I thought.) When I got home I looked it up and…

Wow! Star Trek! This is something Dr. McCoy (and later incarnations) would have used! Apparently it REALLY works! I know Rusty (my dog) seemed to feel better almost immediately, and I could tell his back muscles were more relaxed. Crazy! No side effects, non-invasive, nothing you had to take other than standing still for a bit. I was mightily impressed and was told if he seemed to be hurting I could bring him in any time and they’d wave the magic wand over him again.

I was incredibly relieved that he didn’t need surgery. Sometimes these back things can get really bad, and result in paralysis. But, I caught it quick, put him on bed rest (crating, which he was pretty sure was torture even though the other 3 dogs wanted nothing more than to be in the crate) and got it treated before it became irreversible. Also, baby gate on the stairs and the New House is going to get a ramp off the back. I’m going to work it out where the pet door only opens onto the ramp, and not the stairs.   Little Fella’s only 6, and if well cared for, little dogs can live 16-17 (or more) years.

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Last year’s roses. This year they aren’t pretty at all.

In other news, the freaky weather has screwed up the Spring Bloom. A warm winter meant everything bloomed early, and while it was all starting to bloom, we had 3 days of frost, which killed it all. Right as the wisteria was opening up, too. And the azaleas. Boom. gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bookish

I love to read. Absolutely LOVE. IT. When I was a little bitty girl, just starting school, I was reading so much that I’d get bored in class and read ahead. When it came my turn to read a paragraph, I’d be lost and the teacher thought something was wrong with me for not being able to follow along. She informed my parents that I was mentally deficient and was soundly disabused of that notion by Mom, who knew better. I was handed some more advanced reading, moved to the back of the class, and left alone, much to my delight.

Image result for library wall

When we were growing up, the TV was discouraged. We had one for a while, but any time we tried to watch it for longer than 30 minutes (unless it was Sunday night, when we’d watch Wonderful World of Disney and Wild Kingdom, along with popcorn and Fresca), Dad would get irritated with our slackery and flip the breaker (the panel was in his wookshop, where he was always tinkering). Eventually I gave up trying and piled on with the reading, which I think was just as annoying to him but he couldn’t turn it off, nor find a good reason to complain about it. (really? You’re going to complain about your kid reading? Really?) so he managed to attempt to get me to be more active by telling me to go outside. Because books are portable, I’d just go sit under a tree and read.

Books became old friends. Some of them I read and re-read, finding comfort in familiarity. Jane Eyre always gets her Mr. Rochester. Scarlett always returns to Tara. Christy always wakes up from her typhus coma. For a long time I quit reading, so much other stuff to investigate like Netflix or the Internet. SO MANY DOCUMENTARIES. But, recently being on the computer means doing MAAAAATH (How thankful I will be when I can quit complaining about doing it ALL THE TIME.) (I mean, I suppose I COULD quit complaining about it now but really, that’s not realistic), so I have returned to reading lovely, comfortable, and familiar books. I have also discovered Amazon used books ($4!), and Ebay (I look for the ones with cheap shipping). Also thrift stores. (99 cents, sometimes 49 cents!) and am populating the bookcases with the sorts of stuff I love.

And, like music where I have to buy an entire album and not just individual songs, when I find an author who’s written one book I love, I will buy everything written by him/her. Maeve Binchey is one I particularly love to read- she’s an Irish woman, and her stories are about Irish people, gentle and soft stories of life with people who have normal sorts of problems and relationships. John Grisham for the legal stuff and reluctant hero, Chaim Potok for the Orthodox Jewish perspective, James Herriot, Jan Karon, John Irving, and Stephen King for when life is bad and I need to read about someone who’s having worse problems than I am.

I like the orderly way books look on the shelf, a whole string on them by one person. Perhaps when I move, they will get shelved alphabetically. That appeals to my sense of order. A friend of mine likes to shelve hers heightabetically  I’ve seen decorators suggest doing it by color, which honestly appalls me. I mean really. I recognize the aesthetic appeal but I actually READ my books. (Suddenly I imagine what would happen if I broke into the pastor’s office and rearranged his 26 feet of floor-to-ceiling bookcases by color. I’d be excommunicated, and deservedly).

Image result for library wallOH THE HORROR

I don’t buy ALL the books, just the ones I know I will want to reread. Himself gifted me with a Kindle several years ago, and if i want to read something once, it goes on that. But the GOOD stuff, that won’t disappear in the Great EMP sure to happen when North Korea figures out how, that gets old school hard copy on the shelf.  In the new house there will be a large bank of built in shelves- roughly 15 feet wide and 10 feet high. I don’t have what it will take to fill that…yet…but I intend to fill it up, with enough books to annoy my children and grands as they ponder what to do with all that stuff no one ever reads anymore. I’m hoping for maybe one bookish descendant who will see them for the treasures they are.

Himself loved books too. He saw them as tangible history, and if it was in a book then it wouldn’t be forgotten. I have many boxes of books that were his, and #4 has claimed them. Nearly all of them are history- he did love him some history and #4 inherited that love. I’m not a fan of history books unless it’s a biography or cultural history. Umptyseven years ago he bought me a set of books called “The History of Private Lives” and it tells all about how people as early as the ancient Sumerians and Etruscans lived- what they cooked, how the households were set up, what they did for fun. Fascinating stuff! Way more interesting than popes and military exercises, in my opinion. (Did you know ancient Egyptians married by moving in with each other, and their women had property rights?How progressive!)

Anyway, this whole train of thought came about when I looked at a stack of books I recently purchased from Ebay. Chaim Potok is one of my favorite authors, and I only had 2 of his books. For some reason I looked his stuff up on Ebay and there were a whole bunch of his books for super cheap so I bought what I could find.He writes like someone who speaks several languages, not really vernacular (like Stephen King) and not really standard English, and since they tend to feature Ashkenazim (Easter European Jews) in New York City, the wording of the books in is that sort of pattern. It puts you in the place, in Brooklyn, amongst boys going to yeshiva and women in long sleeves, with glasses of coffee and men discussing Torah. Now I have a whole stack of books and getting to read them makes me want to close the door on every other thing, and sit on the bed and do nothing but read for several weeks. Forget school, the garden, the New House, and disappear into a world very different from the Presbyterian one I’ve lived in all my life. (though I was told recently that Presbyterians were Protestant Jews) (Maybe that’s why I’m so intrigued by this author)

Anyway. I love reading. There’s worlds out there that only exist in the imagination of the author, and putting it into a book is the author sharing that world with everyone else. It’s this generous gift the author is giving to everyone, and when something is written well enough the reader can imagine themselves in it…well, I love that. Often my life seems so ordinary…in this calm rhythm that is so uninteresting…being able to enter into a place that has drama and change is a way to feel better about the ordinary, or at least not so bored by it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my life even with the slow pace, but sitting as an observer in one of John Grisham’s courtrooms, or in the head of David Lurie as he tries to parse out Torah commentary, or watch while Scarlett O’Hara makes a mess of her marriage is a chance to live a little bit of drama without the risk of actually BEING a part of it. I like the kind of drama I can set aside like that.

What do you love to read? Who are your favorite authors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warning: You’ve been warned.

Rarely do I ever step into the political arena. I’d rather step in a pile of fresh dog poo and track in on carpet, to be honest. But I’m going to tread around the edges of it for a minute, except I don’t see it as much a political thing as a religious thing. However, due to the genesis of this idea, it could, I suppose, also be political.

You see, there are some serious federal budget cuts being proposed. Domestic things that have a lot of people riled up. I get that, as I’m not happy about it either. Of course, the stuff he’s proposed (“Proposed” being the key word here) would have to pass through Congress to become reality. It would seem that our Esteemed President is unaccustomed to having to get approval on his decisions. I eagerly await the Twit-fest that is sure to happen  when his desires are denied. I picture something along the lines of that girl I met at Agnes Scott College who was fuming about getting the wrong color of Porche 911 for her high school graduation gift. (Yes. That actually happened. I was, at the time, driving a 1970 Toyota Corolla, and proud to have it. I was also stunned speechless briefly, until I started mocking her, which is probably why I wasn’t invited to the Thing at the Thing and had to go to the astronomy building instead) Anyway, I await with great interest over the budget hearings.

But that is not the point here. What I am meaning to discuss (is it a discussion if it’s one-sided? Maybe something will happen in the comments) is the idea of charity and personal responsibility. (let me also lead with the notion that I am talking to myself as well as the rest of everyone else because I am also guilty.) Ok, I’ve made it clear before that I’m fond of referring to the Bible about matters of behavior and belief. It works for me. Having a solid guidebook for my life is handy and priceless and a huge relief because it means I’m not floundering around wondering who what and why all the time.

In this country we have come to rely on the government to cover the bases where people’s needs are concerned. Mostly I’m ok with that. I don’t have issues with stuff like providing health care and making sure people are fed and have a roof over their heads. I recognize that these things can lead to abuse of the system and dependency on it, but I am not opposed to the abuse if it means children, disabled, and old folks have what they need to live. Anyway, apparently our Esteemed Leader (I almost called him El Presidente but I think his position on the Hispanic Situation is clear and he might call me out on Twitter) is wanting to cut funding to all sorts of domestic programs. I’m not sure what I’m thinking about that…but that isn’t my point (believe it or not) Here’s the point:

Let’s say the cuts happen. Or they don’t. Either way the mandate of our (supposedly) Christian Nation (I’m calling it what the people who are so opposed to Non-Christians sullying out borders like to call it) is to take care of the poor and foreigners. See here:

Proverbs:

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. 19:17

He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. 28:27

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. 21:13

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. 11:25

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. 31:8-9  (I take this to mean things like WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN! Get out there and DO SOMETHING!)

Also, Jesus Christ Himself had a LOT to say about taking care of poor and needy folks:

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. Luke 12:33

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12  (See, here, He didn’t make this stuff up out of the blue…it’s in the Old Testament too. He was consistent like that. Read the next one.)

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:7-11 (emphasis mine)

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 (Hey! Isn’t that The Golden Rule? Sort of?)

This is is tiny bit of what God says is our mandate (as a Christian Nation, according to those who forgot to read the first amendment that says something like ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;) (actually that’s exactly that it says) toward the poor and needy. So, if we, as a Christian Nation, are not going to use governmental channels to care for the poor and needy then it is (and here’s my point, FINALLY) the RESPONSIBILITY for individuals and private organizations to pick up the ball for caring for people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on a soapbox, yes, but am by no means a shining example of personal charity. Reading this stuff is embarrassing and convicting. I feel like a real wiener.

And you think “well, I don’t have much to spare.” Ok I get that. Jesus had something to say about that as well. “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11  and  And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.  So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” luke 21:1-4.  

I’m also pretty sure it’s nobody but God’s business what and how you give, so I’m not asking you to shout it out HEY LOOK WHAT I’M DOING AREN’T I WONDERFUL

Take care not to do your good works before men, to be seen by them; or you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  When then you give money to the poor, do not make a noise about it, as the false-hearted men do in the Synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly, I say to you, They have their reward.  But when you give money, let not your left hand see what your right hand does:  So that your giving may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward. Matthew 6:1-4

(Here’s what Matthew Henry has to say about THAT:  “Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties. What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms. Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride. The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men. When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.)

My point it, if our Federal Government in all it’s apparent Wizdom sees fit to quit with the stuff that feeds, shelters, and cares for the folk in this country who need it, then the people of this country are obligated, mandated, and required by the God Whom they claim to worship to take care of those people. regardless of who they are. I haven’t seen anywhere in all the stuff I’ve found in that Bible (which the people of this Christian Nation claim as the Word of God and inerrant) that the people being helped have to fulfill a set of requirements (beyond NEED) before being eligible for the help. No hoops, no “sign here first and after you attend 6 services and go through 6 weeks of counseling”, no “prove you aren’t (whatever).” It’s more along the lines of “Oh my, you look like you need help. May I help you?”. Are we meant to help only those people who look like us, or who don’t smell funny, or who are certain to be sure to show us the appreciation we so deserve for sacrificing (whatever) in order to help them? I know I like appreciation as much as the next one, but that’s not why we are supposed to do it. (Refer back to Matthew 6:1-4)

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When huge numbers are thrown out there, it is overwhelming and seems insurmountable. But break it down by community, and it’s not so hard. Add the numbers up by organization, and the ability is there.  Remember the story of Stone Soup? There’s a starving community, and a stranger comes in and starts a pot of hot water with a rock in it, in the town square. Then he says something along the lines of “Hm, this needs a carrot.” and someone shows up with a couple. Then “All it needs is a turnip/potato/some herbs/a marrow bone” and gradually each household contributes it’s tiny portion until there’s a huge pot of delicious stew, enough for everyone.  Relying on the government to manage the stew  and require contributions would mean people thinking “oh no, not my carrot/marrow bone.” But knowing the stew is actually going to feed people, instead of disappearing into a Governmental Void, tends, I think, to encourage the giving.  Also assuming the help will come out of the Governmental Void, and relying on (whoever they are) instead of considering it a personal mandate, means saying “oh, someone else will take care of it, I don’t need to” and nothing real gets done because the Governmental Void is a proverbial black hole.

Am I making any sense here? In a nutshell, our country has the resources and ability to care for everyone in it, without sitting on our hands expecting The Gummint to do it for us.

So sayeth Rootie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break!

“HEY MA!” said #3, “You gonna go to PCB an’ git turnt*? You’re a college kid now, gonna hafta do the whole thang!”

*translation: “Mother dearest, are you going to spend your hard earned time on a pointless trip to Panama City Beach, wear scanty and inappropriate clothing, and wind up with a hangover in a seedy hotel room”

No, I am not. I am going to spend my Spring Break doing Other things. Like…getting up at 5am even though it’s Daylight Savings Time, because I am a closet Amish Dairy Farmer. Daylight Savings Time means nothing to me except that it’s daylight longer.  In my world, “gittin’ turnt” means an extra half shot of gin in the martini, and 3 olives instead of 2. So wild. So self indulgent.

What I actually did was not much different from anything else I normally do, with the exception of not going to the school 3 times a week. Math homework, yes. Because if I don’t do it every single day except Sunday I’ll forget everything I learned. I am looking hard at May 1, the last day of classes, where I can put aside quadratics and  x³y³/(2x²+z¹)ƒx±Ξ and take a nap. Because even when I had small children I didn’t have as many variables to deal with.

So NO dammit, no real Spring Break. I didn’t do it back in the day when I was 20 (too busy working) and I’m not doing it now. What I *AM* planning, however, is a NonSpring Break cruise with a friend in December. Then I’ll git turnt, only Ramone will be bringing me the drinks w/umbrellas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bits and Pieces

Usually when i write a post here, it’s because something came to mind for a topic. Then it winds up wandering down some other rabbit-hole entirely, but isn’t that the fun of it all? When I write something for school, the instructor gets testy if I digress. There has to be a topical opening paragraph, several more that detail the topic (with references!) and a closing paragraph that’s similar to the opening one. Booooooring. But for a grade, I’ll do as he says. With references.

Image result for vintage woman with a coffee cup

Thanks to the Interwebs and WWW’s, it’s way easier to find references these days. I have access to something called Galileo (which is a struggling acronym for the university system that allows access to a bunch of non-normally accessible PDF’s of people’s PhD dissertations and such, which make great references), as well as All The Stuff. We have certain parameters within which we must fall, plus all the MPA and APA ways of writing the bibliography etc. And the beauty of this blog is that I can misuse all rules of grammar and puncuation I want: and spelling, and doodads and all that. And I don’t have to back any of my claims up if I don’t want to! (Did you know 25% of the popylations thinks they’s not in the 75%?)

My instructors are rolling their eyes. Especially the one I had in the first Composition course. He was big on the eyerolls though he tried to be diplomatic.

See now, this is exactly what I’m talking about. This morning I was up at Amish Dairy Farmer o’thirty, full of energy and vinegar and had to restrain myself from blowing all the other people out of bed just so I could have some company. I did eventually inform them of their lazy slackery around 6am (groans were heard), and one of them dragged his lazy self out of bed at 6:30. I know, the time change. Whatever.   Then around 7:30, my brain said it was time to write something but I had no idea what about. So here I sit, writing about nothing.

I am on Spring Break this week. Yup, no school, and assignments that only need to be thought about some. I have a list of things to get done, none of which are outside because it’s cold and damp. I did go to The New Homeplace this past weekend, and spent time with The Grandpunkin, son, and his Fine Wife. The intention was to get some work done on the doors (antique things what need stripping) but it was cold and wet so that was vetoed in favor of the other things. I went to a firing range with #3 and watched a competition. It impressed me at how equalizing that thing was. There were people ranging from a physician to a blue-collar machinist to an 11 year old to a 79 yr old, all on equal terms with each other. Even though it was a competition, it was all very friendly with a lot of atta-boys and encouragements. Also ooh-ahhing over people’s assorted firearms and customizations. I just people-watched, which is my idea of a good time.  Also #3’s Fine Wife cooked up a FEAST! involving chickens and smoked sausage and collards and macaroni and cheese and cole slaw. I made some mashed potatoes in a feeble attempt to contribute but come on…she offered! Who am I to say no to something like that!

Grandpunkin is growing up! He’s much more deliberate in his behavior (He’ll be 2 in June), and quite obedient when someone says No, don’t do/touch that. Even though he’s prone to wrinkling his brow and pouting. He seemed excited to see me, which is ALWAYS the way to my heart. I am looking forward to living there and having ready access. I have a fantasy about taking him to the grocery store and getting him a cookie from the bakery. I always loved taking one of my boys to the store, letting him put stuff in the buggy, or decide which kind of crackers to get. While I can see the Move isn’t too far off (wow the past 2 years have gone by fast!), I am anxious to get there.

For now, I’m thinking about school. I’m not sure if I’m going to finish out the degree, or wait until I get moved over there, and finish it at the community college in that town. I’m considering nursing school- getting an LPN, and doing Home Health Care for work. I discussed it with my myriad physicians and they all think it’s a fine idea. None of that has been fully decided however, it’s just an idea.

So that’s all the news that isn’t.

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Smile, darn ya!

So, there’s a lot of to-do all over about people telling women to SMILE, because if we aren’t smiling we obviously aren’t happy and if we aren’t happy then…something.

So here’s the question: Are we, as women, obligated to smile for people? Does not smiling inherently translate as unhappy? What about the wrinkl…I mean…smile lines that come from doing it all the time? Aren’t we, as women, obligated to look like we’re 24 and fresh as a morning daisy? What about that awful moniker “resting bitch face”, as if we, when we aren’t smiling, are pretty much looking like we want bite off your ears and shove them up your nose?

You see, sometimes I don’t feel like smiling and it doesn’t mean I’m not happy. It could mean I’m thinking a serious thought (Yes! I can do that! Even with my matching chromosomes!) It might mean I’m trying to decide if coriander would be nice in a roasted root vegetable soup (I can answer that. It would.) Or I might have a sore toe. Or my face may be tired from smiling all day long so people would think I’m a pleasant person. Because one can’t be a pleasant person if one isn’t smiling all the time and let me tell you, that’s exhausting. Really.

I really mean that. For a very long time I believed I had to keep a sweet smile on my face at all times. Whenever I was out in public, I kept a smile on, even when I didn’t feel up to it. I’d read things that said stuff like “if you make yourself smile when you’re depressed, your brain will rearrange itself into feeling better”. and “People automatically respond better to a smile” and maybe all that is true but I’m (almost) 52 now and old enough to decide if I want to smile or not. Often, I don’t want to. Not because I’m sad or grumpy or whatever. Generally I’m pretty content with the way things are going, but I simply don’t want to. I’d rather save it up for stuff that’s wonderful or funny.

I hear folks talk about others and say things like “well, she doesn’t smile very much.” I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say that about a man. “He doesn’t smile very much”…nope, can’t recall that. Can you? If if it is said, he’s taken as being a Serious Thinker, where a woman is said to have a constant “resting bitch face” as if she has an attitude problem. Frankly, (if you can’t tell by now) I resent that.

Himself used to want me to smile. He felt an intense responsibility to make sure I was happy in all things, and if I wasn’t smiling it meant he’d failed in his job. So I smiled for him, because he hadn’t failed and I surely didn’t want him to feel as if he had.  I’ve seen Hillary Clinton catch a lot of for not smiling all the time, but not the assorted men-politicians, and our current president rarely smiles (in fact, looks to have a well rehearsed grump-face)

So now, I wear my face however I want to. I also speak my mind more. I realize Society wants me, as a woman, to smile and make the World a More Pleasant Place, but I’d rather do that by putting coriander in the winter veg soup, or really listening when you have something to say (a skill I’ve not perfected, but am working on.)

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